Sunday, May 10, 2009

Indian Civilization - Part 2 - Sapta Sindhu, Bhaarat, Hindutva and Secularism

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Hindutva literally means Indian-ness. The core of India and Indianness is found in Vedas which is allegiance towards land of Sapta-Sindhu and culture and civilization of Sapta-Sindhu. The definition which Veer Savarkar gives for the word Hindu is 

आसिंधु सिन्धु पर्यन्ता यस्य भारत भूमिका l पितृभू पुण्यभू च एव स वै हिन्दुरिती स्मृतः ll

- One who refers to the Indian subcontinent as Bhaarat and considers Bhaarat as his fatherland (or motherland) and most revered land (Punyabhoomi) is a Hindu.

This concept of revered land has its origin in the term of "Sapta-Sindhu" which is widely cited in Vedic and post-Vedic literature.

This concept and high reverence of Sapta-Sindhu is central concept of Vedic literature. The most interesting part of Bhaaratiya civilization is the process in which the radius of this Sapta-Sindhu region increased and expanded with time.

The original Sapta-Sindhu region in early hymns of Rigveda comprises of 5 rivers of Punjab, Saraswati(in Rajasthan) and Kubha (Kabul) river in NWFP. This land is glorified as Sapta-Sindhu. The dwellers of this land are Arya people who are pure, rich, righteous and civilized men on earth who are Kavis (poets) composing beautiful literature and performing grand Yagnas to please their mighty Devas.

In later Rigveda, in nadi-stuti sukta of 10th mandala, the Sapta-Sindhu region includes Ganga and Yamuna as well. Thus, now, this idea of Sapta-Sindhu, its culture and civilzation comprised of entire north Indian plains, from Bengal to NWFP.

In Puranic times post Rigveda, new Sapta-Sindhu concept became popular with time. This is seen in famous verse

गंगेच यमुनेचैव गोदावरी सरस्वती l नर्मदे सिन्धु कावेरी जलेस्मिन सन्निधिम कुरु  ll

Now, Sapta-Sindhu includes the region of Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada, Sindhu and Kaveri. Basically, entire Indian subcontinent. Interestingly, the rivers west of Sindhu were no longer considered as part of Sapta Sindhu region. This expansion has to be seen with its connection with shift from Indra to Trinity elaborated in Part-1 of this series.

Sapta-Sindhu is the term which gave birth to the word "Hindu". The Civilization of Sapta-Sindhu was referred to as Hapta-Hindu by Persians and other outsiders. The people of this region and culture, the Sapta-Saindhavas were referred to as hapta-Haindavas by Persians and other outsiders. All these terms are found in Zend Avesta of Zoroastrians.

In all its context, Sapta-Sindhu has been the homeland of Sapta-Saindhavas (Bhaaratiyas). This has been the Punya-Bhoomi (revered land) of them. This has been the Pitrubhoomi and Matrubhoomi for them. 

Thus, the very concept and identity of India or Bhaarat originated from land of seven legendary rivers and expands with the same. The concept of Bhaarat was Punjab and adjacent areas during Vedic war of ten kings where Sudas is a king of Bhaarata and Sapta Sindhu. The concept of Bhaarat in Vishnupuran was same as pan-subcontinental identity of Sapta-Sindhu.

One more defining feature which was preserved all throughout the history of our civilization is the sense of supremacy of Arya over Anaarya people. The famous quotation of कृण्वन्तो विश्वं आर्यम (lets make the whole world "Arya" or civilized) denotes the same fact. Vedic memes did that, by extending the status of "civilized/Aarya" to all the residents of Indian subcontinent who accepted the Dharmic way of life. The land of "Arya/civilized" automatically became Sapta-Sindhu and hence Bhaarat. Howmuchever it is denied, this identity of civilized Arya people and barbaric Anaarya people still exists, with different names and in subtle forms in the subconscious psyches of Indian population.

Owing to this, sadly, Muslims and Christians are still considered as Anaarya and Mlenchha by certain section of orthodox Indic people. Same is true about certain section of Muslim population as well which propounded and propagated two-nation theory, which resulted in partition of India in 1947. This exclusivity perhaps worked in medieval times, for good or for evil, with Muslims and Christians of foreign origin. Indian Muslims and Indian Christians, especially in post independence era, are as much Indians as Indian Non-Abrahamics are. Hence, this strategy needs to be changed and updated.

