Thursday, May 21, 2015

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection. Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action... (contd)

Please read.

Alexander III of Macedon (356–323 B.C; reigned: 336–323) was a King (Basileus) of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and a member of the Argead dynasty - the ruling dynasty of ancient Macedonia from about 700 to 310/311 B.C. Bucephalus was Alexander the Great's horse and is considered by some to be the most famous horse in history. (Echoes of Maharana Pratap and Chetak?) Alexander's declining health: several natural causes (diseases) have been suggested, including malaria and typhoid fever (complicated by bowel perforation and ascending paralysis). Pyogenic spondylitis or meningitis and acute pancreatitis too have been suggested. The body hadn't decomposed several days later (no decay, stench or discolouration): this could be due to a rare complication of typhoid fever called ascending paralysis. The paralysis gradually seizes the body: a coma. Alcohol poisoning or some sort of poisoning is also a possibility. He gave his signet ring to Perdiccas. In the absence of a clear successor the territory he had conquered was divided into satrapies and Alexander's generals took local command; the kingdom was split and never reunited. Pompey, Julius Caesar (in 45 BC), Caligula (37-41 AD) and Augustus all visited the tomb in Alexandria, where Augustus, allegedly, unintentionally broke Alexander's nose (as he bent over the body to kiss the great conqueror). Ptolemy IX (c. 143/142 BC – 81 BC) replaced the original [gold] sarcophagus of Alexander with a glass one, and melted the gold for gold issues of his coinage. (Ptolemy IX Soter II was king of Egypt three times, from 116 BC to 110 BC, 109 BC to 107 BC and 88 BC to 81 BC. He should not be confused with his great Macedonian ancestor, Ptolemy I Soter [367 BC–283 BC] - the first king of ancient Egypt's Ptolemaic dynasty.)

(Pharaoh Ramasses II, c. 1303 BC-1213 BC: Ramasses II or Ramses 'the Great' was of nonroyal origin. He became the third king (1279–13 BCE) of the 19th Dynasty at the age of twenty five, and ruled Egypt for 67 years - the second longest in Egyptian history. Ramesses II succeeded his father Sethos I (who ruled for at least 11 years). Was Alexander curious about the legend of Troy, Achilles, Hector, etc? Was the Trojan horse a huge hollow wooden horse created by the Greeks to gain entrance into Troy during the Trojan War? Or is it an allusion to someone who indulged in deception, imposture and subterfuge? Hector: a hectoring tendency? Offensively self-assured, a rather aggressive and dominating character? Or, to hold [the various elements] - a central cohesive source? Malefic? Diabolically brilliant? [Chilli = lanka. Chil or cheel = kite, brahminy kite]. ... Ramasses II is an example of the inevitable decline (and fadeout) of all rulers and of the empires they create with their pretensions to greatness. (Ramesses II created the Ramesseum, a memorial temple, to dispense tales of his greatness. 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 [supposed] Golden Age. ... While Shelley's "half sunk, a shattered visage" is more poetic language than archeology, the "half sunk, a shattered visage" lying on the sand is an accurate description of part of the statue of 'the greatest pharaoh of the New Kingdom'. ... His statue, 'The Younger Memnon,' one of the largest pieces of Egyptian sculpture in the British Museum, is shown wearing a head-dress with a cobra diadem on top.)

Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babar (1483-1530) succeeded in laying the basis for the Mughal dynasty/empire and became the first Mughal emperor. He inherited his father's precarious throne (the insignificant kingdom of Farghana in Central Asia) when he was about eleven or twelve years old (1494/95). He conquered Samarkand two years later, only to lose Farghana soon after. (He had a great ambition to conquer Samarkand and in 1497, he besieged it for seven months before eventually gaining control over it. He was about fifteen years old; it was a big achievement for him. ... In his attempt to regain Farghana he lost Samarkand [which he had held for less than a 100 days] to a rival prince. He would obsess over this loss even after his conquest of India.) Babar [Baber] was of Mongol origin and considered himself a Timurid, a Genghisi and a Turk. He was 29 or 30 before he had his first drink. He was fond of ma'jun (a narcotic preparation). He was difficult to please, capricious, authoritarian [obedience, discipline mattered to him], temperamental, of fractious temperament, quite matter-of-fact, a connoisseur of the arts with an admiration for great architectural creations, and a poet who was also good at reciting poetry. He also had a cheery disposition and a sense of irony. For Babar, Samarkand was the manifestation of civilisation, elegance/cultivation and culture. He liked pleasure, good food, revelry, entertainment, architecture and music. He had a great admiration of beautiful landscape and horticulture, gathering flowers, digging wells and planting fruit trees. After being unsuccessful in his third attempt to conquer [and hold Samarkand], Babar gave up all hopes of re-establishing the empire of his ancestor Timur, and turned towards India. (He wanted to reclaim what he thought was his legacy through Timur, and sent an emissary to Sultan Ibrahim Lodhi, the king, demanding the restitution to him of territories that had once belonged to his ancestor.) Babar defeated Sultan Ibrahim Lodhi [of Delhi Sultanate, Lodhi dynasty] and his numerically superior army [one lakh strong, many elephants] at Panipat, on April 21, 1526 (the first battle of Panipat) - with a well-trained army of 12,000. He also led his army to victory over a confederacy of Rajput kings headed by Rana Sangram Singh. Before this battle he vowed abstinence, he took a public oath of temperance [though he did not find temperance easy]. (Perhaps Babar had extraordinary military acumen. His superior weaponry [matchlock guns, artillery, cannons] and training, superior generalship and modern tactics, and his long-practiced use of the encircling tactics of Central Asian cavalry proved to be effective against the Rajputs as well as the Afghans. Had it not been for the cannon, the Rana (with his eighty thousand strong army) might have achieved victory. It was Babar's cannon vs. obsolete/antiquated/archaic trends in Indian warfare. Babar's army was well-trained even during peace times. Indian soldiers were used to self-indulgence and overindulgence/revelry during peace times.) Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara kingdom was the most powerful potentate when Babar began his campaign to conquer India. He appears not to have been enamoured of Delhi and India: the people were different - he did not understand them, the climate was too hot [heat, strong winds and dust], the fruit unfamiliar, and there was no artificial watercourses. He was almost dissuaded by the desolate appearance of the country [ugly and detestable, quite repulsed and disgusted], it induced melancholy. He was filled with nostalgia and yearned for his roots. (Central Asia, where his roots lay.) Babar was a curious person, a writer and a poet; he was not an intellectual. He perhaps lacked adaptability, a broader approach. His thinking process was rooted in and influenced by his upbringing. He had not evolved intellectually. Much of his character was moulded in his early years in Farghana. Babar is the only emperor who maintained a journal. His candour is remarkable. For instance, he mentions the loss of his loose half-tooth while eating, and that he could not help crying often over his defeats; his vaulting ambition and his strong faith in himself. He had a low opinion of Mughals. He consulted his maternal grandmother on matters of state. (She was his counselor throughout his early struggle to hold Farghana. He mentions Zohra Begum as an unsuccessful manipulator.) Babar was a conqueror, adept at empire-gathering; governance and administration was beyond him. He was unable to create a bureaucratic and administrative framework. There is mention [in his memoirs] of the great diamond taken at Agra, said to be the most valuable on earth. It is about eight mikkals (or about 280 carats), and generally supposed to be the celebrated Koh-i-noor. Humayun lacked the experience and the tough fiber necessary to consolidate a new dynasty. Akbar was in control of his court and empire, rather than being a tool of palace intrigues. His Mongolian genes was quite evident in his features. He is also believed to have had an open and curious mind on matters of religion. In 1582 [however] he decided to provide the people (in his empire) with one universal eclectic religion: Divine Monotheism; he presented himself as the viceregent of the Almighty. (Mahjong, also majiang, mah jongg, and numerous other variants, is a game similar to the Western card game rummy. Mahjong is a game of skill, strategy, and calculation and involves a degree of chance.)

Nur-ud-din Mohammad Salim (1569-1627) became emperor Jahangir and ruled from 1605-1627. He was impatient for power. He also had a natural tendency to torture (harsh measures). For instance, as punishment Khusrau was blinded. (He had led a military campaign against him.) Jahangir considered Khurram (the future Emperor Shah Jahan) his favourite. He was fascinated with art, portraiture and architecture, and took his connoisseurship of art very seriously. He was also a naturalist, an ornithologist, and a keen observer of plants and animals. Jahangir was not without his vices, though: addiction to alcohol, opium, and women. Khusrau and Khurram rebelled. The court intrigues that followed took a heavy toll on his health. Anarkali: pomegranate flower, metaphor for peaches-and-cream complexion, florid like a pomegranate flower in full bloom? Vishnu is lohitah [rohit] - a florid complexion. (The Salim-Anarkali saga is one of the most famous legends, its historical basis though has never been established. Is the story apocryphal? A folklore that somehow gained credence? Could it have been influenced by the Ahalya story? Anarkali - the dancing girl. Nataraja - the exuberant, dancing Shiva. Nataraja - the Lord of the Cosmic Dance. Anarkali, possibly of Turkmen origin, was [supposedly] a beautiful courtesan [dancing girl] of the Mughal emperor Akbar and Prince Saleem (the future Jahangir). However, Jahangir does not mention her in Tuzk-i-Jahangiri. It is believed she was buried alive in the walls of a fort, or [perhaps] a dolmen (considered as tombs or burial chambers), a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of three or more upright stones (megaliths) supporting a large flat horizontal capstone (table). What could the stonehenge represent? Or the Intihuatana stone at Machu Picchu? Could dolmen be considered equivalent to [what the ancients understood as] samadhi? The stupa enshrining the relics of the Buddha: a type of dolmen? Pyramid - a type of dolmen? Pharaoh Djoser's Step Pyramid at Saqqara, a traditional, flat-roofed mastaba: precursor to later pyramids? Anarkali is also believed to have been a 'kaneez' in the harem of the emperor Akbar. Competition over beautiful women cannot be ruled out?) ... Jahangir also came under the influence of his Empress, Nur Jahan. She wielded much power, there was continuous palace intrigues. Jahangir is famous for his golden "chain of justice" [sixty bells] - considered as a method to enable the people to have a personal hearing from the Emperor himself. Because of his constant inebriated condition, Nur Jahan, his favourite queen/chief consort, became the actual power behind the throne. (His other queens were from the aristocratic Mughal and Rajput families.) Nur Jahan: 'Light of the World'. Also, Nur Mahal: 'Light of the Palace'. Nur Jahan herself came to exercise considerable influence over Jahangir, and he is believed to have depended heavily on her advice. (Mumtaz Mahal was her niece.) Nur Jahan [the de facto empress] had her own coins during the last years of Jahangir's reign (when he was taken ill or was too inebriated to govern). In his declining years, there was friction between Nur Jahan and Prince Khurram. The accession of Shah Jahan to the throne was a result of great political intrigue. Jahangir was Akbar's favourite, although their equation became bitter. Whether he was an able administrator or not is debatable. He also [perhaps] lacked Akbar's political enterprise. ... Akbar Shah II (1760-1837) was the penultimate Mughal emperor of India. He reigned from 1806 to 1837. His empire was in effect limited to the Red Fort in Delhi. Mirza Abu Zafar Sirajuddin Muhammad Bahadur Shah Zafar was the last Mughal emperor and a member of the Timurid dynasty. He was a man of spare figure and stature; there was nothing regal about him. It is unlikely that he had any interest in statecraft or imperial ambition. His authority was limited to the city of Delhi. He presided over a Mughal empire that barely extended beyond Delhi's Red Fort. Following his involvement in the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, he was exiled to British-controlled Burma.

