Saptapadi

Sapta means 7 and Padi means steps.

Sapthapadi, the 7 steps is an important ritual in a marriage ceremony.

7 steps together

Here the bride and the bridegroom enter into an understanding as they do Pradakshina, circumambulate in the Agni, fire altar 7 times,

“My life partner, with these 7 steps that we take together holding hands.”

1.  Not stray from being companions.

2.  We shall have deep liking affection towards each other.

3.  Together have a noble bent of mind.

4.  May our thinking, ideas and ideals be Alike.

5.  Together we shall enjoy the bounties of food, desires and wealth.

6. Together we shall carry out our duties towards the prosperity of our progeny, family and society.

7.  Oh the truthful one, let us together tread this noble path.

Universal Practice with minor variations

While the concept is same, it is all about 7 steps. In Hindi, it is called Sathphera

Interpretation and regional variations have occurred which is but natural.

This is the practical sharing of aspirations of a husband to his wife at their poignant moment. It is these thoughts and the symbolic 7 steps that is practiced in this form or in minor variants across the land in Nagara, Grama and among Vanavasi too.

The ritual of Sapthapadi is not just creating a bond between husband and wife but is a ritual that binds the civilization across the land across times.

There is an interesting Indian legend on the significance of Sapthapadi.

Significance of Saptapadi – Savitri Yama conversation

After Yama had taken the life of Satyavan, Savithri the wife of Satyavan quietly follows Yama, for the soul of Satyavan had left its body and was in Yama’s hand now. After some distance, Yama observes Savithri following him and asks her to go back to her husband’s body. Savithri then tells Yama that Satyavan’s soul is with Yama and hence is following him. Savithri wants to engage Yama in a conversation, which Yama initially refuses. Savthri then says that she has walked with Yama more than 7 steps and she is now his friend and would like to engage in a conversation with him.

At the end of their ensuing dialogue, Savithri with her guile is able to win over Yama and retrieve her husband.

The point to be taken from this story is walking more than 7 steps together makes one a friend to engage in a conversation. The Sapthapadi, the 7 steps is the beginning of the life long journey of the couple, where they have the ageless time honoured, given right to engage in conversation to overcome obstacles, including even winning over Yama. That is the strength of Sapthpadi, Sathphera.

Surgical Strike-3

Three Surgical Strikes

India in the last few years have carried out three Surgical Strikes.

  1. Surgical Strike at Indo-Myanmar border on 10th June 2015
  2. Surgical Strike in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) on 29th September 2016.
  3. Surgical Air Strike into Pakistan on 26th February 2019.

All these strikes have been successful.

Third Surgical Strike – Air Strike

This Surgical Air Strike has been carried out by the Indian Air Force (IAF), to destroy 3 terror camps 2 POK – in Muzzafarabad and Chakothi and one in Pakistan – in Balakot.

 Thus this strike was not limited to POK, but was deep into Pakistan territory of Balakot.

Balakot

Abbottabad

This town Balakot is geographically near Abbottabad, where Pakistan was hiding the dreaded terrorist Osama Bin laden, where the US Army seals struck to eliminate him.

Air Strike carried out by Indian Air Force on Pakistan Terror camps
A representative image    

1000 Kg Bomb

The payload of the bombs dropped at the terrorist camp in Balakot was in the range of 1000 kgs.

The effect of dropping a 1000 kg bomb in one spot is that everything there is smashed to smithereens.

Even Earthworms cannot survive

Even earthworms cannot survive that heavy pounding.

300 terrorists eliminated

It is guesstimated that about 300 terrorists have been eliminated in these air strikes.

First since 1971

Indian Air force has not crossed the Line of Control (LOC) since 1971. 

India has done so now decisively. 

Pakistan – Terroristan

For long, Pakistan has been nurturing and harboring terrorist to such an extent that it is now recognized by the world community not as not Pakistan but Terroristan.

