King Solomon Feast Day

Blog _ Logo_v1

King Solomon is revered as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church and is honoured with the title “Righteous Prophet and King”. He was the King of the United Kingdom of Israel and reigned from 970 BCE to 931 BCE. Known for his wealth and wisdom, King Solomon is fondly remembered for the Temple that he built in Jerusalem, the ‘Holy Temple’, famously known as the ‘First Temple’.

King Solomon Feast

On the completion of the temple, King Solomon arranged a grand feast, with citizens from all across Israel. This feast is recorded in the Bible, and is celebrated every year on 26th December, a day after Christmas, as “King Solomon Feast Day”.

King Solomon 1

King Solomon

Apart from the temple, King Solomon also built his palace and other structures in Jerusalem. This grand palace of Solomon today only survives in the Bibilical texts, as no part of the original structure remains, being destroyed by the ravages of time.

The India connect

The city and palace that he built used a lot of teak wood and ivory from the east, over the seas. This region to the east, where both teak and ivory are available in plenty, is the Malabar Coast, in the land of India.

King Solomon 2

City Built by King Solomon, Jerusalem

King Solomon 3

Malabar Coast, India

Archaeological Survey of India through their excavations have been able to identify that the coast near Kollam, Kerala was a major trading center of yore. This region was abounding in teak. The Kannimara Thekku Teak Tree, which is said to be Asia’s largest living teak tree, is located at Thoonakkadavu, in Kerala.

King Solomon 4

Kannimara Teak at Thoonakkadavu

A Thriving Connect

These archaeological findings state that teak, ivory, indigo and spices was exported from the Malabar Coast ports near Kollam to Arabian and European ports.

This indicates a thriving trade connect over 3000 years ago, between the Indian civilization and the Middle East civilization, in the pre Christian era.

King Solomon 5

The Indo-Middle East Connect in Pre Christian times

It is from these shipments, that the wood, ivory and indigo for the palace of King Solomon, could well have been supplied, in those ancient days.

King Solomon 6

Teak, Ivory, Indigo and Spices were regularly exported from Malabar

India’s Contribution to Mathematics

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing and text

Mathematics is given a high place in sciences, like the crest of a peacock among its colored plum, in India’s ancient treatises. Vedanta Jyothisa, an ancient treatise on Mathematics and astronomy mentions this.

Ganitham is the Indian term for Mathematics. The word Ganitham has in it the phrase Gana, meaning weighty, heavy. The field of Mathematics has always been weighty and heavy.

The Lord of Mathematics in Indian tradition is Ganesha, Ganapathy. The term Gana also means numbers.

ganesha in india

Ganesha, The Lord of Mathematics

Zero

Mathematics has developed to what it is today, due to zero. This zero, Shunya, was one of India’s significant contribution to the world of Mathematics.

Many Millennia ago, the ancient Indian Rishis understood and expressed Zero as Shunya. Infact, the concept of Shunya existed in India, right from the time of Creation. The symbol of zero was expressed in Bakshali document, 200-300 years, before Aryabhatta, as a dot, namely Bindu. Bindu is a point of singularity, from which the whole of creation arose. Bindu is not exactly nothing, but consists of everything.

Mahendravarman was the king of Cambodia from 590 CE to 611 CE. The earliest dated Samskrt inscription during his rule has the year as:

khadvishara  == kha.dvi.shara

kha= 0 (space or zero), dvi = 2, shara = 5 (arrows)

= 520 Shaka = 598 CE.

The English word Zero draws its origin from the Indian word Shunya as it travelled from India westwards.

1

There is no figure, shape or letter for zero in the Roman numerals, as the concept of zero was not known to the Europeans till the 1500s

When Zero was introduced to Europe, everyone asked what this number was.

Zero before anything is nothing but after anything is something.

This number created lot of doubts and confusion in the minds of the people which is why a French writer in 1500s wrote:  “0” a sign which creates confusion and difficulties.

2

Those who could understand the concept of 0 became scholars overnight. Zero acquired a profound significance.

Indian numerals and Zero officially gained acceptance over Roman Numerals in 1543.

Nothing came from India i.e. Zero came from India. It is only after the acceptance of Indian numerals including zero that science in Europe grew in leaps and bounds.

Infinity

Apart from zero, infinity also has its origin in India. From one abstract concept of zero, Shunya, the Indian mind reached out to the abstract on other end of the spectrum which is the concept of Anantha, Infinity.

