Bhagavad Gita And Impact on Western Mind

March 8, 2017

 

                                    Sanskrit Scriptures And The West

In India, Sanskrit and the Sanskrit literature have been almost forgotten but it has influenced the European writers in a big way. Very recently it was found in New-Zeeland that if a student knows Sanskrit it can very easily master English. So Sanskrit is included in the school syllabus there.

In the beginning, the Sanskrit works which have influenced the European writers were three works: the Jataka stories, the Panchatantra and the Hitopadesa. Being stories, communicating classical Hindu themes with ethical message those suited the medieval taste. They rationally appealed to all those who loved to listen to and tell mysterious stories. People used to hear and enjoy such stories, especially when they moved from one place to another as merchants or soldiers or pilgrims or travellers or ascetics .

The story of Pardoner’s Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer’s (1340-1400), was based on one of the Jataka stories. In a similar manner, the tales of Panchatantra by Vishnu Sharma mixed up with some tales of the Hitopadesa and the Kathasaritsangare came to be known to the literary world as the Fables of Pilpay or Bidpai. It is almost a source of much European literature related with   folklore tradition. -1 The earliest English references to these tales are found in Sir Thomas North’s (1535-1601), The Moral Philosophy of Doni. For centuries the India that evoked some response in the western brains and world was the India of tale collections or the India of amazing wealth. The India that Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.) mentioned in his Suppliant Women:

And tales I know, how Indian women roam;

By camels drawn, each in the tented home. -2

This India was not the golden India of later times. The India that appears colourfully in Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale in the account of ‘Emetreus Kyng of Inde’ (11.2155-2189)-3, is the India of Gold. Shakespeare (1564-1616) mentions India which testifies to this golden Inde  idea of tradition. -4 Robert Ralston Cawley in the section on ‘The East Indies’ in his book, The Voyagers and Elizabethan Drama,  echoes  that with the golden India concept was related to the range of other ideas indicating wonderful geography, anthropology, flora, fauna and customs.-5 Yet it was from the late sixteenth century onwards that pragmatic accounts of India began to appear, such as the accounts of the Dutch missionary Abraham Roger, Edward Terry, Thomas Coryate (1577-1617)-6, John Ogilvy (1600-1676), Richard Eden (1521-1576)-7, Richard Willes and Sir Thomas Herbert. The impact of the belief of India as an actual rather that amazing country can be seen in Restoration Literature and the orientation of Samuel Johnson’s (1709-1784) Rasseles (1759) and Voltaire’s (1694-1778) Zadig.

Prior to the eighteenth century, India for Western World was known for her wealth and affluence. Western people were concerned only with the gold and other valuable materials. But at the end of the eighteenth century, their approach was changed. Now India was also known for her rich philosophy. With the luxury goods, philosophical ideas also travelled to western world from India. Times Literary Supplement, comments:

Between East and West the cultural wind blows both ways,

though a hasty present-day inspection might suggest that

it blew mainly eastward . . . . The wind from the East is quieter,

older, less immediately detectable; it penetrates and mingles,

and its note is deep . . . . Today the student from the Orient may

find himself to some degrees at home in Western Thought

for the elements of his own cultures, that are mixed in it.-8

Towards the fag end of the eighteenth century, curiosity in Indian literature and philosophy was aroused in the West by the translations of some major Indian scriptures and literary works. Germans were the first to show curiosity in the Indian writings on religion, philosophy, and literature. About five hundred years ago we find a German translation of the Panchatantra, entitled as Panchatantra Das Buch der byspel der alten Wyseen, by Anthonius Von Pforr (1488)-9 , based on Sanskrit via Pahlavi, Old Arabic, Hebrew and Latin. Bhartrihari’s verses were translated into German in 1663.-10 B.Hirzal translated Sakuntala in 1833. -11 The translation of the Manusmriti by J.C.Huttner appeared in 1797 and one of the Upanishads in 1808.-12 A wave of translations came out after Peiper (1834) who enlarged the value of his metrical depiction by copious grammatical, mythological and philosophical notes. Max Muller (1823-1900) contributed greatly to the translation of Sanskrit literature as editor of The Sacred Books of the East. He translated Hitopadesa (1844), Meghduta and parts of the Rig-Veda.-13

                                    Bhagavad Gita’s Journey To West

In India, due to the faulty secular policy and vote bank politics, this great book has been rendered controversial book. So much so, in Soviet Russia very recently it was banned and it was declared a book preaching violence. But Bhagavad Gita has influenced and impressed a large number of western scholars.  This book is more than five thousand years old.

J.W.Hauer, a Sanskrit Scholar who served for a few years as missionary in India, gave to the Bhagavad Gita a central place in German faith.-14   A huge number of German scholars were deeply influenced by the Indian philosophy. Kant (1724-1804), Herder (1744-1803), Fitche (1762-1814), Hegel (1770-1831), Schlegal (1772-1829), Schiller (1759-1805) and Goethe-15 (1749-1832) are very significant names in this regard. Friedrich Von Schlegal (1767-1829) who translated the Bhagavad Gita, quoted a few passages of the Bhagavad Gita in his own metrical translation (1808), collectively with lines from the Ramayana; Manusmriti and Sakuntala. The German pioneer Baron Wilhelm Von Humboldt started studying Sanskrit in 1821. After reading the Bhagavad Gita he thanked God that he had lived long enough to read such an inspiring book. He delivered a famous lecture on the Bhagavad Gita beforethe Academy of Science in Berlin in 1825.-16 In German, there is a museum named after the name of Herder ‘Herder Museum’. In this museum a number of Indian Manuscripts, carried away from India during the last more than a thousand years are conserved.

There is also evidence of the early Roman contact with India, though the contacts are limited to trade only. But quickly these contacts resulted in intellectual interactions. As a result of this interaction, Anquetil du Perron (1731-1805) translated Upanishads into Latin. In Surat, Gujrat, India, he discovered the Avests and published it as Zend-Avests in 1771.-17 The Oupnek’het which he then translated was the Persian version of the Upanishads, translated in 1656 by the Mogul prince Dara Shikoh, son of Mogul ruler Shahjahan, the elder brother of brutal and fanatic Aurangzeb. Realising that he was in fact, dealing with a Sanskrit text, he decided to translate the text into Latin. The first translation of a Sanskrit text into Latin was completed in 1796 -18 which was published in 1801-1802.

The Nelopakhyana episode of the Mahabharata was translated from Sanskrit in 1819,-19 while the first Latin collection from the Gita was published by O.Frank in 1820. A.W Von Schlegel was the first to bring out a complete Latin translation of the Bhagavad Gita in 1823. With the support of Goethe, Von Schlegel also started a Latin translation of the Ramayana but did it only partly.-20 Lassen also contributed in the field of translating Gita and other Hindu scriptures in the European languages.

The invasion of the East India Company in India brought England and India nearer not only politically and commercially but also culturally. In England Sir William Jones (1756-1794), who passed away at the age of forty-eight was a pioneer and almost a crusader in this field.-21 He lived in India for ten long years. As proved by the records, he was the first English intellectual to command the Sanskrit language and interpreted the Eastern classics to the West. He was also and the first to translate Kalidasa’s Abhigyan Sakuntalam into English in 1789.-22 William Jones also was the first man to bring out an edition of a Sanskrit text. This was a short poem entitled Ritusemhara or Cycle of the Season published in 1792-23. In the same year, he published his English translation of Jaydeva’s Gitagovindam-24

The first Governor General of Bengal, Sir Warren Hastings appealed to some Hindu Pundits (scholarly people) to prepare a digest of Hindu Law. They prepared a scholarly work in twenty-one chapters, called Vivadarnavasetu. But when the work was ready nobody could be found to translate it directly from Sanskrit to English. As a result, first, a Persian version was made, which was translated by Hellhed into English called A Code of Hindoo Law in 1776. -25 Warren Hastings also helped the establishment of the Asiatic Society -26, who’s first President was Sir William Jones. -27 Hastings sent Charles Wilkins to Benaras to learn Sanskrit, and when Wilkins’ translation of the Bhagavad Gita was ready in manuscript, he persuaded the East India Company to have it printed and published in London. He himself wrote the introduction of this great Hindu book. The translation was published with the title, The Bhagvat Geeta or Dialogue of Kreeshna and Arjoona. This translation was in eighteen chapters and was brought out in 1783 -28.  The combined efforts of Charles Wilkins and William Jones gave a strong force to more and more translations from Sanskrit. Colebrook lived in India for more than thirty years, (died in 1837) and he translated A Digest of Hindu Law on Contracts and Successions in 1797.-29 In 1804 he edited the Hitopadesa–30 with an introduction, and the Amarkosa-31, with marginal translation in 1808. He also prepared a Lexicon and Grammar of the Sanskrit Language in 1805-32. He also undertook the difficult task of translating works on arithmetic and astronomy.

Literature is also a philosophy. Though some critics may not agree with this notion. There are countless examples of seer poets enlightening ancient truths. Such graceful revelations are universal spiritual truths to which no one person, age, or religion can lay claim but certainly Hindu scriptures are closest to universal truth. In their effort to unravel the mystery of life and death poets and writers tried to make rapport with the Indian spiritual reality, like Hindu sages.

  1. Marshman and William Carey editedThe Ramayana of Maharishi Valmiki in the original Sanskrit -33 with a prose translation and explanatory notes in 1806. H.H. Wilson came to India as a doctor of the East India Company but was soon interested in Hindu scriptures. In 1813 he published his first translation of Kalidasa’s Meghduta and Select Specimens of the Theatre of the Hindus-34 from the original Sanskrit. He also prepared the first Sanskrit-English Dictionary in 1819-35 and was the first to take up the chair of Sanskrit in Oxford in 1832. In this respect, Britain lagged behind the French where the first Chair of Sanskrit in Paris was established 1814 and in Germany where it was first set up in Bonn in 1818. Sir Edwin Arnold in 1860 translated Hitopadesa, in 1875 Jaydeva’s Gita-Govinda and finally in 1885 The Song Celestial i.e. the Gita. His famous book, The Light of Asia is also heavily influenced by the Indian philosophy especially the Gita. Charles Wilkins’ translations of the Bhagavad Gita (1785), the Hitopadesa (1787), the story of Sakuntala from the Mahabharata (1793); A Grammar of the Sanskrit Language (1823)-36 were parts of that zeal for Indology, that from the last quarter of the eighteenth century onwards, extend over a number of western countries such as Britain, America, France, Germany, France, Russia, Italy and others.

