Monday, August 26, 2019

Mahanayaka of Mahabharata

Mahanayaka of Mahabharata

Mahabharata is popularly known as the war epic of Kauravas and Pandavas. It was ignited by the insult of Duryodhana by Dropadi during his visit to Indraprastha, followed by chirharan of Dropadi by Dushasan in Hastinapura. And it brought out the Mahanayaka of India, Lord Krishna. There are many stories and sub stories in the epic, but the major story and one of the major reasons of the war was the insult of Drona by Drupada, his childhood friend.

Kurus, Panchalas and Maghadhas were the three major kingdoms of North India. Kurus rules along Yamuna river and Panchalas ruled along the Ganga river. Drupad, the son of Panchala King Prishata was sent for Ashram Education to Rushi Bhardwaj. Rishi’s son Drona was of the same age, therefore, Drupada and Drona became friend. And they pledged to share each other’s fortune and Drupada promised that after ascending the throne, he would share half of his kingdom with Drona.

Thereafter, Drupada became the King of Panchalas and Drona after marrying Kripi, the daughter of Kurus priest Kripacharya, was living in poverty. When Parshurama was distributing his wealth he went to him. But by the time he reached, Parashurama had distributed all his wealth. However, in sympathy, he taught Drona all the ware fare knowledge he had. Drona then went back home to raise his son Ashwatthama. But one day, when other children were playing after drinking milk, Kripi applied paste of water and flour to the lips of Ashwatthama so that he could also say that he had drunk milk. The poverty disturbed Drona, pushed him to arrive to the court of his friend Drupad to seek help. But Drupad insulted him saying that friendship exists between equals and not between a king and a poor brahmin. If had hurt Drona to the core. He took pledged to take revenge of the insult.

Drona then became the teacher of Kauravas and Pandavas, created the best warrior Arjun. In Gurudakshina, he told them to capture Drupad. Arjuna captured Drupad and Drona snatched one half of his kingdom to the north of river Ganga. The Kuru kingdom of Hastinapura grew faster with great warriors like Bhisma, Drona, Arjun, Duryodhana, Karna, etc. Humiliated from the defeat, to recapture his strength, Drupad was searching for a great warrior to marry his beautiful daughter Krishnaa who could outstrip Drona and his disciples. He raised the query before Rishi Sandipani during his visit to Panchala. He suggested few names but Drupad asked him to get Krishna Vasudev to marry his Krishnaa. Lord Krishna became famous by routing Jarasandha, destroyed Kalyavana and killed Karavirapura Vasudev. Rishi Sandipani then went to Dwarka and presented the offer of Drupa before Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna calculated the pros and cons. Accepting the proposal was making him enemy of Pandavas and rejecting it was making the union of Drupad (Panchala-UP) and Jarasandha (Maghadha-Bihar). He met Drupad and the meeting led to a famous Swayamvara of Dropadi (Krishna), the beginning of a great game of politics making Lord Krishna the Mahanayaka. 

After Lakshagriha event, everybody was believing that Pandavas had died but Krishna being a Lord was knowing the truth. He and Balram went to the Swayamvara, but when all the eyes were at Draupadi, the most beautiful lady of the time, (it was said that the lotus fragrance of her body was spreading to a yojan-13 kms), Lord Krishna was watching five Brahmins standing in a corner. He couldn’t recognise the four but was sure about the fifth, his disciple and friend Arjuna. Arjuna won the Swayamvara, and as per the tradition or by words of Kunti, Draupadi married to five Pandavas, but remained a close friend of Lord Krishna. The kingdom of Hastinapura was divided and Dhutrastra gave Indraprastha to Pandavas. During the visit of Duryodhana to Indraprastha, when he fell down on the illusion pond, Draupadi laughed at him and said, ‘the blind man’s son is also blind’. It could’ve been taken as a lighter joke between brother in law and sister in law, but it hurt Duryodhana to his core. He invited Pandavas to Hastinapura for Gotra yagya. And with the dice tricks of Shakuni, Yudhisthira lost his kingdom and Draupadi in dice gamble with Duryodhana. She was dragged to the court by her hair and was disrobed by Dushasana. Krishna was not present in the court. The old men Bhisma, Dhutrastra, Vidur, Dronacharya, Kripacharya, etc, became silent due to the terms of the agreement. Draupadi was saved by her Dharma. The Dharma of legal arguments. She raised the voice and questioned the validity of her being wager. As her husband after losing himself in the gamble became slave and the slave had no right to his wife, and therefore the wager was invalid. She warned Dhritarashtra for the dire consequences and her humiliation was put to an end. She was saved by herself, by her Dharma of defence. She left to the forest with her five husbands for thirteen years as per the terms of the agreement of the lost game. But she couldn’t forget and forgave the insult to her dignity. When Lord Krishna met her in the forest after the event of the insult, she had questioned him too. Why was she humiliated in public? What was the value of she becoming the daughter of brave King Drupad, wife of five great warriors Pandavas and a friend of Lord Krishna? Lord Krishna promised her that the revenge of her humiliation would be taken. The war of Mahabharata was fought and except twelve survivors, all the warriors of 18 Akshauhinis armies of both the sides were killed. On thr 15th day of the war, Drona killed Drupad and he was killed by Drupad’s son Dhristradyumna. One Akshauhini equals to 21870 Chariots, 21870 elephants, 65610 cavalry and 109350 soldiers. Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu couldn’t prevent the events of the wars and the destructions. 

India from those days more reactive to insults and carries a culture of dislikes then the likes. The insult of Drona by Drupad was the seed of the war of Mahabharata that made Lord Krishna the Mahanayaka of India. His preaching of Gita to Arjun at the battlefield of Kurukshetra is the lighthouse for all those who are searching for peace, solutions and liberation. 

Jai Shree Krishna.

Punamchand
25 August 2019

Friday, August 2, 2019

जिजीविषेत् शतं समाः

जिजीविषेत् शतं समाः

कुर्वन्नेवेह कर्माणि जिजीविषेत् शतं समाः।
एवं त्वयि नान्यथेतोऽस्ति न कर्म लिप्यते नरे ॥ (Ishawasya Verse.2)

इस संसार में कर्म करते हुए ही मनुष्य को सौ वर्ष जीने की इच्छा करनी चाहिये।इस प्रकार कर्म करते हुए ही जीने की इच्छा करने से मनुष्य में कर्म का लेप नहीं होता।

जिजीविषेत्, Upanishad tell us to desire for life not for the death. Life is a gift of God to be used for the service to the society. The attachment to worldly objects brings sorrow, bonding and disturbances. Attachments to them brings death and Detachment brings life. 

Whatever you have, enjoy but with detachment. तेन त्यक्तेन भुंजीथा:।त्याग द्वारा इसका उपभोग करना। 

Look at a Dog and a Crow. Dog is a faithful animal to its master but when it gets a bread, it will hold under the foot, look around and eats if another dog is not around. If another dog comes, it will bark, fight and ensures that it runs away. But look a crow, though not liked by humans for its unpleasant calls kraa kraa, but when a crow finds a bread, it will start cawing and call other crows to share the bread. And they eat the bread altogether peacefully without any fight. 

What do you prefer? An instinct of a dog or of a crow? 

शतं जीवेम शरद: But with the mantra “तेन त्यक्तेन भुंजीथा:”, जिसने छोड़ा उसने पाया।  मा गृधः कस्यस्विद्धनम्‌ ॥ Do not covet, for whose is wealth?