The concept of Arya needs to be extended to IM and IC who understand, appreciate and follow the concept of Dharma and delineate and differentiate their personal faiths of attaining Moksha from pursuit of Dharma-Artha-Kaama in day-to-day life. This differentiation is of utmost importance in Indian context. Separation of Dharma and Moksha is the true definition of secularism in Indian context. 

This origin and the true meaning of the terms "Dharma" and "Arya" and identities of "Sapta-Sindhu", "Bhaarat" should be explained thoroughly to every single resident of Indian subcontinent. This will generate an enormous selective pressure on Indianization and assimilation of Abrahamic memes into mainstream Indic society.

Just like followers of Abrahamic ideologies should Indianize themselves, the followers of Indic ideologies must increase their inclusiveness and expand their idea of Sapta-Sindhu once again. Christians and Muslims in India will be able to retain their Christianity and Islam as personal paths of achieving Moksha/Salvation without letting it interfere with their pursuits of Dharma-Artha-Kaama of daily life in society.

If this happens, who knows, perhaps Tigris, Euphrates and Jordan rivers will become part of Sapta-Sindhu 500 years from now.....

Indian Civilization - Part 1 - Importance of Dharma

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The concept of Dharma is the core concept of Indian civilization. The attribution of religious connotations to the term "Dharma" has generated enormous confusion and hence conflict not only amongst Hindus, but also Indians.

1. I ask to stop using the word "Hindu" as it is more geographical than religious. Ever since religious connotations have been given to this original geographical word, the fractures in Indic society have widened. Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs have problems with word "hindu" because it has been artificially constructed and imbibed upon minds of people as the one in same league as Islam or christianity.

2. The fact that Conglomerate of Indic paths is not as crystalline as Abrahamic ones, gives us an added advantage in Bhaarat, if the correct understanding of Dharma is shown.

3. A revolution happened in India about 2200-2300 years ago. Around the times prior to Mauryas, the influence of Indra and his Vedic deities started declining and there was an emergence of Puranic trinity of Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh in Indic society. This, IMHO, was one of the biggest revolution in India which enabled the unification of all the animist religions of India into one civilizational and cultural glue.

For more information on how this assimilation occurred, please follow this link where I have shared my views on this issue.

5. The shift from Indra-based Vedic deities which were essentially warriors, to family oriented Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva-Devi ensured the universal acceptance of the core values of Vedas all across the subcontinent without much clashes with local religions. This created the civilizational glue in first place. If Indra-Agni-Varuna still reigned and worshipped supreme, there would never have been a pan-Indian civilization.

6. The point to be noted is, Indra et al are much more exclusivists than Vishnu et al. The worshippers of Indra in Rigveda are violently intolerant towards Panis, Dasyus and other non-Arya (Anaarya) tribes. With society becoming agrarian, a set of more benign and inclusive deities was required. This requirement was fulfilled by promotion of Vishnu-Shiva to higher pedastle and demotion of Indra-Agni-Varuna to subordinate pedastle.

7. In all this process, the core Vedic values, ideals, philosophies like Saamkhya, Yoga, Vedanta, Nyaya, Mimamsa, Vedas, Smritis, the Jain literature, the Bauddha literature was preserved and propagated throughout the subcontinent and beyond. Although the deeper values remained confined to classes. This is but natural.. Very few people in society have propensity to think about higher truth in life or in other words Moksha/Nirvana. Most of us are more pre-occupied with daily routine, in other words, our Dharma, Artha and Kaama.

8. This shows us that identity is a continuous process.. It is always in making and never completely made. 

9. Today, Bhaarat and Bhaaratiya civilization needs to make one more leap like this, to accommodate the exclusivist Abrahamic civilization.

10. We cannot deal with this by being more exclusive than them and yet maintain the cultural glue. This is proven by the fact that the problems in Indian subcontinent have arisen and increased ever since this illusive and exclusive identity of "Hinduism" was created by the british. This not only divided Indic society even more, but also forced Indic society to play the game on the strengths of Abrahamic memes.

