Monday, December 31, 2018

Brutal execution of Shambhaji set Maratha Hearts on fire of freedom

Shivaji married to Saibai while they were in childhood in 1640. His mother Jijabai arranged the marriage. The marriage was neither attended by his father Shahaji nor his uncles. Shahaji was living in Banglore with his second wife Tukobai.

Shambhaji the eldest son of Shivaji born on 14 May 1657, but his mother Saibai died at the age of 26 on 5 September 1659. Shivaji married to Soyarabai, the younger sister of his Sardar Hammirrao Mohite in 1659. Soyarabai was a niece of Tukobai, the step mother of Shivaji. Shambhaji was raised by his grandmother Jijabai. Brave Shivaji fought with Mughal, Bijapur and Golkonda forces and became Chatrapati on 6 June 1674 but only after 10 days, his mother Jijabai died on 16 June 1674. Soyarabai the mother of Rajaram gained prominence in the family.

Motherless Shambhaji was then was moving with his father. When he was 11, Shivaji took him to Agra Court of Emperor Aurangzeb on 12 May 1666. They were kept under house arrest by Aurangzeb but had escaped smartly.

When 51 years old Chatrapati Shivaji died of dysentery or food poisoning in 1680, Soyarabai got her 10 years son on the throne with the help of courtiers. But with the help of Hammirrao Mohite (brother of Soyarabai) the eldest Shambhaji removed Rajaram and became the Chatrapati at the age of 23 in 1680. Soyarabai then tried to dethrone Shamlaji and when her henchmen tried to poison Shambhaji, she was executed in 1681.

Shambhaji was married to Jivubai/Yeshubai, the daughter of Shivaji’s Sardar Pilojirao Shirke of Sangarpur of Ratnagiri. His previous patron Suryajirao Surve was defeated by Shivaji and had hold the Konkan area under command. Shivaji’s daughter Rajkunvarbai from third wife Sagunbai was married to Ganoji Shirke the son of Pilojirao. Sagunbai was a sister of Pilojirao Sirke. Pilojirao Shirke demanded for the Vatan of Port Dhol from Shivaji but Shivaji didn’t gave and abolished the Vatandari system from Maratha Kingdom to stop it’s misuse.

Shambhaji had been described as irresponsible and addict of sensual pleasure, therefore, he was imprisoned in Panhala fort in 1678 by Shivaji but he with wife Yeshubai escaped and defected to the Mughals December 1678 for a year but when he knew the plan of his arrest by Diler Khan, he returned to Shivaji. Some people interpreted it as an act of diplomacy by Shivaji and Shambhaji to ignite war of succession amongst the heirs of Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb declared Azam Shah (son of Begam Rabia Durani) as his political heir in 1681. His eldest son Bahadur Shah (son of Nawab Bai) was a rebel.

After the death of Shivaji in 1680, when Shambhaji became Chatrapati, his brother in law Ganoji demanded the Vatan of Port Dabol but was denied. There was some family dispute going on. Therefore Shambhaji and Yeshubai both went to Sangarpur (in-law place) in February 1689. After the meeting, they were returning to Raigadh. They had troops for their protection. But Shambhaji stopped at Sangameshwar (39 kms from Sangarpur) with his poet friend Kavi Kalash with little force and sent major troops for protection of his wife Yesubai, travelling ahead of him to Raigadh. It was a mystery why was he stayed back in Sangameshwar with a little force though there was impending risk of attacks from the enemies.

What fuel unrest against Shambhaji in that family meeting, his brother in law Ganoji Shirke led Sheikh Nizam Hyderabadi (Muqabarkhan) the Mughal Sardar from the dense forest of Sayadri hills to Sangameshwar, where Shambhaji was fell in trance with Lord Shiva, was caught with his friend Kavi Kalash. Might be to malign him, some Mughal records mentioned him marrying at Sagameshwar.

Tired of guerrilla warfare technique of Chatrapati Shivaji whom they couldn’t win, Mughals had Chatrapati Shambhaji in hands without a big fight. They removed his hairs to avoid identity and took him far away to Bahadurgadh and then Tulapur, near Pune and was put in brutal torture for 40 days. No rescue operation was conducted by his Maratha Sardars during those 40 days of captivity. He was presented before Aurangzeb and was told to surrender all his forts, give details of his wealths and convert to Islam, that he denied. He was made blind, his tongue was torn but he didn’t accept Islam. He reacted: ‘he would not accept Islam even if the emperor bribed him with his daughter!'. Nicole Manucci, an Italian artillery officier in Aurangzeb's service, mentions in his memoirs that Sambhaji's side was torn with an axe and heart removed while he was still alive. He was beheaded and all the pieces of his body were thrown into river Bhima on 11 March 1689.

The skin of the head was filled with straw and displayed in various cities, finally hanged on gates of Delhi city, as per Ishwardas Nagar's memoir, Futuh-i-Alamgiri. He didn’t follow the example of Netaji Palkar, who changed the faith when was in trouble and when opportunity arose, joined hands with Shivaji, became Hindu again and was the Commander in Chief of the Maratha Army. Shivaji then said, “religion is for men, men is not for religion”. Brave Shambhaji sacrificed his life but not his faith. Aurangzeb had five daughters. Elder two Zeb un Nissa and Zeenat un Nissa remained unmarried and were much older to Shambhaji. Badr un Nissa died unmarried in 1670 and Mihr un Nissa and Zubadat un Nissa were married to their cousins Murad Bakhsh and Sipihr Shikoh respectively. Therefore, it would be incorrect to infer that Shambhaji was offered Aurangzeb’s daughter to marry if he had proclaimed Islam.

People were warned by the Mughals that whoever would come forward to stitch and cremate the body of Shambhaji would be killed with his family. None came forward but on the downstream of river Bhima, one brave wrestler like man of Mahar community of depressed class of Koregaon-Vadhu came forward, assembled and stitched the body parts of his Chatrapati and then with the help of few local cremated him. Their heirs were surnamed themselves Shivale (those stitched the body) thereafter. That depressed man with his family was killed by the Mughals.

After the death of Shambhaji, Rajaram assumed the throne and shifted the capital to Jinji.

The brutal murder of Shambhaji filled the hearts of Marathas with vengeance and fire. His death ignited the fire of freedom in the masses against Mughals and Aurangzeb. Maratha guerrilla fighters under Shantaji Ghorpade and Dhanaji Jadhav made the life of Mughals tougher. In one such attack, they cut down the ropes of the tent of Aurangzeb. He survived because he went to his daughter’s tent at the time of attack.  Fighting against guerrilla warfare of Marathas, and with other rebels in the country, dreadful fear was created amongst the Mughals and their treasury was getting emptied. Son of Aurangzeb, Muhammad Azam Shah was building Bibi ka Makabara, a replica of Taj Mahal, in the memories of his mother Begam Rabia Durani, couldn’t made it of marbles. Aurangzeb and Azam Shah died in 1707. Mughal Empire was declined thereafter in succession wars.

Weak Mughals released Yeshubai and Shahu (son of Shambhaji) and Shahu became the Chatrapati in 1707. Tarabai (wife of Rajaram) claimed the throne for her grandson Shivaji-II, but Shahu could win over them after a brief war. He with his Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath then made Maratha stronger and extended their rule over larger area.

Koregaon-Vadhu and Tulapur are the adjutant villages on the bank of river Bhima where Shambhaji was executed and his body parts were thrown away into the river which were gathered, stitched and cremated by the Mahars, the depressed. Maratha rulers were using their services limited to guards or scouts but British took them into the British force. Therefore, after 129 years, in 1818, Koregaon Bhima battle, 800 soldiers of British fought a battle against 2000 Maratha soldiers of Peshwa Bajirao II, and defeated them. 22 of 50 British soldiers killed in the war were Mahars, the depressed. They were part of the British force due for their loyalty and had fought Anglo- Maratha wars bravely. Dr. Ambedkar’s father Ramji Maloji Sakpal was a Subedar Major in British Army. Later, there was a Mahar Regiment established in British Army. Indian Forces were weaved in castes those days.

Due to his conservative religious policies, Aurangzeb couldn’t win the hearts of the Hindus and the brutal murder of Shambhaji lit the fire of freedom in the hearts of Marathas. Brahmin Peshwas took swords in their hands (became Kshatriya) to weaken the mighty power of Mughals, and by the year of mutiny in 1857, Mughal Empire of 42 lakh sqkm was squeezed within the city of Delhi. After Mughals and before British, there was Maratha Empire. But in the third war of Panipat against Ahmedshah Abdali of Afghanistan and the Rohilas on 14 January 1761, no Muslim rulers joined them, and they were defeated and lost the suzerainty over Punjab and north India. There were three Anglo-Maratha wars in which the first (1775-82) was fought bravely by the Marathas but lost their major territories to British in the Second (1803-05) and Third (1817-18) wars. Maratha rule of Princely States thereafter continued till independence in some parts of Maharastra, MP and Gujarat with the subsidiary alliance with the British.

