Saturday, April 4, 2020

"And wherever an Indian went, he took his Ramayana with him..." for Ramyana is in Indian mind, in our subconscious not just in our books, walls, prayer halls and caves.

"भारतीय जिथे जिथे गेले ते तिथे आपले रामायण घेऊन गेले" कारण रामायण किंवा खर तर रामकथा ही आपल्या प्रत्येक भारतीयांच्या सुप्त मनात आहे आणि राहील. श्रीराम केवळ पुस्तकात, प्रार्थनगृहात, भिंतीवर नाहीत, ते मनामनात आहेत, कणाकणात आहेत

Digital sketches of Shriram in last few years by me

Sunday, December 22, 2019

My Quest शोधतो मी

शोधतो मी

काळ ना करू शके सैल
असे नाते शोधतो मी
 जे सुखे नेई तीरी पैल
त्या गलबताते शोधतो मी

देऊनी ना रिते होती
असे दाते शोधतो मी
आभा  पेलून अकर्ते जे
ते कर्ते करवते शोधतो मी      
न सांगता  कळे सारे
ते हसू खुलते शोधतो मी
अन आरपार जाई छेदून
ते नजरपाते शोधतो मी

जीव जावा रंगी रंगुन
इंद्रधनु ते शोधतो मी
असुर सुद्धा होती सुरमय
सुरम्य  गीते शोधतो मी

सुखदुःख  नित आवर्तने
ना कंपते ते शोधतो मी
शांत सहज कल्लोळ ज्याचे
त्या आनंद प्रपाते शोधतो मी

ओथंबून घन जिथे रेलती
त्या नभाते शोधतो मी अन
घन भेदून जे सूर्य पाहते
ते तृणपाते शोधतो मी

 जिथे जाता लागे परतू
 त्या घराते शोधतो मी
 मी ही सरावे सशरीरे
 रे मना ते शोधतो मी

आदी ज्याचा अंत कळता
व्यक्त मध्याते  शोधतो मी                     
जिच्या स्तव हे जनन मरण
अशा माते शोधतो मी    




