Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My condolences..

Jai Guru Deva,

Today is the anniversary of the great tragedy of 26/11. My deep condolences of all those who are killed. On the fatal day, I had slept early and did not know till I saw The Hindu next morning. It was one of the most shocking moment of my life. In 2008 I was already half dead with several of my personal problems but this was beyond my imagination. I knew Islamic terrorism has done for several centuries. From Nalanda library to Bamiyan statues but 26/11 was something that I am witnessing and I am connected to. Atleast four people who I know have escaped the massacre very narrowly. My deepest condolences to all the people who lost their lives in such a ghastly attack.


Sarvejana Sukhinobhavantu,
-Karthik

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Learnings from Mahabharath - 5 : Yudhishtir

Jai Guru Deva,

Dharmaraj Yudhirshtir, the name needs no introduction. For the last 2000+ years, anybody in this country living a pure and principled life is compared with him, such is the glory of that man. Being the eldest son of Pandu raj he has every right to be the king of Hastinapur but Dhritrastra was not going to yield. A visionary like Vidur had anticipated that only Yudhishtir can give a stable and harmonious rule to the people of Hastinapur. However, Duryodhan's greed for power ensured a great war for the crown of Hastinapur.  There will be no famine in the land where he lives and in the land which tastes his blood there will not be so rains for so many years as his drops of blood. I just wonder how principled should he be to alter seasons and dictate nature. Take a bow!


But the biggest mistake of Yudhishtir is the dice game he had participated. I take that as a biggest learning from his life. For some reason I am not addicted to any kind of gambling for the simple reason that I dont enjoy it. I for one dont believe there is anything called "luck" on this planet. I want somebody to own responsibility for every happening; success or failure. In gambling you have to just rely on your luck but not on your ability to achieve any result. Thats the bad part of it and I detest it. Coming back to Yudhishtir, he had spoiled not only his life but also the lives of his whole family. As the head of a family it does not suit him to treat the remaining others as "objects" not humans. It is not befitting to see the great Dharmaraj gambling his brothers and wife at stake. After all, destiny is far powerful any mortal human and everyone has to go through what was written for him and Yudhistir is no exception for that. There is a saying in sanskrit which goes like "Manushyanam buddhi karmanusaarini" meaning the human behaviour is as per their karma. Irrespective of caste, creed, religion, language and gender everybody is answerable to their own karma. Practically there is no way any human can get away with karma by himself. Generally spiritual practices which are very tough by nature are treated as a method to reduce the impact of negative karma upon a human. Finally, an ultimate surrender to the divine is the only way to ensure that all the bad karma is taken care of. When I met the ghastly accident last year, the first thought that came to my mind was not regret or remorse. Really felt glad that a lot of bad karma had been taken away and I surrendered my injuries to the Almighty. Yes, I did underwent a lot of physical pain but I was detached from any sort of mental and emotional pain. 

I particularly want to highlight one conversation where Yudhishtir asks Bhim not to tell anybody that he was poisoned and thrown into the river. He says any happening in a family should remain within the family and Duryodhan is one among them. He always counted 105 brothers not 5 brothers. This ethical superiority is what ensured pandavas win the epic battle with Kauravas. Perhaps, the main purpose of the great story is that ehics and moral are the only way for glory and there is no shortcut. I as an employee of HP takes pride with the expectation of ethics maintained in HP. I had heard more than two instances when people were punished for compromising on their ethical expectations. In this age when indiscipline is romantic not many have higher standards of ethics on professional and personal fronts. I have no right to comment about others as its purely their choice but I always pray God to give me enough strength so that I stick to the morals that I believe in.

As far as the serial is concerned, I am not sure about who is the person who played the role of Yudhishtir but he did really well.

Sarvejana Sukhinobhavantu,
-Karthik



Monday, November 24, 2014

Learnings from Mahabharath - 4 : Dronacharya

Jai Guru Deva,

Let me write about the great teacher of Hastinapur: Dronacharya.

