Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Apocalypse Trigger - Douglas Misquita (contd).

Please read.

Review/opinion offered: The coin analogy: samudra-manthan? Mudra – coin. Manthan: churning – avaricious instincts?

Indra - the deity of rain, is depicted holding/wielding a lightning bolt, the vajra. The deep blue insignia on Dr. Eigel's jacket sleeve: a star inside a cloud with a jagged lightening bolt - the insignia for the Manhattan Engineering District.

Could humankind harness lightning as an energy source? Will Tesla's science, inventions, theories and ideas fructify in the future? Vivekananda spent much time with Tesla who was fascinated with electricity. He had both wisdom and intellect (resources of the mind, brainpower). Tesla, the forgotten genius of electricity, was a visionary and a humanist. He was one of the greatest inventors humankind has ever seen. Geniuses like him are for human advancement. Will his science emerge from small-minded aspects and harness [limitless] energy from earth and sky – to sustain human civilisation on earth? Tesla was much ahead of his time; people were unable to understand the electro-magnetic world/universe. He had a great understanding of the universe through his experimentation. He got his ideas from his dreams; Indians are not unaware of this concept. He was convinced that his time would be in the future. Will Vedic science emerge from the realm of theory and 'religion' into science with proof? Will religion and science find a synthesis? Will humankind enter into an era [yuga/epoch] when great minds cannot be ridiculed or suppressed because of short-term thinking, or that the earth's resources will be used wisely? The earth's resources are depleting; avaricious instincts make people do mindless things. Nikola Tesla competed with someone who was very business-savvy and had only a fraction of his genius.

American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer was technical director of the Manhattan Project. Under his guidance, the creation of the first atomic bomb occurred. After the devastation laid upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he misquoted from the Bhagavad-Gita. "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." I suppose we all thought that, one way or another. (It was the Trinity test.) 

However, Krsna was [very likely] describing the cosmic process – the withering and rebirth of the universe possibly, and/or the fadeout and remaking of a kalpa [a world-order], and/or cautioning about a possible atomic age. 

BG 11.31: "O Lord of lords, so vehement/intense of form, please tell me who You are. I offer my obeisance unto You; please be gracious to me. You are the primeval Lord. I do not know what Your mission is, and I would like to hear of it."

BG 11.32: śrī-bhagavān uvāca: "Time I am, the great witherer and remaker of the worlds, and I am here to destroy all those engaged in destroying this world. With the exception of you [the Pāṇḍava], all those on the opposite sides will be vanquished."

That is the law of nature. Time is kaalah [kālaḥ] in Sanskrit. Krsna is Kala Purusha: Time Eternal, The Almighty Self as Time. Kal, of the future: the creator/remaker of the future. Chapter 11 of the Bhagavad-Gita is about the Viśva-rūpa - divine universal form.  "I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all." - (BG 9.29)

BG 10.33: "I am the doer. You are the instrument." Krsna is the divine spirit/being in human form. The divine spirit/power/being [the Param-atma] is the original creator, and the knower of everything, the invincible source, and the cause of all causes. The Lord of the universe is kind, and wants to give credit to others. Krsna is eternal, imperishable – Satya. The material world is leela. Krsna is the supreme controller, the one who decides.   

Adolf Hitler: 1889-1945. Hitler's SS: The black-uniformed elite group [racist fanatics, Nazi racial ideology] and self-described "political soldiers" of the Nazi Party, it was a group [only] responsible to Hitler. (The SS expanded from a small paramilitary unit to a powerful force that served as the Führer's bodyguard, the Nazi Party's "Protection Squadron".) From 1929 until its dissolution in 1945, the SS were Hitler's most vicious Nazis during World War II (1939-45). Founded (by Hitler) in 1925, the SS became one of the most powerful organisations in all of Nazi Germany. When World War II began, the SS had more than 250,000 members and multiple subdivisions [a massive and labyrinthine bureaucracy], involved in various activities including Nazi concentration camps and other war offenses. The SS grew with the success of the Nazi movement, it had gathered considerable police and military powers, and was in effect a state within a state. (SS men were indoctrinated in racial hatred and brainwashed to harden their hearts to human suffering/misery. Their chief "virtue" was their absolute deference and loyalty to the Führer. SS bolts: the Nazi-era symbol. The swastika, an ancient symbol, was misused by Adolf Hitler and turned into a symbol of hatred.) 

Svastika: lucky or auspicious or well-being.

("Luck" is that unexplainable/indescribable something extra – possibly because of good/positive karma, sincerity and strength of character, positive/progressive initiatives and sustained/continuous effort towards realising them. Perhaps it is a blessing [appreciation] of/from the universe; perhaps it is the universe that decides. Krsna's advice is to focus on the initiatives and effort [for the betterment/improvement of society, for progressive change, towards creativity, innovation, etc] not on the fruitive aspects [phal: fame, encomiums, success, etc]. Also, to not be neglectful, indifferent, self-righteous, smug or apathetic [lacking empathy] – so as not to stagnate, regress or decay as a people, culture, society or civilisation.)

Ursa Major (the Great Bear) is a constellation. It is probably the most famous constellation, with the exception of the Orion Constellation (The Deer). In Indian astronomy, Ursa Major is Saptarshi; the brightest stars of Ursa Major represent the seven great Rishi (wise, progressive, sagacious, thoughtful, astute and knowledgeable; expanding and improving the horizons of knowledge). Saptarshi - the seven seers: the seven wise, sagacious, sensible, thinking people. (This explains 'kshira-sagara manthan' or 'seer-sagara manthan', exercise of the intellect helmed by the seven seers - to bring about a sea change, a qualitative change in attitudes, thought processes, etc.) 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 divine power/spirit/being is the Bhagya-Vidhaata (the decider, arbitrator or dispenser of [a nation or civilisation's] destiny, depending upon initiatives, effort, ethical aspects, etc). Orion is one of the most conspicuous and recognisable constellations in the night sky. 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". (Sapta Puri: sapta is seven; puri is town or city. The 'Sapta Puri' is the seven sacred cities, the seven great tirtha [of intellectual and spiritual importance]. The Sapta Puri is associated with the seven enlightened masters, the Sapta Rishi or Saptarshi. The Sapta Puri: Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridvar, Varanasi [Benaras, Kashi], Kanchipuram, Ujjain [Avanti] and Dvarka.)

Tagore, among the all-time greatest minds ever to grace the earth, advised: discard the decayed [rigidly obsolete, unethical [lacking good sense and aesthetic thought], intemperate, unfeeling or antiquated] and welcome/uphold the new. Humankind has been diminished (rendered incapable of clear, ethical, logical, commonsensical thinking), de-humanised and made inordinately self-absorbed by constant conflicts/wars. And yet Tagore (at Santiniketan in April 1941) said, he shall not make the mistake of losing faith in Man [humankind]. He would rather look forward to the opening of a new chapter in his [humankind's] history after the cataclysm is over and the atmosphere rendered clean with the spirit of service. "A day will come when unvanquished Man will retrace his path of conquest, despite all barriers, to win back his lost human heritage. ... Let me declare: the day has come when it will be proved that the power craziness and insolence of even the superpowers are now at peril ..." (Crisis in Civilisation, 1941.) Rabindranath clearly and brilliantly shares his observation and understanding of the age of imperialist excesses, foibles, decadence/decay, mindless avaricious/acquisitive instincts and [resultant] conflicts/wars. Speaking at a time when certain [vicious, regressive] ideologies and mindsets had affected all of Europe (and beyond) and seemed invincible, he declares with sagacious conviction the inevitable victory of humankind in the 'battle' against forces of ignorance, hate and conquest and welcomes the approaching daybreak [an enlightened time/epoch, a new chapter in the intellectual, cultural and spiritual evolution/progress of humankind] after a long night of tamas [thick 'fog' of ignorance, moral decay [trickery], regressive thought/attitudes, etc].

This is "apocalypse" – pralaya [the remaking of humankind/human civilisation - to positively shape society [societal aspects, mindsets, attitudes, behaviour etc] and bring progressive change]. Satyameva Jayate: the [inevitable] victory of good [dharma] over evil [adharma]. An enlightened time/epoch [yuga] will emerge through the tamas ['fog' of frosty ignorance] of the amoral age. It is necessary to have a clean mindset and approach for a healthy [progressive] society. There simply isn't another option. Humankind is likely to enter an era of greater ethical decency, gentleness [better, progressive attitudes, empathy and resultant behaviour], peace, responsibility [to the society, toward betterment of humankind/societal aspects/mindsets], and integrity [of humanity, of human qualities]. It will be an enlightened time - a wiser, progressive and thoughtful epoch/era. There will have to be qualitative changes in the mindset [attitudes] of humankind. Continuing with the ignorance, mindless, unscientific, illogical, unprogressive and ignoble ways/aspects will not do.

Satyajit Ray was a rare genius. "Ghare Baire" is pithy. (Tagore wrote it.) It is about the temptation or ruse of religionism and opportunistic behaviour/short-term thinking, rhetorical ethic [hypocrisy] and mindless/self-absorbed nationalism. "Hirak Rajar Deshe" is an impressive cinematic representation of Tagore's vision of a progressive [forward-thinking, modern-minded] India. ... Only when monuments to indifference, apathy, moral decay, thought control, whims and foibles, fossilised/ossified thinking [fixed mindset/attitudes and behaviour that is rigidly obsolete or antiquated], illiteracy [non-logic and lack of scientific temper], ignorance and brainwashing are dismantled (by those that have created them) the nation [and people: their mindset, thought process] can progress.

What can be gathered from Tagore's poetry is that "orthodox revivalism" will not be the way forward. A culture of negativity [that de-humanise and insult others] will not thrive. Such unprogressive mindsets, attitudes and instincts are likely to be inoculated. Smug hierarchies will fadeout.

There are 7 Marut, different varieties or groups of 'winds' (breath, winds of change), of whom Krsna is Marici - the primeval wind that precedes all the others. "I am Marici of the Marut." - BG 10.21. (Marici - pepper?) The nava-brahma, the nine brāhmaṇa, is headed by Marīci.

Eagle is sturdy, astute [canny, adroit, crafty or mentally acute, perceptive, having keen discernment, acute in perception and clear in judgment, i.e. discerning and judicious], fit as a fiddle, focused, logical, not indifferent, indefatigable, smart, known for alacrity/quickness [agility, like quicksilver] and astute powers of observation [eagle-eyed]. (Agility or alacrity should not be confused for non-application of mind – thoughtless [unthinking, impulsive], mindless [illogical, confused], erroneous thinking or thinking in a muddled way, not thinking clearly.) Eagle has clarity of thought/purpose and the ability to think big - and small (meticulous attention to detail, ability to understand nuances). Eagle is resilient (will not give up). Eagle is well-read, having a healthy reading habit, a habit of reading regularly. Eagle is about cerebral effort (impeccable reasoning and inference, logical conclusions), and extraordinary powers of retention - the capacity to remember, the power of remembering things. (There can be no manthan or exercise of the mind/intellect, otherwise.) Eagle has the intellectual capability to reason, discuss and debate, understand logic, ask questions (for clarity of thought/purpose, to be discerning). Eagle also has the ability to communicate fluently and effectively, and to provide effective input etc. 