These translations and transcriptions of Sanskrit scriptures and literary books created a culture in Europe in the nineteenth century, influencing the important English writers. Of all the translations of Indian scriptures and literarily works, the translation of the Bhagavad Gita exercised the broadest and deepest influence on the imagination of western writers and thinkers. The reasons are not difficult to understand. The Bhagavad Gita has a significance and message which is apparently so universally human that its meaning remains significant to all ages and cultures. It is not a ‘neutral text’, but one which has played the most noteworthy role in India’s religious and philosophical movements as well as in the political life of a common man. It is one book which is not sectarian because it does not drive its sacredness from the subjective belief of its worshippers. The Bhagavad Gita is replete with dynamic inspiration which lifts up and moves the heart and mind of the reader. D.S. Sarma rightly points out:

We may read the Bhagavad Gita a thousand times and

think we have exhausted its meaning, but the next time

we go to it we get a new light, which we never dreamt

of before. The suggestiveness of the wonderful book is

really infinite, If only we begin to interpret it for ourselves

In terms of our own experience. -37

                       Bhagavad Gita and the English Literature

The Gita influenced a large number of English men of letters but in a big way, famous Romantic poet S.T.Coleridge was the first important English poet to respond to the Wilkins’ translation of the Bhagavad Gita. Coleridge more than any other of his generation poets, was familiar with the works of a number of ideologists such as Sir William Jones.

In this field, the Asiatic Researchers, founded by Sir William Jones did a lot. It also holds the proceeding of the Bengal Asiatic Society which was established in 1784, and The Ordinance of Manu; written in 1794, is also an important name.  Major Runnel, prepared the first correct map of India in his Bengal Atlas in 1779-38, Thomas Maurice’s History of Hindustan 1795 -39, Sir William Ouseley’s, Oriental Collection, 3 vols., 1797-99-40, and Jean-Antoine Dubois’ Hindu, Manners, Customs, and Ceremonies, in English was translated from the original text in French in 1816. -41. Kathleen Coburn observes:

India was the subject of Coleridge’s considerable reading;

mention’s Wilkins’ translation in connection with the poet’s

projected poem of the fancy and the understanding to

be entitled The Conquest of India by Bacchus. -42

One of the Indian scholars, Dr.Munir Ahmed, who has made a thorough examination of the reflections of Indian thought in Coleridge’s poetry, maintains:

The pantheism of ‘The Eolian Harp’, the demonic agencies in ‘The Ancient Mariner’, the intense longing for deep self-possession and calm response in ‘Osorio’ and ‘The Triumph of Loyalty’ and also perhaps the idea of the soul’s transmigration suggested in ‘Christable’, can be related to his Indian readings.-43

It is clearly mentioned in the ‘Philosophical Lectures’, that Coleridge read the Gita translated by Wilkins. Between December 1818 and January 1819, Coleridge read the Bhagavad Gita, just as he read The Ordinances of ManuThe History of Hindustan and other Indian books, as a part of his extensive pursuit for a religious philosophy and his deep interest in Hindu philosophy. He writes:

We have in this work (The Wilkins’ Gita), which I have now before me, an extract from the great poem of India where pantheism has displayed its banners and waved in victory over three hundred millions of men and this has been published in England as a proof of sublimity beyond the excellence of Milton in the true adoration of the Supreme being. It is an address to the pantheistic god.-44

Coleridge also has read an article in the Annual Register which he borrowed from the Bristol Library on 10 March 1796, which contains, “It is better, say the Hindoos, to sit than walk and to sleep than to wake; but death is the best of all.-45 He echoes these words in a letter written twenty months later to his friend Thelwall on 14th October 1797:

At other times I adopt the Brahman creed and say – It is better

to sit than to stand, it is better to lie than to sit, It is better to sleep

then to wake but death is the best of all! – I should much wish like

the Indian Vishnu to float along an infinite ocean cradled in the

flower of the Lotus and wake once in a million years for a few minutes.-46

In Coleridge’s poetry, there are evidences to the effect that he read the Wilkins’ Gita. The pantheistic outlook that Coleridge had found in the Bhagavad Gita, is present in ‘The Eolian Harp’, composed at Clevedon, Somersetshire, the home country of Charles Wilkins:

O: the one Life within us and abroad,

Which meets all motion and becomes its soul,

A light in sound, a sound-like power a light,

Rhythm in all thought, and joyance everywhere,

Methinks, it should have been impossible,

Not to love all things in a world so filled.-47These lines and the lines immediately below them refer to all animated nature as organic harps diversely framed one intellectual breeze sweeps. These lines very closely echo the idea of the following lines of the Bhagavad-Gita as translated by Wilkins:

The man whose mind is endued with this devotion, and looketh on all

things alike, beholdeth the supreme soul in all things, and beholdeth

all thing in me, I forsake not him, and he forsaketh not me. The ‘Yogee’

who believeth in Unity, and worshippeth me present in all things, dwelleth

in me in all respects, even whilst He liveth. -48

Parallels to the Bhagavad Gita are easily visible in many other poems of Coleridge. Likewise, Wordsworth was also responsive to the greatly constant influence of the Bhagavad Gita. Wordsworth’s own experience of pantheistic Immanence was made stronger by his contact with Coleridge. In ‘Tintern Abbey’ the following lines easily recall to mind the Indian thinking as expressed in the Bhagavad Gita:

That blessed mood,

In which the burthen of the mystery,

In which the heavy and the weary weight

Of all this unintelligible world,

Is lightened:-that serene and blessed mood. -49

The following extract from the Bhagavad Gita expressing the same idea:

The ‘Yogee’ of a subdued mind; thus employed In the exercise of his

devotion, is compared to a lamp, standing in a place without wind,

Which waveth not. He delighteth in his own soul, where the mind,

regulated by the service of devotion, is pleased to dwell, and where,

By the assistance of the spirit, he beholdeth the soul. He becometh

acquainted with the boundless pleasure which is far more worthy

of the understanding than that which ariseth From the senses . . . he

is not moved by the severest pain. This disunion from the conjunction

of pain may be distinguished by The appellation of ‘Yog’, spiritual union

or devotion. It is to be attained by resolution, by the man who knoweth his own mind. -50

Wordsworth feels the same state when the “breath of this corporeal frame” is “almost suspended” and then, “we are laid asleep in the body, and become a living soul.”

The Bhagavad Gita talks of that intellectual and ethical state in which the ‘Yogi’, the entity who has subjected his mind and body to rigorous order and has controlled his senses, experience tranquil mood, as expressed by William Wordsworth.

Among the younger romantic poets, Shelly was most vulnerable to greater idealistic principles. He was very well well-known with the works of Sir William Jones, who belonged to the University College Oxford, where Shelley studied. Shelley had read ‘The Genius of the Thames’ written by his friend Thomas Love Peacock who himself was well-known with the English account of Jaydeva’s Gita Govindam and who worked in the office of East India Company. A book that Shelley knew well and which contributed significantly to the range of his imagery, myth and symbol, was Edward Moor’s Hindu Pantheon. In a paper entitled ‘Possible Indian Influence on Shelley’, published in the Ninth Bulletin of the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association of London, Dr.S.R. Swami Nathan has established the Hindu Pantheon and the Irish novelist Miss Sydney Owenson’s novel The Missionary, as the source of some important images of Shelley. Commenting on Dr.Swami Nathan’s paper, the Times Literary Supplement wrote in an editorial:

So the Greek Aphrodite- Shelley’s Promethean Asia-born of the sea foam stood- Within a veined shell, which floated on over the calm floor of the crystal sea.. -51

Lakshmi- Miss Owenson’s luxima-who tints all Shelley’s projections into womanly form of intellectual beauty, is the love that Shelley, Plato, and the Christian vision alike place at  the core of being. -52

Shelley’s basics of philosophy predominantly regarding good and Evil, the Avatar and the relations of the individual soul to the celestial soul seem to have been based on the Bhagavad Gita. Shelley, like Coleridge, widely read Indian scriptures and literature. There are passages and lines in Shelley that are similar to the passages in the Bhagavad Gita. For example following lines of ‘Love’s Philosophy’:

The fountains mingle with the river

And the rivers with the ocean,

The winds of Heaven mix for ever

With a sweet emotion;

Nothing in this world is single,

All things by a law divine

In one spirit meet and mingle. -53

Recollect the image given in the Bhagavad Gita:

AaPaUYaRMaa<aMacl/Pa[iTaï&

SaMaud]MaaPa” Pa[ivXaiNTa YaÜTa( )

TaÜTk-aMaa Ya& Pa[ivXaiNTa SaveR

Sa XaaiNTaMaaPanaeiTa Na k-aMak-aMaq ))

äpüryamäëam acala-pratiñöhaà

samudram äpaù praviçanti yadvat

tadvat kämä yaà praviçanti sarve

sa çäntim äpnoti na käma-kämé

(Just as all water enters, from all sides, the sea, of which the shores are not transgressed, though it is being filled on all sides, so is (true) tranquility obtained only by that person who is entered by all objects of sense (without disturbing his tranquility); not by one, who desires the objects of sense (is it possible that this tranquility is acquired) -54   (Ch-2, Sl. 70).

These lines are translated in English by Wilkins as:

The men whose passions enter his heart as

Waters run into the unswelling passive ocean. -55

Here there is a picture of water of rivers entering into and losing themselves in the unmoving sea. In relation to lines of the poem of Shelley, the reference to ‘law divine’ and ‘one spirit’ has its echo in the Bhagavad Gita’s as

Servabhutasthamatmanam sarvabhutani ca tmani. (Ch. VI, sl.29)

This sloka was translated by Wilkins as:

The man whose mind is endued with this devotion, and

looketh on all things alike, beholdeth the supreme soul in

all things, and beholdeth all things in me. I forsake not him,

and he foresaketh  not me. The ‘Yogee’ who believeth in

unity, and worshippeth  me present in all things, dwelleth in me . . . -56

Shelley again refers in Adonis to ‘sustaining love’ and the light whose smile kindles the Universe’ in the following lines:

The one remains, the many change and pass;

Heaven’s light forever shines, Earth’s shadows fly. -57

On the death of Keats, Shelley recognized: “He hath awakened from the dream of life.”

The Absolute Ultimate in the centre of the transitory lots of is the idea of the Bhagavad Gita too. The concept of Maya also runs in Shelley’s poems. The Bhagavad Gita’s ideas of ‘soul’ and ‘water’ are also again and again referred to by Shelley in his important works.

Southey (1774-1843), a contemporary of Wordsworth had direct knowledge with the Bhagavad Gita and other Indian works. His footnotes to, The Curse of Krishna (1810), very frequently refers to the Bhagavad Gita and there are suggestions also to The Institute of ManuThe MahabharataSongs of Jayadeva, and Maurice’s History of Hindustan.

Even there are big numbers of poets of the nineteenth century but are elapsed today could not get away the sway of The Bhagavad Gita. One such poet is Richard Henry Horne (1803-1884) who refers to the Indian thought of ‘Yoga’ in his epical work Orion (1843). This poem discusses to the doctrines of Nishkam Karma and predestination. The following lines are significant in this regard:

Not in thee

Was failure born, its law preceded thing:

It governs every act, which needs must fail-

I mean give place to make room for the next

. . .                           . . .                           . . .

Sit still, Remain with me. No difference

Will in the world to be found: ‘t will know no charge,

Be sure, say that an act hath been ordained?

