Category: Culture


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

2004_10151925031748185_1851680631_n

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

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Satisfaction —- Rumi

Lover of Knoweldge

Two there are, who are never satisfied ;

The lover of the world and the lover of Knowledge. —– Rumi

Journey —- Shams Tabrizi

Journey

 

“Wherever you go, east, west, north or south, think of it as a journey into yourself  !

The one who travels into itself travels the world.” —- Shams Tabrizi

 

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Kurukshetra

 

There are some very nice Mahabharat quotes, which I would like to share with the reader.

From the first book Adi Parva :

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 lamentingBaka-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.

 

Reference link:

http://blog.abhinavagarwal.net

Bhima

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 was older to Duryodhan and was constantly at war with him much like Arjun was at war with Karna.

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.

Birth:

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Slaying Kirmira

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.

Back-To-Godhead-Bhima-Attaked-To-Raksasa

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.

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Killing Jatasura

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.

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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).

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Defeating Jimuta

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.

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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 .

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Susarma’s defeat

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.

Bhima1

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.

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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.

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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.

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Bheema

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhima

http://backtogodhead.in/bhima-fights-the-man-eater-translated-from-sanskrit-by-hridayananda-dasa-goswami/ 

http://anandatirtha.wordpress.com/parampare/the-greatness-of-bhima/

http://anandatirtha.wordpress.com/2009/03/22/the-significance-of-18/

http://mahabore.wordpress.com/2013/10/12/the-story-of-jayadratha/

http://books.google.co.in/books?id=HkUQYvw2HGkC&pg=PA191&lpg=PA191&dq=killing+of+hidimb&source=bl&ots=J398VT0rkY&sig=TIwmpRl1x-F1_BtvH7iBPOdkspU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=VVwiU8GjFYX3rQe9kYCwBw&ved=0CE8Q6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=killing%20of%20hidimb&f=false

Ocean — Kabir

Ocean

 

“All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop.” —Kabir

 

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You owe me — Hafez

Owed

“Even
After
All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,

“You owe me.”

Look
What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.” —- Hafez

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Emptiness

“When everyone is trying to be something, be nothing.

Range with emptiness.

Human should be like a pot.

As the pot is hold by its emptiness inside,

human is hold by the awareness of his nothingness.”   —- Shams Tabrizi

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yudhishtira

He was the eldest son of Pandav and Kunti and the Kings of Pandavas. He was someone with an impeccable Judgment and one who spoke the truth. In the War of Mahabharat broke out because there was claim for kingdom which was rejected by his arrogant cousin Duryodhan.

Yudhistra in true terms can be classified as a generous and noble king but he would not be able to win anything on his own, here the support of his brothers was a crucial point. Yudhistra was trained in religion, science, administration and military arts by the Kuru preceptors, Kripa and Drona. Specifically, he became a master in using the spear

Yudhistra was beta male who lived in the shadows of Alpha male brothers like Bhīma and Arjun. He would be rated  equivalent to Nakul and Sehdev in Warfare, whom many writers consider as incompetent sidekicks. He is a good man and someone who should rule but foolish and sometimes lets ego get better of him (which is certainly not a good characteristic of a man with good judgment), the biggest example was his gambling in which he lost everything even himself.

Birth

Birth of Yudhistra is conceding with the fact that Pandu his adoptive father is cursed that he would die if he has sex with anyone which includes his two wife because he killed a sage and his wife.

He had asked Kunti to call gods to impregnate her and the first god she invokes with her mantra is Yama, god of death and Judgment, interestingly many folk tales mention that Yama is god of Sun much like Manu (The one who wrote scriptures for Ancient Indian and made Brahmins at top of ladder, amusing and laughable, as such thoughts are written by priests to make them higher up and then exploit masses).

After he was born he was named Yudhistra, he had other names too, namely Ajatshatru (the one with no enemies).

Teachings and Personality

There is a story in Mahabharat in which when Drona Kuravas and Pandavas teacher was teaching a lesson to the about Truth.

Another where he and his brothers were sent off to 13 year exile, they went to a lake one by one and did not return after which Yudhistra went looking for them.

Lord Krishna introduced Himself to Yudhisthira

However, His personality is not as perfect as many would like it to be or what some ‘scholars’ like to projects as. If he is a good king with better judgment, the question comes why would such a man bet his wife  ? (here Let me point out that I do not sympathies with the character of highly egoistic Draupadi )

Why would such a man gamble on the first place, is his ego getting better of him?

