Category: Culture


NOT one is filled with madness like to mine
In all the taverns! my soiled robe lies here,
There my neglected book, both pledged for wine.
With dust my heart is thick, that should be clear,
A glass to mirror forth the Great King’s face;
One ray of light from out Thy dwelling-place
To pierce my night, oh God! and draw me near.

From out mine eyes unto my garment’s hem
A river flows; perchance my cypress-tree
Beside that stream may rear her lofty stem,
Watering her roots with tears. Ah, bring to me
The wine vessel! since my Love’s cheek is hid,
A flood of grief comes from my heart unbid,
And turns mine eyes into a bitter sea!

Nay, by the hand that sells me wine, I vow
No more the brimming cup shall touch my lips,
Until my mistress with her radiant brow
Adorns my feast-until Love’s secret slips
From her, as from the candle’s tongue of flame,
Though I, the singèd moth, for very shame,
Dare not extol Love’s light without eclipse.

Red wine I worship, and I worship her–
Speak not to me of anything beside,
For nought but these on earth or heaven I care.
What though the proud narcissus flowers defied
Thy shining eyes to prove themselves more bright,
Yet heed them not! those that are clear of sight
Follow not them to whom all light’s denied.

Before the tavern door a Christian sang
To sound of pipe and drum, what time the earth
Awaited the white dawn, and gaily rang
Upon mine ear those harbingers of mirth:
‘If the True Faith be such as thou dost say,
Alas! my Hafiz, that this sweet To-day
Should bring unknown To-morrow to the birth!’

Intelligence — Rumi

There are two kinds of intelligence: one acquired,
as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts
from books and from what the teacher says,
collecting information from the traditional sciences
as well as from the new sciences.

With such intelligence you rise in the world.
You get ranked ahead or behind others
in regard to your competence in retaining
information.

You stroll with this intelligence
in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always more
marks on your preserving tablets.

There is another kind of tablet, one
already completed and preserved inside you.
A spring overflowing its springbox. A freshness
in the center of the chest.

This other intelligence
does not turn yellow or stagnate. It’s fluid,
and it doesn’t move from outside to inside
through conduits of plumbing-learning.

 This second knowing is a fountainhead
from within you, moving out.

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Desire – Rumi

“I want to sing like the birds sing,

not worrying about who hears

or what they think.” ― Rumi

Longing- Amir Khusro

The cloud rains, and I am separated from the Friend.
How can my heart be separated from the Friend on such a day?
The cloud, the rain, I – and the Friend taken away.

I am alone, crying, the cloud is alone and the Friend is alone.
Greenery, newly-sprouted, joyful air, a green garden.

The nightingale, disgraced, remains separated from the rose-garden.
O, what are You doing to me, with the root of every hair
Of Your tresses, bound together?

I am enchained by being tied up, and all of a sudden, alone.

–Amir Khusro

Karna Parva – Mahabharat

Karna Parva is when Karna takes over the Kaurva Army to fight, many below lines are conversation during those time and challenges each character faces. Again, I will thank Abhinav Agarwal for being my guide to narrow things down to understand them.

Below are my favorite quotes from Bibek Debroy’s Mahabharata which Abhinav has reviewed. I had left this personal project unattended for long, since 2013. Mahabharata is my favorite book in Indian mythology, teaches a lot about various relationships, addresses Dharma and Duty. I will keep this as a priority and finish the characters analysis which I started, it would be helpful, If the reader pitches in with their comments, to guide me on better reading versions of Mahabharata.

Quotes Below


“Passion, engagement, skill and policy – these are the means to accomplish objectives.”
[Ashwatthama to Duryodhana , Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 6]


“Brahmanas are subtle in settling disputes. Kshatriyas are coarser, resulting in victory of defeat. Because of your folly, you have asked for excellent and divine hospitality from Partha. Now be patient and receive what you have asked for from Pandava.”
[Arjuna responds to Ashvatthama , Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 12]


“If one makes such a person subject to the commands of an inferior one, one commits the crime of confusing the inferior with the superior.”
[Shalya, as Duryodhana tries to convince him of becoming Karna’s charioteer, Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 23]