Guru Dronacharya was born in a brahmin family Bharadwaja clan and was a disciple and student of Sage Parasurama. Parasurama was himself an embodiment of Narayana. As a student of Parasurama his prowess with weapons is beyond the reach of any ordinary man. Arjuna who is the greatest warrior of this country mentions that "only Grandsire Bhishma, Guru Dronacharya, God Indra and God Mahadev can break his bow" which means Guru Dronacharya's archery skills are nothing short of God Indra and Lord Mahadeva. What can be a bigger praise for a mortal life? Apart from his skills of archery he also knew the Divine weapons which are invincible but also he is a master strategist. Whatever victories Kauravas had won in the war are majorly because of him. He is the architect of chakravyuh which killed Abhimanyu.



On the other side of the great warrior there stays a poor Brahmin who has to face several hardships to feed his family. His son was fooled and fed with water mixed floor as milk. He was wronged by his friend who had promised to share the kingdom with him. The same friend insulted him saying "friendship happens between equals" and a cow will be given to Drona as a part of biksha but not as a friend. Agitated Drona makes a promise to teach a lesson to his friend. Finally he kills his friend Drupad in the Kurukshetra. Main criticism on Drona is that he is partial towards Arjuna and he had spoiled the life of Ekalavya. Arjuna always took pride in being a student of Drona and that makes him a pet student of his beloved teacher. As far as Ekalavya is concerned, he had not learnt the archery but he had stolen it which befits a punishment.

For me, main learning from Guru Dronacharya is his affection towards his disciples. When Bhim claims that he had killed "Ashwathama", Drona did not avenge Bhim. He says a student is also like a son and I shall not kill him. Also, when Dushtadyum son of Drupad comes and asks for a blessing he readily gives the blessing even it means killing is ownself. He was a perfect Brahmin and stood by all the principles of being one. He played every role of his to perfection. This is a feature of all the great personalities. They play the role they take to perfection. Giving 100% to what we do is most critical for a successful human life and Guru Dronacharya stands as the epitome of that principle.

In the serial, Surendra Pal played role of Guru Dronacharya to perfection. His clear and unquestionable diction was something phenomenal. I particularly liked his conversation with Lord Brahma in the middle of the war about his life as a brahmin and as the commander of the kaurav army. 

Sarvejana Sukhinobhavantu,
-Karthik




Sunday, November 23, 2014

Learnings from Mahabharath - 3 : Karna

Jai Guru Deva,

Today I am going to write about another great warrior of this spectacular epic:Karna. Being the eldest son of kunti he has every right to feel that he had been wronged but that is no reason for his hatred towards Arjuna. Because of this, hatred becomes the soul of Karna's character and probably because of that reason he always faces troubles and became synonymous with trouble. He identifies himself as the slave of Duryodhan and repeatedly argues that he is indebted to Duryodhan. However, he is not indebted to Duryodhan but to the throne of Hastinapur. Grandsire Bhishma and Guru Drona realized this but Karna could not realize this and in a false sense of indebted supported Duryodhan in all the conspiracies hatched against the pandavas.


At the starting of the war when Krishna asks Karna to fight from Pandava's side as Grandsire Bhishma didnt approve him into his army, Karna blatantly rejects the proposal saying he cannot do anything against the interests of Duryodhan. This blind commitment is what caused Karna to miss the glory which perhaps he deserved. Not only this, at every stage of his life Karna exhibits human qualities that are virtues of a weaker personality. He lies to Guru Parasurama about this caste and birth, he declares that his only ambition of life is to kill Arjuna and to top everything, he calls Draupadi as a "whore". Because of all these things he loses the eligibility to be on the winning side of the great battle. 

The biggest lesson i would learn from Karna is the importance of getting rid of hatred. There is no bigger weapon to destroy a person than the seed of hatred in his heart. Irrespective of the recipient of hatred it only brings to destruction to the self and sometimes to many people surrounding. This is precisely the reason why I give so much importance to my spiritual practices. I appreciate the fact that nobody on this good earth guaranteed me a fair treatment but by virtue of being a human I am also prone to instincts like hatred and anger. So my spiritual practices are the only way to cleanse all these negative emotions. I am not a hypocrite and I understand the genesis of a particular thought process in my mind. More often than not, it helps to understand whether I am thinking constructively or not. One of the things I always pray the Almighty is to ensure that I am always in a constructive thought process.