Some hand must do it: therefore do not move:

An instrument of action must be found,

And you escape both toil and consequences: -58

This extract is a direct suggestion to the well-known idea of the Bhagavad Gita that the doer and master are only, God.

Likewise one more poet, William Bell Scott (1811-1890), in his Autobiographical Notes, confesses to has referred to the Cosmogony of the Hindoos in his famous and popular poem ‘The Fear of the World’ a philosophical poem on freedom from the fall (1846). Again In the Autobiographical Notes, (vol. I, p.237), he says that in the poem referred to, he has repeated a portion of the Bhagavad Gita.-59 this he does in section III of part ii of the poem in which his hero, Lyremmos, is shown, standing on the banks of Holy Ganges. He listens to a divine voice. Actually, this was the clear influence of the Bhagavad Gita on him. The God, he feels, pervades and sustains all things.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), a powerful thinker and writer of the Victorian age was among those who read the Bhagavad Gita and incorporated its philosophical ideas in his works like Sartor Resartus (1832), etc. it was he who gave a copy of the Bhagavad Gita to the famous American Poet and philosopher, Emerson, when the latter visited him at Craigenputtock.-60 Carlyle’s concept of Duty, (work is worship), his theory of the great man, i.e., the Hero, and his firm conviction of the world’s being an illusion are so close, in letter and script, to the teachings of Bhagavad Gita, that in the mid-nineteenth century he may be called the greatest apostle of Indian philosophy. It is not without significance that he alone among all English men of letters has been acknowledged as the prophet. An independent work of the influence of the Bhagavad Gita on Carlyle is possible.

Another great Victorian poet Robert Browning, his view, values, vision, and convictions are very close to Hindu vision in general and the Bhagavad Gita in particular.-61 Similarly it is also believed that Karl Marx’s Enlightenment Theory is nothing but the reinterpretation of Hindus’ philosophy of Vasudhevkutumbakum although it is a different issue that he was a very bitter critic of Hindus and Hinduism.

Tennyson accepts that intellect is not strong enough to understand the final reality. It only “stirs the surface shadow” but never “hath dipt into …/ The abysm of all abysms”.  Hindu Vedic scriptures assert the illusory (maya) dualistic mask or surface-shadow as ‘maya’. This is something we need to understand and defeat.

Only Hindu mystics or saints see this truth or maya through Self-realization and poets and thinkers declare it through transcendental imagination. Once they experience out-of-body awareness, mystics attain the area of pure consciousness and the self seems “to dissolve and fade away into boundless being; and this is not a confused state, but the clearest of the clearest… the loss of external personality, (if so it were) seeming not annihilation but the only true life.”Tennyson here conveys the essence of Advaita Vedanta, the cardinal tenet of Hinduism, Brahma (God) alone is real. The universe is unreal, and the individual soul is none other than the universal soul. This idea is taken by Tennyson from the Bhagavad Gita.

Evidently, this state is not confined to sages. At times poets also realise this state:

In ‘Memoirs’ Tennyson  informs Mrs Bradley: “There are moments when this flesh is nothing to me when I feel and know the flesh to be the vision, God and the spiritual the only real and true.”

D H Lawrence is overjoyed at the prospect of discarding his flesh “Like luggage of some departed traveller”.

The poet William Blake confidently said: “I am in God’s presence night and day.” In this mystical trance, which is seeing the soul with bodily eyes closed, is when we receive the highest kind of intuitive knowledge.

This is nothing but influences of the Bhagavad Gita: Evidently, this state is not confined to sages only.

A parallel is found in the Bhagavad Gita: “The flesh was as though dead, yet in my intense awareness I knew that never before had I been fully alive. My sense of identity was no longer narrowly confined to a body but embraced the circumambient atoms…. An oceanic joy broke upon calm endless shores of my soul. The spirit of God, I realised, is exhaustless Bliss.”

In the Kathopanishad, Yama tells Nachiketa that the supreme person, the size of a thumb, dwells forever in the hearts of all beings. Krishna assures us in the Bhagavad Gita: that He is seated in the heart of all beings.  Vivekananda said: “After long searches here and there, in temples and churches…at last you come back completing the circle from where you started, to your own soul and find that He …is nearest of the near, in your own Self.”

However, among the poets of the Victorian era, it is Matthew Arnold who seems to have been more deeply influenced by the Bhagavad Gita than any of his contemporary poets. He was born in an age which was surcharged with orientalism due to the increasing political and cultural intimacy of the West and the East. It was the age which had several translations of the Bhagavad Gita and other Indian scriptures and literary works by a number of European scholars, and of Omer Khayyam by Fitzgerald. It also witnessed the growing popularity of the Koran references to which were made by Carlyle in his lecture on Mohammad, the Hero as Prophet, and of the Arabian Nights, etc.

Son of a distinguished educationist and a strict disciplinarian, Mathew Arnold felt ill at ease in his family. He felt equally dissatisfied with the atmosphere at Oxford University where he was sent to study. Later on dissatisfied, as inspector of schools, he experienced a spiritual and intellectual crisis. At Rugby School, he was seen very reserved and known as ‘Lofty Mat’. His mockery is said to have been directed on at least once, and without its victim’s knowledge, upon Dr. Arnold himself. “He displeased his father Dr. Thomas Arnold and was stood behind the Doctor’s chair, he gratified his friends by making faces over father’s head.-62 Saintsbury points out, “His bent was hopelessly anticlerical, and he was not merely too honest, but much too proud a man, to consent to be put in one of the priests’ offices for a morsel of bread”.-63 As inspector of schools he felt disgusted with traveling which he found tedious and depressing.

A bad carriage on a filthy lane, a bun snatched hastily in railway station,

thirty pupils, teachers to examine in an inconvenient room, and nothing to

eat, except a biscuit given by a charitable lady, eighty training college candidates to supervise for seven hours a day, with the gas burning most

of the time, either to give light or to help warm the room.-64

Environment, around him further intensified his pain. The industrial revolution ushered in an era of ‘haves and have nots’ and presented a social view of naked poverty and ugliness. The old social order was cracking and nothing concrete was there to replace that. The untimely and sudden death of his father upset him emotionally and spiritually. It was, therefore natural that a sensitive man of the nature of Arnold found himself between two worlds ‘one dead and the other powerless to be born’. “Always at war with the worldliness-the worldliness within the worldliness without”,-65 Arnold was poignantly conscious of his inner conflict. Some critics think that ‘he on occasions behaved in the most unpredictable manner’. -66  In September 1849, he went to France and there he met a girl named Marguerite. Arnold was infatuated with the girl and wanted to marry her but he could not do so. This further upset him emotionally. However, she became an important character in Arnold’s life.-67

All these factors convinced him of the meaningless of life. Legouis and Cazamian write: “The vague Christianity of Arnold, the moral pantheism to which all his philosophical reflection leads, seems to have left in his inner self an emptiness, a scar which is revealed only in his poetry”.-68 He felt as Arjuna did before the commencement of the war at Kurukshetra. He was in search of spiritual peace. It was, therefore, natural that he developed a deep interest in Hindu scriptures, particularly in the Bhagavad Gita. He wrote to his friend Clough in Sep.1849,

My dearest Clough these are damned times, everything is against one the

height to which knowledge is come to spread of luxury, our physical

enervation, the absence of great natures, the unavoidable contact with

millions  of small ones, newspapers, cities, light profligate friends, moral desperados like Carlyle, our own selves and the sickening consciousness of

our difficulties, but for God’s sake let us neither be fanatics nor yet half blown by the mind.-69

For these reasons, his interest in the Bhagavad Gita increased day after day. He particularly admired the doctrine of Nishkam Karma. He carefully read the Wilkin’s Gita, as his letter to Clough shows. In one of his letters to Clough on March 1, 1848, he wrote: “I am disappointed the Oriental wisdom, God grant it were mine, pleased you not”. -70 The two, had been, no doubt, acquainting themselves with oriental wisdom sometime before this date. On March 4, 1848, he again wrote to Clough: “The Indians distinguish between meditation and absorption, and knowledge, and between abandoning the practice and abandoning the fruits of action and all respect thereto. This last is a supreme step, and dilated throughout the poem”. -71

The “Poem” referred to in the letter is the Bhagavad Gita. Arnold’s language and a few words used in the above letter show that Arnold had read Wilkin’s Gita. Wilkin’s translates the twelfth Sloka of the twelfth chapter thus:

Knowledge is better than practice, meditation

Is distinguished from knowledge, forsaking the

Fruits of action from meditation, for happiness,

Hereafter is derived from such forsaking. -72

Again, in the depiction of the forty-third Sloka of the second chapter, Wilkin’s introduced the word “absorption”, for which there is no identical in the original. He also used the word “meditation” for both the Sanskrit words Dhyana and Samadhi. These peculiarities of explanation are in none of the other translations available to Arnold such as Schlegel’s Latin translation published in 1823, Lassen’s bigger and better account of the later published in 1846. It is a different matter that Arnold might have also discussed with either Schlegel or Lassen or Cockburn Thomson, who published his translation in 1855. Cockburn Thomson writes that the Schlegel’s edition was the one “most generally used”. Lionel trilling believes;

Arnold has at his disposal several translations of the Gita…I suspect

that Arnold read the Essay of W. von Humboldt on the Gita (Berlin, 1826),

and the improved and amplified Latin rendering of A.W. Von Schlegel (1823). -73

These facts have now been confirmed by Kenneth Allots’ publications of Arnold’s reading lists contained in his three early diaries. -74 H.F. Lowry in his editorial note to Arnold’s letter of March-4, to Clough suggests that the Bhagavad Gita “heavily influenced” Arnold’s ‘Resignation’ and other early poems. But Clough did not like Arnold’s curiosity in Oriental philosophy. In a review of Arnold’s 1852 volume which incorporated ‘Empedocles on Etna’, he quoted Arnold’s poem ‘Mortality’ and was happy to find that Arnold had “for once” escaped from “the dismal cycle of his rehabilitated Hindoo Greek Philosophy”.-75 But the fact is that Arnold could not escape from the eastern influence as Basil Willey points out, “Arnold is a child of new era and has felt the full strength of the modern spiritual east Wind”.-76

Edwin Arnold, R.W. Emerson, Walt Whitman,  T.S.Eliot, W.B.Yeats etc., are some other names who were deeply influenced by the Bhagavad Gita, Vedic philosophy and Hindu way of life. There are numerous such examples. It is said that then Ambassador to USSR, Dr.S. Radhakrishnan, famous philosopher-politician used to give lectures to ruthless communist dictator Stalin on the Bhagavad Gita. It was to everybody’s surprise that Stalin was charmed by this great philosopher. In a lecture, on Hindu philosophy Stalin listened Dr.S.Radhakrishnan. After that meeting, Stalin almost became a disciple of Dr.S.Radhakrishnan. At the time of Dr. Radhakrishan’s departure from U.S.S.R. to India, Stalin expressed his wish to see him. Dr. Radhakrishan met him and before leaving, he patted Stalin on the cheek and back like a father blessing his son. Stalin almost in tears and reacted emotionally, “you are the first person who has treated me like a human being and not like a monster you are leaving and I am sad.” -77

World order in Hindu cosmology was governed by immutable cycles of an almost   inconceivably vast scale — millions of years long. Kingdoms would fall, and the universe would be destroyed, but it would be re-created, and new kingdoms would rise again. The true nature of human experience was known only to those who endured and transcended these temporal upheavals.