Polygamy was one of the major reasons of succession wars in all the kingdoms in India. Each mother dreamed for making her son the successor and weakened the kingdom/empire.

British came, rule us for 190 years, freedom movement led by Gandhiji brought us independence, but the fire of freedom ignited by Shivaji and Shambhaji is still burning in the hearts of Marathas.

28 December 2018

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Emperor of great simplicity failed to win hearts of Hindustan

Emperor with great simplicity failed to win hearts of Hindustan

He was the sixth emperor of Mughal extended the Mughal Empire to 40 lakh sqkm area and over 16 crore people with an annual revenue of ₹288 crore (in 1690), made the economy world largest and rule the empire for 49 years until his death in 1707. He succeeded the throne of Delhi by killing his brothers and keeping father Shahjahan in imprisonment. His administration had 31% Hindus and he had great relations with Jodhpur King Jaswant Singh. His Nobel Jai Singh played an important role in bringing Shivaji under Mughal commands. His tenure was a tenure of prosperity, wars and rebellions.

From all of his opponents, Shivaji was proved to be the most difficult to win. However, with the help of Jai Singh, by treaty of Purandar in 1665, Shivaji had to give up 23 forts, paid compensation, accepted vasal of Mughals and sent his son and troops to fight for Mughals. When Shivaji and his son were called in Delhi in 1666, they were put under arrest but they managed escaping through the large baskets. With the mediation of Raja Jaswant Singh, their relations settled by conferring Raja title to Shivaji and Shabhaji was restored as Mabsabdar. But the peace didn’t last long and Shivaji came in confrontations with Mughals again, raided their important posts including Surat and became Chatrapati in 1674. He died of fever and dysentery or of a blood vomit due to poison given by his second wife Soyarabai in 1680. It opened a way and opportunity for Aurangzeb to move to South and command Maratha, Bijapur, Golkonda and other kingdoms. He deployed 7 lakh soldiers in Deccan and moved himself to take charge of the operation. When one day, Shambhaji, the eldest son of Shivaji sent his wife to Raigarh under the protection of the Maratha army, he was left with few hundred soldiers. Knowing this, his enemies attacked and cordoned him and was arrested and was told to change the faith to survive. But when he denied to became Muslim even there would be an offer of marrying with the daughter of Aurangzeb, he was tortured and executed in 1689. Shahu the grandson of Shivaji was kept under Mughal prison for 25 years and was released only after Aurangzeb’s death in 1707.

Aurangzeb came to Aurangabad to win the South and couldn’t move to Delhi till his death in 1707. He was an orthodox Muslim and was a strong believer of the orders of Quran, Hadid and Shariya. As orthodox Muslim, he might became fanatic, didn’t allow construction of new temples. Under his order, some temples were demolished. His men started a conversion drive to force people to change their faith. He imposed Jazia tax over non Muslims. Either they pay tax or convert or fight with Mughals and die. That had created hatred of majority against him.  As Governor of Gujarat, he had executed Dawoodi Bohra 32nd Sayedna Qutubkhan Qutbuddin in 1648, executed his brother Dara Sukhoi in a war of succession in 1659; as emperor, executed his brother Murad Baksh for murdering a Diwan of Gujarat in 1661, executed 9th Shikh Guru Teg Bahadur when he denied changing his faith in 1675, brutally executed Shambhaji in 1689. He created many enemies though expanded the Mughal Empire.

When he visited the dargah of Hazrat Khwaja Makhdum Sayed Shah Zenunuddin Dawood Hussain Sirazi, 22nd in the raw after Prophet Hazrat Muhammad, he bow his head before the kabra and accepted him a Guru. He lived a life of simplicity, didn’t use government revenue for his living. He was making caps and calligraphed Quran and from selling them saved ₹12 to buy a burial land, near the burial of his Guru in Khuldabad. He lived a life of simplicity in a Sunahari Mahal in Aurangabad but was active till his last breathe died in a military cantonment in Ahmednagar in 1707. As per his wish, he was buried near his Guru and the grave was kept kaccha open to the sky without any monument.

He failed to understand the purpose of his deeds and confessed before his son Azam Shah in February 1707: "I came alone and I go as a stranger. I do not know who I am, nor what I have been doing.” It was too late, he made the empire the largest but with his acts and omissions created the weaknesses of it’s fall. Mughals were ruined by the succession wars, commands over emperors by the two Sayed Brothers and the loots and massacre by Nadir Shah. After the failure of 1857 revolt, the Outsourcing Company became the King and the last emperor of Mughals, Bahadur Shah Jafar was exiled to Rangoon (Burma) in a bullock cart on 7 October 1858 at 4 AM, where he died in 1862 at the age of 87. In his words: “कितना है बदनसीब “ज़फ़र″ दफ़्न के लिए दो गज़ ज़मीन भी न मिली कू-ए-यार में।”

There is a Punchakki (water mill) a medieval engineering mill by a religious teacher Hazrat Baba Shah Musafir, came from Russia in 1744, brought water from 6kms away through water chamber and with the help of slops and raised by a siphon to the pillar, from where it is made to falls in the reservoir below at Aurangabad. It runs the flour mill with the help of turbine wings made from five metals. It was a miracle for the common people and were easily impressed by the Baba. A young man was distributing a small booklet and was explaining the teachings of Islam to the tourists. Meantime a Kazi Saheb a retired teacher of a high school in his 80s came and started explaining the teaching of Islam of one God Allah similar to Vedas of Hindu. He further explained that humans have been created and made masters of all the creatures to pass the examination of God. There are two things: a body and a spirit. When a person dies, the spirit depart and wait till the day of justice, the day when the Almighty Allah will ask about the deeds during the life on earth (the examination hall) and accordingly will send the spirits into heaven or hell. Therefore, life of human is very important and one shouldn’t lose a minute and do wrong for the want of body. They shall live a life of honesty and goodness so that the spirit gets the heaven on the day of justice. He was giving references of Vedas and teachings of Hindus of one God but was very insistent on believing the teachings of Quran presented by the last prophet Hazarat Muhammad, before whom 1.25 lakh prophets came but their teachings were not preserved.

One may look at it as a mini picture of the days of Aurangzeb, how would the religious teachers of those days might had tried to persuade people to change their faith under the fear of the power. It had created resentments against the Muslim rulers and from that suppression the seeds of freedom planted by Shivaji, then grew as a tree through the bravery of Peshvas, weakens the Mughals and opened the way for the rule of British East India Company then of UK and with the freedom struggle we became a nation of democratic independence, where the people of India are deciding their fate by adult franchise of pushing a button of the EVM.

23 December 2018

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Time destined for Gandhi

Time destined for Gandhi

That day, Sardar Patel came for the meeting at 4pm. It was so important that none of the assistants disturbed Gandhiji when the time of prayer passed at 5pm. He was not keeping his waist watch those days. He was suffering from cough and cold in the winter of Delhi after breaking his fast until death on 18/1/1948 that was to stop the communal violence in Delhi. His demands to give ₹55 crore cash share to Pakistan and to repair the Kaki Masjid of Delhi damaged by the rioters added fuel to the fire amongst the communal refugees and the persons planning his assassination. Madanlal Pahva threw a bomb in Birla Bhavan, 2 days after the break of his fast on 20/1/1948 but failed to kill Gandhi. He had faith in God and believed that if death is destined, it can’t be stopped by any security, therefore, didn’t allow the thorough checking of the visitors. When the bomb attempt failed to kill him, he remarked: “ऐसे ही हम डर जाय तो सचमुच यह कोई हो जाय तो हमारा हाल कैसा होगा?”

In that bad health, he visited the Ursh of Kaki masjid on 29/1/1948. Godse, Karkare and Apte had positioned themselves in Old Delhi Railway Room no.6. Like Gandhi, they also wake up in the brahma muhurta. Gandhi listened the slokas of Gita and one Gujarati Bhajan and then meditated as per his routine schedule. One of his assistants Abha didn’t join the session that morning, displeased him.

As Clove or pepper powder is a great medicine for cold and cough, he was given clove powder twice in a day. That morning on 30 January, he took his normal drink of hot water with lemon and honey but missed the clove powder because it was finished. When Manu tried to make the powder in the afternoon of 30/1, he commented “who knows what is going to happen before nightfall or even whether I shall be alive. If at night I am still alive you can easily prepare some then." His had intuition that somebody is chasing him to kill.