3

The symbol of zero today is 0, but its mark in Indian thought is a Bindu, a dot. The Bindu is not exactly nothing. It consists of everything.

Prior to Creation, the five primordial elements were present inside this Bindu, the mark of zero. After the Big Bang, this Bindu which is also known as Hiranyagarbha, the cosmic womb, blasted open and all the elements spewed out. The growth of the universe from the minutest, Shunya to the universal, Anantha was instantaneous. The space then became immeasurable. This is the concept of infinity, Anantha, meaning that which is beyond measure.

4

In Indian thought, infinity is symbolized by a coiled serpent known as Anantha, on which rests Lord Vishnu. Anantha was in the medieval age, widely used in sculpture, paintings, poetry, literature, handicrafts and textiles all over India. Infact Anantha symbol was a regular motif from medieval times.

5

In 1655, John Wallis, the British Mathematician was looking for a symbol of infinity. At this time, India was regularly exporting textile goods to Arabia, known as Indine. The Anantha motifs would have travelled with these textile goods to Europe, and John Wallis might well have come across the Anantha symbol on one of these textiles.

Back in India, there was a definition of infinity practiced and recited everyday in homas conducted. This verse is found in Satpataha Brahmana and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. (show the visual of the slokas)

The Indian concept of Infinity, the root of the symbol of infinity were derived from this basic understanding of infinity, by our ancients.

Metrics

Right from the Veda which were recited in certain metres, i.e beats or counts, this civilization has been going about life with a rhythm.

The very word “rhythm” itself comes from the root rtha meaning pattern, cycle. From rtha comes the word rthu meaning seasons, which are patterns in Nature, the rhythm of Nature.

With rhythm in its blood, counting and measuring was not far behind. Also with trade and a structured economy, as the prime means of prosperity, science of measuring and counting was fairly advanced in India. This is evidenced by the many measuring weights found in the archaeological sites of the port of Lothal and others across India, in the warehouses and foundries of erstwhile Indus Valley (Sindhu-Sarasvati civilization) cities and many more.

6

The words Yojana for measuring distance and Yuga for measuring time, can be found, as way back, as in the Rig Veda, last compiled 5100 years ago.

Geometry

What we know as Geometry today has come down to us from Gyaamiti of our ancients. Gyaamiti was the body of Mathematics, Ganitham that dealt with lines and shapes. It was also known as Rekha ganitha.

Rekha means lines, borders, that which binds space. The evidence of Gyaamiti, Rekha Ganitha through the times can be seen from its application in

  1. Architecture
  2. Ship building
  3. Port building
  4. Water harnessing projects
  5. Town planning and drainage system
  6. Astronomy

Gyaamiti or Geometry comprised of the science behind shapes such as,

  1. Plane figures – Kshetra
  2. Cubic figures – Ghana
  3. Pile of Bricks –Chiti
  4. Saw Shaped – Krakachya
  5. Shadows  – Chaya

Geometry which is ascribed to Euclid the Greek was prevalent in India as Gyaamiti. Usage of Gyaamiti in Indian civilization goes back to 3000 BCE.

Algebra

The method of dealing with numbers and quantities known as Algebra today, can be traced to the Indian body of knowledge called Bija Ganitham. [ बीज गणितं ]

Bija means seeds. Bija Ganitham is that part of Ganitham that reduced the problem, situation being studied, to expressions in terms of basic entities or seeds. It involved the relations between them . – what in modern terminology are referred to as variables and alphanumeric equations.

As the story goes, when this branch of Mathematics travelled to Arabia, the Bija got transposed as Jaba, perhaps due to the opposite direction of reading followed in Arabic script.

7

This body of knowledge and the word Jaba, out of reverence, came to be called Al Jaba, Al standing for anything holy in Arabic.

When the knowledge of Mathematics travelled from Arabia to Europe, this Al Jaba ended up as Algebra.

Trigonometry

Trigonometry of today was practiced as “Trikonamiti” in Indian Tradition.

Trikona comes from Tri for three and kona means corners. Corners give rise to angles. Trikona means that which is concerned with “three angles” or a triangle.

8

We have the famous sun temple of Konarak.  Here in this word Konark we have the concept of Kona, meaning angles. The whole temple is about angles.

9

It’s not only the Konarak temple every temple has got an angle to it. Infact every structure has many angles to it.

We also have a word drishtikona, for perspective.

The science of trikona, triangle has been   known as trikonamitti from time immemorial.

