Thursday, July 22, 2021

THE 'BRAHMIN' SUPREMACY

Source: Google

Because of several global and nation-destabilizing political and religious agendas, where almost every pious and deeply philosophical word in the Hindu dictionary has been attacked viciously to create completely twisted rhetoric about India and Indian culture, and not to deny, the immense stupidity of uneducated Hindu people who just knew how to hold a lineage and exploited their positions and authority- had a combined effect that has left the word "Brahmin" quite malnourished and if not, severely maligned. Especially when an extremely educated and brilliant prodigy of our land, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, drew such a terrific conclusion from his narrow experience within his social territory, it is evident that misunderstanding has no limit, especially in regards to Hindu dialects. In this blog, I shall try to portray my idea of what is "Brahmin" in its true sense and also in a modern context, because I feel, by years of experience, with the influence of global forces, the thirsty young generation is being made to alienate from their cultural roots by drawing false equivalence in some completely random context in the name of Science to make it seem like the arguments are logical, although they are far from a well-built logic.

No doubt Bharat aka India had a great historical lineage of knowledge and ultimate wisdom, even a few centuries ago. Almost all the globally recognized cultures somewhere had a trace in the Indian subcontinent. I was amazed to find the Indian scent was amalgamated in the history of far western cultures, the Middle East, and also in native Asian cultures. It is very evident that such a brilliant position of wealth and knowledge wouldn't have come just randomly without having a proper scientific social structure. Many classes of people (Varna) made the social function and flourish, and everyone had the same importance, only their role is different. As long as society exists, the class will be there- simply because every human being isn't capable of doing everything. It is in the hands of us not to make the difference into toxic discrimination. There was the head of societies, scientists, intellectuals, decision-makers, teachers, diplomats, doctors, poets, scholars, etc. who were called 'Brahmins'. Then there were people who fought for the monarch's territory to save it from foreign invasions. Such people who were trained in special ways for that task were called 'Kshatriyas'. In modern terminology, they are soldiers. Now different societies had different resources to function and a healthy exchange of resources formed the basis of the economy. People who handled this aspect were of varna or class (although varna and class are not exactly synonymous) called 'Vaishyas'. In modern terminologies, they are businessmen, entrepreneurs. And then came the fourth pillar of the society, people who maintained hygiene and cleanliness of the society- they were called 'Shudras'. They were undoubtedly one of the most important wings of a society. In modern terminology, they are sweepers and cleaners. From this context, we can see that the Varna system is a very intrinsic part of society for it to function in a coordinated way and flourish.

Where did it go wrong? 

It so happened that in a typical Hindu family back then, the boys (girls were also not deprived of education), from a very early age, went to gurukuls, where they were trained with everything- knowledge (shastras) and weaponry (shstras). At the time of culmination, based on the capability of children, the guru assigned the Varna, on whether he should be a Brahmin, or a Kshatriya or a Vaishya, or a Shudra. And therefrom, their journey started. The system started collapsing under the influence of various violent foreign invasions that had been almost rubbed off our history pages to keep us in deep ignorance. Also because of some distorted concept and a false sense of superiority of one class or the other, which was built in gradual scales in certain segments of society- the undeserving took positions of authority, and hence Hindu society was almost doomed a natural outcome. And this process of family inheritance of varna was so instilled deeply that even today, varna only means something from the family inheritance of titles in the name! I can change my title anytime I want. That doesn't change me in any way!

Even if someone is a Shudra by the idea of family inheritance, he can be a very deserving candidate for contributing to society on intellectual grounds- as a Brahmin. Let's bring the essence of the Varna system back, by not denying the role of Brahmins in shaping our society and not ignoring the role of Shudras in keeping us from potential diseases and epidemics. Brahmins were and would always exist in society and without them, we are a directionless mess. Every work holds importance and no work should make any difference in which we fundamentally treat human beings. 

Athithi Deva Bhabha had been the tone in which we had been rooted deeply and surely, discrimination is a disease that we can abolish with a little sense of humaneness. Let's join hands to eliminate discrimination together and embrace fellow humans, regardless of how one contributes to society. Simply abusing our own land and the greatness which the entire world looks up to, won't make us rich. Rather, it adds to our rigid mentality of colonial slavery. 

Have a nice day!

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

OF LIFE AND LOVE!