However, Yudhisthira’s true personality is was shown in his unflinching adherence to truth and righteousness to fulfill one’s moral duty, which were more precious to him than royal ambitions, material pursuits and family relations.

He rescued Bhima from Nahusha. He also rescued his four brothers from Yaksha by exemplifying not only his immense knowledge of Dharma, but also understanding its finer implications.

His understanding of Dharma was distinct from other kings. He had Bhima marry an outcast Rakshasi, he denounced casteism, saying a Brahmin is known by his actions and not his birth or education, thus portraying a changeable Dharma that modifies itself to suit the times.

Due to his piety, Yudhisthira’s chariot did not touch the ground (until his deception of Drona), to symbolize his purity. This means he was well regarded as a wise and pious man even by his enemies.

One day while living in exile in the forest, Yudhisthira finds that while attempting to drink water from a lake, all his brothers have been killed by a mysterious Yaksha (a celestial entity). When Yudhisthira arrives, the Yaksha challenges him to answer all his questions or else face the same consequences as his brothers. These questions-answers are like Vedic sutras, short, pithy and practical, and deal with piety and religiosity.

 

Yudhisthira and Yaksha

In order to save his brothers Yudhistra gave answers to Yaksha’s questions.

Yaksha:: Who is really a helpful companion ?

Yudhisthira: Steady intelligence is a very good friend, and can save one from all dangers.

Yaksha: How can one acquire something very great ?

Yudhisthira: Everything desirable can be attained by the performance of austerity.

Yaksha: What is amrita (nectar)  ?

Yudhisthira: Milk is just like nectar.

Yaksha: What is the friend bestowed upon man by the demigods  ?

Yudhisthira: Wife is such a friend.

Yaksha: What is the best of happiness  ?

Yudhisthira: True happiness comes as a result of contentment.

Yaksha: Why does one give in charity to brahmanas, artists, servants and kings  ?

Yudhisthira: For religious merit, prestige, maintenance and protection, respectively.

Yaksha: Why does one forsake friends  ?

Yudhisthira: Lust and greed drives one to forsake friends.

Yaksha: What is the only food  ?

Yudhisthira: The cow is the only food, for the milk that she produces is used to make ghee (clarified butter), which is used to perform sacrifices, pleased by which the demigods give rain, which causes the grains to grow. Therefore it should be understood that the cow is the root cause of all kinds of food.

Yaksha: What is the king of knowledge  ?

Yudhisthira: Knowledge pertaining to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the king of all kinds of knowledge.

Yaksha: What is ignorance  ?

Yudhisthira: Not knowing one’s constitutional duty.

Yaksha: What is the best bath  ?

Yudhisthira: That which cleanses the mind of all impurities.

Yaksha: What is real charity  ?

Yudhisthira: Real charity is protecting one from the onslaughts of material nature.

Yaksha: Since dharma (virtue), artha (profit) and kama (desire) are opposed to each other, how can they co-exist harmoniously  ?

Yudhisthira: These three become congenial to one another when one has a virtuous wife.

Yaksha: Who is condemned to everlasting hell ?

Yudhisthira: When one promises a brahmana charity, but upon his arrival refuses to give him charity.

Yaksha: What make one a brahmana, birth, learning or behavior ?

Yudhisthira: It is behavior alone that make a person a brahmana. Even one who is expert in the four Vedas, born of brahmana parents, but whose behavior is not proper, should be considered a sudra.

Yaksha: Who is pleasing ?

Yudhisthira: A person who speaks in a pleasing manner.

Finally the Yaksha asked Yudhisthira four questions of great significance:

Yaksha: Who is truly happy ?

Yudhisthira: One who cooks his own food (is not dependent on anyone), is not a debtor (does not spend more than he can afford), does not have to leave home to make in order to earn his livelihood (does not over endeavor for material things) is truly happy.

Yaksha: What is the most wonderful thing ?

Yudhisthira: The most amazing thing is that even though every day one sees countless living entities dying, he still acts and thinks as if he will live forever.

Yaksha: What is the real path to follow in this life?

Yudhisthira: The best path is to follow in the footsteps of the pure devotees, for they are the actual Mahajanas whose hearts are the sitting places of the real truths regarding religion.