–Henery Kissinger

Now the Bhagavad Gita is either part of the syllabus or taught in a number of universities in America and universities in other countries, especially European universities. After the establishment of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, (ISKON), in July 1966, by A.C. Bhaktivedanta  Swami Prabhupada  in New York, U.S.A., the Bhagavad Gita became one of the most popular books, world over and it was translated in almost all the languages. -78

Father of atomic bomb J.Robert Oppenheimer was also a big fan of the Gita.

“Death fell from the sky and the world was changed,” US President Barack Obama said on Friday at Hiroshima, where his country dropped an atomic bomb – the first – that killed 140,000 people in August 1945.

Obama’s words were evocative of what J. Robert Oppenheimer, the’ father of A-bomb’ said – or remembered thinking – after the bomb, christened ‘Little Boy’, was dropped on Hiroshima on the orders of the then President, Harry Truman.

“We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty, and, to impress him, takes his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’ I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.”

Oppenheimer, Jewish by birth, was quoting a translation of verse 32 from Chapter 11 of the Gita:

“Divi soorya-sahasrasya

Bhavad yugapad uthitaa

Yadi bhaah sadrshi saa syaaad

Bhaasas tasya mah’aatmanaah!

Kaalo’ami loka-kshaya-krt pravrddho

Lokaan samaahatum iha pravrttah!”

In 1933, when Oppenheimer was in Berkeley – prior heading the atomic bomb project called the Manhattan Project – he became a student of Arthur Ryder, a Sanskrit professor. That’s when he developed an interest in the Gita and read it in Sanskrit.

Oppenheimer would later say the Gita was one of the books that shaped his philosophy of life. -79

Everyone has infinite potential and talent. Yet most people live and die without so much as a glimpse of who they really are or what they bring to the world. The Bhagwad Gita helps unlock your potential so that you gain the power to rock the world. All it takes is a slight shift in attitude, change in thinking.

M K Gandhi was a timid barrister who transformed into a Mahatma. Swami Vivekananda initially trembled at the thought of trembling the thought of addressing the Parliament of Religion, became a world-famous preacher! Abdul Kalam rose from humble origins to become President of India. -80

World celebrates, 21 December as ‘Gita Jayanti Day,’ means that the Shreemad Bhagavad Gita came on the earth on this day.

References-

1–P.Harvey, The oxford Companion to English Literature: (London, 1953), P.87.

2-Quoted by M.K. Naik et al. (ed.), The Image of India in Western Creative Writing,(Dharwar, 1971), P.35.

3-A.C. Cowley (Ed.), Chaucer : Canterbury Tales, (London, 1950), pp.58-59.

4-C.R. Banerji, ‘India in Shakespeare’: Indian Journal of English Studies (1964), pp.67-75.

5-R.R. Cawley, The Voyagers and Elizabethan Drama (rpt)., (New York, 1966), pp.107-161.

6-In 1612, Thomas Croyate visited India and reached Agra in 1616. He died at Surat. A letter of his from the court of Greet Mougal is printed by Purchase, and this and another letter from the East are included in a collection called Thomas Coriate Traveller for the English Wits: Greeting (1616). (Harvey, p.188).

7-He published in 1533 a translation of Munster’s Cosmography, in 1555 of Peter Martyr’s Decade of the Newe Worlde or West India. (Harvey, p.250).

8-Times Literary Supplement (London), (26, Dec. 1958), p.751.

9-W.M.Callewaert and S.Hemraj, The Bhagvadgitanuvada, (Ranchi, 1983), p.293.

10-ibid. p294.

11-Idem.

12-Idem.

13-Harvey, p.506

14-Hauer Calls it (Gita), a work of imperishable significance. He declares that the book “gives us not only profound insights that are valid for all times and for all religious life, but it contains as well, the classical presentation of one of the most significant phases of Indo-Germanic religious history. It shows us the way as regards, the essential nature and basal characteristic of Indo-German religion. Here spirit is at work that belongs to our spirit”. He states the central message of the Gita in these words: “We are not called to solve the meaning of life but to find out the Deed demanded of us and to work so, by action, to master the riddle of life”.

(Quoted in Hibbert Journal, April 1940, p.341).

15-Goethe wrote in 1826: I have no means of aversion to things Indian, but I am afraid of them, for they drew my imagination into the formless and the diffuse against which I have to guard myself more than ever.

(Quoted by R.K. Das Gupta, ‘Western Responses to India Literature’, Indian Literature; Sahitya Akademi, Jan-March, 1967, pp.5-15.

16-Callewaert and Hemraj, p.294.

17-ibid., p.288.

18-Idem.

19-Ibid., p.289.

20-Ibid., p.291.

21-A.L. Basham (Ed.). A Cultural History of India, (Oxford, 1975) pp.409-10.

22-Naik et al., p.91.

23-A. Macdonnel, A History of Sanskrit Literature, (London, 1928), p.3.

24-Callewaret and Hemraj, p.235.

25-Ibid., p.234-35.

26-Bashem, pp.409-10.

27-“While he (Jones) believed in Christ and Christianity, he was attracted to the Hindu concept of the non-duality of God, as interpreted by Sanskara, and the transmigration of soul . . . ‘I am no Hindu’, but I hold the doctrine of the Hindus concerning a future state to be incomparably more rational more pious, and more likely to deter men from vice than the horrid opinions inculcated on punishment without end”. (D.P. Singhal, India World Civilization, (Calcutta, 1972), p.205.

28-Macdonnel, p.2.

29-Callewaret and Hemraj, p.235.

30-idem.

31-Idem.

32-Idem.

33-Idem.

34-Ibid., p.236.

35-Idem.

36-Naik, et al., p. 235.

37-D.S. Sarma, The Bhagavad Gita,  (Madras, 1940), p.6.

38-Naik et al., p.38.

39-Idem.

40-idem.

41-idem.

42-K. Coburn (ed.), The Note Book of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, (London, 1957), Vol.I,Note No. 1647, last paragraph.

43-M. Ahmad, “Coleridge and The Bahaman Creed “:Indian Journal of English Studies, (1960), pp. 18-37.

44-Philosophical Lectures, (ed) K. Coburn, (London, 1957), p.127.

45- The Annual Register, (London, 1782), vol.25, p.37.

Page-20

46-Coleridge; Collected Letters, 1, p.350.

47- E.H.Coleridge (ed.) Coleridge Poetical Works, (London, 1969), p.1101.

48-C.Wilkins, (trans.), The Bhagavad Gita, London, 1785), VI, 65.

49-The Poetical Works of Wordsworth (ed.), T.Hutchinson, (London, 1953), p.164.

50-Wilkins, ibid., pp.64-65.

51-H.Bloom,Shelley, (ed.), New York, 1966, p.173, ‘Prometheus Unbound, II, V,ll.23-24.

52-Times Literary Supplement, (26 th December 1958), p.751.

53-The Complete Poetical Works of P.B.Shelley , (ed.), T.Hutchinson, (London, 1943), p.578.

54-OM-TAT-SAT SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA RAHASYA OR KARMA-YOGA-SASTRA, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Third Edition, (Poona, 1971) Revised, July-1975, p.906.

****Hereafter referred as the Gita. Sanskrit, Roman, and First translation are downloaded    from Goggle.

55-Wilkins, ibid., p.42.

56-Wilkins, p.65.

57-Bloom, p.343.

58-Orin (ed.), Eric Partridge, (London, 1928), p.86.

59-Naik et. Al., p.54.

60-Emerson was deeply disturbed on account of the death of his wife at an early age. It was again the reading of the Bhagavad Gita that alleviated his spiritual journey and rejuvenated him.

61- Arti Gupta, ROBERT BROWNING, (SARUP & SONS, New Delhi, 2002)

62- L. Trilling, Mathew Arnold (New York, 1949), p.19.

63- G. Saintsbury, Mathew Arnold, (London, 1955), p.6.

64- J.D.Jump, Matthew Arnold, (London, 1955), p.40.

65- D. Bush, Matthew Arnold: A Survey of his Poetry and Prose, (New York, 1971), p.71.

66- A. Wright, Victorian Literature, (Ed.), (London), p.7

67- H. Park, Matthew Arnold, A Life, (1970), p. 496.

68- E. Legouis & L. Cazamian, A History of English Literature, (London, 1954), p. 1190.

69- The Letters of Matthew Arnold to Arthur Hugh Clough, (ed.) H.F. Lowry, (London, 1932), p.111.

70- Ibid., p.69.

71- Ibid., p.71.

72- Wilkin’s, p. 72.

73- Trilling, p.25.

74- Kenneth Allott, Matthew Arnold’s Reading Lists in Three Early Diaries, VL, II (1959), pp.254-266.

According to the reading lists published by Allott, Arnold seems to have read Victor Cousin’s lectures on the history of modern philosophy and he may have gathered some information regarding the Gita from Cousin’s account of it. He is, however, free from the light tendency towards misinterpretation that Cousin betrays in trying to translate the thought of the Gita into terms readily intelligible to the western audience. Incidentally, Cousin declares in his lectures that his knowledge of Indian philosophy is entirely derived from Colebrook. Here, some relevant remarks from Cousin:

The yogi searches only for god, but he finds him equally in everything. Only in order to contemplate him in all things, make an abstraction of that which is not him; it is only the substance of things, pure being that it is necessary to consider, and as the end of contemplation is to unite ourselves to God, the means of arriving at this union is to resemble him as much as possible, that is to reduce ourselves to pure being, by the abolition of all thought of every interior act; for the least thought, the least act would destroy the unity in dividing it, would modify and alter the absolute substance. This state of artificial absorption of the soul in itself, this suppression of every internal and external modification and consequently of consciousness, and consequently of memory, is ecstasy. Ecstasy is the end of contemplation, it is to this that the Yogi tends, and he aspires to annihilate himself in God.

Course of the History of Modern Philosophy (trans.), O.W. Wright, (New York, 1852), I, pp.397-398.

75- Prose Remains, ed., Mrs. Clough, (London, 1888), p.373.

76- B.Willey, ed., Nineteenth-Century Studies, London, 1950.

77- S. Lal, 50 Magnificent Indians of the 20th Century, Jaico.

78-A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, The Path of Perfection, The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, Hare Krishna Land, Juhu, Mumbai-400049, 1979.

79- ‘When the father of the atomic bomb quoted the Bhagavad Gita’, Shailaja Neelakantam, The Times of India, (E-Paper), New-Delhi, India, May 27, 2016.