Prologue: What you will read below is neither a philosophy, nor a doctrine but is solely an articulation of my own experiences over the years. It is absolutely possible that the content of this blog is not relatable to you, it is also possible that you might totally resonate with the content with your own experiences. I am opening this up today for the first time in public simply because once in a while when profundity happens, to be with it and allow it to be a part of yourself is the most intelligent way to live.
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Source: Google Images

Love- is perhaps one of the most sought after, most misunderstood and most polluted word in the English dictionary after God. Humanity's craze with love far extends all of time and landscapes. I went through all the stages of this and by grace, I was blessed that my entity allowed me to touch the crest of what I would undoubtedly call as love. One of the movies that did leave a lasting mark on me after The Matrix, is Interstellar. If one notices attentively, the entire movie is brilliantly and artistically crafted out of two concepts- Gravity, without which the existence is impossible and Love, without which biological existence is impossible- making it one of the deepest philosophical movies I went through. Intellectuals often try to be content with their very limited idea of rationality but there is enough of rational evidence to the fact that there are too many phenomena which are beyond any scope of explanation and aptly enough, every phenomenon doesn't owe an explanation. If you intellectually try to ask yourself, "Why is she beautiful?", the way you perceived beauty when you found her beautiful, will fade off. While intellect is good in it's own endeavor, but without emotions, it becomes lame. Human beings have achieved the impossible in moments of total love, and history proves the fact. Emotions isn't contradictory to intelligence but in my opinion, it is complimentary and presence of emotions is as necessary as intelligence is.

I am from a typical conservative family. So you can say that I have had absolutely no exposure to something called love or whatsoever. It wasn't my pursuit either, and I didn't pay any heed to the same. From childhood, one thing I knew for certain- that I am unaffected by so many circumstances that people around me seem to react to in bizzare ways. I was an observer to myself, what I did, what I thought, how I behaved, I shaped all of them slowly myself. What you might be seeing as my personality today, isn't a product of society, but something of which every inch I crafted. I was much more impressed by crematoriums than beautiful houses, and therefore I was not quite a candidate for being an ideal family man. Now, as an explorer, I personally find much more solace and fulfiment in crematoriums than in deluxe complexes. It is not that I didn't try to fit myself here, I did, after nature started the hormonal flux post adolescence, I had tried to build some handful of relationships with women, but fortunately, all of them failed after sometime, quite terribly! That's where I realized that I was thoroughly fooling myself with these petty stuffs when such a broad horizon is there waiting to be tapped.

Have I ever been in love in relationships? Well, after the richest of what I have experienced, it wasn't love that I felt anywhere being in conditioned relationships. All those feelings that I misunderstood as love was simply nature's programmed response to human biological needs. Yes, I did genuinely care for all the women I mistook as "mine", and I did my best in those teenage days and I am satisfied for that. It's not that I did injustice to any of my relationships as per my understanding back then. What I learned very quickly being in relationships was social and human resource management, and I won't disagree to the fact that every relationships I have been in contributed to my social maturity- in which I was completely null and void.

It wasn't a very special day to start with. Nothing very superficial, nothing great- just an usual day. I came across a woman. And just by mere talking to her for an hour, something inside me burst open. Something that I had never felt till then. As the feeling grew deeper, I realized more and more that it is not related to anyone, it's just in me. Because I was thoroughly a boy of intellect, I couldn't understand a bit of what was happening inside, but whatever was happening, was wonderful and I didn't want to stop it. Loads of strong yet subtle feelings flowed from every point of my body. The feeling was wonderfully liberating- you just need nothing. Time flows by and you're simply there, just like that. You're at your best of everything and this impression falls on everyone around you. I remember, for 7 long days, I was just living every moment. Every book about love, a handful of philosophies, everything went into trash in a moment. I got to know very clearly what is not love. It was not towards anyone specific, and anything I did, I sang, I wrote, I painted, in love, added so much more glaze to what I did. I totally embraced that experience and somehow it left me transformed, and till date I am grateful to be capable of that experience. It shattered quite some hard shells of my persona and directed me towards a way towards fulfilled life. There was no reason, no purpose, no timing for love to exist. 

Jotting down the entire experience in a single sentence- Love is when your emotions work at the highest level, you don't exist in a way, you are throbbing with the juice of life, whatever you do, touch, say, the way you're makes a totally different impact of the same. You can share this expression with anyone and anything. It is not about someone but something, you can't discriminate even the animate and inanimate! The vibe of the atmosphere becomes very lively. This IS, what I understand, as love. So why didn't it happen before, not even in relationships where I had shared my entire body and mind with the other half? The answer is simple- deep-built prejudices, around how love should be a give and take strategy, quantifying love like potatoes in a vegetable market, and a very polluted notion of the same which doesn't allow our hearts to open, to be free, to be vulnerable. I had been a prey to the false notions, and not only did it not block me from being free to love, but also made everything toxic around, even when I didn't want it to be. 

