I have been a seeker and I still am,
but I stopped asking the books and the stars.
I started listening to the teaching of my soul — Rumi
A prince stood on the balcony of his palace addressing a great multitude summoned for the occasion and said, “Let me offer you and this whole fortunate country my congratulations upon the birth of a new prince who will carry the name of my noble family, and of whom you will be justly proud. He is the new bearer of a great and illustrious ancestry, and upon him depends the brilliant future of this realm.
Sing and be merry!” The voices of the throngs, full of joy and thankfulness, flooded the sky with exhilarating song, welcoming the new tyrant who would affix the yoke of oppression to their necks by ruling the weak with bitter authority, and exploiting their bodies and killing their souls.
For that destiny, the people were singing and drinking ecstatically to the heady of the new Emir.
Another child entered life and that kingdom at the same time. While the crowds were glorifying the strong and belittling themselves by singing praise to a potential despot, and while the angels of heaven were weeping over the people’s weakness and servitude, a sick woman was thinking.
She lived in an old, deserted hovel and, lying in her hard bed beside her newly born infant wrapped with ragged swaddles, was starving to death.
She was a penurious and miserable young wife neglected by humanity; her husband had fallen into the trap of death set by the prince’s oppression, leaving a solitary woman to whom God had sent, that night, a tiny companion to prevent her from working and sustaining life.
As the mass dispersed and silence was restored to the vicinity, the wretched woman placed the infant on her lap and looked into his face and wept as if she were to baptize him with tears.
And with a hunger weakened voice she spoke to the child saying, “Why have you left the spiritual world and come to share with me the bitterness of earthly life ?
Why have you deserted the angels and the spacious firmament and come to this miserable land of humans, filled with agony, oppression, and heartlessness ?
I have nothing to give you except tears; will you be nourished on tears instead of milk ?
I have no silk clothes to put on you; will my naked, shivering arms give you warmth ?
The little animals graze in the pasture and return safely to their shed; and the small birds pick the seeds and sleep placidly between the branches. But you, my beloved, have naught save a loving but destitute mother.”
Then she took the infant to her withered breast and clasped her arms around him as if wanting to join the two bodies in one, as before. She lifted her burning eyes slowly toward heaven and cried,
“God! Have mercy on my unfortunate countrymen!”
At that moment the clouds floated from the face of the moon, whose beams penetrated the transom of that poor home and fell upon two corpses.
The story of Mahabharat is incomplete without its main character, Kṛṣṇa also known as Krishna. Kṛṣṇa was the main strategist for the Pandav Army even though his own army, “Narayani Sena” was fighting for the side of Kauravas.
He is referenced as a lover of Radha and their love songs are sung in south Asian societies, Radha never married Kṛṣṇa. He grew up to become a man (if we believe the stories of Mahabharat as a true story) who would be instrumental in changing the ideology of masses with his principles and lectures in Bharat/India.
Birth and childhood
Krishna or Kṛṣṇa as he was also called was the eighth biological son of Devki and Vasudeva (Royal Couple), who were imprisoned by Devki’s evil brother Kansa. In childhood, Krishna does all forms of miracles and there are numerous attempts on his life but he survives and eventually kills his maternal uncle Kansa.
He is transported from the prison cell on the day of his birth to Gokul as Yashoda and Nand’s child and was exchanged with their Biological child by his father Vasudev. In this way Kṛṣṇa is able to escape death on night of his birth. Kansa kills the biological child of Yashoda thinking as child of Devki (his sister) in prison cell by smashing child’s head against the wall. Quite a violent night. Kansa had killed previous six children of Vasudev and Devki like this.
In his childhood Kṛṣṇa is notorious for stealing and eating butter, as a teenage young boy playing a flute along with Radha (who is classified as his girlfriend, love interest, but is older to him). Love story of Kṛṣṇa and Radha is sung and passed on for many ages, since ancient India. No doubt it attracts many lovers of this age.
There are many instances when he watches young girls bath in ponds by hiding and sitting on top of trees, in some instances taking their clothes and running away. A true flirt in every sense. He is also documented to be dancing with many female companions of his, who are known to the world as Gopis of Gopal (Kṛṣṇa’s other name).
Some like to call these girls as his numerous girlfriends or friends or even cheerleaders, who were amazed by Kṛṣṇa’s antics in Gokul. Plus since he played flute very nicely, so it was another attraction. In short a stud for some.
Personality and Teachings
A lot has been written on the personality of Kṛṣṇa by those who worship him (especially the Vaishnavites) and there are many schools of thoughts which sing praise of him. He for one seems to have a good sense of righteousness and believed that the principles need to be upheld even if it means breaking the laws. He was a spiritual guide and a teacher to Arjun, whom he uses/helps to win the war of Kurukshetra.
In the battle of kurukshetra, he motivates Arjun and pumps him up to fight Bhishma and Karna. Arjun in the beginning of the battle is reluctant to fight Bhishma and his teachers who were fighting with Kauravas side. During this time he reveals Arjun his real sense and updates him about the true meaning of life and lectures him on many topic, these lectures collectively are known as Bhagavat Gita.
