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For an ambitious King, his army is the reflection of his aspirations; greater the army, better the chances for his conquests and when in n...

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ahilya: Redemption and Revelations(contd.)

Ahilya fell on her knees; the world surrounding her suddenly went hazy, her whole life was mutilated and she was responsible for it. She couldn't find any courage to  make eye contact with her husband, with whom she had walked the distances of life and now they were parted with miles' distance. She pledged for his forgiveness reminding him that never ever for a single moment she went off her maryada. It was just this time when she fell in Indra’s trap and in spite of being aware she committed such sin.

Gautam knew Ahilya was speaking truth, she always had been a truly devoted wife towards him, never ever her mind and soul had thought about any stranger.
‘A sin is a sin, whether big or small. You had been a stature of satitva to all women and yet you fell to lust. Your act has no exemption, but this is also true that your heart is pure. Therefore; listen, in Treta yug when Shri Ram will come to this hermitage, on welcoming him, your soul will be purified and you will be redeemed of your greed and lust which made you betray your husband, then you will attain your body and will be in my proximity.’

Sage Gautam was one of the profound sages of that era and a great intellectual. He was the composer of 'Dharmsutra', book that directs mankind about justice as well as guiding them about dharm and adharm. Like I informed in my last post; he was an stoic, a jitendriya(the one who has won all his senses) and hence was eligible of such composition.
But, we must also cognize that he wasn't a trikaaldarshi, an omniscient(one who can look into past, present and future) and so was unaware of Indra's plot.
ShriRamavtaar was a prophecy that was in cognizance among the divine beings and so he knew about it. He decided such chastisement for Ahilya keeping in his mind about her chastity and so opened a way to liberate her and who better than Shri Ram, Narayarn himself could have done so and that is what he did.

When Shri Ram arrived at the hermitage accompanied by sage Vishwamitra and Lakshmarn, the sage informed him about the unfortunate that occurred. With his directions, Shri Ram entered the hermitage. They found Ahilya in austerity, glistening with her tapashcharya, it’s just that no one was able to see her,  such was the impact of the great curse that lady was enabled to.
As Shri Ram entered and saw Ahilya, she was now visible to everyone, the curse was over now. Her destiny was blessed as Shri Ram’s divinity had freed her from the curse, both the princes with due respect touched Ahilya’s feet. She opened her eyes and saw Shri Ram; she got aware of sage Gautam’s words and hosted Shri Ram and Lakshmarn.
Ahilya had regained her purity and spirituality and was reunited with Gautam.

Between all this happened what happened to the prime culprit, INDRA. Well he was left testicle-less after Gautam cursed him, he went to his abode where with the help of other devas, a lamb's testicle were arranged and Indra was healed.
Big question; he was the main accused, how could he be freed so easily while Ahilya, who was innocent, if given a thought, suffered for centuries.
No, certainly not so. The punishment that Indra got was a lot more severe, he was humiliated and held in detention for days by a young rakshas prince years later in an epic war. In spite of being capable, it were his deeds that he lost and even today he is condemned for his immoral act while Ahilya is praised.

One more thing before one may ask, why did Shri Ram touched Ahilya’s feet? First, she was elder and respectable to them as she was austerity absorbed for thousands of years and second as they touched her feet she now realized that she is not invisible any more and definitely it is the arrival of the redeemer of the world, so in short Shri Ram actually signaled her to get awakened of her meditation. That is how the 'Maryada Purshottam' reinstalled Ahilya's dignity and provided salvation to her.

"No matter how far or farther you go, KARMA follows"


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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ahilya: Redemption and Revelations

Social media has such an impact to our lives that we feel incomplete without it, in fact for every minor task or information we need it. Be it any sector or industry, they communicate with us way better through it.
Recently a friend of mine shared a video that was a short film by a acclaimed film director. The film was inspired from the story of Ahilya(from Ramayan), call it an adaptation or innovation or whatever, the work was amazingly brilliant. The good thing, it didn't behaved absurd or obscene with the original and the actors, just three and were awesome. For the very first time I found myself in sympathy with Indra.

Talking about Ahilya, the most beautiful woman of her era. Her resplendence was in vogue everywhere and why not, Brahmm Dev created her, she was his brainchild after all. The creator then appointed sage Gautam as his guardian and entrusted her till she reached adolescence. Sage Gautam was an stoic, a jitendriya: when Ahilya attained woman-hood, he returned her to Brahmm Dev. The creator was pleased with his conduct and hence, married Ahilya to him. Ahilya was also happy with the decision and so they lived a happy married life until, Indra interposed.

Yes yes we all know what happened thereafter; how she was tricked by the wicked Indra. So, what's the deal about it, what is so new about it?
No, there is nothing new and how could be, after all its history. This all is already happened so newness cannot be offered; BUT, yes there's always a but and by here I mean as there is nothing new about it yet, there is something true about it not known to us.