Punamchand
2 August 2019

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Animal in Human

Animals in Human

It was year 1960, Vijaychandra Gandhi, a student of BTex, after giving his last year’s examinations went to Vrajeshwari Temple, hot water springs at Ganeshpuri near Thane, Mumbai. He heard about an Avadhuta Nityanand Baba, whom people used to pray and get their desires fulfilled. He went there and stood up in the queue of Darshan. The Avadhuta was sleeping. When his turn came, he saw a 6 feet dark black man with big belly was sleeping carefree. He touched his feet and prayed. The Avadhuta was still sleeping, therefore, to attract his attention, he touched his stomach. The Avadhuta opened his eyes, looked at him and told Vijay, the son of —-father, —- mother, what do you want? Vijaychandra was surprised how could the Avadhuta knew his name and names of his parents. As usual, he prayed to get first position in the BTex examination he had given. The Avadhuta gave him chickoo fruit and blessed. Vijaychandra was unable to surpass the topper and was not expecting first rank because he knew his performance in the exam. But when the results were out, he secured first position. He then took a job in a factory in Srinagar and went to Rishikesh and Badrinath on religious tour in 1963. The Avadhuta died in 1962, he was unaware. After the morning Aarti at Badrinath Temple at 5AM, when he was moving out of the temple, somebody pat him on the back and told, Vijay the son of —-father, —- mother, had you been sent by Baba Nityanand? He was surprised, how did this man also knew about his details and his meeting with Baba Nityanand. He then took more interest in spirituality and went to Badrinath for 13-14 times during the period 1963-1974. He used to stay for 4-5 days and learn many things from the Anami Sadhu. Whenever, he tried to inquire about his name etc, the Sadhu told him, whoever has name will die. As the Sadhu was mobile, and there was no communication means, Vijaychandra inquired with him that how could he convey his arrival to Badrinath and meet him after he starts from Mumbai. As advised by the Sadhu, he would buy train ticket, put it on his open palm, and communicate to the Sadhu by Sankalp that he is reaching Badrinath at —date and —-time. Surely, the Sadhu was present at the spot during all his 13-14 visits.  If he desired for water, the Sadhu would hold the empty glass and it would fill with water. He would touch the stick and it would lit. Vijaychandra was more interested in money therefore, with his blessings, when gold price was ₹150/10 gm, he could raise ₹1.25 lakh and owned a mill. Later he moved to USA and settled there. The Sadhu taught him Kundalini, knowledge of Self, and the most important knowledge of futurology and watching animals in humans. After the departure of the Sadhu from this world, Vijaychandra came to know that he was Mr. Venkatraman, a Bar at Law and a retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India. He meets him when he remembers him even today and dialogues with him. The way of communication is different in colours and signs that he interprets correctly.

Each of us are resembling with one of the animals or birds around us. We carry the characters and nature of that animal/bird in human life and carry similar diseases and cause of deaths. Some complex personalities are mixed of more than one birds/animals. We the humans are the incarnations of the animals and birds around. Vijaychandra had studied the features of many birds and animals and by looking at the face, ears, eyes, legs, he will match the individual with one of the animals or birds, analyse and then predict his strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. As per their beliefs, the animals and birds are turning humans and after death they will again turn into animals. The cycle ends when one is self realised during human life.

His guru has given him Mantras that he uses for the welfare of the society and helping the people who come in his contact. He carries the same zeal and enthusiasm in his 80s.

I am sure, after reading this article, when you look at your face, eyes, ears, neck, etc, in the mirror and watch the hands, legs, the toes, the fingers, and most importantly study your nature, you will find one of the animals/birds in you. You may be Cow, Ox, Goat, Deer, Elephant, Horse, Dog, Cat, Tiger, Lion, Wolf, Fox, Rat, Crow, Eagle, Peacock, Parrot, Sparrow, etc. It may be a list of some 300-400 animals and birds. The simple test, the animal or the bird you like the most, mostly you are that only. It’s interesting. Study it well and check your physical and mental health problems, do the SWOT analysis and use the knowledge in solving problems and achieving goals. You will like or hate the company of other humans depending upon which animals or birds they are! Isn’t it interesting?

Enjoy watching animal-bird in you😜

Punamchand
30 July 2019

Thursday, June 27, 2019

SBR Clean Street Food Hub Ahmedabad

SBR Clean Street Food Hub Amdavad

A land owner of 9000 sqm land costing ₹200 CR in the costliest area of Sindhu Bhavan Road of Amdavad preferred profit to food street, invested ₹6 CR on infrastructure on shops and establishment and the street has been awarded the Clean Street Food Hub by the FSSAI, GOI. “If I sell the land, I get good money but what to do with that cash or bank balance. With the food street, the land is protected and it gives happiness when we see people enjoy their evenings with family friends and children and some people get employment”. The owner Ramanbhai Patel justified his investment. His son nick named Bhailoo had a good start up adventure in building the Clean Street Food Hub.

There are 41 food brands under one roof. Very recently this place has picked up as “we serve  everyone and everything”. People from all the ages can satisfy their palate here. There are some brands from the old city and some are the new ventures of the rather urban populace. Opened daily in the evening, at a time 750 people could be served in one session. Weekend there is a foot fall of about 3500 people.

One may start the evening with ‘9834’ serving all fruit related items and their Jamun shot being the cherry on the cake also adds a feather in the cap. ‘Ice Studio’ serves wonderful mocktails with jamun shots as their star product. Some may opt for ‘Sher Di’ which provides fresh sugarcane juice with some flavours you never heard off.  'Tropical Sno' an American brand for shaved ice preparations, which is a relief for summer heat and your thirsty throat, made with RO water and full flavours tastes as good as it looks. ‘Aarya's Grill’ is famous for their pull out bread and Pesto meal. ‘Sizzling Brownie’ as the name suggest serves different types of brownies and some shakes as well. ‘Friesacc’ serves different kind of potato fries, their curly fries is something you must try atleast once.

What do you have now? Chinese, Punjabi, South Indian, Mexican, Italian, Gujarati, Continental?

The stall brings the east to your platter with steamy momos, noodles and Indo-chinese.
With ‘Fondue Nation’ bringing a whole new trend of eating out of a Fondue pot the Malvani fondue is a must have. ‘Just Live’ which prepares a fusion Italian, Mexican and oriental which is all exceptional. ‘Food for Good’ serves Lebanese and authentic Mexican food there stars being burrito bowls and falafel rolls. ‘Belgians Waffwich’ gives Belgian waffle with different chocolates. ‘Indo-chinese Cuisine’ serving the paranthas of India is Apna paratha house as well. ‘Mishmash’ have IndoArabian food and their Manakeesh and Falafel wraps and outstanding hummus. ‘Nachos n More’ stays true to its name and have a wide variety of Nachos and a lot more. ‘Tandoori Sizzle' very popular for there Sizzlers and combos are perfect for a meal for one appetite. 'Stick with it' serving the best possible things that could be served on a stick like waffles and pirate twisters with combination of sauces.

For pizza lovers, ‘Chipotle from BBC’ is burrito bowls joint and most famous being the ‘woodfired pizza’ from BBC only adds a woody flavour to the pizza and is savoured by everyone. ‘Jashuben Shah old pizza’ is familiar to all Amdavadis and serves sandwiches and Gujarati style Pizzas. ‘Mobility’ which has been presenting there healthy fast-food like wheat pizzas, wheat burgers and wheat pastas is a hit amongst the health conscious fast food eaters. Architect husband has designed the grill and his wife is making the pizza. ‘Fat boys’ have the fresh dough pizzas with daily prepared sauces and defining an American Indian food style.

South Express takes you to the ‘South Indian lane’ with their family paper dosa which is five feet long. Gujarati pronounce dosa as Dhonsa, ‘Maharaja Dhonsa’ is one of the oldest name in Ahmedabad dosa lovers and they made their name from Manekchowk, their hit is ‘Ghotala’ Dosa.

‘Mahalaxmi Bhajipav’ again an age old name and know for their consistent taste in Pavbhaji still rules the heart of all food lovers. ‘Meraki’, experimenting with Pavbhaji and providing Kaala Bhaaji with an amazing taste and the ‘Tibbs Frankie’ at the same spot adds on to the menu.

‘Chana Zorr’ is one stall which serves only chana preparations with their outstanding chana tawa masala and Lachcha Parantha which is also a must try in this ‘Food Town’. ‘Social Lounge's barbeque peri peri paneer which is served with all world class Teas is healthy and flavourful, ‘Bowls of Buddha’ bringing food for soul and body have healthy ‘Quinoa salad’ bowls for  a healthy tummy.