Yaksha: What is news? (that is What is real situation in the material world ?)

Yudhisthira: The material world is like a frying pan. The Sun is the fire, the day and nights are the fuel. The passing seasons are the stirring ladle, and time is the cook. All living entities are being thus fried in this pan. This is the real news of what is happening in the material world, which is a miserable place full of ignorance.

These questions and answers cover a wide gamut of instructions from being successful to pious to religious. Pleased by the answers of Yudhisthira, the Yaksha who was none other than Dharmaraja/ Yama/ Hades (the father of Yudhisthira and the embodiment of religiosity) revives all the brothers of Yudhisthira and offers him many benedictions.

Death

There is a story which is told after Mahabharata was finished about when all five brothers and their common wife Draupadi walk together to a mountain before their end.

Yudhistra On management

He is a leader who gives value to Judgement and righteousness, if he has able commanders working under him like Yudhistra had it in the case of his brothers. Then he can become a near perfect leader.

He would be fair in terms of decision making but at the same time will have human failings. His personality would help him create and recreate organizations which would then run on the principles of Truth, thereby creating credibility.

Yudhistra in today’s world:

He is someone who would be an idealist like Bhishma but not Bhishma in every sense, particularly warfare.

Yudhisthira

ARJUN— Son of Indra/Zeus

Arjun

I write about Arjun exactly after a year, I wrote about Karna. I can honestly say that many individual’s response against Karna put me off to write about Arjun. Arjun was someone who was born into privileges and had things easy compared to karna plus he had the blessing of Krishna, but these things should not be interpreted as the reason for correctness of so called greatness.

 

Pandav

The story of Arjun again cannot start or end without addressing curse on Pandu. Although, Arjun was known as Pandava but he was not the son of Pandu in biological terms.  Pandu was cursed by a sage that he will die moment he tries to have sexual relations with any woman who included his wives.

This curse was owing to the fact that Pandu had killed the sage and his wife while they were have intercourse mistaking them for a deer (I still cannot believe, how did THAT happen, it was hell of a mistake, though it has been documented that the sage had transformed himself as a deer and so did his wife, additionally they were doing their mating stuff when Pandu shot them)

The curse was:

“What you have done is a heinous act which does not suit a king. Even the worst of humankind would not have killed a mating pair of animals. I am Rishi Kindam and I usually roam the forests like a deer. You have killed me without any reason. You will not be blamed for killing a Brahmin as you did not know that I was one, but you killed me when I was with my wife, so I curse you that whenever you make love with your wife you will die immediately.”

So Pandu now unable to give birth to sons or daughter (now we don’t need to be all chauvinistic here) let go of his kingly duties and left for forest along with his two young wives.  The desire for a son was so huge for Pandu that he asked Kunti about the “gift” she can demand of any god and the gift was a son. The ancient text or should I say some priests give a very naïve interpretation of Mahabarat and the birth of these three sons plus Karna  (as though they just landed up in her arms and she caught them just like you catch a cricket ball, yeah right).

Kunti gave birth to 4 sons by 4 different gods, 3 were known as Pandavas after Pandu and that last son she gave birth to was by god Indra or sometimes referred to as Zeus by the Greek mythology ( India and Greece has a lot of shit in common) .

There is a word for such process , it is called niyoga an alternate to it would be something like artificial insemination, however in the case of niyoga there is proper intercourse between second man and the wife of the man who is impotent, so that the  woman can get impregnated and bear child, a practice employed in ancient India. (One can bet that the husband’s ego would be all but destroyed in this process, giving your wife to someone else so that he could impregnate her, not to mention enjoy her innumerable times in the meantime, authors have written that Kunti had seen the feeling of ecstasy in the face of her lovers, similar to the one she saw on Pandu’s face when he died after having sex with his second wife because of the curse .  I however feel that the fem-nazi of the world would be ecstatic of the situation an act which allows them to humiliate a man, there by propagating their view point of woman emancipation and empowerment, fascinating stuff.)

Some authors also quote this as the reason for Pandu’s frustration.

Arjun

Arjun’ s name and teachings

Mahabharat states that god’s sang when Arjun was born, this was owing to the fact that he was Indra’s son (Commander of gods like Zeus). He was trained in religion, science, administration and military arts by the Kuru and Dronacharya (who considered Arjun to be his best student).