This trikonamitti has been used from vedic times for building the homa kunda, fire altars.

The classic example of the use of Tikonamiti, Trigonometry was the measurement of the height of Mount Everest, Sagar Mathe, by Andrew Waugh using theololite.

12

Andrew Waugh was assisted in this effort by Pandit Nain Singh from India.

Algorithm

What we call today as the concept of Algorithm can be traced back to the Arabian mathematician, Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi better known as Al Khwarizmi.

13

Al Khwarizmi wrote about the concept of Indian technique of calculation based on decimal notation numbers. This book was read by the medieval European mathematician Adelard in 12th century CE and translated as the book “De Numero Indico”.

While the name algorithm has its roots in the name of the Arabic mathematician Al Khwarizmi, the concept and content of algorithms has its roots in the Indian numerals and Indian Mathematics, ganitham.

On a lighter vein, perhaps Algorithm should now be rebranded as Alganitham.

A Healthy Contribution

Thus we see that the Indian civilization has given forth a very healthy contribution to the field of Mathematics and from thereon to science. The present fields of Mathematics used in the world are a contribution of the Indian mind.

Gita Jayanthi

Gita Jayanthi is celebrated on Margashira Shukla Paksha Ekadashi day, i.e. the 11th phase of the bright fortnight of the Margashira month as per the Indian calendar. It is the day to commemorate the birth of the Gita.

Who or which Gita are we referring to here?

It is the Bhagavad Gita, which has been the literature of this civilization, this land and this nation since we can all remember.

It is the Gita which has been playing many roles in the lives of Indians, since the times of Krishna, who delivered it and left it behind to guide the people for long after His own lifetime.

1

Gita Upadesha

Gita in Law

In the court one swears by the Gita. This practice has been going on for over 200 years. That makes it the nationally accepted book, both on a personal count and as well as being legally tenable. Not accepting the truth after swearing on the Gita, amounts to perjury.

All these were in practice, much before the words secularism and pseudo secularism came to vogue in India.

The Most Comprehensive Guide

The Bhagavad Gita answers one’s many queries, both from the Sthoola, bodily level and from the Sukshma, the subtle, ethereal level.

Upa means “near” and adesha means “instruction”. Upadesha is the instruction received by a disciple, sitting close to his master.

Krishna while delivering the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna says,

“I taught this to Vivasvan, who in turn passed it on to Vaivasvata Manu, from whom it was passed on to Ikshvaku, after which it was lost in the passage of time. As this knowledge is since lost, I, Krishna, son of Vasudeva am giving it you Arjuna, on this battlefield.”

The teaching of Krishna, was applicable not only to Arjuna and the situation that he was in, but is also applicable to each one of us today even after so many millennia. Through the medium of this dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, mankind, to this day, continues to enjoy and benefit from the most comprehensive guide to right living in this Universe.

This Bhagavad Gita discourse by Krishna shows Him in the light of one of the foremost spiritual teachers of mankind. His teachings through the Gita have remained a universal guide to mankind across many millennia, inspiring and leading many to walk the path of duty and righteousness.

Kurukshetra Battle and Bhagavad Gita

The uniqueness of Bhagavad Gita lies in the fact that it was given on a battle field, at the beginning of the battle between the Pandava and the Kaurava at Kurukshetra.

Kurukshetra War Start

On the day of the war the armies are lined up, ready to fight, waiting for the signal to start the battle.

At this juncture, standing at the head of the Pandava Army, facing the war giants on the Kaurava side, Arjuna, the archer par excellence and the main warrior for the Pandava forces, is troubled by serious doubts.

He sees that in front of him, the opponents whom he has to engage in battle and kill, are his own Guru – Dronacharya, his Grand Sire – Bheeshma, his own cousins – the Kaurava and other known friends.

Arjuna then questions Krishna, his friend, cousin, confidante and mentor in life, now in the role of his charioteer, of the paradoxical need to shed blood of his near and dear ones, only to establish rights over a kingdom. He asks Krishna as to why he should fight for the kingdom, if all his near and dear were to perish in the same war?

2

Kurukshetra battle to start

Krishna then takes on the role of a philosopher, a teacher and explains to Arjuna the meaning of life, this creation, this universe and man’s role in it. Krishna dwells exhaustively on the concept of the soul and its relation to the body, the concept of the body and its relation to the acts it performs, the concept of these acts and their relation to their results, the concept of these results and their relation back to the soul and finally the concept of the soul and its relation to the supreme consciousness of the cosmos.