Garuda - the birdman, the bird-king: the king of the skies. Garuda (Suparṇa) is depicted with an eagle's beak. (Possibly: eagle or falcon-faced, or eagle or falcon-like characteristics.) Śyena is eagle (in Sanskrit). The noble-natured Brahminy Kite (purple-and-white plumed sea eagle, often referred to as the Singapore Bald Eagle) is considered as the contemporary representation of Garuda. ... The Vedas provide the earliest reference of Garuda. The mighty Garuda is invoked in the Vedas as Shyena [Śyena, śyenaḥ]. As per the Puranas, Shyena and Garuda are the same. In Vedic literature, Shyena is the divine eagle/falcon [supreme of falcons, falcon of the sky] identified with Agni, who brought about a renewal of all things that exist on earth. In the puranas this is attributed to Garuda. (The sacred agni is revered in the Vedas, in Vedic thought.) Fleet-winged Shyena: agile [physically or mentally nimble, quick-witted], deeply perceptive (having or showing keen discernment), insightful, sensible, perspicacious [clear-sighted, clear-headed], astute, ingenious [imaginative, innovative], a source of valuable insights and sagacious/sensible/thoughtful advice. Kautilya – 'the wily one': this could imply guileful, shrewd. Kautilya – the ability to outwit, outsmart or outmaneuver, adept at kutniti? Acharya Chanakya is also known as Vishnugupt and Kautilya (honorific). Acharya: masterful or nobility of purpose? (Chanakya was a political thinker, a political scientist. Acharya is honorific. 'Achara' is natural or innate habit (one's true nature). Vyavahara is acquired or learned behaviour, habits, and beliefs. 'Arya' is innate nobility [of thought].) Whether Chanakya and Kautilya was the same person or not – one cannot be sure. Śyena also refers to the 10,800 brick fire-altar (agní-cayana) in the shape of a flying falcon (symbolising the essence of Agni - knowledge, thoughtful wisdom, intellectual vigour/lustre, intellectual strengths, renewal, openness of mind) in the Vedic ritual/worship. (The concept of perfectly virtuous, perfectly scrupulous, perfectly conscientious or perfectly ethical ruler or ideal leader is simplistic, simply because there is no ideal society in the academic sense. Public and individual morality [ethics, conscientious behaviour, moral character, to be morally upright/scrupulous] has to be understood as two different things. Nīti is prudent worldly behaviour, or "the wise way of life" [a set of guidelines, there should be a sense of nobility]. Niti is to power politics what conventional virtue/ethics is to those thinkers who suppose that moral goodness is sufficient to be an accepted, recognised or effective, efficient or competent ruler: it is the benchmark [measure] of political success - political stability, political decision-making and political judgment, or to create [and strengthen] political structures. ... Politics and governance is not about being unblemished. There are many tangible and intangible aspects. Humankind is not without flaws either. Politics is also shaped by it, influenced by it. Politics requires interaction, connections and reciprocation. There is [also] need for continuity (especially in large nations with diverse populations and cultures). It provides some sort of reassurance. Politics is a test of character, mettle and endurance - of continuous effort [to make things better, not quick-fix or ad hoc fixes]. One needs to have the necessary 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). Moral fiber is the ability to adhere to ethics [for the larger good] even during difficulties; it is a test of character and purpose. The issues, challenges and expectations from a political dynasty will be considerably different from those of a new dynasty. Compromising on essential aspects for short-term or irrelevant gains is foolish. Muddleheaded politics is self-defeating. Making use of opportunities to do something good or beneficial for the people or to improve societal aspects is different from blatant self-absorbed opportunism. Indifference and non-credible performance creates perceptions and alienates people. Platitudes, extravagance of rhetoric etc is no substitute for genuine [and sustained, sustainable] 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. That is the measure of political success. One has to prove one's mettle, one's ability [through various issues, challenges and what-not] to gain stature and credibility. Capabilities are more important than perceived intent. There should be common sense in politics. A ruler/administrator/government must understand their dharma [responsibility] towards the people; there must be a sense of fairness, a concern/care for the wellbeing of a citizenry. Intemperate or overindulgent corruption, hypocrisy, indifference, unscrupulous or unethical kutniti and incompetence [ineptitude] will alienate the people. And so, a ruler/administrator must have ethical boundaries/threshold. Intellectual heft, intellectual mettle, and/or a healthy reading habit are a good thing. A ruler/government that is agreeable/affable [not indifferent or small-minded or smug, uncouth or clumsy or lacking in good sense], is receptive [sympathetic, commonsensical - understands complexities] endears itself to the people. Machiavellian tactics - much deception and hypocrisy in statecraft (kutniti and politics, governance, administrative activities) or in attitude and behaviour towards the people is enmeshing. A ruler simply muddles through (and is forced to increasingly perform negative or regressive actions so as to remain ahead of opponents). It eventually unravels, and also becomes part of the collective psyche [folklore, idioms].)  

Vulture: a bald head and/or a long, hooked nose. Jatayu is a famous 'vulture'.

Fortesque: Fort - Durga.

Lord Shiva is a woman, She who hears all prayers. For purposes of understanding: Shivani. The various honorifics to divinity is about attributes, qualities and characteristics, not gender. Shiva ('the good' or 'the auspicious') is also an adjective or a quality, thus 'Shiva' could [also] be honorific. There are many 'Shiva'. However, which Shiva is the Supreme Yogi [unifier], the exuberant dancing Shiva [the "Nataraja" - the one who helms the 'Cosmic Dance', the cosmic phenomenon of creation, maintenance and dissolution/renewal], and which Shiva is about chillum smoking, bhang drinking or au naturel, is the question.

Bali: sand. Chokher Bali: eyesore or constant irritant. (Rahu?) Impressed by Bali's magnanimity, Vishnu referred to him as "Mahabali" - he was a great king and a great soul [maha atma]. (Bali was a benevolent and righteous king. His noble deeds and valour was such that his people revered him. The fifth avatar of the Dasavatara is the Vamana-avatar [short-stature, diminutive]. This avatar approached the [arrogant, self-obsessed] Mahabali (who imagined himself to be greater than Vishnu) and asked for three paces of land, and caused Mahabali's 'pataal-pravesha'. Vishnu granted that he could visit his people once a year. However, it is unlikely that all diminutive folk were Vamana-avatar. Mahabali - grandson of Prahlada. Could it imply Mahabali was Hiranyakashipu? The pious/devout and obedient Prahlada was Hiranyakashipu's son and a staunch devotee of Vishnu.) Also, could 'Bali' imply someone insincere or habitually deceptive, adept at throwing dust/sand into people's eyes? There's also the story involving Vali and Sugriva. (Su: good, griva: jaw. Sugriva: handsome?) Krsna refers to Arjuna as "Maha-Baahu", the mighty-armed. Baahubali could be a reference to Arjuna/Garuda - Chandragupta Maurya? Baahubali: someone who has endured hardships [given up personal comforts, etc] for the betterment of humankind [societal aspects]: i.e. someone who has imbibed the spirit of dharma [dharmic decency/ethics] and continuous effort [for societal well-being and progress]?

The earth opening up and accepting Sita into her lap: euphemism for burial ceremony? Kiṣkindhā or Kishkindha – monkey kingdom: does it imply ape nature: lame-brained [dullard], empty-headed, imitative, uncouth [clumsy, uncultured/uncultivated, slovenly habits], a tendency to jump into action without adequate thought? 'Ignorance is bliss' is to falsely justify apathy, lack of knowledge, and to revel in it, to take unrestrained pleasure in ignorance: to be closed-minded, inflexible rigidity of thought, attitude and behaviour: avidya. Great achievements require the ability to think clearly and logically, it also requires the ability to contemplate. It is not all josh and no hosh. Jumping into action without thought might look good initially but will most certainly require more backtracking, humiliation and remedial measures than can be imagined. And sometimes, it makes the difference between success and failure. (Tagore's "Rahur Prem" is about what or whom?)

Ayodhya: faint-hearted, brown nose, the genuflecting type - preferring empty bravado and frivolous style to substance [effort, initiatives etc], an inability to withstand or endure hardships or tribulations that tests one's mettle (the stuff one is made of, one's character)? Fawning, groveling, sycophantic or ingratiating: Tagore's 'taal patar sepai'?

Yudhisthira is 'Dharmaraj'. Ramchandra is 'Maryada Purushottam'. Dharmaraj (fair-minded, embodiment of moral ideas and virtue) and Maryada Purushottam (an honourable person, a paragon of virtue, the ideal/perfect man): is there a similarity there? ... Whether Ramchandra is Maryada Purushottam (an honourable person, a paragon of virtue, the ideal/perfect man) or a self-obsessed, jealous, inconsiderate, janus-faced, adharmic/ignoble hypocrite, a medieval-minded chauvinist: when the 'fog' of kali-yuga (dulling of the qualities of the mind, inability to think clearly and logically) dissipates, there is likely to be clarity on this. (Satya-yuga is an enlightened, progressive time. It is not more of the same thing; it is a turnabout from the 'tamas' [ignorance, apathy/indifference, amoral negativity, non-application of mind, regressive and mindless aspects] of kali-yuga. So merely continuing with the interpretations of centuries past, and that too infused with medieval sensibilities will not do. There will have to be fresh thinking, a fresh approach - a new way of seeing/understanding things. Only then can there be a changeover of epochs.) Satyajit Ray's "Mahapurush" is very interesting. ... Pharaoh Ramasses II (Ramses 'the Great') is an example of the inevitable decline (and fadeout) of all rulers and of the empires they create with their self-glorification [affectation to greatness]. 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'. Ramasses II – a manifestation of SheshaNaag?

"I am all-consuming time, and I too am the generating cause [birth] of all that is yet to be [bhaviṣyatām]." - BG 10.34. (All monuments to ignorance [tamas] will fade away. Time will consume [wash-away/fade] all that is irrelevant, obsolete or rigidly antiquated. It is necessary to understand the rhythm of the universe and to be in sync with it.)  

Ourang Medan: A certain emperor is a signifier of authoritarian rule, orthodoxy (political and religious) and puritanical measures (enforced morals). Under him the Empire reached its greatest extent, although his policies helped lead to its dissolution (in the mid-18th century). His reign lasted about 49 years; he confined his father in his own palace, and left behind a crumbling empire, an inefficient administration, and alienated subjects/people.

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. ... 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.) Tagore’s "Bichar aache dhorjo nei, buddhi aache khoma nei..."? Jahangir considered Khurram (the future Emperor Shah Jahan) his favourite. He was also 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: addiction to alcohol, opium, and women. Khusrau and Khurram rebelled. The court intrigues that followed took a heavy toll on his health. He also came under the influence of his Empress, Nur Jahan. She wielded much power, there was continuous palace intrigues. Because of his constant inebriated condition, Nur Jahan, his favourite queen/chief consort, became the actual power behind the throne. (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. ... 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? Jahangir does not mention her in Tuzk-i-Jahangiri. (Anarkali: pomegranate flower - a metaphor for peaches-and-cream complexion, florid like a pomegranate flower in full bloom? It is believed she was buried alive in the walls of a fort. Could it be a reference to 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]?)

Wheel - chakra, discus. Chakra is emblematic of the mind: intellect and intellectual abilities/strengths. A logical [thoughtful, reasonable, clearheaded, commonsensical] thinking process to help overcome short-sighted/archaic/irrelevant/illogical/obsolete thought processes. That is how the wheel of evolution moves on. Progress is about intellectual, literary, cultural, behavioural, and ethical/moral progress (moral decency: responsible, thoughtful behaviour; empathy [not apathy, disdain or indifference]; social responsibility - one's dharma to the society). Progress is about 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, to not increase the horizons of ignorance. Ethics and virtues is not about impossible moralism (since humankind is not perfect), rather it is about being a good decent person, about having a sense of responsibility (as an individual and as a citizenry), it is about taking positive/progressive initiatives and making sustained efforts to actualise them; it is about having the mental maturity and intellectual ability to differentiate between dharma and adharma (progressive/positive aspects and regressive/negative aspects) - i.e. to have ethical boundaries (to be aware/conscious of the outcome or significance of one's behaviour etc). The wheel [also] symbolises the cosmic law. The mace [gada, club - Kaumodoki] symbolises the power/strength of the cosmic law: justice, moral decency [ethics: responsible thought and behaviour].

A poker face: inscrutable, calm [serene, relaxed], unexcitable or imperturbable: an impassive facial expression so as not to give away one's purpose, feelings, or situation. Not impulsive, considers (a matter) carefully, as by weighing alternatives. Firmly determined (resolute, resolved: purposeful, firm in purpose or intent), measured, careful in thought (unhurried: given to thinking something over, to cerebrate, prudent and levelheaded), temperate and dignified in manner. Contemplative: to think about or discuss something very carefully so as to make a choice or to make a decision. (Poker is a gambling card game involving betting and individual play, whereby the ranks and combinations of players' cards determine the winner; some of the cards are not revealed until the end of the game.)  

Christian Black: Karna, the antithesis of Arjuna? 

(Karna – ears. Does it imply distinctive ears or acutely attentive? Draupadi is a reference to the Krsna-avatar. There is some speculation about the possibility of an unarticulated connection between Karna and Draupadi. (Draupadi rejected Karna [since he was a 'suta'] and chose Arjuna. Svayamvara: self-choice.) Karna was ambitious; he was also resentful and nourished bitterness within himself. He was born with 'kavacha' and 'kundala', these made him invincible. Kavacha: body armour - metaphor for aura of invincibility and/or blessed with a teflon personality? Vach: speech, speaking powers, a man of his word? Kundala: earrings (susceptible to hearsay or to "play it by ear"?) - i.e. to improvise, to decide on one's actions depending on the situation (and without a plan): ad hoc decisions or quick fix. Could earrings imply earpiece?

Karna - ace archer and a strong competitor of Arjuna. Vasusena to Radheya to Karna. A man with a [supposedly] phenomenal sense of integrity and generosity: 'Daanveer' Karna. (Daanveer: charitable, magnanimous.) Duryodhana had obliged ('bought') Karna by making him the king of Anga. (Anga: part or portion; was Karna given a share or portion of something?) Duryodhana understood Karna's usefulness vis-à-vis Arjuna. A grateful Karna pledged unfaltering loyalty to Duryodhana. (Dhana: wealth. What could Duryodhana imply?) Karna was a 'suta' (thread). Kusalavya or Sauti: a wandering poet/minstrel. (Sauti - from suta?) 'Suta' - emotionally threadbare? Or that he was incapable of making his own decisions, with someone else pulling his strings?

Anubis (a very ancient deity) is depicted as a man with the head of a jackal, alert ears and a pointed nose/snout. The symbols of Anubis: the flail, a shorter cross, a long, straight staff with a forked end - the was-sceptre (a symbol of authority and power/dominance), and the ankh (a handled cross, the original cross, the key of life, the key of the Nile, and symbol of "eternal life") - a kind of cross with a cruciform shape, with a loop above the transverse bar. (The ankh entered Christian iconography as the crux ansata, the "eyed" cross.) A flail was an agricultural tool used for winnowing grain. Anubis is a funerary deity, and associated with the afterlife. Anubis is depicted in the tomb of Tutankhamen [18th dynasty, New Kingdom]. The jackal analogy: a Machiavellian manipulator (highly adept at manipulation), the greatest schemer of all time? could be because of Anubis is also depicted as a reclining jackal on a mastaba, holding the sekhem-sceptre. (A mastaba is an ancient Egyptian tomb made of mud brick, rectangular in shape with sloping sides and a flat roof. The sekhem-sceptre is a type of ritual scepter in ancient Egypt. It is a symbol of authority and is associated with power and control.