Arjun also was called by many names:

  • Arjuna – one of taintless fame and glow like silver (Argentum)
  • Phalguna – one born on the star of Phalguna
  • Jishnu – conqueror of enemies
  • Kiriti – one who wears the celestial diadem, Kiriti, presented by Indra
  • Swetavahana – one with white horses mounted to his chariot
  • Bibhatsu – one who always fights wars in a fair manner
  • Vijaya – victorious warrior
  • Parth or Partha – Son of Pritha or Kunti. Incidentally his father is the Lord of Heavens, Indra.
  • Savyasachi – Skillful in using both arms, ambidextrous.
  • Dhananjaya – one who conquers bows (dhanu) referring to his skills as an archer.
  • Gudakesa – One who had thick hair; gudha: dense and kesha: hair.
  • Kapi Dhwaj – Having flag of Kapi (Monkey) in his chariot. (Arjuna’s flag displayed an image of Hanuman from a previous encounter)
  • Parantap – one who concentrates the most, destroyer of enemies from his concentration

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Arjun and Krishna

Krishna’s role in Arjun’s life is of great importance and in my view far greater than Dronacharya’s presence.  Dronacharya was no doubt Arjun’s teacher who taught him warfare and made him a great archer. It was however, Krishna’s presence which saves Arjun many times and the knowledge of philosophy which Krishna provides to Arjun is in today’s era known as Bhagavad Gita, something which is of great importance to the South-Asian culture (not necessary to a term Hindu, on which I shall write).

Krishna’s connection to Arjun is also with the marriage alliance in which Krishna’s half-sister Subhadhra was married to Arjun, it is said that Krishna encourage the match of Subhadhra and Arjun. Through this union was born Abhimanyu (I must admit here that for longtime; I thought Abhimanyu was son of Draupadi, thank god he wasn’t, I donot like the character of Draupadi much owing to her egoistic behavior).

Krishna was however the reason for Arjun to marry Draupadi and reject Karna.

Krishna also plays major role in trying to get the rights of Pandavas, which led him to conflict with Duryodhan.  During the battle of Kurushetra, Krishna eggs Arjun to kill Karna owing to the fact that Karna was responsible for Arjun’s son’s death and Draupadi’s humiliation. Even though Krishna knew about the fact that there were many players in that scenario.

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Draupadi

Arjun’ story has another major character without mentioning whom Arjun’s life will not be complete. She is Draupadi. The wife of all 5 Pandavas, but there is a story behind it too.  In Draupadi’s “Swayam Varam” where a woman is allowed to choose her husband, Arjun along with his brother went there dressed as Brahmin. Duryodhan had come there along with Karna. In that marriage ceremony as task was required to be done, that is to pierce the eye of a fish with arrow. When Karna went to pick up the bow for the task, Draupadi insulted Karna by calling him son of a charioteer who dared thought of marrying a princess. Her exact words were “A man who live off a king’s goodwill, how can he protect my honour.” Krishna also played a spoilsport here by instigating Draupadi. At that very moment Duryodhan appoints Karna as the king of Anga.

arjun-the-warrior

Anyhow, after Karna was so called “debarred” by that egoistic Draupadi. Now enters Arjun, disguised as Brahmin.  Naturally he shoots well and wins. Here, it is tried to be said that he is Brahmin and his entry should be invalid, but again Krishna comes to rescue with his sweet talk.

Arjun then takes Draupadi to his home in order to show his new bride to his mother. He asks his mother to come out, so that he can show her what he has brought for her. His mother Kunti (full of accidental errors, read Karna) does another blunder by saying that “whatever you have got share it with your brothers”.  Whether, that was to the horror or to the delight of Draupadi, I leave that thought to the choice of the reader. Reader may also question that it was just an accidental error, why did they go ahead with it. Well, they were living a life that time in which whatever you say needs to be done, so kunti’s accidental error needed to be followed. However, Yudhistra (the wise one) could have prevented it by his sweet talk and understanding but I guess his desire lied elsewhere.

So now Draupadi won by Arjun became Panchali, the one with five husbands.

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Other Marriages:

Arjun is also married to Ulupi ( naga princess) and Chitrangadaa (Princess of Manipur). Both the sons by the respective princess were left with their mothers.