‘Chat on chat GB’ brings the North Indian delicacy of chaat and panipuri with their Jaleba (bigger version of jalebi) is another reason why the crowd flocks to this stall.

For Khichadi lovers, ‘House of Khichdi’ from Big Bite cafe(BBC) is serving varieties of khichdi and the must have from that place is is Palak corn khichdi.

After eating all the healthy food, it’s time for best shakes in the town from the ‘Shake Maker’ who have a speciality thick shakes. ‘Asharfilal’ being famous for the best kulfi's in town. ‘Cryolab’ as the name suggest is cryogenic (using nitrogen) providing freshly churned  icecream with your favourite topping is again pleasing to all the senses. ‘Havmor’ being another coveted brand for icecreams and their monthly special flavours satisfy the sweet tooth of Ahmedabad. ‘Candy House’ is for spoiling the kids in sugar candies from all over the world there best is chocolate candies. The ‘Turkcream’ brings the Turkish flavours and style of serving which is also an entertaining thing to watch to Ahmedabad for the first time. ‘Chocolate Room’ which is in fact an Australian food brand which has recently picked it's pace in India and opened  lot _of_ franchises has offered chocolate bomb which is a delight not only for the tounge buy also to your eyes. Going next to pure beans and creams which is the must visit place at ‘SBR Social’ is very renowned for their coffees and home made desserts.

In you are in Amdavad or visiting Amdavad don’t miss the “Clean Street Food Hub SBR”. Kankaria Food Street in the East and SBR in the West are the best places to visit and feel the taste of Amdavad. Don’t miss enjoying evening with family and friends.

Punamchand
15 June 2019

Monday, June 3, 2019

Shakti-Chiti

Shakti-Chiti

Param Shiva is pure consciousness and massive bliss, omniscience, omnipotent and omnipresent. He is self shining illumination, full and independent himself. He is beyond thought construct, beyond grasp of mind, incapable of being described in words.

He manifests, transform himself into the universe out of his own free will and project the universe on the canvas formed by the divine illumination by displaying his nature as the Shakti. Like a picture reflects in mirror, the universe is manifested in the pure self. He is the Supreme Lord manifests himself without intervention of a second separate entity, by the operation of his ever vibrating divine Shakti-Chiti, his very nature.

He is Shambhu, an ocean of nectar, from which the massive current of the play of the Shakti-Chiti assuming the form of the waves of differences and shapes, thereby revealing the Supreme consciousness in gradual shapes. The knowledge becomes the object of knowledge. His trident is his Shakti, the power of will, knowledge and action hold in perfect equilibrium.

His Shakti takes five different expressions: Chiti Shakti (consciousness), Ananda Shakti (bliss), Iccha Shakti (volition), Jnana Shakti (knowledge) and Kriya Shakti (action).

Chiti Shakti, the divine Shakti that enables the Supreme Lord to reveal himself. By its power, he shines forth alone, experiencing himself as the pure ‘I’.

Ananda Shakti by which the Supreme Lord is full in himself, always satisfied and resting in himself.

Iccha Shakti through which the Supreme Lord has unlimited will to create.

Jnana Shakti by which the objects of the universe, manifestations of his self, are made conscious.

Kriya Shakti by which the Supreme Lord is able to manifest all of his intentions, manifest himself as each and every form during his creative activity.

The cycle of divine play of Shiva through his divine Shakti, moves by self limitation (nigraha), creation (sristi), sustenance (sthiti), absorption-cosmic destruction (samhara) and bestowal of grace (anugraha) putting an end to manifestation. Shiva + Shakti = manifestation.

There are 36 constituents, steps of descent into creation. Each higher is the cause of lower. Each higher is relatively more subtle than its next lower. The first 5 constituents are divine Shakti in pure form called Mahamaya and remaining 31 are called Maya (impure-manifestation). The first five are: Shiva, Shakti, Sadashiva, Ishvara, Shuddh Vidhya. The 8 are: Maya, kala kancuka, vidhya kancuka, raga, kala kancuka, niyati kancuka, Purusha, Prakriti. And the 23 are: buddhi (intellect), ahamkara (ego), manas (mind), five organs of knowledge, five motor organs, five subtle elements (शब्द, स्पर्श, रूप, रस, गंध), five gross elements (आकाश, वायु, अग्नि, जल, पृथ्वी).

Thus the universe, with its infinite variety of subjects and objects, is in reality it is the manifestation of Supreme Lord as the universe in his self expansion of his Shakti. Shakti-Durga opens herself out in creation. When she closes herself up or withdraws the universe disappears.

In short, the Supreme Lord manifests himself as universe by means of his free and independent will using his own Shakti as the material and himself as the screen on which he manifests. Everything manifest is a self manifestation of Supreme Lord and no different from him.

And what is liberation? To attain Supreme ‘I’ ness. To search and restore. He is You, the pure ‘I’, can conceal in bondage or liberate. Before body turns into dead body, till Shakti (life light) is present, one can make a choice. To bond or to liberate through the trident : will, knowledge and action.

Punamchand
3 June 2019

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Hangzhou, a beautiful Elegancy of the World

Hangzhou, a beautiful Elegancy of the World

Venetian merchant and travel adventurer Marco Polo came to China with his father and uncle in 1278. It took 7 years for them to voyage to China.  They stayed in China for 17 years and left in around 1292. It took them 8 years to returned to Italy. Marco stayed in Hangzhou for a year. In his book, ‘Il Milione’ - ‘The Travels of Marco Polo’, he described Hangzhou as the most beautiful elegancy of the world. Somebody asked him, is it so beautiful as you have described? What I wrote is not even the 1/10 of the actual beauty of Hangzhou, he replied. He recorded it the city greater than any in the world as it was a great centre of trade and commerce. Ibn Battuta, Moroccan explorer visited Hangzhau in 1345 described it as the biggest city he had ever seen. He was particularly impressed by the large number of well-crafted and well-painted Chinese wooden ships with colored sails and silk awnings in the canals. Hangzhou was three times a capital of China, one of the seven capitals of China. It is believed that Hangzhou was the largest city in the world from 1180 to 1315 and from 1348 to 1358.

Hangzhou, the capital of China’s Zhejiang province, is the southern terminus of the ancient Grand Canal waterway, which originates in Beijing. It sits at the head of Hangzhou Bay. Its beautiful West Lake (Xihu), is the most popular sight, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, celebrated by poets and artists since 9th Century. It encompasses islands, temples, pavilions, gardens, arched bridges and at southern side the ancient Lyngyin Pagoda. It’s perimeter is 15 km perimeter and the depth is around 1.5 to 2.7, and the Cultural Landscape covers an area of 3,323 hectares. There are two causeway across the lake. Buddhism gift of India to China, the Lotus flowers in the lake blossom in July in pink and white colours. People eat stems of lotus plant as vegetables and use leaves for cooking rice. Though not really broken but the ‘Broken Bridge’ in the middle of the lake is an attraction centre for the tourist. It is in east-west direction, therefore, when the snow melt due to Sunlight from the east, the western part of the bridge remains white with the snow cover, the Sun light creates an illusion of break of the bridge, therefore, called the broken bridge. The walkways were built with the dragged mud of the lake. On walk ways, there are beautiful Sigamo trees, expand their leaves in Summer to provide sheds and drop their leaves in winter to pass Sunshine over the walkers. They make the streets colourful in autumn when the leaves change colours. Adjacent to the lake includes historical pagodas, cultural sites, and hills, including Phoenix Mountain.