However, there is another school of thought in India, who are fans of Kauravas who believe the Kṛṣṇa was a trickster and magician, who helped Pandavas to no end. His partisan viewpoint is also taken in to consideration in denouncing him as no god, since god will accept all, as he has created all.
Kṛṣṇa has an elder brother Balram who is the King of Dwarka, where Kṛṣṇa lives. Balaram was also child of Vasudev, transported to Gokul in stressful circumstances.
Once Radha is married off to someone else and Kṛṣṇa’s first love story ends (I presume she being elder to him plays a role here and his leaving Gokul to fight is uncle Kansa). He falls in love with Rukmini and then elopes with her and humiliates her brother while doing so (brother is represented to be egoistic), again this is story is a favorite of romantics.
He is shown as someone who gets his way through, no matter what the odds are and is rarely angry barring some instances. He is also definitely a poster boy for all the lovers in South Asia.
Later, Kṛṣṇa married 16,000 or 16,100 women who were held captive by the demon Narakasura, to save their honour. He killed the demon and released them all. According to social custom of the time, all of the captive women were degraded, and would be unable to marry, as they had been under the Narakasura’s control. However Kṛṣṇa married them to reinstate their status in the society. This symbolic wedding with 16,100 abandoned daughters was more of a mass rehabilitation. He gave them shelter in his new palace and a respectful place in society. The chief amongst them is Rohini.
Most well-known among his sons are Pradyumna, the eldest son of Kṛṣṇa and Rukmini. Samba, the son of Kṛṣṇa with Jambavati was notorious one whose actions led to the destruction of Kṛṣṇa‘s clan
Mahabharat in its entire entity talks a lot about the relationship of Arjun and Kṛṣṇa. Their friendship and Kṛṣṇa’s mentoring of Arjun is the main drawing points. Arjun apart from being married to Draupadi, was also married to Kṛṣṇa’s sister Subhadhra, with whom Arjun has son named Abhimanyu.
Kṛṣṇa plays an important role in getting Arjun married, first to Draupadi and then to Subhadra. In Draupadi’s case, Karna was also there in the swamwar and is insulted by egoistic Draupadi.
Kṛṣṇa teaches Arjun the true meaning of life and the teaching and lectures are known as Bhagavad Gita.
Kṛṣṇa was a friend Draupadi always had for consoling and when in trouble. He was instrumental in saving Draupadi from Drushashan, when latter was pulling away her saree and trying to strip her naked in royal court. He also helps her Husbands in getting the revenge for her insult in Hastinapur Royal Court at the hand of Kauravas.
However, I think he chooses to ignore Draupadi’s failings especially her handling of Karna and saying that Duryodhan is in capable of seeing path in front of him , since he is son of a blind man, in short like father like son.
Draupadi is also called Krishna, it is used for her to show that they are one in spirit and to commemorate their friendship. Also because Draupadi was of a darker complexion with fire inside her.
The relationship between Kṛṣṇa and Karna is baffling to me. It is so that Kṛṣṇa admired Karna and knew that he had faced massive hardship to reach the place of respect. Kṛṣṇa never tried to help Karna out of his miseries, if he is god then a god can do anything, right or else he is no god but a human being, who is worshiped.
Here the story of karna and his pain shown in “just a sympathetic light”, instead of finishing or giving a resolution to it. It may well show the social construct of the times when the story was written and re-written by many Brahmins, who always view men like Karna as a threat to their social order and establishment (even today in 21st century, some ideologies never change).
Karna is being accused of saying bad words to Draupadi, if vocal harm is considered bad by Kṛṣṇa then not giving value to verbal abuses dealt by karna, is equally baffling. As stated before, It may be more about those era’s Brahmins who believed that “so called higher beings” can say anything and get away, but when a relatively social weaker being challenges and retaliates those verbal comments, he becomes worthy of being killed for his unworthy deeds towards a “higher order” egoistic woman.
I am really disappointed in Kṛṣṇa’s approach towards Karna in Mahabharat, but it has been said and believed that the Brahmins use to tell these stories to suit them first, they use to mold them as per their desires in past and create brahmanical order to profess their dominance or superiority over others in the region (same was Salafists do in Islam and try to subdue Sufis).
Both of them had deep respect for each other and had a common belief of upholding the principles. However, the difference between them was Bhishma’s absolute devotion towards rules and his vow. Bhishma refused to break age old rituals and rules, he tried his best to be good but these became his failings.
Whereas Kṛṣṇa was of belief that rule can be broken but principles and human values must be maintained. Therefore many say that the fight of kurukshetra was to break the old order and establish the new older, since old had become too rigid.
After 36 years passed, a fight broke out between the Yadavas, at a festival, who killed each other. Kṛṣṇa retired into the forest and started meditating under a tree. The Mahabharata also narrates the story of a hunter who becomes an instrument for Kṛṣṇa’s departure from the world.
The hunter Jara, mistook Kṛṣṇa’s partly visible left foot for that of a deer, and shot an arrow, wounding him mortally. After he realized the mistake, While still bleeding, Kṛṣṇa told Jara, “O Jara, you were Bali in your previous birth, killed by myself as Rama in Tretayuga. Here you had a chance to even it and since all acts in this world are done as desired by me, you need not worry for this”. The place of this incident is believed to be Bhalka, near Somnath temple.