While Ahilya was growing under Gautam's tutelage, she was admired by many and one of those was Indra, king of the devas. When he asked her hand from Brahmm Dev, the latter refused knowing Indra's longing. He couldn't take the refusal and waited for an opportunity as Ahilya was a sati in all true sense.

One morning: while Gautam was away, Indra disguised himself in the former's guise and entered the hermitage. He customized the ambience enticing and approached Ahilya for intimacy.
Now, the real story - Ahilya was a sati and so she instantly recognized Indra. But she fell in his trap, she was aroused by the temptation created by Indra, the thought that the king of devas wants her companionship blindfolded her and she crossed the line.

Unaware of the catastrophe; while Gautam came back, he found someone in his guise trying to runaway. Indra's face went pale looking at the sage. The latter meditated for a moment and visualized whatever happened in past few moments.
Gautam responded furiously and cursed Indra, the sin he committed by putting up his guise was unforgivable. Therefore he cursed Indra’s potency and the latters’ testicles fell right there.

He then turned to Ahilya; his heart was as if ripped out of his chest, the betrayal committed by his beloved, brought tears to his raging eyes. He cursed her to remain in the hermitage for thousands of years being invisible to all beings living only on air.

Here, we learned two things; new or rather true:
  1. Ahilya knew Indra was in sage Gautam's guise. 
  2. Gautam cursed her to be invisible from the world in contrast with the popular beliefs, not in the form of an stone.
Here, few questions arise; if Ahilya was guilty then why Gautam opened a way to free her. If the sage knew of Shri Ram's incarnation then how couldn't he saw this coming, also how was Gautam authoritative to decide the penalty. Between all this, what happened to Indra, did he escaped or did he paid for it.
We shall find our answers next week. Till then, be curious.


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Thursday, July 16, 2015

To Eat or Not to Eat; the war goes on

When Shri Ram struck eliminated Bali, the latter accused him for foul play.
During his accusations, he said one thing-

'We Vanars are of no use to you as our skin as well as skeleton is prohibited within you people. Even for such a noble person like you, eating of flesh is forbidden then for what purpose did you shoot me?
The three varns i.e. kshatriya, vaishy and shoodr can eat only five animals among the ones who have five nails, vanaars are not counted on those either
With reference to the last blog, we know how Shri Ram countered all his allegations and we also came to know about the golden necklace, the real culprit.
But, this dialogue; this seems to have ignited lot of questions in the minds of readers. The ongoing battle between the vegetarians and non-vegetarians from eternity and the question of 'paap' and 'punya' by consuming any food and so on.
I remember attending a marriage of my friend a while ago; he is a bengali brahmmarn. There I saw something that astounded me; a custom for the bride and the groom during their dinner. Their dinner included fish and they had to consume it or at least taste it, including the eye. Well yes, Bengalis are non-vegees, but fish in a custom, that too in a marriage. Then someone told me that fish was considered auspicious. Okay.

Though I am strictly a vegetarian(an indirect eggetarian actually, hard to resist cakes you see) and don't promote meat, but facts are facts. So, if non-veg was common in old times then why such brouhaha.  
First we will examine Bali's dialogue- 
  • As told by the dying vanar, eating meat was a common and usual thing those days; also, among the five-nailed animals, only five animals were allowed to consume . Those being - rhinoceros, tortoise, porcupine, rabbit and khoh and hence, vanars were not allowed to be hunted for food. 
  • We also came to know that Brahmmarns were strictly vegetarian, other castes were free to chose. 
  • Shri Ram, was a vegetarian. The reason given was that he was a noble person.
We must see that a civilization depends upon the available resources for its living. The same goes with regards to the edible resources. A prime reason why people living in the coastal areas consume meat(remember the Bengali marriage) irrespective to their caste and creed. I say so due to the misbelief that people who eat non-veg food are bad; character-wise(yupp, a adarshwadi friend of mine had, had such school of thought).  

The reason as other varns or castes were allowed to eat meat but the brahmmarns was due to their ritualistic responsibilities. Those days brahmmarns used to have holistic routine; worshiping their deity, teaching and preaching and meditation as well. It is known that whatever food intake we have, it affects our behavior, the routine of brahmmarns requires a lot of focus and self-control so they had to be selective of their diet. Also hygiene is also one of the reasons as the place of worship should be free from meat and blood.

Talking of diet, three kinds of foods had been identified through our vaids; satva or sattavik, tamas or tamsik and rajas or rajasik

Satva means balance, order, purity- for e.g. dairy products, vegetables, fruits and grains etc.
Tamas means darkness, dull, negative- for e.g. meat and other non-veg., onion, garlic etc.
Rajas means creation, passion- for e.g. chocolate, over spicy food, caffeinated drinks etc.