There is Buddhist Monastery Lyngyin, founded by an Indian Buddhist Monk Huili (Chinese name) in 328 AD during Eastern Jin Dynasty. It was reconstructed in 975 AD. The entry to the scenic area starts with a screen wall marked with inscription ‘the western heaven is within reach’. Entire area of Lingyin-Feilai is dotted with historic buildings and artwork, including pagodas, statues and centuries old trees. The largest Pagoda located near the entrance at the foot of Feilai Feng (Flying Peak) called Elder Li’s Pagoda houses the ashes of Huili. The peak is made of limestone and as per the legend, was brought from India, flew to Hangzhou overnight as a demonstration of the omnipotence of Buddhist law. In the cave of Bodhisatva Guanyin, one can see from a certain position ‘one thread of heaven’, a silver line of Sunlight comes from the crack of the ceiling upto the surface. Carved in the Song Dynasty (10-13 Century) with a length of 6.7 metres, the grotto contains relief sculptures depicting stories of eminent monks on their pilgrimages to India for Buddhist scriptures. The first features the story of ‘The White Horse Carrying the Buddhist Sutras” of the 1st Century about two Indian monks Matanga and Dharmaratha, the second features the story of Chinese Monk Zhu Shixing travelled to Western Asia in 3ed Century and the third features the pilgrimage of Master Xuanzang in 7th Century for Buddhist scriptures.

In the temple area, the first idol is of Veda the disciple of Buddha, made from one peace of camphor tree. The deity holds the Sword touching to the ground, suggests warm welcome to the temple but indicates no night stay! In the main temple, the 33.6 metre tall Mahavira Hall houses Statue of Shakyamuni (Buddha) carved from camphor wood is the largest wooden Buddhist statue in China. To the right and left of the Buddha four big size idols of four powerful deities of four directions are placed: to the right, east deity for knowledge and south deity for power; to the left west deity for water and north deity for the wind. There are twelve statues of Buddha’s twelve disciples, each representing twelve signs of zodiac and carries symbol of animal one each: horse, monkey, sheep, rooster dog, pig, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, ox, rat. Gyanyin, Bodhisatva Avalokitesvara and Medicine Buddha Bhsisajyaguru are important halls people visit and pray. The Hall of Five Hundred Arhats shaped like a Swastika, houses the bronze statues of 500 arahats, each carry different looks and seated on a unique ornate seat. At the centre, where the arms of the swastika join, stands a bronze canopy housing statues of four bodhisattvas.

And tired of a day walking, the tourists may relax with the on water live action spectacular show of 90 minutes “Enduring Memories of Hangzhou - Impression West Lake”, featuring a symphony orchestra and dazzling natural night scenes. It was firstly performed during the 2016 G20 Hangzhou Summit. The stage is 3 centimeters beneath the lake's surface. Tea-picking girls dressed in traditional folk clothes, dance of picking tea leaves trippingly in the tender night of the West Lake. Swan Lake appearing on the grand stage is an inventive creation. The ethereal ballet dancers and the miraculous projective images will offer a wonderful viewing experience. Unforgettable Jasmine Flower combines the famous Chinese folk song 'Jasmine Flower' with the Italian Puccini's opera 'Turandot', endowing the classical vocal musical with new western elements. When one Moon lit by electricity is in front of you and the real Moon is on the top of the head and a beautiful romantic dance play makes you feel like sitting in a heaven.

After the show, if you search for vegetarian meal, pick up HDL Restaurant for ‘Hotpot’ vegetarian delicious meal. Veggie may enjoy dishes of tofu, mashroom, fungi, soya stripes, corn, potatoes, etc, boiled in plain water or tomato soup. Rice plate with support dishes of peanuts, chilly sauce, fruits and green tea or barley tea make the meal delicious and complete. For non veggie, wider range of dishes are available. And if you are served by a Chinese host, you may taste many dishes as Chinese are known for ordering many dishes presenting their great hospitality. The food waste in Hangzhau alone may be 20 tones a day. Imagine how much they order, how much they eat and how much they waste! The quality of life of an average Chinese is no less than a rich of India in terms of food and clothing. You may pick up souvenir and other from the articles night market street that opens upto 10 pm. After a tired day, Sangrilla may be a Hotel for the VIPs but Hotel like Grand Wyndham can make the night restful.

Initiated by the reformist policies of Deng Xiaoping of 1978, Hangzhou grew very fast in last 25 years taking advantage of being situated in the Yangtze River Delta, now is one of the most populous city with a population of 6.2 million, also known as the city of opportunities. With the rise of the economy, it has created more jobs, increased population of the city. Service/tourism industry became the largest contributor with more number of hotels, restaurants, shops, tourists. There are hotels where the world leaders come, stay and enjoy the scenic beauty and hospitality of Hangzhou. House of Chiang Kai Shek (Premier of Republic of China 1928-45) is now turned into restaurants of famous brands McDonald and KFC. Apart from tourism, the manufacturing units of the goods adds up the GDP. It is emerging technology hub and home to the e-commerce giant Alibaba (Chinese), also hosted the 11th G20 Sumit in 2016. The administration maintained the environment of the city dust free and clean. Roads are regularly washed with guns mounted under the tankers. It will host Asian Games in 2022. If get a chance, do visit the elegancy of the world to enjoy the scenic beauty, historical monuments, show and hospitality of China.

Punamchand
2 June 2019

Friday, May 31, 2019

Param Shiva

Param Shiva, the Supreme Lord is called Pasupati Nath. Who is the Pasu? Pasu in general term refers to animals. But in Shaivism, it is the individual soul, the fettered being, concealed, limited being,imagines that he is material by nature bound by his actions, affected by the defilements, mineness, spiritual darkness, conditioned in birth, death, delusion, sufferings, happiness, etc; his experience of the Self in the not self, the physical body, objects, etc. Till he is ignorant of his true-real self and is living in this false experience of bondage, he is Pasu. And the Supreme Lord Param Shiva is his Nath as Pasupati.

And who is Param Shiva?

“I”, the pure consciousness, massive bliss and absolute freedom, the true nature as the Supreme Lord.

The bondage of the soul is imaginary, created by his own thought constructs. The journey from Pasu stage to Pasupati is the Sadhana. With divine grace, he liberates himself from the bondage by loosening his grip over the false self through the glory of knowledge of the true self, by experiencing himself as pure consciousness, the Param Shiva (omnipresent) endowed with Supreme Shakti (Durga-Chiti).

And all this world objects are his own glory, existing within himself. “I” is the soul of all that is manifested as the universe. From “me” (pure self), the entire universe with its infinite variety of subjects and objects emanates, manifests as somewhat different from the experiencing subject.

With the knowledge of true self, rope becomes rope, the snake doesn’t exist in a rope and can’t frighten of death.

Pasu can become the Pasupati. Jiva can become Shiva, Param Shiva.

ॐ नमः शिवाय।

Punamchand
31 May 2019

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Savarna

Savarna

Savarna and Avarna were identified as divisions of people in India. Some believe that there are four divisions of ‘four varnas’ of inequality by birth. Some believed that the term was brought by Aryans who migrated to India from Central Asia. Some believed that it was the colour of the skin (pigment) of the people as per their profession (working hours under the Sun), that was established as varna (colour) system in India. But there is one more belief, very different from above all and you may like it to know.

Sanskrit is an ancient language, described as the language of God. It’s grammar was composed by Panini in the 6th Century BC. Panini, Katyayan and Patanjali had created a grammatical platform of the language so well that today it is considered the most scientific language of the world. It is made of consonants and vowels. The base is the 14 Shiv Sutra, also called Maheshwar Sutra. 

नृतावसाने नटराजाराजो ननाद ढक्कां नवपन्चवारम्। 
उद्धर्तुकाम: सनकाद्सिद्धान् एकद्विमर्शे शिवसूत्रजालम्। 

Nataraj Shiva after completion of his Tandava (Cosmic) dance, sounded Damru 14 times and from which the 14 Shiv Sutras-Varnas created. These sounds create maintain regulate and destroy the Universe. These are:

अइउण्, ऋलृक्, एओड्, ऐऔच्, हयवरट्, लण्, ञमङणनम्, झभञ, घढधष्, जबगडदश्, खफछठथचटतव्, कपय्, शषसर्, हल। They are classified as per the places of the sound, as kanthya (अ, क, ख, ग, घ, ङ, ह, :), talu (इ, च, छ, ज, ज्ञ, ञ, य, श), murdha (ऋ, ट, ठ, ड, ढ, ण, र, ष), danta: (लृ, त, थ, द, ध, न, ल, स), oshthau (उ, प, फ, ब, भ, म), kanth-talu (ए, ऐ), kanth-austham (ओ, औ),  dant-austham (व), jihvamulam (~क, ~ख)and nasika (ञ, म, ङ, ण, न, ं).