Kṛṣṇa is someone who believes that rules which are obsolete need to be let go, for running any organizations in effective way, in short a reformist or a revolutionary. The principles for his organization will remain utmost priority and so would be welfare of his employees.
He is a leader and a calm adviser, he would be someone who will give principles top most value and would not hesitate from breaking rules to uphold them. Especially those rules which have become oppressive and benefiting only few. Many view Kṛṣṇa as a left-wing ideologue fighting an obsolete,rigid, non -productive and outdated system.
Principles would be same which most of the humanity believes in but some powerful men/women seem to not follow them for their personal gains and profit.
Lastly, he would most certainly be a rage among women, not to mention a true flirt.
I am dotted silver threads dropped from heaven
By the gods. Nature then takes me, to adorn
Her fields and valleys.
I am beautiful pearls, plucked from the
Crown of Ishtar by the daughter of Dawn
To embellish the gardens.
When I cry the hills laugh;
When I humble myself the flowers rejoice;
When I bow, all things are elated.
The field and the cloud are lovers
And between them I am a messenger of mercy.
I quench the thirst of one;
I cure the ailment of the other.
The voice of thunder declares my arrival;
The rainbow announces my departure.
I am like earthly life, which begins at
The feet of the mad elements and ends
Under the upraised wings of death.
I emerge from the heard of the sea
Soar with the breeze. When I see a field in
Need, I descend and embrace the flowers and
The trees in a million little ways.
I touch gently at the windows with my
Soft fingers, and my announcement is a
Welcome song. All can hear, but only
The sensitive can understand.
The heat in the air gives birth to me,
But in turn I kill it,
As woman overcomes man with
The strength she takes from him.
I am the sigh of the sea;
The laughter of the field;
The tears of heaven.
So with love –
Sighs from the deep sea of affection;
Laughter from the colorful field of the spirit;
Tears from the endless heaven of memories.
After many months of planning, finally it was decided among my friends that we will visit Nagarjuna Sagar in Telengana by Bikes, two bikes to be specific.
From Hitech in Hyderabad, it is a 3 hours journey if you do not stop anywhere and a total of 182 kms. We set out at 4 am in the morning, since we believed that it might take 4-5 hours on bike. After all it is no fun in the journey if you do not stop rest in between and do so some sightseeing.
The two bikes chosen were Yamaha FZ and Bajaj Pulsar ( the most reliable bikes in that segment, good for rough terrains.) We took state highway 19 from outer ring road (also called Nehru Ring road) from Bongulur SEZ area near Hyderabad International airport.
We crossed Ibrahimpatnam at around 5:30 am, it took us 1 hour to get out from Hyderabad.
Both the bikes just kept zooming past cities and around 8 am , we were 30 kms away from our destination, considering the speed with which we were driving, it was 15-20 min away. We sat down around the road on couple of places to stretch the legs, sitting on the bike for more than 2 hour can be quite painful for butts.
The hotel that we found at the Nagarjuna sagar was a budget hotel with very basic facilities, Military style rooms. It was a government hotel opposite the Lake. The region has a sizable population with many housing societies and schools around. The food was manageable , certainly not great one. It was a 1 day trip so we took it in our stride.
There is another eating place which comes before you arrive at the Nagarjuna Sagar, which is also Andhra Pradesh (AP) tourism department run . It is far better in condition, may be next time if we go to Nagarjuna Sagar then we will use those facilities.
The view from the hotel we stayed was nice. Later we went out for a boat ride, to the center of the lake where a museum is made by the AP government (just a walk in the park , if I may say).
We had to wait 1 hour in the ticket counter for it to start (so not so great customer service), after reaching the small island via the boat, we had the usual Dosa (a south Indian Dish) at the canteen there (again not great food quality, . We ate it since we were hungry ) .
At the hotel, there were many pictures of the National leaders who were there to over see the development of the Nagarjuna Sagar dam, the pictures also showed various stages of development of the Dam. This Dam plays a major role for water and electricity supply for two states of India, Telengana and Andhra Pradesh .
This Dam was built in 1950s and finished work in 1970s. It was nice to see the pictures and revisit the history. The Leaders which I was able to identify were Indian Prime Ministers JL Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi.
Once we were done seeing the lake, we headed for Ethipothala Falls. It is 30 min drive from Nagarjuna sagar. The river Krishna’s tributary flows under the land for a while before re-emerging and then falling from the cliffs.
There were alligators there , hence none of the tourists were allowed to go near the falls. Honesty it was a 25 mins watch, not a great attraction as we had thought earlier.
Then there was “Monkey menace” which we all recall vividly, who were a terror there for children and womenfolk. We had lunch there offered by the Andhra Pradesh tourism (again not great food) before setting out to our journey back to Hyderabad.
I am an avid fan of the Games of Thrones, which I have been following for many years , since time of its inception on 17 April 2011. It gives a great insight into the workings of the Politics and diplomacy.
It always starts its new season in the month of April, something which I cherish. Although, I have never read any of its books, but I must say that the writer George R. R. Martin must be a great writer. He helps out in the storyline of the show and has a habit of killing characters at will (pun intended).