“O Maheshvara! We will not be able to bear half of your energy. But with half of our united strength, you can kill the enemies.”
[The gods to Shiva , Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 24]


“Arjuna is like a cloud among men and you are croaking back at him, like a frog. From its own house, a dog barks at a tiger that is roaming in the forest.”
[Shalya to Karna, morning of day seventeen , Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 27]


“You have always been devoid of qualities. How will you know the difference between qualities and the lack of qualities?”
[Karna to Shalya , Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 27]


“Women who are intoxicated by liquor cast off their clothes and dance around. They do not follow restraints and indulge in sexual intercourse, following the dictates of desire. O Madraka! You are the son of one such.”
[Karna to Shalya , Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 27]


“O crow! There is no doubt that you will fly in one hundred and one different kinds of ways. I will however fly in the only way that all the birds know.”
[Shalya recounting the story of the crow to Karna , Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 28]


“Everyone is always skilled in detecting another one’s faults. No one knows his own faults, or knowing them, is confounded.”
[Shalya to Karna , Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 30]


“You possess the strength of the brahmana and are devoted to studying and the task of performing sacrifices. O Kounteya! Do not fight again and do not advance against brave ones.”
[Karna to Yudhishtra , Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 33]


“He is established in the strength of the brahmana, but he does not possess a great deal of strength of the kshatriya variety.”
[Krishna describes the fighting between Yudhishtra and Karna, Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 43]


“For the sake of victory, how can one be victorious if one is dead.”
[Arjuna to Krishna, Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 45]”.”


“Whether I was awake or sleeping, Karna was always in front of me.”
[Yudhishtra to Arjuna, Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 46]


“A person who is always based on truth is but a child.”
[Krishna to Arjuna, in Yudhishtra’s camp, Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 49]


“There are many other people who hold that dharma is only what is in the sacred texts. I will not contradict this, but everything is not laid down there.”
[Krishna to Arjuna, in Yudhishtra’s camp, Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 49]


“Today let Soubala know that my arrows are dice, Gandiva is the box used to throw them and my chariot the spread on which the game is played..”
[Arjuna to Krishna, Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 52]


“On seeing the two Krishnas together on a single chariot, both fear and valour are generated in my heart.”
[Karna to Shalya, Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 57]


“He grasped an extremely sharp sword and placed it against the throat of the trembling one. He tore apart the breast of the one who had fallen down on the ground and drank the warm blood. He repeatedly savoured the taste.”
[Bhima kills Duhshasana, Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 61]


“Those who are learned say that there are four kinds of friends – those who are natural friends,those who are made such through conciliation, those who are earned through riches and those who are subjugated through power. Towards you, the Pandavas are all four.”
[Ashwatthama to Duryodhana after Duhshasana’s death, Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 64]


“It is fortunate that you remember dharma. Quite often, when they are immersed in hardships, inferior ones censure destiny, but not their evil deeds.”
[Vasudeva to Karna, Karna Vadha Parva, Karna Parva, Ch 67]

References

http://blog.abhinavagarwal.net/2013/06/mahabharata-quotes-karna-parva.html

Raj Dharma Parv

Some of the below Quotes are my favorite from Raj Dharma in Bibek Debroy’s Mahabharata. Abhinav Agarwal’s blog is a major help in narrowing it down.

“There cannot be a treasury without oppression and without it, how is it possible to have an army?”

“When a kingdom goes into decline, the life of that king is one of shame.”

“There is no livelihood that exists without violence. Even a solitary sage, active and roaming in the forest, cannot manage to do that.” 

“What is said about dharma is true – it does not exist where there are no riches.”

“Dharma is stained by jealousy. Artha is stained by secrecy. Kama is stained by excessive addiction.”

“The foundation of the body is dharma, and artha is based on dharma. Kama is said to be the fruit of artha.”

“Dharma must not be made to decline, but nor should one come under the subjugation of the enemy.” 

“If the king’s treasury is exhausted, his army will decline.” 

“It is rare to find a petitioner who is satisfied with what he has got.”

“It is rarer to find a person who does not disrespect a petitioner.” 

“There is nothing that is as emaciated as hope.”