Godse initially planned to fire on him from the distance and Karkare and Apte to clear people if someone would come in the way. With Beretta M9 pistol in pocket of Godse, they three easily entered into the Birala House Campus. Generally, Dr Sushila Nayar or one man Gurbachan Singh used to walk ahead of Gandhi to clear the way. But that day, Dr Nayar was away to Pakistan and Gurbachan Singh was caught up in the group. There were hardly 250 persons including 20 policemen in plain clothes present in the campus.

When Manu drew his attention of getting late in prayer time, the meeting with Sardar ended. Two leaders of Saurastra Dhebarbhai and Rasiklal Parikh came to discuss formation of districts in Saurastra State and asked for the meeting, but Gandhi told, “tell them that I will, but only after the prayer meeting, and that too if I am still living. We shall then talk things over." Patel was returning to his bungalow. Gandhi’s meeting with Nehru and Maulana Azad was scheduled at 7pm that evening and his plan to go to Sevagram on next day or on 2nd February was to be announced in the prayer meeting.

65 inch tall and 50 kg weight, 79 years old Bapu took his last steps towards eternity with his two walking sticks Abha to the left and Manu to the right. As no one was in front of Gandhi, Godse changed his plan to fire from the distance and grab the opportunity, pulled out pistol from the pocket, pushed forcefully Manu aside, and fired three rounds of bullets very closely on his heart and stomach. With the third fire Gandhi slowly sank to the left on the ground into the hands and lap of Abha and gasped ‘hey ram’ and departed. It was 5.17pm. Smoke filled the air. Confusion and panic reigned. His face turned pale, his white shawl of Australian wool was turning crimson with blood. Deputy to Pyarelal, Kalyanam was walking to the left of him behind Abha, therefore, couldn’t hear hey ram. But believing Gandhi’s word to Manu early that very morning, "If someone fires bullets at me and I die without a groan and with God's name on my lips, then you should tell the world that here was a real Mahatma...". He was our Mahatma, sacrificed life for the unity of Hindu-Muslim in India. His journey to truth and from darkness to light will lantern India for centuries. Godse killed his body but made him immortal.

Had the prayer been conducted at 5pm as per the schedule, Godse might had failed in his attempt. But Gandhi’s departure was destined at 5.17 pm.

8 December 2018

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Ear Piercing

Ear Piecing

There was 3 days (9-11 November) Ayurveda Swadhyay Shibir at Aryagram at Randheja Cross road near Gandhinagar. Many Ayurvedacharya from all over the country have participated and shared their research and knowledge on Ayurveda referring Charak Samhita, Sushrut Samhita, Ashtanghridayam Samhita, etc. Most of them were good at Sanskrit and there memory was so powerful that one Vaidhya from Pune could chant all the sutras of Ashtanghridayam of Vagbhatt without the help of the book. There are vaidhyas who can chant the sutras in reverse order.

There were two Professors from Ayurveda College of Dehradun (Uttarakhand) in the group, Vaidhya Vinish Gupta and his colleague Vaidhya Joshi. They presented the benefits of ear piercing that they had learn from the traditional vaidhya. I took interest in the subject because one of my friends’ son was cured from hernia by ear piercing by a tribal vaidhya of Zalod in Panchmahals.

Traditionally, Karnachedan of the lobule is one of the 16 Sanskars in Hinduism. It is a common practice to pierce the ear lobules of girls, and few decades ago, it was common to pierce the ears lobules of the boys too. It is stimulating the brain power, memories and understandings. A fold in the lobule suggests some problem of neurological disorder. With the piercing of the centre of both the lobules and removing the deposited blood, it cures the problem. In acupressure treatment of the alternative medicines, the gall bladder meridien passes through the ears and the temporals.

But this was different piercing, piercing of the middle part of the outer ear next to anti helix. It is a treatment mainly for bronchitis, hernia and prostate. I don’t have such problem but looking at the family history of bronchitis to my mother, I volunteer to pierce the middle part of my outer ear. Vaidhya Vinish was lighting a torch over the ear from behind and Vaidhya Joshi identified the right point and pierce my left ear in few seconds. It was painless pierce. Thereafter, she applied a silver ring to the pierced ear and advised to keep the ear away from water for 7 days. After 7 days, a golden or silver thread can be placed to maintain the hole active.

I don’t have major health problem but I did have problem of breathlessness after climbing stairs of 3-4 stories of a building. There is shortness of breath. The degenerative process of my left side body is faster than the right side. I was feeling some discomfort with the imbalance of the breaths cycle of the left and right nostrils. There was stiffness of joints and muscles and sometime, I felt the beginning of arthritis. Due to 90 degree long sitting posture over chair and British clothing of pent and belt, I was unable to pass out the intestinal air easily, and the belly started coming out due to the pressure of food and gas inside. It was mainly because of irregularity of meals, overweight and obesity, I believed. If I go to the Cardiology Institute, they will immediately put a stent in my heart and put me on the slavery of medicines for life time. I am managing the life with diet control, regular walking, occasional ayurvedic herbs and some physiotherapy support.

I have a habit to try any new method or technique on me first to have first hand experience, therefore, I opted for the ear piercing to satisfy my curiosity. But to my great surprise, within seconds, I realised the change of my breathing cycle, appearing normal, balanced and lighter. Within two hours the stiffness of the body was releasing and before I return home, the air deposited in the body started moving out. The waste was disposed at home and when I looked at the mirror, the lymph nodes (immune system) enlarged around the left neck suddenly disappeared. One pierce and these many benefits!

My both the sons are ready for the piercing of outer middle ear for preventive care.

Are you keen for ear piercing?

Luckily, the Vaidhyas are in Gujarat for two more days, have gone to stay with Vaidhya Panchabhai Damania of Una and have Darshana of Somnath temple and are returning home by morning flight at 7 AM on 15 November 2018. If you or your family members are in need of piercing the ear, it is only possible at 5 AM on 15 November 2018, either at the Circuit House Annexe or at the Airport because they will be traveling in night straight from Somnath to the Airport.

शुभम् भवतु कल्याणम्।

13 November 2018

Friday, October 19, 2018

Narsinh Mehta and Vadnagar

Narsinh Mehta and Vadnagar 

After 25 years, we were visiting the house of Narsinh Mehta at Sukhnath Chowk of Junagadh where he had spent 67 years of his life. Instead of preserving his old house in original shape, size and appearance, the administration has dismantled it and is now making a new house and a exhibition hall in small campus of approximately 800 metre. It is located near the Majevadi gate, surrounded by Muslim basti and a newly built Medical College and General Hospital nearby. 

The Brahmin girl was explaining the life of Narsinh Mehta and identified him as Nagar. But the man at the reception clarified that he was a Brahmin of Talaja (Bhavnagar) but later became Nagar after the marriage with a Nagar girl of Junagadh. 

What does it matter whether he was a Brahmin or a Nagar? I intervened. Brahmins and Nagars are different castes. Nagars are superior to Brahmin the man at the reception was arguing. The Brahmins performs karmakands and eat from the money and goods received even from the rituals of deaths. Nagars don’t do that. Sweet in their tongue Nagars are capable of doing all Panchat (polity) on any subject. He made the argument lighter. 

Great worshiper of Lord Krishna, first Gujarati poet Narsinh Mehta is known to the present world through the song Vaishanav jan to tene kahiye..that was lived by Gandhiji. Narsinh Mehta’s ancestors were from Vadnagar of Mehsana District from where the present PM belongs. 

Bhanaji Pandya a Brahmin from Vadnagar moved to Talaja Bhavnagar in 1304. He had performed Putreshthi Yagya for Vallabhipur King Nagarjuna in 1360. Luckily the king got a son and therefore, he granted three villages to Gadadhar the son of Bhanaji Pandya and also appointed him as the Karbhari, and Gadadhar Pandya became Gadadhar Mehta. Narsinhdas Mehta was his great grandson born in 1408 in Talaja but when he was 12 years old, he moved to Junagadh with his uncle Parvatdas. Narsinhdas then married to a Nagar girl Manekbai of Majevadi village of Junagadh. He stayed in Junagadh for 67 years and died in 1488 at the age of 79 years. A great Krishna Bhakta Saint and, believer of the equality of humans, and his Prabhatiya (morning bhakti songs) became the pathway of millions of Gujaratis for last 5 centuries. 

From Narsinhdas Mehta, India got Mohandas Gandhi, the father of the Nation. Mohandas simply practiced his teachings of Vaishnav jan to tene kahiye.. song for his entire life, became Mahatma and gave us freedom from Britishers with the weapons of truth and nonviolence. 

