Friday, January 2, 2015

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

Also read: Part-I, Part-II and Part-III.

Narayan Gangopadhyay's Tenida stories (comprising of Tenida - Bhajahari Mukherji; Pyalaram - Kamalesh Banerji; Kyabla - Kushal Mitra and Habul - Svarnendu Sen) is immensely enjoyable, and worth reading over and over again. Tenida is depicted as the local big-mouthed (loquacious) airhead (famous for narrating fabricated stories of his so-called adventures), who, although not blessed with academic capabilities, is admired and respected by the other three for his presence of mind and honesty. He has "a large nose resembling Mount Mainak". The narrator of the stories is Pyalaram, who seems to share his leader's frailty in academic exertions; Pyalaram followed in Tenida's footsteps, having repeated his final year in school for two years before passing matriculation with the rest of the bunch. The other two characters that form an integral part of the quartet are Habul Sen, who speaks with a strong Bangal or East Bengali accent (Dhakai) and Kyabla, the cleverest among the four. (The suffix da used after Teni is short for dada (elder brother) which is used to initiate conversations with an older male in colloquial Bengali. Tenida is the leader of the quartet.) Pyalaram, the narrator of the stories, is timid and suffers from a chronic stomach ailment. His unfavorite food items appear to be fish curry (a thin gravy of a wriggling fish of the catfish family). Kushal Mitra (also known as Kyabla) is the most intelligent, smart and brave among them. Clever and a topper among his classmates (topping exams is a habit with him), this handsome and dapper young man is the backbone of this group. Tenida always looks up to Kyabla for finding solutions to tricky situations. Habul Sen stands out in having an independent character - he is timid but not as much as Pyalaram. (Habul knows to box). He is also a very good student unlike Tenida and Pyalaram. 

(Catfish: Named for their prominent barbels, which resemble a cat's whiskers, 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 within the order. 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. To be the cat's whiskers means to be better than everyone else.)

Tenida yells "De la grandi Mephistopheles, yak yak!" It is the signature Tenida whoop and signifies: there's light at the end of every tunnel. In other words: Tenida's dimaag ki batti has come up with something. Tenida is the leader of a bunch of inadvertently naughty adolescent boys. Bengalis have a word for para bratulas: Rockbaj. Tenida and his bunch are ingenious, harmlessly mischievous.

Ghanada (Ghanashyam Das), a fictional character created by Premendra Mitra, is a middle-aged, tall, gangly and thin character with a treasury of unique stories that range from science fiction, adventure, metaphysics, philosophy to historical events. There are several references to the Mahabharata, and apparently Robinson Crusoe was a lady. (The suffix "da" after "Ghana" means elder brother in colloquial Bengali. Ghanada is also referred to as Ghanashyam-babu. The suffix babu in Bengali is similar in usage to the honorific "Mr." in English). In most of his stories, Ghanada himself is the amazingly wise, ingenious, intrepid, witty and wily protagonist who visits different countries/continents to pit his wits against sundry villainous characters, and successfully scuppers the best-laid plans. He has even been to Mars. Ghanada is an all-purpose problem-solver, who has been a witness to all the important historical events. The stories are wonderfully embellished with a mix of wit, humour and satire. Ghanada has illustrious, swashbuckling ancestors. (Some of the stories are about Ganado (Ghanaram Das) in South America, and Bachanram Das in Agra in Medieval India, his ancestors.) Ghanada is also an expert in swimming, fencing, wrestling, and boxing and other miscellaneous sports and martial arts. Though depicted as a middle-aged person, none quite knows his age. He is a very learned man, self-educated, and lives frugally. His education is mostly due to time spent at the local libraries. He has no family, is horse-faced and borrows cigarettes (from Sishir). Ghanada occupies the chile kothar ghaar and has a mourusipatta aaram kedara. None else can occupy the said kedara. Even if they do, once Ghanada appears, they will have to relinquish, and make way for Ghanada. Shibu, Sishir, Gour and Sudhir (the narrator) are the four young lads who Ghanada spellbinds with his stories and who try to trick or please Ghanada in a variety of ways to cajole him into sharing his delightful stories. Ghanada never admits to any unconditional help. If required, he only borrows and keeps count (including Sishir’s cigarettes).

Premendra Mitra's fictional character Parashar Barma is a detective, though he tries to be a poet. Detective Poet Parashar. There are stories involving Ghanada and Parashar, e.g. Parasharey Ghanadaye. (Who really was Maharshi Parashara? Bheeshma/Maharshi Veda Vyasa? Who really was Satyavati?)

Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay's Byomkesh Bakshi is Satyanveshi (Seeker of Truth), while Baroda is a ghost-hunter. In Byomkesh O Baroda, the two characters meet.

Satyajit Ray's Gupi Gyne Bagha Byne depicts the adventures of Gupi and Bagha. The series is based on the characters Gupi Gyne and Bagha Byne created by his illustrious grandfather Upendrakishore Raychowdhury. The stories revolve around Gopinath Gyne (Gupi), the son of an impoverished grocer Kanu Kyne, of (village) Amloki and Bagha Byne (Bagha) of Hartuki. (Kanu - a variant of Kanha?) Gupi, a simpleton and not very bright (at least that's how he comes across), wants to become a renowned singer but has a hoarse voice. Persuaded by a bunch of village elders (who intend to banish him) to sing for the king, he does so and is banished from Amloki on a donkey for waking the king (Kumbhakarna analogy?) with his terrible singing (of Bhairavi ragini). The lazy king calls him "gadha" (tritiya suur aar shastha suur) and breaks his taanpura, much to the amusement of his equally indolent courtiers. Exiled into a forest, he meets Bagha, another seemingly unremarkable exile from nearby Hartuki. Bagha has been banished into the forest for playing a drum badly. They start singing and drumming, initially to keep a tiger away, and in the process attract a group of ghosts who are fascinated by their music. The king of ghosts, impressed by their simplicity, grants them three boons.

Gupi Gyne Bagha Byne was a phenomenal success. The versatile Rabi Ghosh (as Bagha Byne) was a scene stealer. However, Tapen Chatterjee as Gupy Gyne was a revelation. His performance was a joy to behold. Ray would have been overjoyed. Tapen Chatterjee had always emphasised that he would be remembered for and as Gupy and that's just what he desired. "I don’t need to perform in any other role," he's learnt to have once commented. 

Kiriti Ray. Niharanjan Gupta's fictional character is Sherlock Holmes-esque and features in eighty odd stories. With a long coat and hat, and a pipe hanging from his lips, he is reminiscent of Holmes. He also carries a magnifying glass with him most of the time. The stories have a sense of adventure. Kiriti is handsome, six and a half feet tall, fair, bespectacled, clean-shaven; his curly hair is mostly combed back.

Col. Niladri Sarkar. A very popular fictional character. The retired colonel is an eccentric sleuth. A lazy journalist, Jayanta, who accompanies him on his adventures, narrates his stories. The colonel is a butterfly collector, orchid enthusiast and ornithologist, smokes pipes and has a Santa beard. He is also jovial and likes quoting Bengali proverbs and nursery rhymes.

Pandab Goyenda. Adventure stories, immensely popular among the younger lot. The Pandab Goyenda is a set of five youngsters who go about solving mysteries. Possibly inspired by the Famous Five by Enid Blyton.

Funny adventure tales featuring a bunch of endearingly mischievous, academically disinclined lads. Immensely enjoyable.

Narayan Sanyal's popular Kanta series featuring Barrister P.K. Basu. (Prasanna Kumar Basu, Bar-at-law). The author refers to him as "the Perry Mason of the East", perhaps to offer a hat-tip to Erle Stanley Gardner, since he was inspired to create Basu from the Perry Mason series of detective stories. (Perry Mason is an attorney (defense lawyer) who specialises in defending seemingly indefensible cases. Gardner depicts Mason as a lawyer who fights hard on behalf of his clients and who enjoys unusual or difficult cases. His motivation is to prevent the miscarriage of justice. He possesses outstanding courtroom skills and uses ingenious, unusual tactics, which eventually turn out to be legally sensible [thorough, logical, or justifiable].) Narayan Sanyal adapted the stories to suit his readership.

(A hat tip is an act of tipping or doffing one's hat as a cultural expression of recognition, respect, gratitude, greeting, or simple salutation and acknowledgement between two persons. In Western societies of the 19th and early 20th centuries, a hat tip was a common non-verbal greeting.)

Rijuda. Somewhat bohemian, a poet's temperament, a romantic at heart. Adventure stories featuring Rijuda and his assistant, Rudra. 

Indranath Rudra. A thinly-veiled imitation of Byomkesh Bakshi.