80- ‘The Gita makes You A High Network Individual’, Jaya Row, The Times of India, New Delhi, Wednesday, August 31, 2016, p- 24.

N.B. In this article, information has been gathered from different sources. It has been tried to give their sources but due to shortage of space some references are not given. Every effort has been made to trace the owners of copyrighted material, but if any have been inadvertently overlooked, the writer will be pleased to make necessary arrangements at the first opportunity.  It should be seen as the unintentional lapse. Kindly bear this omission.

Islamic Islands in India: Threat to India

May 10, 2017

The Islamic state Islamic State (IS), better known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Daesh, is always in the news in India. It is very popular among Indian Muslims. Recently US dropped Mother of all Bombs in Afghanistan to kill IS terrorists. Reports also came in that in that US bombing a number of Indian IS terrorists were also killed. But in India, nobody has the guts to speak against Islamic terrorism due to vote banks politics. It was also reported that Telangana police has been trying hard to entice and entrap the IS sympathisers who might join the dreaded terror group ISIS. This is enough to prove the seriousness of the challenge posed by IS to Indian peace and national security.

Now it is almost confirmed by the media reports that large numbers of Indian Muslims have directly or indirectly affiliated them-selves with ISIS. They are spread over to numbers of states like Telangana, Maharashtra, Utter Pradesh, Bihar, Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka etc. Large numbers of them have succeeded in reaching Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen as recruits. Some are sitting at home working as fund-raisers, recruiters, propagandists, conspirators and other types of followers. They use mosques and madrasas as their safe hide-outs. Even, they get good co-operation from local imams and maulvis. It is very difficult for Indian securities agencies to identify and arrest them due to the support of the community to them.
Alarmingly, more than one hundred and fifty, confirmed cases have been found to have affiliated with ISIS directly. This is enough to show that ISIS has very deep roots among Indian Muslims. Even some of these Indians are foreign return and had their education in secular democracies like the US, UK, Singapore and Australia but they became dangerous radicals. It shows that in the name of human rights and equality, secular and democratic nations have become breeding nurseries of Islamic terrorists and fanatics.
The numbers of Indians linked to ISIS is growing very fast. The IS terror is a very dangerous one and does emerge to be on par with other countries or with other terrorist threats facing India.
A number of states and cities in India emerge mainly prone to IS-inspired terrorism and radicalism. Hordes of people can be seen with their flags. It was identified that Kerala, Telangana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, UP, MP, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi and Rajasthan have become very fertile nurseries of IS.
Now, a clear pattern has emerged in the country. Muslims do not let any non-Muslim live in their colonies. This pattern can be seen in almost every state. So in every city Muslim areas are become breeding grounds of IS and jihadi terrorists. Kashmir valley, Delhi, Kairana, Kanpur, Ahmadabad, Hyderabad, Patna, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Siwan, Azamgarh, Aligarh, Kolkatta, Malda, Bijnaur, Kanpur, Lucknow, Mumbai etc. have Muslim strongholds where even police and security forces are scared to enter.
The fact, that Muslim pockets, cities and states are very well known and the government can very easily wipe out the terror network. Surprisingly, most of the terrorists and fanatics belong to the most prosperous and best-networked families. This is in pattern with comparable tendency elsewhere, with most liberal, secular, democratic and developed countries, such as Tunisia, Morocco, Syria, among Arab states, or Australia, the Europeans nations, France, Belgium, England, Germany, Spain, among the most vulnerable to IS-inspired radicalisation. So, the Muslim radicals misuse the secular, liberal and democratic nations most.
India has a very poor track record of countering the IS threat and Islamic terrorism. Most of the arrested IS sympathisers and terrorists from India enjoy all the rights and comforts even in jail. Successful cases are very few. In India, these elements get strong support and help from secular, left, Islamic, human right and media people. They have a very strong support base. Most of the Indian IS, recruits were killed in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq but only a very few in India.
Large numbers of cases are of self-radicalisation, IS often depends to recruits onto pre-established organisations, madrasas and mosques. Most the reported Indian IS sympathisers and terrorists have affiliations with other groups, including the Indian Mujahideen (IM), Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), or IS-inspired groups such as Junood ul Khalifa fil Hind (JKH). IS radicalisation also tends to widen through family, school, madrasas, mosques or neighbourhood ties, often coalescing into cells, such as Ansarul Khalifa Kerala. Even terrorists In Bangladesh have been radicalised by Indian Muslim preachers. Even highly educated and liberal people support IS recruits and terrorists. Now, they have Saudi and Pakistani channels, radicalising the Muslims. Now India has emerged as the global supplier of IS agents and terrorists.
Although America and western countries have almost wiped out the ISIS as a state – a self-declared ruthless Caliphate with self-declared defined territory and a military – but it had very well moved into a global terror network, like al-Qaida. This poses a new kind of danger for India. Pointlessly undermining the danger derails every step taken by security forces. Secular, Communist, media, right groups and intellectuals should also stop supporting Islamic extremist. IS ideology is very dangerous to humanity. All should try to reform Islam and Muslims as secular, liberal, tolerant, modern, hate-free, violent-free and peace loving in the interest of humanity.

 

Fading Memory

May 10, 2017

Ah! You were always in my bosom,
Like, I kept you always.
Ages past in my lucky days;
When my passion swayed,
And I was a blessed soul,
Energetic and matched, with your pace.
Now, cracks on my face,
And your splendour has grown,
Yet I foster dreams,
With glimmer in my eyes
To crave you to respond,
To my never-dying, passions.
O, my love! Where have you flown away?
To yonder mysterious world,
where beauty laughs,
at broken hearts and celebrates the death,
with sweet laughter and hopes;
here lies one, who was neither cared by God nor man,
Waste not your passions on him, he was barren.
Shedding tears for those nasty lasses who regarded his fun,
thanking the lord he is dead, this son of sod.

 

How to salvage Kashmir: A multi-pronged initiative, with security and reform, is needed-Learn from Israel and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

May 6, 2017

Kashmir is an integral and inseparable part of India. But that very part needs to quick legitimate worry cutting across partisan political divides, on the speed at which the Valley is going out of control. It needs a quick and bold remedy. It is a very easy solution. A nation only needs bold leadership. But a multi-pronged plan, carefully planned and honestly implemented, is the urgent need of the hour.

India must empower her security forces with modern firepower. The power and rights of our security forces in Kashmir must be immediately improved to avoid or minimise the frequent loss of lives of our soldiers and paramilitary personals. Most security experts agree that the strength of our army along the LoC is much less practical necessities. We need to raise the numbers by at least 35% to minimise the infiltration of terrorists and jihadis from across Pakistan and create a fear in the mind of Pakistan’s for its frequent ceasefire violations.

Similarly, the equipment and weaponry with our armed forces require quick upgrading. Better night vision devices, improved anti-infiltration systems, like laser rays and ground sensors guarded borders, and much forceful and penetrative surveillance by UAVs to crush the homegrown stone terrorists, are required immediately. India must learn from Israel to protect her boundaries and citizens.

The territories above 12,000 feet have only mountains and have so many nullahs and rocky projections that make usual and existing wire fencing difficult and ineffective. In fact, during winter, the fencing at the LoC is covered by 10-20 feet of snow.

Funds must be ready to regularly repair damaged fencing and anti-infiltration devices and strengthen the fragile boundary security around military installations and air bases to prevent the Pathankot and Kupwara type terror attacks. These recent attacks show to look in this direction urgently. An evaluation and strengthen of our entire intelligence system is also far needed urgently.

The government of India must understand that only rising plane of violence in Kashmir cannot be controlled by securing the borders. Whereas there should not be any laxity in security, and premeditated and paid violence against the state, security personals and Hindus must be dealt with firmly. The government must also tackle their supporters and financiers, disguised as human right activists, journalists, intellectual, academicians etc, those are clearly anti-India and pro-Pakistani agents, or separatists should be identified, arrested and punished under the law. This would also include the Hurriyat leadership, separatists, Jihadis, stone pelters, religious fanatics and Wahabi elements, maulanas and maulvis. No mercy should be shown to such elements. No attempts should be made to talk with these elements, as has been attempted in the past.

The design of such anti-national elements should be understood. Tactically alert states create a strong hidden network to identify such disruption-ists and obstructionists but here none seem to exist. The government should give heavy motivation and safety. Sections from within Kashmir’s and outside Kashmir in the garb of civil society should be avoided and exposed. There is no need for any dialogue. There is a strong network of Hurriyat leaders, clerics, scholars and ulemas who are hand in glove with terror groups. Even student leaders are also with them and working for them as dreaded stone pelters. The key thing is to convey that the government is not going to tolerate the anti- national subversive activities.

Kashmir is a very rich and prosperous state. It does not need any special economic package in the form of growth and investments for the creation of jobs. The troubled situation is created by the rich and powerful. The economy of Kashmir is controlled by the Muslim population and in most of the government departments, Muslims are in majority. So there is no so-called alienation

Indians are natural entrepreneurs, and if given the proper incentives and environment, will surely give a positive response. So if the government repeals controversial Article-370 and provide security to non-Muslims, accompanied by strong guarantee and measures of security and protection to private entrepreneurs from across India, huge investment will come to Kashmir.

Tough steps must be taken to prevent the wild Islamic fanaticism engulfing the entire state, especially the Valley for the last several decades. Mosques and madrasas, under fanatic Wahhabi, Salafi or Ahl-al-Hadith sway, have breaded in every village. Funds for this have come surreptitiously from several Islamic countries. With digital tracking of monetary transactions now routine, the time has come to cut off the bloody and illicit chain of this financial support. The government must be ruthless with such TV channels, imams, maulvis, maulanas etc. who are involved in this game of hate and death. Islam must be reformed as a secular, liberal, modern, tolerant, peace-loving, hate-free and non-violent faith. Kashmir needs Mustafa Kemal Ataturk type, a revolutionary reformist.

Diplomacy must be tactically tough. Bilateral talks with Pakistan should not begin till it stops supporting the Kashmir terrorists to give a tough message to hardliners in the Valley that we do not care your master. India should also use the explosive situation in Baluchistan to her advantage. India can issue a threat to repeal the Indus Water Treaty and the Most Favoured Nation Status of Pakistan.

At the same time, international pressure on Pakistan should be built, mainly that of America. In the last decade alone, the US has given approximately $25 billion to Pakistan in military and civilian assistant. President Donald Trump can be easily persuaded because he is very stern about acting against Islamic terrorism. This is the right time to convince him to correct the rogue nation Pakistan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s must talk to him as early as possible.

Finally, but most importantly, BJP and other secular and patriotic groups must highlight the communal rhetoric of Muslims in India. Issues like the beef ban, cow protection, Yoga, Sanskrit etc., should not be used to unsettle majority community across the country. Attacks on Amarnath Yatra and Veshno Devi pilgrims in Kashmir by terrorists, jihadis and stone pelters are most reprehensible. The nation must denounce these attacks but it appears that Islamic groups believe such condemnation is purely cosmetic. The government should create more seats in universities in Kashmir for outside students, to bring Kashmir students in the national mainstream.