There is connection of Mohandas with Junagadh and North Gujarat life Narsinh Mehta. Mohandas’s family was Modh Vanik, belonged to Modhera village of Mehsana District. The family moved to Saurastra and his ancestors were working as Divan of the princely States in Saurastra. His father Karamchand Gandhi was the Divan of Porbandar. His mother Putalibai was from a Pranami family of Junagadh. Putalibai was the fourth wife of Karamchand. In want of Son, he married four wives. The last Putalibai gave him four sons and a daughter. Influenced by Narsinhdas and Pranami during childhood in Junagadh, Mohanchand became Mohandas. He was also a believer of equality of humans and like Narsinhdas Mehta advocated for removal of untouchability from the society. Like Narsinh Mehta, Gandhiji also lived for 78-79 years.

There is a big lake in Vadnagar named Sharmishta. Who was Sharmishta? I asked the people present during my visit to Vadnagar. But none was able to answered. I got the answer from Junagadh after reading the pedhinamu of Narsinhdas Mehta. His life was a tragedy. His only son Shamaldas died on the first night of his marriage. His only daughter Kunvarbai was married to Vatsraj, the son of Shrirang Oza of Una (Junagadh). There is a famous miraculous legend of Lord Krishna giving Mameru of Kunavarbai on behalf of Narsinh Mehta. Kunvarbai had only one daughter Sharmishta, who was married to Ghanshyam of Vadnagar and their daughters were Savitri (Tana) and Sandhya (Riri) married to Lokesh and Mahesh respectively, the sons of Vadnagar’s Mandaleshvar Nilkanthray. Both the sister died jumping into the well when they were called to perform music in the court of Muslim Emperor Akbar. When Tansen was burning in the fire of Raga Deepak and roamed around India, the two girls of Vadnagar cooled down the fire by singing Raga Malhar. When they were called to perform in the court of Emperor Akbar, the preferred to commit suicide drowning in a well. Tansen then created a new Raga in their memories, named TanaRiri. 

The lake of Vadnagar is named Sharmishta after the mother of the great sisters Tana Riri, Savitri Sandhya.

Great souls of their time. Our salutes.

19 October 2018

Monday, September 17, 2018

Monsoon Herb Aghedo (Apamarg)

Monsoon Herb Aghedo (Apamarg)

Aghedo known as Apamarg in Sanskrit is a pungent but a famous plant in Ayurveda used as purgative, diuretic and in the diseases of dropsy, bleeding piles, boils, skin eruptions, colic, toothache, painful menses and asthma. It’s roots are used as astringent and seeds are used as emetic and in hydrophobia and in enlarged spleen. It is anti inflammatory. It is mentioned in Ayurveda that if the roots of Aghedo is tied in the waist or pined in the hair amboda of a pregnant lady on the day of delivery, the delivery becomes normal. 

It is a natural salt, therefore, I was searching for it’s use in correcting lipid profile and removing blocks. 

In Gandhinagar, the Capital City of Gujarat plenty of Aghedo plants come up in Monsoon every year. In monsoon the plants come up from the earth and by Sharad-Diwali it gives seeds. 

Nature can’t grow herbs without meaning. What is the use of the Aghedo seeds in Sharad? Sharad (Bhadrapad) is a season in India in which many humans die. It is a season of diseases. रोगाणाम् शारदी माता। It is Mother for the Doctors and Vaidhyas as they earn the maximum during Sharad season. वैध्याणाम् शारदी माता। 

In Varsha (monsoon) the Pitta (heat) in the body accumulates. And in Sharada, it explodes. Therefore, Sharad is a season of fevers. To prevent it, our ancestors found out the use of milk to control the pitta. Therefore, Shraddha Parva is celebrated as ritual to pay homage to the diseased with offering of Khir made of milk and rice. Khir controls the pitta and saves us from fever and death. It is considered blessings of long life from the ancestors. 

How to use Aghedo, a hot herb in Sharad? 
If Sharad Khir made with Aghedo seeds, it becomes a medicine, perfect with the cooling agent milk and rice. And to my great surprise, this Sharad Khir and Adgedo seeds, the natural salt removes blockages of heart, brain and all other parts of the body. If it is cleaning the atherosclerosis, what a wonder! My heart pumping went down to 50 last year rose up 55-60 after taking Aghedo Khir for 15 days during Shraddha Parva. We used to collect fresh Aghedo seeds everyday during our morning walk. With the removal of the waste materials from the arteries, the LDL came down and with the smooth flow of bloods into all the arteries and veins, the major organs functioned well. 

What else does one need?

Take out seeds from the Aghedo plants around you, make a tasty Khir and enjoy the morning of the Sharad Ritu. 

शतम् जीव: शरद:  

15 September 2018

Thursday, September 13, 2018

मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्


मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्।

The soul is pure but He carries deceit, hatred and attachments, these darts creat obstruction in the path of liberation, nirvana. मिच्छामि दुक्कडम् is a path of purification, roots out the internal darts and bring sanity.

God has given us spotless bed sheet. But we make it dirty with our acts and omissions. Knowingly or unknowingly, we hurt others and injure or kill other creatures.

In a year of 365 days, these 8 days of Paryusan-Samvatsari is a period of passing through the path of purification. It is a Parva of introspection, confessions, repent and taking a pledge to not to repeat errors. The repentance for the breach of vow (prayaschit) removes the darts over the soul. It leads to self correction. One asks for forgiveness for the various errors of commission and omission, the faults and the sins committed knowingly or unknowingly. We should say Michchhami Dukkadam.

There are nine subtypes of präyaschhit. (1) To confess one's mistake in the presence of the preceptor and with a pure heart - that is called älochanä. (2) To repent for the mistake that has been committed and to refrain from it, as also to remain alert that no new mistakes are committed - that is called pratikramana. (3) When these älochana and pratikramana are performed together - that is called a combination of älochana and pratikramana. (4) When prohibited food and drink happen to have been received and the fact comes to light later on, then to discard these food and drink - that is called viveka. (5) To regret the mistake committed, one adopts an attitude of concentration to give up the operations of body and speech - that is called vyutsharga. (6) To regret the mistake committed, one performs external penances like anashana etc. - that is called tapas. (7) Corresponding to the gravity of the offense committed, the reckoned period of monkshood is reduced by a day, a fortnight, a month or a year - that is called chheda. (8) To keep an offender at a distance from oneself and not to have with him engaged any dealings of any sort for a fortnight, a month or the like as might suit the gravity of his offense - that is called parihära. (9) When on account of a violation of the earlier accepted mahävratas (major vows) - non-violence, truthfulness, continence etc. - they are forfeited - that is called upasthäpanä.

A long path of Tapa to walk on the path of Nirvana. One can make a small beginning, ask for forgiveness from all those whom we have hurt knowingly or unknowingly during the past years. Then every year, we do this prayaschit and pratikraman to keep the sanity and purity of the Soul so that one day He reaches to His ultimate destination of Kaivalya, the Nirvana!

मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्।

13 September 2018

Can Arjun become Krishna?

Can Arjuna become Krishna?

From the platform of unreal-impermanent, Vijay Ranchan Sir words his poem referring the verse 5 of the Chapter 4 of Gita: सुनते हैं कृष्ण! तुम सब कुछ कर सकते हो, मुझे बस तुम्हारे साथ बिताये जन्मों  से भी लम्बे प्रहर भूलने का वरदान दो |

In Chapter-2, Lord Krishna explains the immutability of the Self.

न जायते म्रियते वा कदाचित् नायं भूत्वा भविता वा न भूयः।
अजो नित्यः शाश्वतोऽयं पुराणो न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे ।।२0।। (Gita, 2.20)
(He is not born nor does he ever die; after having been, He again ceases not to be; Unborn, Eternal, Changeless and Ancient, He is not killed when the body is killed)
The Self is unborn, eternal, birthless and deathless. The six changes: birth, existence, growth, decay, disease and death are the common womb of the pain in mortal’s life. Waves are born and die away but the Ocean is not born with the waves, nor does it die when the waves disappear.

But in verse 5 of Chapter 4, he says:
बहूनि मे व्यतीतानि जन्मानि तव चार्जुन ।
तान्यहं वेद सर्वाणि न त्वं वेत्थ परन्तप ॥ ५ ॥
(Many births of Mine have passed as well as yours, O Arjuna; I know them all but you know them not, O Prantapa.)

Lord Krishna explains the theory of birth and rebirth and His incarnation. In one verse, he explained that the Self is unborn and eternal and in this verse He contradicts himself with the theory of births and rebirths. He and Arjun had many births but He knows them all but Arjun doesn’t. He as a Master enjoys all freedom but Arjun as Servant carries the limitations. He further explains in verse 6 (ch.4), though I am unborn and am of imperishable nature, and though I am the Lord of all beings, yet, ruling over My own Nature, I take birth by My own MAYA.