Arjun, a handsome young fictional detective character created by Samaresh Majumdar, is very popular among young readers. The stories have a sense of adventure, one of the reasons for their popularity.


Young Ray at Shantiniketan (Visva Bharati University).

Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore was a multifaceted magnificence: a man of many talents; a versatile/creative genius; a legend; the first Nobel laureate of Asia (and the first non-European to be awarded the Nobel Prize). He combined in himself a creator of sublime poetry, a prose writer (a writer of short stories and novels), playwright, lyricist, composer, a director-choreographer, a prolific painter, essayist, educationist, a genuine science enthusiast, a social reformer and scholar. He was a humanist, a great intellectual (philosopher, thought leader, a man of progressive thinking and a litterateur), and a rare and great personality. His poems brought lyricism, elegance and freshness... but they are impossible to translate (into English) however much one tries. Anyone who has had the experience of soaking in the magic of Tagore's lyrics will vouch for this. He had a voracious mind. He possessed an extraordinary depth of knowledge and could hold his own on a variety of topics/subjects. Tagore's translations into English are like embroidery seen from the back. Many of his poems are actually songs, and inseparable from their music.

Rabindranath Tagore, fondly known as Rabi Thakur, was born into the Jorasanko home of the prominent and much-respected Tagore family on 7 May 1861. His parents: Maharshi Debendranath Tagore and Sarada Debi. (The Tagore's had ancestral gentry roots in Jessore.) Maharshi Debendranath Tagore was a well-known philosopher, social reformer and philanthropist. Tagore's grandfather, Prince Dwarkanath Tagore, one of the first Indian industrialists and entrepreneurs, was the founder of the Jorasanko branch of the Tagore family. He was part of (what is known as) the Bengal Renaissance, and is notable for his successful efforts towards social/religious reform (e.g. the abolition of the obnoxious 'custom' of widow-burning). Because Debendranath wanted his son to become a barrister, Tagore enrolled at a public school in Brighton, East Sussex, England in 1878. (He briefly read law at University College London). However, after a brief stay in England (1878) to attempt to study law, he returned to India, and instead pursued his passion (as a playwright, story-teller, lyricist, composer, poet, philosopher and educator). Tagore was a creative genius. His poetic creativity tells a lot about this Renaissance man. The variety, quality and quantity are unbelievable. Tagore's poetry is not mere phrasal dexterity or tuneless ditties, rather it is genuine passion felt in the heart's deep core; it is refreshing to say the least. His gift of lyricism and verse shines through. It is like a draught from a pure spring, or a spiritual oasis in a desert of poetic wasteland. Tagore was a South Asian, but his perspective (cognitive orientation) transcends into universalism. He was a world citizen by his perception. Thus, his poetry with its message of harmony, universalism and humanism is ever-relevant. And harmony, balance and integrity are what Gurudev has consistently focused on... through his considerable oeuvre. Elements of Indian classical music has been integrated in an extremely intelligent and effective manner in his magnificent songs - Rabindra-sangeet (songs penned by Rabindranath) - which embodies a mesmerising fusion of his musicianship and poetic genius.

Tagore showed a keen interest in scientific knowledge and discoveries. He also emphasised on education - knowledge and intellectual curiosity (as opposed to learning by rote). He held that proper teaching does not explain things; proper teaching stokes curiosity. Tagore was forward-looking, a modern educator. (He did not like learning by rote or mere textbook education). He was not narrowly [or selfishly] nationalistic either, he did not believe in intellectual regimentation, etc. He saw himself as an inheritor, representative and expositor of India's ancient heritage (civilisational values and ideals). His writings constitute the best commentary on his life. These reveal him as nothing else does. The Universal Bard (Bisvakabi) is to be found in his poems. Tagore's vast legacy of creativity, intellectual freedom, relentless striving towards inner perfection, harmony amongst people and harmony of people with nature, to delight in and appreciate the small things (the simple joys and pleasures), the unbounded joy of life which has discovered its own intellectual and moral ability [especially by knowledge] - these are a priceless and everlasting gift to India, and indeed, to the world.

'Aamar Je Shhob Ditay Hobae': link.

(ArdhaNarishvara - the syncretic form? Two halves of the same consciousness? Half of one's soul? In simple words: better half? ... The concept of ArdhaNarishvara is that Shiva and Shakti are integral to each other, signifying two aspects: the male and the female, the masculine and the feminine. Thus, Shiva and Shakti are non-dual and inseparable. (Ardha: half, nari: woman/feminine). ArdhaNarishvara (the syncretic form) represents perfect synthesis. The right half is usually the male or masculine aspect, Shiva. This is the Shiva half. (It perhaps symbolises the best of masculine traits, qualities, characteristics, attributes or emotions). In Shakta ArdhaNarishvara, the dominant right side is female. Shakta is derived from Shakti worship or Shaktism. Shiva - the good or the auspicious - is also an adjective or a quality, and thus Shiva could be an honorific. There are many Shiva-s. Even Nandi or Nandikesvara is equated with Shiva. Nandi and Vasuki – one and the same? So, humankind has had the opportunity to see the great Vasuki not too long ago?) 

Tagore was a remarkably handsome figure with intense and penetrating eyes and cerebral looks, an intellectual luminary who possessed an inner charm... that emerges in his inspiring words and his lyrically unequaled songs. (Rabindra-sangeet enjoys the blissful alliance of its lyrics along with music.) Tagore emphasised on cultural, scientific and social exchange between all peoples. He envisioned an India imbued with the noblest of her ancient civilisational ideals: that of acceptance, exchange and the striving for human perfection through a loving and reverential appreciation of nature. Many decades ago, Tagore encouraged the idea of reforestation (Vriksharopan, tree-planting ceremony) at a time when there was no such thing as nature conservation, climate change, and so on. (In 1928, Rabindranath turned the tree-planting ceremony into a festival to be observed every year.) Tagore's life as a litterateur was dedicated towards cultural rapprochement; as a humanist and universalist, his message of Asian fellowship (fraternity, united for common purposes) was a cautionary note vis-a-vis the myopia of narrow, selfish nationalism. He also cautioned against the approach of negativism called lethargy, ignorance and the lack of intellectual engagement. Tagore never deviated from his dharma, which was poetic creativity, collaborative reflection and intellectual engagement - exchange of thoughts and perspectives - to convey and bring forth a more substantive awareness, insight, sagaciousness and understanding. (Absence of scholarly engagement, even informal ones, gives rise to ignorance and a cursory, superficial understanding.) Even in his later years, Tagore still rose long before dawn to witness the birth of each new day, and he still wrote fluently in his own hand. He liked to make extensive corrections. His artist's eye for his handwriting was revealed in the simple artistic leitmotifs embellishing the scribbles, corrections, etc.

Scores of writers and intellectuals (including the legendary Chilean poet Pablo Neruda), and millions of more common folk, were touched in due course by Gurudev's creative genius. Tagore had assimilated the scientific spirit, he had a deeply rational and curious, inquisitive mind. He [also] strove for and advised freedom of thought, to unshackle the human mind from every possible limitation and regimentation. For Tagore (and J.C. Bose) science did not signify a mechanistic understanding of facts, abstractions and formulas, but rather a broader interpretation, a wider perception of the universe. Tagore regularly interacted with the scientist/genius-polymath Acharya Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose. His book on science, Vishva-Parichay, is dedicated to the scientist Satyendranath Bose. He also had extensive conversations with other leading scientists of his time, such as Albert Einstein, on the nature of reality and causality in Germany in 1930, and with Werner Heisenberg, the discoverer of the famous Uncertainty Principle of quantum physics (and, along with Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr, one of the giants of modern physics). Heisenberg came to Calcutta in 1928 to meet Tagore, and they had long conversations about science and Indian philosophy. Tagore and Einstein had the most stimulating, intellectually riveting conversation amidst a broader discussion of the intellectual renaissance of India (in the early twentieth century). The conversation moves between previously examined definitions of science, beauty, consciousness, and philosophy in a masterful meditation on the most fundamental questions of human existence. 