Islamic evils like Triple Talaq, Nikah Halala, polygamy, Mutha, burqa, hijab, Sharia courts etc. must be banned and declared an offence under law. Appeasement of Muslims must be stopped.

The government must tell the regional parties like PDP, NC, Hurriyat, etc. to shun their communal politics. They are responsible for all the mess. The central government act ruthlessly, like Israel now, and execute a complete plan to clear the mess.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Conflict with Tolerance: Islamist learn Tolerance from Hinduism and Hindutva

May 4, 2017

Secularists, communists, media, intellectuals etc. are in search of true Hindu in this surcharged environment created by them to continue to enjoy their vested interests.

They always try to defame Hindutva and Hinduism as declare them a political ideology associated with BJP and RSS to capture power.

But Hinduism is not a political tool like Islam or Christianity but it is a lofty way related to life. But these anti-Hindu secular and communist groups describe Hindutva nothing but Hindu fundamentalism.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a true and honest follower of Hinduism propagated by Swami Vivekananda. The latter’s elocution of the core ideals of Hinduism must protect the vilification of Hindu values by such secular groups. Prime Minister Narendra Modi follow the ideology of Hindutva which was taught to the ignorant world by Swami Vivekananda in 1893 – at the World Parliament of Religions – Swami Vivekananda, mentioning on various religions, stated “each must assimilate the spirit of the other, and yet preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth.”

Islam is an ideology practised by Islamic preachers who hold the reins of power and the self-proclaimed owners who claim to embody the true and real Islam. Both are bent to destroy the distinctiveness and the spirit behind those who follow other religions.

For Swami Vivekananda, “Help and not fight”, “Assimilation and not Destruction”, “Harmony and Peace and not Dissension” should be the banner of every religion. Pm Modi follows this spirit, “Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas.” But the events of the recent past suggest that Islam’s essential characteristics followed by Indian Muslims are fuelling disharmony and conflict resulting violence and deaths.

Swami Vivekananda’s vision was to harmonise the Bible and Quran on the line of Vedanta and Hinduism because he believed that all religions are but expressions of Oneness and that each human being has the right to hug his religion and decide the path that suits him the best.

Those who champion the cause of Islam have not understood this meaning of Hinduism and secularism. If Muslims continue along this path, the real concept of Oneness might develop traits that have no resemblance to the tenets of all the religions.

Swamiji’s prophetic words about food and eating habits have a definite bearing on supporters of slaughtering or beef eating, entering into the tenets of religion. God or religion are not guided by the kitchens of our households. Swamiji said “There is a danger of our religion getting into the kitchen…. Our God is the cooking-pot, and our religion is, ‘Don’t touch me, I am Holy’ … If this goes on for another century, every one of us will be in a lunatic asylum.”

These views articulated at the end of the 19th century should have guided mankind when moving into the 21st century. What we are viewing today is preachers and leaders of the 21st century harking back to 18th-century mindsets. Their religion and freedom are guided and controlled by beef eating and food habits and they want the governments to support them to decide on their food habits.

Over the years, the Hindu mind symbolises the force of tolerance. Many religions and cultures have come here and not only survived but strengthened here. Christianity and Islam have made plenty space to march the path they wish to take. Diverse ideas and thoughts have been freely exchanged. Hindu intellectuals flourished within the courtyard of Muslim dictators. Sufi preachers have influenced lives of people over centuries. Yet, today Islam seeks to wipe out the past and to build a divisive future.

The diverse nature of Hinduism is not lost on violent Islamic preachers. Even its diverse cultural dimensions are not fully appreciated by those who carry the badge of an Islamic cultural identity. Islam has a fascist, narrow and possessive dimension. Its diktats are patriarchal, divisive and anti-women. The design of a colossal Islamic religion is unacceptable to the innate multiplicity of the people of India.

Islam as a religion, “burst with rage” at the “slightest criticism”. The real Muslim is merely an item or community without a holy scripture or a founder. They should learn the values innate in the diversity within Hinduism; not the values that Islamist try to impose. Islamist must not push the willful loss of human lives in an attempt to eat the beef of the ‘holy cow’.

Hinduism, a securely knit religion in which all can survive and flourish is antithetical to the idea of a narrow set of beliefs, doctrines and practices. Both pantheism and agnosticism are elements of the Hindu religion. Millions of Gods and Goddesses are part of the Hindu faith like ordinary human beings but the Islam account has no tolerance for multiple types of faith, schools of philosophy and multiplicity of customs.

Violence and falsehood have no place in the practice of Hinduism. Mahatma Gandhi’s original beliefs based on two principles: ‘non-violence’ and ‘Truth’. Islam and the Islamists promote believe in rumour mongering and hate.

The wave of violence for decades has made nation insecure. Our nations and prime minister’s silence on ‘fatwas’ offering ransom to behead or other intimidation for journalists, politicians, singers, writers, is disturbing. Those averse to their Islam are asked to leave their areas (Kashmir, Bengal, Kairana, Malda, etc.). The killings and violence at Kashmir, Pathankot, Malda, etc. are all examples of levels of intolerance, witnessed in this country only during Islamic rule.

Criticism or dissent is treated as blasphemy. Those responsible for law and order silently watch stone pelters and fatwa brigade brigades create disorder. Support in JNU, Jamia, AMU and University of Hyderabad vitiate the atmosphere of knowledge by fueling passions. Networks in the social media have become a stage of abuse filings by those paid to do so. Security forces are abused in campuses and protagonists of violence and hate are given a free run for attacking the forces and nationalists.

Indian philosophy espouses Yoga, meditation, discipline through the Gita, Ramayan and scores of other scriptures but Islamic elements espouse the cause of Islam have demonstrated levels of indiscipline seen only in barbaric Islamic nations. Cultural superiority through violence is only a weapon of ignorant. But the nation is silent or supportive to these elements. It is time for him to wake up and stand and force his presence felt.

 

 

Dark Self

April 27, 2017

You spoil the spirit of this pious land,
Despite our best efforts to enlighten you
With love and humanity in your violent faith,
The love and humanity have refused to dawn on you.

Your conjecture about this nation, her people;
Is based on some unfathomable rooted hate,
In your faith, on your nastiness, intolerance;
You are moving in the dark to find space.

But O love! Deep kindness
Flows like honey, milk in their heart;
Inspirational, chaste, virtuous, unsullied;
Flow for you to make civilize and humble.

You fail to understand,
The eruption and reach of the springs of
Secularism, liberalism, tolerance and love;
To purify, your self and consciousness.

Then the ‘Karuna’ non-exhibits it’s self,
Joys and bliss of life don’t erupt,
Then the life becomes unfulfilling.
And the self-enlightenment is incomplete.

A Distress Call

April 22, 2017

Trapped between the disparity and the stirring,
Amid the bliss of self and guilt,
Amid the demon and Lord Krishna,
Amid the wide divine revelation
And low sordid void.

Crushed between secularism and social justice;
Reddened by the merciless acts of Jihadis and Naxals;
Crushing the humanity like a ruthless demon,
In the name of brutal Lord and red comrade;
And sucking the every drop off people’s blood.

My most unruly mischievous self
Revolts within when the blanket of Blessings
Covers my outer selfish self,
It declines to be quiet,
Pines to be a weird self-seeking soul.

Exhibiting an unattractive thumb
With a jabbing, smelling up nose,
Self-pitying on the self-rotting cuts,
Those decline to get cured,
In spite of the best of prayers and blessings.

I pray to the Mighty Lord Krishna,
To bless me with the strength of Arjuna,
To wipe out the brutal inner Jihadis,
Those have swelled their ugly ranks,
Like the virus of cancer to destroy my nation.

Yogi as a Teacher

April 18, 2017

 

Now it is almost official India hates fun. We ban something outright; we should not think consequences and genuine needs.
But it is also clear, for some reason, Indians like bans. Our politicians and courts don’t give a serious thought to reconsider a decision that affects lakhs and millions and kill employment. And in most of the cases, even the intent is not clear but people don’t mind crushing anything like the business, employment, fun etc. even though the ban might not achieve anything meaningful.
Long before Yogi Adityanath became so popular with the closing of illegal slaughter houses, and put a ban on cow slaughter, Kashmiri people put a ban on films and closed all the cinema halls in the notorious Kashmir valley. Even they close all the schools and colleges for months and months as and when they wish so. Now, it is almost three decades, since all the cinema halls are closed in the valley but the nation is silent.
One of the most brutal victims of the ban in our country try is poor alcohol. Although it gives maximum revenue and maximum fun, but it is treated as a sin and an enjoyment. All the states fail to control terrorists, Naxals, Jihadi, criminals but all try to regulate the flow of alcohol as much as possible. Haryana played with this game of ban. But failed miserably. Now Nitish Kumar is playing with this ban game. With one stroke of pen, he altogether closed lakhs of shops, bars, etc. overnight.
Even Honourable Supreme Court is a part of this game. The recent SC order, closing alcohol sales within 500 meters of highways is the latest drive. It has rendered thousands of businesses unviable, resulting in loss of millions of jobs. Even people with the valid license, cannot do the business. Such ban cannot be appreciated.
Now there is no one to protect the victims of bans, neither Indian government nor the justice system. “Make in India”, becomes “business hell in India.” The people who sell and consume alcohol are the obvious casualty. All think it is morally good to bash those who are a part of the business that only create ‘pleasure’ and ‘fun.’ Nobody is worried about the damages it causes to the nation and society.
It also spoils the image of the country as business-friendly image overseas. The foreign investors will treat us like an Islamic nation, who will change rules on the whims and fancies of a maulana or a Maulvi and no protection for investment and business. It is also damaging to the earnings of the states and people, which in turn is used for welfare measures such as education, health and other developments.
This will also encourage illegal activities and economy to develop. Prohibition, or even restricted sales, has failed worldwide and in India many times. It only encourages bootlegging, bribes, corruption and under-the-counter dhabas and sales counters on the highway selling alcohol. It’s all funny ways of governance or absurd activism to hide failures.
Google Maps will tell every shop, and even find the way through the shortest route to any alcohol outlet even if signs pointing to liquor shops are removed. New signs and names can also be created to mention liquor shop with the fast changing languages. These bans harm tourism, local economy, revenue collection, employment prospects for those honestly and directly involved and don’t lessen drunk drivers on the road. Clear worthless, isn’t it?
The only way to keep drunk drivers off the road is (a) heavy penalties and quick punishments to offenders. It would have been much better to punish drunk drivers through fast track justice system.
This game of ban was started in a big way by the secular government headed by secular leaders when they banned Taslima Nasreen’s ‘Lajja’ and Salman Rushdie’s ‘Satanic Verses’, two great literary works. Even communists supported these bans.
It is a well-known fact that Jallikattu, also known as ‘Eruthazhuvuthal’ in Tamilnadu, played on Pongal, bullock cart race in Maharashtra, Kambla in Karnataka, bullocks’ race in Punjab etc., have been traditionally and culturally very popular practice. All must respect these traditions and cultures but ironically all face ban.