The devil or satan is depicted with a pitchfork. A long, straight staff with a forked end: double-tongued or fork-tongued? In other words, a hypocrite: insincere, fraudulent, a schemer, deliberately deceptive [to mislead], especially by saying or pretending one set of feelings/virtues/scruples [moral rectitude/moral fibre] and behaving [to do something] under the influence of another. 

The ankh (a handled cross, the original cross, the key of life, the key of the Nile, and symbol of "eternal life") - a kind of cross with a cruciform shape, with a loop above the transverse bar. Does it imply a noose? Ankh – a spy? 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? ('A snake in the grass' is a metaphor for treachery.) Shakuni was the prince of Gandhara Kingdom. Shakuni - the vulture or vulturess. What could this be about? If Jatayu is a positive 'vulture', Shakuni could be Macbeth-like or Hecate-like - overweening ambition, arrogance, delusions, tyrannical, emotional instability, deep and pessimistic despondency and paranoia/insanity/psychopathy; to increasingly perform negative actions so as to remain ahead of opponents and/or above suspicion, those who seek power for its own sake? Or, is Jatayu = Shakuni? Tagore referred to Kadambari [Jyotirindranath's wife] as Hecate, Lady He or Shrimati He [after the character in Macbeth].

What could a "handled" cross imply? A handler: someone that handles or directs something or someone? Or, mustache twirling machismo: a walrus man, or a long, sleek, curled, perfect handlebar?

A shorter cross or crook: diminutive, an incorrigible conman [swindler, trickster, fraudster, spurious, knave, imposter]: a thuggee? A habitual trickster and mischief-monger? ... Tweedledum and Tweedledee tells Alice about the Walrus [a very unpleasant character]. He is a sweet-talking conman who appears to be kind. (The Carpenter is his sidekick.) The walrus entreated/pleaded with the oysters to "come and walk with us" for "a pleasant walk, a pleasant talk". It's a trick, a ruse. "It seems a shame," the Walrus said, "to play them such a trick, after we've brought them out so far, and made them trot so quick!" And then he happily feasts on them. (They eat all of the oysters.) And yet, "I weep for you," the Walrus said: "I deeply sympathise." With sobs and tears he sorted out those of the largest size, holding his pocket-handkerchief before his streaming eyes. (It is about the difference between being and seeming.)

Karna did not know who his real parents were. His birth-mother is Kunti and biological father is Surya. Surya could be a metaphor: a wise and learned person, intellectual brilliance, and/or an extraordinary, incandescent or luminous personality. (Rabi - Surya.) According to Rishi Durvasa's boon [mantra] Kunti would have a son blessed with Surya's qualities. However, Kunti was still very young, and did not want social stigma. She put Karna in a basket and deposited it in the River Ganga. Could this be an allusion to 'Immaculate Conception'? (Immaculate: nirmal, unblemished. Ganga: pavitra. Krsna says, "I am the Ganga [Jahnavi]" – BG 10.31.) Ganga is also a signifier or metaphor for knowledge, a perennial knowledge stream. The Vedic people bathed in the rays of progressive, thoughtful knowledge, of good sense, of thoughtful logic and wisdom. Karna's adoptive/foster-mother is Radha and foster-father is Adhiratha. (Karna is 'Radheya' - of Radha. Radha - Arjuna? Kunti is a reference to Krsna. There could be two Karna. What or who was Lava and Kusha [the twins] - sons or daughters? Who was Mirabai? (Was she obsessive, given to dramatising unseemly grief and melancholy - unrequited love?) Social stigma is unusual since 'Gandharva-Vivaha' was prevalent; it required no rituals, although the consent of the woman was necessary.) 

Negative [or mindless or regressive/unprogressive] thoughts and actions/behaviour can only be 'washed away' or 'cleansed' by positive thoughts and actions/behaviour. Kumbha is pitcher (a full vessel). It could imply: head. (Divinity is Brahmn - the fount [source] of all knowledge and wisdom. The dharma [responsibility as per one's true nature] of a wise, progressive and learned person [a Brahmana] is to share his or her knowledge and wisdom. A 'Brahmana' is a true teacher [guru] of humankind, someone who imparts their wisdom to others, to guide them. (This is 'seer-sagara manthan'.) Knowledgeable and wise persons were revered and honoured, insulting them was considered maha-paap, the greatest of sins.) Kumbha could be a reference to the mind [thinking mind]. The definition/scope of knowledge is very vast. Mela is confluence, convergence. Kumbha Mela: a convergence of great minds, the best or brilliant minds; the convergence of mind, personality, and thinking styles. (This is how 'manthan' happens.) Kumbha Mela: where great minds come together to create something (through a scientific, technological, literary, creative or medical process/procedure) and/or to emerge with new thoughts, ideas, concepts, etc. ... The ancients [also] had concepts like 'Gandharva-Vivaha' and 'Niyoga'. 'Svayamvara' is self-choice. The same concept should be applicable to remarriage and/or while choosing a partner. Forced unions - rakshacha or paishacha vivaha - to be abhorred. These only cause unhappiness and in turn shape or influence societal mindsets. Crossing the 'threshold' of "traditional" gender norms etc that 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." ... Archaic/obsolete mindsets [habituated or conditioned to do a certain kind of thinking] will have to change. For something to gain acceptance in society, for society to evolve (to be considerate, broad-minded, warmhearted, to have human qualities, to be progressive and forward-thinking)... archaic, thoughtless/unthinking/mindless/illogical, habituated, hypocritical moral piety and rigid mindsets will 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. This is progressive change, for the betterment of society [societal mindsets, thought processes/attitudes and behaviour]. People don't have children 'from' someone. People have children together. A woman cannot be considered a lesser parent. Humankind will [perhaps] have to redefine the concept of marriage and change their attitude towards what is understood as 'love child'. How can a child be legitimate or illegitimate? It is non-logic. Whether one of the parents accepts or acknowledges the relationship or not, or chooses to be part of the child's upbringing or not, is a different thing. (The avatar [the divine spirit/power/being in human form] is a reformer, change-maker, and also offers a mirror to society.)

Sun Tzu, strategist and tactician. 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. The Art of War details a complete philosophy on how to decisively defeat one's opponent.

Q – quisling? A detractor in the guise of a well-wisher? A 'snake in the grass' - sneaky or treacherous: Judas?

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? There were two thieves crucified with Jesus, one on the right and one on the left. Does it imply Jesus was rendered ineffective? Also, who was Joseph? What was his equation with Jesus and/or Mary? Did he have anything to do with the 'Crucifixion'? How did Jesus or Mary become Europeanised? Did mindsets that 'rejected' the Buddha have something to do with this? There is some speculation that Jesus spent much time in Tibet and thereabouts. What is the Rozabal (or Rauza Bal) shrine about? Is Yuz Asaf (Youza Asouph) a reference to Jesus or Joseph? ('Resurrection' could be: to overcome mental barriers and to rediscover the intellectual vigour/lustre and effervescence [cheerfulness, enthusiasm] - i.e. to find the rhythm again.)

Jesus carrying the cross could imply a heavy burden on his soul (possibly: his inability to clear the air, to call someone's bluff). 'Crucifixion' could be a metaphor. (Crucifixion – from cross or crucifix. However, which 'cross' has been referred to: the shorter cross, the handled cross [the ankh], or a variation of the Svastika?) '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 accept disappointments and not pass the buck of blame unfairly; to continue to fulfill [i.e. to 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, fair and 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 - the feelings of loss of someone very dear to him, someone regarded with affection and tenderness.) Jesus was a broken man - weakened, demoralised, and subdued, experiencing the pain of grief (difficult emotions): confusion, hopelessness, sorrow, melancholy, numbness [of intellect], lethargy, desperation, sleep and appetite disturbances, annoyance, a tremendous sense of guilt [self-blame] and longing, etc. And, perhaps, he was unable to share his feelings. He was distraught. He wasn't the same anymore. (Arjuna and Karna: Jesus and Anti-Christ? Radha and Mirabai? There could be some confusion, about which is which. Karna: charity-minded or thuggee - baiting people by appearing charitable? ... Appearances not only can be deceptive, as Machiavelli points out, but that an [unsophisticated] crowd always is taken by appearances. "Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are." ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince. Machiavelli argues that in an ideal world it would be virtuous for a prince to keep to his pledges. But since it is not an ideal world (humankind is not perfect), it is necessary for a prince [ruler, administrator - a "hereditary" prince or a "new" prince] to use deception when it is to his benefit. The prince must have the characteristics of both the fox and the lion. The fox can recognise snares but cannot do anything against wolves. The lion can subdue wolves but cannot recognise snares. The prince must be cunning and courageous. Machiavelli states that it is not important or necessary for a prince to actually have good or virtuous qualities, just the appearance of having them (it's absolutely imperative that he seems to have them), since people are [easily] taken/influenced by appearances. "It would be nice to be seen as generous," he writes at the beginning of chapter 16. The "nice" or true generosity a questionable virtue: weak, ineffectual - since it brings with it expectations, although it is essential "for the man seeking power", it is inadvisable for the ruler "already in power". It helps if one appears to be compassionate, loyal, humane, honest, and religious. ... Lord Indra [disguised as an old man] went to Karna and asked for his kavacha and kundala in daan (charity). What could this imply?) 

The Magi: also referred to as the three Wise Men [from the East] or Three Kings in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 2:11) and Christian tradition. They were a group of distinguished persons who visited Jesus after his birth (in Bethlehem, with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh). The question is: was it Jesus or was it the child born of 'Immaculate Conception', the infant Christ child? 'Mother' Mary: 'Mother' is very likely honorific. Mary is Joseph's wife. Mary is [also] mother of the baby Jesus. Mary is Virgin Mary. Mary is mother of Jesus. There is the miracle of the virgin birth of Jesus. ... What is the epithet "virgin" about? Could it imply unblemished, everfresh and/or Jesus' feelings towards Mary [Christ] – the way he treats her: his ardour remains undiminished, they do not get bored of each other? (Jesus as Mary's son, Jesus as Mary's "baby" – these could be endearments [languages of love].) Mary is depicted either alone or with her child Jesus. Mary realised that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit (before she was married to Joseph). Magdalene - "from the village of Magdala." There is some speculation about Jesus and Mary Magdalene: about the alleged marriage of Jesus, that Jesus was married to Miriam of Magdala, the possibility of a secret marriage between Jesus and Mary, that they had two children together, that Jesus held Mary in the highest regard, though not as his wife, or that he had a relationship with her beyond marriage, and that Mary Magdalene was the same person as the Virgin Mary. 'Mother' Mary (Virgin Mary) and Mary Magdalene – were they different people? Mary – from Miriam? 'Holy Spirit' is a reference to what or whom? Were Jesus and Mary together before her marriage to Joseph? Mary was one of Jesus' closest followers [disciple] - a leading/significant/most important follower, supporter, and the first witness to the 'resurrection', the risen Jesus? (The Holy Grail is a legendary vessel, believed to be the cup that Jesus Christ drank from at the Last Supper. (There could be some metaphor involved.) 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.) 

Krsna is a woman. Radha-Krsna could be the same as Jesus and Mary. Krsna – to Christ. "Of all trees I am the Peepal (aśvatthaḥ)." - BG 10.25. The Bodhi Tree, the Tree of Enlightenment, is the personification of Vishnu/Keshavah/Narayana/Hari - the deity of the earth/nature. The Bodhi tree is also the symbol of Gautama Buddha's message in general, since the Buddha ('the Enlightened One' or 'the Wise One') had overcome mundane [banal, narrow, selfish] aspects [limitations] and become one with the world spirit. The Buddha belongs to all of humankind. ... The Buddha attained enlightenment (bodhi) about 2,500 years ago while meditating underneath a Peepal tree. Vishnu/Krsna is that Peepal tree. This explains guru-shishya parampara. (Krsna is Arjuna's mentor. What can be gathered from Tagore's poetry is that in the future the Radha-Krsna thing will be discreet/inconspicuous. He clearly mentions "gopon prem" – a secret passion. There has been much patchy reading, myth-making and trivialisation or over-simplification. For instance, Krsna stealing the gokipas' clothes when they were bathing and hiding them up a tree. ...  Sita is Krsna is Mary. Radha and Mirabai - were they different people? Ramchandra and Arjuna - were they different people? If so, which of them is Jesus? This is the crux.

A vicious conqueror that walked with a limp and relished loot and spoliation, an opportunist who used religion to further his ambitions (in the justification of his rule and his conquests), and who rarely bothered to create any governance or administrative framework after destroying the existing/prevalent one, and who is [also] possibly the inventor of a more elaborate form of chess (large chess or perfect chess - perhaps he thought regular chess was not intricate enough), and the emperor that emulated him while laying the basis for a certain dynasty/empire and becoming its first emperor – were they different people? The much-admired emperor who decided to provide the people (in his empire) with one universal eclectic religion, Divine Monotheism, and presented himself as the viceregent of the Almighty – who was he? The ruler who was a little more than a purported ruler and a munificent patron of singers, musicians, dancers and artists; an accomplished dilettante, though widely regarded as a debauched and detached ruler (maladministration was the basis for annexation) – who was he? (Satyajit Ray's 'Shatranj Ke Khiladi' is very interesting.)