“The dharma of kshatriyas is special. … All the other dharmas are immersed in this dharma.”

“Dharma of vaishyas – donations, studying, the performance of sacrifices, and the accumulation of wealth.”

“If one is destroyed, one can perform no act of dharma.” 

“When those who are separated are brought together, there is neither love, nor affection.”

“The greedy hate the poor and the weak hate the spirited. Stupid people hate learned ones and poor people hate the wealthy.”

“Some are punished for their crimes. .. But many more virtuous are harmed because of false accusations.” 

“Lineage is created by conduct. The ashrama is not an indicator of dharma.” 

“… when one consorts with wicked people, uttering a lie is superior to speaking the with.” 

“There’re are some who say that dharma is that which is laid down in the shruti..but.. everything is not laid down there.”

“One good acharya equal to ten learned brahmanas. One upadhyaya is superior to ten acharyas and the father is superior to yen upadhyayas.”

“However, a mother is superior to ten fathers.” 

“Signs of wicked people. … When others praise you, he is silent and reluctant. … He is gracious in public and ungracious in private.”

“Use sama, dana, bheda and danda. One should not use these one at a time.” 

“When the enemy is delighted at your hardship, I think it is a more severe sorrow than death.”

“Destiny determines this in advance and men are goaded by time.” 

“You must know about two kinds of wisdom – the straight and the crooked.” 

“Impose taxes so that both the king and the producer have a share in the outcome of the work.”

“Like a turtle draws in its limbs, one must protect one’s own weaknesses.” 

“There are are virtuous ones who are constrained by a sense of shame.” 

“When many are guilty of the same crime, they can unite and blunt a thorn.” 

“Blind trust can completely destroy dharma and artha. However, not trusting anyone is also worse than death.” 

“A brahmana who does not study and a king who does not protect are … useless…, like a cloud that does not rain.” 

“If a brahmana becomes a thief in a king’s kingdom, learned people think it is the king’s crime.” 

“A kingdom is always based on proper dispute resolution.” 

“When a person is disrespected by his own people, the enemy disregards him.” 

“The learned day that someone who is not engaged in his own talks is not to be trusted.” 

References

http://blog.abhinavagarwal.net/2017/06/quotes-raja-dharma-parva.html#more

Love Story – Rumi

The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.


Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere,
they’re in each other all along.

-Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

Soul – Shams Tabrizi

“Nothing kills the soul that commands to evil like seeing the beauty of the heart.”

“Don’t search for heaven and hell in the future.

Both are now present. Whenever we manage to love without expectations, calculations, negotiations, we are indeed in heaven.

Whenever we fight, hate, we are in hell.” —- Shams Tabrizi

Wings — Amir Khosraw

Love came and spread like blood in my veins and the skin of me,
It filled me with the Friend and completely emptied me.
The Friend has taken over all parts of my existence,
Only my name remains, as all is He. —— Amir Khosraw

Love – Rumi

When you seek Love with all your Heart;

You shall find its echoes in the universe. —– Rumi.

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Flood- Kabir

 

My body is flooded
With the flame of Love.
My soul lives in
A furnace of bliss.


Love’s fragrance
Fills my mouth,
And fans through all things
With each outbreath .
               — Kabir

 

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Sarmad Kashani — A fearless Sufi

Sufi Sarmad Tomb

I have been reading about Sarmad for a while, especially since I got know about him for the first time in Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s writings. I have a habit of reading about the Indian freedom fighters especially their writings and books they read. It offers a great insight into many forgotten people in the past of Indian history, Sarmad Kashani is one of them, a Sufi of Qadiri Order.

Maulana Azad uses Miratul Khayal by Sherkhan Lodhi and Riaz-ul-shuara by Ali Quli Valeh Daghistani to narrate Sarmad.

From many accounts which I have read of him, Sarmad is described as a Jew Trader from Iran or Persia who came to India during 5th Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s time for selling his items. Here he landed in Thatta province, Sind in in 1631 (Modern Day Karachi, Pakistan).

He was born in Armenian Jewish family in Kashan, Persia. His date of birth is unknown; scholars say it at 1590 CE, however some claim for a range of dates between 1590 till 1618 CE.