People’s memory is very pitiable. Bans are neither new nor unusual in India. In India, even all type of dissections is banned in labs even for educational purposes and researches. Now even earthworms, cockroaches, rats, fish, frog, monkey, etc., cannot be dissected. As a result of this in the field of education and research nation is suffering very heavily.

Similarly, medicinal tests, pharmaceutical tests etc., on insects and animals like rats, monkeys, horses, frogs, dogs, etc., are also banned in India. As a result of all these bans country has been suffering. Education, research all have been suffering very heavily. Academicians, researchers, and scientists are working under tremendous pressure on account of such bans.
Similarly, animal shows in circuses are also banned. Even jugglers cannot keep animals like monkeys, bear, and even snakes. As a result of this lakhs of people lost their livelihood.

Animal rights fighters have succeeded in banning the long-established arts in India that expertise in training animals for shows as a means of living. There was a time when snake charmers and Baazigars would be sent to international fairs as emissaries of India’s conventional art forms.

But when the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 was extended to these communities, they became criminals and law breakers. With one blow of the pen, their centuries-old art forms came to be treated as an unlawful activity, without even bother to offer them any alternative means of employment for survival.
It is a very silly situation that every few weeks, nation announces one or the other blanket bans and restrictions. We never consider the global standard. If India aims to be one of the developed, civilised, liberal and modern countries of the world, we should follow, adopt and adhere to some global standard and practice? Alcohol sale is not restricted at all in any democratic nations, and yet they have managed to reduce drunk driving to a large extent.
President Obama, Clinton, Tony Blair etc. used to meet people for a beer in the presence of media. Global CEOs and achievers in every field openly have drinks and still work very well. To think of alcohol as a sin only is a Taliban idea because some misuse it is erroneous, at least so far as liberal world practices move.
In general, laws should not be arbitrary and pointless, written so hastily that someone might suspect lawmakers are under the influence.
By closing illegal slaughter houses and put a ban on cow slaughter, Yogi Adityanath, like a teacher, has taught the nation to speak against the game of ban. Now all the secularists, communists, Islamist, animal lovers, liberal and tolerant brigade, media, freedom-fighter for food, etc. all have opened their mouth against the game of ban.

LOST WITH THE WAVES

April 16, 2017

It happens only with dreamy Indians. Children are the happy dreams of their parents. To fulfil their dreams, I had obtained B.Tech., a degree in Computer Engineering, from I.I.T… After B.Tech. I acquired masters’ degree in Management from I.I.M… After working for few years in India, like any other Indian, I joined a multinational company in the USA.

America is now treated as a dream country especially in India.  It is the cherished dream of every Indian to touch the soil of that dreamy land, the land of braves, patriots and vast opportunities. Americans are born with three Ts in their mind; TRY—for better future; TRUE—To your nation, religion and work; TRUST—in God and self. So in my case also that long-cherished dream had come true. My parents were very happy with this achievement.

Every entry point has an exit point, so I resolved to make my exit from my dear motherland to enter into the land of dreams as a wonderful experience, with lots of joys and graceful achievements. Here, at last, I reached a place where I truly deserved and where my merit and talent has got respect. Here I saw a beautiful world, waiting for me. I decided to walk with an aim. Bubbling with happiness and confidence I planned to stay in this country for about five years in which time I hoped to earn enough money to settle down comfortably back home in India.

We belong to a Brahman priestly family. But my father did not have any interest in our traditional profession because in our country it was almost a                            secular and intellectual fashion to abuse and curse Brahmans and Brahman priests. In some states like Jammu & Kashmir and Tamilnadu, Brahmans are treated worse than slaves and animals. He generally used to recite this poem;

BRAND NAME

God send me on the earth, an innocent being,

Untouched by the black and white doing,

But the world branded me as a Brahmin,

And a curse fell on this urchin,

A child of lesser God,

The entire honour was forbidden to this pod.

 

Education, help, livelihood;

All was snatched by Robin Hood,

Some branded it as social equality,

But it was state cruelty,

Others’ called it secular passion,

But it was ugly repression,

All the isms kill human rights,

They are the Janus face of racial might.

As a result of this scenario, my father preferred to be a teacher. As honesty, hard work, patriotism and Sanskars were in his blood which he inherited from his parents. He could not do much for his family and his economic condition remained grim throughout his life. Only after his retirement, he could purchase an ordinary one bedroom flat in a slum type locality. Moreover he had to pay a hefty bribe to government babus to get his day today work done in government offices. Even still he has to pay a bribe to get his PF and other dues cleared and get his monthly pension from the same department which he served for thirty-five years. But ambitions could not touch him. He believed in,” When nails are growing, we cut nails when ambition is growing; we cut ambition but maintains relations and character.

I wanted to do much more than my nationalist father. I wanted to earn and earn like secular leaders of the country. But in America, I could not adjust comfortably and started homesick and lonely as the time passed. My patriotism and love to my roots always troubled me there on the foreign soil. Moreover, in America, Indians were not treated respectfully. As upper castes Hindus are insulted and abused in India, in the same manner, Indians are treated in America as a community who are there only to mint fast bucks only, come what way. There too I saw each heart had pain, only the way of expressions was different; some hide it in tears in their eyes while others’ hide it behind their beguiling smile.

I used to call my parents almost once a week using low-cost international phone sim cards. In this manner, three years passed and my contract with my employer was over but my employer extended my contract for another three years, as in America, person is recognised by merit, talent and work where as in India quota castes, minority religion, language and region are recognised and not the merit, talent and work.

Another one year passed on burgers, pizzas, chow mien, potato chillies etc… Years and months passed, watching foreign currency rates and getting happier whenever the value of Indian rupee went down. One thing I learnt from Americans that getting upset would not help. Always getting up, to set the things right.

The problem of marriage always was a big issue for my ageing parents.  Finally, I decided to get married and gave nod and told my parents that I had only ten days of holidays and everything must have to be settled down within these ten, very important ten days of my life. I got my ticket booked to India in the cheapest economic class. I was on seventh cloud and was actually trying to purchase gifts from the cheap duty free shops, for all my relatives and friends back home. If I fail to do follow this custom, there will be talks because in India it is believed, if one is in America, he must be rolling in money. Right from the babu at the airport to the dancing terror eunuchs, this great India loot is a part of life.

After reaching India, I spent some time at home with my parents. All the time we all were involved scanning photographs of girls and as the time was very short I was almost forced to select a girl as my future life partner. Bride’s side was in much more hurry as they did not want to let out this America settled son-in-law. They told that I had to get married within three-four days. After the marriage, my departure time to the U.S.A. was very close. After giving some money to my parents I again had to leave India and requesting my relatives and neighbor friends to look after my parents. We both returned to the U.S.A.

In the beginning my wife was very happy in America and she enjoyed her stay here. But after some time she started feeling lonely. Her frequency of calling her parents, back home in India increased and sometimes almost everyday. As a result of her extravagant nature my savings started vanishing rapidly. I tried to get some job for her but I failed and could not arrange a job for her. She used to receive wise upbraiding from her parents especially from  her mother everyday. In my case it was very true, “If the first button of your shirt is wrongly stitched, all the rest will definitely be crooked. So always be careful on your first step, success will automatically follow you”.

Although, she was a Ph.D from Gazab Singh University, India, but to my horror I came to know that she was not capable even to write a letter. All her degrees were almost manipulated through corrupt methods. Her father was a judge and her mother was a professor in Gazab Singh University, India. She boosts of guiding forty- five, Ph.D.s to her credit, through lifting, scissoring and pasting methods. This university was notoriously famous for selling fake degrees.

In this way, two more years passed, and we were blessed with two lovely kids, a daughter Ganga and a son Brahmputra. Every time I rung to my parents, they asked me to come to India so that they could see their grand children before their eyes are closed for ever. But work pressure coupled with difficult monetary conditions, I could not visit India. Months and years passed and visiting India to see my ageing parents was a distant dream.

Then one day at around mid-night, my phone rang and I got a message that my father was seriously ill. I tried to get leaves but failed to get the leaves sanctioned, to go to India. The next message I got was the death of my father. As there was no one to perform the last rites, the close relatives helped by the neighbours performed the last rites.

The death of my father shattered me and I was badly depressed. My father passed away without had a glimpse of his grand children.  One day he came to me to meet me in my dream and cried at me:

MY FATHER AND THE CURSE OF MY NATION

                        I

I heard my heavenly father, last night,

What is your dear nation’s curse? Write

And throw it beyond the Himalayas, high,

I trembled, collecting my father’s sigh.

I can’t do, my dear father!

There are many a curse but ask my brother.

I am pressed by love and patriotism.

The voice shouted to shun hypnotism.

My father’s word in mind,

Generated radiant and vigour in aside.

II

Tender little hands of children begging in streets,

Brutal and intoxicated fathers musing in fleets.

Donors giving through misty doors,

This is unknown to fair floors.

For right of freedom, this crowns,

The rogues as lords in Parliament frown.

Tears in eyes, I cried, patriotism means,

Self- interest, corruption and rotten dreams.

As honest and intelligent have lost their claim,

Corrupt touching glory and nation in the drain.

III

Secular cry breeding fanatic name,

Social justice prospering caste chain,

Tainted rulers dance while enemy conspire,

Brave soldiers are fried on crying pyre,

Jihadi killers dance while innocent cry,

Bloody red hidden in white to rob every pie,

Alter decorated with anarchic laws,

To strangulate the weak and just with claws,

There my father cried in terse,

Shall thou write my nation’s curse?

IV

Now modern women have only to know,

To cheat hearts with tears false below

And swap bed every day and night,

Every right is wrong and wrong right.

Framed racial and communal laws,

To bestow trump powers to our foes,

Here wise man choose to silence,

And fools throw tantrums on their glance,

Where unmerited groups laugh at your gate,

Merit is scorned and measured without weight.

V

As you turn your body to side,

Met with foul tradition and conscience tide,

Power shines with mirth deadlier best,

All this I wrote to mourn the test.

This is the curse, open to all to read,

Go with ill- doers, my father cried

And furl your flag with sick brewers,

Now cannot be changed a new,

Six decades of ill governance,

Has dried and sucked all fragrance.

VI

With heart sinking and tears in eyes,

Death can change this entire fry,

Otherwise, rot will go on,

With all my blessings to you to worn,

Saddened to leave you alone here,

As I cannot be no more with you there,

Left crying in a cruel winter evening,

Twenty years have passed by mourning,

His sudden march to the kingdom of death,

Left we orphaned as a traveller, without a sheath.

VII

That mighty soul, sober, cool and austere,

Must be shining in some unknown sphere,

Enjoyed his shadow as wise banyan keeps boughs under,

Here he was to beat the storms and not to flounder,

Helping and guiding the masses in need,

With a happy and honest hand indeed,

True servant of Almighty in this world wild,

Goddess Saraswati seated on tongue with message mild,

Such souls loved and needed in ages all abound,

Pray to Master to reincarnate him again around.