  Dr. Narendra Joshi

Swami Vivekananda in his historic speech at Chicago on 11th September 1893 said,       
 ‘I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of the monks in the world, I thank you in the name of the mother of religions. I thank you in the name of the millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects.’ In his lecture he quoted the hymn – ‘As the different streams having their sources in the different places all mingle their  water in the sea, So Oh Lord, the different paths which the men take through different tendencies, crooked or straight  all lead to thee.’
This desire for synthesis, to combine apparently disconnected fragments of life, has been dominant idea throughout the long cultural history of India. It is basically a history or a saga of assimilation and synthesis.’ Unity in Diversity is plan of nature and Hindu has understood it.’ said Swamiji.
Mongoloids came comparatively late in India. The history of arrival of various groups is not very clear. But they were known during 10th century B.C. when Vedas were compiled. Mongoloids were known as Kiratas. Yajurveda and Atharva Veda both mention Kiratas.  They live in mountains, know herbal remedy, and do purushmedha. ‘they are mentioned as degraded kshatriyas...that means not utter barbarians,but civilized to some extent and militant in nature. Kirata term is not one of contempt. Mahabharata describes Shiva and Uma disguising as Kirata couple to test Arjuna’s penance. (Kirata parva part of the Vanaparva: they were having gold like skin) Bhima during his all conquering tours of east met Kiratas in Videha country. In Sabha parva, sunrise mountain, Lohitya river and hills surrounding Pragjyotisha are mentioned.
In Ramayana (Kishkindha kanda) Kiratas are mentioned: ‘They are rich in gold, gems, expert in cloth making and they tie their hair in pointed knots.  Sri N.N. Vasu in his book ‘Social history of Kamrupa’  has described their habits: simple life, eating fruits and herbs, dressed in skins, doing top hair knots, pleasant looking but terrible with their weapons, yellow in complexion, adept in the art of weaving, etc. Even now, Nishings and Apatanis of Arunachal Pradesh do top knots which resemble Shiva’s hairknot who is accepted in different names as a great god. Vishnupurana mentions kiratas in northeast part of India. Greeks in  1st century AD had heard about Kiratas.  Trade to china was filtered through Kiratas.’ Observed Change Kein, a chinese general and explorer in 2nd century AD and then the assimilation of all the races was completed.
Kirata were not only known, they were completely absorbed in the main stream of Indian culture when Jesus Christ was born.
It is needless repeat that India has a rich and long cultural heritage. A history of more than 5000 years, is it a joke?
But most striking feature of this culture is , it is still a living factor in the life of 1/7th of the population and its continuity of expression and consistency of experience is unparalleled.
Assam was known as Pragjyotisha and its location is written in detail in Mahabharata, Ramayana, and all major puranas. Markandeya purana, Kaliaka Purana, Yogini tantra, Hargaurisamvada, etc. The name was later on changed to Kamrupa. There are innumerable references showing the prominence of Shiva, Shakti and Surya worship.
Puranic legends confirm the association of great god Shiva with Kamrupa. Bhagdutta, the successor of Naraka was called Shiva’s friend and is famous for his long fight  with Arjuna. There was a long chain of rulers from Varman family starting from Pushyavarman. But most notable, a typical ideal of Indian culture was Bhaskarvarman. (600-650 AD) who was a great devotee of Shiva, and had no image in his mind except the lotus feet of Shiva. And still he invited chinese pilgrim to learn  about Buddhism. Nidhanpura grant described him as one created by creator for reestablishing dharma. One is inclined to ordered one Chandrakanta to repair the damage done by Mlecchas to a temple of Shiva. Kalika purana mentions that before the coming of Naraka, who probably introduced the cult of Mother goddess into Kamrupa, Shiva was considered as a guardian deity of the region. Kakati in his ‘The Mother Goddess Kamakhya’  considers that Saivism in some gross form with wine and flesh was prevailing religion of the Kiratas. Shiva is not conceived in abstract alone, Shiva also appears in concrete form with familiar myths and legends clustering around him. Bargaon grant says that he resides on the peak of mountain Kailasa (now in China occupied Tibet.)Shiva was also worshipped in the linga form. The Yoginin tantra says that number of lingas in Kamrupa exceeds a million. Even ,many tribal modes of worshipping Shgiva were recognized and legalized by king through issue nof an edict which set aside the north bank of Brahmaputra for the tribal modes of worship. Huen Tsing also records that during his visit to Kamrupa he saw hundreds of Deva temples, most of them were associated with Shiva.
Shakti: Devi Purana ( 8th AD) mentions the worship of Devi in Kamrupa, same is mentioned in Vishnu Purana. Eliot said in his ‘Hiunduism in Assam’ Shaktism in the sense of definite sect with scriptures of its own if not confined to the northeast was definitely having its headquarters there. There developed a dreadful concept of the Goddess: eater of the raw meat: Kechai Khati- because of the annual sacrifice at the temple of Tamreshwari. (Sadiya) From Kamakhya to Tamreshwari with Malinithan in between, the Mother Goddess was and is worshipped in different forms and ways. That devi which has created us, nurtured us, loved us, and who will eventually destroy us is ‘the energy, the wisdom, the compassion which is dormant in all animate and inanimate things. She is Kine nanne of the Adis, Duduya of the Mishmis, Dolma in Tibet, She was Kali Ma of Sri Ramkrishna and Swamiji, she is Bharatmata kuldevata of all of us, Right from Harappan civilization, her worship is recommended but under different names and forms including phallus worship and fertility cult.
Surya: Sun worship also assumed large proportions, it is confirmed by various scripts like Kalika Purana, A huge temple of Sun existed in Tezpur during the 6th AD. Taranatha said that people in Kamrupa are worshippers of Surya prior to advent of Dhitika. Kalika purana mentions Sri Surya mountain  as permanent abode of Sun god. There are no distinct sects who worship Sun now. But essentials of his worship are everywhere now and in many sects are recognized directly or indirectly.  In all the tribes in the border  Sun is widely invoked and is worshipped with prayer and sacrifice.(Also see Sun worship among the aboriginal tribes in Eastern India: Das) Donyi Polo is worshipped by all the tribes of Tani group including Adi, Nishings, Apatanis, Tani group constitutes 60% of the population of Arunachal Pradesh.