Step by step, with an answer for every question asked by Arjuna, Krishna patiently leads Arjuna into a world of deep spiritual knowledge, where Arjuna sees Krishna’s cosmic form. Arjuna learns of the ways of operation of the cosmos and the cosmic consciousness, which would apply to himself and all the beings around him, irrespective of whether he decides to fight the battle or not and whether he kills his near and dear ones or not.

Krishna elevates Arjuna to the highest echelons of knowledge about the way of life in the Universe.

Arjuna was going through an exhilarating experience of God Himself explaining the nuances of the cosmic laws to him.

Date of Gita in Gregorian Calendar

The Bhagavad Gita Upadesha and the start of the battle, occur on the same day. Today, with the aid of the sky configurations described in the Mahabharatha text we can assign a date in the modern calendar to the date of the battle and hence a date for this “Song of the Divine”.

We have been able date the life of Krishna and the various events of the Mahabharata through our series, “Historical Krishna”.

Historical Krishna_3_Vol

Tradition calls this day when Gita was born as Gita Jayanthi and to this day it is celebrated on Margashira Shukla Paksha Ekadashi, meaning the 11th day in the bright fortnight of the month of Margashira.

On this day, there was a New Moon along with a Solar Eclipse, in Jyeshta star on October 14th, 3067 BCE, followed by a Full Moon on October 28th, 3067 BCE. This lunar cycle marked the lunar month of Karthika, since the full moon occurred near Karthik star.

The month that follows Karthika, is Margashira and the New Moon occurred around 12 Nov 3067 BCE. This makes Nov 22nd, 3067 BCE, which was the start of the battle and the day of Gita, a Margashira Shukla Paksha Ekadashi day, the 11th  phase of the bright fortnight of Margashira.

The tradition of celebrating Margashira Shukla Paksha Ekadashi day as Gita Jayanthi matches what the skies showed 5100 years ago.

This means that the year 2018 is the 5085th year since the Upadesha of Gita.

A Revelation of God Himself

The Bhagavad Gita was revealed to mankind by God Himself. The word Bhagavad means ‘God, the Lord’ and Gita means ‘Song’. The word ‘Bhagavad Gita’ thus literally translates to, ‘Song of God’.

Krishna reveals his Viswaroopa, the Cosmic Form to Arjuna, showing that He is the Supreme Lord of Creation, incarnated in a human form to add credibility to His Gita.

4

Vishvaroopa Darshana

This revelation of God, the Gita Upadesha was witnessed by Arjuna, Sanjaya the commentator, Vyasa the compiler and a host of other fortunate ones.

Arjuna’s grandfather, Krishna Dwaipayana, whom we reverentially call as Veda Vyasa, for he also compiled the Veda, recorded the Gita Upadesa for posterity.

The Difference

There have been many occasions in many lands, many civilizations, where God has conveyed His message to mankind, through His Son or through a messenger, a Prophet.

Similarly, there have been other times when God has thought it fit to pass on knowledge through different noble and wise persons.

In that sense, this land, the civilisation and nation of India, has experienced a difference, for, it has had the privilege to have an Avatar, an incarnation of God Himself, giving His message to mankind in person. And this was in the form of His song, the Bhagavad Gita.

Bhagavad Gita not a religious text

Bhagavad Gita deals with life, duties, actions, mind, soul, purpose of life and the belief in the divine God. All these aspects are common to human life, civilizations and all religions. From this perspective, Bhagavad Gita is a manual of all these above points and not to be limitedly construed as a religious text, even though it has come down from the mouth of God. The dialogue between the two, Krishna and Arjuna, was more about the purpose of life and actions than a religious discourse.

Gita therefore, should verily and proudly be accorded the status of a knowledge asset, a literary treasure, a godsend counsel for realization of the self, whether one is a citizen of India or the world.

Marthanda Varma

modi-travancore_660_121613124325.jpg

Maharaja Uthradam Marthanda Varma of Thriuvananthapuram Samsthanam was a noble king, a simple man.

1

We had the opportunity of meeting him many years ago when we went to pray at the Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram.

 2

Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple

This temple has been in news recently for the enormous wealth that it possesses in its vaults. All this wealth – gold, silver and precious gems is a result of consistent donations by the royal family, for the last 500 years.

Marthanda Varma 1.jpg

While the existence of this wealth is news to us today, this King Marthanda Varma as well as his predecessors were all well aware of this huge wealth that was safely kept in the vaults of the temple.