Whatever we eat affects our body and mind and ultimately our conduct.

Sattavik food is considered the best as they have a calming effect to our mind and soul, they don't disturb our senses, but balances them, hence helping us in focusing or meditating with positive energy.
Tamsik diets are considered negative, detrimental. A good intake of them slowly turns our instincts towards negative, rather wild. The calmness is reduced and a certain aggression is formed in our temperament. The rakshasas are the best ones to illustrate, they even fed on humans and their temper; sanguinary, destructive.
Rajasik foods are rather considered neutral, but they are also stimulating. They lead the mind towards Maya; temptation, lust, greed that in the end play with our very character. 

Now we have realized our elders promoting vegetarian and the rationale behind that. I do not intend to interdict non-veg as it is on personal choice. The only thing is now you know about it, you know where to give more weightage for a healthy body and mind. Nor I am endorsing 'sattavik-only' diet as that will create an imbalance as well.
We also understood as why brahmmarns were strictly veg. and over too that strictly sattavik. Shri Ram was a kshatriya but a noble being as well, the one who had won his senses and that is why he was a vegetarian, he directed the world towards an ideal and healthy lifestyle. We also know that a carnivorous is not necessarily a bad being, otherwise; Guh, Shri Ram's mate and a tribal head was a non-vegetarian, yet a good man. He helped Shri Ram during his exile.

Before we end, I would like to clear a major misunderstanding. According to few "intellects", the brahmarns used to eat beef. Really feel sorry for humanity, as now you can understand how impossible is that. Au contraire, cow is considered holy and I don't need to explain why. The other varns also didn't feed on beef.

"Cooking is an art and has lot to offer us; if we have the right ingredients, we can make our life merry and create a better world henceforth

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Mystical Necklace

Kishkindha Kaand is my favorite canto or kaand in Ramayan. The geographical detailing of the whole world, to the very end of it and hence knowledge of Sugreeve will blow your mind. But it is not the highlight of this canto. The key point that actually proceeded the canto or rather gave prominence to this kaand was Bali-Waddh.
Shri Ram eliminated Bali and installed justice helping Sugreeve getting his wife back and with that the latter was able to help Shri Ram as only then he got authority over whole Vaanar community. Had it not happened, Sugreeve wouldn't be able to help Shri Ram with his full force.
Alas! the "intellects" cry foul alleging Shri Ram of cheating and tag the episode an act of coward. Let's clear the air today and to do that, first let us know Bali:

Bali was one of the prime legendary vaanars of Tretayug apart from Sugreeve and Hanuman. He was the direct descendant of Indra, king of the devas and fathered by Vaanar king Rikshraja. He also had a brother named Sugreeve, direct descendant of Surya dev.
Bali was one of the most powerful beings of those times. One can just imagine the level of his strength as when Raavarn came to challenge him for a duel, he caught the rakshas and suppressed him under his armpit for hours wandering to the four seas. Before Shri Ram, the rakshas was defeated, rather humiliated by two persons; the first being Kartivirya Arjun, a human king and second was Bali.

When Bali was born, he was blessed with a divine golden necklace. We must know about this necklace as it was important not only to this legend but the real reason behind Shri Ram eliminating him in hiding. It was no common necklace as it was blessed by Indra; it bought prosperity to the vaanar kingdom and also, during a combat, no matter how powerful enemy would Bali face, that beings' half strength would get transmitted to Bali enhancing his force manifolds. That was one of the reasons he was able to seize Raavarn under his armpit.

Now coming to the main point; in spite of being 'The God', why did Shri Ram had to kill the mighty Vaanar-King in hiding. First let me brief you the humane reasons given by Shri Ram:

  • Bali always had kept lust on priority being ignorant towards dharm by abandoning it. Elder brother as well as a father and a teacher are always considered as a father figure and likewise younger brother, son and pupil are always considered as son figure. In spite of his younger brother being alive he slept with his wife, Ruma forcibly, who was like his daughter-in-law.  His such act was a big offense and therefore he was punished for so. Those who have lustful approach towards their daughter, sister, younger brother’s wife, for those death is the only penalty and Bali was on the same track.
  • Humans catch animals by applying different traps, kshatriyas for their amusement hunt down animals whether they are alert or not and the hunters are allowed to do that. Bali was just another animal fleeing from one branch to another and therefore it didn’t matter whether he was combating with Shri Ram or not as the latter had all right to eliminate him or rather hunt him.
Sounds justified when we see what Bali did, yet, we must dig further. Lets see it with a different view, or rather the actual perspective-

If Shri Ram would have confronted Bali for combat then definitely he would have won. This would actually neutralize a deity's boon or blessing as the necklace could not be defied ever, which would finally ended up failing Gods’ and Devtas’ blessings. We know that the necklace was the blessing of Indra and the one who will wore it will be unassailable to his enemy. Therefore, being Maryada Purshottam, he protected the dignity of the boon that Indra gave in the form of the necklace and eliminated Bali in hiding.