11. Abrahamic memes and ideals thrive on mutually exclusive identity. This is the strength of Abrahamic memes, and this exactly is the weakness of Abrahamic memes. Playing on the strength of rival is usually detrimental to one's existence unless one is more efficient in those utilization of those strength than the rival.

12. Now, Indic civilization has two options. 

a) to play on the strengths of Abrahamic memes and defeat them. This can be ensured by Indic civilization becoming more violently exclusivists and proselytizers than Abrahamic memes. Which in turn is possible by reverting back to Indra-based Vedic system of warlord deities who destroy the non-aryans and consume Soma and compose esoteric literature. This is very powerful option and if utilized efficiently, can be helpful in tackling the Islam and Christianity in India. This system is primarily fueled by similar faith towards Indra et al and similar attitude of supremacy and disgust towards non-aryans as Abrahamics have towards non-believers. The idea that Indra is with the person in his quest of destroying non-aryans is a very strong idea and extremely potent one just like the ones in Abrahamic texts where God/Allah is with the believer in his quest of vanquishing Non-believer.

Disadvantages of this system is that it will disrupt the already glued Indian civilization to its very core. Unless the status of being a pure "Aarya" is extended to all non-abrahamic Indics, it is impossible to maintain the glued civilization together. Even if the neo-Vedics end up destroying the forces and citadels of neo-Vritra asura with the help of mighty Indra, they will end up alienating most of the Non-Vedic and Non-Arya Indian population and undo whatever efforts were taken by philosophers and sages throughout the history to glue entire subcontinent in one thread of civilizational commonality. 

b) The second option in front of Indic civilization is to play on its on strength which is apparently the dire weakness of the opposing Abrahamic meme. The point to be noted is, after our shift to more inclusive deities, our sphere of influence extended from Central Asia to South-east Asia. The maximum extent of Indo-sphere was achieved owing to accommodative inclusiveness. The strength of this glued Bhaaratiya civilization is Unity in diversity. Inherent Advaita in apparent Dvaita. The thing about this approach is that it is ever dynamic. Yet, it is at equilibrium with core values. Shift from Religion and Nation centric socio-politics of Europe to Dharma and Raashtra centric socio-politics of Bhaarat is what is required to bring in. The strength of our system is allegiance towards one's Dharma irrespective of personal faith or conviction. Personal faiths are subject to evolution and change. Dharma is not.

Thus, first task is to imbibe the true meaning of the term "Dharma" in the minds of people along with the supreme emphasis on following it. 

Dharma is not equal to Religion. 

This has to be thoroughly and deeply imbibed on the mind of every single person in Bhaarat. Once personal faith is delineated and detached from core concept of Dharma, then it will sound death-knell to the exclusive character of Abrahamic religions. This will begin the process of assimilation.

This approach will change the "Hinduism" as it is today. But it should be noted that "Hinduism" is anyways an artificial construct. It was not the same 200 years ago and won't be the same 200 years hence. 

In Bhaaratiya civilization, change is the only constant. Things which do not change, go extinct. Abrahamic memes in India have to follow this.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Warning of Krishna (कृष्ण की चेतावनी) by Ramdhari Singh "Dinkar"

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.

मैत्री की राह दिखाने को 
सबको सुमार्ग पे लाने को 
दुर्योधन को समझाने को 
भीषण विध्वंस बचाने को  

भगवान् हस्तिनापुर आये 
पांडव का संदेसा लाये  

"हो न्याय अगर तो आधा दो 
और उसमे भी यदि बाधा हो 
तो दे दो केवल पांच ग्राम 
रखों अपनी धरती तमाम  

हम वही ख़ुशी से खाएँगे
परिजन पर असि न उठाएंगे" ( असि - Asi - Arms/Weapons)  

दुर्योधन वह भी दे न सका 
आशीष समाज की ले न सका 
उल्टे हरी को बांधने चला 
जो था असाध्य साधने चला  

जब नाश मनुज पर आता हैं (मनुज - Manuj - Descendents of manu, mankind) 
पहले विवेक मर जाता हैं  

हरी ने भीषण हुंकार किया
अपना स्वरुप विस्तार किया
डगमग डगमग दिग्गज डोले 
भगवान् कुपित होकर बोले  