(Timur the Lame (1336-1405): a Turco-Mongol conqueror and the founder of the Timurid dynasty in Central Asia. A vicious conqueror, he leveled ancient cities, and created pyramids of human skulls (something Babar emulated). Lame he was, mighty he was; merciful he was not. He walked with a limp since half of his body was paralysed. Timur: 'iron'. He was lame in his right leg and unable to raise his right arm. His right hand [supposedly] did not have two fingers. His father [Taragay] was an insignificant chieftain of the Turkicised Barlas. (Unlike their nomadic ancestors, the Barlas were settled agriculturalists and traders.) Of Mongol ancestry from what is now Uzbekistan, he turned Samarkand into a beautiful city. (He is believed to have loved art [and architecture] so much that he could not help stealing it!) He has conquered more than anyone else except for Alexander. By 1369 he had conquered all the realms that had formed the legacy of Chagatai and, after being proclaimed sovereign at Balkh, made Samarkand his capital. Timur was keen on the restoration of the Chinggisid Empire. He led military campaigns across Western, South and Central Asia and emerged as the most powerful ruler after defeating the Mamluks of Egypt and Syria, the emerging Ottoman Empire and the declining Delhi Sultanate. (He was not interested in governing such a huge realm, though. He relished loot and spoliation [sack, ruin]). In 1398, Timur [along with his army of 90,000] set upon India. The army of the Delhi sultan Mahmud Tughlaq was destroyed at Panipat on December 17, and Delhi was reduced to ruins, from which it took more than a century to emerge. By April 1399 Timur was back in Samarkand (with an immense quantity of wealth). He set out before the end of 1399 on his last great campaign: to punish the Mamluk sultan of Egypt and the Ottoman sultan Bayezid I (since they took over some of his territories). Through his malefic intellect, military tactics and sheer strength of personality, Timur was able to conquer an empire stretching from Russia to India, and from the Mediterranean Sea to Mongolia. (He is considered the last of the great conquerors of the Eurasian Steppe, and his empire set the stage for the rise of the more organised and enduring Gunpowder Empires in the 1500s and 1600s.) Timur [however] was not a good administrator; he rarely bothered to create any governance or administrative framework after destroying the existing/prevalent one. (The Timurid Empire did not last much longer after him.) He does seem to have taken pleasure in massacre for its own sake. In 1941, the body of Timur was exhumed; he was a Mongoloid man about 5 feet 8 inches [from his skeletal remains]. He is supposed to have invented a more elaborate form of chess (large chess or perfect chess). Perhaps he thought regular chess was not intricate enough. In religion as in other aspects, Timur was above all an opportunist; religion furthered his ambitions. It was in the justification of his rule and his conquests that he used religion (but almost never to circumscribe his actions). Timur and his army were never at rest, increasing infirmity could not halt his growing ambitions either, although he died on his way to a full-scale invasion of Ming China.)    

Some are born great. Some achieve greatness. Some have greatness thrust upon them. It is necessary to distinguish which is which. The difference between being and seeming. There is no greater deception than self-deception. There is also an inability to withstand or endure hardships or tribulations that tests one's strength of mind, purposefulness, patience or mettle [sincerity, spine, quality of effort]. "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"). He cannot take/accept responsibility. He is neglectful of his responsibilities. That is how he is. That is his essential nature (sva-dharma, habit of the soul). There is also a certain eccentricity and immaturity in him. He is unlikely to find inner calm [inner peace, contentment]. ... If Tagore has alluded to Ramchandra, then Ramchandra could be part of SheshaNaga. (Balarama could be Ravana/Lakshmana.) Perhaps there is jealousy and selfish ambition, empty pride - mere pretentiousness, narcissism [contemptuous or impertinent behaviour] due to self-delusion, personal delusions of grandeur. Perhaps he is impulsive and self-absorbed, an incorrigibly self-centred person, sullen/sulky, boring/insufferable, emotionally immature and indifferent [insensitive] - deficient in human sensibility: not emotionally or morally sensitive; self-righteous and over-righteous [self-importance, self-worship]; someone who makes elaborate, deceitful/duplicitous/dubious/unscrupulous, and often voluble claims to skill or knowledge, a flamboyant deceiver, too much show and tell and gloss? Seeking instant gratification? (The psychological concept of instant gratification refers to the notion that [some] humans like to have what they want instantly; they are too impatient to wait, and do not have the temperament to make sincere efforts [the quality of effort] towards achieving something commendable or enduring. They're always finding ways to indulge in perfunctory effort.) Mirabai - a man or a woman? A cross-dresser? Given to dramatising unseemly melancholy (unrequited love) rather than describing it? Obsessive? Mirabai wanted to be coloured with the symbolic colour of Krsna. (Badshahi Angthhi, a Feluda story, is about a magnificent ring believed to have once belonged to emperor Aurangzeb. Could Aurangzeb have been a manifestation of Ramchandra, Pharaoh Ramasses II, Alexander and Babar? Kabir? Lord Byron? Lord Dalhousie, of the doctrine of lapse?)

Wajid Ali Shah, Shah Jahan and Lakshmana - same soul? The Taj Mahal: enormously magnificent, India's most famous architectural wonder, a spectacle unparalleled in grandeur that depicts the sheer opulence of an era. Tagore described the Taj Mahal as: "a teardrop on the cheek of eternity." It was completed in 22 years. Twenty thousand people were deployed to work on it. It is an architectural masterpiece. But does it adequately symbolise the legend, the poetry and the romance associated with it? ... Wajid Ali Shah was what can be termed connoisseur of aphrodisiacs. He apparently married an astonishing 359 times and is said to have netted 2000 sparrows in a single night! Sparrows were treated as a delicacy and their flesh used for making chidi pulao, eaten only in winter as it was considered an elixir too hot to be consumed during summer. The nawab, who was eventually destined to be the last ruler of Awadh (anglicised to Oudh), ascended the throne of Awadh in 1847. A man of pleasure, a great patron of singers, musicians, dancers and artists, he was also known as Qaisar, but preferred "Akhtarpiya" for his numerous compositions. He was a poet, playwright, composer, dancer and great patron of the arts, widely credited with the revival of Kathak as a major form of classical dance, besides being a munificent patron of the light classical form of thumri. An accomplished dilettante, he found himself a misfit for the high office to which he was elevated. He established his famous Parikhaana in which hundreds of beautiful and talented girls were taught music and dancing by expert teachers engaged by the royal patron. These girls were known as paris (fairies). Widely regarded as a debauched and detached ruler, maladministration and lawlessness gave the British the reason they were looking for, and formed the official basis for their annexation. (Although Awadh was, for all practical purposes, under British rule well before the annexation, with the Nawab a little more than a purported or putative ruler, the British were [nevertheless] determined to grab the coveted throne of prosperous Awadh - "the garden, granary, and queen-province of India".) Thus, Wajid Ali Shah's kingdom, long protected by the British under treaty, was eventually annexed in an atmosphere of gaiety and merriment on 11 February 1856 – days before the ninth anniversary of his coronation.

Vibhisana was Ravana's sibling who [supposedly] crossed over to Ramchandra's side. Vibhisana as a metaphor could imply a treacherous person, an incorrigible opportunist clear about which side his bread was buttered on. 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. Could Vibhisana imply excessive attachment to dice, a habitual gambler: someone with a taste for gambling [capricious/impulsive/thoughtless decision-making and opportunism] with a minimal sense of responsibility and disregard of outcome or significance? Vibhisana and Jagat Seth - same soul?

SheshaNaga could also symbolise fixed mindset – a set way of thinking and behaviour, perhaps rigid/unprogressive/impulsive/conditioned [thoughtless, superficial/inane, capricious, habituated] thinking [mindset, attitude] and behaviour, inability to adapt and an obdurate refusal to evolve as individuals and together: resistant to positive/progressive aspects [mindset change, transformation, evolution for the betterment of society/societal aspects]. Perhaps in the future there is need to rethink whether SheshaNaga should be worshipped. (... 'Rama-Rajya' is a new yuga, when humankind/human civilisation will be sattvic: progressive-minded, exhibiting empathy, forward-thinking, character formation [ethics/virtues, application of mind, inculcating the right habits, social responsibility], moral decency, etc. 'Rama-Rajya' = fresh thinking, a turnabout from having things go along as usual; corrective measures for ignorance, small-minded/shortsighted aspects, moral oversights/mistakes and wrongdoing of the previous yuga. Sri Rama is Vishnu/Sridevi - the deity of nourishment, prosperity, etc. (Sri is honorific for Sridevi.) Sri Rama should not be confused with Ramchandra. He is unlikely to be an ideal person. The seventh avatar of Vishnu is not Ramchandra, it is Sri Rama [Seeta] - the deity of the earth, the personification of the earth/nature. She is prakriti personified. There is also some confusion about the ninth avatar of Vishnu. It is the Buddha-avatar, not Balarama.)

Nandi is considered as one of the symbols [insignia] of Shiva. Nandi, known for his strength, loyalty, kindness, humility and simplicity, is invariably found sitting in front of the sanctum sanctorum in every Shiva temple either near the idol (the Shivalinga) 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 watchperson/caretaker. There are many temples dedicated to Nandi. Worship of Lord Shiva is incomplete if Nandi is not worshipped along with Shiva. Nandi is Vasuki/Garuda. ... Nandi is also the preeminent [most important] gana (follower) or disciple of Shiva. Nandi leads the ganas, Nandi is the chief of the ganas. Ganesha-ji is Vignesh – someone who can overcome the greatest obstacles, someone who is an impediment to unpleasant/unprogressive aspects, and a catalyst/stimulus for positive aspects [change, transformation]. Hence, Ganesha-ji is worshipped before the commencement of any auspicious event, even before the deity is worshipped.

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/unprogressive aspects over which the deity dominates. The vahaan is an accoutrement (that which assists). Positive aspects of the vahaan are often emblematic of the deity (form, aspect) it is associated with. The common factor, the factor with which deities are quite entwined, 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 association/affinity between them that the vahaan becomes an essential [intrinsic] part of the attributes of a deity. The deity-vahaan is worshipped together.

The conch [shankha] signifies creation [renewal - from tamas/ignorance to sattva/progressive aspects]. Shankha could imply Omkaara. Vasuki is also Omkaara (to articulate the opinions and advice of divinity). Chakra is emblematic of the mind, intellect and intellectual abilities, inner wisdom and the overcoming of delusion. A logical [thoughtful, reasonable, clearheaded, commonsensical] thinking process helps overcome archaic/irrelevant/obsolete thought processes, cynical/perfunctory gestures or shortsighted thinking and kupa-mandup syndrome (a frog in a well imagines the little well to be the whole world). That is how the wheel of evolution moves on and the ideas [ethics, virtues, finesse of thought/behaviour] and dreams of one nation are bequeathed to the next. The wheel [also] symbolises the cosmic law [dharma: virtues/ethics, to be sensitive [empathic, kind], to be aware of dharma and adharma [right and wrong], to be responsible as an individual and as a citizenry, to be conscious of one's responsibility]. The mace [gada, club - known as Kaumodoki], the power/strength of the cosmic law: justice, moral decency. Karma is not punition/retribution, it is an opportunity to redeem oneself (opportunity to improve, of corrective measures): to cleanse the soul [the self] of any unpleasant aspects, to overcome past karma: prāyaścitta (repentance, penance, atonement) - to atone for some wrongdoing: self-improvement by one's own efforts, to raise one's conscious awareness, to become a more conscious [responsible] human being. (Vishnu is also Dharmaraj Yudhisthira.)

Progress is not about material progress or economic progress only. It is also about intellectual, literary, cultural, behavioural, and ethical/moral progress [moral decency, responsible, thoughtful behaviour]. Progress of the human mind. Society's well-being and progress. Human evolution. Openness of mind: a progressive people, a progressive way of life; to continuously evolve, cultivating the sattvic mind. So epithets like "backward" - whether a person, country or region, is inappropriate. Being empathic or sensitive is [also] about being able to put oneself in others' shoes. There is need for forward-thinking [progressve-thinking] and positive-thinking, application of mind. Opprobrious, inappropriate, thoughtless [inane, non-application of mind], irrelevant and impolite epithets or labels are unhelpful. VarnaH-dharma is about finesse of thought/attitudes and behaviour (including social manners/behaviour). ... Ethics and virtues is not about impossible moralism (since humankind is not perfect), rather it is about being a good decent person devoid of negative qualities like excessive selfishness, indifference, ignorance etc, about having a sense of responsibility, a sense of kartavya (as a citizen), it is about taking positive/progressive initiatives and making efforts to actualise them; it is about being dharmic or sattvic – to have the mental maturity and intellectual ability to differentiate between dharma and adharma (progressive/positive aspects and regressive aspects), to have a moral compass/ethical boundaries (to be aware/conscious of the outcome or significance of one's behaviour etc).