Love is when you're the sunrise and the sunset, and every moment in between, love is when you need nobody to be absolutely yourself, love is when you look at anything and instantly it becomes yours. Love is when you make someone feel a tinge of the same, love is when you don't exist even being totally alone in the universe with billions of other people. Love is that tenderness, that realm, where you become totally giving, you totally surrender yourself. Whether to hold someone to look upto it, or to be completely alone makes no difference. Love is, when you experience permanence of the self which is rooted into everything dynamic and temporary. Discovering yourself, o friend, is love!

May you be in love, may you taste the perennially flowing juice of life.....!

Epilogue

"Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place."

Zora Neale Hurston


Monday, July 12, 2021

RATH YATRA: THE GENESIS AND ESSENCE

I naturally get attracted to depth. Extreme depths of knowledge, love, understanding, draw me without my consent. Academic books seldom gave me solace to the unbearable thirst I had- a thirst to know and dive into the depths of the universe and its mystery around. It's out of the book world and gazing around, I discovered it's all here, in my country. I don't care about people's opinions much because the opinions of people rarely have cut through words into the essence knitted into it.

   Source: Google Images

Bharat, aka India, is this unimaginable piece of the subcontinent. Guarded by the mighty mountains in the north that made me feel humility at its utmost, and the oceans all around washing the countries shore, there is no place like this in the entire world! Not only in terms of knowledge, but the intrinsic quality woven into the culture that grew up of this land affirms the fact that this land is very, very different when compared to any other, even today. Just as close as a few centuries ago, this subcontinent was at the crest of economic development and scientific knowledge. Well, the entire nexus to wash this off, and to make the inhabitants of Bharat completely disconnected from its roots is not the context of today's discussion. The more I get into the language, mathematics, music, and arts of Bharat- everything seems to touch one single fragrance, everything seems to lead to one way- the way to touch the peak of human consciousness. It's simply immense. From the outside, it's very aptly noticeable- the geometry of architecture, in the entire scape of the nation, has been crafted by taking into account a very keen subtlety. All the four corners has been sealed nicely with temples- the one on the East- Puri is one of the four dham that is the hub of transformation. A beautiful lore has been set up locking all of them at their places; the rest being Badrinath in the North, Dwaraka in the West and Rameshwaram in the South. A lore is not to be taken as a piece of belief or mythology or any piece of serious history, but several real time facts wonderfully interwoven in an imaginative story. It's only the essence that is important.


Genesis:


Perhaps one of the oldest in antiquity and richest in cultural lineage, the temple in Jagannath Puri is said to be the only temple in the world to have statues of 3 divine entities who are siblings in relation- Krishna, Balaram, and Subhadra. All of them are from the time when Mahabharata happened, almost 5000 years ago. 

One of the rhetorics says that Kamsa, the maternal uncle of Krishna, wanted to kill both Krishna and his elder brother, Balaram on the pretext of inviting them to Mathura. He sent a chariot to Gokul to bring them with the charioteer Akrur. The day when Krishna and Balarama left for Mathura on that chariot is celebrated as the famous day of Ratha Yatra, which is celebrated every year on this tithi (according to the Hindu calender, this day is observed on the second day of Asadha month), and this year it is today- the publishing date of this blog. This is also the day Kamsa was killed by Krishna, and it is said that for this humongous victory, Krishna and Balarama took his sister Subhadra for a city ride- the day which devotees celebrate till today. This is among the less popular version.

Although various scholars agree to several versions of the genesis, which is mentioned in Brahma Purana, Skanda Purana, and several other treatises, the widely accepted and rigorous version behind the significance of Puri Jagannath is, however, little different. After the 18 days of the great Kurukshetra battle got over, Gandhari, the mother of Kauravas, lamenting upon the death of her sons, cursed Krishna that he would die in a similar manner. And it happened when one day, Krishna was resting in a forest and a fisherman named Jara (who was Bali in his previous birth, as revealed by Krishna), thinking Krishna's leg to be a hunt, shot him in his leg. There is a spot near the ankle, if hit with sufficient force, can cause immediate death. And in this way, the curse of Gandhari was realized and Krishna left his body, in a very peaceful manner. After this, the lore diverges into two parts to meet again- 

(A) The heart of Krishna (still a topic of intense discussions of skepticism and mystery) reappeared to the people of a particular tribe in the East after his half-cremated body was given to the Dwaraka sea. King Indrayumna- (according to the Puranas and the Mahabharata, the son of Bharata and Sunanda, and the ruler of Avanti kingdom, present-day Malwa) on knowing about it, tried to steal the heart of Krishna. On trying to use force, the heart disappeared. Immediately Indrayumna repented this and sought to bring him into this Earthly abode in a different form.

(B) In immense grief, the elder brother and younger sister of Krishna was carried his body which was half cremated and immersed to the Dwaraka sea. Coincidentally, King Indrayumna also dreamt that the body of Krishna has reappeared in the seashores near his kingdom which was in the East.