Rabindranath, the tall, handsome, young man, dressed in dhoti, kurta and shawl, was nothing like a powerful, oppressive or uncharitable zamindar. Instead, he formulated methods for social and economic change. (He put up a small centre-cum-library for a village, but it went unused. He engaged a teacher, but the pupils stayed away on various pretext. Efforts to develop cooperative farming, common water supplies and road-building also went in vain because of apprehension (among the people) that someone would get greater advantage. These and other experiences led him to formulate an approach that emphasised community responsibility and transformation of individual consciousness at all levels through education and involvement of common people. The peasants who stood to gain from his initiatives were also sometimes distrustful and over-cautious, which meant that Tagore [and his team] had to fight a battle for hearts before they could achieve anything.) Tagore understood what disease, hunger, the lack of education and mental stagnation could do. His rural reconstruction efforts [therefore] included numerous educational, cultural, health and developmental initiatives (including self-help programs). He put forth a rural programme (Rural Reconstruction Centre), which included merging villages into regional units, under reliable leaders, which would include schools, workshops, granaries, cooperative stores and banks, as well as common meeting places for recreation and the settling of dispute. Tagore also endeavoured to revitalise and reorient the traditional festivals of rural Bengal by not only inculcating the artistic and cooperative spirit among the villagers, but by also giving it a socio-economic significance. The rural programme covered four general areas: agriculture, crafts and industries, village welfare and education. There were branches for diary, fishery, poultry, horticulture, sericulture and animal science. Achievements: greater crop output, soil reclamation and reforestation, upgrading of livestock, measures against epidemics, creation of cooperatives, revival and creation of cottage industries, establishment of schools and higher rates of literacy, and so forth. An important function of the village welfare section was rural health, which like the other initiatives, began on a small-scale. When the first dispensary was opened, there was a shortage of personnel and medical facilities for treating vast numbers of patients. Later, co-operative health societies were organised in which villagers took out membership qualifying or allowing them to a limited amount of free treatment. By 1933, three health cooperatives had been established in three different villages. There was an anti-malaria programme. Considerable gains were also made in the area of preventive medicine as drains were opened up, tanks disinfected, and quinine distributed and smallpox vaccinations administered. A group patterned after the boy scouts/girl guides was responsible for many of the health initiatives. The most successful cooperative, in terms of fighting rural indebtedness, appears to have been the Visva-Bharati Central Co-operative Bank, started in 1927, which had 236 Agricultural Credit Unions attached to it. (Tagore realised, peasants would never have the means to invest in cottage industries or in better seeds and fertilisers, if they were to remain mired in debt). Economic research and rural surveys were also carried out by the welfare-section. There was some attempt at land distribution, at least in the early period. Educational initiatives were implemented at all levels. By 1929, there were night classes for children and adults unable to attend day school in twelve villages, and one day school for girls. The curriculum included basic literacy, math, crafts and recreational activities. Pioneering work in adult education was carried on through various activities. There was a rural circulating library - the first of its kind in Bengal, which contained 1500 books by 1940. There were also training camps, jatras (folk-plays) and melas (fairs). An early form of distance education too was initiated through a society that organised home study and examinations for persons who could not attend school. One of the most notable and successful educational projects was Siksha-Satra ("where education is given freely"), which began in July 1924, after six destitute boys were placed under the care of the Institute. The learning framework - created by Rabindranath, Elmhirst (an agronomist) and Santosh Majumdar (an energetic and able member of Elmhirst's team) - reflected a more practical adaptation to village life of the Santiniketan ideals such as natural environment, character development, learning through creative activities, and development of social responsibility. Some of the basic assumptions underlying the Siksha-Satra experiment was that the programme should give maximum scope to the child's imagination and that the child should learn by doing and by experimenting (instead of merely textbook examination or parental conservatism or excessive discipline). The revival of cottage industries and crafts had been a major objective, it sought to revive and create local industries, initiate new artistic designs and skill development. In the craft area, training centres were set up to restore local industries and crafts such as carpentry, lacquer work, raw silk production, pottery, cane-work, tailoring, embroidery, batic work, book-binding and so forth. (In 1929, a mechanical workshop was set up, and training was offered in mechanical drawing, lathe work, and wood and metal turning.) Silpa-Bhavan (Institute of Craft and Design) was begun on a small-scale in 1922 with the goal of providing vocational training to village apprentices and providing crafts training to the students of the academic departments of Shantiniketan. Silpa Bhavan (with its emphasis on economic returns and increased marketing) proved to be one of the most economically successful, and it became a self-supporting/self-sustained unit in 1937. Celebrated painter Nandalal Bose was instrumental in the area of craft design. In 1930, he founded a handicraft cooperative associated with Kala-Bhavan, to help improve the economic life of the artisans. From the beginning, the rural project was one of cooperation. Visva-Bharati was a centre of academic excellence once. Tagore excelled at collaboration. And this [perhaps] enriched Visva-Bharati too. (Excellence is not the accumulation of marks. That's merely textbook education or learning by rote. Excellence is about original thinking (fresh perspectives, innovative thinking), creativity, scientific progress, innovation and research. None of which have a narrow scope.)

The heart of the country, Tagore repeatedly said, lay in its villages and no real progress could be achieved without alleviating rural poverty. He spent long hours with farmers discussing seeds, fertilisers and insecticides, installed a sugarcane-processing mill, experimented with the cultivation of potatoes, tomatoes, corn and silkworms, introduced tractors in a land tilled only by ploughshare until then, tried out the latest findings of agricultural science, ran a rural bank for 20 years that made available loans to peasant entrepreneurs at reasonable rates, and did his best to encourage cottage industries to alleviate poverty in the countryside. Tagore had a keen interest in cooperative farming. He realised that the hopelessly fragmented landholdings did not provide the best conditions for modern methods of farming and the creation of wealth. ("... if landholdings cannot be brought together under cooperative farming, there can be no progress in agriculture. Trying to farm fragmented holdings with the ancient ploughshare is like pouring water into a leaky pot.") He tried to convince his peasants into setting up a cooperative model of farming, but the initiative did not make much headway. (The peasants [who would have benefited from such an initiative] were sometimes over-cautious about new methods, etc.)

Schools, hospitals, roads, drinking water, cottage industries, scientific methods of farming, a rural bank for loans at reasonable rates – no aspect of rural development was lacking in the vision of this unique "zamindar". No work was too mundane for him; there was nothing that he could not set his mind to. He scrutinised the books of accounts with great care and personally supervised all the civil suits that his estate had to contend with, becoming in the process an expert in the finer points of law. The zamindari was not for him a means to create wealth to be spent on luxuries, but an opportunity for service. Tagore repeatedly said that the heart of the country lay in its villages and that no real progress could be possible without the development of agriculture and alleviation of poverty in the countryside. He also came up with a programme wherein a "adhyaksh," or manager, was entrusted with the task of engaging the people to repair roads, ensure continuous supply of potable water, resolve disputes without resorting to litigation, establish schools, and set up a granary as a buffer for famines. Half of the funds for these works were raised from the people, the other half was provided by the estate. Each group/unit made its own budget and was aware of how much money was being spent. It sought to create an economic and social space for economically impoverished peasants that would allow them, with formative/productive help from the landlord, to take charge [responsibility] of their lives in a meaningful way. This initiative did not meet with a lot of success, however, wherever it was successful, it soon resulted in new roads, a free dispensary, schools, and the flourishing of cottage industry initiatives.

Tagore repeatedly made known his objection to the politics of boycott, especially with respect to education and universities. He did not [also] approve of the manner in which swadeshi groups led by over-enthusiastic youth went about enforcing their political agenda of boycotting British-made goods. Indeed, Tagore was clearly able to foresee the negative mindsets it could create and the animosities it could inspire. In "Byadhi O Pratikar" he had written: "... For a community that builds its religious practices on a culture of hate, for people who believe themselves to be damned if they so much as drink water offered by a neighbour, who preserve their caste purity by humiliating others, the fate of being humbled in turn is inescapable. We [Hindus] have prepared the way for our own damnation, created hurdles that prevent progress, and once we have fathomed this truth beyond a shadow of doubt, we must resolve to save ourselves and our country. Save from whom? From the consequences of our own sins. Is it only by the strength of their own might that the British dominate the country so completely today? It is our own weaknesses that provide them their strength" (a rough translation).