The emperor famous for his golden "chain of justice" and the emperor who is a signifier of authoritarian rule, orthodoxy (political and religious) and puritanical measures (enforced morals) – were they different people? Shelley's "Ozymandias" about Ramasses II 'the greatest pharaoh of the New Kingdom,' Ancient Egypt's [supposed] Golden Age, is interesting. Ramasses II is an example of the inevitable decline (and fadeout) of all rulers and of the empires they create with their self-glorification or affectation to greatness. 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, one of the largest pieces of Egyptian sculpture in the British Museum, is shown wearing a head-dress with a cobra diadem on top. ... What can be gathered from Tagore's poetry is this: all monuments to fraudsters or imposters will be dismantled [faded] by time. The [human] soul is imperishable; it merely takes a new human form. However, the habits of the soul (one's true or ingrained nature, characteristics) could help understand historical or mythological characters, if they were to ever make a reappearance, that is.

The 9th avatar of the "Dasavatar" [the ten avatars of Vishnu] is the Buddha-avatar, who appeared about 2,550 years ago. The Krsna-avatar [the 8th avatar] is expected to return as the Kalkiḥ-avatar [the tenth avatar, the avatar-of-the-future]. This will signify the 'closure' [fadeout] of the amoral kali-yuga [the Dark Age, the age of tamas]. It will be a new beginning [satya-yuga: an enlightened, progressive time/epoch/yuga]. All faiths are awaiting an avatar: the second coming of Christ, the Maitreya Buddha etc. The Kalkiḥ-avatar's steed is the white winged horse, Devadatta. Devadatta is also Arjuna's conch [mouthpiece?]. 

The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are timeless; it is events associated with the avatar [the Almighty in human form] and the yuga (epoch). Some of the events [leela – events that impart values, ethics or lessons to ponder over] are predetermined (as can be gathered from Tagore's poetry). The epic-of-the-future is likely to contain elements of everything, since religionism [religious schisms, obsession with rituals etc] will have to fadeout (i.e. fading out of discord and bigotry - for humankind to progress, to reimbibe human qualities). Religionisation [including hypocrisy/affected piety, ignorance, illogic, pious platitudes and orthodox mindsets] and commercialisation of faith and its spiritual essences etc, is likely to be curbed. (Tagore referred to such mindsets and instincts as 'disease, malaise', and that humiliation is inevitable.) There will be a common sovereign for all of humankind. "And among humans I am the monarch." – BG 10.27. In other words, the realisation that all of humankind prays to the same divine power/being (the Supreme Being, the Supreme Consciousness) is likely to come about. (This is the essence of the 'Visva-roopa' – the all-embracing universal form of divinity. "Ekam sat, viprAH bahudhA vadanti." - Rig Veda, 1-164-146. The highest Self, the One eternal essence is One, though the wise [the sagacious] say or describe in a variety of ways through diversity of intellect.) There is likely to be blurring of lines between faiths/religions. In the future, religion will be a way of life. There will be one religion: humanity (human qualities - empathy, self-improvement [to become a better person/citizen, a better people], to do something to improve societal aspects, social responsibility). This will be part of the remaking [reshaping] of humankind [mindsets, attitudes, a turnabout from indifference/apathy, illogic, regressive normative behaviour, lack of scruples, lack of good sense, degradation in societal values etc] – to stem the rot and to achieve a turnabout, so that wiser, forward-thinking, thoughtful, empathic, progressive-minded humankind can emerge. There will be an increase in human longevity, a waning of discord, religionism, famine, and disease, and the ushering in of a new era of empathy, assimilation, equality, and scientific temper, progressive thought, openness of mind, dharmic decency [moral decency: scruples, to have ethical boundaries; social responsibility, to be useful to society] and love. "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" [Matthew 6:9-10].)     

Who, or what, is the Antichrist? Evil/malevolent organisation, or sinister/malignant individual? Some say the appearance is in the future. During the 1940's, many believed Adolf Hitler was the Antichrist. There have been many "antichrists". But there is also coming of the Antichrist, the coming of the lawless [amoral, wicked, unjust, unscrupulous, ignoble?] one. "Anti", as in "against" or "instead of". Antichrist is simply "the deceiver" [imposter, usurper] or "against Christ" – [possibly] the absolute/ideal/perfect embodiment of what it is to be against Christ. Antichrist is about untruth, false piety and every kind of wicked deception: a false messiah who appears responsible, dignified, righteous [ethical, scrupulous], spiritual and holy (genuine, just/fair-minded, virtuous, sincere).

Tagore's "Rahur Prem" ['The Demon's Love'] is about Rahu and the moon. The moon does not like Rahu, and yet [the malefic] Rahu resolves to coerce and enfetter the moon with all his might; to confine or imprison with [metaphoric] rugged iron fetters - to restrict, to repress, or hamper: a wretched captive in his thrall [servitude]. (A restraint or curb on action or progress: the proverbial 'lakshmana-rekha'. Ravana held Sita captive in Ashoka-vatika.) Rahu vows to imprison inner peace, laughter, happiness and high spirits [exuberance, vivacity, gaiety] - the most insidious prison of all: intentional and unreasonable infliction of mental or emotional distress. Rahu arrogantly wonders: let me see who can remove those iron fetters (given his meticulous efforts). His constant shadowy presence will follow and surround the moon in spring or winter, day or night. He will show up everywhere, the moon will not be able to avert/sidestep him. The moon will experience the ceaseless clanking weight of Rahu's hard heart in rugged iron ankle-bands. Rahu's shadow will stretch over the sky and cover the earth, and influence everything in his likeness (similitude, conformity or congruity). Could this be a reference to demon kali (Kaliya Naag) - the embodiment of kali-yuga - the amoral [unrighteous] age/epoch of tamas: ignorance, non-logic, intellectual and creative lethargy and moral decay, negativity and regressive aspects? (Rahu is malefic. Rahu is tamas. Solar eclipse is known as Rahu, i.e. dulling of intellectual strengths/qualities. And so, the intellectual, cultural and spiritual evolution of humankind is at its weakest.)

Could it [also] be a reference to the Antichrist - a malefic influence, symbolising all negativity, tamas and vices in humankind? 

Demon: a malefic influence, a negative person; a malevolent, unpleasant, regressive, warped or ignoble mind.

Rahu is a shadow or a node. Astronomically, Rahu does not exist. The unfavourable effects of Rahu: worldly desires [sense gratification], laziness, mindlessness [easily excitable, affectivity], rigidity and ignorance. 

The malefic Rahu: Othello-esque jealousy and madness: obsessive jealousy or jealous delusions - psychotic, schizophrenic, depressive: bipolar illness? (Inhuman or apathetic, a maniac/psychopath with a mask of sanity? A multiple personality?). Ravana's ten heads could be a metaphor. It could imply: excessive ego and exaggerated self-importance - his temperament flaws, and extraordinarily malefic mental powers/ability (a schizophrenic, wicked and malefic genius; an uninspiring, evil genius in every way).

The ten heads could also imply: like-minded – having the same thinking, habits, attitudes, ethics, beliefs etc, the proverbial 'birds of a feather flock together' concept (even if such people have no direct connection to each other). It could also imply: a braggadocio, deluded - full of ego and self-importance (a legend in his mind); a histrionic personality and/or histrionic talent/ability; impulsive and/or given to gloomy, depressive, or sullen moods: frequent changes of mood, sulky and temperamental - filled with frustration and dissatisfaction, excessively selfish, easily upset, emotionally immature; deliberately duplicitous; a tendency towards self-pity and/or obsessive thinking - an exaggerated, self-indulgent attitude, adept at passing the buck of blame or responsibility. 

As is the human body, so is the cosmic body. ... The human body has different phases: childhood, youth, old age and fadeout. This can explain the different phases in a kalpa [a time-cycle: Satya-yuga, Treta-yuga, Dvapar-yuga and Kali-yuga – symbolising the intellectual, cultural and spiritual evolution/progress of humankind]. Here, kali signifies pitch dark - metaphoric 'fog' [tamas] of all kinds of regressive, unscrupulous/unethical and negative aspects that deteriorates the quality of humankind [thought processes, attitudes etc], and thereby societal health [mindsets], intellectual vigour/progress and [in turn] the quality of human civilisation. It is the yuga of tamas, an unenlightened/regressive time. There is dulling of the qualities of mind and heart, i.e. considerable depletion in empathy [human qualities] and intellectual strengths/qualities - affecting clearheaded, logical thinking, ability to understand or differentiate between dharma and adharma, etc. This 'Iron Age' should not be confused with the technical Iron Age.

In some Christian beliefs of the future, Jesus (the Messiah) will appear in his Second Coming to Earth to face the emergence of the Antichrist, who will be the greatest false messiah. Jesus/Christ is considered as the saviour and redeemer (of humankind) and the ideal model for humanity. His opponent will [likely] be one of concentrated evil [malefic, unscrupulous or ignoble], who will appear to deceive [and misguide] humankind. He will likely claim to be the true Messiah, and a man of peace. Most people will follow the Antichrist thinking they are following Christ. According to the Bible prophecies this antichrist will have a crucial [decisive] role in the final events (earth's closing events) of earth's history. (It could be a reference to the "closure" of a kalpa, the end ["closure"] of kali-yuga - the amoral yuga of muddling through, the epoch [yuga] of ignorance, of intellectual, social and cultural regression and moral decay.) However, whether it will be an individual Antichrist or many antichrists is unclear. It is likely that most people - when the Antichrist is revealed - will be very surprised at his identity. "Apocalypse" is [also] to reveal (from trickery or deception). One day, the Antichrist will be revealed.

On a side note: Tagore was considered as a Wise Man from the [Spiritual] East, an Eastern sage or mystic (during his interactions in the West). He was sometimes compared to Jesus Christ in his manner and appearance (his flowing, dark gown and white beard and serene face).

Rabindranath planted trees, his rural reconstruction efforts (at Sriniketan) emphasised collaborative responsibility and social responsibility. It included merging villages into regional units, under capable leaders, and [rural] banks (that made available loans to peasant entrepreneurs at reasonable rates), as well as common facilities for recreation and the settling of dispute. It included rural health initiatives (health cooperatives, dispensaries, preventive medicine and vaccinations); education initiatives more practical to rural requirements (basic literacy, math, vocational training/artistry know-how and recreational activities, learning through creative activities, rural circulating library, folk-plays and melas (fairs), perceptual training, learning by doing, character formation), an early form of distance education initiative, and night classes for children and adults unable to attend school. The focus was on increasing literacy rates. There were also women's education initiatives (nutrition, maternity and childcare, literacy etc). A group patterned after the boy scouts/girl guides was responsible for many of the health initiatives. Initiatives on agriculture included measures to reduce epidemics, creation of cooperatives (including co-operative bank and agricultural credit unions - to help overcome rural indebtedness), increased crop production [greater crop output], soil reclamation, granaries [as a buffer for droughts], cooperative stores, common water supplies, and self-help initiatives [for better roads etc]. There were branches for dairy, fishery, poultry, horticulture, sericulture and animal science. Revival and creation of cottage industries: to restore and create local industries, initiate new artistic designs, training initiatives for apprentices etc. ... Tagore understood that real progress could not be achieved without alleviating rural poverty. He had a keen interest in cooperative farming. He realised that the hopelessly fragmented landholdings did not provide the best conditions for modern methods of farming and the creation of wealth. His rural efforts for economic change emphasised community responsibility [involvement of common people].

Rabindranath was born into the Jorasanko branch of the Tagore family on 7 May 1861. His father wanted him to become a barrister, and sent him to England (in 1878). The purpose was to provide him with an English education. However, if the intent was to prepare/equip him to compete for the Indian Civil Service (or the Bar), this did not succeed, and Tagore returned after eighteen months to pursue his passion as a playwright, storyteller, poet, philosopher and educator. He had, however, acquired a lasting love of English literature (although English was his least favourite subject).

Tagore was a multi-faceted genius, a 'poet's poet', maker of the modern/progressive mind – a Renaissance man. Myriad-minded, he was a poet, musician, short story writer, novelist, composer of songs, playwright/dramatist, essayist, educator, painter, choreographer-thespian, connoisseur of dance forms, a social reformer and a great humanitarian who played a key role in the cultural renaissance of India. He was a creative genius and a prolific one at that: a legend; the first Nobel laureate of Asia (and the first non-European to be awarded the Nobel Prize); a renowned polymath in a league of his own, a humanist, a great intellectual (philosopher, thought leader, progressive thinker), and a rare and great personality. Renunciation was not his way. Renunciation was not for him. Tagore was deeply influenced by the Baul genre/Baul music, by the simple poems that were elegant and lyrical. (Bauls are wandering minstrels/mendicants.) He was unsympathetic to selfish [short-sighted, mindless] nationalism; he talked about Asian integration and engaging with the world. He had a voracious mind and an extraordinary depth of knowledge, a deeply rational and curious mind that had assimilated the scientific spirit. His poems brought lyricism, elegance and freshness. He was a South Asian, but his perspective transcends into universalism. He believed in an intellectual union of world cultures. He also believed that the responsibility of a great future must be unhindered [unconstrained] by "the grasping miserliness of a past." He was enthusiastic about scientific knowledge and discoveries. He also emphasised on intellectual curiosity, and recognised the importance of what India could learn from other nations/cultures/peoples - to/for her own benefit and progress. A tall, handsome man with cerebral looks, he was an intellectual luminary who possessed an inner charm... that emerges in his inspiring words and his lyrically unequaled songs, a mesmerising fusion of his musicianship and poetic genius. The variety, quality and quantity/abundance are unbelievable. He was "a Poet of the Earth". He also alludes to himself as veena and flute. At sixteen, he styled himself "Bhanu Singha". (Bhanu = the sun.) His poetry is not mere phrasal dexterity or tuneless ditties; his gift of lyricism and verse shines through, and so does his love for nature and love for humanity. His creative energy is phenomenal. For ages people will wonder that such a man had walked on this earth. However, the paintings speak the most vividly, and yet it is difficult to comprehend something of his mercurial or myriad-minded complexity. Here the poet does not seem a Vyasa Muni or a Wise Man, there is no poet of hope, no superlative poetry or quality, no poetic metaphors, and no insipid translations of his poetry, or any of the saintly wisdom or enlightened awareness that is part of his creative energy. Here, one feels is a man who understands/recognises something unpleasant and is grappling with it; here Rabindranath is [perhaps] as much Old Bluebeard as Wise Man from the [Spiritual] East. Who will reveal the face of the poet's truth?