Many characters die out after every season, plus there is loads of nudity in the show (which seems to be part of attraction, but nothing at the level of Spartacus).
There are many houses at war with each other over the throne.
and then there are Wildlings who are fighting to just survive as free men, a concept of Leftist ideas here.
Finally, there are Night’s Watch men who have take vow of celibacy (at least in writing) and protecting a huge wall made of ice against the Wildlings, on the north of the kingdoms.
Night’s Watch men have the vows as following :
Night gathers, and now my watch begins.
It shall not end until my death.
I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children.
I shall wear no crowns and win no glory.
I shall live and die at my post.
I am the sword in the darkness.
I am the watcher on the walls.
I am the fire that burns against the cold,the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men.
I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.
Inspiration of the story
I have read somewhere and believe so too, that the writer has modeled it on the old Britain concept, where there were many kings fighting for the piece of land we call Britain. Something in the ages of 1st century A.D to 10 century A.D. After the fall of Roman empire and before the rise of William the conqueror.
Every house has some fire band character and that is what makes the show interesting, apart from sudden killings of course. Some characters however are constant and endure the savagery of the show and killings of their loved ones.
From House Targaryen
Daenerys Targaryen (mother of Dragons), she is essentially the one who starts with nothing trying to take everything. She comes from an old royal family Targaryens who ruled before current kings , whose most members have been killed off in the rebellion.
In her quest to get the throne back, she allows the slaves to be freed. Trying to create one massive army with whose help she will win victory and give former slaves equal status. Gaining their loyalty. She is providing choices to people, in the process she has seen her husband and her unborn child die.
She seems to have a genuine concern for poor and strong inclination for justice in her own terms. Some may say that she is like a feudal-Leftist or a benevolent ruler.
From House Stark
This house has seen the most catastrophe in the show,
- Father (Ned Stark) been killed first, in-front of his two daughters Sansa and Arya for treachery (Arya was in hiding).
- Mother (Lady Catelyn)/eldest son(Rob Stark) / pregnant daughter-in-law being killed in one single “Red wedding”.
- Second “legitimate” son of Ned Stark, Bran Stark paralyzed waist down after being thrown from the rooftop.
- youngest daughter Arya Stark who witnessed her father’s execution is now a drifter, yearning for revenge.
- The eldest daughter Sansa Stark was a prisoner of Lannisters, she escaped with Little finger after king Geoffery died on his wedding.
The one who stands out for me here, is the bastard son of Ned Stark, Jon Snow. He has gone to the Great wall and taken an oath of celibacy (which he fails to keep because of a wildling named Ygritte) to fight the wildlings and other dangers to the 7 kingdoms.
Jon Snow has the idea of justice similar to Daenerys Targaryen, he is a good leader and through some unfortunate set of events ends up playing the role of leader to the “Crows” or men who guard the wall (Night’s Watch).
I hope in future there is an alliance between Daenerys Targaryen and him or even better they both get married. Let see, what future seasons have in store (He may well die also).
Well the house of wicked people, there are 4 main characters (one is dead now).
- Lord Tywin Lannister (dead now, killed by his younger dwarf son Tyrion ), is the head of family, then are his two sons and one daughter.
- His two sons are
- Jamie Lannister (the sister fucker, literally he is doing it)
- a dwarf whom his father thought should have died at childbirth, since his mother died while giving birth to him.
- He is a walking embarrassment to his father Lord Tywin.
- CerseiLannister who is their egoistic sister
- She is letting her brother Jamie “do” her.
- All of her 3 children are by her ‘Beloved’ brother Jamie, in short incest family.
Out all these,Tyrion Lannister is better one. I presume it is because of the mutual hatred he has for his father. He wants to be everything his father is not.
His sister Cersei hates him, after all he knows what his other “beautiful” siblings are doing to each other. He is seen battling all things, yet considered worthless.
From House Baratheon
This house is apparently the youngest house, and is ruling (as Cersei Lannister was married to Robert Baratheon, even though she was busy having children with her brother ). The dead Robert’s sons are rulers with the help of Lannisters of-course (after all a Lannister pays his debts) .
Robert has two more brothers, one of them is gay and dies early. The other brother is Stannis Baratheon, one with claim on the throne, since he knows the truth of children. He is aided by the red lady (a priestess of sorts).
I do not think that he a worthy challenger and but he is there just to add the spice. He has no morals (very complex character) but has hunger for power. He has no desire to change the world for better.
The “red lady” who is helping him, however has this urge to bring in a new religion of fire god with the help of Stannis Baratheon.
There is one character, who may just change the game, He is Gendry (bastard son of Robert). He may marry one of Ned Stark’s daughters in future and eventually fight on the side of the Starks.
From House Martell
The passionate ones, if we consider “The red viper” or Oberyn Martell who died in season 4.His death was most brutal and a shock for most viewers, his Skull being crushed by Ser Gregor Clegane with bear hands.
This house was in relations with Targaryens, Oberyn Martell’s sister was married to Rhaegar Targaryen (eldest brother of Daenerys Targaryen). She was raped and killed by “the Mount” aka Ser Gregor Clegane when the rebellion army captured Westeros. Her children’s heads were smashed to the wall by him.