History through Puranas and early literature: Historic links of Northeast with mainland of India

Adikanda of Ramayana mentions that foundation of city of Pragjyotisha were laid by Amrutraja. Kishkindha kanda mentiuons it as Naraka’s city.
According to Satpath Brahmana and Aiteraya brahmana Aryans advanced upto Kartoya ( western border of Pragjyotish) and ;later on spread over entire Kamrupa.
Naraka, Kirata, Cinas, mentioned in Sabha, Udyog, Ashwamedha, Dron, Bhishma Karna parva of Mahabharata.
Grhya, DSharmasutra, Markandeya purana, Parashar tantra, Kautilya’s Arthashashtra, Raghuvansha, (5th AD) Karshacharita of Banbhatta, Mudrarakshasa of Vishakhadutta, Gaudavaho of Vakpati, Kavyamimansa  of Rajshekhara (9th AD) Buddhist work Manjushri mulkalapa, Vikramankadevacharita of Bhillan mention Assam.
Rajtarangini of Kalhan (1148 AD) mentions marriage of Amrutprabha who was daughter of a Kamrupa king, with Meghavarman of Kashmir. She brought a Tibetan guru to built a stupa in Kashmir.
Lalitaditya, king of kashmir crossed Lauhitya and Jayamangala a 13th AD commentary of Kamsutra mentions kamrupa as part on east.
Garudapurana mentions Kamakhya as great center of pilgrimage.
Markandeya purana mentions Sun temple in , Pragjyotish, Lauhitya in Kamrupoa. Varaha avatar was from Assam as per Vishnu and Varaha purana. Bhima married Hidimba of this region and Ghatotkacha was their son as per Mahabharata and also puranas like Naradiya purana.
Vishnupurana also mentiosn Naraka, Bhagdutta, Bana and Bhishmaka, kings from this region.
Skanda purana mentions Devi, Agni, Vayu worship in Assam and Naraka’s 19th descendent Subahu retired in Himalaya as per Puranas.
Kalika purana was composed in Assam itself. Yogini tantra asserts that bathing in Lohit river cures all sins.
Buddhist Nikayas, tantras invariuably mention Kamrupa. And Lohitya. Buddhist texts not only from India but also from Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan mention Kamrupa and some even associate it with mahaparinirvana of Buddha. This is confirmed by Hungarian traveler Cosmo de Koros. Place Hajo has as four Arm Buddha image like Vishnu and the famous mantra ‘Om Mane Pema hung’
Kalika purana discusses Sun worship prevalent before Dhitika, and also Surya pahar at Goalpara. Even now Sun worship is prevalent in the form of Donyi polo, Bihu, etc.
Minanatha was same as LuiPa from this area and so was Gorakh nath in all probability. Their several textsw are attributed to this area. e.g. Kamakhya Guhya Siddhui, Gorakha samhita, etc.
Yuan Chwang, associated with Bhaskarvarman of 643AD, wrote that brahman scholars from Kamrupa went to Nalanda to debate with Buddhist. Al beruni, NAsiruddin, Giyasuddin, Ptolemy, Pliny, Hecateus, Miletus were some of the others from abroad  who mentioned this area with reverence.
Trade to China was done through the hill tribes
Shankaracharya came to Kamrupa to defeat Buddhist scholars like Abhinavagupta in debate. He establish Yantra at kamakhya.
Kings in India took pride in calling themselves as protector of Dharma and as descents of God. Nidhanpur in Sylhet, Khonamukhi, Shubhankarpatak grants show this. Dharmapala declared ; Victorious is Dharma, sole friend of creation, whose form is good for others, Unseen whose existence is, inferred from results. Bargaon grant declares that water in Lohit river shines due to reflection of Shiva doing tandava. While Boros say Shiva taught them to make rice beer, their mantras to cure are associated with Shiva Parvati.
There are other places like Parashuram kunda, Malinithan, Bhishmakanagar, Tamreshwari which are too familiar as tourist spots and so not elaborated here.

It is needless repeat that India has a rich and long cultural heritage. A history of more than 5000 years, is it a joke?
But most striking feature of this culture is, it is still a living factor in the life of 1/7th of the population and its continuity of expression and consistency of experience is unparalleled.      