There are three major vowels: अ, इ, उ, with three divisions हस्व, दीर्घ, प्लुत. Twinkle of an eye is one matra sounds vowel हस्व, two matra sound vowel दीर्घ and three sound प्लुत. The rooster crowing in the morning carry all these three sounds. The sound from above the palate area is called udatta, the sound from below the palate area is called anudatt and the mixture of the two is called swarit. These 3x3 makes 9 distinctions. Again there are further two divisions: nasal and non nasal sounds, makes it 18. There are 18 Varnas. 

And the Sutra is: तुल्यास्यप्रयत्नं सवर्णम्। While making the sound of two Varnas, when the place of the sound and efforts of the speaker are equal and similar, the Varnas are called Savarna. Ex. अ, आ. 

The Sabskritised society was very disciplined in using 18 Varnas in their correct form with right pronouncing because with the change of the sound the meaning changes. स्वजन (relative) can be श्वजन (dog) if not pronounced properly. Therefore, those followed the rules of the grammar properly and pronounced the Varnas well and spoke the language rightly, might had been identified as Savarna. Those carried variations in their pronunciations of varnas were divided into 18 categories and were identified as 18 Varnas (divisions) of the Society. And those who were not part of the Sanskritised language group might had been identified as Avarnas, that had divided the society into Savarnas and Avarnas. Folk language changes at every 36 kms (12 kos). Savarna or Avarna is a distinction of grammar, the sound of communication, depends upon how you hear the Damaru of Shiva. 

If keen to learn more, pick up Ashtadhyayi and follow Panini!😊

Punamchand
8 May 2019

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Closed System

Human body is a complex machine where the life blood moves into the arteries and the oxygen depleted blood return through veins from birth to death in a closed circulatory system. The pure blood pumped into the system by the heart reaches to all the parts of the body and return to it and after purification in the lungs, it is pumped through blood vessels of different size and thickness: the arteries, arterioles, capillaries, venules, and veins.

As we age, narrowing occurs in many capillaries and venules in peripheral, heart and brain, and with the death of cells the death of the organ starts and finally writes the death of the individual. Therefore, it is essential to keep this system clean to make the life longer.

LDL Cholesterols and Diabetes are the two major challenges before the present generation to overcome to maintain blood flow in all the cells upto the last mile of all the body parts from the head to the toes.

God is miraculous but is very wise. He made a heart pump in the creatures to supply pure blood to all the cells but kept the veins in our command to bring back the depleted blood for purification in lungs by movements. Therefore, all the creatures keep walking and moving. The calf muscles in human body are called peripheral heart. Unless they are moved regularly, good functioning of the veins can’t be maintained. Blocked veins may cause thrombosis and may lead into serious health problems.

Keep walking daily, it extends life.

Good morning 😊

Punamchand
16 February 2019

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Medicity Amdavad, a Ray of Hope

Medicity Amdavad, a Ray of Hope

Last Saturday at 7 AM on 2 February 2019, I received a call from Mr. MB Parmar (IAS Rtd). In worry some voice he explained the serious health condition of Mr. RB Dave (IAS Rtd) for a month and the stress of the family, who couldn’t sleep for a fortnight and reached to the dead end of losing the right limb of Mr. Dave after spending ₹10 lakh in a private hospital in Amdavad. Within half an hour Shri Dave’s wife and son came to our house and explained the problem. They are our family friend for 28 years from our Junagadh days. 

Either to cut the right limb or to lose life if infection spread over the body were the options given by the vascular surgeon and they were directed to take decision in 15 minutes. They somehow asked for the time to think and managed to run away to home to think peacefully and reached to our door. 

Either to shift him to the hospital or to call the doctors at home were the options before us. They were upset with the fear of spreading of infections if the wound was opened at home for inspection. And they were not confident of going to Civil Hospital in such serious condition, where common men are going. I realised the dilemma of the family and called a General Surgeon and a Plastic Surgeon from the Civil Hospital Amdavad with a support staff to do dressing after wound was opened for checking. His limb was badly damaged by cutting of the larger portion of the muscles by the vascular surgeon of the private hospital. The arteries of the lower limbs had no flow of fresh blood. Only one bypass artery was saving the limb for awhile. In want of pure blood, the limb was dying. His second right toe developed dry gangrene made the doctors to lose hope but we sustained the ray of hope if the vascular surgeon of UN Mehta Cardiology Institute succeeds in opening the blocked arteries of the thigh and open the blood flow in the lower limb. The family trusted in our words and by evening, the patient was moved to Civil Hospital Amdavad and was admitted. 


Diabetic 68 years old Mr. Dave had developed acute on chronic critical right lower limb ischaemia with acute tenderness, swelling and the discolouration of the affected limb almost a month back. He developed cellulitis on 15 January 2019 and went to a private hospital in Amdavad. Arterial Doppler was done and 17th Jan and CT angio was done on 22nd Jan. CT angiogram of the lower limb vessels revealed acute cut of right distal superficial femoral artery (chronic thrombotic occlusion)till the trifurcation and minimal collateral fillings of posterior tibial and part of peronieal artery only. It was suggestive of complete block of distal superficial femoral and entire popliteal seen. Filling of trifurcation seen. He was treated for cellulitis and fasciotomy was done of the anterolateral compartment on 25th Jan, and further debridement was done on 28th January and negative wound therapy given. His 2nd toe was showing signs of dry gangrene.

Patient was admitted to Civil Hospital/UNM on 2nd February 2019, with open wound and critical lower ischaemia with dry gangrene of the second right toe. Though medicines to control infection were given, but passing 3rd and 4th Feb in a room of Civil Hospital, the patient and his family were waiting for the start of some procedure on the dying limb. But his CRP level was high, therefore, the vascular surgeon was waiting for the infection and inflammation of the arteries to come down by the fall of CRP level. The family was worrying for losing the leg or the life. 

The doctors discussed Two plans: (1)- balloon angioplasty of the affected segment of the artery and to put a stent in the above knee arterialsegment only. (2)- if plan one fails then do upper SFA to posterior tibial artery after wound stabilisation.

Fortunately, his CRP level came down and patient was moved to UNM on 7/2/19 for the execution of the plan 1. Dr. Chirag Doshi, the Vascular Surgeon and his team were able to execute plan first successfully. They have done POBA and inserted a stent in distal SFA opening up 20 cm long block in the thigh artery. To the great luck of Mr. Dave, the arteries of the limb opened up and antegrade flow has been established. With the start of new blood flow, the hope of saving his limb revived. Having done that there are two to three percent chances of reclotting and worsening of the symptoms. The patient is relatively more stable with less pain and is symptomatically better but condition of the wound is precarious at best. 

He would now require plastic surgeon intervention for further management of the open wound either by flap/graft or by the wrap. Hopefully, the Plastic Surgeon Dr. Jayesh Sachade and the General Surgeon Dr. Gunvant Rathod of the Medicity will find out the right answer. Without the flow of fresh blood for long time, his limb nerves are damaged, therefore, it will take two-three months of treatment and physiotherapy for the healing of the nerves to bring them back near to the normal. 

After this traumatic experience of running from pillars to posts and finally reaching to the destination; where Dave family can heal, here are two clear takeaways as per them:

1) Prejudice: Many might have a prejudice for public amenities and particularly healthcare. However, we realized that we are on the path of recovery due to swift actions, proper medications and above all right diagnosis/treatment at Medicity Ahmedabad.

2) Economic: Spending more money does not bring our health on the right track but the proper treatment does. We observe the positive impact on our health due to care and treatment of Doctors of Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad and UN Mehta, Ahmedabad.

“All in One under One roof”, the Medicity Amdavad is going to be the single largest hospital campus of the world with a bed strength of 7100 with all specialities and super specialities, where the Code of Ethics for Doctors are followed the most. 