Can’t Arjun become Krishna?

The Self (Pure Awareness) is the same in both, then why is the difference? Krishna carries Awareness and Arjuna is living in Ignorance. One is talking from the platform of the Supreme, Master of His Maya, knows the game of creation, enjoys his freedom to hold the vehicle (body) and leaves it with all freedom. But Arjuna is victimised by his ignorance, believes the world of Maya as real, forgets the past, carries the desires and passing through the cycle of endless births and deaths in ignorance of the Self, suffers the pains.

Where is that platform of the Supreme from where Krishna says loudly: weapons cleave It not, fire burns It not, water moistens It not, winds dries It not (2.23 Gita); just as a man casts off his worn out clothes and puts on new once, so also the embodied Self cuts off its worn out bodies and enters other which are new (2.22 Gita).

What is Real and what is Unreal? That which was not in the past and which will not be in the future, but seemingly exists at present is Unreal. The objects we regard as real are illusory will disappear. The Real exists at all times, in the past, the present and the future. All the objects, our sentiments and our ideas, the body-mind-intellect are ever changing in us, therefore they are not Real. Then where is that changeless substratum? If water flows in river, there is riverbed. Where is that riverbed, on which the experience of life (experience of body, mind, intellect) synchronised? Which is that something in us remains unchanged all through our changes? Which is that thread that holds the beads in a necklace?

It is the Self in us, the Pure Awareness, the Consciousness remains the same, endless experiences come under it, get illuminated and dies away. That Awareness, Spiritual Entity, Eternal, All pervading, Inborn, Undying, and the Changeless, the infinite in me, if I (Arjuna) rest in it, Arjuna becomes Krishna.

Hare Krishna.

મિચ્છામિ દુક્કડમ્ 🙏

13 September 2018

Friday, August 31, 2018

Bael leaves and Lord Shiva

Bael leaves and Lord Shiva

One of the Hindu trinity, Lord Shiva is believed to be the destroyer of the world, while Brahma is the creator and Vishnu the preserver. New creation is possible only if the destruction goes on simultaneously. Therefore, each cells of the universe is passing through the cycle of creation, preservation and destruction. The destruction is painful, but necessary for new creation, therefore, Hindus pray Lord Shiva chanting Mahamrintyunjaya mantra to conquer death and depart peacefully.

 त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम्
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मामृतात् ॥
(We worship the three-eyed Lord Shiva who permeates and nourishes all like a fragrance, may He liberate us from death for the sake of immortality, like the cucumber is severed from bondage to the creeper)

Trifoliate (three pronged) Bel leaf (bilva patra) of Bael (wood apple) tree is one of the key ingredients of worshipping Lord Shiva. It symbolizes the trident held in Lord Shiva’s right hand, the three functions of creation, preservation and destruction, the three gunas of Rajas, Tamas and Sattva as well as Lord Shiva’s three eyes. 
In Savan month of Hindu calendar, Hindus worship Lord Shiva. They offer tridal Bilva leaves to Lord Shiva and pray him for fulfilling their material or spiritual desires. Leaves of Bilva trees are removed in millions these days. One wonders, how could the leaves be a mean for boons or salvation? One one side, the theory of Karma suggests that the fruits are the outcome of our Karma, then how could the bael leaves bypass the Karma and fruits effect? 
In Shiv Purana, there is story of a hunter worshiping Lord Shiva with the bel leaf.
A hunter once had to go hunting because his family was hungry. At the end of the day, the hunter was not able to find any prey. He climbed a tree and was watching around the movement of animal for hunting. As there was no prey around, free he, was subconsciously plucking and dropping the leaves of the tree on the ground. Suddenly, he saw a deer. He aimed his bows and arrow at the deer, but the deer asked him to give little time to meet the doe and come back. He allowed the deer to go and while waiting, continued plucking and dropping the leaves on the ground. The buck returned with the doe but both requested for one more time to go and come back after meeting the fawns. He allowed them and in waiting continued plucking and dropping the leaves on the ground. After a while, the whole family of the deer appeared before him for the prey. As the hunter was plucking and dropping the bael leaves on the ground, the leaves were falling over the Shiv Linga buried at the foot of the tree. This unknowing worship to Lord Shiva was enough to transform the hunter into a compassionate and understanding human being and frees him from his past bad karma. He saw on one side the deer family ready for the sacrifice and on other side his family hunger, which can be satisfied with alternative means. He allowed the deer family to return happily. Since then, the Hindus worship Lord Shiva with the Bilva leaves for purification of hearts and getting free from the bondage of their past karmas.
But why the Bilva Leaves? The story has spiritual meaning. The tridal symbolises the three gunas (qualities) of the Samsara, the Satva, the Rajas and the Tamas. He who surrenders the three gunas to the God, his mind and thoughts purifies and he then attains into the pure Consciousness of the Universe. In Chapter 15 of Bhagvad Gita, Lord Krishna has described the Sansara as Urdva moola adho shakha... 

ऊर्ध्वमूलमधःशाखमश्वत्थं प्राहुरव्ययम् |
छन्दांसि यस्य पर्णानि यस्तं वेद स वेदवित् || (१५/१, Geeta)
(An eternal ashvatth tree with its roots above and branches below. Its leaves are the vedic hymn, and one who knows the secret of the tree is the knower of the Vedas.)

The Upanishads also mention this tree: ūrdhvamūlo ’vākśhākha eṣho ’śhvatthaḥ sanātanaḥ   (Kaṭhopaniṣhad 2.3.1) (The ashvatth tree, with its roots upward and branches downward is eternal). ūrdhvamūlaṁ arvākśhākhaṁ vṛikṣhaṁ yo samprati, na sa jātu janaḥ śhraddhayātmṛityutyurmā mārayaditi (Taittirīya Āraṇyak 1.11.5) (Those who know this tree with it’s root upward and branches downward will not believe that death can finish them)
Generally, trees have their roots below and branches above.  But this tree has its roots above (ūrdhva-mūlam), i.e. it has originated from God, it is based in Him, and is supported by Him.  Its trunk and branches extend downward (adhaḥ-śhākham), encompassing all the life-forms in all the abodes of the material realm. 

The tree of Sansara/Jagat/material world has it’s roots above and it’s trunk and the branches extend downward. We/Atma are the hunters sitting on the top of the tree, searching for the prey to fulfil our desires with the help of three gunas: Satva, Rajas and Tamas. And according to our Karma, we decide our future. Till we became the doer, we are the lords of our destiny of hell or heaven. But as soon as we surrender our I with the three gunas to the God (Lord Shiva), the complete surrender to God brings salvation/moksha/nirvana and frees us from all the bondages. 

The bael leaves are symbolic. One has to remove all the impurities caused by the trigunas and surrenders to the God. Simple act of plucking the leaves and dropping them over the Shivlinga won’t serve any purpose unless surrendering the three gunas and offer the leaves to Lord Shiva. 

Bili or Bael tree has medicinal value in Ayurveda. The leaves are stimulator and medicine for sexual dysfunction and can cure Type2 diabetes.  It causes low appetite therefore useful in fast during the rainy season. It has anti fertility effects, therefore, can be used for family planning. Powder of Bael fruit is a great  medicine for stomach, ulcerative colitis, amoebiasis, intestinal and digestive disorders associated with bloody diarrhoea. It also boosts the immune system, fights off bacterial and viral infections, reduces inflammatory conditions, increases milk production for nursing mothers, improves ocular health. The fruit balances Kaph and Vata doshas, its roots improve digestion, leaves are good for pain, stem for heart and bel flower’s for curing of diarrhea.

ॐ नम: शिवाय। 

31 August 2018

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Diu the Pearl of India

Diu the Pearl of India

Diu the Pearl of India, presenting mixture of Portuguese and Gujarati culture together, is one of the 100 ideal heritage sites of India. The island is surrounded on the three sides by blue water of Arabian Sea. It was a sea port trade centre and vital trade link with the rest of India for traders overseas and was an important naval base of strategic importance on Saurastra coast for centuries and was ruled by Mauryas, Chalukyas, Chavda-Vaghela, Turks and Portuguese. Portuguese carried with them the Siddis from the African colonies and built the fort, the city wall and other strictures in the Cantonment. Portuguese stayed and ruled over the island for 450 years, till it was annexed to India on December 19, 1961.

Diu fort with many cannons spread around tells stories and history of the bravery and great wars they fought with the enemies. All the cannons are positioned towards Gujarat, as it was always under the danger of attacks from the Sultanate of Gujarat. Turks from Ottoman Empire were spreading rapidly towards East Asia and with it’s naval support to the local Muslim rulers, the island came under the great threat. 