"ज़ंजीर बढा अब साध मुझे 
हाँ हाँ दुर्योधन बाँध मुझे 

ये देख गगन मुझमे लय हैं 
ये देख पवन मुझमे लय हैं 
मुझमे विलीन झंकार सकल 
मुझमे लय हैं संसार सकल  

अमरत्व फूलता हैं मुझमे 
संसार झूलता हैं मुझमे  

उदयाचल मेरे दीप्त भाल 
भूमंडल वक्षस्थल विशाल 
भुज परिधि बांध को घेरे हैं (परिधि - circumference of universe) 
मैनाक मेरु पग मेरे हैं (मैनाक मेरु - legendary mountains in Indian mythology)

दीप्ते जो ग्रह नक्षत्र निकर 
सब हैं मेरे मुख के अन्दर  

दृक हो तो दृश्य अखंड देख
मुझमे सारा ब्रह्माण्ड देख 
चराचर जीव जग क्षर-अक्षर 
नश्वर मनुष्य सृजाती अमर  

शत कोटि सूर्य शत कोटि चन्द्र 
शत कोटि सरित्सर सिन्धु मंद्र  

शत कोटि ब्रह्मा विष्णु महेश 
शत कोटि जलपति जिष्णु धनेश (जिष्णु - Jishnu - Victorious)
शत कोटि रुद्र शत कोटि काल 
शत कोटि दंड धर लोकपाल  

ज़ंजीर बढा कर साध इन्हें 
हाँ हाँ दुर्योधन बाँध इन्हें  

भूतल अतल पाताल देख 
गत और अनागत काल देख 
यह देख जगत का आदि सृजन 
यह देख महाभारत का रण  

मृतकों से पटी हुई भू हैं 
पहचान कहाँ इसमें तू हैं !!!  

अम्बर का कुंतल जाल देख 
पद के नीचे पाताल देख 
मुट्ठी में तीनो काल देख 
मेरा स्वरुप विकराल देख  

सब जन्म मुझिसे पाते हैं 
फिर लौट मुझिमे आते हैं  

जिव्हा से कढ़ती ज्वाल सघन 
साँसों से पाता जन्म पवन 
पड़ जाती मेरी दृष्टि जिधर 
हंसने लगती हैं सृष्टि उधर  

मैं जभी मूंदता हूँ लोचन 
छा जाता चारों ओर मरण  

बाँधने मुझे तो आया हैं 
ज़ंजीर बड़ी क्या लाया हैं ?? 
यदि मुझे बांधना चाहे मन 
तो पहले बाँध अनंत गगन  

शुन्य को साध न सकता हैं 
वह मुझे बाँध कब सकता हैं ???  

हित-वचन नहीं तुने माना 
मैत्री का मूल्य न पहचाना 
तो ले अब मैं भी जाता हूँ 
अंतिम संकल्प सुनाता हूँ  

याचना नहीं अब रण होगा 
जीवन जय या की मरण होगा  

टकराएंगे नक्षत्र निकर 
बरसेगी भू पर वन्ही प्रखर (वन्ही - Wanhi - Fire) 
फन शेषनाग का डोलेगा 
विकराल काल मूंह खोलेगा  

दुर्योधन रण ऐसा होगा 
फिर कभी नहीं जैसा होगा  

भाई पर भाई टूटेंगे 
विष बाण बूँद से छूटेंगे 
सौभाग्य मनुज के फूटेंगे 
वायस शृगाल सुख लूटेंगे   (शृगाल - Shrigaal - Fox, Hyena)

आखिर तू भूशायी होगा 
हिंसा का परदायी होगा"  

थी सभा सन्न सब लोग डरे 
चुप थे या थे बेहोश पड़े 
केवल दो नर ना अघटे थे 
धृतराष्ट्र विदुर सुख पाते थे  

कर जोड़ खड़े प्रमुदित निर्भय 
दोनों पुकारते थे जय जय ......

- कृष्ण की चेतावनी (Warning of Krishna), from epic रश्मिरथी (rashmi-rathi - Charioteer of light) by the legendary poet रामधारी सिंह "दिनकर"....