Its continuity of experience and consistency of expression is unparalleled in the history of mankind. In the words of Swami Vivekananda, ‘Sect after sect arose and seemed to shake the religion of Vedas from its very foundations. But like the waters of seashore in a tremendous earthquake, it receded only for a while and when the tumult of rush was over, they were all sucked in, absorbed and assimilated in the immense body of the Mother faith.’ No doubt spirituality is the ‘mission to be accomplished, destiny to be fulfilled, note to be played and message to be delivered,’ but the most striking feature of the history is that f bringing this spirituality down to the masses.
This was done in the ‘Age of creation’ ; the period of India’s cultural history when there was creation in all fields of life, literature, arts, religions, social structure, … Yoga, Tantra, Puranas, Bhakti cults, all these were the channels through which the wisdom of the Vedas was attempted to get penetrated to the lowest strata of the vast and varied society. Tatvamasi, Ishavasyam idam saravm, and So aham percolated to the roots. Various forms were given to the spirit. However, no form can really express the spirit behind and it has curse of deterioration over a period of time. Persons adjust the forms to suit their levels and intentions. That is why shastras, puranas, all are smritis and not Shruti. That means they are suppose to change with time, place and situation.
The age of creation was roughly from beginning of the century to the thirteenth century AD. Thereafter, creativity probably got exhausted, scientific spirit dwindled, art became commercial or imitative, and religion became ritualistic. ‘Creation is the only sign of life and great creation is sign of great life.’ (Sri Aurobindo) Therefore in such lifeless situation, internal weakness led to encouraging of external attacks. Mughals penetrated India, Ahoms penetrated Assam. But like Shakas and Hunas, many of the conquerors finally got merged in the immense body of the Mother faith. Natha cult was a Shaiva cult and their legends confirm it.          
Northeast is land of Tantra. From Kamakhya to Tamreshwari with Malinithan in between, many tantric scripts were written here and they were absorbed by the spreading waves of the Buddhists. Buddhists tantric schools flourished from Bihar to Tibet  during 8th to 12th century and developed systematic theory of siddhas. Their names are given by Tibetan tradition. The first in the list is Lui Pa who in all probability was same as Matsyendranath. He lived in the beginning of 10th AD and was from Kamrupa.  Natha cult is no doubt a Shaiva cult, the use of rudraksha, rosaries and triple mark of ash on forehead, celebration of Shivratri  indicate this. In western India Natha cult has strong Vaishnava association. Nivrittinath, elder brother of Jnaneshwara had his guru from Natha parampara but Jnaneshwara spread Vitthala devotion as a part of Vishnu bhakti. Nath have Buddhist link in Nepal and Tibet. It has several shakta pilgrim places and also affinity to hymn of Rig Veda, especially that of creation and Manu samhita. Natha sampradaya, thus, is perhaps link to join many of the offshoots of Vedanta including Shaiva, Shakta, Buddhists, Tantrika, etc.     
Since Tantra is a neglected branch of study, considered as a black magic, and full f obscenities, thus unfit for study by a man of good taste and it is well known that Northeast has vast Tantrika heritage, it is necessary to see that Tantra also has been a remarkable exponent of Indian tendency of bringing great truth to the level of the masses.
Many European writers like Van Lysebeth project Tantra as all the non vedic cults which were destroyed or subordinated by invasion by Aryan invaders. According t this theory, cult of mother goddess, Shiva, snakes, tantra were all preAryan and belong to Dravida and Kiratas. The futility of Aryan invasion is proved beyond any doubt. The Tantra is neither preAryan nr anti  Aryan. Atharva veda is full of these practices. Tantra is considered as Shruti or Agama against Smriti or Nigama by some sources. It is interesting to note that the ancient lore of Adi tribe of Arunachal is called ‘ Nyibo Agom’ where Nyibo is priest. Tantra combined ultimate reality of Brahman or Shiva with validity of this world,      Shakti or Maya. Yogono kaula a school of tantra is attributed to Minanatha and belongs to Kamrupa. By 10th AD Tantras became more Shakta oriented and Shiva went in the background.. At the same time, Buddhists adopted tantra on a large scale. China was possessing one hundred of Tantra texts at this time. Sammha tantra speaks of the Tantrika culture of kiratas, Bhotas, Cinas, Mahacinas. But this assimilation was not limited to realm of mind alone. i.e. in thoughs, imagination and words alne. It got a concrete expression through the efforts of the then Indian rulers who took pride in calling themselves ‘ Dharma rakshaka’ (the protector of dharma) King in India bows down in front of rishi and seeks his guidance in mundane or secular matters as well. King Bhaskarvarman, aka Thagi raja is