Bahadur Shah the Sultan of Gujarat tried to seize Diu from Portuguese with the help of Ottoman Empire of Pasha during the 4 years war of 1531-34. 1534-35 AD were important years for Sultan Bahadur Shah because he won Diu in the west and Chitorgarh in the north. But at Mandsore, his head of artillery Rumi Khan (Russian Turk) betrayed him in favour of Humayun. Bahadur Shah then fled to Mandu but Mandu fortress was taken by Humayun, therefore, he fled to Champaner and finally took refuge in Diu. With the revolt of Sher Shah Suri in Bihar and Jaunpur, Humayun returned to Agra leaving his brother and two generals to command Ahmedabad, Bharuch and Patan, Bahadur Shah with the help of his old nobles, defeated Mughals at Kanij (near Mahemadabad) and expelled them. He then tried to recover Mandu from Mughal but was forced to the court of Portuguese, signed treaty of Bassein with Portuguese on December 23, 1534, gave them rights over Bassein (Vasai), Daman and Bombay and granted permission to erect a factory in Diu, instead the Portuguese Governor D Nuno da Cunha constructed the Diu fort. 

Portuguese had lost many lives and wealth during those four years (1531-34) war against the armies of Ottoman empire and Gujarat Sultanate, didn’t forget the losses. Therefore, when the Sultan of Gujarat Bahadur Shah came to Diu, invited the Viceroy with a strategy to pull him into his power, the Viceroy excused himself and in return invited the Sultan to his ship anchored off the coast of Gujarat. Bahadur Shah committed a mistake, went to the Viceroy’s ship, failed in negotiation terms and on his way back was attacked and killed in encounter by the Portuguese and his body was dumped into the water of Arabian Sea. The ship anchors away from the coast beyond the Panikotha structure, and one has to travel in a small boat to approach the ship and return to the jetty. The powerful Sultan, otherwise could had defeated the Portuguese in direct war, traveled in a small boat and lost his life in the water of Arabian sea in a small encounter of few minutes. He was only 30 years old. Why did he took such a risky move?

When British took over the reins of India in their hands, there was nothing advantageous either politically or for trades for the Portuguese to stay   as the fort population was mostly dependent on imports of goods and services from the African countries of South Africa, Mozambique, etc. But to showcase the presence of their colonial rule some 5000 km away, they continued their hold over the land. They believed in keeping the local population happy to save the kingdom. They lived as they believed. As a Community, Portuguese are very nice and sociable people. Unlike British, Portuguese males married with the locals females and gave birth to the coloured population in their colonial areas. Pao (soft bread) and barbecue fish is their staple food but they also enjoy chicken with gravy. They are famous for their bakery products. 

Diu became independent and annexed to India on 19 December 1961. People celebrate the Independence Day with one week long Diu Festival (Festa De Diu) in December every year. Before 1961, their Passports were stamped at Indian check post when they were coming to Indian territory for the medical treatment or other purposes. 

Diu, Daman Dadara Nagar Haveli and Goa (Estado da India) were annexed by armed action ‘Operation Vijay’ in December 1961 and were put under military administration till replaced by civilian rule in June 1962. It is interesting to note that the the issue of Indian armed action was taken up for a debate in the UN Security Council in December 1961 with the Portuguese request. The request was approved when the bare minimum of seven members supported the request (the US, UK, France, Turkey, Chile, Ecuador, and Nationalist China), two opposed (the Soviet Union and Ceylon), and two abstained (the United Arab Republic and Liberia).

When Diu and Goa were under attack from the land, sky and sea for 36 hours, the Portuguese people living in the fort went to the City area for rescue, then surrendered and left the land by a ship. And loving people they were, considered the Indian population of the island as their own people because of their long association with them for 451 years, invited them to the ship and took away to those who joined them to Portugal. They extended the citizenship right of Portugal to all the natives. Many carrying Portugal Passport moved to Europe and mostly settled in the Wembly of London. 

Those born before 1961 and their children do carry citizenship rights of Portugal even today. There are agents who process the file by charging ₹ 2 lakh/case for the fees and costs, and every year some youngsters surrender their Indian citizenship, acquire Portuguese Passport and try their luck in Europe, mostly in London. Many youths had migrated living their old aged parents behind, one can see many houses empty in Fudam and other villages. If you wish to buy a property in Diu, you may buy in Nagarsheth Heritage, but can’t buy in Fudam without the permission of the local Panchayat Society! Merchant Navy job carries the highest value above doctors and engineers amongst the families living in Ghoghala area of fishermen community. 

Some people remember the old days of Portuguese rule in which they were living with ease and comforts, enjoying fruits and vegetables of Africa. Wearing Gold ornaments and decorating houses were the luxuries of the life the women of Diu they had enjoyed the most. 

One of the Collectors of Diu found out his better half from Diu, married to a beautiful Portuguese girl serving in the Collectorate, whose parents and other relatives are settled in England, leaving a small house at Diu. 

There are many places and buildings of historical and archeological importance in Diu, but some of them are noteworthy: the fort, Panikotha, the city wall, a heritage walk from the beach side to other side of the town (small steps feel like great China wall walk), beautiful beaches: Chakratirtha, Nagoa, Ghoghala, Jalandhar; Naida caves, INS Khukri Memorial, Gangeshwar temple, etc. 

The beautiful St. Paul Church is the biggest building adorned with curiously treated volutes and shell like motifs and the magnificent wood carving is considered to be the most elaborate of all the Portuguese Churches in India. They worship Mother Mary, and the eyes of Mother Mary idol in the Church is very famous for it’s beauty and shine. Now the building is in the custody of Archeology Department, open for prayer but not been maintained so well. 

India won the war with the surrender of 93000 Pakistani soldiers under Lt. Gen. AAK Niazi before Indian Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Arora at Ramna Race Course Garden in Dhaka, Bangladesh on December 16, 1971, but a week before at 19.57 hrs on December 9, 1971, the great sons of India sacrificed their lives to protect the pride of the mother land. Indian Navy’s frigate INS Khukri F149 fell prey to three torpedoes fires on her by a Pakistani submarine PNS Hangor on December 9, 1971 in the course of the war. INS Khukri F149 sank 40 nautical miles off the Diu coast taking down with her a crew of 18 Officers and 176 Soldiers. Captain Mahendra Nath Mulla, a Kashmiri Pandit, was the Commanding Officer of the Ship. It is said that he refused to abandon the Captain’s seat and opted to go down with the sinking ship. He is considered as a hero in naval history and was awarded country’s second highest gallantry award ‘Mahavir Chakra’ (posthumously). A war memorial near Diu, displays name of the brave martyrs soldiers who lost their lives in INS Khukri F149.

The only place to see Hokka Trees in India is Diu. This sole Indian species of African genus was carried on the island by the the Portuguese from Africa. Hokka trees and Siddi workers of Africa are the Gifts of Portuguese to Gujarat and India. The fruits of the tree are edible, tastes like dates and have medicinal properties. These are heritage trees and therefore, there is prohibition to cut Hokka tree in Diu, the fine is heavy. 

A small population of Diu speak Portuguese. You may hear the words: como esta (how are you), obrigado (fine thank you), while walking in the streets of Diu. A Portuguese gentleman (Mother Indian father Portuguese), when asked for Portuguese life and meal in Diu, he happily invited us for dinner. We may take a chance to it in our next trip to the pearl of India, Diu. 

26 August 2018

Tips of Ayush from Panchabhai Damania

Ayush Tips from Panchabhai Damania

He is a Vaidhya, did his BAMS from Junagadh and Masters from Jamnagar Ayurvedic University. In the initial years of his career, he practiced Ayurveda with Allopathic but later moved to pure Ayurvedic treatment and is now considered as one of the most successful Vaidhyas of Gujarat, successful in treating incurable discusses including Cancer. He stays in his village Una where his wife, his daughters and his father help him in making his Ayurved Yatra successful. One of his two daughters studies in BAMS and the younger is also getting ready to follow Ayurveda as a career.

Sushrut Samhita for Anatomy and Charak Samhita for treatment are his base books along with the guidance from other Ayurvedic books, Rigveda, Atharvaveda and Puranas. His pharmacy has Ayurvedic Drugs in the order described in Bhavprakash Nighantu. He is open to the new ideas and have acquired knowledge of herbs that cure many diseases. It is surprising to note that the herbs carry different potency if plucked in routine, plucked in selected season, time and nakshatra or plucked by chanting Ved mantras.

For Cancer treatment, he uses ‘krishna vallary’ herbs available in plenty on the sea coast of Gujarat. Following the success of a Kutchi Shah living in Mumbai, he also uses herb Hemkand, available near Verai Mata Temple in Rapar. He believes that without pure panchkarma treatment, no treatment on cancer can be successful.