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Exile and Curse of Urvashi

The pandav were exiled after being humiliated for failing the game of dice in which they lost everything, their kingdoms and got their wife stripped (very honorable conduct). During exile they were cursed in the way that for year they have live in anonymity and if they were found somehow, they will have to begin their 13 year exile again. So not only they had to go on exile, the Pandavas were left with the game of hide and seek with kauravas who were in a hurry to find them and repose longer exile terms.

During these 13 years for one year Arjun was forced to live like an eunuch owing to the curse of Urvashi (the hot as hell cheerleader of Lord Indra a.k.a Zeus, if you wish to imagine her beauty then go for the hottest  female you have ever seen in your life and now raise it to the power of 10, it is a mathematical thing).

Urvashi

Now imagine that this female whom everyone in the world is dying to mate with, Arjun in his righteousness shuns her advance. Question is what she will do now ? It would be usual what a hot as a hell furious woman would do, BURN the house down. She sent Arjun straight to her interpretation of hell, which is impotency for one year.

This was during the time when Arjun was invited to the kingdom of his father in heaven and he was staying there for some time after he was rewarded with various weapons by many gods.

It is during this year that he taught in Place of King of Virata to his daughter Uttra. Once the curse was complete the king wanted Uttra to be married to Arjun, but Arjun stated that as he has been her teacher it would not be right in the duty of Dharma, to which the king was displeased. In this situation Arjun offered a better solution of his son by Subhadhra (half sister of Krishna ) to be married to Uttra. This proposal was readily accepted by the King. Abhimanyu was married to Uttra when both were 14-15 years old (child marriage).

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Kurushetra war and Bhagavad Gita:

In this war Arjun was responsible for death of Bhishma, Karna and Jayadratha. The last one he held responsible of killing Abhimanyu.

Before the war began, Arjun was full of doubts of fighting his own brothers and teachers. To resolve this issue, Krishna came into picture in which he gave Arjun the knowledge of Dharma in which he told Arjun it was necessary for him to fight his cousins, grandfather and Teachers for greater good because all of them have forgotten true Dharma. Particularly they are supporting Duryodhan who is just after Pandavas due to ego of childhood, motivated by his evil maternal Uncle shakuni. Krishna also informs Arjun that where were these elders when your wife was being stripped, when your property was being taken away and when you were being humiliated by them.

In order to bring balance back to world, Arjun needs to fight them and kill them if needed, which included his beloved Great Grandfather Bhishma. He informs Arjun that it is his duty/ dharma to fight as he was a warrior.

In the war Arjun uses Shikhandi to kill Bhisma who was the reincarnation of princess Amba to whom Bhisma had refused marriage and she had set herself on fire. He kills Karna when Karna is armless (and riddled with curses of his life).

Arjuna

Arjun On management

Now this one is very interesting, Arjun is nothing without his two teachers Drona and Krishna. No doubt he had a potential since he was a child. It was however this potential which was harnessed by both of his teachers. Many authors write that Arjun was of clean image, well it is their interpretation.  Success of Arjun on management is someone who looks up to his/her teachers in their daily duty and asks for their advice, even if that advice pitches him/her against his family. In short who fights for Dharma or righteousness under the guidance of a mentor.

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Arjun in Today’s world

Arjun is someone born in prosperity and is gifted. The best analogy is a rich American kid, good in grades, goes to Ivy League University and then fights the so called “bad” world. In India too, it would be someone born in elite society and has all privileges but at the same time is intelligent too, unlike karna who was raised in poor family but was very intelligent.

PS: There was one anime movie also which came on Arjun the warrior prince, which I believe was a good effort. But was no box office success. The creators could have created Mahabharat on the line of Harry potter or Lord of The ring series in which there were 8 and 4 grand movies respectively.

References :

http://innertraditions.blogspot.in/2009/08/understanding-mahabharata-riddle-of_6378.html

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http://www.hinduhumanrights.info/why-did-krishna-choose-arjuna-instead-of-karna-drona-o-bhishma/

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http://anakinturnsevil.blogspot.in/2011/03/mahabharat-13-lucky-arjun.html

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http://www.flipkart.com/arjuna-saga-pandava-warrior-prince/p/itmdgqv6qftqvvja?pid=9789381576397&ref=0c2a387c-e71c-47f1-afdf-da8592745f3e&srno=s_1&otracker=from-search&query=arjuna

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