Ghatotkacha: ghat = a pot or pitcher; utkacha probably derives from utkoch. This word could be interpreted as ghus or bribe (in modern terminology) and is considered as a stymieing factor to progress; perhaps the ancients considered it as reward or consideration, incentive - for services rendered. The utkoch [incentive] probably varied depending on the service provided. So, maybe the ancients put a cap on it, as in parameters [guidelines, framework] etc. ... For a people/society/civilisation to progress, cultural and ethical norms should evolve for the better, moral decency is necessary. Moral corruption affects a citizenry, the common people. Unprogressive thought processes, homophobic attitudes, misogynistic mindsets, et al affect/shape societal [cultural] norms (i.e. societal mindsets, people's decision-making, behaviour, attitudes etc), which is passed from one generation to the next. If such a trend continues, it leads to substantial depletion in moral decency, and an ignorant/unprogressive [tamasic] people and way of life. Financial corruption at lower and middle levels affects a citizenry. Courts working at a snail's pace, leaving individuals and business owners in anxiety and incertitude, while the backlog continues to expand is a drain on resources and exhausting/energy sapping for the people. Expeditious, efficient resolution is part of moral decency. "Satyameva Jayate" is about dharma – fair, just, balanced [empathic, levelheaded] justice, and dharmic decency: individual ethics/virtues – a sense of responsibility, to be conscious of one's responsibility [kartavya], to be thoughtful, sensitive.)

Investment in science and research is crucial. Perhaps a win-win collaboration (to co-innovate) can help. The world's oldest knowledge centres/universities: Nalanda, Vikramashila,  Odantapuri, Jagaddala, Pushpagiri Mahavihara, Somapura and Vallabhi - will they rise from the ruins (backed by a strong clear vision, aesthetic design, a guiding team)... so that their reputation and past successes is not diluted? Knowledge hub - to cater to the sciences, research, technology, innovation, creative pursuits, publishing etc. Optimal capacity utilisation is also necessary. Hurdles (strictures, rigid rules etc) that restrict or preclude recognition of great minds should be overcome. (India will have to emerge from unprogressive, thoughtless aspects and embrace the Buddha-avatar. (Vishnu as the Buddha). The selfishness, mistakes and shortsightedness of the past should be corrected.

Heritage and crafts - an attractive harmony between the traditional past and contemporary present. It creates strong linkages between the two along an integrated value chain. It helps showcase all elements of our dynamic and visually spectacular elements of cultural practices; to share the experience of these timeless cultural traditions with an ever wider audience. Intricate crafts and designs, scarves and stoles, mats/rugs/carpets, handquilted/handmade products. Ethnic weaving and fabric art, designs et al need not be confined to 'ethnic wear'. They can extend to vibrant, funky and cool T-shirts, shirts, skirts, shorts, caps, tunics, trousers, jeans, shawls, stoles, jackets, pocket squares, ties, bags, wallets, trendy belts and colourful cummerbund, upholstery, couture embroidery and so forth. Stunning. Stylish. Classic. Smart elegance. Easy to maintain. Holiday must-haves, leisurewear, workwear, corporatewear, festival/occasion-wear, winterwear, neckwear, hospitality uniforms (ties and scarves, aprons, vests and jackets), and so on. If the Aloha shirt, known as Hawaiian shirt or Hawaii T-shirt, is so well-known and sought after, surely India can do much better.

Poultry hub. Hub in specialty and generic pharma services. Hub for medical care (in both high-end and low-end procedures). Holistic health and wellness (healing, rejuvenation, inner rhythm and balance - yoga, ayurveda, naturopathy; therapeutic services and treatments: availability of thermal waters/natural thermal springs, geothermal hot springs, etc). Talent hub. Emerging-markets product development and innovation. Innovation for the developing world (including domestic market), and innovations and customisation for rural markets/rural India. However, the cost of the container should not be more than that of the contents. It is not a healthy trend that the massive spends on unproductive expenses incurred on product promotion is loaded on to the sale price. In the long run such a trend would severely impact the economy. Affordability for the consumer and economies of scale for the manufacturer is essential. Intensifying competition and growing consumer aspirations need not be impediments or stymieing factors; it depends on the approach, product and opportunity. It could potentially bring even better products for the consumers. It can benefit end-consumers and firms, simultaneously. It may also encourage more firms/entrepreneurs to tap markets at various levels and sub-levels [intermediary levels of the economic pyramid]. It could lead to a myriad of opportunities and breakthrough growth (over the next few decades). The process of reducing the complexity and cost of a good and its production can [also] be a precious resource/talent.

Insufficient and inefficient garbage collection, management and disposal is a challenge. They pollute the rivers and lakes. Landfills may not be a sustainable option. An efficient disposal mechanism is essential. Economic growth produces prosperity as well as garbage, which needs to be collected, managed - recycled and processed - and disposed. An efficient disposal of this garbage would require creation of an extensive and efficient infrastructure catering to collection, storage, recycling/processing and disposal of the waste. The informal sector also helps in managing of waste effectively. Health and safety practices: protective clothing and equipment, access to sanitation facilities. There could also be incentive for [effective, efficient] waste management efforts and facilities. (Water supply and sanitation in Japan is characterised by numerous achievements. It is essential for a sustainable society. Japan's waste management and recycling technologies and systems are among the most advanced in the world (including domestic wastewater treatment, sewage treatment). The country has achieved universal access to water supply and sanitation; has one of the lowest levels of water distribution losses in the world; regularly exceeds its own strict standards for the quality of drinking water and treated waste water; uses an effective national system of performance benchmarking for water and sanitation utilities. ... Japan is also one of the most prepared countries: disaster-resistant architecture, damage prevention systems: earthquake-proof architecture, earthquake design. The innovative Japanese are using levitation technology to make earthquake-proof buildings.)

What kind of civic conditions, societal conditions/mindsets (including moral corruption: homophobic attitudes, misogynistic mindsets etc), civilisational ethics, environmental and weather conditions (melting glaciers, unpredictable rainfall patterns, temperatures and rising humidity levels, polluted rivers and lakes, non-biodegradable waste including nuclear waste and radioactive water), food and water security, energy supplies, et al for the future generations? (Melting glaciers is likely to transcend environmental concerns and have economic implications. Millions of people depend on melt water from the Himalayan glaciers for their livelihoods.)

Science should not be confused with technology. Edutainment could help in popularising science. Using everyday language [a layperson's language] to explain scientific, biological and mathematical concepts and cosmic or celestial phenomena will not only impart basic knowledge but also help to de-clutter the mind, to clear ignorance and misperceptions. It will help foster scientific temper. There is a difference between education and academics. Learning by rote is make-believe, it gives the illusion of knowledge. It does nothing to inculcate scientific temper. If it did, India would be a different country. Scientific temper is a way of life - an individual and social process of thinking and behaviour which involves the application of logic. It uses a scientific method, which may include questioning, testing, discussion, argument, etc. Scientific temper describes an attitude which involves the application of logic. Thought control, regimentation of the mind, is unhelpful.

Those who made efforts towards science and scientific progress, for a better [progressive, positive, open-minded, healthy] society to emerge (by making efforts to overcome ignorance, cumbersome and regressive aspects), those who eschewed selfish/thoughtless nationalism - to them our ever-lasting gratitude. Incredible India requires forethought and sustainability measures. Creative, innovative and distinctive terminologies may be helpful, alongside smart advertising and promotional plan. Civic amenities need improvement, basic civic sense (aesthetics and an effective waste-disposal mechanism), etiquette and social behaviour (instead of inelegance or uncouthness) is also essential. That is VarnaH-dharma. ... A paradigm shift/change, from "traditional way of thinking" to a new [progressive] way of thinking, a change from one way of thinking [fixated thinking, fixated by "traditional" ways of thinking] to another, is necessary. A thoughtful, long-term approach instead of impulsive, thoughtless [non-application of mind] or ad hoc fixes.

In the Bhagavad-Gita (chapter ten) Krsna says: "Of instruments (a tool or implement used to facilitate, a wherewithal [instrument for achievement] by which something is done, to accomplish a purpose) I am the thunderbolt (Vajrapāṇi). This is a reference to positive/progressive change-makers. It could [also] be a reference to the fabled Navaratna.

("Manu" (honorific for law-givers); "Saptarishi" (seven vastly learned, progressive and wise/sagacious persons of rare intellectual mettle [qualities of the mind]: cultural, scientific and literary activities, contemplation); "Naga" (uncommon intellectual ability - philosophers, thought leaders, literary or academic stalwarts/innovators, those having experiential knowledge, to actively do things: to get things done with enthusiasm and efficiency, to make things happen); "Chiranjivi" (strength of character – possibly assigned governance, strategic, diplomatic, economic, leadership or administrative responsibility); "Gandharva and Apsara" (responsible for artistic tradition: the performing arts - songs, dance and music). ... The Upanishads: The One said I shall be many. This is a reference to positive/progressive change-makers – an extension of the divine spirit/power/being that presides over the universe.)

There is likely to [also] be a confluence/fusion [yoga, prayaga] of humankind: the fadeout of 'religion' in a selfish sense, fadeout of religionism, and the realisation that all of humankind prays to the same divine spirit/power/being that presides over the universe. That no form/aspect of the divine spirit/power/being is inferior to the other. Religion in a selfish sense will be irrelevant. ... An intellectual, spiritual, scientific, artistic and cultural invigoration/renewal. A turnabout from the ignorant, thoughtless, obsolete and regressive aspects of the ghor kaliyuga phase (the yuga [phase] of tamas/ignorance - the lowest phase of humankind, since human civilisation is influenced by tamas [thoughtless aspects, ignorance] due to considerable depletion in dharmic and sattvic ethics/virtues, intellectual ennui (insufficient thinking, inability to think clearly/logically, lack of clarity of thought/purpose, non-application of mind), deficiency in empathic behaviour, etc.

Krsna is about wisdom and practical philosophy: clear, objective advice. Dharma is not impractical idealism [not to be confused with ideology] or impossible moralism. It is not about small-minded opportunism, inflexibility or intransigence either. Dharma is a set of qualities and virtues (ethics) for society's common good. Dharmic virtues/ethics [a set of qualities] also helps an individual to become a better person [self-improvement], and a people to become a better people. Dharma is about doing one's bit, in one's small way, to the best of one's ability - for the betterment of societal mindsets/aspects, for the improvement of the country. (Karm-yog is continuous/sustained effort and endeavours to actualise the larger social goals.) Dharma is about purpose, the objectives (that spur thoughts and actions) and their outcome. Impossibly idealistic wisdom is not enough. It is necessary to understand the common/aggregate/shared strengths and shortcomings instead, and to take an organic approach, to take a balanced view of things. The ability to reason (along with common sense and pragmatic imagination) is necessary. One must have the ability to make reasoned choices; there is and can be no predetermined formula to resolve value conflicts arising in different/actual scenarios. Impossibly idealistic discussions, impulsive [thoughtless] actions, simplistic [superficial] points of view and explanations will only lead to rhetoric, not tangible, workable (practical) and sustainable solutions. To make a positive difference one has to be a problem-solver (a change-maker) and offer real solutions for real problems, not imaginary ones... by understanding the genesis, and offering longer-term solutions [measures], not quick-fix or ad hoc fixes. ... Beliefs [value systems] are dynamic, they are meant to evolve. Ideas and beliefs should have the fluidity to evolve. Only then can humans [humankind] evolve, individually and as a people. And once this happens (i.e. once there is a perceptible change in the thinking processes and behavioural aspects of the people) can a society evolve. A progressive mindset = a progressive (healthy) and empathic society. This is organic change. It is work-in-progress. It requires objective contemplation/thought/reasoning, discussion (sharing of ideas and points of view), prioritising, patience and continuous effort. Fixed mindsets, or a blinkered, rigid, thoughtless or unprogressive worldview is unhelpful. Reform is a mindset, not a set of policies.