Porphyry stone: Any of various varieties of reddish-purple rock used as a decorative stone. (Garuda is depicted as a man with an eagle's beak. The noble-natured Brahminy Kite (purple-and-white plumed sea eagle, often referred to as the Singapore Bald Eagle) is the contemporary representation of Garuda.)

Sukumar Ray, celebrated humourous poet, storywriter and playwright, was also one of the most famous Indian writers of the nonsense genre (nonsense verse). His "Ramgorur-er Chhana" is unsmiling, mirthless, and possibly of an irritable temperament. Mirthless: melancholy, gloomy, sullen, sulky, miserable, weary, depressed, crabby/grouchy/glum. Is this what comes through in Tagore's paintings?

"Bichar achhe dhorjo nei, buddhi achhe khoma nei, jeneche shikhechhe shanti paye ni. Peyeo paben na, peyeii haraben, peye dhore rakhtey hobe shheta janen na." From Tagore's "Shesher Kobita". This is his true nature [sva-dharma], the personality of the soul. Did Tagore allude to Shesha Naag? 

"One must elevate [improve, better, cultivate/make cultured] oneself with the help of one's own mind, and not humiliate or cheapen [belittle, weaken, derogate, diminish, lessen] or indignify him or her. The mind is the well-wisher/adviser/counselor/mentor/teacher/guide/instructor of the soul [sva-dharma: one's true nature/essence], and [also] the ripuḥ/adversary [such as: lust, temper/annoyance/malice/bitterness of feeling, overweening avaricious instincts, blind attachment [unreasonable, rigid obstinacy], arrogance [exaggerated self-opinion/self-admiration, affectation] and jealousy] of the soul [one's true nature/essence - the personality/impressions/habits of the soul, the imperishable, eternal aspect/essence of an individual's personality]." - BG 6.5 (Dhyāna-yoga).

Alchemy is defined as an art that aims to change [transform] impure metals (i.e. tamas: ignorance [illiteracy: lack of knowledge and wisdom], illogic, regressive aspects etc) into silver or gold (positive, progressive aspects). The goal of Alchemy is the "Philosophers' Stone". The Stone ["gem": maṇi or ratna - honorific for persons of extraordinary intellectual strengths/ability] was viewed as a touchstone that could perfect any substance (possibly: mindsets, attitudes, thought process etc) or situation, - i.e. to help evolve for the better, to transform [change] for the better. Tagore was an extraordinarily erudite, cultured, progressive and intellectually brilliant person, a person of many talents and a thought leader (as can be understood from the "Philosophers' Stone" analogy). The literary and intellectual strengths are innate abilities/talents of his soul (sva-dharma) – his natural aptitude, his true nature. (Somras: eye-opening reflections, cerebration, pondering or contemplation. Agni transforms: from 'kali-yuga' [the Dark Age] to 'satya-yuga' [an enlightened, progressive time]. The deeper aspects of Tagore's poetry are very interesting. He invokes the Touchstone (that which transforms: to open the mind, to 'awaken' the conscious mind, the thinking mind), believed to be a very rare gem. The Touchstone (Paras-Pathar) is used to breathe new life into something, to rejuvenate something - to give new impetus to or renew something, to bring ideas [fresh thinking, a new way of seeing or understanding things, a whole new perspective] and energy to something, to make something that was boring seem interesting again. The touchstone is [also] an assaying tool, a stone ["gem"] used to identify precious metals (i.e. "gems", ratna). Touchstone is the barometer, gold standard, or yardstick: a test or criterion for determining the quality or genuineness of a thing. Touchstone, as a metaphor, is a measure/technique/mechanism of assaying comparative merits of a concept, etc. As a metaphor, a touchstone refers to any intellectual measure by which the validity or merit [quality, benefit, integrity, virtue, strength or essence] of a concept can be tested. It is similar in use to a litmus test. It is a symbol of incorruptible wisdom [intellectual integrity].)

Caesar notes that Cassius has 'a lean and hungry look.' It is a phrase from the play Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare. Caesar's remark was about one of the men conspiring against him. He [perhaps] did not imply that Cassius appeared a little underfed, but that he was starved for power.

"O Captain! My Captain!" is an extended metaphor poem [in 1865] by Walt Whitman. It is an elegy to honour Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States. The poet refers to Lincoln as 'My Captain', 'My father', and 'dear father' (possibly referring to Lincoln as the father of the United States.) The poet is full of sorrow and does not wish to acknowledge what happened to his much-admired Captain (while watching the comedy, Our American Cousin), so much so that he even asks if it is some dream, and [instead] implores the captain to "rise up and hear the bells," - i.e. to join in the celebration, to "rise up" and join in the revelries because it is all for him. He is the reason for the merriment ("for you the bugle trills; for you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths...")

The lanky, six-foot-four Lincoln, a self-taught Illinois lawyer and politician/legislator with a reputation as an eloquent opponent of slavery and a strong stance against the U.S. war with Mexico, overcame several more prominent contenders [through a series of famous debates and rousing speeches that made his reputation and propelled him onto the national political stage] to become the 16th president of the United States. As a congressman, Lincoln was unpopular with Illinois citizenry, so much so he promised not to seek reelection, and returned to Springfield in 1849. However, events brought him once again into national politics. (On October 16, 1854, Lincoln went before a large crowd in Peoria and denounced slavery and its extension. He campaigned unsuccessfully for the Senate seat in 1855. With the Whig Party unraveled, Lincoln joined the new Republican Party - formed largely in opposition to slavery's extension into the territories - in 1858 and ran for the Senate again that year. In June, Lincoln gave yet another rousing speech (that the government cannot endure "half slave", he quoted from the Gospels to illustrate his belief). Lincoln then went into a series of famous debates, though he lost the election.) ... Lincoln spent only four of his 56 years as president, however, given the importance of the events that marked his 1861-65 term of office, there is much admiration for him as a man of courage and principle, as a man of history, as the man who led the nation through the Civil War years, as the man who achieved the unification of the people, and restored the United States as a single nation under the Constitution (abolition of slavery was [perhaps] secondary to that goal). Lincoln had once maintained that his "paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery," he nonetheless came to regard emancipation as one of his greatest achievements, and would argue for the passage of a constitutional amendment outlawing slavery (eventually passed as the 13th Amendment [banning slavery throughout the United States] in 1865). His Gettysburg speech (in November 1863) eloquently expressed the war's purpose, referring to the Founding Fathers, and the pursuit of human equality. It became the most famous speech of his presidency. Lincoln won [a tough] reelection [courtesy of Union victories in battle] and in his second inaugural speech talked about, "malice toward none, with charity for all" (i.e. to rebuild the Union). ... Lincoln was [believed to be] prone to fits of "melancholia" - depression. He had only a brief and undistinguished period of service in the Black Hawk War (1832) and an undistinguished congressional term as a Whig Congressman during 1847-49. And yet, he became the president, and [also] surprised many by proving to be a more than capable [and visionary] leader, learning quickly about strategy and tactics. As a lawyer [with a diverse clientele], he had gathered a reputation as "Honest Abe". Whether he was a good lawyer or not, whether he was a scholarly lawyer or not, or whether or not Lincoln lost some cases due to a lack of technical expertise on certain aspects of law – one cannot be sure. He was [nevertheless] a successful trial attorney, courtesy his eloquence and folk wisdom. He knew how to win over a jury. (In small towns, the juries consisted of farmers and other country folk. And Lincoln, a product of rural environment, was [also] by nature a slow talker and argued his cases in the simplest manner. His illustrations, his wit and humour and anecdotes, were all influenced by folk wisdom and experiences and [hence] easy to understand.) ... Lincoln is much admired and eulogised as the Great Emancipator and the Saviour of the Union, though some regard him as a tyrant and a dictator; he has also been accused of being a racist (although his racial views [were perhaps] more enlightened than those of most mid-19th-century Americans). 

"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.

Saladin led the Saracens against the Crusaders. Krsna was a Suracena. Saracen – from Suracena? Suracena Megasthenes' Sourasenoi? Beyond the realms of the Saracens were various nomads, Semitic and non-Semitic people (who had some cultural similarity) and possibly differences over influence etc. There is East Asian faiths/religions and monotheistic religions of West Asian origin emphasising and tracing their common origin to Abraham, or recognising a spiritual tradition associated with him. These religions come from one spiritual source (the traditions of Abraham). The question is: who was Abraham?

Manusmṛti - "The Remembered Tradition of Manu", also known as Manava-dharma-shastra ("The Law Books of Manu" or "The Code of Manu") that prescribes a set of obligations. (A 'way of life', a philosophy of life is not obligatory or prescriptive.) Manu – the legendary first man and lawgiver. There are 14 "Manu" [honorific for lawgiver] in each kalpa [aeon]. The timeframe of a Manu is Manvantara. However, who was this Manu of Manu-Smriti ("The Laws of Manu")? Did Ashoka attempt to become 'the Buddha'? (The compartmentalisation of Indian society is based on illogical, apartheid concepts. It is not as per one's natural aptitude, one's true [innate] nature [aptitude, competency/ability or talents]. The soul is the eternal aspect. The intrinsic (innate, ingrained) personality traits of an individual are merely the reflection of the personality of the soul - i.e. imprints/impressions/tendency/habits of the soul.)

('Riti' is tradition. 'Smriti' [Sanskrit: Smṛti] is remembered tradition or "tradition that is remembered" (i.e. reminisced or memorised tradition). The Smṛti literature is diverse and includes man-made laws (the Dharmasūtra and Dharmaśāstra or Smritiśāstra). Śruti is a corpus of literature from oral tradition (verse, prose, poetic literature, folklore etc). How many centuries ago did they come about? What kind of mindsets/values/attitudes, tradition etc did they 'inspire'? In other words, did they expand the horizons of ignorance, i.e. did they facilitate the rise of ignorance, illogic and orthodoxy, thought control and much ritualism by distorting Vedic [enlightened, progressive] thought and knowledge? And, what is their modern relevance? ('Kali-yuga' [after demon kali] to 'satya-yuga' [an enlightened, progressive time/yuga] is about doing away/dismantling or rectifying all that has created or brought about the 'age of illiteracy, ignorance, regressive aspects, illogic, unreason, etc'.) ... Who or what is [the demon] kali [harbinger of illiteracy, ignorance [tamas] - illogic, regressive thinking etc] and/or manifestations of it, if not the self-obsessed imposter/usurper? So, who or what is 'Kaliya Naag'? ... Vedic thought and knowledge is like a clear, flowing river – Tagore's "the clear stream of reason"; it is not straitjacketed, it is not stagnant, it is not intellectually negligible, it is not 'inspired' by intellectual ennui/lethargy. The Vedic people were much different, hence the Vedic Civilisation was one of the most progressive and advanced (knowledge-wise). They created for the ages; their creativity and knowledge withstood the vagaries of nature and the test of time. Modern Indians cannot even replicate the achievements of the Vedic people. ... Mythology is ancient history; it has been told and retold innumerable times (in a somewhat imaginative manner), each retelling inspired by and/or reflecting the prevalent social milieu and societal mindsets/values (including medieval sensibilities). So, there has been much myth-making, oversimplification, costume drama and inane folk-theatralisation of what should have been literary and cerebral effort. If a film is remade, there is much difference. What to say about innumerable retellings! (Veda from Vid, to know. Veda progressive knowledge, continuously evolving [expanding and improving the horizons of knowledge] not stagnant, irrelevant or decayed (to not increase the horizon of ignorance [avidya, tamas] and/or to revel in it). Vidya – from Veda. Vidya knowledge. Knowledge or literature should not be monopolised or appropriated by ignorance. It clouds or diminishes thinking abilities, creative thinking, good sense, logical thinking (a capability to reason things), scientific thinking, etc. The flow of the narrative [mythology] is interesting and requires narrative thinking (flow, connection, progression and sense, and [hence] the need to understand and to sustain it throughout). They are not disconnected fragments or facts, no matter how interesting each one is. There's continuation.)