Apart from the known Ayurvedic herbs, he uses Vanplandu (wild onion) and other herbs available locally. Referring the mantra of Rigveda, he believes that Yagya and it’s smoke can cure the fever of chikungunya, dengue, malaria, etc. पलड्ंकषा निम्बपत्रं वचा कृष्ठं हरीतकि, सर्षपा: सयवा: सर्पिर्धूपन ज्वरनाशनम। A dhoopa of gugal, neem leaves, vaj, kath, harada, sarsav and jav can cure all fevers.

Milk is prohibited in fevers, leprosy, blood and skin related diseases. All the acerbic (कड़वा) herbs and vegetables are good for the skin diseases. Acerbic food and herbs are lekhan aushadha, removes med/fat of the body.

Honey can’t be taken with hot water. It is hot medicine, cures cough and upper respiratory problems. It is not advisable to take after 60 years age.

Those suffering from low HB, Pandu Roga must take Sun bath of early morning ultraviolet rays.

Bharanhi, Kantkari, Aradusi and Vanpalandu are great herbs to cure cough, bronchitis and upper respiratory problems. Ardusi is used fresh and the juice is taken out by crushing some leaves and covered the pulp with whole leaves and mud paste and heated in the fire, then squeeze and collect the juice. Vanpalandu is useful in breathing problems and bronchitis. Bharangi and Kantkari are used in cough and cold.

Herbs have life of potency. Some herbs like Tulsi, Fudina, Ardusi, Jivanti, etc, are taken as fresh. Some dry leaves have life limited to six months.

Healthy life comes from the balance of Vata-Pitta and Cough in the body. Hemant and Shishir are considered good seasons to eat all foods as the powerful jatharagni digest whatever we eat. But one has to be careful while eating during Vasant and Gishma when the jatharagni is medium. And must do fasting or ektana (one meal in 24 hours) during Varsha and Sharad, the season of mand (poor) jatharagni. It is therefore, many Hindu festivals are lined up for fasting and rituals during these months. Sharad is considered the mother of the diseases, as well as mother of the vaidhyas/doctors as they earn the most during the season.

He is a seat of attachment of four students a year from Ayurvedic Universities, where the students stay with him for 11 months to study and learn practical Ayurveda. Every morning they go to the fields to study and collect the herbs to make the medicines. Modern allopathic men are afraid of Ayurvedic Bhashma as it may harm more than the cure, but he believes that a Bhashma made by following commands of Ayurveda float over the water and that can’t be harmful. One must test it before the intake.

He uses cow ghee and black sesame seed oil in plenty while making different drugs.

He follows spirituality, follows chaturmas (four months fasting) by taking only a glass of milk twice in 24 hours. He is connected with a Trikala Jnani Sanyasi Pragyananji, who comes and stays in his farm Cottage for Sadhana and guides him through the dialogues. The Sanyasi remains in seclusion for a year, and the lamp he lights with 100 ml ghee, without any addition, continues lighting for the whole year of his Sadhana. During Sadhana, the Sanyasi doesn’t sleep. It is believed that unless one purifies the physical body through fasting, chanting mantras and meditation, the human brain won’t be able to  connect and take guidance from the universal cosmic energy. The mantras, herbs, asanas to cure diseases, they hear or see as divine revelation during the Sadhana.

All the herbs are our great friends, give us long and healthy life and the cosmos around us connects us with the cosmic power and liberate us from the fear of death as there is no death of the soul. It is the body that dies, but the driver moves on to fulfil his desires till attains the salvation.

26 August 2018

Friday, August 17, 2018

Our Great Leader Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Our Great Leader Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee

It was time of 1977 Parliament elections rallies in Ahmedabad, when I saw and heard him first time at Khanpur. We Amdavadi were great fans of his lyrical speeches of great oratory. One could easily swim in his thoughts and get inspired standing at any corner of the ground full with large crowd. Pandit Nehru was the first to identify the jewel, had rightly saw a Prime Minister in him. He was so warm and open hearted man that he not only admired the victory of India over Pakistan in 1971 war but also praised the then PM Indira Gandhi as Durga. He gave a speech a day prior to Babri Demolition in 1992, but kept himself away on the day of demolition of the mosque. His didn’t hesitate declaring caste inequality a major reason of slavery of the nation under foreign rules.

His destiny was the Chair of PM of India. He was a stenographer of great nationalist Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. Mr. Mukherjee returned him from the border of Kashmir to serve the Mother land and accepted the Jail of Kashmir for himself, where he died in custody. He presented us a great leader of love warmth and vision.

He became PM of India as an MP of Ahmedabad. It was that 13 days short tenure in 1996. He came to Ahmedabad to thank the voters but his party naughty men played dhotiya kand in public removing dhoti of the veteran Atmaram Patel who was siding with the dissidents. He lost the Chair as couldn’t garner the majority, but returned to the power gaining strength from General Elections of 1998. Brave Pokhran-II nuclear test was conducted in May 1998, but after 13 months, he lost the Chair by just one vote. His tenure was very effective for his full scale peace process with Pakistan to resolve Kashmir issue, Lahore declaration, Delhi-Lahore bus, etc, many steps of goodwill gestures.

"It was on February, 19, 1999, at a reception in the Governor's House, Islamabad, Pakistan, Vajpayee recited a poem, 'Ab Jung naa hone denge hum" (Lets say NO to war). Following this, he delivered a speech, which had managed to impress all. Nawaz Sharif too was so impressed that he walked up to him and said 'Vajpayee sahab ab toh Pakistan mein bhi election jeet sakte hain. (Mr Vajpayee you can win elections even in Pakistan now)"

But Pakistan gave Kargil war in return. He regained his position in General Elections of 1999 and graced the Chair of the PM of India comfortably from 1999 to 2004 except few major uncomfortable events of IC 814 plane hijacking to Kandhar to release the terrorist Masood Azhar, the Parliament attack by the terrorists and Gujarat violence. He broke the ice with Pakistan and during the visit of President of Pakistan Parvez Musharraf at Agra, at one point, it was felt that the Kashmir dispute might had been resolved by accepting LOC as IOC but the efforts failed.

In October 1997, at a meeting with three British diplomats, Govindacharya reportedly called Vajpayee the party's mukhota (mask) and identified party president L K Advani as real leader created storm in the party. Vajpayee took serious objection to the derogatory remarks. Govindacharya was removed and was replaced by Narendra Modi. This was a turning point in the life of Mr. Modi as he became the bridge between the RSS and the Government when the party came in power. He saw the polity very closely and when given an opportunity to become CM of Gujarat, he excelled, ruled the State for 13 years and now at the verge of successful completion of his first five years tenure as PM India.

Vajpayeeji’s pet projects of National Highways Development, PMGSY, Sarwa Siksha Abhiyan, were very popular. He added a word of science in the popular slogan: जय जवान जय किशान जय विज्ञान। Indian foreign policy took a right shift. The reforms initiated by Narasimha Rao goverment were stalled due to unstable governments during 1996-99, he put the economy on track through reform and perform. Leaving the protocol aside, he attended the funeral of Madhavrao Scindia respecting him as the royal chair of his native Gwalior State in October 2001.

His slogan India Shining didn’t win General Elections of 2004 but he registered permanent mark of his presence in the hearts of all Indians.

I met him personally when he visited Kutch as a Leader of the Opposition in 1994. It was a scarcity year and he visited couple of scarcity works. A day long association with him traveling to the district was a great memory to cherish for the life. I was very positive and enthusiastic in picturing Kutch as great investment destination. Equal to the size of Israel, when I gave great narration and potentially of the land and has capacity to grow like Israel, he with a lovely smile admired my vision with a pat on the back and told to feel like the President of Kutch. At Gandhidham, one follower presented him a painting of his picture. I remember the first line he wrote, बढ़ता क़द ढलती छाया ... Impressed by his simplicity, love and affections, I became his fan forever.

Keshubhai Patel, the then CM during his visit to the district was remembering his association with Vajpayeeji when he drove a jeep, traveling in the district with him and became his loyal for the life. With his one word, he gave away the chair of the CM though he had majority support of the MLAs.

The second occasion was to see him closely during his visit to Kutch after the devastating earthquake of Kutch on 31 January 2001. When the whole of the district was under shocks and after shocks, total blackout, houses collapsed, hundreds of people perished, wheels of life were stopped, vehicles became toys without diesel and drivers and barefooted we were busy walking and trying to establish rescue, recovery and relief operations. A challenge before us was to present the estimated losses before the PM. Suresh Mehta was very furious to get the figures. Somehow, we managed the numbers with applying logic of house damaged (taking 50% of the district) and the death toll of 20000 plus, damages to the roads, rails, bridges, substations, etc. He visited Bhuj, Bhachau and Ahmedabad, saw the devastation, met affected people and returned. He came with lot of relief materials including one big community RO Plant. All other stocks were matched but the RO Plant sent by the PMO was missing. We tressed through the truck drivers but were not getting any clue. Finally, it was found out from the custody of the BAPS camp where it was put in use to serve the community displaced by the earthquake. During his visit to the district in June 2001, many announcements of rehabilitation packages, tax holidays, infrastructure building, etc, had paved the way of Industrial Development of Kutch.