Three, four years passed. I decided to return to India and to settle down there. This decision was not appreciated by my children but my wife was very happy with this decision. I started to look for a good and affordable property. But now here DrMan Mohan Singh was the Prime Minister and to my shock, my savings and pocket were much short and the price of property gone up very high during all these years. I had to again return to the USA.

But this time my wife was very intelligently tutored by her mother. She was not ready to come back to USA with me nor was ready to live with my aged mother. On the other hand I and my children were not ready to live in India under these circumstances. I, with my two children returned to USA after promising my mother and wife to come back within three years. Every thing about, our future was uncertain but God has arranged every thing for our tomorrow. You just have to trust Him. He grants us the power to accept things you cannot change.

Time passed by and my daughter decided to get married to an American on her own. Neither due to financial constrains, my wife nor could my mother join us to bless our daughter. My son was happy living in the USA because he was very comfortable with American life style. Suddenly I received the news of the death of my mother due to heart failure.

Now I was fed up with this type of life. It was enough and decided to wound- up every thing and returned to India. A relationship, is like fragrance, you can never touch it but you feel it. Now I had just enough money to buy a decent three room flat in a posh colony in India.

With this vagabond type of life I became sixty years old. Beaten from all sides I became highly religious and a regular visitor to the near by temple. My faithful wife was still living with her parents. She was not ready to leave me nor was ready to leave her parents. I was a cash card to her and her family. As her father was a judge he knew the hazards of filing and settling divorce cases. So my wife was happy living as a married lady but her parents’ daughter, financing her rogue brother by the money I used to send

her as a peace package. She was like Stephen Blackpool’s wife in Charles Dickens’ Hard Times:

TRUANT DAUGHTER IN LAW

Always play truant and abhors all in- laws,

A knotty bride, slamming doors,

A perverse father’s tricky daughter,

Floats in muddy and shallow water.

 

Guided and guarded by,

Inhuman Taliban laws,

Branding man’s race,

As savage and subhuman.

 

Men in khaki and gown black,

Are suitors dear?

But never gave respect to,

Her elder in- laws.

 

Rude and twisted to caring in- laws,

Direct from honeymoon cracked

Whips on these helpless fellows.

At school, her report card noted as a spoiled child.

 

Decked and jacked in false glitters,

Children she mothered,

Narrate tales awful and deadly,

Never taught children with milky hymns.

 

Children never impressed by her dear mother,

But never learnt to slam the door.

Her funeral was performed sacredly,

Mentioned her virtues in tone false.

(8)

But all and sundry present there,

Dwelled her vices in hushed detail,

She was a bandit queen,

In the garb of bridal make- up.

 

Again another mishap happened in my life. Papa’s daughter, but my faithful wife also left me high and dry and gone to the last abode from where no body returns. Now I started wondering the meaning of life. Is it worth all this? My father, even after staying in this country as a poor teacher, had a house to his name but he never was alone. I too have the same, nothing more. But I have lost every thing, my parents, my wife, my children, my mental peace and near and dear ones. Life is like onion which has many layers of relationships. If you do not cut it adds taste to life but if you cut it, you will get tears only.

Looking out from the balcony I see a lot of boys and girls riding on bikes and dancing. This modernization and liberty has spoiled our new generation and these children have no values in life. I get occasional greeting cards from my children on different days. I wanted to cry, I wanted to hug some one dear, but no dear ones were around. You cannot hug yourself, you cannot cry on your own shoulder; perhaps life is all about for living others. So live with those who love you, not with those whom you love. World’s happiest relations never have the same nature. They just have the best understanding of their difference, which we missed in our life.

Now perhaps I will also die and my neighbors again will be performing my last rites. God bless them. At least this one thing is still there that at least last rites are performed with full honors. But again the question remained unanswered, is life all this worth? A failed son, who could not serve his parents, when they need him most, a failed husband, who could not be with his wife, a failed father, who could not continue the legacy of a family…and a failed Indian who could not serve his nation. Whatever life throws at us: it will be easier to comfort if we feel loved.

My children and the grand children will not realize this pain and pain of losing my culture for ever and for ever—–is it really worth so many souls alienated. On a one fateful morning I was reading the divine Bhagavad Gita. My phone rang. From the other side I was overwhelmed to listen the sweet voice of my dear son, hello papa, can you give me an appointment to bless your grand child, mothered by a close friend of mine, means born out of wed lock.  

Shocked, I sank into the chair on which my father used to sit and teach. Slowly and slowly darkness gripped me, perhaps I shall never be able to give an appointment to bless my grand child and its mother. But my question remained unanswered; was the life worth this? With this, I lost somewhere and sagged down.

 एत्धोनीनि भूतानि सर्वाणीत्यू उपधरय ।

अहं क्र्त्स्नस्य जगतः प्रभवः प्रत्नयस तथा ॥6॥

etad yonīni bhūtāni sarvānī’ty upadhāraya

aham krtsnasya jagatab prabhavah pralayas tathā

 Know that all beings have their birth in this. I am the origin of all in this world and its dissolution as well. All things are dissolved in me. 

(The Bhagavad Gita, Ch.VII. Sl.-6 (Trans.))

My City

April 15, 2017

1-

Silent lights twinkling,
Flashing – past the moonlight,
Out of train compartment,
Peeping through the trees,
The running light augmented the beats of my heart.

Beggars in holy saffron wait,
On the platform,
Their holy kamandal,
Collecting dust and rain water,
But no offerings.

On the train trip,
Hawkers shouting their gullet out,
Selling cheaper fancy goods,
Ignorants buying,
The things but inside will forever bite their soul.

Stepping home – from lane to lane,
Crossing roads and streets,
Filled with dirt and stench,
Up to the street of Chatta Devi Das,
Down Padam Gate, Opposite Virat Bhawan.

Everything dusty, inside my home,
-the walls, sheet, fans, tea cups and glasses.
Brooding on the smell of glasses,
Still fresh in memory,
On a perfect wintry night- lest I die of cold.

Rising at the steps of Siddheshwar Temple,
I land, in an unknown space.
Looking for solace in a boundary-less cosmos.
Lost somewhere, on the remains;
This holy temple takes for eternal peace.

Of a starry and restless night,
Sweaty farmers working in wheat and sugarcane fields,
Siddheshwar pilgrimage attain glow and comfort,
To a forgotten self in a long journey of life:
Radiance in eyes and a new metaphor for life.

2.
I am in love with a land,
With a history of centuries,
As I walk down these dusty busy roads,
Centuries past flare my mind,
Questioning my existence.

Time pass and loath to wait,
Lord Siddheshwar, hidden in an ancient cave,
Protectors of truth and light from dark forces,
In this dark world, to make it livable,
And a learned Pundit blessing the devotees.

The rickshaw puller in rags and wrinkles;
Talked me in tired Hindi, all through the ride;
Crossing corners at careless speed,
Muttering Shiva hymns to get our destination sooner,
Defeating the unlit fear, brave soldiers of the believers.

Waiting for the divine light and miracle,
Where Shiv bhaktas meditative sat,
Observing fast at the Lord’s feet –
So much peace in nothingness,
Thousands of bhaktas sat on holy land.

Waiting for prasadam,
Outside the temple, under the holy peepal tree,
Discussing Ram Temple at Ayodhya.
I photograph the Lord, with trident,
And His bejewelled nakedness.

Realisation then comes painless,
Far from grip of strong beliefs and worldly noise;
As I see birds and flowers at the entrance to the same cave,
The God’s face illuminates,
Just when I thought I finally realised.

This life was in no way mine,
Never will be mine again,
Body left my self-aeons ago,
Before the light from heaven fell,
Time and fate played with the man.

3.
Time moves fast,
World filmed the acoustics of Lord,
To the chants of
“Oṃ Namah Shivaya…”
Reverberating across the cosmos.

And the blue Shiva on the temple gate,
In utter silence gazed,
At time holy saints smoking chilam on the floor.
Mohammad, our rickshaw puller,
Says he’s a Muslim and dons a large yellow tilak.

Meanwhile, elsewhere realisation
Comes with a cost, in a dejected city;
It’s never easy to stay balanced
On the dust remains of lost glories
Of my lost city – Khurja.

But balanced we must;
Escaping stars, strange planets, buses, cars,
Busy roads and lanes, across time zones,
And strives to not get slain,
By an unseen massive Superpower called Time.

For thy holy linga, milk, rice, flowers, dhatura;
But my own soul one with that super soul:
All the loaded honey of my life’s desire,
And all the sweet memories from my trodden life drawn,
Of optimism up-leaping like the radiance of dawn.

The rhythmic structure,
A divine creation,
The unseen god evokes the scene, consciousness wakes.
Time begins. World chant “Oṃ Namah Shivaya…”
Rhythm echoes the cosmos.

The bright headlights and yellow fairy lights,
Playing a game of hopscotch
In another man’s dream.
The rickshaw puller smoke doused cigarettes,
And collect wasted alcohol bottles.

 

 

 

Kamandal: A holy pot carried by Hindu Saints. Chatta Devi Das: A colony in Khurja.

Padam Gate: A gate in Khurja, constructed in memory of Late Padam Singh. Virat Bhawan: An inn, in memory of Pundit Virat Ji, in Khurja. Siddheshwar Temple; Ancient Lord Shiva Temple in Khurja. Pundit: Hindu religious and learned man, performing religious rituals.

Shiva.: Hindu God, as the destroyer. Shiv bhakta: Followers of Lord Shiva. Bhaktas: Followers.

Prasadam: Eatable items given at Hindu Temples. Peepal: A tree, treated as a holy tree by Hindus. Ram: Another Hindu God. Ayodhya: Birth place of Lord Ram, in Utter Pradesh, India. “Oṃ Namah Shivaya . . .” Holy Chant for Lord shiv. Chilam: A country made local smoking pipe. tilak.: Holy Hindu symbol, on the forehead. Linga: Penis of Lord Shiva, Hindus consider as holy. Dhatura: A poisonous fruit, generally offered at the altar of Lord Shiva. Khurja: Ancient city of Uttar Pradesh, India.

 

Govinda Govinda

April 8, 2017

 

I go nowhere to see God;
No hurdle comes in my journey,
I linger for no one.
I travel in a land of Govinda,
Where evil minds flee,
Like a ravished ghost in ruins.
I sit in a temple, in Vrindavan;
Getting divine prasadam,
From a holy vessel.

The bus I travel has full of devotees;
Carting a weightless mind,
The World has only void,
All sleep in a foreign land,
Where Krishna is my eternal pal,
In the dream of Lord, I pray in silence.
My eyes are burly,
Like the pages of a book the Gita,
I am a boundless metaphor,

I can die in a wink.
The last flags were lowered,
The penny spent
All our struggles,
Forgotten and annihilated,
In the season of wilting flowers and broken mirrors,
In the city alive with shadows and whispers,
I wait for none, only Keshav comes in my way.