Tagore had many talented detractors. Eminence has its own charm. It evokes jealousy, envy, etc. It infuriates the intellectually unremarkable (small-statured) and the prodigious alike. However, when the Nobel Prize was conferred on him, the very same detractors scrambled to demonstrate their admiration by heaping praises on him and by organising ceremonial functions in his honour. Tagore, who had borne all the humiliation and calumny in silence, [also] took this as an opportunity for some plainspeak. ... The Tagores were Pirali Brahmins, a so-called degraded (socially demoted) class in the priestly hierarchy. The Tagores' entry was banned in the Jagannath Temple, Puri. A Pirali was one whose caste had been tainted by wilful or inadvertent interaction with people of other religions, mainly Islam. The Tagores' 'stigmatisation' owes its origin to an event during the Mughal era. An ancestor of the Tagores', it is said, had a land dispute in the district of Jessore (now in Bangladesh). A Revenue official, Amin, called him for mediation. The ancestor of the Tagores' went... and smelt beef, which was being cooked in the kitchen. Smelling was considered equivalent to half-eating. So the Tagore 'lost his caste' for half-eating the beef. The 'stigmatised' Tagores [thereafter] came to be considered as Pirali Brahmin (after the Amin, Pir Ali Khan), and [thus] suffered some discrimination for generations not excluding Rabindranath. Their immense achievements and accomplishments in education, scholarship, art and culture, social welfare, trade and commerce remained unsurpassed. And yet... Such is orthodoxy. Such is herd mentality. What envious or unenlightened minds are capable of... we cannot even begin to comprehend by applying our today's sensibilities. How society was even a few decades ago we cannot even begin to fathom, what to say about grasping the full significance of the efforts made by various people (individually and collectively) to improve the situation. ... The ones who created science and scientific progress like Satyendra Nath Bose, Jagadish Chandra Bose, Srinivas Ramanujam etc deserve our gratitude. And the ones who struggled against a whole lot of retrograde/regressive aspects/ignorance (perpetuated under the garb of religion and 'customs') and were able to successfully dilute them, and/or were able to do away with them altogether, deserve our everlasting gratitude. Their contribution is much greater than the freedom struggle. Else what kind of nation-state India would have been? It is because of them and their efforts and accomplishments that it is a better, perhaps more enlightened society, and our [collective, societal] sensibilities are much different/improved too.

Tagore was a creative genius and a prolific one at that. However, (unlike now-a-days) there wasn't much of a readership, many technological innovations were yet to happen, the publication scenario was very different, so the royalties from his books etc was insufficient. And so, he had to make a lot of effort (stage performances, songs, lectures etc) to raise funds to realise his vision. The Nobel Prize amount too was used for this purpose, though the prize money then cannot be compared to what it is now. Tagore, however, did have a few dedicated people who persisted in their efforts. The obstacles [ignorance etc] they came across were considerable, but they also received constant encouragement from Tagore, who believed that one must put one's heart and mind into the effort to win over people's hearts, then all hurdles can be overcome. And that, it is not possible to have everyone on one's side when one is attempting to do something different or beneficial (for the larger good), but the people should be made to understand that one completely deserves their respect, that all the efforts are dedicated to their welfare and betterment. If this can be achieved, then all obstacles can be overcome.

'Aami Bahu Basanay': link. (No coarse materialism (inordinate attachment to material things or sense objects). No overweening (immoderate, excessive, arrogant, presumptuously conceited) or selfish/self-seeking ambition. Someone who has selfish ambition is motivated to further himself or herself or attain certain goals/objectives that would only or specifically benefit themselves, regardless of how it affects others. No half-hearted goals or [insincere, tepid, unenthusiastic, perfunctory/indifferent/superficial] effort. Good karma.) This everlasting song of Geetanjali was composed in 1907.

'Maayabanabiharini Harini': link. (Deer is imagery for destiny, bhagya-vidhaata. Lord of destiny, the arbitrator of destiny or the dispenser of destiny (based on efforts and endeavours, values etc). Maayabana = Vrindavaan. The whole world is the Leela-Kshetra of the Leela Purusha-uttama, the highest Avatar, greatest of all beings).

'Bisvasathe Joge Jethaye': link. (ArdhaNarishvara? Joge = In Confluence. Communion. Prayaga.)

'E Manihaar': link. (The Nobel Prize medal or Kaustubha-mani?)

'Anek Katha Bolechhilem': link. (Memories).

Today is Holmes' 161st birthday. (6 January 1854)


Excellence is not the accumulation of marks. That's merely textbook education or learning by rote. Excellence is about original thinking (fresh perspectives, innovative thinking), creativity, scientific progress, innovation and research. None of which have a narrow scope. History is very interesting. However, history textbooks are soporific, and subjective history is unhelpful. The Aryan Invasion theory is fictitious. And yet, there is no shortage of narratives etc endorsing it. There is a need to emerge out of the rote-learning mindset and question history objectively. This will bring about clarity. The selfishness, myopia, ignorance, lack of comprehension, inanities or excesses of people cannot be ascribed to the Sanskrit language or to the divine. Curiosity and objective thinking is required. There is a need for reform, a reform of mindsets. There have been scientific, artistic and literary achievements (in the distant past and even in more recent times). These should be discussed and brought to the fore in a manner that does not stretch credulity, dilute their academic credibility, or give scope for amusement. Well-written books etc will be helpful. (However, the ancients studied the scientific achievements and discoveries of other civilisations. Therefore, it may not be correct to say ancient Indians came up with all that). Similarly, books on the Indus-SarasvatI Civilisation should be truly scholarly, engaging and well-researched. ... The criteria for a great civilisation or culture is knowledge, wisdom, open-mindedness, ability to learn, unlearn, adapt and evolve organically, academic achievements (including creative aspects, ability to do original thinking, cultural achievements and pursuit of excellence), health and hygiene aspects, literacy levels, refinement of manners and languages(s), civic sense, cuisine, attire, customs, festivities, etc.

The mayan calendar evokes curiosity. Could it be that it is not understood very well? Perhaps it meant transformation, re-energisation – events that will bring about a complete [progressive] turnaround?

(Vishnu AnantaNaga – the eternal, endless or the imperishable one, also one whose mind has expanded infinitely. SheshaNaga (Śeṣanāga) is one of the primal beings of creation, and is sometimes referred to as Ananta-Shesha. This imagery is Adisesha or Ananta-Shesha.) SheshaNaga is depicted as five-headed or seven-headed. If we consider the Vishnu imagery, SheshaNaga forms a canopy above Vishnu's head. Can it be inferred from the imagery that SheshaNaga attempts to appear greater [more influential, etc] than Vishnu (AnantaNaga)? Boastful? Self-admiring? Usurper? Pretender? SheshaNaga forming a canopy above Vishnu's head could [also] imply that as part of the leela (events through with lessons and values are imparted), Vishnu will not be in a stronger position vis-à-vis Shesha? Thus, Vishnu will (in a manner of speaking) seemingly [superficially] remain under the [metaphoric] dense shadow of Shesha. The latter will [therefore] be excessively controlling, domineering, manipulative, duplicitous etc? High-handed behaviour? Attempt to limit the limitless (sort of straitjacket)? Belittle? Induce a feeling of disquiet or apprehension? Coercive and crafty? (Essentially, Shesha embodies all vices in humankind.)

Ramesses II (also known as Ramesses the Great and alternatively transcribed as Ramses and Rameses Riʕmīsisu; also known as Ozymandias in the Greek sources) was the third Egyptian pharaoh of the Nineteenth dynasty. He is often regarded as Egypt's greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh. His subjects called him by the affectionate abbreviation "Sese". Ramesses was born around 1303 BC and at age fourteen, he was appointed Prince Regent by his father Seti I (son of Ramesses I and Queen Sitre. 'Seti' means "of Set", which indicates that he was consecrated to the god Set (or "Seth"). Ramesses is believed to have taken the throne in his early twenties and to have ruled Egypt from 1279 BC to c. 1213 BC. The early part of his reign was focused on establishing cities, places of worship and monuments. He established the city of Pi-Ramesses in the Nile Delta (on the ruins of the city of Avaris, which was [also] the location of the main Temple of Set). Almost every temple in Egypt was redecorated or rebuilt. At Karnak, the most holy of temples, a field of 134 columns were carved, each 69 feet tall and shaped like papyrus trees. Ramesses two great loves - his chief queen, Nefertari, and himself. At the young age of 13 she married the 15-year-old Ramses II, who would come to be famously known as Ramses the Great. Ramses II celebrated his love for her with monuments and poetry dedicated in her honour. The many honorifics ascribed to her attest to the esteem Ramses held for her and the various roles she undertook in her function as queen. (While it is quite certain that she had roots in Egyptian royalty, much speculation still surrounds her actual lineage. Some scholars have even suggested that she might have been the daughter of King Seti I, the father of Ramses II and therefore his half sister. It was not unusual for royalty to marry within their own families (to ensure dynastic continuity). Nefertari and Ramses' own daughter, Meritamen, allegedly went on to become Ramses' Great Royal Wife after Nefertari's demise c. 1254 B.C.) Nefertari is one of the best-known Egyptian queens, next to Cleopatra, Nefertiti and Hatshepsut. Her lavishly decorated tomb is the largest and most spectacular. Ramesses also constructed a temple for her next to his colossal monument. There's also some poetry written by Ramses II on the walls of the burial chamber. The tomb of Nefertari with its magnificent wall painting is regarded as one of the greatest examples of ancient Egyptian art. The astronomical ceiling represents the heavens and is painted in dark blue, with many golden five-pointed stars. A large opening with paintings of Osiris and Anubis interrupts the east wall of the antechamber.

