Sunday, September 10, 2006

Symbolism in the Mahabhrata and other Indian Mythology

The Pentacle and Pentagram, the secret feminine, Gnostic messages in Leonado's art works have all received a very welcome exposure through Dan Brown's bestseller The Da Vinci Code. A sign of how civilized a society is can be made out clearly by how openly it can question and dispute established social knowledge. In that the west has truly distinguished itself. If you haven't read the book already, I would highly recommend it. It may be a work of fiction but is a highly thought provoking one.

Currently I am re-reading the Mahabharat, the first time as a grown up. A characteristic that strikes me as unique is the elan with which human greatness and frailties have been woven together in the story. Thus, even Yudhistira who is a paragon of virtue is shown to have a human weakness to gambling, Drona the greatest of teachers having a special place for Arjuna in his heart above all his other students, and many more such. The moral is always not to deny weakness but to rise over it, a message that I find more appealing.

Mahabharat has many layers to it, of which every reading uncovers more of. One particular one that I find very appealing is likening the entire proceedings of Mahabharata to the trials and tribulations that every human goes through. The Kauravas here represent the hundreds of forces of Tamas, (literally darkness representing all our baser instincts) that assail us unrelentingly. Sometimes the guise these feeling assume would scarce seem to have the least trace of darkness, but before you know you have descended into a whirlpool of blind madness. Pandavs represent the five senses who are charged with protecting the inner purity who takes the form of Draupadi. And Krishna is Himself, the Ishwara, the Supreme overlord of creation, who can guide us to Victory over Tamas, if we let Him. He has granted us free will out of his own benevolence. Welcoming Krishna in our heart and attempting to absorb the timeless message of the Bhagavad Gita is the way to freedom, mokhsha and eternal Ananda.

" When I read Bhagavad Gita. I ask myself how God created the Universe. Everything else appears to be superfluous" - Albert Einstein.

Maharbharat is not unique in its use of symbolism, the Purans, Itihas and even the Vedas and Vedantas are replete with intricate symbolisms. These things are meant to be discovered by individuals themselves and these great works speak to everyone personally. This journey is giving me an immense amount of bliss, I hope it will do the same to you too. Join the Hunt my friend...

Sept 29, 2006: Today morning I had wonderful experience in my dreams. I saw I was sitting along with a few devotees at the feet of Lord Jesus Christ and listening to him. I don't remember a word of that and His face only vaguely, but I clearly remember thinking in my dream how serene his face was, alight with Divya-Jyoti (Divine Light). His dress, a robe was white. The terrain was hilly and green. I remember thinking that this was Mount Sinai, (which is strange because Sinai is actually associated with Moses and the Ten Commandments!) Anyway I feel blessed having seen our saviour, even seeing him in a dream for me means beyond what I can express. Thank you my Lord.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Vande Mataram

I sang Vande Mataram with pride today. Our national song had for decades, before freedom was finally won, inspired countless of Indians to dedicate themselves to the cause. Even after the nation achieved independence for many it was a re-affirmation that long held faith that the Motherland is verily the Mother. Is it a one-sided or religious way of looking at things? I don't know and frankly I don't care. This is exactly how I feel and have always felt.

Shokol Desher Rani
Se Je Aamar Janmabhoomi

Today it doesn't matter the least to me that some people choose find strange reasons not to sing this song, anyway to each his own. As I said before patriotism needs to come from the heart. And to me being an Indian is a privilege.

Jai Hind.

Personal Note: Tomorrow my little Rudra and his Mom are heading toward Gangtok for a few months' worth of vacation. I know Kanai is always with them.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Aw Man! Gimme a break

Dear all, please look at the lil guy frolicking below, trying his darnest to look like a planet. Just look at him, bouncing that ball around trying to convince himself that it is a moon or something. Do you have the heart to tell him that he ain't a planet anymore!!! Just Gimme a break here!

Actually since the time good old Doordarshan started beaming one or two stray episodes of Mickey and Donald, this is what I thought planet Pluto looked like. Now apparently this guy just had to stray onto Neptune's orbit and they don't want to call him a planet anymore :(. This is sooo not done folks. My entire education is at stake here, I mean I remember jumping up and down my class desk as a child to answer the question - "Which planet is furthest from Sun?" until a harried teacher would finally relant and point at me for me to shout Plutoooo. What becomes now of all those brownie points I earned... my god! the basis of my education is now shaky. Leave Pluto alone, Scientific People; he is a small guy, and it is not as if he is crowding the Uranus or Neptune's orbit an' causing a traffic jam like the one in K R Puram bridge that I have to contend with everyday.

Talking of traffic jams, I got into the Mother of all traffic jams on Friday at the ring road. In Bangalore everytime a new Government comes they just dig up all existing good roads and rebuild them, while the potholed ones languish the way the British had left them. I can't even understand why the names of the roads are still English sounding, why do we need to have Wheeler's and Miller's roads, Who are they? What did they do? It would have been OK to have a few roads after prominent Englishmen who had something to do with Bangalore, such as Churchill who was posted here sometimes early in his career, but I see no sense in remembering the various Cunnighams, Frasers and Cookes. Bangalore is a funny place, no one seems to bothered about the rising crimes, pollution, collapsing infrastructure, political inaptitude or even the rising cost of leaving. But when a highly popular movie star died the entire city was under seize by crazies who even killed a policeman for no reason. There is a simmering under current of resentment by a section of people, which manifests in weird ways. Idu Namma Bengaluru Saar, Saalpa Adjust Maadi!

A new strangeness has gripped the Nation now, to sing or not to sing Vande Maataram. I obviously feel it should be sung by all, but still I don't feel any purpose is served by forcing people to do so. Patriotism should come from within, and as long there are these sundry cleric for whom being a bugbear is more important than really working for upliftment of their community, such sensations shall always overshadow the core issues.

Meantime, what of our friend Pluto? Well here is what I say - Cuddle him, Comfort him and just tell him that planet or no planet; oblong, hyperbolic or elliptical orbit we still love him lots and always will :)