Bharat Ratna (2015) he was a jewel of India. We lost the great and loving son, visionary leader, philosopher and guide of Mother India.

Rest in Peace our Dearest Leader. 🙏

17 August 2018

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Goat Blood Basti (enema)

Goat Blood Basti (enema)

India is progressing as the fastest growing economy, the 6th largest economy of the world with 2597 trillion dollars domestic GDP. Infrastructure is growing by leaps and browns but the human resource health is one of the biggest challenges the Country is facing. Large population of women are anemic and big number of children are stunted and wasted. Anemia is the biggest health hazard caused by the iron deficiency or blood loss. Due to poverty the first priority of the family is to fill the bellies of the members. Cheap carbohydrates dominates the diet. Weak mothers give births to weak children. They increase load over the government for health care as well as load over their family for spending out of pocket. Weak health, low productivity, low income, poverty, poor diet, weak health, a vicious cycle of misery from which millions are unable to come out. 

It is a big challenge for the allopathic doctors to improve the HB of the mothers and children. The Drugs made from chemicals give some results temporarily and many patients are irregular in taking medicines. Allopathic Drugs carry side effects. Ayurveda has unique methods to improve HB. Apart from improving the diet with green leafy vegetables, the Panchkarma Chikitsa increases the HB instantly. But it’s a long process for a week and costs to the patient. But there is another Ayurvedic method, unique, instant, cheap, and magical to improve the HB level. It may be a relief to the Thallassemia patients. It is called Goat Blood Basti. 

Do you know the ancient heroes of India Chandragupta Maurya and Chanakya? 

Accordingly to a tale, when Chandragupta ascended to the throne of Pataliputra, Chanakya started mixing small doses of poison in the new king's food to make him immune to poisoning attempts by the enemies. Chandragupta, who was not aware of this, once shared the food with his pregnant queen Durdhara, who was seven days away from delivery. Chanakya arrived just as the queen ate the poisoned morsel. Realising that she was going to die, Chanakya decided to save the unborn child. He cut off the queen's head and cut open her belly with a sword to take out the foetus. Over the next seven days, he placed the foetus in the belly of a goat freshly killed each day. After seven days, Chandragupta's son was "born". He was named Bindusara, because his body was spotted with drops ("bindu") of goat's blood. Goat Blood was used for saving the child. Mutton is the meal of millions. 

The Ayurvedic Vaidhyas collect the goat blood fresh from the slaughter house, get it checked through the animal husbandry laboratory and thereafter given to the patient through the rectum route as basti. The patient is advised to first lie on his/her left lateral position. The right knee is folded touching the abdomen. With the basti drip, drop by drop the blood enters into the intestines and is absorbed by the patient. The quantity of blood is decided by the vaidhya based on the age, weight and medical condition of the patient. It may be repeated weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Once the patient has reached to a satisfactory level of HB, it is discontinued. The treatment of goat blood basti may be repeated after 2-3 years, when there is fall in HB. 

Isn’t it a cheap and effective solution for a country to treat the large population of anemic population? There are clinics in the country treating anemic and Thallassemia patients through Goat Blood Basti. CCRS, Ministry of Ayush, GoI funds the project. 

Can’t believe? Come and try at Akhandanand Ayurvedic Hospital at Ahmedabad. Better to prefer chemical to biochemical😂

8 August 2018

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Is Buddhism an evolution of Hinduism?

Is Buddhism an evolution of Hinduism? 

The Ashoka Chakra is a depiction of the Buddhist Dharmachakra, represented with 24 spokes appeared on Lion Capital of Sarnath has been adopted as the National Emblem of the Republic of India. The Chairman of the Draft Committee of the Constitution of India wrote a book: ‘The Buddha and his Dhamma’ and publicly changed his faith on 14 October 1956, just 54 days before his death on 6 December 1956. He called it “Navayana”, a step forward to Hinyana, Vajrayana, Mahayana. He had declared that “I had born Hindu but I shall not die a Hindu”. It was his struggle for equality. 

Is Buddhism a evaluation of Hinduism? Many Hindus will answer yes and many Buddhist will say no. If both the sides take a conservative view, there will be little room for the consensus. There is continuous evolution in the belief and faith system in all human societies. Enlightened people see the strengths and weaknesses of the society and accordingly guide the masses for betterment of their life and humanity. 

When the religion was jailed into the rituals and caste inequality was dividing the country into divisions of people based on their births, Buddha came with a new meaning of Dhamma (truth) and preached the logical meaning of human life to live a better and peaceful life with communal harmony. Religion of beliefs was lifted up from the hearts (भावना) to the minds (बुद्धि). अप्प दीपो भव। (atta dippa), be a light unto yourself, follow your own light (inner voice) was his greatest teaching. He was the greatest social reformer. There is a full chapter in Dhammapad, regarding the qualities of a Brahmin. He had accepted Brahmin as a position, one has to earn by following good virtues and live a life for the welfare of others. It is not a brand or status one can acquired by birth. One can’t be IAS by birth, one has to pass the UPSC😊

The four classes of a society was a division of work amongst the people depending upon their mental and physical skills and abilities. One family might had four sons of four different qualities. In modern era, we are doing the same dividing the the personnels in jobs in Classes: 1-2-3-4. But those who were benefited from the system, made it compulsory by birth and the fall of the nation started. Buddhism tried to unite the country through the principle of equality and preached the followers to use their life in the welfare of others but it couldn’t sustained beyond 2-3 centuries. The defence of the country weakened. Brahmanism again acquired the strong position and the inequality of the society limiting the talents and strength within selected classes allowed the Muslims to invade and win and convert the masses into the new faith system. Khatri Guru Gobind Singh, built an Army (Shikh-शिष्य- disciple) of the Hindu Sons from all castes starting from the Panch Pyare, and gave them suffix of ‘Singh’ to their name to countered the Muslim aggression and later with following five Ks of identity, it became an independent faith system of Shikhism, a middle path of taking good things from both the Hindu and Muslim religions. The influence of Shikh Singhs was so high that thereafter, Kshatriyas and Rajputs started using suffix ‘Singh’ to their names!!

One has to understand the journey of ancient Brahmanism (Priest) under pressure from the junction point of Central Asia of Greek Aryans, Persian Aryans and Indian Aryans through present days Afghanistan, Pakistan and India and evolution of the faith system from the Fire Worship to idols worship, from Nature Gods to Hunan Gods and their incarnation and mixing it with the belief system of the native Indians and taking new shapes and colours over the centuries. 

Buddhism, Jainism and Shilkhism were evolution process of the faith system in the Country, were addressed to the needs of the time. With the patronage of Chakrowarthy Kings like Samrat Ashoka, Buddhism spread beyond the boundaries and the countries like China, Japan and whole of South East Asia followed it for more than 2000 years. New system will carry the good teachings of the old system and the followers of old system will catch up the new ideas and refine their system too.

You will be surprised to know that Japan had a Caste system similar to Hinduism and people were divided amongst the 5 divisions of uppers and lowers based on their births. They were following untouchability with the 5th class and marriages were restricted within the same caste group. The religion Shintoism was same like ancient Indian religion of worshiping the nature. But with the strong winds of Buddhism, people moved to Buddhism and today 80% of the Japanese believe in Buddhism. However, the new generation is moving towards no religion. Religion for them is a ritual to perform at three occasions: birth, marriage and death. Marriages in Japan are mostly through love marriages but even today, when it comes to arrange marriages, they do see the family roots.

Where do you place the present form of Government of India? New system? Evolution of the Kingship and Sultanate system of ancient and medieval India? Or the evolution of British East India Company administration? It is a continuous process of governance, changing shape as per the needs of the hour. 

As humans, all are equal and have right to live a life of dignity and respects. All are the lights of the same Sun, whether you call HIM Bhagwan, Buddha, Arihant, Wahe Guru, Allah, or any other name. Those who born will die and the light in them will take new form whether it is called rebirth or disappearance and appearance. Equality, Justice, Liberty and Fraternity are the principles on which the human society of the world has to rest their faith heads. 

X or Y, the truth is in the middle, may be XY. मध्यम मार्ग। बुद्धम् शरणं गच्छामि। (Follow the wisdom)

2 August 2018
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