All this is somewhat reminiscent of Emperor Shah Jahan. However, what could the genesis of Ramesses/Ramses/Rameses be? Could it be a reference to Shishupala (Sisupala)? Could it be a variant of Ramasheesh or [perhaps] Ramsheesh? A reference to Ramchandra ('the dark side of the moon')? A reference to Ananta-Śeṣa? Or a reference to ŚeṣaNaga? (Naga is honorific for evolved beings [intellectually evolved or enlightened souls] due to kundalini-energy.) SheshaNaga forms a canopy above Vishnu's head. Head = Sheesh, from Sanskrit: shir, shirs, shiirsh, shiirssh. (Sita is Sri Rama, the Rama-avatar). Rama Rajya = Rama Civilisation. It probably encompassed wide swathes of realms and may have been a coalition of sister civilisations, including the ancient Miṣr Civilisation. (On a side note, one is a little curious [however] about the Rama in Rāmallāh and the Rama in Ramazaan. Azaan means thanksgiving, to show gratitude.)

"Ozymandias" is a sonnet written by the English romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. It is regarded as one of Shelley's most famous works. The essence of "Ozymandias" is about the inevitable decline (and fadeout) of all rulers and of the empires they build with their pretensions to greatness. (Ramesses II constructed the Ramesseum, a memorial temple, to dispense tales of his greatness. The Ramesseum, his "temple of a million years", was a place of worship dedicated to pharaoh, god on earth. He probably [also] used diplomacy, temples, papyrus scrolls, monuments, statues (dedicated to himself) and endless propaganda to become the legendary figure he so desperately wanted, to become the greatest pharaoh of the New Kingdom, Ancient Egypt's Golden Age). In particular, one massive fallen statue at the Ramesseum is now inextricably linked with Shelley, because of the ornamental tablet on its shoulder bearing Ramesses's throne honorific, User-maat-re Setep-en-re, the first part of which Diodorus (a Greek historian) transliterated into Greek as "Ozymandias". While Shelley's "vast and trunkless legs of stone" is more poetic language than archeology, the "half sunk... visage" lying on the sand is an accurate description of part of the statue.

"Your idol is shattered in the dust to prove that God's dust is greater than your idol." – Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.

Rainbow is called Meghdhanush, Ramadhanu or Indra-dhanuSha in Sanskrit. It symbolises hope, optimism, positive aspects. Sunlight is white light that is composed of all the colours of the visible spectrum. A rainbow is proof. One cannot see the colours of sunlight except when atmospheric conditions bend the light rays and create a rainbow. One can also use a prism to demonstrate this. Light appears colourless or white. White is also the colour of fresh snow. White light contains light of all frequencies. In that sense, white is a combination of all colours. Thus the sum of all the colours of light adds up to white. 

BG 10.31: || pavanah pavatam asmi rāmaḥ śastra-bhṛtām aham || ~ "Of harbingers of positivity I am the wind (pavana: a breath of fresh air, like a healing zephyr) and among the warriors, I am Rama" ~ i.e. "warrior" against negativity (proverbial negative energy) in the hearts and minds of humankind viz., retrograde or obsolete mindset, intellectual ennui, indifference, ignorance, vainglory, arrogance/conceit, torpor, selfish aspects, pessimism (despondency, hopelessness), prejudices, and the like. 'Of purifiers (to de-clutter) I am the wind (pavana)' = a breath of fresh air (like a healing zephyr ) = dispeller of negative energy, and harbinger of positivity. ... Rāmachandra comes from the Sanskrit Rāma, which means: black, dark; Chandra means: moon (in Sanskrit). Therefore: Ramachandra means: the Rāmamoon (black/dark + moon; the dark side of the moon, implying unenlightened mind). Maybe Rāmachandra aka Ravana was dark-complexioned. From what we can gather, Ravana was dark-hued, implying unclean mind and heart. The word "black" or "dark" could suggest various concepts that extended beyond the physical colour of skin, including a wide range of negative connotations (characteristics, attributes etc). Was Ramachandra Othello-like? Fueled by Othello-esque permeating jealousy? Rama (pronounced with a long final vowel 'a' - Ramaa) means "rejoicing" or "blissful, pleasing" and is used for Sridevi. With two long vowels 'a', Rama (pronounced Ramaa) is an honorific of Sita. Sri is indicative of Lakshmi (Sanskrit: lakṣmī.) She is known as Sridevi. Sri = radiance, good fortune, prosperity [both material and spiritual]. Lakshmi comes from LaKsh, derived from the Sanskrit word 'Lakshya', meaning 'the Aim'. It is indicative of unwavering focus or concentration towards achieving the larger goals and objectives. (Incidentally, Lakmé is the French pronunciation for Lakshmi.)

Ramachandra's salilasamadhi implies Red Coral Gemstone or Moonga, also known as Munga, Praval, Vidruma, Mirjan; Pola, The coral tree, Abdhijantu, Being of the ocean. Coral is not a mined stone or mineral, but an organic gemstone. Some may not see coral as a real gem. (Coral is a calcareous natural accumulation of the coral polyp – a tiny invertebrate that is found in quiet waters at depths ranging from 20 to 1000 feet. Coral is also known as aragonite when found in the lining of seashells and is counted as a calcite by mineralogists. Precious coral or red coral refers to Corallium rubrum and several related species of marine coral. Red corals grow on rocky sea-bottom with low sedimentation, typically in dark environments - either in the depths or in dark caverns or crevices. The original species: C. rubrum, formerly Gorgonia nobilis). General attributes: initiative, vitality, vigour, (turns inactive persons into active ones?), good health (helps improve blood pressure related health issues, useful in curing health issues related to muscles and bone marrow), physical strength, ambition, perseverance, aggression (rhinoceros-like?), forcefulness (dominance, rapid advancement and success – without hurdles), energy, confidence and activity (to bring events or tasks to completion), material success, bravery and ability to stand strong in challenging situations, dominance of adversaries and competitors (a conqueror of adversaries), capability to face and solve circumstances and problems and ability to take risks. There is also the ability to put own desires above those of others. Red coral may also help overcome marital problems. Red coral protects against mental depression, bad dreams and lightning, removes complexes/nervousness, apprehensions/anxiety and intense reverence/veneration (Pandu aspect?). It also helps improve concentration (by overcoming distractions, unpleasant associations, propensity to use physical force, etc). Emotionally agitated to the point of loss of self-control? A true coral or moonga changes colour according to the physical well-being of the wearer. It fades before the abnormality in physical health is noticeable and resumes its original colour when physical health is restored. (Implying: an incorrigible opportunist? chameleon-like?) What could the Loch Ness Monster imply?

SheshaNaga is Andhaka (implying unenlightened mind, fixed mindset - rigidity in thinking, emotions and behaviour, resistance to change, inability [or perhaps refusal] to change one's set way of thinking and behavioural aspects, refusal [out of negative pride, over-confidence, vainglory or conceit] to learn, unlearn, adapt and evolve), who later became Bhringi Rsi, the sage with three legs. The Ramayana has two Rama. One is Ravana (also Kumbhakarna, Vibhisana, Ramchandra). The other is Sri Rama (Sita). Vishnu (the Mohini-avatar) is Sri Rama (Sita). Vishnu (Sri Rama) was married to Ravana (Ramchandra). Ravana is SheshaNaga. Perhaps what certain cultures say "false god". (Perhaps we have been glorifying the wrong Rama). Vasuki is the proverbial unique/divine gem, Kaustubha-mani, adorning the neck of Vishnu. It implies Guru-Ratna, Yellow Sapphire Gemstone (foremost among the nava-ratna, the fabled "nine gems", the proverbial vajram or VajrapāṇI). SheshaNaga is Red Coral or Moonga. ... Nandi and Bhringi are antithesis of each other. They are poles apart. Meru means spine. Thus, Nandi (Vasuki) is Sumeru, and Bhringi (Shesha) is Kumeru (a negative person, ignoble, spineless - selfish and pusillanimous; lacking the temperament, mindset and spine for longer-term and continuous struggle required to change retrograde or obsolete mindsets, to re-energise society, to bring about attitudinal change, to bring about organic transformation. Trishanku-like.) The approbatory prefix "su" resulting in the meaning "excellent Meru" or "wonderful Meru", or maybe "auspicious Meru". (The avatar is the force behind Vasuki, but Shesha is on his own.) However, before re-energisation commences, i.e. before the allegoric commencement of a new maha-yuga beginning with Sat/Satya/Krita Yuga, Vishnu probably "dissolves" the eternal adversary Shesha, since Shesha personifies all the negative, unpleasant or ignoble (adharmic) aspects of ghor kaliyug phase – the lowest phase in the intellectual and spiritual evolution of humankind. Hence it is euphemistically known as the 'Iron Age of Ignorance/Confusion/Stagnation/Decay'. (Vishnu "dissolving" Shesha = voiding, negating, nullifying.)  Thus, 'Satyameva Jayate'. 'Truth stands Invincible' or 'Truth always prevails'. (SheshaNaga symbolises all vices [in human beings]. Truth = AnantaNaga (who represents sattvic or dharmic aspects - principles/ideals/values and karm-yog, steadfast effort/endeavours for the larger good, for the betterment of societal aspects/values/mindsets, for the improvement of humankind). ... Truth is [essentially] a reference to the Eternal Divine, the divine power – to whom all of humankind prays. God is god for all of humankind, despite different languages, festivities, imagery, iconography and so on. God cannot be monopolised. God does not discriminate. The Almighty has always been there and shall always be there, thus is referred to as the Truth (Sat or Satya, Purusha-uttama Satya). This explains Sat/Satya/Krita Yuga. The highest Avatar (the Eternal Divine in human form) appears at the cusp of two maha-yuga (epoch).