Martells would be introduced more in the season 5, for now they have been in the background.
The characters , I am waiting to watch are Doran Martell (elder brother of Oberyn Martell ) and The Sand Snakes (8 bastard daughters of Oberyn Martell, let see if the daughters have the same passion as their father).
From House Bolton
The filthiest of all the houses, who enjoy torturing or flaying men caught in battlefield. The favorite quote is “A naked man has few secrets; a flayed man, none”.
Imagine what would they do, to those who fight against them and are caught.
There are two characters here, Lord Roose and his bastard Ramsay (who truly is a bastard in every sense). Ramsay “enjoys” flaying men, cutting their gentiles, fingers, eyes, legs, hands, skin etc. Theon Greyjoy‘s private part is cut off and sent to his father, the father in return abandons him since Theon cannot bear him grandchildren.
Lord Roose is so impressed by his son’s acts that he legitimates him and now Ramsay Snow (the bastard) is Ramsay Bolton .
There are few quotes which are the catchlines in show
“Winter is Coming”
“All men must die”
which has become the most identifiable quote for the Show. Imdb also rates this show highly, it is among the top TV shows of all times. Waiting for the new season to start.
Had mein chale so maanava, behad chale so saadh
Had behad dono taje, taako bata agaadh
(Translation in English )
The one who is confined in limitations is human,
the one who roams into unlimited, is a Sadhu.
The one who has dropped both limited and unlimited,
unfathomable is his being and understanding. —————Kabir
Once in a blue moon comes a movie which makes you sit out and watch it closely. I am not talking about those giant studio movie like Lord of the Rings or Marvel ones, but rather the ones with such an awesome storyline, a writer’s film.
I heard of the reviews that the movie is nice but after watching I realise how great it is, One friend summed it up perfectly , watching it was like “blessing in disguise”. The twists and turns were splendid, but from my point of view what I liked in the movie was the female character of Amy Elliott-Dunne, played by Rosamund Pike , I have never seen any other of her movies in which she has acted this well. I actually felt vindicated when I saw this movie, the assumption of a woman as pure, non-violent , non- twisted, naive, a doormat in a relationship, sufferer etc is trashed completely here (Do I sound misogynistic , well that is for the reader to judge and not for me to comment ) . This movie’s story does puts marriage in a perfect prospective and who is capable of controlling whom in it.
The husband Nick Dunne (played by Ben Affleck) in the movie is accused of killing his wife who has disappeared and is shown as a psychopath, as he lack empathy towards his wife (not knowing who her friends are , even her blood type) when quizzed by officers on her wife and then that Search photograph which is taken of him in which he is smiling. I accept that he is not the “perfect husband”, he cheats on his wife with a hot young girl but what he gets in return, I don’t think any man will want. The wife twists the entire investigation and makes it appear that he is the reason for her death, in fact he drives her to death. The thing which stands out in the movie is narration done from wife’s angle , how she wants to make him “feel” the pain.
I read somewhere that the author was a feminist (catch that ! ) and wondered that she killed feminism by writing the book , which was transformed into movie. I think she has done a good job , where she has shown the Anti-hero behavior a woman is also capable of , not the domain of men only. Plus, what is with feminist and women suffering issue, this movie proves the extend a woman will go to make her man suffer. It is also said that the Gone Girl is based on Agatha Christie ‘s real life, when she went missing. The Author Gillian Flynn is a fan of Agatha Christie. In one interview the writer talks about such unhappy ending, stating that they are truth (to which I agree, we should address in books and movies which is real , not always fantasy stuff ). I really liked such an unhappy ending she gave to the book and then the movie, after all life is never sugar coated. The best are those movies which are adapted from good books and has shades of grey in it, in Hollywood they do it more often , in Bollywood however , there are very few people who do it well, Vishal Bhardwaj, Gulzar and Anurag Kashyap are ones which I remember and know currently (in 1960s and 1970s there were many) .
I loved the movie and watched it thrice at home, after watching it on cinema hall for the first time, I think I might give a go to the book also, when I have free time.
There are two line which his lawyer and the investigating offices says to him in the end, which stand out.
The movie from the viewpoint of young people is a total nightmare, in which you may walk in unsuspectingly i.e a “fucked up Marriage” with a total psychopath. No wonder, you would question the futility of marriage as they are doing world over after watching the movie, the movies which make you question are the movie worth watching, just like some books are worth reading, since time is way to precious to be spent on no-brainers (like they make these days in Bollywood and which earn millions).
The movie was released on 3 October 2014, made at a cost of $61 Million and has grossed $331 Million, now that is success both financially and critically.
I read this book on the recommendation of my friend. It is amazing how some books can help you draw parallel in your life.
The author writes the book inspired by his own life .The main protagonist of the book is Mr. Mohun Biswas who is in quest to get his own house made; this character is based on his father. Biswas is born in not so well off family but marries into a big-shot family of the region. His wife is among the 9 sisters and 2 brothers, there is constant collision between the husbands of the wives for all kinds of superiority, not to mention the sisters themselves have issues with each other.