What is pertinent to note in this connection is that, even in this day and age of avarice, this noble King Marthanda Varma, had not shown any interest in this amazing wealth nor laid a finger on it.

Let us look at his illustrious lineage.

The Travancore Dynasty

Forerunner of the Padmanabha Dasa

The most famous king of the Travancore lineage was Maharaja Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma.

5

Maharaja Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma

He, in a decisive move, handed over the reign of the kingdom to the presiding deity of Travancore, Lord Anantha Padmanabha and vowed that he and his descendants would from thereon serve the kingdom on behalf of the Lord as His servant. For this, he and his successors would take on the title Padmanabha Dasa, the servant of Padmanabha.

Maharaja Swathi Thirunal, the composer musician

The other famous king of this lineage was Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma from 1813 till 1846. This king was also a great musician and composer of songs.

6

Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma

Gopalaka Paahimam  – A Sopanam which is popularly sung in Krishna temples in Kerala from ancient times, was composed by Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma.

There is an interesting story about the birth of this king. When the king was still in the Queen Mother’s womb, the earlier King had passed away.

As per the doctrine of Dalhousie, imposed by the British rule then, if a kingdom did not have a successor, the kingdom had to be handed over to the British. It was using this doctrine, that the British had taken over many of the kingdoms in central India.

7

Lord Dalhousie

The agent for the British in the Travancore court then, was Thomas Munro who had much faith in the Indian thought and was a confidant and advisor to the Queen mother.  To safeguard the kingdom from a claim to the throne laid by a rival to the royalty as well as to ensure British interests, even as the Queen Mother was still pregnant, Munro informed his superiors that the Queen Mother had already given birth to a boy, a legitimate heir to the kingdom and hence neither the claim of the rival nor the Dalhousie doctrine would be applicable. He thus saved the Travancore kingdom from falling into rival hands.

This he did with the confidence that, on conception, the Queen Mother had undergone the ritual known as Pumsavanam, a ritual to facilitate a male progeny. It is also said that in order that his ploy would not go in vain, he had prayed to Lord Anantha Padmanabha that the Queen Mother should deliver a male baby, failing which he threatened the Lord that he would blow up His temple.

8

Col. Thomas Munro

Lord Anantha Padmanabha did not fail Munro nor the people of Kerala. A baby boy was born to the Queen Mother who grew up to become the famous music composer, Swathi Thirunal.

This gamble of Thomas Munro not only saved the Travancore kingdom but it also shows the faith Thomas Munro had reposed in the traditional Indian systems.

Unique Customs

An interesting aspect to be noted about this lineage is that it is not the King’s son who becomes the king as in the patriarchal system. The kingdom of Travancore followed a matrilineal system.

Another unique custom of this lineage is that the royalty are not referred to by their given name. They are respectfully referred to by the star they were born in. This holds good for both male and female members of royalty. For example Maharaja Swati Tirunal was born in the Swati star.

Wealth of the Travancore Dynasty

All the wealth of this kingdom, of its kings and its temple did not come about by plunder, but were internally generated in this kingdom and from its trade with lands far away across the seas such as Arabia and beyond.

This brings forth to us that the prosperity that was prevalent in this kingdom through the ages was of a sustainable nature and it brought untold wealth to this kingdom.

Obviously, just a portion of this would have been donated to the temple.

If this was just a portion, then one can well imagine what would have been the whole wealth of this small but prosperous kingdom?

It is to such an illustrious lineage that Raja Martanda Varma belonged to. Kerala should be proud of this noble son of a noble lineage that had once ruled it benevolently.

Temple – A Place for Dharmic Activities

A Temple is not only an Alaya, a place of worship where an idol, Vigraha of a Divinity is installed, but is a body of place of innumerable Dharmic activities that go to make “that” abode of “that” Divinity a place of fruitful association between “that” Divinity and visitors who come to revere “that” Divinity.

A Temple is thus also a Shala, meaning a special place, home, a congregation hall. A place for a range of activities of Sanatana Dharma, and a home to different Kala.

To know more, access complete eBook here: Temple – A Place for Dharmic Activities

Image result for brihadishwara temple

Babu Genu

babu-genu

Very few people in this country are even aware of this young martyr, who was done in, in the most gruesome manner by the British dictators. While the exact birth date of this young hero is yet to be ascertained, it is confirmed that he was born in 1908. So, Babu Genu was just 22 years, when he met his end on 12th December 1930, fighting the British. It is the memory of such freedom fighters that India should nurture, in order to truly understand the great sacrifices of those who collectively brought India freedom. The youth of India then were not afraid to raise their voices against the British administration, and in the process even risked their lives.