There is Ninda Stuti, wherein large numbers of people hurl the choicest profanities and opprobrious language at Jagannath. The essence behind this could be that humankind needs to let out negative energy, since its accumulation within their hearts and minds will have a deleterious influence on them and [thereby] on societal aspects. It will bring about a civilisational decline (through a decline in individual and societal values, behavioural aspects, mindsets etc). However, who to give all the negative energy to? Other people cannot take it. But God can. So give it to the divine (symbolised by Jagannath). This is probably indicative of the Neelkanth aspect, the allegoric 'blue-throated one': the dispeller of negativities/negative energy.

Draupadi is the Krsna-avatar. She is also known as Krsnaa and Panchali (adept at playing the proverbial game of chess or dice, muddling the mind). The five Pandavas = Pancha Kanya = various aspects of Draupadi/Panchali. The highest Avatar is likely to have a human identity. Avatars are unlikely to carry equipment per se. So everything that is depicted through iconography has allegoric connotations. Shuka and Sari is the allegoric bow and arrow of Shiva. The one who is Vishnu is also Shiva is also Brahma, is also Durga/Parvati is also Rudra, is also Kalika (Kali, Mariamma), is also SarasvatI, is also Rama, is also Buddha, is also Mary (Christ), so on and so forth. (This is self-explanatory. The Vishva-roop, the Universal Form, encompasses everything.)

The Krsna-avatar is said to have been resting under a Peepal tree when the hunter's arrow hit on the left foot. This [allegoric] hunter, Jara, was [very likely] SheshaNaga. Karna aka Satyabhama. The Avatar merely smiled and disappeared, discarding the physical form, while Jara wept copiously over it. (Jara = feverish, implying abnormality in physical health = unpleasant or ignoble aspects = an allusion to Shesha.) The Avatar appears for a specific purpose: to set the stage for the next maha-yuga to manifest, to offer a mirror to humankind, to put a face and a voice to the myriad iconography, honorifics etc, and for the purposes of leela. Therefore, even when the avatar disappears, no prefix or suffix is used. The changeover from one Maha-yuga (epoch) to another becomes possible by the coming of the Maha-avatar, the yugavatar. (The avatar disappears only when the avatar intends to. Arjuna/Vasuki is unlikely to have been informed though, for obvious reasons: link. 'Mone ki dwidha': link.)

As per the proleptic Julian calendar, Krsna's appearance day is July 21, 3228/27 BC. Krsna is believed to have departed on 18 February in 3102 BC (in the proleptic Julian calendar). This, as per the popular notion, is taken to imply: that Kaliyuga began from midnight of 18 February in 3102 BC. However, since the highest avatar appears at the cusp of two maha-yugas (epochs) it would signify the commencement of a fresh epoch (of four phases, which can be depicted through the imagery of a fresh bloom, kali). Thereafter, there has [also] been the advent of the Buddha-avatar. This could provide some understanding of epochs. (There is no multiplicity of avatars in a narrow sense; it is merely different honorifics, for different challenges and situations, essentially for the purposes of comprehension).

Rukmini (possibly Prince Rukmi) and Satyabhama (possibly Karna) are considered as the consorts of the Krsna-avatar. However, Rukmi, being a vassal of Jarasandha, is unlikely, since he did not want to antagonise Jarasandha. But did a marriage happen, that did not last too long? In which case the notion that Vedic marriages were airtight may be incorrect. (Between Rukmini and Radha, Radha's position is much higher.) Satyabhama is said to have been arrogant and proud, shallow, egotistic, imprudent, selfish, rude and haughty (bossy, vain), and excessively materialistic (in a negative sense), strong-willed and given to tantraums/sulking. So the Krsna-Satyabhama equation may have been a superficial/pretend relationship (maybe even a transactional one, perhaps), despite Satyabhama's boast (to the contrary)? Krsna remained a quiet witness to all of Satyabhama's drama but rubbed salt into his [negative] ego during the tulabharam (weighing by scale). Satyabhama who had immense pride in wealth could not outweigh Krsna. Whereas a single leaf of the sacred Tulasi on the scale (tula) – put by Rukmini did. The story of the Tulsi leaf placed by Rukmini being worth more in weight than that of Satyabhama's wealth enunciates the significance of Tulsi and how a humble offering to God is greater than any material wealth. (Satyabhama was the offspring of Satrajit, the royal treasurer of Dvaraka.) BG 9.26: || patram pushpam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati tad aham bhakty-upahritam asnami prayatatmanah || ~ "Whosoever offers Me a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water - with love, devotion or a clear consciousness [prayatatmanah, a clear manas], I will accept it." ... This implies that the Avatar appreciates the thought behind the gesture, not the offering itself.

Alexander could not cross the Indus region, and so, he could not have fought with Chandragupta in what is now Bihar. So where is the real Magadha? Yamuna could be a metaphor for ancient Persia. Krsna was a Shurasena Yadu (Megasthenes' Sourasenoi). The Shuracena Yadus can be identified with the ancient clan (lineage) of Harikula or Harivansh. The Sarakenoi or Saraceni (late Latin Saracēnus or late Greek Sarakēnos) could actually be the Shuracena Yadus, alongside the Vrishni. Or they might have been two branches of the Vrishni (a clan with a Zebu bull insignia/totem). Where is the real Mathura (Megasthenes' Methora)? Was Magadha also known as Prachya (Praesii or Prasioi to the Greeks)? Where is the real Pataliputra (Palibothra to the Greeks)? Where was Acharya Chanakya really from? Are the Buddha and Chanakya one and the same? (Acharya is honorific. It means: 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 mean: one whose actions/behaviour [acharan] is befitting an Arya). Chanakya was a problem-solver, a change-maker, a strategist, a brilliant political scientist, a leadership guru and a master economist. Whatever Chanakya did was for the good of the people. The Acharya possessed a great depth of character, large-hearted wisdom and magnanimity. Chanakya looked towards the future, and did what was best. Exhibiting the power of an enlightened one - the knower of the Bhagavad-Gita, Chanakya achieved the unachievable - given the circumstances and given the magnitude of odds and challenges. ... To work out an amicable solution when all seems haywire/precarious - it is only the power of Chanakya that can pin-pointedly give an effective solution. What if Siddhartha Gautama and Acharya Chanakya were to be one and the same? 

Satyajit Ray was a rare genius. In "Gupi Gyne Bagha Byne" (The Adventures of Gupi and Bagha), Gopinath Gyne (Gupi) of (village) Amloki was banished from Amloki on a donkey for waking the king (Kumbhakarna analogy?) with his terrible singing (of Bhairavi ragini). The lazy king calls him "gadha" (tritiya suur aar shastha suur) and breaks his taanpura, much to the amusement of his equally indolent courtiers. Magadha. Gadha. Taanpura is very similar to the veena, associated with SarasvatI, the goddess [personification] of the Indus and the presiding deity of the celebrated Sindhu-SarasvatI Civilisation. (Sindhu = Indus in English). SarasvatI is the repository [source] of enlightened wisdom and knowledge; the vast unfathomable reservoir of timeless wisdom, knowledge, inspiration and consciousness, and is [thus] revered as a perennial knowledge stream. Feluda's Gyanpeeth. She is [also] the deity of knowledge, wisdom, literature, creativity, music, arts, culture and eloquence.

Most of the holy or sacred places are [perhaps] not part of the landmass now known as India. Also, the events etc of the epics are unlikely to have happened within the realm now known as India. The Avatar is the personification of the earth, but has [very likely] never been part of the landmass now known as India.