Karm-yogis (work-loving people) are doers (practical problem-solvers, change-makers). Doers are visionaries too. They are insightful and imaginative, they discern/perceive the larger picture, and they emerge with new ideas and long-term plan. They see how ideas fit together. As doers they endeavour constantly [with clarity of thought/purpose] to actualise those ideas. They know what needs to be done, and more importantly, how to actually do it (i.e. how to realise or implement them). Karm-yogis are the ones who give the saplings. They (metaphorically speaking) plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.

Tagore advised rural reconstruction efforts. In Rishi Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay's Aananda Math, the serene-looking jatadhari apparition talks about the need for renewal - the necessity to comprehend and rejuvenate the essence of Hindu Dharma as an enlightened, progressive way of life; cultivation of science and scientific temper, focus on agriculture, societal progress, and to invigorate the essence of Hindu Dharma as a perennial knowledge stream... not excessive rituals and mere idol worship. The jatadhari apparition also says that India required western education and scientific knowledge, which Indians would benefit from, and that they wouldn't be able to do it themselves, since they lacked the necessary skills, ability and temperament. Aananda Math is a literary masterpiece. Shanti is a very interesting character. And Shanti as Nabinananda is even more interesting. Shanti and the apparition [Phantom-like figure] are attired similarly: not unlike the imagery of Shiva. The apparition could be the divine spirit/power/being [the Param-atma], and Shanti the human manifestation of the divine spirit/power/being - the avatar, the Almighty in human form.

Could it be that the blueprint for the future has already been given?

Eminence has its own charm. It induces jealousy, envy, etc. It upsets the intellectually unremarkable and the prodigious alike. However, when the Nobel Prize was conferred on him, Tagore's detractors competed to exhibit their admiration by praising him and by organising functions in his honour. Tagore, who had experienced all the humiliation and calumny in silence, [also] took this as an opportunity for some plainspeak. ... The Tagores were Pirali Brahmins, a socially demoted group in the priestly hierarchy. The Tagores' entry was banned in the Jagannath Temple. A Pirali was one whose 'caste' had been tainted by willful or unintentional interaction with people of other faiths. The Tagores' 'stigmatisation' owes its origin to an event during the Mughal era. (The Tagore's had ancestral gentry roots in Jessore.) An ancestor of the Tagores', it is said, had a land dispute in the district of Jessore (now in Bangladesh). A revenue official invited 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 official, Pir Ali Khan), and [thus] experienced some discrimination for generations not excluding Rabindranath. Their immense achievements in literary and cultural activities, trade and commerce, etc made no difference. Such is orthodoxy (puritanical/thoughtless/rigid mindsets, resistant to positive/progressive change). Such is ignorance. ... What unprogressive minds are capable of, it is not easy to even begin to comprehend by applying today's sensibilities. How societal conditions was even a few decades ago modern India couldn't even begin to comprehend, to be able to understand and appreciate the full significance of the efforts made by people (individually and collaboratively) to improve the situation. Those who created science and scientific progress deserve gratitude. Those who struggled against a whole lot of regressive aspects and ignorance deserve gratitude. Else, how would India have been? What kind of country? It is because of them and their sincere/continuous efforts that it is a better, perhaps more progressive society, and the [societal] sensibilities are much different/improved.

Heye Natun. (This is about renewal, towards a new dawn [a new yuga]: dissipation of the 'fog' of tamas [ignorance, unprogressive and obsolete aspects]. Ponchishhe Boishakh [the twenty-fifth of Boishakh, 7th May] is Tagore's birth anniversary. Kabi Pranam - 25se Boishakh, 1422.)

The divine power/spirit/being [Shakti] is at the helm of the Cosmic Dance, the sutradhar [guiding spirit] of the cosmic phenomenon of Creation [from tamas/ignorance to sattva/progress, dharmic decency and positivity], Maintenance (balance, support, stability, sustenance) and Re-energisation (renewal, invigoration, corrective measures). Brahma [SarasvatI], Vishnu [Sridevi/Seeta] and Shiva [Parvati]: the three different aspects of divinity. ... Shiva ('the good' or 'the auspicious') is also the supreme yogi. (Yogi derives from yoga, confluence, fusion - Prayaga; yogi is the one who binds or connects, the one who holds it all together.) Kalpa = a world-system consisting of a time-cycle [maha-yuga or chatur-yuga] of four phases, denoting the intellectual, cultural and spiritual evolution of humankind. The appearance of the highest avatar (manifestation/appearance of divinity in human form) is at yuga-sandhyāyām: the cusp of two maha-yuga. ... The changeover from one maha-yuga to another becomes possible by the coming of the avatar: the maha-avatar, the avatar of the yuga - the yugavatar. The avatar is the fulcrum, the avatar is the sutradhar, although everything that the avatar does (or influences) may not be perceptible to humankind. The avatar (Vishvadhaata, the Philosopher-king of the Universe, the divine spirit/being in human form) appears to set the stage for the next maha-yuga to manifest, for a better society and humankind (human civilisation on earth) to emerge. The divine power/spirit/being is the creator/initiator of a new kalpa: Rama-Rajya. (Sita/Sītā or Seeta = darzi, mender: a skilled mender who specialises in mending or healing of hearts and minds (to reform or to correct). Seeta [Sri Rama, Sridevi] is the maintainer [support, sustainer] aspect of divinity - Sri Hari Vishnu. A stitch in time saves nine. This proverb is a counsel of prudence, of timely effort, that preventive maintenance is preferable to slothfulness. Timely effort leads to better success. Kanchipuram is a tirtha. What could it imply? Kanchi = scissor?)

BG 10.31: || pavanah pavatam asmi rāmaḥ śastra-bhṛtām aham || ~ "Of harbingers of positivity [change-makers] I am the wind (a breath of fresh air, like a healing zephyr) and among the warriors, I am Rama" - i.e. "warrior" against negativity/adharma (tamas - ignorance, indifference, intellectual ennui, regressive thinking, lack of moral decency, prejudices, etc) in the hearts and minds of humankind. 'Of purifiers (to de-clutter) I am the wind' = winds of change: mist-dispelling, dispeller of unpleasant [regressive, obsolete, thoughtless] aspects that are an impediment to the intellectual, cultural and spiritual evolution [progress] of humankind, and harbinger of hope, progress and positivity. (Rama = Sri Rama/Seeta, a reference to Sridevi, the maha-avatar - Sri Hari Vishnu. Avatar = manifestation of the divine spirit/power/being in human form.)

The five Pandava could be metaphor: helping hands (in something much larger), a group of enthusiasts who worked towards a common cause or purpose. Yudhisthira is a reference to Panchali - Draupadi, the Krsna-avatar. In other words: to the divine spirit/being in human form. (The honorific Dharmaraja [Lord of Dharma or personification of dharmic/sattvic virtues/ethics/decency - i.e. progressive and empathic aspects] is used for Yudhisthira. Yudhiṣṭhira = steady in war, from yudh (dharma-yuddha, "battle" [initiative and efforts] for a progressive, healthy, positive and forward-thinking society/humankind to emerge) and sthira (of steady mind, unwavering, resolute or firmly determined). Two other honorifics for Yudhisthira are Bharata (one who is always willing to learn, is ever-curious, openness of mind; SarasvatI is Brahmacharini: treading the path of knowledge eternally) and Ajatashatru (unbiased). The mighty Bheema: physically very strong, a gourmet – reveling in the happiness/pleasure/satisfaction of an honest appetite. Bheema's proficiency in wrestling probably has allegorical connotations. Arjuna = Vasuki/Garuda. Nakula could imply: of humble parentage, not belonging to a prominent lineage or clan (kula). Sahadeva: an associate; a positive/progressive mind, a positive person. Nakula and Sahadeva were twins. This could imply camaraderie.

(Bheema and Hanuman-ji are also known as Pavana-Putra or Vāyu-Putra. Hanuman-ji is considered as the elder brother of Bheema. Bheema is also known as Vṛkōdara ('one with a wolf's belly', perhaps an allusion to his voracious appetite). Hanuman-ji is vAtAtmajam and SrI rAmadUtam (representative of Sri Rama, Seeta). ... She is the metaphoric pavana (winds of change, a mist-dispelling zephyr) - to dispel the 'fog' of tamas (ignorance, lethargy, indifference, thoughtless aspects, worn out or obsolete social norms and traditions, and so on) of the ghor kaliyuga phase (the metaphoric 'Iron Age' of ignorance and confusion, the lowest phase in the intellectual, cultural and spiritual evolution [progress] of humankind) - to bring about an intellectual re-energisation, a turnabout (an intellectual, scientific, cultural and artistic renewal [corrective measures, progressive aspects] - to change obsolete or regressive thought processes, social norms and notions [mindsets, attitudes, etc] by 'awakening' humanity [humankind] - to 'awaken' the minds of the people.)

Bahe Nirantara Ananta Anandadhaara (refers to thought waves). The guiding spirit [the Philosopher-king] of the universe, the divine power/spirit/being, is niradhaar - avyaktah, unmanifested to human eyes. A perpetual look of surprise on the face caused by unblinking eyes. ... Nicola Tesla, 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."

'Rama-Rajya' could imply a common sovereign. BG 10.27: || narāṇāḿ ca narādhipam || ~ "and among humans I am the monarch." (Cakravartin: a wise, thoughtful, enlightened/progressive, sagacious, considerate, discerning/perceptive/prudent, levelheaded [reasonable], commonsensical, cool-headed, temperate and unbiased ruler, a unifier and binding factor.) It will also signify the commencement of a new yuga, and the closure [fadeout] of the ghor kaliyuga phase, the amoral/adharmic phase in the intellectual, cultural and spiritual evolution of humankind.

Insatiable greed/avaricious instincts need to be curbed. The Earth's resources are finite. The world population is seven billion and growing. There is need for rethink. Prakritik Mahapralaya will not be about renewal.

The Navaratna or Nauratan (Sanskrit: nava-ratna or "nine gems") was a term applied to a group of nine extraordinary people [possibly as per knowledge/wisdom/sagaciousness, intellectual mettle, special skills or aptitude, core abilities/proficiency/expertness, talents, etc - i.e. Sva-dharma] in an emperor's court in ancient India. Such groups were part of the court of emperor Vikramaditya and emperor Ashoka. (The Mauryan emperor Ashoka formed a group of nine unknown persons c. 270 BCE.) Fourteen ratna (honorofic for intellectual capability, evolved or higher minds) emerged during 'kshira-sagara manthan' (exercise of the intellect). Intellectual capability is having the ability to reason, discuss and debate, understand logic, ask questions (for clarity of thought/purpose, to be discerning), communicate fluently/effectively, provide effective input etc. (Tagore refers to one of the nine gems.)

Cultural homogeneity is chimeric, a myth. There were diverse populations, cultures, folktales, history, cuisines, languages and so forth. Ancient India is a civilisation, not a nation-state. Ancient India is also not a reference to the realm that is modern India. It is much larger. There were insignificant kings; there were legendary emperors and dynasties, powerful satraps and potentates. There were wars and campaigns to conquer/annex territories – to exert direct control, and/or conquest but not annexation – tributary or vassal kings. There was no common language. Ancient India has never been a monolith. Religious homogeneity is a myth. Hinduism is a term that came about in the 19th century. It is a coalition of various faiths, peoples, philosophies, languages, and realms. (There has been a long struggle/history to extricate [progressive] Hindu Dharma [Vedic Dharma, Arya Dharma] from regressive and hegemonistic mindsets/influences.) Overt religionism, religious nationalism, unprogressive, chauvinistic and macho nationalism, contrived morality etc will lead to the proverbial quagmire; it is self-defeating. It will become part of the collective psyche [thought processes, attitudes and behavioural aspects] of a people [the citizens], of the the nation's consciousness. It will diminish the ability to do clear, progressive, objective thinking. A nationalism that exhorts people to take pride in what they haven't achieved (and which they are unlikely to achieve, appreciate or even comprehend/understand), and/or to have a negative, simplistic or sullen attitude, is unhelpful. India's unity is because to its diversity. There should be no illusion about this. India is a coalition of various nations. Religious unity or unity of the affluent is a myth. It is self-devouring. Vaidyas [part of the priestly hierarchy] were 'socially demoted' (their clout [with royalty] and social respect evoked jealousy); those who went abroad for education purposes were considered 'lesser' Hindus (they were mired in a plethora of 'rituals' to 'redeem' themselves); scientific temper was dispensed with, women were ridiculed, people were taunted for being progressive, etc etc. Glorified ignorance has been and will be ruinous.