Punamchand 
9 February 2019
Medicity Amdavad 

Manikarnika

Manu-Manilarnika became Laxmibai after her marriage with the King of Jhansi Gangadhar Rao. She fought for her right over the throne of Jhansi. Her husband signed the doctrine of lapse, the policy introduced by the East India Company and widely executed by Lord Dalhousie. It was a major cause to ignite the fire of rebellion. Laxmibai’s real son died in infancy and the adopted son was not accepted by the EIC. There was a dispute of interpretation of the agreement that was obviously decided by the London Court in favour of the EIC. She was granted privy purse of ₹60000/annum but had to leave the palace and fort of Jhansi. [GoI Act of 1935 had provision of deed of accession to make Union of India, that was implemented by Sardar Patel (with VP Menon and Lord Mountbatten) after the GOI Act of 1947, by giving good amount of privy purse and right over their palace-land-Jwelleries-properties, and a place of “Rajpramukh” like Governor of the Province to the bigger players for building united India. Later, they all merge with the union with the merger deed]

What is important to note that she was a Brahmin Girl, married at the age of 14 to a 46 years old King of Jhansi Gangadhar Rao, who was very weak and died in 1853 at the age of 56Y. Laxmibai became widow at 24 but the brave lady fought for her right. Her appeal in London Court, after losing it, quitting the fort and palace, organising and preparing the villagers including the women and building the strength of weapons to fight for home rule and when EIC Officers were busy in managing the Mutiny of 1857, taking over the possession of the palace and the fort was a great great courageous act.

When British forces entered Jhansi on 4/4/1858 and massacre the civilian population, she used presence of mind, jumped from a good height of the palace-fort using her horse Badal (eventually the horse died) and managed the great escape by traveling 151 kms on horse and reached to the camp of Tatya Tope at Kalpi. Jhalkari Bai (the Kori lady) gave her a great cover and fought the war as her duplicate keeping the British force busy in confusion of her as Rani. She sacrificed her life for her queen so that British couldn’t chase Laxmibai.

Laxmibai then took over Gwalior fort without much of an oppose but in that hostile palace of Sindhia, instead of waiting inside, she took a decision to move out of the fort to fight out with British, but was encountered by the forces of the Hugh Rose and was killed at the dead end of the street of Gwalior on 14/6/1858. She couldn’t manage the escape like Jhansi because there was no cover of Jhalkaribai !

She was only 29 when was killed. Her acts of bravery for those 4 years (1953-58) after the death of her husband and the last part of her life of 71 days fighting war of Jhansi, great escape, capturing Gwalior and sacrificing her life in a battle field for her right, gave her an immortal place in the history of India, made her an inspiration of bravery and love for the motherland. Rani Laxmibai is immortal.

Hugh Rose, the EIC Major General who fought wars of Jhansi and Gwalior against Rani, commented that Rani Lakshmibai is "personable, clever and beautiful" and she is "the most dangerous of all Indian leaders". Colonel Malleson wrote in the History of the Indian Mutiny; vol. 3; London, 1878 'Whatever her faults in British eyes may have been, her countrymen will ever remember that she was driven by ill-treatment into rebellion, and that she lived and died for her country, We cannot forget her contribution for India.'

खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।

Our salutes to the Rani🙏

Punamchand
8 February 2019

Friday, January 25, 2019

Jai Somnath

Jai Somnath

Prabhash Patan is the place at the confluence of three holy rivers (Hiran, Kapila and Sarasvati) flowing into the Arabian Sea, where the Yadavas had killed themselves in infightings. Gandhari’s curse acted upon. Only few Yadavas including Lord Shri Krishna, his elder brother Balram, his grandson Vajra survived. After the ruin of Yadavas, Lord Krishna when was reclining under a Pepal tree at Bhalakatirth, was struck by an arrow shot by a hunter Jara who had mistaken him a deer. Krishna walked down to the confluence of the three rivers and breathed his last in a cave. His body was cremated at the confluence at Prabhas Patan. Subhadra, his sister couldn’t tolerate the shock of his death, threw herself into the pyre. Balaram too died. It was raining very heavily and the sea was in high tides, therefore, the cremation couldn’t complete. Krishna’s corpse was flooded out into the sea and was found out by some Hathyogi Sadhus at Puri. They used it as Akshay Patra and when found it miraculous, placed it and built a temple at Jagannath Puri in Orissa, which is a place of Hindu pilgrimage for centuries. Krishna, Subhadra and Balram died together at Prabhas Patan and are worshipped together at Jagannath Puri. It’s kitchen is the largest in the world, cooking 56 types of Bhoga-Prasada in earthen pots everyday. Dehotsarga of Prabhas Patan and Jagannath Puri are therefore linked by the story of Lord Krishna. 

At this Prabhas Patan, there was a temple of Lord Shiva, the God of Moon, who had relieved Moon from the curse of waning given by his father in law Daksha for loving more to Rohini. The first temple was made of Gold by the Soma and the second was made of Silver by Lord Krishna but except the folklores, no historical evidences had supported the temples made of Gold and Silver. 

Abi Raihan Al-Biruni, who accompanied Sultan Mahmud to India in 1025-26 had quoted the legend of Somnath. Somnath was set up on the sea coast in such a way that the sea water, when high, would cover it at times. He had mentioned the fortress and the treasure not ancient but only 100 years old. It was a temple of large blocks of stone on the sea shore in a such a way that its walls were washed by the waves and the idol remained under water at appointed hours. It was a large edifice, the roof of which was carried on 56 well ornamented columns of teak wood. Out of these, six columns, highly studded with emeralds, rubies and other predacious stones. Other writers had mentioned that it had a pyramidal roof, thirteen storeys high, the top of which was surmounted by fourteen spherical knobs of Gold which glittered in the Sun and were visible from the long distance. It had 10000 villages for maintenance, had 1000 Brahmins to perform rituals, 300 musicians and dancing girls and 300 barbers to shave the pilgrims. The idol was the Linga of Shiva made of solid stone, had thirty rings round it, seven cubits in height, of which two (the Brahma part) were buried in the basement, and about three cubits (the Vishnu part of the Linga covered with Yoni-Jaladhari round) and the the upper round part (of Shiva) in girth. Some Muslim writers equalised the idol of Somnath with the idol of Manat (three Chief Goddesses of Mecca with Lion as their vehicle!) as was worshipped by the Arabs at Mecca before Islam. The story of idol of Manat secretly been transferred to Somnath temple might had inspired Mahmud to attack on the temple. 

According to Ali-ibn-Athir, the historian of Mahmud, he started from Gazani on 18/10/1025, left Multan on 26/11/1025, crossed the Thar Desert and reached Patan in December 1025. The King Bhima-1 fled and took shelter at Kanthkot (Bhachau-Kutch). Mahmud then moved to Modhera and on 6/1/1026 he reached Somnath. The temple was protected for two days but finally on 8/1/1026, Mahmud captured it. He desecrated the temple, burnt to ground and took away jewels, gold and silver ornaments of the temple. 

It was his 17th invasion over India, Mahmud of Gazani (Yamin-ud-Daula Abdul Quasim Mahmud ibn Sebuktegin), attacked the temple of Somnath, destroyed it’s Linga and other idols and put the building under fire, took away booty and returned after a fortnight stay when he Parmar King Bhoja (1010-1055) of Malava gathered a huge army to fight him, to avoid confrontation and save the booty of the loot, he took a safe route of Kutch- Sindh to return but suffered very heavy casualties during the retreat. 

It is not true that he was a small looter of an unknown village of Afghanistan which had no mark in the history. Gazanavi is a province of Afghanistan and he very bravely, not only capture the seat of power of Gazanavi but had conquered eastern Iran, Afghanistan and annexed Sindh and Punjab and became Sultan of Gaznavid Empire. He invaded India 17 times and defeated the kingdoms of Shahis of Kabul and Lahore, Saffraids of Sistan, Ismailis of Multan, Sukhpala of Bhatinda, Nagarkot, Thanesar, Kashmir, Mathura, Kannauj, Kalinjar, Gwalior, Doab, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Jud. In India, 2% of the population had a right to interpret the law (religion) and 4 % had a right to hold the swords for protection, therefore, the common people were mere spectators during the foreign invasions. However, the tribes came from Greece, Persia, Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan settled over the land of Western India, were identified as semi Kshatriya did fight against the attacks but smaller in number they were defeated. 