Deep Striking ability of IAF

This day February 26th should be remembered for the valour and the deep striking capacity of the Indian Air Force.

India’s right to defend itself

India should at frequent intervals eliminate these terror bases in Pakistan to keep India safe from bomb blasting. Regular and Robust attacks are a hall mark of a country that can rightfully defend itself and flex its muscles in defending itself.

If Israel can carry out surgical strikes, If USA can carry out surgical strikes, India too has clearly given the message that it can carry out repeated surgical strikes, and successfully at that, and tellingly at that.

A resounding message.

More on the Surgical Strikes carried out by India, in our book, “Knowing New India”.

Knowledge Invocation

We all are familiar with this sloka, right from our school days. In most schools, the day begins with this chant,

But, some vested interests now want this quotation be removed from schools, giving it a religious connotation.

A quotation in Samskrt, doesn’t mean that it belongs only to the Hindu religion.

Behind every judge of the Supreme Court is a logo which says, “Yato Dharma Tato Jaya.”, meaning where there is Dharma, there is Victory. This is a quote from the Bhagavad Gita. Now, does this make the Supreme Court a religious institution?

We need to take a closer look at this sloka to understand its universal representation, far removed from any religion.

A sloka, a verse sets context to what one needs to achieve.

What does this sloka say?

It says, lead us from unreal to Real, from darkness to Light and from death to Immortality. Peace, Peace, Peace.

Asato Maa Satgamaya

Sat here stands for Truth, Real and Asat for Untruth, Unreal. Which school wouldn’t like to inculcate Truth in its students. Sat here also refers to that which is everlasting, and this prayer seeks that which is permanent and not ephemeral,

Tamaso Maa Jyothir Gamaya

Tamas, stands for darkness, inertia, ignorance. And Jyothir for light, clarity, wisdom. This prayer sets a framework in mind for a student to come there for the sake of knowledge to a school and seek knowledge in the right framework of mind. It is a sloka seeking to leverage mind power successfully, to attain higher levels of knowledge.

In this sloka, the student, a seeker who wants to dwell in knowledge, prays to the Divine to show the path to tread, from ignorance to wisdom, the knowledge of the Sat, as against Asat. This knowledge in turn leads him / her on the pathway to immortality.

Which is what one seeks in the next part of the prayer.

Mrytyor Maa Amritam Gamaya

This part of the sloka seeks to take one from death, mortality to immortality.

Mrithyu, Mrit stands for death and A – mrit, Amrit for Immortality. It is from the word Amrit that the Greek word Ambrotos is derived, which in turn became the latin word Ambrosia, for nectar. It is from this word Ambrosia that that the Christian word Ambrose is derived.

Again, it is from the word Mrit that the words mortal, mortality and immortality have come. 

What is sought in this sloka here is not just longevity of the body, but immortality of the soul, the Atma.

Youth, Vitality and Longevity

Youth, vitality and longevity – a search for this has been on since intelligence came into being.

In Indian legends, we have the concept of the nectar Amrit, phonetically similar to Ambrosia, which gives health, vitality and long life. Everyone, including the Divine, yearns after this Amrit, which comes from the churn of the milky oceans according to the symbolic Indian legend of Samudra Manthan. The Greeks later on came up with the concept of Ambrosia, the elixir of life.


Dhanvantari with Amrit Kalasam, Pot of Amrit

Samudra Manthan, churning of the Ocean

Contextual

This churning is not just a physical Manthan, churning, in an ocean of a bygone era, but churning of ideas in the mind that happens in every knowledge seeker, student in every school.

So this makes this mantra contextual and the right knowledge invocation mantra that is best suited for a school child every day.

Mana, Mind

The words “mind”, “man”, “human” etc. are rooted in the word Mana for mind, which differentiates man from the rest of the animals, giving human race the classification Manava, one who knows to use his mind, to acquire knowledge, which is symbolized by Jyoti, light.