Hitopadesha (Sanskrit: Hitopadeśa) is a collection of Sanskrit fables similar to, though distinct from, the Panchatantra. The author of Hitopadesha is Narayana. The purpose of creating Hitopadesha is to instruct young minds the philosophy of life in an easy manner so that they are able to grow into responsible adults. Hitopadeśa is to counsel or advice (upadeśa) with benevolence for the well-being/furtherance and benefit of everyone, to impart ethics, morals and knowledge (in an interesting manner). The Panchatantra (Sanskrit: Pañcatantra) is a collection of ancient folktales and fables that offer principles of wise policy or acuity. The Pañcatantra (believed to have been written [in Sanskrit]) by the scholar Pandit Vishnu Sharma has fables presented entertainingly (each with a lesson) and offers insight into human behaviour (foibles, warts and all) through simple animal and bird protagonists and characters (full of wit and wisdom) showing animal and even human qualities. (Pandit is honorific for a wise, knowledgeable, thinking person. Pandit Vishnu Sharma is also Acharya Vishnu Sharma.) The Pañcatantra illustrates, for the benefit of three ignorant [dull-headed] princes [of Kashi], the central dharmic principles of nīti. (After listening to and understanding these stories, the three princes became highly knowledgeable in politics and able administrators.) The morals in the Pañcatantra are not philosophical or preachy tales of good overpowering evil. The fables [instead] explain practical wisdom (worldly wisdom or niti); they imply the moral without mentioning it, they impart the deeper wisdom of life for inner fulfillment. The Pañcatantra ('five principles/ways/techniques') is a political treatise, a "Niti-shastra" - book of wise policy [acuity] in life, it is an interesting and practical guide to niti or the art of intelligent [prudent] living. It is perhaps the oldest collection of Indian fables, their wisdom is ever-relevant. One can read and re-read the fables, though one realises soon enough that the magical herb that could revive a corpse is 'knowledge, common sense and astute or sagacious/thoughtful wisdom', the [metaphoric] corpse - 'ignorance or avidya: illiteracy, illusion, arrogance, illogic, mindless or regressive thought and attitude, lack of good sense, unreason or lack of knowledge'.

'Asato maa sadgamaya, tamaso maa jyotirgamaya': From tamas [illusory and regressive aspects, illogic, confusion etc], guide us towards clarity (of thought, purpose, ethical/responsible behaviour, progressive thinking or light of wisdom) - the path of the wise, that of renewal, by dispelling the 'fog' [confusion, darkness] of ignorance [avidya]. 'Mrtyorma amrtam gamaya': invoking the [metaphoric] magical herb that could revive a corpse. Only by discarding selfish, illogical, inane, regressive and irrelevant, and obsolete or rigidly antiquated aspects and foibles, including intellectual ennui, intellectual lethargy or stagnation, can the human mind rejuvenate [renew, remake] itself. Only then can the conscious mind, the thinking mind 'awaken'. Only then can there be a new chapter in the intellectual, cultural and spiritual evolution [progress] of humankind. In other words, only then can humankind [and societal aspects/attitudes] improve and progress. This is the remaking [reshaping] of humankind – satya-yuga. A fresh approach is necessary. More of the same thing [tamas of 'kali-yuga'] will be unhelpful. 'Om, shantih shantih shantih': Om, let there be peace within ourselves, let there be peace in the world, let there be peace in the universe. (Piyusha is 'the elixir of life' - to rejuvenate the thinking process (attitudes and behaviour, ethics, beliefs etc). Attitudes shape behaviour. Mindsets [thought process, etc] are the cause of everything. Vasudev Dhanvantari [the celestial physician, the deity of ayurveda - since a healthy attitude, progressive thought process, empathic behaviour etc = healthy humankind] emerges from 'samudra-manthan' with this kalash of elixir - to remake/rejuvenate humankind: to reshape the thought process, the way of thinking, and [thereby] a new foundation. Vasudev Dhanvantari is an aspect of Vishnu. Usha is "dawn". Tagore said, "Perhaps that dawn will come from this horizon, from the East where the sun rises...")

(Note: The Shankha emerged from the sea during 'kshira-sagara manthan' (exercise of the intellect). The Shankha is shown in a hand-gesture (mudra) in Indian classical dance and also in worship. It is known as 'Shankha-mudra'. The Shankha is worshipped in Vedic puja. Panchajanya [for the well-being/betterment of all] is the shankha [divine conch] of Viṣṇu/Krsna. The shankha is [also] used for pouring offerings of water, or for giving a ceremonial bath to a deity (shankha-snana) - to cleanse or to rejuvenate. Water from the shankha is also sprinkled on the head of devotees (to open the mind to new way of thinking or understanding: a fresh approach, a whole new perspective, mind-opening knowledge, and clarity of thought/purpose). The shankha is a sacred/divine emblem or insignia of Vishnu. Before the worship of Vishnu begins, the shankha is worshipped. (Panchajanya [for the well-being/progress/betterment of all] is the shankha [divine conch] of Viṣṇu/Krsna.) 

While discussing karma-yoga Krsna says: through sankhya yoga and karma-yoga one can overcome confusion and illusion, i.e. if one were of two minds (indecisive/unresolved/confused) one can emerge from confusion through sankhya, and towards clarity: towards thoughtful action, correct perspective and expertness (efficiency, effectiveness or correctness) in action. The second chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita is about 'Sankhya Yoga' (Sankhya philosophy - empirical, pragmatic, practical, logical, involving reasoning from facts,  not conjectural, hypothetical, impractical or theoretical) and the third chapter is about 'Karma Yoga' (the yoga of thoughtful action, expertness in action - by minimising ineptitude or unnecessary action). Sankhya is about correct understanding (for rectifying erroneous thinking or thoughtless/mindless/illogical/impulsive action) and a higher level of thinking (correct perception [to be perceptive] and perspective – to think through, to differentiate between necessary and unnecessary aspects; perceptive is thoughtful discernment and understanding, astute/sagacious). Yoga is about balance, calm attitude and collaboration/participation/synergy/fusion [assimilation, to be open-minded]. An impartial [objective] mind is balanced; a conditioned mind [i.e. an unthinking, habituated or rigidly conventional/unprogressive/antiquated mind] is not. The necessity for maintaining a balanced attitude in mind is yoga. Hence, karma yoga is the yoga of correct/thoughtful action, or actions as such in the light of correct understanding (well-thought-out or well-reasoned-out - through common sense, i.e. thorough understanding/logic, clarity of thought/purpose, logical thought and action: wisdom or logic behind actions, instead of thoughtless, mindless, impulsive action or conditioned/habituated action). Thus, sankhya is the wisdom of life. Sankhya philosophy is about impeccable reasoning (that maximises efficiency) and [subsequent] inference. It is not about hypothesis/assumption, theorising or illogical concepts, or oversimplification [superficial understanding, so much so that it becomes inane: frivolous, unreasonable]. Kapila Muni, a renowned sage of antiquity, is the author of Sankhya philosophy.)

Fourteen "ratna" (metaphor for intellectual capability, evolved intellect) emerged during 'kshira-sagara manthan' (exercise or churning of the intellect). The Navaratna or Nauratan (Sanskrit: nava-ratna, or "nine gems") was a term applied to a group of nine extraordinary people [possibly because of their knowledge, wisdom, intellectual mettle or aptitude – i.e. innate or natural ability/proficiency/expertness or talents] in an emperor's court in ancient India. The Mauryan emperor Ashoka formed a group of nine unknown persons c. 270 BCE. Aśoka Maurya (304–232 BCE, reign: 269-232 BCE) was "Aśoka the Great" and "Priyadarshi" (honorific; 'He who regards everyone with affection'). Ashoka is now remembered as a responsible and philanthropic ruler/administrator. (In the Kalinga edicts, he refers to his people as his "children", and mentions that as a father he desires their well-being.) There are many legends about his transformation from a bad-tempered, highly ambitious, and wicked-natured person to a fair-minded, stable, scrupulous/morally upright and peaceful ruler - after feeling great remorse. However, innate nature, one's true nature [sva-dharma], is unlikely to change. So, how much of myth-making has happened, whether the stories of his transformation are apocryphal or not, whether his rock edits are genuine [believable] or not, or whether he embraced Boudhya Dharma ('the way of the Buddha' - the Wise One or the Enlightened One), and became its patron or not – one cannot be sure. Perhaps the stone edits (etched with his political ideas and imperial vision) are how Ashoka wanted to be thought of and remembered. (Aśoka: serene stoicism, impassive, characterised by a calm, austere fortitude, not easily upset or excited [poker-faced]. Or, Ashoka - without sorrow [śoka] and regret: unfeeling, unempathic, wicked, stonehearted, detached or indifferent?)

Maurya: of the peacock, perhaps their emblem or insignia was that of a peacock. Mahapadma Nanda was the first king of the Nanda dynasty that ruled Magadha between c. 343 and 321 BCE. The Nanda King, Dhanananda, had by his bad governance, overweening avaricious instincts, decadence [debauched] and oppressive ways, alienated the people. Following the fadeout of the Nanda Empire, Chandragupta Maurya (r. 322298 BCE) ascended the Magadhan throne; this also heralded the beginning of the celebrated Maurya dynasty/empire, which would rule until 185 BCE. (The brief spell of Nanda rule, along with the lengthy tenure of the Mauryas, [perhaps] represents the political aspect of a great transitional epoch in early Indian history.) Chandragupta had humble beginnings; he did not belong to a prominent lineage (kula). Chanakya is believed to have chance-met Chandragupta in whom he saw great military and executive abilities; he was impressed by the young Chandragupta's personality, intellect and manner of speaking. Acharya Chanakya was Chandragupta Maurya's mentor, chief adviser and prime minister. (However, whether it was Chanakya or Kautilya - one cannot be sure.) In 298 BCE, Chandragupta voluntarily abdicated the throne in favour of Bindusara Maurya (r. c. 320–268/272 BCE), who became the new Mauryan emperor (possibly at the age of 22). Bindusara wanted Susima to succeed him, however, Ashoka ascended the throne of Magadha. (Bindusara should not be confused with Bimbisara or Srenika (558–491 BCE), who belonged to the Haryanka dynasty, and was the emperor of Magadha from 542-492 BCE. It is believed that Chandragupta became an ascetic and follower of Jaina Dharma. Jain tradition claims that Chandragupta, consistent with the beliefs of Jaina Dharma, starved himself inside a cave, and that this happened in Shravanabelagola. Baahubali - the mighty-armed. Krsna refers to Arjuna as "Maha-Baahu", the mighty-armed. Baahubali at Śravaṇa Beḷgoḷa - Chandragupta Maurya?)

Mudra is seal or ring: a small seal, as on a finger ring, to stamp or mark with a signet (imprimatur); a seal used to stamp or authenticate documents. Mudrarakshasa ("The Signet of the Minister" or The Signet Ring of "Rakshasa") is a historical play in Sanskrit by Vishakhadatta [c. 5th century CE] that narrates the ascent of Chandragupta Maurya to the throne of Magadha. In Vishakahadatta's play, the challenge before Chanakya is to somehow bring amAtya rAkshasa to accept the position of preeminent advisor and minister to Chandragupta. Amatya Rakshasa, chief advisor of Dhanananda, was totally loyal to the Nandas; he was relentless in his efforts to defeat/overwhelm Chandragupta (because of a sense of loyalty and obligation towards Dhanananda). He was also intelligent, brave and capable, and highly experienced in statecraft. He had [also] been Chanakya's prime adversary. Chanakya [thus] favoured a passing of the baton to Rakshasa. (Amatya is honorific, implying minister. Rakshasa [probably] from 'rakshak' - well-wisher or caretaker. The ever-watchful Amatya Kartikeya was popularly known as Amatya Rakshasa.) Vishakhadatta uses Vrishala for Chandragupta's lineage. Vrishala from Vrisha - a reference to Naandi, the emblem and steed of Shiva? Chandragupta - a manifestation of Nandi? Tirthankara Rishabha [Tīrthaṅkara R̥ṣabha] and Baahubali - were they different people? Krsna is [also] referred to as a Vrishni. "Among the Vrishni I am Vasudev." – BG 10.37.) 

The Dauphin of France (Dauphin de France) - The Dauphin of Viennois (Dauphin de Viennois) - was the honorific given to the heir apparent to the throne of France from 1350 to 1791 and 1824 to 1830. Dauphin is French for "dolphin", a reference to its depiction on their heraldic symbol/emblem. Dauphin is [essentially] a reference to the eldest son of a king of France.

In Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Jim comes across two odd characters that turn out to be habitual conmen. One of them claims that he should be treated with appropriate deference, since he is by rights an English duke, that his great-grandfather was the eldest son of the Duke of Bridgewater, and he was, hence, the lineal descendant of the rightful Duke of Bridgewater. The other conman reveals that he is truly the late Dauphin ("Looy the Seventeen, son of Looy the Sixteen and Marry Antonette") - in blue jeans and misery, the wanderin', exiled, trampled-on, and sufferin' rightful King of France. (The Duke is confusing his history by confusing Charlemagne with Louis XVII. Charlemagne (742 or likely 747 or 748-814; English: Karl and Charles the Great or Charles I, Latin: Carolus Magnus ["Charles the Great"] and Europae pater ["father of Europe"]) was king of the Franks (768–814) – a Germanic people, king of the Lombards (774–814), and first emperor (800–814) of the Romans and of what was later the Holy Roman Empire. (A medieval emperor he ruled much of Western Europe from 768 to 814. He was crowned emperor of the Romans on December 25, 800, at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The Pope proclaimed him "Augustus," emperor of the "Holy Roman Empire.") Charlemagne [six feet, four inches tall] was son of Pepin the Short (Carolingian Dynasty); by Frankish tradition he was a warrior king, expected to expand Frankish hegemony and produce rewards [spoils] for his associates. After Pepin [in 768], the Frankish kingdom was divided between Charlemagne and his younger brother Carloman (751-771). The brothers had a strained relationship; however, after Carloman [in 771], Charlemagne became the ruler of the Franconians. He had an imposing physical presence and was blessed with extraordinary energy, personal courage, and an iron will. He also had considerable native intelligence, though he did not receive much formal education. Charlemagne was in good health until the final four years of his life, when he often suffered from fevers and acquired a limp. In 813, he crowned his son Louis the Pious (778-840), king of Aquitaine, as co-emperor. (He presided over the ceremony himself and did not invite the Pope.) Louis became emperor in January 814. Charlemagne was buried at the cathedral in Aachen. The empire he created crumbled soon after. In the ensuing decades, his empire was divided up among his heirs, and by the late 800s it had dissolved.)