In the beginning of the book, Mohun Biswas is shown as a baby born with 6 fingers, the sixth finger comes off when he is still 9 days old, considered unlucky child for his sneezing and bringing bad luck to those around him. Later he works as a painter for signs which leads him to his wife Shama’s place. There he paints for the shop’s sign board. Mrs. Tulsi gets his daughter married to him, then there is Seth a trusted advisor of Mrs. Tulsi who treats Biswas pretty much like shit and good for nothing lad. Seth has authority over everything, till the two masters (read Mrs. Tulsi’s sons grow up and take the mantle)
Biswas starts from being a guy who stays at his wife’s place Hanuman House, to one being given menial jobs for survival (in the process being ridiculed) and trying to get the elusive house build. Later in life, he writes as Journalist for Sentinel, A Trinidad Newspaper. This was a job he cherished the most in his life and which gave him a sense of respect (even though the in-laws might not believe so).
The story does gives a good insight into an Indo-Caribbean family where the protagonist is married to socioeconomic better of family and then he has to deal with a wife who worships this family and her brothers. Biswas has 4 children, 1 son and 3 daughters. There are some hilarious typical Indian scenes, which I think are implanted in every Indian family. There is a scene where Biswas is being beaten by his rival that is his wife Shama’s brother-in-law, then Shama’s attempts for status but fear of loathing from her sisters. The pick of them all is sisters trying to score brownie points with their ‘Lord brothers’ by over-weeping when the younger one comes from England, in short attention seeking behavior. The brothers who act like masters in their own right, the Tulsi Family also has a fall out with Seth their administrator guy.
There is one instant, when the youngest brother returns from England (apparently after many years in England) and talks fashionably about Russia, Socialism and Communism, but barely tries to practice the leftist ideas at home or his surroundings. A typical trait in self proclaimed Leftist, who are educated in big shot foreign universities who then proclaim themselves as Liberal voices of the world. During the last chapters this exhibitionist “Lord brother” Owad talks about ideas and all, showing off his so-called intellect, in the process ridiculing Biswas, slapping Biswas’ son and showing superiority to others in presence of his cheerleader sisters, who loved each and every act of his. You can easily find such characters in every Indian family, whom you feel repulsed from, the over pretentious ones aka jackass.
Mr. Biswas also sets in motion the desire to get his children educated in England, the eldest daughter and son gets into the UK university. Eldest daughter comes back and helps Mr.Biswas financially when his health is crumbling and he is let go from Sentinel , the newspaper he works for. He is also able to get a new house, which he renovates after being duped to buy it. Not to mention in the process fending off the first owner/ builder from his veranda.
The book was all in all an Indian family drama, recommended for patient readers only. It took a while for me to get it completed though. Since, I got frustrated reading about some ‘real’ life characters and had other commitments too. Looking forward to read more Naipaul’s works, this time I think I will go for Non-fiction books, the Indian Trilogy which he wrote.
There are some very nice Mahabharat quotes, which I would like to share with the reader.
Anukramanika Parva, Chapter 1:
Time creates all things,
and time destroys them all.
Time burns all creatures,
and time again extinguishes that fire.
—Anukramanika Parva, Adi Parva, Mahabharata Book i.1
Tapa is not a sin,
Study is not a sin,
Ordinances of Vedas are not sins,
Acquisition of wealth by exertion is not a sin,
When they are abused, then do they become the sources of evil.
—Anukramanika Parva, Adi Parva, Mahabharata Book i.1
Sangraha Parva, Chapter 2:
As all the senses are dependent on the wonderful workings of the mind,
so all the acts and moral qualities depend on this treatise (Mahabharata).
—Sangraha Parva, Adi Parva, Mahabharata Book i.2
Paushya Parva, Chapter 3:
You are the infinite, you are the course of Nature and intelligent soul that pervades all,
I desire to obtain you through knowledge, derived from hearing and meditation.
—Paushya Parva, Adi Parva, Mahabharata Book i.3
Adivansabatarana Parva, Chapter 62:
This (Mahabharata) is equal to the Vedas, it is holy and excellent,
it is the worthiest of all that should be listened to. It is a Purana, adored by the Rishis,
It contains many useful instructions on Artha and Kama. This sacred history makes the heart desire to attain salvation.
—Adivansabatarana Parva, Adi Parva, Mahabharata Book i.
Drupada said to Drona: Friendship never remains in the world in anyone’s heart without being worn out,
Time wears it out, anger destroys it.
The poor cannot be the friend of the rich, the unlearned cannot be the friend of the learned,
the coward cannot be the friend of the brave, how then do you desire the continuance of our old friendship?
—Sambhava Parva, Adi Parva, Mahabharata Book i.
One who is afflicted by destiny can find a remedy in destiny alone.”
— [Elapatra to Vasuki, Astika Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 34]
This single strand of grass that you see, the one from which we are hanging, is the strand of our family lineage. O Brahmana! The strands that you see being eaten up, are being eaten up by time. O Brahmana! The half-eaten root from which we are all hanging is the last of our lineage, practising austerities. O Brahmana! The rat that you see is time, immensely powerful. He is slowly killing the misguided Jaratkaru, engaged in austerities, who is greedy for austerities, but has lost his mind and senses.”