Emancipation is about changed attitudes. For instance, women's emancipation is directly proportional to change in misogynistic thoughts and attitudes (negative or oppressive attitudes and behaviour towards women). Cuss words, used to slight or humiliate men and women, are almost always derogatory [diminishing, cheapening] towards women. 

Shaivas and Vaishnavas have a long history of antagonism. They are two different faiths within what is understood as Hinduism. Boudhya Dharma became popular because of its reformist and assimilative approach, and because of the centers of excellence and learning. Knowledge-seekers came from all over. (Excellence, knowledge is not about regurgitation, learning by rote. It is about cultivation of the intellect, education of the mind.) However, did its popularity evoke jealousy? Has modern India been able to understand, appreciate and acknowledge the immense contribution of Boudhya Dharma - the way of the Buddha? What could be the causes for the decline of Hindu Dharma? And, if there were to be unwillingness to reform, to have a progressive approach, will it unravel? 

(Temples had become headsprings of ignorance, decay [deterioration of moral decency], unprogressive attitude and practices, mélange of [thoughtless, unscientific] rituals, lack of scientific temper and orthodoxy [inflexible rigidity of thought, attitude and behaviour]. This was imbued and perpetuated as 'ancient cultural values' with much dedication.)

Oi Mahamanaba Aase. Monuments to ignorance will fadeout. Idioms etc too will have to change. In the future, Vedic [progressive, rational] Hindu Dharma is likely to emerge. There will be fadeout of Brahminical Hinduism [impervious to change, orthodox, regressive, ritualism instead of improving the mind, irrelevant and unscientific notions, lack of scientific temper].   

The soul is gender-less; it has no language, religion or social segment. It has sva-dharma – personality/impressions/habits of the soul: capability, talents etc gleaned from various manifestations [earlier experiences]: one's true nature. The soul is part of the cosmic energy [Cosmic Light or Divine Effulgence - nirguna [impersonal] Brahman]; it has always existed and shall always exist. It merely takes on a new human form.

History must be considered objectively. There is much to learn from history. However, a simplistic or contrived understanding of history is unhelpful. Gossip could be a unifying strategy. Tobacco is eternal; it merely takes on new forms. Poverty is poverty; compartmentalisation of poverty or wrongdoing is non-logic. Good sense and a sense of proportion is necessary. It is necessary to look at different aspects of a problem - and make better decisions (to come to wise, rational, workable decisions). British armies from Plassey (1757), to 1947, were made up of Indian soldiers. However, the loot and wealth from British conquests/campaigns went to the British soldiers. British soldiers indulged in loot. Idle Indian sepoys emulated them.

Politics requires interaction, connections and reciprocation. Thus what constitutes 'clean politics' and what should be considered as 'corruption' needs to be understood and defined. The cause. The objective. The purpose. This will help understand dharma [positive, progressive aspects, ethics, moral decency, improving humankind and societal conditions/aspects/mindsets] and adharma. Beyond what parameters or specifications should something be considered as corruption? There is [also] need for continuity [especially in large nations with diverse populations and cultures]. It provides some sort of reassurance. However, the successive generations must be sagacious enough, competent enough and sincere enough. They must have the required intellect, attitude, positive frame of mind, common sense, stamina, performance, and what it takes to constantly interact with various peoples (with different political, economic and environmental issues, differences in education and gender differences). There must be a sense of responsibility [kartavya]. One must be a good, attentive and empathic listener who's genuinely curious and interested in the people, and to respond thoughtfully; to be at ease (not unapproachable, unfeeling, pompous or indifferent). The issues, challenges and expectations from a political dynasty will be considerably different from those of a new dynasty. Politics is a test of character, mettle, endurance, sagacious, thoughtful wisdom, a longer-term vision, and continuous effort. Strong-mindedness [moral fiber], ability to adhere to ethics [moral decency even during adverse conditions/difficulties], is required. Compromising on essential aspects for short-term or irrelevant gains is foolish. Muddleheaded politics does no good. An understanding of issues [and their genesis] is necessary to improve things. Making use of opportunities to do someting good for the people is different from blatant opportunism. Faking effort, non-governance, indifference and non-credible performance is unhelpful. It creates perceptions. Positive action is continuous hard work. Perfunctory effort, indifference, rhetoric etc is no substitute for genuine [and sustained, sustainable, logical] initiative and effort. Those that make a positive difference win the support and acceptance of the people, the hearts and minds of the people, to make them feel fondly toward a person. Legacy is intangible. One has to prove one's mettle, one's ability [through various issues, challenges and what-not]. Legacy is a brand, and it requires goodwill. Creating a legacy is easy; sustaining it, making it more positive, progressive and relevant, requires genuine effort and credible performance (that positively affects the people). Also, dharma and moral decency should be understood in the context of events, challenges, societal aspects [mindsets, ethics, attitudes, behaviour] etc. Politics is also shaped by it, influenced by it. Politics and governance is not about being 'pristine'. There is none that is 'bathed in milk'. Humankind is not without flaws or pristine. Nations and states have asymmetric influence. However, the purpose must be understood. Politics and governance should be about positive, progressive initiative [some of which could be intangible] and genuine effort, to make a positive difference (to improve things, the betterment of societal aspects). A politician or ruler should try and be statesman-like, not a politician's politician. There's also moral corruption: moral hypocrisy, feigned piety, impolite behaviour/mindsets, closed-mindedness [lack of scientific temper, refusal to change for the better], gender dichotomies, ethical double standards and squeamishness, chauvinism, thoughtless, regressive or irrelevant aspects that have a larger influence and impact [on people and society] than financial corruption.

The concept of perfectly virtuous or ethical ruler or ideal leader is not simplistic or inane, simply because there is no ideal society in the academic sense. Public and individual morality [moral character, to be morally upright] has to be understood as two different things. Moral goodness [virtuous, righteous, scrupulous, conscientious, ethical] and right [suitability, deserving] are not sufficient to win and maintain political office, political stability, political decision-making and political judgment, or to create [and strengthen] political structures. Nīti is prudent worldly conduct, or "the wise way of life" [manner, behaviour]. Niti is to power politics what conventional virtue/ethics is to those thinkers who suppose that moral goodness is sufficient to be an accepted, acknowledged, genuine/authentic, natural, recognised ruler: it is the touchstone [benchmark, measure: litmus test, agni-pariksha] of political success.  

Diplomacy is about mutual commonalities [aligning of interests, aspects of convergence] and alliance-creating strategies. Both the quality and the quantity of mutual commonalities may advance and sustain positive alliance. It is necessary to be sagacious, to be astute/discerning enough to understand situations/events and how they might unfold in the future. It is necessary to [also] be able to keep the big (macro, larger) picture in mind. An understanding of issues/events/situations and how they could unfold/evolve in the mid and longer-term is crucial. ... Diplomacy is the most widely used instrument of foreign policy (and in turn influences a whole gamut of activities: trade etc). It is about clearly thought through policies; it is about finesse, consistency and level-headedness, about figuring out what is changing, about quietly getting things done. Diplomacy does not cater to the domestic audience - especially to the least sophisticated level of taste, sensibility, or opinion; it is not obvious/manifest PR or advertisement, either. That is spectacle, not diplomacy. If it is about being rigid, mentally negligible or having egg on face, it is passé. Diplomacy [foreign policy] tied to religion, irrelevant ideology/aspects or electoral politics will never achieve anything. It's a muddle. Diplomacy [and diplomats] should be formless, shapeless – like water (flowing water). There should be openness of mind, savvy flexibility. A diplomat is not a clumsy/tactless loudmouth or a chest-thumper given to making unwise, inelegant, pompous, unthinking [insensible] claims. A diplomat is a problem-solver, a do-er. Jeeves, ever-wise, sagacious, unflappable, that subtle master of prudence, good taste, and ineffable composure, would have made a fine diplomat. (Bertie has lent out Jeeves as a butler on several occasions, and notes: he can buttle with the best of them.) He elegantly, ingeniously and unobtrusively helps the befuddled Bertie climb out of his own fruity/harebrained schemes.

Food and water security and energy security is most essential. Water is key to food security. Water is required across the entire agricultural production chain. Crops and livestock need water. A diverse range of non-food crops [such as cotton] requires water. Water is also required for drinking, cooking and cleaning purposes (including for the poor, disadvantaged and under-served populations). Agriculture requires large quantities of good quality water for irrigation and for various production processes. There is a growing demand for food and other agricultural products. Available water resources should be well-maintained. Ritualistic reverence of rivers is unhelpful. Nutrition security must be improved. Nutrition security goes beyond food security: access to essential nutrients, not just calories. And, as one of the engines that will power the world economy, energy security is the most crucial factor.

Krsna lifted Govardhana-Parvat. (Dhana = wealth, prosperity. Parvat = mountain or hill. Parv = chapter.) Ramchandra and Lakshmana were mired in nagpash. So Hanuman-ji lifted Gandhamadan-Parvat for the divine herb, Sanjeevani-booti. (Gandha = odour, smell. Madan = deity of love.) Lord Hanuman carried this hill on his shoulders from Himalayas to revive Lakshmana. ... Has humankind on earth evolved from ape-like ancestors? Or has different peoples/civilisations evolved from different types of part-ape-part-human-like ancestors? The Srimad Bhagavad Purana describes seven realms. Bilva Svarga refers to lower realms (adholoka) where there is unparalleled physical and material happiness (unavailable even in svarga). The inhabitants of Bilva Svarga have unbelievable luxuries and material opulence, so much so that the lower aspects of materialism [tamas] are in full display. What could be the genesis of the Aryan Invasion theory, or the 'Aryan supremacy' theory? How [and why] did the concept of racism come about?