He resided in Iranian town of Kashan, hence getting the surname Kashani. Sarmad, I think is his Sufi name, I do not have any information about his Jewish name. He also had a Muslim name Muhammad Sa’id.

The accounts of his conversion to Islam are bit hazy, some scholars point that he had already converted in Iran before coming and some say that he converted after coming to Thatta, Sindh. There are multiple scenarios narrated.

 

Scenario 1

It is narrated that since Sarmad was a trader from Iran or Persia who wanted to make money, he was told by his friends about India where Persian is official language and people gave a lot of money to purchase Persian goods. It was because Mughals have given patronage to Persian culture (owing to King of Persia’s assistance to 2nd Mughal king Himayaun for recapturing Delhi).

He was informed that in India or Hindustan as it was called then, people value Sufis a lot, even the Mughal Kings listen to their opinions. As a trader he wanted to get more information about the place before he sets out to sell off his items in an unknown distant land.

Since he was Jew, he did not know about Sufism or Islam, so in order to get acquainted he read about it and got knowledge from the Islamic scholars and eventually got converted and set off for India to sell precious items.

 

Scenario 2

He was born a Jew and had written on Judaism in Persian. He was interested in other religions’ working. In order to get more knowledge, he read Christian teaching and got converted to Christianity and then read Sufi Islam, later converted to Islam. Finally arriving in Thatta, Sindh to sell off his precious artcraft.

 

Scenario 3

When Sarmad reached Thatta in Sindh, he fell in love with the local girl, but due to some unfortunate events lost every possession, including the local girl. The impact of this destructive love made him give up his clothes and worldly things. He would walk the streets of Thatta naked. In this state of absolute renunciation, Sarmad achieved the heights of spiritualism.

During this process he met Abhay Chand, who decided to become his disciple and their relationship helped soften the bruises of Sarmad’s heart. In short starting the MurshidMurid relationship and his walk towards Sufism.

 

Scenario 4

This is the more vocal one, scholars say that he came to Thatta as a Jew, having knowledge of Sufism and India. His meeting with a boy named Abhay Chand led to his transformation into Sufi and conversion into Islam.

The account goes that he saw Abhay Chand (18 year old son of a rich Hindu Trader) sing in a gathering multiple times and fell in love with him. This love help him transform into a Sufi.

Now this account of love has been interpreted by many as him being homosexual (in short a sexual love) by some scholars and making him more at odds with the Orthodox Islamic scholars. Since Islamic scholars or Mullahs abhor and detest such unnatural relationships. However such homosexual relationships were found to be common in Middle East and Central Asian region, so this might have led to interpretation.

There is another viewpoint of scholars stating that this was father-son type relationship or love. This can also be called as Teacher and student relationship in Sufi way of life, MurshidMurid relationship. Nothing of sexual nature, however since people like to put all love in sexual domains and enjoy scandalous things, Abhay Chand and Sarmad’s relationship was termed homosexual (to make fun of them in the eyes of more disapproving individuals).

It is said that Sarmad’s attachment to Abhay Chand let to his downfall, his items were all gone which he brought to sell. The ship in which he came, went back without him. The Governor of Thatta Province and Abhay Chand’s father tried to separate them, but were unsuccessful. In the end both were ostracized and asked to leave Thatta.

 

Note to the Reader on Abhay Chand & Sarmad relationship

I would like point here that the relationship between MurshidMurid has always been close in Sufism, it is a spiritual relationship and not of any sexual nature. There are many examples in this regard.

Such as relationship between Amir Khusroo and his master Hazrat Nizamuddin_Auliya

Amir Khusroo sang many songs in praise of his Murshid and voiced his love for him. Khusroo died within few weeks after the death of his master and his tomb lies only forty feet away from his master.

It is said in Sufism that there is no relationship more sacred than between Teacher and student.

Many Islamic Scholars favored by the royal court of Aurangzeb and currently many orthodox Islamist in world use this relationship to tarnish the clean image of Sarmad.

 

Sarmad’s search for God blurred the lines of religion, caste and creeds drawn by the society. He wrote verse in this regard:

“Who is the lover, beloved, idol and idol-maker but you?