Babu Genu 1

Babu Genu

Early Life

Babu Genu was born in 1908, into a poverty ridden family, in the Pune district of Maharashtra. His father was a farmer, and the only prized possession of the family was a bullock, that was used for farming. The other members of his family were his mother, two elder brothers and a sister. His father passed away in 1910, when he was only 2 years old. Then came the second blow, when the bullock died. These were the twin tragedies that Babu Genu had to face, very early on in his life, and given their economic background, his mother was left with an uphill task of running the family. She left her sons back in the villages, and moved to Mumbai, in order to earn a livelihood as a domestic help.

While the economic situation of his family meant that Babu Genu was deprived of a formal education, this did not deter him from understanding the ground realities facing the country under British Administration.

Joining the Freedom Movement

Babu Genu soon joined his mother in Mumbai and sought to support her, as a casual labourer in the mills of Mumbai. Meanwhile, he also got in touch with a few leaders of the freedom movement, and understood the freedom struggle in its true perspective. Very soon, Babu Genu was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and the principles of non-violence and Satyagraha, enunciated by him. He joined the Indian National Congress and became a part of the Freedom Movement.

Babu Genu 2

Mahatma Gandhi

The Understanding of Babu Genu

Even at a young age Babu Genu was able to grasp the symbiotic link between geo-politics and geo-economics. He knew that economics was the driving force of British rule and establishment of the British Raj was merely a ruse to perpetuate the economic dominance of the British over India. If the British were to be economically crippled, then their rule would collapse.

It is this aspect of the struggle that Babu Genu focused on, and was a strong advocate of Swadesh goods, which led to his eventual martyrdom in 1930.

Martyrdom

On 12th December, 1930, a cloth merchant, George Frazier of Manchester was transporting his foreign produced cloths from his shop at old Hanuman Galli in Mumbai, to Mumbai port. The activists of freedom struggle, requested them not to move the truck, but their calls were of no avail, as this merchant had sought and got full police protection. The protesters were driven away by the police, as the truck began to move.

Near Bhaangwadi on Kalbadevi Road, Shahid Babu Genu stood in front of the truck, shouting praises for Mahatma Gandhi. The police officer ordered the driver to drive the truck over Shahid Babu Genu. But the driver was an Indian. He refused and said “I am Indian and he is also Indian and we both are brothers to each other. How can I murder my brother?”

The English police officer was infuriated and pushed away the truck driver and himself sat on the driver’s seat. He now drove the truck over Babu Genu and crushed him to death. This resulted in a huge wave of anger, strikes, and protests throughout Mumbai.

In his honour

Today, there are many landmarks named after Babu Genu in Maharashtra, such as Babu Genu Ground in Mumbai, Babu Genu Said Wadi in Pune district, Babu Genu Chowk in Pune, and Babu Genu Mandal in Pune.

Babu Genu 3

Babu Genu Mandal Pune

The road passing at the Hanuman Galli in Mumbai is today named after Babu Genu.

Babu Genu 4

Babu Genu Road, Mumbai

A Dam on Ghod River, in the Dimbhe Taluk, near Pune, is named after Babu Genu, namely Hutatma Babu Genu Sagar Dam, Hutatma meaning martyr and Sagar, sea.

Babu Genu 5

Hutatma Babu Genu Sagar Dam

Revive memories of our Freedom fighters

A youth of just 22 years had stood strong and given up his life for the cause of the Indian Independence movement. Should we forget the sacrifices of such martyrs, who sowed the seeds of freedom, which we all are all enjoying now? It is high time we revive the memories and contributions of these martyrs, which will be a fitting tribute to their sacrifices. Long live the memory of Babu Genu and all other martyrs whose sacrifices brought us freedom.

Vivaha Panchami

Rama Sita Marriage

Vivaha Panchami is celebrated as the day when Rama was married to Sita, across India and Nepal. In the Indian calendar, this day is observed on the fifth day – Panchami of the Shukla Paksha or waxing phase of moon in the Margashirsha.

Vivah 1.jpg

Rama Sita Marriage

In Gregorian Calendar

What will be this date in the Gregorian calendar?