Somnath was under the rule of Chalukya (Solanki) King Bhima-I (1022-1064) (grand father of Siddhraj Jaisingh) when Mahmud invaded. He was a powerful king of Gujarat (Anhilvad Patan) extended his Kingdom to present day Gujarat, Saurastra and Marvar. But he was a Vasaal of Malva King Bhoja Parmar. Punjab and Sindh were under the rule of Mahmud Gazanavi. Mahmud was using the fort of Bhatinda as his transit camp while invading India. When the population was scarce, it was easier for him to travel and invade over the the western India. King Bhimdev of Patan (Anhilvad) fled to Kanthkot (Bhachau-Kutch) when Mahmud attacked Patan and Somnath in 1025-26. 

Surprisingly, Hindu sources don’t give any information of the invasion over Somnath by Mahmud Gazni. Once a ruler was declared Sultan by the Calipha, it was mandated for him to destroy idols and temples of the kafirs. It might had been a small event of looting the temple but to receive grandiose titles from the Calipha, he might had exaggerated the size, wealth and religious importance of Somnath. Traditionally, buildings in this part of the land were built with stone base plinth and erected over the wooden columns and beams. Therefore, the description of the temple erected over the 56 columns of teak wood might be correct because the wood structure only could be burnt to ground. 

The first temple at the spot was built in 1st-2nd Century probably by the Lakulisa, the founder of Pasupata cult. The second temple was built of Kanjur stones by the Yadava Kings of Vallabhi around 649. It was said to be destroyed by the Arab Governor of Sindh in 725. The third temple of red stone was built by Gurjar Pratihar King Nagbhatt-II in 815. It was rebuilt-renovated by Chalukya King Mularaj Solanki around 997, that was demolished by Mahmud Gazani in 1026. It was largely a wooden structure over the stone plinth. 

He was Ganda (title) Bhava Brahapati, a Brahmin from Varanasi (Kashi) of Kanyakubja (Kannauj) came from Malava, proposed before the Gujarat King Jaisingh Siddhraj (1092-1142) for rebuilding of Somnath temple, but the King died, therefore, he proposed before the successor King Kumarpala (1143-1172) and with his help, help of Parmar King Bhoja and with the help of the rich ministers and traders, he and his four sons rebuilt the fourth temple of Somanath with large stones in 1169 AD (Vallabhi Samvat 850). It was rebuilt by the support of Soma (the sculptor whose descendants are called Sompura). The inscription mentioned that the building was destroyed by the bad ministers of the Kings. There was no mention of it’s destruction of the temple by Mahmud Gazani. The work of reconstruction was initiated during the visit of Gujarat King Siddhraj Jaisingh to Prabhas Patan but was completed during the rule of King Kumarpala. 

Siddhraj Jaisingh had removed the pilgrimage tax. When Siddhraj Jaisingh won Malva, he desired to have pride of Sanskrit seat of literature in Patan like King Bhoja’s seat of literature in Malva. Acharya Hemchandra wrote the grammar of Sanskrit and Prakrit similar to the grammar of King Bhoja. The Siddh Hema Shabdanushashan was his great work covering six Prakrit languages and was a precursor of Gujarati language. He had composed 3.5 crore verses. The successor King Kumarpala was a Shaiv but under the influence of Acharya Hemchandra, moved towards Jainism. When Acharya Hemachandra went to the inauguration function of the temple with the King Kumarpala, to removed the doubts that he didn’t respect Hindu Gods, he bowed before the Lingam and chanted the verse: Bhava Bijankaura-janana Ragadyam Kshayamupagata Yasya, Brahma va Vishnu va Haro Jino va Namastasmai. (I bow down to him who has destroyed the passions like attachment and malice which are the cause of the cycle of birth and death; whether he is Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva or Jina).

On the plinth of the fourth temple, the fifth temple was erected and expanded during the rule of King Bhima-II (1206 AD). It was destroyed by Alaf Khan, the general of Alka-ud-din-Khilji in 1299. Karna Vaghela was the King of Gujarat and his Minister Madhav (a Nagar Brahmin) invited Alla-ud-din Khilji to Gujarat to take revenge on King Karna, who enamoured of his brother’s wife and had killed the husband and appropriated the wife. The 6th temple was repaired-rebuilt by Mahipala the Chudasama King of Junagadh in 1308 and the lingam was installed by his son Ra’ Khengar. The independent Sultan of Gujarat Zaffarkhan built a mosque in the temple in 1393. The temple was converted into a mosque by Gujarat Sultan Mahmud Begada (Fatehkhan) who conquered Junagadh with the help of Jadejas of Kutch. The Chudasama King Ra’Mandlik (of Narsinh Mehta time) embraced Islam, the linga was removed from the temple and it was converted into a mosque in 1469. In 1669, Aurangzeb issued the farman to destroy the temple, but that might had not been carried out. Again in 1701, Aurangzeb ordered the governor of Gujarat Prince Azam to destroy the temple beyond possibility of repairs. After the destruction of the temple in 1706, Mughal power was at decline and Hindu power rose by Shivaji knocked the doors of Saurastra with the victorious shouts of Har Har Mahadev. Marathas continued raids over Gujarat. Sher Khan Babi was the Deputy Governor of Mughal Empire at Junagadh.  Ahmedabad was won by Marathas in 1753 and 1759, but in the meantime, East India Company emerged as great political power. Somnath temple went into the commands of Babi Nawabs under the suzerainty of the Gaekvad of Baroda. The right to control and manage the  Somnath Temple was vested in the Gaekwad. Ahalya Bai Holkar built a new temple in the campus and the linga was placed in a secret underground shrine in 1783. Mahadji Sinde brought back the silver gates of the temple from Muhammad Shah of Lahore after defeating him in 1782-83, but when was not allowed to put them back, they were placed in the Mahakaleshwar Temple of Ujjain. Later in the year 1820, when the suzerainty over Saurastra was transferred to the British, the Nawabs became active to impose tax (Chille) and restrictions over the pilgrims of the shrine. Baroda state objected to it but the British authorities sided with the Nawab. 

When India became independent on 15/8/1947, the Nawab of Junagadh Muhammad Mahabat Khan -III, after execution of the instrument of accession, acceding Junagadh to the Dominion of Pakistan on 15/9/1947, ran away to Pakistan on the day of Dashera 24/10/1947. Junagadh was then acceded to India through Arazi Hakumat agitation and police action. The Diwan of Junagadh Shah Nawaz Bhutto wrote to the Regional Commissioner Rajkot to give assistance to preserve law and order on 7/11/1947, army entered and Junagadh was acceded to India on 9/11/1947. The accession was approved by the referendum of the people of Junagadh on 24/2/1948. 

Sardar Patel went to Junagadh on Diwali day on 12/11/1947, and next day on the new year day of Vikram Samvat 2004, he visited Somnath along with Jam Saheb and K.M. Munshi and gave consent to rebuild the temple. K.M. Munshi, then in the presence of 500 people announced the decision of the GoI to rebuild the temple. Jam Saheb announced the donation of ₹1 lakh. Shamaldas Gandhi of Junagadh administration declared ₹51000. Sardar Patel then addressed the public meeting in Ahalya Bai Temple and declared the reconstruction of Somnath temple. 
Govt of India approved the project but following a suggestion of Gandhiji to keep the Govt treasury away for making any religious buildings, the Trust was formed in October 1949. With the first donation or ₹1 lakh by the Jam Saheb, about ₹25 lakh collected by December 1949. The Trust Deed was approved on 15/3/1950. Jam Saheb laid the foundation stone of the 7th Temple of Somnath on 8/5/1950. The old temple was pulled down on 19/10/1950. The pranpratishtha of Shivlinga (installed from the top) was performed by the first President of India Dr Rajendra Prasad on 11/5/1951. The garbhagriha of the temple was completed in 1957, the Sabha Mandapa was completed in 1970 and finally the Nritya Mandap was completed in 1995 and the temple was dedicated to the nation by the then President Shankar Dayal Sharma on 1/12/1995. 