Who is the beloved of the Kaaba, the temple and the mosque?

Come to the garden and see the unity in the array of colours.

In all of this, who is the lover, the beloved, the flower and the thorn?”

 

Life after Thatta

It is said that both (Sarmad and Abhay) left for Lahore, where Sarmad wrote many verses of Rubayat, which later become famous. He stayed there for 13 years and thereafter went to Golconda in south India (Currently known as Hyderabad, Telangana, India). From there both moved to Agra and finally in 1657, they came to Delhi and settled down at the Dargah of Khawaja Harey Bharey.

Sarmad taught Abhay Chand Arabic, Persian and Jewish. He helped him translate many works from Persian to Local language of India at the time.

Love of God

Life in Delhi

Sarmad reached Delhi on 1657 and in couple of years started to have a massive following. He use to reside near Delhi’s Meena Bazar (besides Jama Masjid).

During this time he came in contact to Dara Shikoh, who was eldest son of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz (Taj Mahal Couple). Dara was supposed to be crowned the next Mughal king. He was well read and had translated many texts to Persians from Indian religions. The most prominent of his translation was Upanishads. He was a devout Sufi of Qadiri order.

Fate had other plans for Dara and Sarmad, Dara’s youngest brother ‘the more radical’ Aurangzeb became the next Mughal king. Sarmad and Aurangzeb were ideological enemies, Sarmad stood for everything that Aurangzeb hated. Hence it led to many run-ins between both of them.

There are many legendary tails between Aurangzeb and Sarmad, but it can be attributed to stories people build for spirit and shape viewpoint of Sarmad and Aurangzeb’s supposed encounters.

On story goes that as Aurangzeb’s procession was passing through the streets of Delhi, he saw Sarmad sitting by the roadside. Aurangzeb ordered march to halt and demanded the mystic to cover himself. The peer or saint looked at him with wrathful eyes and said, ‘If you think I need to cover my nudity so badly, why you don’t cover me yourself ?’

When the emperor lifted the blanket lying on Sarmad’s side, he saw the bloodied heads of all the family members he had had secretly murdered. Bewildered, Aurangzeb looked at Sarmad, who said, ‘Now tell me, what should I cover — your sins or my thighs ?’

In another such story, Emperor Aurangzeb’s daughter, Princess Zebunnisa (she was eldest daughter and inspired by Sufism), saw Sarmad making clay houses on the roadside. After paying her respects, she inquired: ‘Are these for sale?’

‘Yes,’ Sarmad said, ‘I will sell them for some tobacco.’

Upon receiving the tobacco, Sarmad wrote around the border of one of the clay houses: This clay house is sold to Princess Zebunnisa for some tobacco. That night Emperor Aurangzeb saw a dream.

He was roaming around in Paradise, when he saw a beautiful palace. When he approached it, he was barred from entering it. Then he noticed that the palace had Princess Zebunnisa’s name written on it.

Sufi Sarmad Tomb1

Pic by JoydeepHazarika

Execution

Aurangzeb ascended throne on 1658 AD and had Sarmad executed in 1661 AD, after having Dara Shikoh executed in 1659 AD.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad referred to the Pro-Aurangzeb historian Sher Khan Lodhi in his writings, who described Sarmad in his book “Miras-ul-Khyal” in the following words:” Sultan Dara had an affinity to mad people so he became friend with Sarmad.”

Maulana Azad commented: “He (Lodhi) doesn’t know that there is set of scales in which this madness would outweigh all wisdom in the world. Dara was probably fed up with the pernicious wisdom of the likes of Aurangzeb that he preferred the company of Sarmad.” Sarmad suffered the same fate as Dara.

Azad adds – “Dara Shikoh had a unique mind and temperament and all should mourn the unfortunate day when his enemies triumphed.”

sarmand tomb location

The trial given to Sarmad was farce, orchestrated by the Islamic Mullahs (associated with modern day Salafis) in Aurangzeb’s court, Aurangzeb himself wanted to get rid of all those associated with his eldest brother Dara Shikoh.