Rama was 13 years at the time of his marriage. When Ravana came in disguise as a mendicant to Sita, asking for alms, she introduces herself as the wife of Rama and daughter-in-law of Dasaratha. She goes on to express that at the time of Vanvas, exile, her husband was 25 years in age. She continues to state that since her marriage to Rama, she lived in Ayodhya for 12 years.

From this, we can understand that Rama had completed 13 years at the time of his marriage.

5101 BCE

Rama’s birth date has been arrived at as 12:30 in the afternoon on 10th January 5114 BCE. By going ahead 13 years in Rama’s life, we can arrive at the year of Rama’s marriage, as 5101 BCE.

5114 – 13 = 5101 BCE.

This tallies very well and fits in correctly with the dialogue that Sita had with Ravana before abduction.

7119th Anniversary

So, this year 2018 CE, when we add 5101 and 2018, is 7119th wedding anniversary of Rama and Sita.

Celebrations

Rama’s and Sita’s wedding was performed at Janakapur in capital city of Mithila, in present day Nepal.

Vivah 2

Janakpur, Nepal

To this day, Margashirsha, Shukla Paksha Panchami day is remembered as Vivaha Panchami in Janakapur, as thousands flock here every year on this day. Vivaha Panchami day is national holiday in country of Nepal. A celebration continued for 7100 years.

International Mountain Day

maxresdefault.jpg

“International Mountain Day”, instituted by United Nations General Assembly in 2003 to highlight the importance of sustainable mountain development.

In the Indian ethos the mountains have not been looked at as only a geographical phenomenon but have been intrinsically linked with the ethos of the land. The mountains have formed an important aspect of the sustainability ethos of the land through the ages.

Vanavasi

The people who have lived in this land in the forest of the mountainous region have been respectfully referred to in the Indian tradition as vanavasi. They have been the custodians’ guardians of these mountains big and small.

Adivasi

In the name of development and classification these vanavasi have been now classified as adivasi and as scheduled tribes. These modern classifications have been a restricting factor in the activity of these vanavasi. These nomenclatures also have a shade of non-respectful reference.

If we have to look at the mountains to be sustainable component of our land, we should not only respect the mountains but as well respect the people who have made these mountains their homes and given them the right to safeguard the mountain scape which they have been innately capable of, which they have been maintaining from the past many millennia.

Parvat- Parvati

In the Indian thought the mountains, hills have been revered through the ages. The hills are called Parvat. The chief of the hills is Parvat Raja. The daughter of this Parvat Raja is Parvati who is the consort of Shiva. Parvati is thus the daughter of the hill. That is the reverence that the hills and the hill people have received in the Indian thought. The tallest and the mightiest mountain range in the world is Himalaya. The very word Himalaya comes from the word him meaning “snow” and alaya meaning “the abode of”, hence, “the abode of snow”. It is the same term as alaya which we use for temple. Thus we respectfully refer to the grand mountain as alaya, the “temple of snow”.

Everest_North_Face_toward_Base_Camp_Tibet_Luca_Galuzzi_2006

Himalaya, “the abode of snow”

Goverdhangiri

Krishna who lived around 3100 BCE asked his people to venerate Goverdhangiri the nearby hill which provided the gracing pastures for their cows and livelihood for all of them. The consequent episode of Goverdhangiri is well known and has been retold many a times in poetry and different art forms.

Boundaries of India

In the north we all know it is bounded by the Himalayas, the great snowcap mountains. In the East, the boundaries of India start from Arunachala, aruna meaning the first rays of the sun and achala meaning the hill. So Arunachala meaning where the first rays of the sun fall on the hills of the land which is today referred to as the hills of Arunachal Pradesh. In the west, the boundaries of India are extended till Astachal, ast meaning to set, achala meaning hills, the hills over which the setting sun sets. These were the hills in the west of Afghanistan. Thus we see even the boundaries of this great land through the ages has been referred to the three mountains; Himachal, Arunachal, Astachal. Every hill is venerated and festivals are celebrated around the hill by the local throughout the land. Such veneration has been there for many millennia for the people recognized that their hill formed a sustainable part of this life. While the term sustainability may seem like a new age word, it was seen in practice in this land in many fields, here in this case with the hills and mountains.

Let us, this day, the International Mountain Day, recognize the intrinsic role that shall play between man, flora, fauna and mountains in sustaining each other.

Human Rights Day

Human-Rights-Day-Photos

In the last few centuries, the mind-set has been to demand the rights for oneself than to perform one’s duties. Probably one telling shift from this mind-set was when John F Kennedy in his swearing in speech said “Ask not what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.