Today, the Temple has regained it’s glory, where millions of pilgrims are coming everyday and praying the Jyotirlinga, Lord Shiva. The Trust is slowly covering the stone temple with gold plates to protect it from the sea winds and also to showcase the great glory of Lord Shiva and Hinduism. 

Har Har Mahadev.

Jai Somnath

Punamchand
25 January 2019

1. K.M. Munshi, Somnath, The Shrine Eternal, Shree Somnath Trust (1951)

Friday, January 4, 2019

Exciting trip to Gurudongmar Lake in winter

Exciting trip to Gurudongmar Lake in winter

Teesta river originates from two sources: Tso Lhamo Lake (17490ft) of Zemu, Kamgtse/Pauhunri glaciers; and Gurudongmar Lake (17800 ft) of Kangchengyao glaciers situated in a high plateau area of North Sikkim near the International border with China. The Gurudongmar Lake freezes, the day temperature -25 degree Celsius and oxygen level of the area goes down to 2%, therefore, it is an adventurous tour for the tourists to make in winter. Uncertainty of weather with snowfall and high winds is another challenge the tourists have to face. Therefore, the entire route from Mangan to Lachen to Thangu to Gurudongmar keeps the tourists in guess whether they will make it or not. As the locals moved down to Gangtok, the companions of hope at the time of emergency are the army men located at regular intervals in transit camps.

The journey starts from Gangtok at around 9-10 AM. As one needs permission of the police authority, the passes are collected by the agent/driver in the morning by submitting photos and photo ID. After 30 kms, the drive is along the river Teesta from Rangrang. One may stop at the North Sikkim District HQ at Mangan or at the meeting point of two Teesta, one stream from Lachen and another from Lachung at Chungthang is a beautiful place to stop and take pictures. Thereafter, there is a drive upward where you watch the mountains covered with snow and the frozen streams making the environment decorative with their crystal clear looks. The Teesta to the left moves to right at the cross over bridge at Chautila valley.

North Sikkim is famous for the cultivation of big cardamoms, the spicy flavour of non veg foods and biryans. It is the gold of north Sikkim, can be sold at a very high price in off season.

It is a journey of watching plants, trees, and whites and colourful flags on the roadsides. They use flags of five colours to perform pooja for a new house or for other purposes. Flag Red is for Fire, Blue for water and river, Green for the flora and fauna, Yellow for the earth and White for the peaceful living of all. They do havana (yajya) and offer cereals etc, during pooja like Hindus.

White flags over poles in long line are too common to see in Sikkim. They are for the deceased. Their death rituals are very lengthy, tiring and expensive. The Lamas perform rituals. They break the waist bones and knee joints of the dead body and place it in Buddhasana (sitting posture) and then packed it into a wooden box with ice and herbs. Then they check the astrological muhurta for the cremation and direction to move out the body from the house. The waiting time may be for a week. The family has to cook and serve meal to all present for all those seven days. The lama decides who can and can’t touch the dead body. On the day of muhurta, the dead body is moved out of the house, pulled out with a rope if the house is at upstairs, from the decided direction removing window or a wall if it is not auspicious to move out from the main door. The box of the dead body then taken to the top of the hill where it is placed upon a funeral pyre and then set on fire. The lamas will continue performing the ritual for the smooth travel of the Soul to the God. There are rituals for the 3rd, 7th, 21st, 49th days to be performed one after another. Total 108 poles with white flags are erected. The rituals will go on for a year and thereafter, to be continued for three years replacing the white flags yearly. Lamas are paid for their services. The money they spend on charity and Sada schools. The cost of funeral may vary from ₹70,000 to ₹3 lakh depending upon the economic conditions of the family.

Studying the culture and enjoying the company of river flow, valleys, streams, falls and mountains when you reach Lachen at 4.30 PM, the hotel receptionist welcomes you with a welcome Cherry Brandy drink. A little seep of brandy surely gives some warmth in a cold weather of minus degree temperature. It becomes dark at 5 PM, outside temperature reaches -18 degree Celsius and waiting for Dinner till 7.30 PM ignite hunger, therefore, whatever is served, turns delicious. The room heater can’t heat the room but a double bed electric mattress is a great relief, provided there is electricity or a generator is on.

Next day morning, one has to start at 5.30 AM as it is a day long journey of 9-10 hours to go and come back from Gurudongmar. The polite hotel staff serves you bed tea at call time and pack up breakfast to brunch on the way and keep your lunch ready when you return.

Vehicle can go to the zero point upto the Gurudwara near the lake provided the approach road is not covered with snow. Crossing Kalep at 7 AM, Thangu (12000 ft, -19 degree) may be a spot to stop for a cup of tea at 7.20 AM, but in the absence of natives, Army transit camp only can serve, if you have some access to them. And if you are lucky to get a company of an Army Gypsy from Thangu, then you are surely in safe mode traveling to the last mile near the lake.

As you travel high on the zigzag roads, somewhere covered with snow, it is a watchful and alert journey for the driver to perform till the end. Going upward, the vegetation reduces to nothing but still can see herds of yaks, few musk deers and few wild goats grazing around. Yaks graze yasagampu half grass half insect, that carries high nutritional value, increases longevity and stops ageing. Therefore, milk and meat of Yaks are expensive. Churpi made of yak milk is an expensive delicacy.

The dogs of Himalayas are very bulky and scary. They can hunt human, therefore, beware, when stop for a natural call. The flowers of the State tree Rhododendrons are missing in winter. Frozen Teesta and mountains covered with snow are the common pictures all around. Golden rays of Sun over the mountains add strength and warmth to the journey making the pictures of nature HD.

Chomo Yummo mountains to the left, mark the journey, from here, Lhasa is just 350 kms away. The MacMohan line (1914 Simla Convention) and 23 Cans are located to guard and patrol from both the sides. Indian and Chinese soldiers treat each other on national days. Chinese treat Indians on 1st January, 1st August and 1st October. Indians treat Chinese on 26th January, 15th August and Diwali. Indians are better host treat them with 2-3 varieties while they serve only burgers!

There is a helipad spot (16600 ft) just 6 kms before the lake for the VIP landing. Last 2 kms road to the lake is covered with snow, therefore, the vehicle with chain on wheels only can move further. One has to walk down the last mile watchfully of the surface covered with snow and guarding oneself from the chilled winds. It is an examination of one’s physical and mental strength together. Once reached to the lake at around 9.30 AM to 10 AM, it’s bingo. Weather, thereafter is very windy and risky with a very low level of oxygen (2%). Life may be on risk thereafter. South to the lake is the Kangchengyao glaciers, and east to it is the Dorjeela mountain. The glaciers and the frozen lake shines white under the bright Sun, therefore dark goggles only can give comforts to enjoy the white beauty of nature at that height.

Gurudongmar Lake is a religious place for the Buddhists and Sikhs. Buddhists in Sikkim are the followers of Vajrayan sect of Buddhism. Their Guru Padmashambhava (Guru Rinpoche) the incarnation of Lord Shiva has visited the lake and  blessed the frozen lake to melt so that the locals get pure drinking water in winter. Shikhs claimed that Guru Nanakdev while returning from Tibet visited the lake and blessed it to water. They had built a Gurudwara near the lake but the matter then went into dispute as the Lamas objected their claim. The Gurudwara is closed thereafter. There is an old small structure of a monastery to the other side of the lake visible from the Gurudwara spot.

After taking few pictures of the lake and glaciers, and watching the spot of Teesta river origination, one may conclude the exciting trip and start the return journey. The route is now familiar. Tourists generally move to Lachung and stay overnight to make a trip to Yumthang Valley and Zero Point next day.

Punamchand
Gurudongmar
1 January 2019
www.punamchand.com
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