Sarmad was dragged to the Qazi’s court where he was accused of defying the shariah by living naked. Sarmad had befitting replies to all of the Qazi’s accusations, and this frustrated him even more. In order to make him relent, the Mullah had Abhay Chand flogged in front of Sarmad. It is said that the whip lashed Abhay Chand’s flesh, but the pain was inflicted on Sarmad.
For the Mullah Qazi, Islam was a set of stern and inflexible laws (this is Salafi interpretation of Islam). For Sarmad, it was nothing but a message of love (Sufi Interpretation of Islam).

Aurangzeb knew that public of Delhi was behind Sarmad and if he gives him execution sentence on lesser crime like nakedness or being with Abhay Chand, it will create a rebellion. Hence he instructed Mullah that Sarmad be asked to recite Kalima-e-Tayyaba.

Aurangzeb knew Sarmad never use to finish the Kalima and this would be good enough reason for apostasy or Atheism.

Sarmad tomb -2

Pic by JoydeepHazarika

The Mullahs demanded that Sarmad should recite the kalimah shahada (acceptance of oneness of God), which “La Ilaha Illallah, Muhammad-ur Rasul Allah” (there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad SWT is the messenger of Allah), in order to prove that he was a true Muslim.
Sarmad refused to go beyond “La Ilaha,” which means there is no God, as he had still not found the end of his search for God. This enraged the Mullahs who awarded him death sentence. Hence, Sarmad was dragged through the streets of Delhi and promptly beheaded.

A story goes, that Sarmad emerged victorious in death. He picked up his severed head much to the fright of his executioners. Then he started to climb the stairs of the Jama Masjid, while mocking the emperor and his false men of God all the while. In his death, Sarmad had the one God, testifying to the truth of his own understanding of Islam.

At the moment he was about to enter the Jama Masjid mosque, a voice called him out from the grave of Harey Bharey and asked him to relent as he had reached the end of his journey and had united with God at last. Sarmad turned round and went to Harey Bharey’s tomb. There he was buried by the side of Harey Bharey, where they share a common Dargah today.

The curse of Sarmad fell on Aurangzeb as the Mughal Empire gradually crumbled in front of his very eyes. He did not have any peaceful day in his old life.

 

Legacy

Sarmad would be best described as :

a Jew who became a Christian,

a Christian who became a Muslim,

a Muslim who became a Hindu and

a Hindu who renounced everything and became an Atheist.

His refusal to recite the full Kalima-e-Tayyaba led to him being classified as Kafir and apostate, thereby making him fit to be killed in Aurangzeb’s Empire.

His Martyrdom made him a revered figure, but his tomb does not seems to have that much footfall as of Chishti order Sufis.

Sarmad will always be remembered more as the most fearless Sufi in Delhi, who challenged Emperor and his ‘bigot’ Islamist Mullahs’ interpretation of Islam.

I would like to point it here that, I being a native of Delhi, never went to his tomb. Even though I have gone to Jama Masjid area innumerable times for food and Chandani Chowk to purchase books. Infact I didn’t even know where his tomb resided, it is situated in Meena Bazaar lane. However, I must say that it was a very fulfilling experience knowing about Sarmad Kashani, a Qadiri Sufi. I have been more familiar with only Chishti Sufis. India offers you many answers on spiritual level, it is just that people are not aware of the place to look at.

meena bazar

 

References:

http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/N7FBbGjeLotufVA8sLjyUM/Delhis-Belly–The-real-naked-fakir.html

http://apnaorg.com/books/english/rubayat-sarmad/rubayat-sarmad.pdf

http://www.merinews.com/article/sufi-sarmad-kashani-challenged-fanaticism-in-life-and-bigotry-in-his-death/15881111.shtml

http://zoya-thewayofasufi.blogspot.in/2011/05/sarmad-heretic-sufi-apostate.html

http://razarumi.com/stories-of-sarmad/

http://archives.deccanchronicle.com/130904/commentary-op-ed/commentary/sarmad-shaheed-fearless-sufi

http://beyondheadlines.in/2013/05/sarmad-shaheed-the-martyr-of-love/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ge6H59aabN4

http://www.gutenberg.us/articles/sarmad_kashani

http://mylikhoni.blogspot.in/2011/06/martyr-of-love.html

http://www.thedelhiwalla.com/2014/02/06/city-faith-hazrat-sarmad-shahids-dargah-near-jama-masjid/