Through this telling speech, he tried to bring in the concept of duty over right.

Today, we are living in a totally commercial world, where every act is looked at, for its return and profitability. This trait has disturbed the equilibrium of life and nature and has contributed to the decline in societal values and the moral chaos we find ourselves in now.

One of the aspects of Universal message of Krishna, 5000 years ago, was the concept of Nishkama Karma – to do one’s duty dispassionately in line with one’s natural Dharma or resonate with the pulse of nature, without any attachments to the benefits to oneself as separated from nature.

Human Rights Day.jpg

Taking from the past teachings of Krishna 5000 years ago and John F Kennedy’s message, 50 years ago, in this Millennium, the concept of Nishkama Karma or to do one’s duties, could the message for the new Millennium than just keeping on asking for rights and rights and more rights…

International Anti Corruption Day

Schermata-2016-12-08-alle-16.08.21.png

Corruption – The Cancer

Corruption forms a wave of plunder which started soon after India’s Independence. It is a case of Indians themselves looting India. Scams and slums in India are but two sides of the same coin. The scams that have occurred have kept India a poor nation which manifests in the poverty and the slums that we have. If only we could remove the scar of the scams, India would be prosperous once again.

Anti Corruption 1

The divide between “the haves” and “the have” nots due to Corruption

How do we combat this Cancer of Corruption?

Cure for this Cancer

The cure for this Cancer can come from two sides,

  • External, using outside agents – as part of Bhedha and Dhanda
  • Internal, from within – as part of Sama and Dhana

The external approach is by implementing stiff laws, firm policing, tracking down of the stashed money to the ends of the world and repatriating them back to India. The punishments that come along with policing, tracking and repatriation will obviously be the external force that should make people comply.

In an inside out approach, in order to bring those citizens who are playing truant, to adhere to the framework of society, we first need to understand the reason behind their acts.

We need to first ponder over why a person becomes corrupt. One finds that it is usually fear and insecurity of the future that makes one corrupt. Hence to attack Corruption from within, one needs to work at this root cause of fear and insecurity.

5Cs

The carefully thought out 5C approach of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar comes to our mind as a guide to combat corruption, the 5Cs being,

Anti Corruption 2

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

1. Connectedness: In a small society or village, people are connected to one another. The belongingness to the land and people is more in such small societies. If we observe carefully, corruption is also low here. It is in the urban areas where there is not much connect with the society or the land, where there is no particular sense of connect, that the corruption is higher.

2. Courage: Lack of confidence in one’s own ability, leads to lack of self-esteem and thus lack of courage in taking up initiatives or standing up to face challenges. This in turn creates insecurity and fear in a person which makes one corrupt, in the false hope that by hoarding, one can become secure, little realizing that in fact, when a person hoards, he or she becomes even more insecure. This is a vicious cycle.

3. Cosmic Order: To connect with oneself again and get confidence, one needs to pause and look around. Not just in the immediate vicinity but all the way up into the cosmos. This universe, the stars, this earth, life and humans have been around for millions of years. Everything in this creation is cyclical. Everything here is part of nature and our life span which we think is long, is in fact, just a drop in the cycles of time, which goes for millions of years. This opening of one’s vision, mind and broadening of the horizon will create a self-realization in one, that one is only here for a few passing moments in the life span of this earth and all the hoarding will come to nought as time moves on. If one is explained this in the right perspective and realizes it, then comes the fourth C.

4. Compassion: The realization that we are part of this cosmos and whether we like it or not, we are just a passing phase in this rhythmic cycle of nature, emphasizes how insignificant we are in the whole scheme of the Universe. A realization which in turn will help us to live as one with nature and live as per the nature of human beings, the Dharma of human beings, which is to care and be compassionate to fellow human beings. This positive act of compassion, while it may be there in the animal kingdom, is more pronounced as a characteristic in man. And where there is compassion, corruption cannot creep in.

5. Commitment: To achieve all these, what is required is the 5th C i.e., Commitment.

Realizing the first 4 Cs is not enough, if it is not transferred into action. That comes from commitment. This commitment comes from within a person.

Anti Corruption 3

The 5C chain

Combating corruption is not just an external effort of policing by an external body but is also an internal effort of realization and change within oneself.

More on Corruption, the way to deal with it and ways to bring back black money, in our book You Turn India.

Anti Corruption 4