'Maharaja! Tomaare Selam': link (from Gupi Gyne Bagha Byne). A benevolent king appoints Gupi Gyne and Bagha Byne as court musicians. There is a butterfly (Prajapati). Brahma is referred to as Prajapati Brahma. Brahma is depicted as an ancient person, immensely learned and knowledgable. BG 10.33: || dhātāhaḿ viśvato-mukhaḥ || ~ "and of creators (also: support/dhātā, ruler, arbitrator) I am Brahmā". Lord Brahma is also the harbinger/initiator/creator (metaphorically speaking) of a new epoch (maha-yuga). Prajapati = ruler, sovereign - of the universe, Lord of Creation. (Brahma, the Creator = Professor T. Shanku. 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.)

Sanaatan Dharma is not a religion (not what we understand as religion today, nor organised religion). It is a term of [perhaps] much recent vintage – essentially to indicate a way of life whose essence was to be in harmony with nature and to make constant efforts for inner perfection, to become a better human being. Hinduism is a term that came about in the nineteenth century. ... There were numerous feudatory states, principalities, kingdoms etc who did not have a common language, and were [also] antagonistic to each other. There were constant battles fought amongst them. (What effect did all this have on the economic well-being of the populace?) There was no Hinduism either. There was different languages, stories and fables, some festivities, some rituals, etc. Therefore, it cannot be said that the people followed Hinduism. What we understand as India is of much recent vintage. Hindu is a term that has evolved from Sindhu, the river – courtesy the ancient Persians. Hindu essentially indicated areas around the Indus River. This region [especially the lower Indus region] was also known as Brahmavarta (realm of Brahma; realm of enlightened, cultured people - who devoted their time in the pursuit of Brahm, knowledge; this is the region from where the Vedas, Books of Knowledge, came from). In a manner of speaking, Boudhya Dharma (the way of the Buddha, the Enlightened One or the Wise One) predates what we now understand as Hinduism. However, where is the real Kapilavastu?

After the fragmentation and [eventual] shrinkage of the celebrated Indus-SarasvatI Civilisation, due to myriad manmade and environmental factors, there has been migration - both eastward and westward, in phases. Therefore, most Indians [very likely] are the descendents of the ones who migrated towards the Gangetic basin. So, a few millennia ago our forbearers [probably] came from the realms around the Indus River? They would have brought with them their way of life, language(s), creative aspects, festivities and knowledge, elements of cultural expression, etc (which would have gradually evolved). They would [also] have been intellectually and physically quite different from the indigenous people (including the adi-vasi people). There was no religion as such; it was a way of life – the essence of which was to be in harmony with nature, and to strive for inner perfection. These were the Arya people. (Aryan is incorrect). Brahmavarta (Realm of Brahma) was also Aryavarta or Aryavarsha, realm of the Arya people, realm of noble-minded or sattvic people who followed a pattern of life based on noble values and ideals. Varsha = continent, in Sanskrit. Perhaps implying realm. (As the population increased there may have been competition for social influence. With the assimilation of the concept of temples (and idols) from the Greeks, emerged the priestly class, and later on, the rigid social hierarchy.) Some realms of the landmass now known as India may have been part of the Indus-SarasvatI Civilisation. However, with the migration of the Indus (Arya) people, the Civilisation (in a manner of speaking) expanded.

The one who is Vishnu is also Shiva, is also Brahma, is also Rudra, is also SarasvatI, is also Durga/Parvati, is also Krsna, is also Rama, is also Kalika (Kali, Mariamma), is also Mary (Christ), is also the Buddha, so on and so forth. Instead of Lord Shiva we can also say Shivani (for the purposes of comprehension). Brahma is Brahmi or Brahmani. Vishnu is Vaishnavi. Mariamma could be Mariam, which later became Mary? Amma or Ma is a respectful honorific. Therefore, Kalika = Mary. (Shiva - the good or the auspicious - is also an adjective or a quality, and thus Shiva could be an honorific. There are many Shiva-s.) Due to the 'masculinisation' of the divine, 'She' has been written/mentioned (talked about/referred to) as the generic 'He'.

Vasuki has a magnificent gem (Nagamani, the rare Naga Maanikya), on his head. Possibly implying intellectual aspects: vast knowledge, wisdom and rare intellect. Or does it imply intellectual intimacy, a meeting [confluence] of minds? So tightly woven together, it's almost the same thing? Vasuki is Shiva's Naga, and is famous for coiling around the neck of Shiva. Shiva blessed Vasuki and wore him as an ornament (Kausthubham analogy? Vasuki = Kaustubham or Kaustubha-mani? Guru-Ratna? Yellow Sapphire Gemstone. Devaguru Brihaspati? (Refer Part-II). Vishnu (the Preserver, Stabiliser and Maintainer aspect of the Para Brahmn/Almighty) is also known as Kaustubha (one who wears the Kaustubham. It is symbolic.) Kaustubham is the unique/divine jewel believed to be adorning the neck of Vishnu. Therefore, Vasuki = Kaustubham? ... VasukiNaga curled three times around the neck and looking towards Shiva's right side. The three coils of the Naga symbolise the past, present and future - time in cycles. Vasuki looking in the right direction of Lord Shiva signifies that the Lord's perpetual laws of reason (wisdom etc) and justice (empathy, progressiveness, dharmic ideals/values, open-mindedness, positive aspects, etc) preserve natural order in the universe (Brahmaanda, the 'Cosmic Egg'.) Shiva wearing Vasuki like an ornament is also indicative of the latent spiritual energy, called Kundalini Shakti, which exists within. (Omkaara, PraNavaH Naad or praNavaH nAda = Shabda Brahmn, possibly the voice of the Primordial Being (Para Brahmn/the Almighty). It could be a reference to the voice of the highest avatar (Svayam Bhagavan, Purusha-uttama). Is the same applicable to Vasuki?)

VasukiNaga curled three times around the neck and looking towards Shiva's right side. The three coils of the Naga symbolise the past, present and future - time in cycles. This could imply: there is a common thread that runs through the past, present and future (kal, aaj aur kal), the ongoing stream. The past and the future have a common term: kal. History repeats itself if humankind is unable to learn the right lessons from the past (from history). Therefore, introspection is necessary; it helps bring clarity. Stagnation (especially intellectual laziness or stagnation) is deleterious for a people and thereby for a society/civilisation (since behavioural aspects, attitude, mindset, thought process etc shape up the societal aspects/values/attitudes). Open-mindedness is necessary. Evolution is necessary, inevitable. The Vedas say, Charaiveti, Charaiveti. Keep moving. To continually seek and keep moving towards the eternal quest (knowledge, enlightenment, creativity, self-improvement, Self-realisation, etc). Progressive change/organic evolution is inevitable. This advice is timeless. (Gautama Buddha too used these words as a message to the world to keep moving.)

Halahala is euphemism for negative energy in the hearts and minds of humankind (which in turn results in negative human karma, unpleasant behavioural aspects). If negative energy (despondency, indifference, ignorance, lethargy, torpor, pessimism, prejudices, avarice, selfish aspects, narrow-mindedness, myopia, retrograde/regressive/obsolete mindsets, etc) accumulates, it will be deleterious for humankind as well as for societal aspects/values (since individual mindsets, values and behavioural aspects affects society). "Most people believe the mind to be a mirror, more or less accurately reflecting the world outside them, not realising on the contrary that the mind is itself the principal element of creation." - Rabindranath Tagore. Shiva, the Supreme Yogi, is also known as Nīlakaṇṭha - the blue-throated one: one who accepts halahala for the good of humankind. (The halahala analogy is similar to Ninda Stuti). 

"I want to know God's thoughts; the rest are details." - Albert Einstein. (Thought waves?) Nicola Tesla, the extraordinary scientist and inventor, who specialised in the field of electricity and is father of electricity, as we know it today, said, "My brain is only a receiver. In the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength, inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists." Tagore's 'Mor Binaa Othhe': link. ("Two souls with but a single thought, two hearts that beat as one." - John Keats. ... Unlike SheshaNaga who is on his own, Vasuki can (if and when the need arises, in a manner of speaking) be influenced by AnantaNaga. Thought waves. Brain-to-brain communication. From Gyanpeeth to Vasuki's brain. 'Aamar Byala Je': link.)

Some of the things mentioned in the epics (through metaphors etc) could be about the future. There is mention of the naagpaas and Rama breaking the Shiva-dhanusha. Nagpaas could be an allusion to very potent nerve agents, etc - that could [also] have long-term detrimental effect - both genetic and environmental. Kumbhakarna probably can [also] be considered as humanoid-robots (with a variety of hi-tech weaponry). Similarly, Shiva-dhanusha could also be euphemism for nuclear weaponry. (Rama breaking the Shiva-Dhanusha = dismantling of such weaponry, after an all-round consensus, so as to protect the earth and human civilisation therein.) ... There could be evolved humans elsewhere in the universe. The ancient texts refer to higher realms (whose inhabitants are technologically, intellectually and spiritually much advanced), middle realms and lower realms (who inhabitants are given to materialism and self-gratification (materialistic sense gratification), are technologically much advanced than those of the middle realms (earthlings or inhabitants of the middle realms), but spiritually impoverished). All this probably gives the Eternal divine (the Almighty) an insight into how a kalpa (maha-yuga, epoch) could turn out to be (well into the future), how humankind will evolve, what kind of technological discoveries etc is likely to happen, and so forth.