Marie Antoinette (1755-1793), the last queen of France, was Maria Antonia Josepha Joanna (b. November 2, 1755, in Vienna, Austria). She was the 15th and second to last child of Maria Theresa, empress of Austria, and Holy Roman Emperor Francis I. Louis-Auguste succeeded Louis XV to the French throne as Louis XVI, making Marie Antoinette, at 19 years, queen of France. During the 1780s, with the French government sliding into financial turmoil and poor harvests pushing up grain prices across the country, Marie Antoinette's fabulous extravagance increasingly became the cause of popular ire. She was accused of ignorance and dubbed "Madame Deficit". She became a symbol of the excesses of the kingdom/monarchy. Marie Antoinette is perhaps best remembered by the famous, although almost certainly apocryphal, anecdote that, upon hearing that the people had no bread to eat, she remarked, "Let them eat cake." (Marie Antoinette, born an Archduchess of Austria, was Dauphine of France from 1770 to 1774 (upon her marriage to Louis-Auguste, Dauphin of France) and Queen of France and Navarre from 1774 to 1792. She assumed the honorific Queen of France and of Navarre when Louis-Auguste ascended the throne as Louis XVI.) 

The first avatar (of the Dasavatar), the Matsya-avatar, appeared as a dolphin (possibly a metaphor). A dolphin is believed to guide ships through difficult waters. Dolphin yoga posture is Makarasana in Sanskrit. "I am makara among the fishes." - BG 10.31. This could be a reference to the Matsya-avatar: dolphin or [maybe] porpoise or [perhaps] crocodile. It could also be the Rohu fish (Labeo rohita), a non-oily (silvery or creamy) white fish with a reddish tint. (Dolphins have longer noses, wider mouths, more curved dorsal fins, and longer, leaner bodies than porpoises. The dolphin's hooked or curved dorsal fin (the one in the middle of the animal's back) also differs from the porpoise's triangular dorsal fin. Dolphin bodies are leaner, and porpoises' are portly. Dolphins are also more talkative than porpoises. They make whistling sounds through an opening in the top of the head through which it breathes; porpoises do not do this. Dolphins and porpoises have many similarities, one of which is their very high intelligence. Both have large, complex brains and a structure in their foreheads, called the melon, with which they generate sonar (sound waves) to navigate.) 

Crocodile is makara in Sanskrit. It is associated with Makara Sankranti (Pongal) - the most important Sankranti and one of the most auspicious occasions, signifying renewal (rejuvenation). It is, therefore, regarded as the beginning of an auspicious phase. Sankranti is transition, transmigration of the Sun from one Rashi (constellation of the zodiac in Indian astronomy) to the next. Makara Sankranti marks the transition of the Sun from Sagittarius into Makara rasi (Capricorn). Scientifically, this day marks the beginning of warmer and longer days compared to the nights; thus the chill of winter in on decline. And so, Sankranti marks the closure of winter season and beginning of a new harvest or spring season. It is a way of giving thanks to Mother Nature for her generosity. The festive spirit dispels pessimism and instills hope and vibrancy. "and of seasons I am flower-bearing spring [kusumākaraḥ]." - BG 10.35. This kali is flower or bloom. Kalika is a form of Shakti or Durga. (The Gangasagar fair is held [during Makara Sankranti] on Sagar Island, where the Ganga enters the Bay of Bengal. This confluence is Gangasagar or Gangasagara. It is also famous for the Kapil Muni Temple or Ashram.) Makara Sankranti (14 January or occasionally, 15 January) is a solar event. It is dedicated to Surya – the symbol of energy, divinity, wisdom and knowledge. Manikya [Chuni or Manik] is Ruby, Padmaraga, Red-lotus colour gem, Shona-Ratna, Red jewel, Ravi-Ratna, the Gem of the Sun (the centre of the Navaratna). Manikya is Surya mani in Sanskrit. Red lotus is kokonad in Sanskrit. Manikya is associated with concentration of mind and lustrous complexion, intellectual capabilities, self-respect, courage, confidence, optimism and writing and speaking powers. It is also associated with leadership qualities. "Of lights (radiance, effulgence, luminaries) I am the radiant sun [possibly: human manifestation of the sun]." - BG 10.21.

Surya is Pratyaksha-Brahmn, manifest Brahmn (divinity) - that which is present before the eyes: clear, distinct and evident. The sun symbolises the one, glorious divinity blessing one and all. (The Brahmn, the divine being/power/spirit, is unmanifest and beyond human comprehension.) The Sun is the source of light and heat without which there would be no civilisation on Earth. Light and heat from the sun are the basis of (almost) all life on earth. Let the sun's rays stream into the body, mind and soul. May Your qualities and Your inspiration pass to us: tamaso maa jyotirgamaya. The lustrous Symantak-mani (originally belonging to Surya) and adorning the neck of Kṛṣṇa could be a reference to Manikya. (Tagore refers to an enlightened time [satya-yuga] through the metaphor of the sun that rises in the eastern horizon - clearing away the thick 'fog' or darkness [tamas] of irrelevant, mindless and regressive aspects [thought process, mentality, attitudes etc].)

Matsya kingdom: dolphin or porpoise insignia? Virata was a kingdom ruled by the Matsya king, Virata. Arjuna disguised as the eunuch danseuse Brihannala in Virata's court for one year (as per Krsna's advice): what could the eunuch analogy imply? Diminished, enfeebled, enervated, washed-out/faded, and lusterless? The 'danseuse analogy': to dance to someone's tune - to comply, to do whatever that person tells/wants? Arjuna [as Brihannala] was dancing to whose tune?

Arjuna: "bright," "shining," or "silver": white, fair, clear, bright, stainless: fair-minded, genuine. (The moon is silvery; it reflects sunlight.) Silver has value. Silver is not to be wasted. Silver can also imply a fail-proof solution to a problem, a simple guaranteed solution for a difficult problem, something that very quickly and easily solves a difficult or vexing problem; a cure-all: universal remedy, the proverbial magic potion, something that is a magical [effective] wherewithal/remedy that instantly solves a long-standing problem, often the only 'tool' or 'instrument' that is effective. (There is various medicinal use of Arjuna Tree according to Ayurveda.) Arjuna could [also] be a reference to frankincense.

Silver – quicksilver, silver-white? Quicksilver – an archaic or perhaps a more poetic way to refer to the [metallic] element mercury. An old-fashioned thermometer has quicksilver inside it. Quicksilver is liquid, silver coloured, and is fascinating to look at, the only metal that is liquid at ordinary temperatures. It moves and flows and "behaves" almost as if it were "alive". A quicksilver temper or character: unpredictable, mercurial, or unpredictably changeable, given to sudden unpredictable change, mercurial twists of temperament. Did Arjuna have a quicksilver temper or character? Was he impulsive? Or, did he have an attitude of obstinate arrogance or contempt (bullheaded, swagger [exaggerated self-opinion, boastful, macho], annoyer, bully/hector/a domineering attitude or strong-arm tactics, a tendency to control/supervise?).

Silver can also imply silver-tongue. "Silver tongue" is an expression used to describe a person who has a humourous, witty, diplomatic, deft and clever way with words: an ingenious, cultivated or impressive way with words; flowery in speech, ornate, rhetorical flourishes, magniloquent, quick-thinking [good presence of mind, ability to think quickly, smartly and effectively], oratorical or vocative: to say the right thing at the right time - to persuade, to express oneself easily or fluently [clearly, effectively], to exhibit the power of fluent and persuasive speech [articulate, convincing, fluently persuasive; characterised by clear expressive language]. 'Silver-tongue' is an articulate orator: a powerful/influential speaker, having the ability to speak in a way that makes other people to do or believe what he/she wants them to do or believe. Such a person appears cool, reasonable, responsible, meticulous, learned, astute, efficient, active/enthusiastic/dynamic/energetic, purposeful/tenacious/resolute/decisive [strong-minded], keen, brilliant, dexterous, pleasant [likable, affable], confident and sincere, and is [hence] able to charm others [the people around them] easily or effortlessly. In other words, such a person is able to connect/interact with various audiences. Having a "silver tongue" is having exceptional skills with linguistics, and gift of the gab. (This [silver-tongue] would be a plus trait to have in various situations. However, this ability can be used for good or otherwise, depending on how self-serving, regressive, malicious, progressive or noble one's aims are.)

Silver fox: an attractive [good-looking] older man with gray, white or silver hair (and who is normally sought out by younger or much-younger women). A man who will discreetly meet a much-younger woman and treat her with class. (Tagore and Victoria Ocampo [Bijaya to Tagore] - the ardent Argentine admirer: a subtle affair, a deep affection, an emotional association, a platonic love, a dalliance [a playful flirtation, a brief romantic relationship] or just a figment of the imagination? Tagore - a silver fox or a sugar daddy? Tagore and Ocampo met for the first time in 1924 in Argentina when Ocampo was a 34-year-old emerging writer and Tagore was 63. Was she too possessive? (... The Kalkiḥ-avatar and Tagore should be interesting. Figuring out Tagore [in his next manifestation] is the crux. Only then can Ravana be unmasked, only then can Jesus emerge from 'Crucifixion' and experience 'Resurrection', only then can 'Immaculate Conception' be understood, only then can Radha get his rightful position in Dvarka, only then can there be clarity about Ramchandra (whether he was a positive person or not), only then can what or who was Lava and Kusha [the twins] be understood - sons or daughters, only then can Tagore's "gopon prem" [a secret passion] come into the limelight, and only then can the vicious buffalo demon [Mahishasura - buffalo-like characteristics?] be annihilated – Vijayadashami. (Ravana had usurped Lanka from Kubera.) The demon kali (a malefic influence symbolising all negativity, ignorance, ignoble aspects, tamas and vices in humankind), Ravana, Mahishasura, Pharaoh Ramasses II (Ramses 'the Great') and a vicious conqueror that walked with a limp – were they different? Who or what is the wicked, odious serpent-demon Kaliya Naag (with a hundred and ten hoods), if not the demon kali? He is also considered as a thousand-hooded serpent (the proverbial 'birds of a feather flock together' concept?). The demon kali [symbolising/personifying 'darkness'] - the devil or satan depicted with a pitchfork? Tagore's "Rahur Prem" is about what or whom, if not the demon kali? Worship or veneration of demon kali, his rules, his associates or manifestations will have to cease [done away with, dismantled]. Figuring out demon kali [in his next manifestation] is necessary; the Kalkiḥ-avatar's appearance will signify the 'closure' of kali-yuga - 'the age of demon kali'. The Kalkiḥ-avatar and Ramchandra should also be interesting. Figuring out Ramchandra [in his next manifestation] will be necessary. Whether Ramchandra and Ravana were in cahoots with each other or not, that is the question. Which of them is Judas? Whether Ramchandra and Karna – same soul? Yudhisthira - steady-minded. Yudhisthira's honorific is "Dharmaraja" – a just king/ruler. Ramchandra's honorific is "Maryada Purushottam" – an honourable, ideal or perfect man. Is there a similarity? This will also help understand what the five Pandava were about. It is unlikely Draupadi [Krsnaa] was their queen. Pandava, gopi etc probably imply associates, toward a common objective. Ravana [aka Lakshmana aka Balarama aka Mahisasura aka Joseph?] too will have to be figured out, including the ten heads (like-minded) – they [very likely] have the same thinking, habits, attitudes, ethics [or lack thereof], beliefs etc: the proverbial 'birds of a feather flock together' concept (even if such people have no direct connection to each other). Dushasana – a pathetic ruler or maladministrator [unjust, unscrupulous, ineffective, incompetent, apathic]. Duryodhana: a wealthy warrior from afar? How would Ravana usurp Lanka in the future: that is the crux - the beginning of 'Crucifixion'. Verification of documents [age fraud etc] and/or a DNA test [allegoric 'agni-pariksha' - to determine who is genuine and who is fake/fraud/imposter/usurper] could help clear the air about Sita and Ramchandra, about Sita and Valmiki (in whose hermitage Lava and Kusha were born, Valmiki oversaw their upbringing etc), about Draupadi/Krsnaa and Karna, about Krsna and Arjuna, about Karna and Kunti, about Jesus and Mary and about Joseph and Mary. Tagore says [in his poetry] that in the future the Radha-Krsna thing will be discreet. He clearly mentions "gopon prem" – a secret passion. His paintings are a different matter, though. Here, one feels is a man who understands/recognises something unpleasant and is grappling with it. Is it something within him? Rabindranath is he as much Old Bluebeard as Wise Man from the [Spiritual] East? Who will reveal the face of the poet's truth?)

Valmiki is revered as the primeval poet; he invented verse, which defined Sanskrit poetry. He welcomed Sita in his ashram when Ramchandra banished her. (Banish: abandonment, desertion?). Valmiki in his early life [as Ratnakara] was a notorious dasyu [highwayman: thuggee?]. None agreed to share the burden of his sins. A repentant Ratnakara was taught the mantra for salvation by Narada. Valmiki became the first poet of Sanskrit and composed the Ramayana. ("I am Narada among the divine sages." - BG 10.26.)