More on the role of Mind in the coming Mind era, in our book, Brand Bharat – Future From India.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

This prayer ends with calling for peace three times, for body, mind and soul.

Shanti, Peace is one of the core human values that our nation has stood for, and is one of main reasons why this civilization has been a continuous one, and stood the tests of time for many millennia, inspite of facing invasions and plunders.

Peace stands for a host of other qualities like equanimity, amity, harmony, tranquility, calmness, accord, friendship, silence, non-violence etc.

Not about Religion, but Knowledge Seeking

Thus we see that this prayer doesn’t speak about any religion. It is context oriented, the context here being knowledge seeking, and school is a place of knowledge seeking.

Infact, both the words religion and Hindu are alien to this land. The texts such as Upanishads are about philosophies of attaining the formless Divinity. A religion is rigid and dogmatic.

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

There is no perceivable problem in the quotation as it comes from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (1.2.28). Brihad means Big, Aryana means forest and Upanishad means to sit close. In ancient times, students used to seek knowledge by staying close to a Guru, in a Gurukul, which used to be located in a forest area.


Student, seekers with the Guru at a Gurukula

Raja Janaka, had once, hosted a spiritual conference, which was attended by Rishi Yagnavalkya, Rishika Gargi Vachaknavi and many other Rishi and Rishika.


Rishi Yagnavalkya and Rishika Gargi Vachaknavi debating with each other at the conference held by King Janaka of Videha

During the conference, there was a debate between Rishika Gargi and Rishi Yagnavalkya. Rishika Gargi was accepted as a leader by the male Rishi present there and considered qualified enough to debate with Rishi Yagnavalkya, who was one of the foremost Rishi of those times.

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad is a record of their debate and includes this invocation sloka.

More on the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad in our book, Breaking The Myths – About Society.

Samskrt, an ancient Indian Language

Mother of Indic and other languages

There might be some who object to the language. Samskrt is an ancient Indian language. It is a mother to most of the Indic and Indo-European languages.

In other countries too

In the current era, even the premier schools from all over the world, be it Germany, England or America, have understood the value of Samskrt and have started introducing it in their daily curriculum and invocation. Then why should we have problem in mouthing this timeless quote, which is an apt way to begin the day for students and to energize themselves.

A narrow mindset

However, many people feel that Samskrt indicates Hindu religion. This has got to do more with a narrow mindset.

Scientific use of Samskrt

Many leading experts have repeatedly pointed out the scientific usage of the Samskrt language, in the modern world.

Dr. Ambedkar

Dr. B.R.Ambedkar in 1949, sponsored an amendment to Article 310, to make Samskrt the official language of Indian Union in place of Hindi.


Dr.B.R.Ambedkar

The amendment was supported by

1. Dr. B.V. Kesar, Deputy Minister of External affairs

2. Prof. Naziruddin Ahmed

The report on this demand was published in all newspapers on 11th September, 1949.

What happened then?

Samskrt Dropped From Link Language, English Becomes Link Language

Dr. Ambedkar’s proposal fell through, as the bill for Samskrt was unfortunately defeated by just one vote in the Constituent Assemble. This point clearly emphasizes that the father of the Indian Constitution Bharat Ratna Sri Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, very clearly by his actions, wanted Samskrt to be the national and link language of India.

Hindi was chosen as the national language in 1947.

English was chosen as the link language.

With that, India missed the bus and the plot. More on this in our book, Breaking The Myths – About Ability.

Dr. Abdul Kalam

One of the recent proponents of the scientific validity of Samskrt was Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam. He was among the leading scientists of the land and was secular to the core. He was a statesman, musician, and a scientist. An epitome of secularism in the true sense. This eminent scientist himself has used this quotation, multiple time, at different fora.


Dr. Abdul Kalam

Thus, there can be no objection to Samskrt or this quotation in any way.

This Prayer, Asato Maa Satgamaya should continue to be a part of our educational institutions, as it represents the timeless ethos of this civilization.