The One — Sarmad Kashani

Sarmand Shaheed

“Although hundreds of friends
Have become my foes,
The friendship of One
Has given security to my soul.
Rejecting many I have embraced the One-
At last
I am He and He is me.”     
― Sarmad Shaheed, The Rubaiyat of Sarmad

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29 Feb – Leap Year

29 Feb 2016         leap-year

Finally another Leap year. It is fascinating to get 29 February every four years. Considering that February on “normal” year will have 28 Days and not 30 days (as other months), leap year is special.

More fun is the question regarding those children who are born on this date, technically they spend their birthdays every 4 years 😀 . Though legally in many countries, there birthday is considered as 1 March (for passport and driving license purposes).

In United Kingdom and Hong Kong, when a person born on February 29 turns 18 in a non-leap year, they are considered to have their birthday on March 1 in the relevant year.

In New Zealand, a person born on February 29 is suppose to have their birthday on February 28 in non-leap years, for the purposes of Driver Licensing under the Land Transport (Driver Licensing) Rule 1999. I really need to check its legality in India also. 😀

 

However, It seems that there was a major drawback for you to be born on 29 Feb (Leap year)

There are estimated five million people with Feb. 29 birthdays, also known as leapers. Insurance companies, banks and other major organizations often didn’t recognize leap day as a valid date, forcing people to choose either Feb. 28 or March 1 as their birthday.

 

Question arises then why is leap year there ?

leap year1

Leap Years are needed to keep our modern day Gregorian calendar in alignment with the earth’s revolutions around the sun. It takes the earth approximately 365.242199 days or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds to rotate once around the sun. This is referred to as a tropical year.

leap year

Neil deGrasse Tyson puts it very nicely about the Leap year and working of Gregorian Calender.

Wait 28 Years for leap week or 112 years for Leap Month (what will happen to babies born during this time :D, wait 28 years to celebrate birthday or try waiting 112 years for those born in that month.)

There are some fun facts which BBC pin pointed about the leap, nice to read.

 

References:

http://www.rd.com/culture/leap-year-facts/

http://www.roanoke.com/life/leap-year-fun-facts/article_a68ef523-da79-5bc1-8bcf-9c6cbc85e520.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/12177017/Leap-Year-2016-Why-does-February-have-29-days-every-four-years.html

http://www.thestar.com/life/2016/02/26/five-facts-about-leap-year.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/9113311/Top-20-craziest-facts-about-leap-years.html

http://beachsidela.com/its-leap-year-2016/

 

Seeker — Rumi

Seeker

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

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Heart — Rumi

12004110_10153649047348185_4985215481734650703_n

I looked in temples, churches and mosques.
But I found the Divine within my Heart.   — Rumi

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Dirt — Shams Tabrizi

Dirt

The real dirt is not outside, but inside, in our hearts.

We can wash all stains with water.

The only ones we can’t remove is the grudge and the bad intentions sticking to our hearts.

—Shams Tabrizi

krishna_radha

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.

krishna-stealing-the-cloths-of-the-gopis- painting

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.

Krishna and Balaram fight the Yadu Dynasty

Krishna and Balaram fight the Yadu Dynasty

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.

Marriages

 Kṛṣṇa had 8 queens who are collectively called the Ashtabharya—including Rukmini, Satyabhama, Jambavati, Kalindi, Mitravinda, Nagnajiti, Bhadra and Lakshmana

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

Arjun and Kṛṣṇa

krishna-arjuna

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.

Draupadi and Kṛṣṇa

Draupadi_Krishna

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.

Karna and Kṛṣṇa

BGKrishnaArjunaKarna

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).

 

Bhishma and Kṛṣṇa

Bhishma and Krishna

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.

Death

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 On management

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.

 

Kṛṣṇa in today’s world:

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.

Eternal Being —kabir

Etrenal being

 

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

Belong — Rumi

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“My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there.” — Rumi

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