one of the most notable example of this trend. Thagi raja was imprisoned by British rulers and there he got inspired by a sanyasi to raise against Britishers. During this Age of creation, many temples were constructed all over Assam and rest of the area, ruins of which are still surviving in places like Malinithan. It has beautiful images f Parvati, Indra and Nandi. At Tamreshwari near Sunpura three inscription are available which are Shaiva, Shakta and Vaishnava. Kalika purana mentions Vishnu Pitha in this area. Several bairagis are said to have lost their lives while searching for a temple, either due to hunger or becoming prey to wild animals. Such thing can happen in India alone where life is an opportunity for searching the god and is joyfully crushed in that attempt. An altar of worship called Bura buri is found and is considered as an altar to Mahadeva or Adi Buddha. Brahmakunda and Prashuramkunda are places of pilgrimage in lohit and a Shivlinga site is discovered in Paya in Lohit district. This area was ruled by Chutiyas from 12th to 16th century AD Then they were defeated by ahoms who ruled the area through a governeor named Sadiya Khowa Gohain. They brought some artisans and Brahmins with them from the conquered area. Even after 12th century when general decline of creative spirit started one can notice powerful movements of Bhakti sampradaya and this too occurred all over India. ‘Sages of India have been many for what has this great nation been doing except producing of sages.’ However general mentality of common man was also suitable for it. Where else was a Kabir, Dadu, a Tukaram accepted so easily observed Swami Vivekananda. These sages travelled from one end of the vast land to the other and through their exemplary lives, inspired words and melodious devotion took the message of the Vedas and Upanishads to the people of all classes and sects. This was the time when Assam witnessed a great sage, Shankardeva (1449 to 1669 AD) who was inspired by Chaitanya mahaprabhu. In spite of all opposition and harrassament he relentlessly pursued mission of spreading Vaishnava bhakti. Like many of the other saints of India, he used language of common people to express most abstract truths and introduced many concepts like Namghar, kirtana, drama, translation of bhagvata, etc. He was followed by Madhav deva, Vamsi Gopal deva, Aniruddha deva, Purushottam Thakur,etc. Some of them also adopted some Buddhist tantrika practices. Gopala deva came to Acama desh (Assam) from Kalita with his mother. Kalita was on Northeast of Acama desh and was inhabited by Abors (Adis) and Miris. Dr kakati has supported the view that kalitas were Aryan or Buddhist settlers who were kshatriyas and were having a colony of Vaishnavites in Northeast.  Khunbao a leader of Noctes of Tirap district in Arunachal Pradesh became a disciple of Ram Ata of Bali satra he is well known as Sant Narottam. The tale of ever spreading, all absorbing waves of Bakti will not be complete without the episode of Buddhist tides.
Buddhists occupy significant part of Arunachal Pradesh. Monpa, Sherdupken, in Tawang follow Mahayana Buddhism and Khampti, Sigpho in Lohit i.e. in Dibang district follow Hinayana Buddhism. Even tribes adjacent to Buddhist also are influenced by them. In fact Buddhists, Shaivaits, Shaktas and Tantriaka with Nathas are inseparable as Mina natha is said to be same as Lui pa, who is in turn same as Avalokiteshwara. All over the Buddhist tribes of Arunachal there are prayers flags, chortens, prayer wheels, stone walls, etc. Same mantra is repeated all over the Himalayan borders, ‘Om Mane Pema Hum’ : hail the jewel in the lotus. This mantra is wriiten in Assamese script which is close to devnagari and not in Chinese script. Om is considered as essence of Vedas, Brahman as per Upanishads and start of many mantras as well as this existence. It is interesting to note that as per Adi lore the world was created from a word ‘Keyum.’            
Most probably the grand Lama (The Jewel in the lotus)  was the sage Padmasambhava. He is considered as a originator of the systems of worshipping which is followed by many even now from Ladakh to Lhasa. In 640 AD Prince Gompa overran upper Burma and western China. He married a Chinese princess who again like his Nepali wife was an ardent Buddhist. Both converted him to Buddhism. He sent for Buddhist priests from India and got them to reduce Tibetan language in writing in Indian script and that is still the script of Tibet. The names of almost all the gods and goddesses are Sanskrit: Manjushree, Avalokita, Vajrapala, Vajrasattwa, Amitayu, etc. The name Dorjee means Vajra or thunderbolt and one of the most common names there. An image of kali is seen in many caves in Tibet, called Lahmo in some places. Most of the prayer flags are having a picture of goddess on lion ; Vyaghreshwari, Seal of Tashi Lama bears a inscription ‘Mangalam’  Tashi means mangalam in Tibet. The Mother Goddess is called Tara or Dolma.
The boundaries  of India are her political boundries and not the real boundries. Politics has divided us, culture has united us.