Pic: The heart of Krishna, courtesy: Google

Whatever be the story in the middle, it eventually comes to the point that Indrayumna decided to build a grand temple to keep Krishna forever. On looking for an architect, it is said that Vishwakarma, a symbolism of the ultimate architect of the universe, arrived at that place, disguised as an old man. He asked not to be disturbed while making the temple. Many days passed, but the old man didn't come out from the room he went into- without any food or water. Worried, Indayumna forced the door opened and immediately Vishwakarma disappeared. What he saw was half-built idols of Krishna, Balarama and Subhadra- which is carried even today- the idols have no hands. This is a symbolic interpretation of two aspects- the impatience of the king and the sanctity which was maintained since then. These deities are remade every 12 years as they are made of neem wood which eventually disintegrates. They are to be made again in 2027- with the same incomplete concept.


Ratha Yatra:


The Ratha Yatra is one of the famous festivals of Bharat, and one of the 12 major festivals of Lord Jagannath. Ratha or chariot is spoken in this land from time immemorial. From the earliest inscriptions of Rig Veda, to Ramayana, Mahabharata and many other Puranas like Vishnupuranas, Ratha has it's mention in many different contexts and dielects. Interestingly, the descriptions match exactly how Rathas were discovered very recently in Sinauli, on excavation. Some scholars owe the origin of Ratha Yatras to Buddhism, and some to Jaininsm, but this is very evident that the festivity is archaic. Ratha Yatra is also called Gundicha Yatra. It is said that the Jagannath temple magnificently crafted by Indrayumna wasn't accessible to the sinners/untouchables. But the queen of Indrayumna suggested to let it be open to everyone for some time so that even the people from the least neglected background can attain salvation by darshan of the holy idols. This marked the beginning of Ratha Yatra celebration, which is therefore aptly named as Gundicha Yatra. 

In modern context, the Ratha Yatra is a symbolism to universal embracing, and dissolving the borders between every caste, creed or religion and just embracing the human beings- as a realization to the fact that fundamentally division exists in the human mind, are human constructs and not in nature. Everyone has equal rights and the working/societal background doesn't matter. To embrace this fact even at a broader scale, the king of Puri himself becomes a sweeper on this festival, thus serving the deity in this form. It is also a slight remainder to the fact that king, peasant, brahmins, Kshatriyas, or whatever that means in modern terms, are human-defined, and it shouldn't necessarily determine the quality of someone's life. This is also a brilliant showcase that is a very fundamental quality of the culture of Bharat- devotion. Devotion not in fear, but by transcending the limits of love- devotion at its highest form. Without devotion in heart, no quality in a human being can really mature beyond an extent. In fact, the humongous number of devotees coming at this auspicious occasion created a global image to such a point that the English word "juggernaut" originated in context to Jagannath which is a metaphorical force regarded as merciless, destructive, and unstoppable by the dictionary. 

This occasion concludes into closure on the 12th day, with the re-entry of Lord Jagannath into the temple. In a context, Ratha Yatra can also be a symbolic representation of attaining liberation- the ultimate seeking of any human being. The Kathopanishad (3/3-4) gives a beautiful analogy-


    आत्मानं रथिनं विद्धि शरीरं रथमेव तु। 

बुद्धिं तु सारथिं विद्धि मनः प्रगहमेव च॥ 

इन्द्रियाणि हयानाहुíवषयांस्तेषु गोचरान्‌। 

आत्मेन्द्रियमनोयुक्तं भोक्तेत्याहुर्मनीषिणः॥ 


    Translation: ‘O Nachiketa! This body is the chariot and this atma (soul, the foundation of life) is its owner, the charioteer. The buddhi (intellect) is its driver. The mind is its reins. The indriyas (sense organs) are the horses pulling the chariot. The objects of taste, touch, etc. are its path. Thus, the atma uses the indriyas and anthkaran (conscience) as a means to enjoy worldly pleasures. Understand in this way’


This is such a beautiful rendition of the entire concept, the juice of life, the core essence of human endeavor and knitted into a festival where millions attend. Ratha or chariot is symbolic to our body and the atman or soul is referred to charioteer. The charioteer is in the chariot is pulled by horses (analogic to our sense organs). It is in between proper coordination of the mind and senses that the charioteer reaches it's destination, i.e., ultimate liberation. This is exactly how I want to justify the title of this blog and the introduction to the same. There is a subtle essence to everything that is held by this culture. One just needs an open and dust-free mind to explore the infinite riches that you can get.

I feel speechless and amused by the sheer intensity of devotees whose hearts beat with the tune of creation and I can stay without an explanation. The phenomenon itself is so unattainable that every silly explanation loses its relevance to someone who experiences it. 

Welcome to Bharat! Jay Jagannath! 


THE TRAIN

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