"Truth can never be defied; no matter how one tries to suppress it, its radiance will continue to illuminate the world"

Grammar Gyan -

Kishkindha  -  kish-kin-dhaa
Kaand          -  kaa-aand
Sugreeve     -  sug-ree-eve
Bali             -  baa-lee
Waddh        -  wad-ddh
Vaanar        -  vaa-nar
Tretayug     -  treta-yug
Hanuman    -  hanoo-maan
Raavarn      -  raa-varn, here n will be silent
Rikshraja    -  rik-sha-raj-aa
Kshatriya    -  shat-riya, here a will be silent
Maryada     -  mar-yaa-daa
Purshottam -  pur-shot-tam

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ayodhya: The Prime and Eternal - II

In my last post we came closer to our past learning about our true heritage in compliance with the socio-economic scenario. Today we will continue further, exploring the educational and cultural circumstances of the era:
"An enriched civilization is the outcome of its citizens, who are culturally and academically accomplished"
Our society always revered great sages as they were the ones who laid foundation of our educational system; ayurvaid, astrology, arithmetic and other sciences for example.  They identified those disciplines through vaidas and cognized mankind towards wisdom.  That is the reason as why the brahmmarns are mostly respected, even today they are highly worshiped.
We were far more advanced than the world we live in today. Be it natural or applied sciences, agriculture, astrology and many other fields, even aviation. You read it right, aviation, we will explore it some other time.
Everyone performed daily rituals following the nakshatras and the muhurts. From here it can be easily inferred that people whether the royalty or common, men or women, right of education was even as it was given high prominence.

Every man-woman was spiritual, disciplined, religious, humble and pleasant in nature; in Ayodhya no citizen was cruel, non-believer in God or lustful.
Those times were the paramount ones when our culture had set high standards in terms of shishtachar. Apposite conduct was followed within different age groups.
A small example of their humbleness - Whenever the sages arrived in the royal courts or the visitors arrived, they were given full admiration. Those times the guests, especially sages were highly revered. They were welcomed with ‘padya’ – water to wash their feet, ‘ardhya’ – water to drink and then ‘madhupark’ – a blend of water, sugar, honey and ghee.

Individual of every varn or caste viz; Brahmarn, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra, they all followed their duties and daily routines. We need to understand about this varn system; it was initiated to maintain balance in the society, as if the system would have not been followed, there would be endless takers for some jobs and some would have been ignored that could have resulted in a chaos. Exploitation, like I said in the last post, was an unknown term. 
Though individual belonging to any varn was independent to chose his/her path; I will site two of few examples those I discovered in Ramayan: 

  • First, Vishwamitra, a kshatriya king, who with his firm determination achieved brahmmarnatv and became a brahmmrishi.
  • Second, we all know Shravarn Kumar, but do we know who his parents were. No, they weren't brahmmarns; but, his father was a vaishya and his mother was a shudra, yet they were ascetics like any brahmmarn. We also can confirm here that marrying out of your caste isn't a big issue as it is supposed now a days, how ironic.
There was gender equity in the society. Women were evenly provided with right of education. The queens were eligible to rule or govern the kingdom in absence of the king. It proves that young girls were nurtured both physically and mentally before they were ready for responsibilities.  
To illustrate; in Sunder Kaand when Hanuman ji met Devi Sita, during conversation she expressed her plight and illustrated it citing surgical science. 
It again enlightens us about the stature of education people had with respect to various sciences.

Before signing off, one last thing; now that we have come to know so much about our true self, believe in yourself and your amazing inheritance. It is exceptional; so be proud, forever.


Grammar Gyan -
Vaid              -  vay-aid
Ayurvaid      - aa-yur-vay-aid
Nakshatra     -  nak-schat-tra
Muhurt         -  moo-hoort
Shishtachar   - shisht-aa-chaar 
Padya            - paa-adya, here a will be silent
Ardhya          - urdh-ya, here a will be silent
Madhupark    - madhoo-purk  
Brahmmarn   - brah-amm-urn, here n will be silent
Brahmmarnatv- brah-amm-urn-atv
Brahmmrishi  - bruh-umm-ri-shee
Kshatriya      - schat-riya, here a will be silent
Vaishya        - vash-ya, here a will be silent
Shudra          - shood-ra, here a will be silent
Varn              - va-urn, here n will be silent
Vishwamitra - vish-wa-mit-ra
Shravarn       - shrav-urn, here n will be silent
Kumar          - kum-aar
Sunder          - sun-dar
kaand           - kaa-aand
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