Yoga is confluence, fusion, integration, collaboration. Prayaga is not the confluence [and ritualistic reverence] of the three rivers: the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythic SarasvatI. Ganga is a reference to enlightened and progressive Vedic thought. Ganga is also a reference to ancient India [as in, a civilisation; a culture should not be confused with religion]. Prayaga is yoga [confluence] of all of humankind, of human consciousness, of humanistic thoughts and values, of shared civilisational ethics. Yogi - from yoga. Yogi is the one who binds or connects, the one who holds it all together. (The divine spirit/power/being – to whom all of humankind prays, is the supreme yogi, the cause/purpose/thinking/inspiration and guiding spirit behind the mathematically precise universe; the universal mind, the soul of the universe, the permanent authority [Philosopher-king] of the universe.) ... Yoga is not a set of physical exercises. In mathematics, yoga is to connect, addition. In the context of holistic health, yoga is the ability to overcome ego-consciousness [inflated ego, arrogance, ignorance, obsolete or irrelevant thinking, delusion etc] and to connect with the larger universe – the constantly expanding universe. (The universe/cosmos is Brhmaanda. Brh - to grow, to constantly expand. The mind is like a universe. It's constantly expanding. Aanda is egg - oval-shaped, egg-shaped or elliptical. In Sanskrit, the universe is Brahmaanda or Brhmaanda, the 'Cosmic Egg', since the universe is egg-shaped or elliptical. A human brain is walnut-like shaped. Brhm - enlightened, progressive, rational/logical/sagacious thought and knowledge; mind-opening knowledge, like a clear, flowing stream. Brahmana - an enlightened mind, an evolved consciousness. A brahmana is seer (complete wisdom). 'Kshira-sagara manthan' is exercise of the intellect, to bring about a sea change. Brahma is the creator aspect of the divine being. BG 10.33: || dhātāhaḿ viśvato-mukhaḥ || ~ "and of creators I am Brahmā." Perhaps the creator of various flora and fauna, different types [personality types, gender] of humans, emotions, languages, civilisations, philosophy etc. Dhaata can also imply support, well-wisher of humankind. BG 10.34: || udbhavaś ca bhaviṣyatām || ~ "and I am the generating cause of all that is yet to be." The Brahma aspect is the creator of a new yuga, that of renewal of humankind. BG 10.21: || adityanam aham visnur || ~ "Of the Adityas I am Visnu." Of the 12 Adityas, Vishnu is preeminent. Aditya implies intellectual strengths: intellectual illumination, enlightened/thoughtful/progressive mind, and intellectual vigour/energy. Those who have opened the mind to new ways of seeing things. The 12 Adityas are the 12 Jyotirlings. Similarly, the 51 Shakti-peethas are 51 women that have overcome various challenges and difficulties, taken positive/progressive initiatives [to change mindsets, for the betterment of society/humankind] and are an inspiration to others.) ... Yoga is the process of spiritual awakening, the awakening of the consciousness, the 'awakening' of the mind – from ignorance, vainglory, confusion etc towards clarity of thought, progress of the human mind, and self-realisation. (Self-realisation is to understand the soul [the Self, the sva] - the eternal aspect/essence, i.e. to understand who one truly is beyond the impermanent human form, and to be that self which one truly is. Self is sva - Me, Myself and I - the imperishable, eternal aspect/essence of an individual's personality. The human form is merely the vessel to carry the soul, to enable it to manifest.) ... An individual becomes a connected part of the greater cosmos (the mind is lit up, in a metaphorical sense, i.e. the intellect, the ability to think, takes a much higher level - enlightenment or complete wisdom) when one is not confined inside one's own head. Yoga is to emerge out of ego-consciousness, the delusion or confusion caused by vainglory etc. Being tangled within one's own head clouds the mind and intellect. When the mind, body and soul are aligned, in complete harmony, it is yoga. Yoga is about inner perfection, inner peace, contentment and happiness: Sat-cit-ananda. Inner perfection is about awareness [not ignorance and indifference], sentience [the ability to understand, to feel], self-reflection [thoughtful, conscious meditation], cognisance and insight (having the ability to perceive: correct understanding and internal wisdom). Ananda is absolute bliss, spiritual ecstasy or true contentment - inner joy, peace and tranquility (of self-realisation, of complete wisdom).

Yoga connects an individual to his or her soul. The soul is the eternal aspect [essence] of an individual's personality. When an individual become totally connected with it, the brain acquires self-awareness, there is self-knowledge/self-realisation. [Self = soul]. When one understands the self [soul], one gains complete wisdom, i.e. one is non-deluded. It helps an individual to emerge from lower consciousness or lower mind [the sense-mind] into higher consciousness or higher mind [the conscious mind, the 'awakened' mind, thinking mind]. The mind overcomes ignorance, thoughtless aspects, superficial understanding, greed, ego etc [the sense-mind] and becomes perfectly boundless. This is nirvana or moksha - the state of mind with perfect lucidity and clarity (complete wisdom). A truly evolved soul is a truly enlightened soul; it is thoughtful, wise, non-deluded, non-ignorant, and egoless. It is beyond the servitude of one's worldly understanding/notion/perception of self. (One should not be deluded, i.e. one should not take oneself too seriously. A king or an influential person could be reborn [in a metaphorical sense] as a have-not. Yoga brings about the realisation that an egalitarian, pluralistic, progressive, empathic, healthy, eco-conscious and ethical society [moral decency, civility, less ignorance, less hypocrisy] is good for all.)

Since all of humankind prays to the same divine spirit/power/being, religionism would be irrelevant. It would be about humanity: humanistic virtues and ethics, thoughtful aspects, empathy etc. This is likely to be the confluence/fusion [yoga] of humankind – in the future. It will [also] help humankind to emerge from tamas [ignorance, thoughtless and regressive aspects/attitudes/beliefs/cultural norms, medieval sensibilities etc], and evolve towards a sattvic [progressive, wise, positive, forward-thinking] civilisation. Humankind will have to reform their mindsets and reimbibe dharmic virtues, moral decency. Religionisation, commercialisation of faith and its spiritual essences etc, is likely to be curbed. Scientific temper will overcome ignorance [regressive thinking]. There will be fadeout of thoughtless and unscientific rituals.

The Bhagavad-Gita refers to sankhya yoga, karma-yoga, bhakti-yoga and gyana-yoga. Correct understanding [clarity of thought/purpose], collaborative action, spiritual awakening or spiritual enlightenment (through spiritual confluence of all of humankind) and intellectual confluence of various peoples, civilisations and cultures. Yoga is to embrace oneself and others; to understand, accept, self-correct and assimilate - synergy; to celebrate together. Bhakti-yoga should not be confused with hypocrisy or ostentatious/pretentious [conspicuous show of] moral piety. Service to humankind is service to divinity. That is true worship. Sankhya yoga (sankhya philosophy) is about correct understanding, logical reasoning, exercise of the intellect (please read). 

Devaki, Yashoda and Radha. Devaki - a good-natured or good-hearted person? (Vak = speech. Not rude and foul-mouthed?) Yashoda - a famed personality having all the social graces and manners, or someone keen on fame etc? (Balarama is Sankarshan, a being/spirit transferred between two wombs. Balarama was transferred from Devaki's womb to Rohini's womb. What could this imply?) Krsna was born of Devaki. Yashoda (Yaśodā) was the foster-mother to Krsna and a wife of Nanda Maharaj of Gokul. However, why is Radha depicted as a woman? Could it imply psychological androgyny? ... In all cultures, men are brought up to be "masculine" and to disregard and repress those aspects of their temperament that the culture regards as "feminine," whereas women are expected to do the opposite. Creative individuals to a certain extent transcend this rigid gender role stereotyping. Creative individuals are more likely to have not only the strengths of their own gender but those of the other one, too. Psychological androgyny is an emotional capacity. It refers to a person's ability to be at the same time assertive [competitive, purposeful, ambitious, argumentative] and nurturant, sensitive [understanding, considerate, conscious, perceptive - responsive to the feelings of others] and rigid [adamant, inflexible, resistant, uncompromising, unyielding, unrelenting], dominant and submissive [compliant, deferential, amenable, agreeable, good-natured, indulgent, obliging, harmonious, humble], regardless of gender. Krsna is depicted as a man: positive assertiveness.

Jesus carrying the cross could imply a heavy burden on his soul (possibly because of maintaining silence about something of a delicate nature: his inability to acknowledge his relationship with Christ/Mariamma). Crucifixion could be a metaphor. Jesus Christ is the same as Radha Krsna. Immaculate = nirmal (though prudish mindsets could think otherwise). Could "Holy Grail" be a euphemism for passionate kiss? (The Holy Grail is a legendary vessel, believed to be the cup that Jesus Christ drank from at the Last Supper.) Could grail be a reference to the fabled/mythical kingdom of Shangri-la? The Grail legend became interwoven with legends of the Holy Chalice. In Christian tradition the Holy Chalice is the vessel that Jesus used at the Last Supper to serve the wine. However, could it be a reference to Jesus and Christ's baby - the "vessel" that holds both Jesus and Christ's DNA? (Ramchandra and Sita [Krsna] are not to be hyphenated.) The epithet "virgin" is a reference to Jesus' feelings towards Mary [Christ], the way he treats her. (Love is Worship and it always will be. Worship with passion. His ardour remains undiminished, everfresh. They do not get bored of each other. They continue to discover each other.) Shangri-la is ruled over by Lord Maitreya, the Maitreya Buddha. Maitreya Bodhisattva (Buddha-to-be) is the future Buddha, and will be the successor of the historic Sakyamuni Buddha (Gautama Buddha) - the most recent Buddha to have appeared. (There will be an increase in human longevity, a waning of discord, religionism, famine, and disease, and the ushering in of a new society [human civilisation] of empathy, assimilation, equality, scientific temper, progressive thought, openness of mind, dharmic decency and love.) In the future, whenever a new yuga [a new chapter in the intellectual, cultural and spiritual evolution of humankind, a turnabout from the tamas or 'fog' of ghor kaliyuga] commences, it will be from Tagore's birth anniversary (Heye Natun). Renewal, a new chapter, a new yuga or epoch: Bimal Aanande Jaago.

Judas is the archetype of the betrayer, a treacherous person. "The kiss of Judas" is a metaphor for betrayal. Judas remains a controversial figure in Christian history. His betrayal, for thirty silver coins, is seen as setting in motion the events that led to Jesus' Crucifixion and Resurrection. However, did Jesus know from the very beginning what Judas would do? (Charana Dhorite - could this be about Judas?) There were two thieves crucified with Jesus, one on the right and one on the left. Does it imply Jesus was rendered ineffective? Charana Dhorite: does this poem allude to Mirabai? There are about 1,200–1,300 prayerful songs [bhajan] in passionate praise of Krsna attributed to her. They describe a personal universe where the only existence was that of Krsna - her only object of desire. (Mira became deeply enamoured of an idol of Krsna as a five-year-old. She had set her heart on Krsna. Her love of Krsna was so absorbing she neglected her social and regal responsibilities, and was indifferent to Bhoja, the crown prince of Chittor. Mirabai considered herself to be a reborn gopi, which explains her fervid proclamations of love.) There is the popular belief about her final disappearance in the temple of Krsna in Dvarka. She is believed to have entered the sanctum of the temple in a condition [frame of mind] of singing ecstasy. The sanctum doors are believed to have closed (on their own) and when opened, the sari of Mirabai was seen to be enwrapped around the idol of Lord Krsna. (This is considered to symbolise the culmination of her union with her lord.) However, in "Shesher Kobita" Tagore says, "Peyeo paben na, peyeii haraben, peye dhore rakhtey hobe shheta janen na." Perhaps Shesha is fickle and too self-obsessed, too ambitious and too materialistic, does not understand the concept of nibhana, and has no ethical boundaries (when it comes to fructifying his ambitions). Mirabai - a man or a woman? What are Lava and Kusha about? Maharshi Valmiki is revered as the primeval poet: he invented verse, which defined Sanskrit poetry. He offered shelter to Sita (Sri Rama) in his ashram when Ramchandra banished her. Banish: abandonment, desertion? The twins, Kusha and Lava, were born to Sita in Valmiki's ashram. Valmiki took them under his wing, looking after their education and upbringing. (Valmiki, Ratnakara. Ratna, jewel. Kara, one who makes it.) Ramchandra: Maryada Purushottam (an honourable person, a paragon of virtue, the ideal/perfect man) or a self-obsessed, jealous, inconsiderate, adharmic hypocrite, medieval-minded chauvinist? When the 'fog' of ghor kaliyuga (dulling of the qualities of the mind, inability to think clearly and logically) dissipates, there is likely to be clarity on this. (Tagore says: all monuments to ignorance will fadeout.) Feigned piety, excessive piety or reverence [blind faith], non-application of mind, and unscientific, thoughtless ritualism are unhelpful. It brings about ghor kaliyuga, the amoral epoch of ignorance (when humankind is unable to think clearly and logically to be able to differentiate between dharma [positive, progressive aspects, effort and initiatives] and adharma [unethical, negative, regressive aspects], when humankind is unable to see [understand] beyond the illusion or make-believe).  