This is one of the supreme moments in the life of Krishna and is only epitomized by his monumental failure on this very moment. In this moment of his life, Krishna reaches a monumental and divine heights (other moment being discourse of Geeta, of course). He became famous for rising so high in life on such occasions, but tragically, although he became known, respected and feared, he failed on his primary objective, that was to avert the disastrous war. Krishna used all his knowledge, his powers, his skills of persuasion to avert the war in this episode of Mahabharat. But, all his efforts proved to be utter failure in changing the heart of Duryodhan and averting the disaster. 

He even revealed to the world for the first time that he is God himself and has come upon the earth to uplift the righteous. But even this proved ineffectual in persuading Duryodhan to see the reason. And most tragic part of his life is that he was accused of not doing enough to avert the war by Gaandhari (mother of Duryodhan) after the war ended. Gaandhari cursed him that he will suffer the same fate as she and her family suffered, that is living long enough to see the self-destruction of his own family and clan and city.

This curse fructified 36 years after the war, when his entire clan killed in a civil war. All his brothers, children and rest of his kin killed each other after consuming too much of alcohol. Krishna lived to see everyone in his family whom he so dearly loved, killing off each other. 

And few days later, Krishna was mistakenly shot by an old hunter's arrow while resting and meditating in forest. Krishna died alone in jungle, with none of his family and loved ones around and alive, in perfect state of equianimity and bliss. His job on this earth was over !!! :-)

** About the poem -This is one of the famous poems in Hindi literature.Widely cited and quoted by literati and common man alike.

Most infamously, याचना नहीं अब रण होगा, जीवन जय या की मरण होगा -this particular line from this poem was quoted by Pravin Mahajan, before murdering his brother Pramod Mahajan. What followed thereafter is seen in the subsequent lines of the poem.

Friday, May 01, 2009

I remember those times.....

When Gulli-Danda & Kanche (marbles) were as popular as cricket....

When we always had friends to play aais-paais, Luka-Chhuppi,  anytime...

When there were open grounds and gardens to play...

When we desperately waited for 'Yeh Jo Hai Jindagi'; 'Dekh bhai Dekh'...

When chitrahaar, Chhaayageet, vikram-baitaal, Dada Daadi Ki Kahaniyaanwere so fulfilling....

When Mowgli was a national hero all over the country...

When Surabhi was our online knowledge resource....

When there was just one TV in every five houses and... 

when at least twenty to thirty people used to gather in one home to watch TV Serials of 'Ramayan' and 'Mahabharat'...

When Buniyaad and Humlog lingered for ages, yet, people watched them with devotion...

When Captain Vyom was the coolest Indian superhero with outlandish Yogic powers....

When Bisleris were not sold in the trains and we were worrying if papas will get back into the train in time or not when they were getting down at stations to fill up the water bottle...

When we were going to bed by 9.00pm sharp except for the 'Surabhi' day...

When Holis & Diwalis meant mostly Hand-made pakwaans and sweets and moms seeking our help while preparing them...

When Maths teachers were not worried of our Mummies and papas while slapping/beating us ..

When we were exchanging comics and stamps and Chacha-Chaudari, Sabu, Billu, Pinky were our idols... Especially Chacha Chaudhary with his brain faster than computer !!!

When we read Chandamama, Champak and Amar Chitrakatha with utmost interest...

When one movie every Sunday evening on television was more than asked for...

When 50 paisa meant at least 10 toffees... I so miss Rawalgaon toffees...

When left over pages of the last years notebooks were used for rough work or even fair work ...

When the first rain meant getting drenched and playing in water and mud and making 'kaagaj ki kashtis' ... 

When there were no Phones to tell friends that we will be at their homes at six in the evening.. We just went there.. 

When our parents always had 15 paise blue colored 'Antardesis' and 5 paise stamps at home...

When we remembered tens of jokes and were not finding 'ice-cream & Papa' type jokes foolish enough to stop us from laughing...

When we were not seeing patakhe on Diwali and gulaal on Holi as air and noise polluting or allergic agents...

When we were using our hearts more than our brains, even for scientifically brainy activities like 'thinking' and 'deciding' ..

When we were crying and laughing more often, More openly and more sincerely...

When sharing worries and happiness didn't mean getting vulnerable to the listener... 

When blacks and whites were the favorite colors instead of greys...

When journeys also were important and not just the destinations...

I remember those times......