Mythology is a cerebral exercise. The mythology of the future too will be a cerebral exercise.

Old Bluebeard - Bernard Shaw quipped about Tagore. "Bluebeard" is a French literary folktale. It tells the story of a violent nobleman in the habit of murdering his wives and the attempts of one wife to avoid the fate of her predecessors. (Some parallels with Sheherazade, the heroine of 'The Thousand and One Nights', perhaps.) 

Tagore's "Rahur Prem" ['The Demon's Love'] is an allusion [and a cautionary note] about the rise of 'kali-yuga'. 

Rahu is a shadow or a node. Astronomically, Rahu does not exist. The unfavourable effects of Rahu: worldly desires [overweening avaricious instincts], laziness, gratification, mindlessness [easily excitable, affectivity], rigidity and ignorance. Solar eclipse is known as Rahu. Rahu is the eighth gemstone in the Navaratna. Hessonite Gemstone or Gomed (Gomeda, Tamo-mani, Orange gem) is the representative stone of Rahu. (Gomed or Gomeda is cow's urine-coloured gem, the shade of honey tinged with blackish colour.)

Demon: a malefic influence, a negative person; a malevolent, unpleasant, regressive, warped, ignoble mind. Somewhat of a Professor Moriarty; a detractor in the guise of a well-wisher; a 'snake in the grass' - sneaky or treacherous: Judas?

The malefic Rahu: Othello-esque jealousy and madness: obsessive jealousy, jealous delusions? Psychotic, schizophrenic, depressive: bipolar illness? (Inhuman or apathetic a la the Joker, a maniac/psychopath with a mask of sanity?) A split, dual or multiple personality: Ravana and Lakshmana? (Ravana's ten heads could be a metaphor. It could imply: excessive ego and exaggerated self-importance - his temperament flaws, and extraordinarily malefic mental powers/ability [a schizophrenic, wicked and malefic genius; an uninspiring, evil genius in every way]. The ten heads could also imply: birds of a feather; a braggadocio; deluded - full of ego and self-importance (a legend in his mind); a histrionic personality and/or histrionic talent/ability; impulsive and/or given to gloomy, depressive, or sullen moods: frequent changes of mood, sulky and temperamental - filled with frustration and dissatisfaction, excessively selfish, easily upset, emotionally immature; deliberately duplicitous; a tendency towards self-pity and/or obsessive thinking - an exaggerated, self-indulgent attitude, adept at passing the buck of blame or responsibility.)  

An interesting legend says that a little squirrel helped during the making of 'Rama Setu'. It rolled in the sand and then ran to the end of the bridge to shake off the sand from its back (chanting 'Rama' all along). Rama, pleased by the dedication, affectionately caressed the squirrel's back. Ever since the three-striped palm squirrel has been carrying the mark of Lord Rama's fingers on its back. The question is: was it a little squirrel or squirrel-like characteristics/behaviour? Or, squirrel-faced and/or a tendency to hightail it? Lord Rama - a reference to Sita or Ramchandra? (Some consider squirrels entertaining. Others consider them to be quite an annoyance. They have an excellent sense of vision, of smell, and an excellent sense of hearing. Squirrels can be very deceptive and they have many tricks up their sleeves. Owls are a deterrent, though. The barn owl [uluka] is the steed of Lakshmi. The barn owl analogy: owl-faced, barn owl like characteristics or 'as wise as an owl'?)

The barn owl has a medium [slender] frame and a heart-shaped face. Barn Owls don't hoot, like typical owls; they instead produce screeches. They can also hiss like a serpent. The unique [distinctive] Barn Owl is associated with auspiciousness and prosperity. Not only are barn owls good for the environment and for humans, they are also generally quiet; they are a farmer's and a nature lover's delight. The barn owl is 14-20 inches in length and has a wingspan of close to four feet. Barn owls are known for their penetrating sights (binocular vision with improved depth perception and the ability to judge distances) and evolved keen senses that make them very efficient (such as: keen hearing; especially acute hearing even in poor/faint light or complete dark). They are able to fly virtually silently because of a fringe on the leading edge of their primary feathers that helps muffle sound. Their wings are broad and large for their body size to help them stay aloft with minimal effort. Facial disk: the face is distinctly shaped with a disk-like structure that surrounds the bill and eyes. It can use its facial muscles to alter the shape of this disk and funnel sound more efficiently to its ears, greatly amplifying its hearing. (Barn owl characteristics: Facial disk (heart-shaped) to improve hearing, asymmetrical ears, ability to turn head 240 degrees - for a wide field of vision, eye sight at night as good as those during the day, combed feathering at the end of the wings to greatly reduce sound while flying, long legs and talons as an effective defense. It has a keen sense of smell, which along with the ability to see in dim light is very helpful. Its soft feathers also muffle sound, thereby making it stealthy.) 

Dvarka is not a boring tale but a glorious history. It fascinatingly blends history, literature, romance, culture, aura and spirituality. Dvarka, Dvaraka or Dvaravati "the Golden City". It is believed that the sea submerged the entire city of Dvarka. However, there are several Dvarka. Could it be that only during 'satya-yuga' [an enlightened time/epoch], the symbolic 'Golden Age' in the intellectual, cultural and spiritual evolution of humankind, the actual Dvarka is revealed? (The avatar appears at the cusp of two yuga.) Dvarka "a gate or a gateway". Dvaravati – "the many-gated city". Dvarka is Haridvar? Hari-ka-dvar: the door of opportunity when it swings open; opening doors to opportunities for a better future; when the door of opportunity opens – i.e. to create or provide new opportunities or possibilities? Haridvar/Dvarka – the spiritual powerhouse [tirtha] of the world, irrespective of faith? Dvarka could also be: where world meets, i.e. Prayaga (confluence, assimilation) – the 'yoga' of humanity/humankind. In other words, the realisation that all of humankind prays to the same divine power/being (the Supreme Being, the Supreme Consciousness) is likely to come about. This is the essence of the 'Visva-roopa' – the all-embracing universal form of divinity. There is likely to be blurring of lines between faiths/religions. In the future, religion will be a way of life. There will be one religion: humanity (human qualities).

("I have become my own version of an optimist. If I can't make it through one door, I'll go through another door - or I'll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present." - Tagore.) 

Green Emerald Gemstone, Panna: It is the fourth gemstone in the Navaratna. (Emerald is first mentioned in the Rig Veda as being the "gem of good luck [good fortune]" and the "gem that improves one's well-being".) Emerald harmonises and strengthens the positive influences of Budha (mercury). Budha is the "prince" in Jyotish and is influenced by Surya and Chandra. Mercury is impartial, evocative, delightful, and youthful. Budha (Mercury) is famous for ready wisdom (wit, presence of mind), and the power of communication. Associated with the respiratory system, nervous system and speech, Budha makes people more skillful, clever and delicate [sophisticated, elegant, charming?]. Budha is shown riding a lion with an elephant's trunk, which points towards the dual nature of Budha, readily apparent in those with Gemini ascendant. Emerald or Panna is associated with the brain, strong intellect, ability to remember, intuition, education (teaching, learning), writing, drawing, perception, vitality, wisdom, communication skills, confidence, humour and wit, a sense of understanding, generosity and affection. Emerald increases power of [mental] faculty/ability, gives mental peace, pacifies the anger and increases eyesight. Emerald helps to lift depression and insomnia, it keeps the body healthy and mind happy. Panna is associated with SarasvatI, the deity of wisdom and intellect; the deity of knowledge, wisdom, literature, creativity, music, arts, culture and eloquence. (Kausthubham or Kaustubha Mani - the unique/divine jewel believed to be adorning the neck of Sri Vishnu - is [very likely] a reference to emerald. Oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ is a six-syllabled Sanskrit mantra; maṇipadme could be a reference to Cintāmaṇi or Chintamani-ratna (said to be obtained from the head of the great fish, Makara). "and among perfected minds (siddhā, enlightened minds: unbiased, impartial - so that there is correct understanding, clarity of thought) I am the sage Kapila [kapilo muniḥ]." - BG 10.26.)

Neelam has the ability to make its presence felt very quickly, hence 'Gem of Destiny'. This gemstone's influence is often seen as restrictive or obstructive [unfavourable, impeding], yet its influence also seeks to bring balance. Neelam could spur a person towards great heights [achievements, fame/respect, highest encomiums] and could also desert him or her [propel into oblivion]. In Sanskrit, Neelam is Nelashma, Neelaratna, Neela-mani, Shaniratna, Sauri Ratna, Indraneelam, Shanipriya, Blue jewel and Royal blue gem. Shani [Shanaiscarya, Saneesvara] represents patience, effort, endeavour and endurance (sincerity, persistence - despite challenges) and who brings about 'Shani-Dosha' (misfortunes or unfavourable aspects: failures, impediments, difficulties, appropriate or proportionate justice - because of one's [unjust or inappropriate] karma/actions). Lord Śhani grants the fruits of one's action, i.e. gives the outcome of one's actions through appropriate or proportionate justice (pertinent, relevant or suitable justice [chastening and/or opportunity for redemption] - an appropriate and acceptable response to negative karma) and rewards (for positive karma; success for diligence, initiative and efforts). Shani is the greatest well-wisher of the wise and dharmic (those having positive or noble virtues/ethics, scruples/moral decency, humanitarian virtues, empathy etc), and has an unfavourable effect on the adharmic (those lacking moral fibre, unscrupulous/deficient in positive virtues/ethics - i.e. excessively opportunistic, egoistic, thoughtless, mindless or self-serving). Steed: vulture or crow. (Crow is considered to be the most intelligent of all birds. Sage Bhusunda is 'the crow sage'. Bhusunda could be a reference to Maharshi Vashistha of the Yoga Vashistha. Vulture: a bald head and/or a long, hooked nose.) Shani is a positive person. He is considered an avatar [aspect, representation] of Lord Shiva and an embodiment of Lord Shiva's Vairagya principle (non-attachment to material instincts/desires or sense pleasures). Lord Shani - the son of Surya and Vikshubha [Chhaya] is Saura (son of Surya, intrepid, strength of mind). Shani is also considered an avatar [aspect, representation] of Sri Vishnu. (Lord or Arya - a person who is the best amongst humankind: intelligent [wise], skilled [knowhow, talent], aware (not indifferent or ignorant), cultured and sophisticated [mature, considerate/thoughtful, refined/cultivated], open-minded, affable, cosmopolitan, in comprehension of the human condition but in addition, having the merit (dignity, quality, integrity/credibility, ability/mettle/strength, stature/fame/glory, ethics/moral virtue) and compassion/empathy to en-noble others.) Neelam helps overcome undue anxiety, addictions, hopelessness and irritability (i.e. it keeps all physical and mental health problems away). Śhani represents wisdom, integrity, longevity, good health, discipline [focus, clarity of thought, sensible, no extravagance of rhetoric], authority [stature, character, respect], leadership, ambition, positivity and good results; affluence, contentment [true happiness], glory [fame, encomiums, achievements, laurels], perfection [no half measures, not perfunctory]; spiritual achievement through humility; disapproval [negatory, delays, difficulties], adversity [unfavourable aspects]; conservatism (calm, no extravagance of rhetoric, tasteful, unflashy - no wasteful ostentation, not presumptuous/pompous, not profligate/ornate/intemperate/wasteful or immoderate) and sense of responsibility (highest human qualities). 

Frankincense and myrrh: aromatic herbs valued like gold (mentioned repeatedly in the Old Testament, in instructions to Moses about making incense and anointing oil, and in the Song of Solomon). They are very bitter and pungent, and move quickly. The two herbs are often used together to enhance the therapeutic effect. (Both of the herbs have a strong smell and may easily cause nausea and vomiting.) Frankincense is a milky-white resin extracted from species of the genus Boswellia, which thrive in arid, cool climates. The finest and most aromatic of this species is Boswellia sacra (olibanum). Frankincense has fresh, citrus, turpentine top notes and sweet, warm, balsamic, camphoraceous, and wood-smoke undertones. Frankincense is calming, revitalising and uplifting. Frankincense is good for everything. It is the most valuable essential oil for slowing and deepening breathing, helping to ease anxiety, nervous tension and stress. It smells divine, and was traditionally used as an offering. Frankincense is also good in inhalation, diffusers and mood blends. It checks [resists, negates, rectifies] respiratory problems and is useful in treating colds, bronchitis, asthma, coughs and sore throats. Extracted from tree sap, frankincense is used like incense and is prized for its fragrance. Frankincense is warm and pungent, and enters the heart and lung meridians. Myrrh is neutral and it enters the liver meridians. Compared with frankincense, it is more bitter and the effect is also stronger. Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) has a distinctive, smoky, balsamic aroma that is purifying, restorative, revitalising, and uplifting. Frankincense and myrrh is a helpful aid to meditation, contemplation, and prayer, ceasing mental chatter and stilling the mind. 

(The Magi, also referred to as the three Wise Men [from the East] or Three Kings in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 2:11) and Christian tradition, were a group of distinguished persons who visited Jesus after his birth (in Bethlehem, with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh). The question is: was it Jesus or was it the child born of 'Immaculate Conception', the infant Christ child? Christmas includes Christmas trees, gaily decorated, loaded with sweet edibles, and crowned by a star. (A Christmas tree or "Yule-tree" is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer such as spruce or pine. An angel or star at the top of the tree to represent the archangel Gabriel or the Star of Bethlehem from the Nativity.) St. Nicholas, Santa Claus or Father Christmas - the joy of giving gifts, to bring smile to the faces of thousands.)    


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