The middle realms could be lit up by artificial lighting, and not by the rays of the sun. Their inhabitants could be more materially opulent than those of the middle realms. Also, the inhabitants of these realms could be attached to intense material enjoyment; they could [therefore] be spiritually very low (unlike the inhabitants of the higher realms who are far more advanced – technologically, spiritually and knowledge-wise than those inhabiting the other realms). Through good karma (accumulation of good karma over many manifestations) and right inclination (of the mind as well as spiritual), one can ascend to the Spiritually advanced Higher realms; through okay-ish karma, indulgence of senses and unbridled desires, one can descend to the Spiritually deprived but Materially advanced Lower realms. And through really really really bad (prarabda karma), one may have to suffer in one of the Hellish realms. (Materialistic does not imply actions alone; it signifies an attachment to things/aspects (e.g.) indulgence of the senses (intense sense gratification). Spiritual inclinations, on the other hand, do not focus on ritualism or sense pleasures... but the eternal bliss (spiritual ecstasy, true contentment) of "Self-realisation" (Sat-cit-ānanda - Refer Part-III). Thus, spiritual inclination is considered superior. Besides earthlings/humans (Manava) there could be other advanced humans (evolved humans and/or humanoids) inhabiting the middle realm; they could be a few maha-yuga (epoch, kalpa) ahead of earthlings, some of these realms probably have perpetual Sat/Satya/Krita Yug or Treta Yug. ... Performance of copious amounts of good karma (non-selfish actions resulting in the betterment of societal aspects etc) would "wash off" any (carried over) prarabda karma (bad, negative karma), thereby giving the jiva-atma (human soul or individual soul) a clean slate and/or a positive amount of good karma. (Karma is not comeuppance or retribution; it is an opportunity to redeem oneself.) Good (positive) karma is essential to overcome bad (negative, unpleasant) karma. By continuing on this path, sakama karma (selfish karma, due to expectation of fame, glory, encomiums etc) becomes nishkama karma (selfless actions), and thus a jiva-atma (human soul or individual soul) can move upward – i.e. gain entry into the various Spiritually advanced Higher realms and finally into the eternal Vaikuntha realm. This is perhaps implied by "moksha" (to emerge out of the constant karmic cycle, the constant cycle of samsara - of birth and re-birth, and to become a truly evolved soul). Such souls [evolved beings/evolved humans] were perhaps termed "Deva" (divine beings or enlightened souls) by the ancients. Thus the Earth-realm could be sort of a launch-pad from where one can reach the other realms - based on one's karma. (Karma is, however, constant... no matter which realm a soul may reach. Through the accumulation of negative karma or by becoming attached to material enjoyment [indulgence of senses and unbridled desires, etc] - an evolved soul can degrade into a lower position of a human, or even to the Lower realms again.)

This ancient seal could be an early depiction of ArdhaNarishvara - the syncretic form: Two halves of the same consciousness; half of one's soul. (While there can be many soulmates, there can only be one twin soul.) This seal depicts a syncretic form - that of a unicorn and a bull. There is also a fish glyph. Unicorn (eka-shringa or one-horned horse) is imagery/symbolism for rarity or uniqueness. It could symbolise the Hayagreeva-avatar, the horse-headed or horse-faced Vishnu. The bull is imagery for dharma (dharmic/sattvic/noble ideals, values, principles, ethics, justice etc - thoughts and actions befitting an Arya, a noble-minded person, someone adhering to worthy values etc). A zebu [Zebu Bull or Brahma Bull] sometimes known as humped cattle or Brahman is a type of domestic cattle originating in South Asia. They are characterised by a hump on their shoulders, drooping ears and a large dewlap. Zebu is well adapted to withstanding high temperatures (maybe some allegory is involved here: difficult situations etc?). In India it is considered as the contemporary representation of Nandi. The hump is like the top of a snow-capped mountain. (The zebu bull may symbolise the leader of the herd.) Nandi (sometimes referred to as Nandin, Nandikesvara or Nandisvara) is often portrayed in images with a robust frame, tall horns and a loud roar. (Meghnaada analogy? A voice like rumbling thunder?) ... There are many Shiva. Nandi is one of them. Nandi is known for his simplicity. He is Siva's primary 'vaahan' and is also the principal gana (follower) or foremost disciple of Shiva. Nandi is the mind dedicated to Lord Siva. The lord (Shivani = Parvati) was also very fond of him and trusted him completely. Nandi is also the chief guru of eighteen masters. (Guru-Ratna? Devaguru Brihaspati? Kausthubham analogy? Nandi = Vasuki = Kaustubham or Kaustubha-mani? Guru-Ratna? Yellow Sapphire Gemstone. Devaguru Brihaspati?) Nandi is very knowledgeable and represents the passion and love of Siva for humankind. Nandi conveys Siva in every sense; he conveys the presence of Siva and stands for Siva. Nandi is invariably found sitting right in front of the sanctum sanctorum in every Shiva temple either near the idol or facing the image from a distance. Nandi is sometimes also placed at the entrance of Shiva temples in a sitting or standing posture. (Nandi is Shiva's watchman. Nandi = Nanda Maharaj = Yashoda = Radha = Sampaati. Possibly Shakuni. Nandi is Shiva's trusted associate, well-wisher, protector, defender, caretaker. Nandi is Bheeshma, who chose to seal his lips rather than compromise (betray) Satyavati (AnantaNaga). Nandi (Vasuki) and Ananta (Vishnu etc) = the proverbial bow [the fabled Pinaaka] and arrow of Rudra-Shiva. VasukiNaga's thoughts and feelings vis-à-vis AnantaNaga Vishnu is very clear from Tagore's verses. After all, he is the great Vasuki.) In most mythologies, the bull is an embodiment of masculine strength, virility and power. This applies to Nandi (in a positive sense); he is a humble and respectful powerhouse, chivalrous and a gentleman. (He [therefore] represents confident masculinity). Nandi is the embodiment of strength, respect, restraint and surrender to the divine, and is [therefore] considered one of the main symbols [insignia] of Shiva. (Krsna is Varshneya, 'of the Vrishni' - possibly a clan with a zebu bull totem/insignia.) Nandi is revered as the symbol of correct motivation and dharmic aspiration. Only by imbibing and perpetuating these personal attributes can every aspect of divine law [dharma and karm-yog] flourish. Nandi, the constant associate of Lord Shiva, symbolises the metaphysical ideal in the natural, physical form. (Nandi, as a boy was as bright as the sun [implying kundalini-energy?] Since this son of Sage Shilada would make everyone happy, he was known as Nandi. One day while ploughing the land, Shilada discovered a baby boy on the blade of the plough. This is very similar to the Janaka-Sita story. Nandikesvara is said to have emerged out of the right side of Vishnu resembling Shiva exactly and given as a son to the sage Salankayana. Salankayana means 'Vrishabam' (the great/divine bull - Vrishabha, imagery for dharma. However, Salankayana = sa + lanka + ayana. What could this imply? Could Salankayana be a reference to Sita?). Another story says that Daksha Prajapati offered the divine bull to Shiva. Dakshayani Sati (a form of Parvati) is the daughter of Prajapati Daksha. (Shiva = Shivani, a reference to Parvati/Durga, the unvanquished or the invinsible one. Sati is the feminised version of Sat/Satya). Therefore, Daksha could imply Himavat (also called Himavant, Himavaan, Himacala and Parvateshvar) - a personification of the Himalaya Mountains (also known as the Himavat Mountains) and the father of Parvati. He was the ruler of the Himalaya Kingdom of Ancient India. Thus Parvati is also known as himAcala tanaya or himalaya-putri. | The fish glyph: matsya-avatar, the first avatar of the Dasavataar? (Joi Baba Felunath, featuring Feluda, Jatayu and Maganlal also refers to matsya). The matsya-avatar = ArdhaNarishvara (Maanikya, the Gem of the Sun, and Guru-Ratna)? Could it also imply the fabled nava-ratna or "nine gems" - the proverbial Vajram or Vajrapani? (Refer Part-III). 'Aamra Natun Jaubaneri Duut': link. Unshackling or unfettering of the mind, of intellectual aspects, of repression or straitjacketing of thoughts, to transcend barriers, etc.)


No comments:

Post a Comment