Crucifixion could imply: being the focus of spiteful, rancorous [unkind] words/insults, etc and yet to remain resilient and dignified: to be graceful and decent even during difficult times. To be confident enough to take disappointments on the chin and not pass the buck of blame unfairly; to continue to fulfill [satisfactorily perform] one's obligation or responsibility [to do something that one has promised to do or that one is expected to do] in a calm, impassive manner. Crucifixion could also imply austerities: self-denial or self-abnegation (altruistic abstinence, to forgo personal pleasures): voluntary asceticism. (Possibly the outcome of heartbreak: overwhelming grief, anguish, or distress.) Jesus was a broken man - weakened, demoralised, and subdued, experiencing the pain of grief (difficult emotions, the feelings of loss of someone very dear to him, someone regarded with affection and tenderness): confusion, hopelessness, sorrow, melancholy, numbness, lethargy, desperation, sleep and appetite disturbances, annoyance, a tremendous sense of guilt and longing, etc. And perhaps he was unable to share his feelings. He was distraught. He wasn't the same anymore. The question is: Could Joseph have had anything to do with the Crucifixion? (The best battle, Sun Tzu says, is the battle that is won without being fought. His ability to win victories gained him fame and power. Sun Tzu's success shows that a successful general is one who fully calculates his approach and plans. If the opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. If his forces are united, separate them. If of high morale, depress them. If at ease, exhaust them. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder. Create your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across. All warfare is based on deception. The supreme art of war is to subdue the opponent without fighting. ... To be the director of the opponent's fate. To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting. What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but also excels in winning with ease. He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious. The Art of War details a complete philosophy on how to decisively defeat one's opponent. Sun Tzu, strategist and tactician, believed in mind games: a battle of the mind, wicked tactics. Perhaps he was a connoisseur of large chess or perfect chess. But then, "you can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." - Abraham Lincoln.)

The ancients had concepts like Gandharva-Vivaha (rituals were not required though the consent of the woman was necessary) and the concept of Niyoga. Crossing the 'threshold' of "traditional" gender norms etc which weighs compatibility, affection, commitment, togetherness, passion, emotions and feelings vis-à-vis obligation, drudgery, empty rituals etc. BG 10.28: || prajanaś cāsmi kandarpaḥ || ~ "of causes for procreation I am kandarpa, the deity of love."

For something to gain acceptance in society, for society to evolve (to be considerate, broad-minded, warmhearted, progressive and forward-thinking)... archaic, thoughtless/unthinking, habituated, hypocritical moral piety, rigid mindsets have to change. When prominent personalities take the lead (initiate the process, take the initiative), it [gradually] becomes an accepted way of life, a trend. (The avatar [the divine spirit/power/being in human form] is a reformer, change-maker, and also offers a mirror to society).

Shabri - ardently devoted to Ramchandra. Everyday Shabri would pluck berry fruits for Lord Ram. She would pluck a fruit, first taste it, and if it were sweet she would put it in her basket and discard the bitter ones. She wanted to give only the good and sweet fruits to Ram. "Lord I have selected only the sweet berries for you, I tasted every berry to make sure I have only brought the sweetest berries, please take it my lord." When Ram tasted them, Lakshmana mentioned that Shabri had already tasted them; they were unworthy of eating. ... What could berry fruits imply? Sense gratification? Depraved appetite, vulgar/ignoble tastes?

Abhimanyu as a sixteen-year-old: immature, insignificant, to put on airs? He only had partial knowledge of chakravyuh or padmavyuh; he did not know how to emerge from it. Over-confidence? A braggadocio? Vainglory and self-importance: exaggerated assessment of qualities etc? (Vyuh = entrapment.) Ramchandra [and Lakshmana] voluntarily entered into the Sarayu River. Too clever by half? To dull the brain, a shrinking brain?

Mandodari – extolled as one of the panchakanya [pañcakanyā], women of substance. Some consider her as Sita's mother, although as per the Ramayana she was the queen-consort of Ravana, the king of Lanka. Hanuman-ji confused Mandodari for Sita. (They were so alike). Mandodari was beautiful, pious, very righteous and completely devoted to Ravana. The object of her wifely veneration was Ravana, a man with many faults, moral/ethical transgressions, prurience and negative, adharmic tendencies, someone widely regarded as a demon (a negative person, a malevolent, warped mind). Mandodari, soft-bellied: belly fat? Dari: beard. Mandodari was the daughter of Maaya, a daanava [and a great architect], and the apsara Hema. Here, maaya could imply make-believe, fraud? Daan, charity. Manava, human. Daanava: charity-minded, to serve others through philanthropy? Baiting people by appearing charitable? Lakshmana married Sita's sister, Urmila. Vibhishana's wife, Sarama: what could this imply? Sarama: coy, timorous, blushful, shamefaced? Vibhisana married Mandodari on Ramchandra's advise. Vibhisana and Ravana – same person? Ravana is Lakshmana, Balarama. Vibhisana – oppressive, repressive, cruel, depraved, vicious, unfeeling, barbarous, wicked, apathetic, inhuman. Is Balarama also Mahishasura, the buffalo demon: possibly buffalo-like characteristics? (Apsara may not be celestial nymph, celestial courtesan or celestial dancer. It could imply: ever-youthful, attractive, age-defying. Adept at and/or responsible for artistic tradition: the performing arts - songs, dance and music.) ... Kali entered into the crown of Parikshit [Parikṣit, Abhimanyu's son] is understandable. (Pariksha, test. Parikshan, to examine. Parikshit, one who has been put through a test.) Kali is a reference to the demon Kali, symbolising all vices, ignorance and adharma [ignoble aspects] in humankind (hence the amoral/adharmic yuga is 'kaliyuga' - because of the widespread prevalence of such aspects). Balarama is demon kali himself. He is also Madhu of Madhu-Kaitabha. Satyameva Jayate: Satyam shall prevail. (Takshak came out of an apple to vanquish Parikshit. Apple - "forbidden fruit"? Janmejay succeeded Parikshit. Janmejay: lucky? Janmejaya's birth caused happiness? Janmejaya did not have Abhimanyu's DNA? Vishnu and Vasuki's genealogy - chip of the old block, no traits/DNA of Balarama? Balarama aka Ravana: imposter, usurper. Vasuki Naag [Arjuna/Radha] - the consort of Vishnu/Krsna/Sita/Shiva. Svayamvara, self-choice. Radha is featured prominently with Krsna.) Agni-pariksha of Sita was because of Ramchandra. Does this imply difficulty, unnecessary tribulations? Ayodhya: faint-hearted, brown nose, the genuflecting type: preferring empty bravado and frivolous style to substance [effort etc], an inability to withstand or endure hardships or tribulations that tests one's mettle (the stuff one is made of, one's character)? Kumbhakarna: a sleeping behemoth of great hunger, waking only once every six months. Perhaps Kumbhakarna exemplified inertia, impassivity, indifference and tamas; there was more tamas (ignorance, etc) in him. Manthara: slothful, slovenly and dour, a sour/crabbed temper: slow to act or change, sluggish or gloomy in temperament or appearance; a gloomy/scowling and slow character. A crooked [unscrupulous, deceitful, delusive, spurious] schemer (of tortuous/circuitous, incomprehensible plots)? Bakasura - the great devourer: insatiable acquisitive instinct/mindset, unbridled selfish ambition, gluttonous attachment to materialistic aspects; insatiable quest for wealth and material success. Bakasura could also imply: a compulsive talker, a frivolous talker, and/or a braggadocio. Bhima trumped Bakasura. The mighty Bhima: physically very strong, a gourmet, and pavanaputra. (Hanuman-ji is considered as the elder brother of Bhima.) Bhima was a master in using the mace [euphemism for justice, moral decency]; his other proficiency was wrestling (kushti, mallya-yuddha: possibly a metaphor). Balarama, the elder brother of Krsna: is it figurative - haughty, stupendously arrogant, coercive, temperamental, etc? Balarama and [the materialistic, covetous, arrogantly proud] Satyabhama - same person? Lakshmana-rekha: Lakshmana's attempts to control [constrain, curb, keep in check, hinder, suppress, repress] Sita. Balarama: high-handed or a snake in the grass, aasteen ka saanp? In the game of dice (Sanskrit: aSTApada, pAsa, pA.nsA, bindutantra, prAsaka) Shakuni played with a dice that had a lizard within it. Lizard: tiktiki, a spy? Shakuni - the vulturess. What could this be about? ... If Nandi is Vasuki Naag, who or what is Bhringi or Bhringisa (the Rishi with three legs)? Is Rukmini a reference to Prince Rukmi, or were they different people? Prince - royalty or princely qualities or temper tantrums? Rukmini and Radha [Arjuna] - same person or different people? (A rook (castle) is part of the strategy game of chess.) Shishupala: a cousin of Krsna, he was also Krsna's implacable foe; due to his hostility he was contemptuous and also used pejorative language (opprobrious invectives). Krsna forgave him [his misbehaviour, incivility] a hundred times – as per a promise to his mother. Shishupala: someone who nurtured/nourished children? A foster parent to impoverished children? Philanthropy or something else? (Shishupala and Rukmi were vassals of Jarasandha - the king of Magadha.) Rukmi wanted Rukmini to marry Shishupala (the king of Chedi). Chedi, loopholes? Rukmini was reluctant. Krsna eloped with Rukmini to prevent a forced marriage, and was aided by Balarama (who held off Shishupala). What could this be about? Rukmini: a lesser version of Rukmi? Balarama, Shishupala - same person? Shikhandi: a cross-dresser or façade [deceptive appearance, window dressing, guise, insincerity, pretentious/false front, illusion]? Jara, fever. Jara, roots. Andha: sightless (ignorance, blind faith, regressive aspects, etc)? Jarasandha = Andhakasura? Jarasandha, born as two halves, was joined by Jara: what could this imply? Sahadev succeeded Jarasandha. Sahadev is also a Pandav. Nakula and Sahadev are considered twins. Sahadev: one who helps, an associate; dev: a positive person. ... The Krsna-avatar was resting underneath a Peepal tree when Jara the hunter's arrow pierced the left foot. (He had mistaken it for a deer.) The avatar merely smiled and left the body. (Arjuna performed the obsequies for Krsna and Vasudev. Krsna and Vasudev - same person: the deity of the earth, the world's master - Vishvadhaata or VishvaVidhaata, above whom there is no other. Vishva - the cosmos: the totality of everything.)

16,108 are not how many 'wives' Krsna had. Krsna - a Purna Avatar, a complete avatar with all 16 kalas [qualities of a purna avatar]. A Purna Avatar is the closest humankind can see divinity (the human mind cannot comprehend divine spirit/power/being – the Param-atma). 108 – There are eighteen chapters in the Bhagavad-Geeta. The 10th avatar of Vishnu [aspect of divinity] is the Kalkiḥ-avatar. The 8th avatar is the Krsna-avatar. Kalkiḥ and Krsna is the same thing. Time is kaalah in Sanskrit. Kala Purusha: Time Eternal, the timekeeper of the universe; The Almighty Self as Time. Kal, of the future. The Kalkiḥ-avatar [the avatar of the future] will be the return of the Krsna-avatar, the second coming of the Krsna-avatar. Orion is Mriga [Mṛga] and Kalpurusha. The Rig Veda refers to the Orion Constellation as Mriga/Mṛga (The Deer). Mriga [deer] is imagery for destiny. Mṛgaśira: antelope head. The Philosopher-king of the universe is the Bhagya-Vidhaata (the decider, arbitrator or dispenser of [a nation or civilisation's] destiny, depending upon initiatives, efforts, ethics, moral decency, etc). Orion, one of the most conspicuous and recognisable constellations in the night sky: This group of stars has been known to almost every ancient civilisation. In India, Orion is Mriga [Mṛga, The Deer] and Kalpurusha, the Japanese saw a drum – tsuzumi, and to the ancient Babylonians it was "The Heavenly Shepherd". (There is a common thread that runs through the past, the present and the future, the ongoing stream [of civilisations]. The past and the future have a common term: kal, there's continuity. It is necessary to eschew a linear [simplistic] approach (linearity in thinking, discussions and understanding), and the need for integrated, holistic approach and solutions.)

BG 10.21: || jyotisam ravir amsuman || ~ "of lights (effulgence, luminaries) I am the radiant sun." (It could also be a reference to the Summer Solstice, a day having the longest period of daylight.)

BG 10.23: || rudranam sankaras casmi || ~ "Of all the Rudra I am Sankara" [Rudra-Śiva] ~ There are eleven Rudra, of whom Sankara, is preeminent. (Shiva is the renewal [the cosmic phenomena of Pralaya] aspect of divinity. Shiva ('the good' or 'the auspicious') is an adjective or a quality. Shiva - the supreme yogi. Yogi - from yoga, confluence or fusion: Prayaga. Yogi is the one who binds or connects, the one who holds it all together.)   