Amazing patterns of inseparably interrelated things seems to be essence of Indian Culture which aims at assimilation and synthesis, it was the one motive behind those who created History, those who recorded it, those who showed different paths to god, those who wrote poems in stones, and created soul stirring literature.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Foundation course

                                 VIVEKANANDA                                                PRABODHINI
                                                                    Jana Seva Kendra Project                                       In association with Suvidya Prasarak Sangh

Competitive Examinations are different from the normal Examinations, which enable us get our degrees and diplomas. In addition to getting good marks, one has to outsmart others to become successful in Competitive Examinations. Hence, being successful in Competitive Examinations needs more and different skills, in addition to knowledge. This Foundation Course is especially designed to equip students with the necessary skills to become successful in Competitive Examinations, more specifically in the UPSC Civil Services Examination (IAS, IPS, IFS).
1. To help students understand their strengths and weaknesses and help them to maximise and convert their strengths and minimise their weaknesses.
2. To help students develop certain skills such as analysis, synthesis, and retention of information, knowledge, time management, goal setting, decision making, creative thinking, etc.
3. To inculcate values such as patriotism, compassion, social service, integrity, etc.
4. To expand the horizon of knowledge for students.
Course content/activity
Know yourself/discovery of self
Yoga, Dhyana, Pranayama
Meditation, Upasana and Prayer
Self study skills (study planning and timetable, motivation, concentration, preparing notes, writing skills, comprehension skills, précis writing skills, paper solving techniques, use of reference material and information technology)
Faster reading, better reading
Nurturing Creativity
Problem solving techniques
Decision making skills and accountability for decision made
Logical and analytical reasoning and Data interpretation
Interpersonal skills (transactional analysis)
7 habits and 8 habits training
Communication skills (body language, telephonic manners, elocution, how to face an interview, compering, listening skills, salesmanship, group discussion)
Introduction to various arts and crafts
Behavioural, traffic and telephonic manners, mannerisms and etiquettes
Management skills (self management, all-round personality, time management, stress management, handling advanced technology)
Leadership skills (building a group, styles of leadership, being a good leader and also a good follower)
A multidimensional personality
Studying problems of the country and work for solutions
Environmental awareness
Special training for good English
Sanskaar through Shramadaan
Visit to Government offices
Visit to Vidhan Sabha
Model Parliament
Foreign Language
Writing Letters to Newspapers
Organising talks/seminars
Editing newsletter/blog
A brief study of NCERT texts from VI to XII std.
ELIGIBILITY: Students studying in FYJC, SYJC students can take  introductory course and  First or Second Year of Degree Course students of Science, Commerce, Arts, Medicine, Engineering and Architecture are eligible to join the main Course as given above.
TIMINGS OF SESSIONS: Sessions will be twice/thrice a week, preferably on week days. Clash with college / Class lecture/practicals timings will be avoided.
VENUE: Suvidyalaya, Near Yoganand Society, Vazira Naka, Borivali (West).
FEES: It will be Rs. 15000/- (Rupees Fifteen Thousand) Yearly.
Institutes, Classes and Colleges can have an integrated model with mutual benefit
Test series for General Knowldege, Current Affairs and Mental ability tests as per standard format offered weekly with no extra costs.