— [Ancestors to Jaratkaru, Astika Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 41]
“According to the sacred texts, there are three kinds of fathers. In proper order, they are the one who gives a body, the one who protects and the one who provides food.
— [Shakuntala describing to King Duhshanta what Sage Kanwa told her about her birth. Sambhava Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 66]
“The wise have said that a man is himself born as his son. Therefore, a man should regard the mother of his son as his own mother. … The wife is the sacred ground in which the husband is born again. Even sages are unable to have offspring without wives.”
—[Shakuntala to Duhshanta, Sambhava Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 68]
“You see the faults of others, even though they are as small as a mustard seed. But you do not see your own, even though they can be seen as large as a bilva fruit. … O Duhshanta! My birth is nobler than your own. O lord of kings! You are established on earth. But I roam the sky. Know that the difference between you and me is that between a mustard seed and Mount Meru.”
— [Shakuntala to King Duhshanta, Sambhava Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 69]
“I also know the difference between anger and forgiveness and the strength and weakness of each. But when a disciple behaves disrespectfully towards a preceptor, it should not be condoned.”
— [Devayani to Shukra, Sambhava Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 74]
“Altercations are nothing but the resort of the weak.”
— [Karna to Arjuna, Jatugriha-daha Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 126]
“Unlike a cow, the fruits of evil actions are not immediate. Such fruits are certainly manifested, if not in one’s own life, in one’s son or in one’s grandson. They are like a heavy meal in the stomach.”
— [Shukra to King Vrishaparva, Sambhava Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 75]
“Great is unhappiness for those who desire wealth, greater for those who have acquired it.”
— [Brahamana lamenting, Baka-vadha Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 145]
“One who does not see impurities in one’s acts, is not expected to see it in another.”
— [Upajaya to Drupada, Chaitraratha Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 155]
“But if a crime doesn’t find a punisher, many in the world will commit crimes. A man who has the power to punish a crime and doesn’t do so, despite knowing that a crime has been committed, is himself tainted by the deed, even if he is the lord.”
— [Ourva to ancestors,Chaitraratha Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 171]’
“Which hero will kill an enemy who has been defeated in battle, has lost his fame and is now protected by a woman?”
— [Yudhishtra to Arjuna,Chaitraratha Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 158]
“He was a king who had no abilities. All that he did was breathe air in and out.”
— [Karna on King Amuvicha, Viduragamana Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 196]
I shall collect more quotes which I find interesting in time coming and post on my Blog. Though I would like to mention here that Abhinav Agarwal‘s blog was a great help. The guy is an inspiration for his writings on Mahabharat. I hope my blog is also someday overflowing with Information on Mahabharat like his, he has made a detailed study of all the Parvas (i.e. Volumes) in Mahabharat.
Bhima is a character which in true sense epitomizes an Alpha male. He is dominant and fierce. He was second Pandu brother among the five non Biological sons of Pandu.
His actions and presence was very significant in the rise of Yudhistra to the throne on Indraprastha and later in the war of kurukshetra. He was mainly responsible for killing of 100 Kauravas brother and finally Duryodhan death (in which he employed unethical means).
He possessed the power of 100 elephants inside him, though which was a blessing given to him in childhood. He was also a very heavy eater who ate more than the amount of food which other four Pandav brothers could eat collectively.
His birth was like his other brother out of a wedlock ceremony in which Kunti was impregnated by Lord of Wind (Vayu/Aeolus) much like Indra did in the case of Arjun, Yama/Hades in case of Yudhistra and Sun/Apollo in case of Karna. The reason being Pandu was cursed that he would die moment he has sexual relation with any of this two wives.
Personality and Teachings
The teacher of Bhim was Dronacharya much like all the other Pandavas and Kauravas. He learnt the various Warcraft but his favorite weapon was a hammer or a club made of a heavy metal. His fights were frequent that too with Duryodhan who also liked same weapon. He can also be termed as a bully who loved to throw his weight around, especially on Kauravas brother. It was his repeated humiliation of Duryodhan which became a flash point of immense hatred towards Pandavas and Kuravas and visa-verse.
Though Duryodhan played his part by scheming and plotting against him and his Pandav brothers.
Due to heavy appetite he was name Vrikodara, `wolf’s belly.’ Apart from having feud with Duryodhan, he was in a habit of humiliating Karna at will. His actions increased Karna‘s anger towards Pandavas.
The Palace of the Pandava Brothers set ablaze
Duryodhan with his counselor Purochana hatched a plan to burn the Pandavas alive at a lake palace lakshagraha at Varnavrata that Duryodhan had built.
Vidura provided information to Pandavs of plan and helped them escape out from the palace. Here Bhima played a major role in carrying all five of them (Kunti and brothers) and escaping to safety. He barricaded the palace of Purochana and set fire to it, killing Purochana.
Killing of Hidmb,Marriage and children
During this period, he also chanced upon the demon princess Hidimba whom he married, after killing the demon king Hidmb. Ghatotkacha was the son born to the two of them.