Maaya Sita ("illusional Sita") or Chhaya Sita ("shadow Sita") - the illusionary duplicate of Sita: a fake Sita, a surrogate of Sita? Indrajit [Meghnaad] – the son of Ravana – creates an illusionary Sita (Maaya Sita), beats and beheads her in front of Hanuman-ji, as a wicked tactic (to demoralise, to befool - to cause someone to believe in untruth). Maya Sita: make-believe "robot" (controlled by Ravana and Indrajit)? Megh = cloud, nebulous, naad = rumbling voice. Ravana: Machiavellian, adept at the art of deception [make-believe] and moral viciousness? Hanuman-ji: Anjaneya, humble beginnings. Nakula: not belonging to a prominent lineage or clan (kula), self-made. (Hanu is jaw, in Sanskrit. Hanuman, one with a large and prominent [strong] jawline, a sign of strength.) Hanuman-ji is vAtAtmajam, Pavanaputra and SrI rAmadUtam (representative of Sri Rama - the metaphoric pavana, winds of change). He is the greatest devotee of Rama. His devotion to Rama and Sita was so great that once he opened his chest to show that images of Rama and Sita were engraved upon his heart. This could be tattoo or body art. (Rama and Sita is Sri Rama.) Sudarshana Chakra, Sri Krsna's [golden] chakra: As you sow, so shall you reap, figurative boomerang. (Karma: not only action, but also the result of an action. Vishvakarma: the universal mind; the cause/purpose/thinking/inspiration and guiding spirit behind the mathematically precise universe.) Rama Setu (Rama's Bridge) was built under the supervision of architects Neel and Nala (the son of Vishvakarma). Nala completed the 80 miles (130 km, ten yojana) bridge in just five days. 

Arjuna is Jishnu: the irrepressible one or the indefatigable one. Arjuna is also Sabyasachi, ambidexter: equal usage of rational, right brain activity and intuitive, left brain activity? Valmiki in his early life [as Ratnakara] was a notorious dasyu who later reformed (changed his beliefs and way of thinking because of the blessings and grace of SarasvatI). What could this be about? Ratnakara was a notorious dacoit or highwayman who once tried to attack/rob devarshi Narada. (Narada is Narayana? Krsna says: I am Narada among the divine sages - BG 10.26.) Highwayman: thuggee or something to do with toll tax? Narada asked Ratnakara if anyone [in his family] would share the negative karma he was incurring. Though Ratnakara was optimistic, none agreed to take/share the burden of his negative actions. Hopeless and miserable, he finally understood the truth of life, and sought Narada's forgiveness. Thereafter, Devarshi Narada taught Ratnakara the mantra for salvation. The notorious dasyu became the revered scholar, Maharshi Valmiki (by chanting "Mara" - the phonetic anagram of "Rama", as per Devarshi Narada's advice: since the mantra could not be given to negative persons like him). Valmiki became the first poet of Sanskrit and wrote the Ramayana consisting of 24,000 verses. He could also be the author of Yoga Vashistha that elaborates on various philosophical issues. ... Krsna is Arjuna's mentor, preceptor. (During samudra-manthan, Vasuki Naag agreed to become the 'churning rope'.) Arjuna cannot deviate much from the way of Krsna. (Calumniating one's own spiritual preceptor is unhelpful.) He also cannot be Bakasura-like. Arjuna is being prepared: to be a worthy consort to Krsna/Vishnu. Tagore refers to mahadaan and milan. Crucifixion – prayaschitta, atonement, penance, repentance: to negate [overcome, cleanse] the effect of negative karma (adharmic, thoughtless, mindless actions, whether done knowingly or unknowingly): to cleanse the soul and regain peace of mind? ... Arjuna/Tagore is karm-yoga personified. Tagore never sought personal glory or fame. Like many who suddenly find themselves famous, he was both gratified and dismayed by the publicity. As per the Bhagavad-Gita, the higher cause (the larger/collective good) and the struggle (continuous, genuine effort) alone should inspire the thoughts and actions. One might say that it is simply a matter of doing the dharmic thing (towards better societal health, towards a better society [and humankind] to emerge). Nothing more, nothing less. Not for the results or outcome, not out of desire for personal glory or fame. Krsna's advise is: be responsible, cultivate a sense of social care/responsibility/commitment - as an individual, and as a citizenry: have a sense of kartavya (commitment, responsibility). Let your life become one with the cause of the greater whole. That, and that alone. BG 2.47: || karmaṇy evādhikāras te mā phaleṣu kadācana mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr mā te sańgo 'stv akarmaṇi || ~ "One should be focused on the activity (i.e. karm-yoga with forethought - shunning ego, vainglory etc) only, never with its fruits (outcome, phal); so let not the fruits of action be thy motive (to overcome the anxiety of fruitive actions: anxiety of personal fame, glory, commendation etc), nor be thou to inaction (indifference, inertia, perfunctory effort, etc) attached." In other words: Do your karma (to the best of your ability) and leave the rest to a higher power. Also: cultivate a positive outlook (morale), never give up. (Collaborative karm-yoga also provides a national sense of direction, of collective achievement; it helps in character formation [mettle], otherwise a glorious past is no guarantee for a great future.)

Maharshi Vashistha: the celebrated supreme preceptor of Ikshvakus. The Ikshvaku [Ikṣvāku or Aikṣvāka] dynasty: is it about Ramchandra or Sri Rama? Arundhati - the wife of Maharshi Vashistha, one of the seven sages (Saptarshi). In Indian astronomy, pair of Alcor and Mizar in constellation Ursa Major (the Great Bear) is known as Vashistha and Arundhati. (Ursa Major - Saptarshi, each of the stars representing one of the Saptarshi or Seven Sages.) Arundhati is identified with the morning star and also with the star Alcor which forms a double star with Mizar (identified as Vashistha Maharshi) in Ursa Major. The constellation is a symbol of marital bliss. Arundhati - a reference to Sita or someone else? (Mizar and Alcor are one of the most famous double stars in the sky. Mizar is actually a quadruple star (four stars), and Alcor is really two stars. So what is seen as two stars are really six in one.)    

Shakuna, vulture. Shakuna could also refer to bald-headed associates of Garuda. Shakuntala: brought up in the care of the Shakuna. (She was born of Gandharva-Vivaha, mutual consent with Mother Nature as the witness. Her mother, the apsara Menaka, left her in the care of the Shakuna. Rishi Kanva found her surrounded by Shakuna, and raised her in his ashram.) The great Sanskrit poet, Kalidasa, retold the legend of [the hermit girl] Shakuntala and the handsome Dushyanta [king/crown prince of Hastinapura] in his play Abhijnanashakuntalam (The Sign of Shakuntalā or The Recognition of Śakuntalā, c. 300 CE). Dushyanta promised to send an envoy to escort her to his castle/palace as soon as he could; as a symbolic gesture he gave her a signet ring. However, he forgot all about Shakuntala (supposedly because of Rishi Durvasa's curse), and a fish swallowed the ring. When Shakuntala came to Dushyanta's court, she was hurt and surprised that he did not recognise her, nor recollect anything about her. She tried to remind him that she was his wife but without the signet ring, and yet Dushyanta did not recognise her. Humiliated, she returned to the ashram (along with her son, Bharata). A fisherman, surprised to find a royal ring in the belly of a fish, and recognising the royal seal, took it to the palace and, upon seeing his signet ring, Dushyanta instantly remembered Shakuntala. (Kuntala is beautiful, luxurious hair. Kuntal, earrings. Kanva: all ears, a good listener, acutely attentive? Durvasa: long distance, separation? Tagore says, aami roope tomaaye bholabo na...)  

Krsna is Achintya, beyond comprehension, inscrutable. The avatar appears open but is, in fact, enigmatic, unfathomable. 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 take the water in one's palms, he or she will no longer find it blue; it will be very clear, pellucid. It's dark-blue hue is illusion (maaya), not the illusion practiced by modern-day 'illusionists', but something far deeper, something that is much more intense and unfathomable. "The water in a vessel is sparkling; the water in the sea is dark. The small truth has words which are clear; the great truth has great silence." - Rabindranath Tagore.

Satya yuga or Krita yuga [a new chapter/epoch in the intellectual, cultural and spiritual evolution of humankind, a turnabout from the tamas or 'fog' of ghor kaliyuga] is not about honesty. There is and can be no definition of honesty. Satya implies that this yuga will be helmed by the Philosopher-king of the universe [Satyam-Shivam-Sundaram] who is eternal. (Renewal, a new chapter, a new yuga or epoch: Bimal Aanande Jaago.) This yuga will be about exercise of the intellect ['kshira-sagara-manthan'] - to regenerate dharma (dharmic [ethical] virtues, moral decency, thoughtful wisdom, good sense, common sense, equality, reform of rituals, beliefs etc, empathy), to celebrate together and integration of humankind [confluence, yoga]. It will be about the remaking of humankind and human civilisation [through reforming the mind: mindsets, thought process, attitudes, beliefs, etc]. Religionism will be irrelevant. Monuments to ignorance will fadeout (including those that have had greatness thrust upon them). It will not be more of the same thing. Intellectual stagnation, intellectual ennui, 'old wine in new bottle' will not do. Chewing the cud with [irrelevant, illogical] stories of the past [retold innumerable times, and infused with non-logic, inane, medieval sensibilities and thoughts] will not do. It will only result in a comedy of errors. The epic of the future is likely to contain elements of everything, since religionism will have to fadeout (fading out of discord and bigotry). BG 10.27: || narāṇāḿ ca narādhipam || ~ "and among humans I am the monarch." A common sovereign for all of humankind. The appearance of the Kalkiḥ-avatar will be about the closure [fadeout] of ghor kaliyuga, the amoral/adharmic epoch [yuga] in the intellectual, cultural and spiritual evolution of humankind. (The avatar is Satyaroopa or Brahm-roopa, the divine power/being/spirit [the Param-atma] in human form.) In the Bhagavad-Geeta Krsna says, whenever and wherever adharma goes beyond the minimum level (i.e. when adharmic aspects in the hearts and minds of humankind increases exponentially, causing great imbalance and difficulty), I manifest Myself time and time again.

Manas chakra is the mind chakra. Manas-Sarovara is thoughtful wisdom [application of mind, clarity of thought/purpose], openness of mind, mind that has not become straitjacketed. (Scientific temper is a way of life - an individual and social [collective] process of thinking and behaviour [an attitude] that involves the application of logic. Thought control, regimentation of the mind, is unhelpful.)

"Rama-Rajya" is not about Ramchandra. (Sri is honorific for Lakshmi [Sri Vishnu]. Rama: from Manorama. Manorama is the same as Mohan or Mohini [attractive, likable, a pleasant personality, a magnetic personality: self-confidence and positive energy/vibes]. Mohini is [very likely] the feminised version of Mohan.) "Rama-Rajya" could be the equivalent of "the kingdom of God" in Christianity. "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." - (Matthew 6:9-10). In essence, Rama-Rajya is Satya-yuga, the sattvic [progressive, just, thoughtful, empathic, dharmic] epoch, the Golden Age of humankind: of finesse of thought, attitudes and behaviour; a paradigm shift/change, from fixated thinking [more of the same thing, habituated or conditioned thinking] to a new [progressive, wise, logical, thoughtful] way of thinking - to lay the foundations for a thoughtful, empathic, dharmic and progressive humankind [and societal aspects] to emerge; a fresh approach: a turnabout [transformation] in the intellectual, cultural and spiritual evolution of humankind from the accumulated medieval sensibilities, thoughtless, irrelevant aspects and ignorance of the ghor kaliyuga phase (the amoral epoch) when dharmic and sattvic aspects (ethics, moral decency, empathy, scientific temper etc) are deficient. Satya yuga is about remaking of humankind, to 'awaken' the conscious mind, the thinking mind. Satya-yuga is also referred as Krita-yuga. This yuga [epoch] will come about with the collaborative efforts of humankind. This is yoga [integration, thoughtful collaboration, confluence of humanity].

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