Hidmb was a man-eater demon who wanted to kill and eat all of the Pandavas but Bhima is able to challange him and kill him. After that he becomes king of Hidmb’s small tribe.
At a later stage, Bhima also married Valandhara, the daughter of the king of Kasi, and had a son named Sarvaga. Among Bhima’s three sons, Sarvaga did not participate in the Kurukshetra war, while the two others died in the battle.
Kunti and the Pandavas decided to stay anonymously for a while, during this time the Kauravas thought they were dead in the fire.
During this time, the Pandavas attended the Swayamvara of Drupada princess, Draupadi. The Pandavas, led by Arjuna, were successful at the Swayamvara. With his brothers, he was married to Draupadi, who gave birth to a son, Sutasoma.
The game of Dice:
After Yudhisthira succumbed to Shakuni’s challenge in the game of dice, the Pandavas were forced into exile for 13 years, one of which was in anonymity. The exile period in the forests, saw the Pandavas come face to face with many rakshasas and asuras and Bhima played a crucial role in the epic in rescuing his brothers every time.
In the beginning of the exile, in the woods of Kamyaka, the Pandavas meet the demon Kirmira, the brother of Bakasura and a friend of Hidimba. A fierce battle ensued between Bhima and the demon, where the two equally matched fighters hurled rocks and trees at each other. Eventually Bhima emerged victorious.
Searching for Saugandhika flower
Once in Badarikasrama forest, Draupadi scented the Saugandhika flower and was deeply attracted to it. The lotus species was not to be located easily. Bhima went in search of the flower and ended up at Kubera’s palace. He was stopped in his tracks by the demon called Krodhavasas, but he defeated them all and reached the lotus pond.
He also killed Maniman a wicked demon , who had in the past, incurred a curse from Rishi Agastya by spitting on his head. Bhima fell asleep on its shore. Later the Pandavas arrived with Krishna and Draupadi in search of Bhima. They met Kubera who offered them baskets of Saugandhika lotuses and sent them on their way.
Kubera was especially happy, as the slaughter of Maniman had relieved him of the curse too. It was also during this search that Bhima met Hanuman (his brother, as both were Vayu’s children) in the forest and sought his blessings.
In another minor incident in the epic, Jatasura, a rakshasa disguised as a Brahmin abducted Yudhisthira, Draupadi and the twin brothers, Nakula and Sahadeva during their stay at Badarikasrama. His objective was to seize the weapons of the Pandavas and to ravish Draupadi. Bhima, who was hunting during the abduction, was deeply upset when he came to know of Jatasura’s evil act on his return. A fierce encounter followed between the two gigantic warriors, where Bhima emerged victorious by decapitating Jatasura and crushing his body.
Humiliation of Jayadratha
In another event in the Kamyaka forests, Jayadratha, a Sindhu King, abducted Draupadi when the Pandavas were away. On returning, the Pandavas learnt about this from Sage Dhaumya, followed and reached Jayadratha’s army in the forest. Jayadratha was no match to the strength of Bhima, who humiliated him by shaving his head and leaving him with just five patches of hair. Jayadratha later played a major role in the Kurukshetra War in slaying Abhimanyu.
Cook at Virata’s kingdom
Along with his brothers, Bhima spent his last year of exile in the kingdom of Virata. He disguised himself as a cook named Vallabh (within themselves Pandavas called him Jayanta).
Once during a great festival, people from neighbouring countries had come to the kingdom of Virata. There was a wrestling bout where a wrestler from a different state, Jimuta proved to be invincible. Much to the delight of King Virata and his subjects, Bhima challenged Jimuta and knocked him out in no time. This greatly enhanced the reputation of the Pandavas in an unfamiliar territory.
Death of Kichaka
Kichaka, the army commander of Virata, tried to sexually assault Draupadi, who was under the guise of a maid named Sairindhri. Bhima dressed himself as a woman and lay in wait for Kichaka inside Draupadi’s room. He slew him the moment he tried to touch him. Kickaka was crushed and slaughtered in to a meat ball by bhima .
Susarma of the Trigarta Kingdom, under the command of Duryodana, waged a battle against Virata by stealing the cows in his kingdom. Bhima, aided in part by the other Pandavas and Virata, helped to defeat the army of Susarma easily. By this time, the 13-year exile period was completed and the rivalry between the siblings was renewed.
Bhima and Arjun
It would be apt to say that Arjun and Bhima were two people on whose ability Indraprastha was built and protected, so that their righteous brother Yudhistra could rule.
Both of them are also responsible for killing of many demons and enemies in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. However, in terms of judgment Arjun can be said to have an upper edge, not to mention the fact that Arjun was favorite of Lord Krishna.
Bhima On management
Bhima is in no way a thinker or a policy creator, he is policy enforcer. He would be someone provided with the task to enforce the rules and to get the job done. Some like the operations manager whose job is to meet the defined targets set out by the Chairman or CEO of an organization.
Bhima in Today’s world
Bhima in today’s world would be easily identified; he is someone with a good physical strength and at the same time can be a bully but loves his family. A perfect alpha male out to ravage, kill and tear apart anyone who violates his honour or targets his family. Though someone certainly not with a good judgement.
The Debate continues.....
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