As far as the serial is concerned, Pankaj Dheer did the role of Karna and he played it to perfection. He is one of the most fascinating characters in this story and when talks about the life of a warrior he is a treat to watch. More importantly the conversations between Karna and Shakuni depicts the difference between the politics and the warrior class. 

Sarvejana Sukhinobhavantu,
-Karthik

Monday, November 17, 2014

Learnings from Mahabharath - 2 : Arjuna

Jai Guru Deva,

Today I am writing about Arjuna, who is one of the greatest warriors of this country. Being the member of Kuru clan he had inherited a great legacy but he always referred himself as "Student of Drona". I for one, who is earning my livelihood only because of some great teachers who had blessed me with what I am today. I vividly remember some of the things my mentor VIMP sir told me and those conversations stand as guiding principles of my life. So it is only obvious that Arjuna's devotion towards Guru Drona appeals me more than any other feature of him. 

His passion towards archery and his determination to be the best archer of this planet is something not visible in any other characters of the great saga. The only other person comes to my mind with so much of passion towards a particular profession/art is Sachin Tendulkar. Thats why even after thousands of years of after mahabharath people still use Arjuna as an epitome of unwavering concentration. No wonder the Indian government named the annual sports awards as Arjuna awards. Like all great people of this planet, Arjuna also went through a lot of emotional pain. He ended up fighting with his own grand-sire whom he loves so much and he has to silently watch when his brother-in-law killed his beloved teacher. These two incidents talks volumes about the raja dharma and how tough it is to be a king. Arjuna's life tells a lesson that Raja Dharma is not about power and luxury but more about responsibility and sacrifice.


Two criticisms about Arjuna is that he was selfish and he made guru Drona to ask Ekalavya's right thumb and also he was jealous about Karna. Regarding Ekalavya's saga its primarily a decision of Drona and not Arjuna. Arjuna impressed Drona so much that he promised to make Arjuna the greatest archer. whats Arjuna's fault in this? It is only for the sake of variety stories that some of the telugu movies portrayed Arjuna as a villain and Ekalavya as a hero. In my opinion Ekalavya might be a hero but Arjuna is definitely not a villain. Similarly, Karna called Draupadi as a whore in the Kuru Raj Sabha and after that Arjuna have every right to hate Karna. 

Coming to the serial I am referring to, I dont know the name of the person who played the role of Arjuna. However, I liked his composed way to talking and his diction. I particularly liked his expressions during the conversation with Utara Kumar about slaves and what it takes to be a slave. Not just this conversation but he had displayed all emotions in a perfect manner.

Sarvejana Sukhinobhavantu,
-Karthik

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Learnings from Mahabharath - 1 : Bhishma

Jai Guru Deva,

Mahabharath is one topic which I always wanted to write about. There are a lot of people who had deciphered the knowledge present in Mahabharath. Many conversation present in Mahabharath amazes me. In this series I am planning to write my learnings/obersavations from different characters and events in Mahabharath. This series does not contain anything from The Holy Bhagavat Gita. I am neither qualified nor competent to write about the Holy. I wish one day in my life I attain that maturity and calibre to write about it.
All the things that I am writing are out of my understanding from Mahabharath telecasted in DD way back in early 90s. The script and dialogues for that series is given by Bhandarkar Institute of Oriental Research Mumbai, so I think thats an authenticated story and characterization.

Grand-sire Bhishma:
He is one character which inspires me day in and day out. There are multiple reasons for my adoration to this character but the main reason is his commitment to his duty. History is not written by anybody's wealth or strength but by the unwavering commitment manifested by few individuals. Grand-sire Bhishma is one such individual. The story of Mahabharath is nothing more than his life story. His whole life is a struggle. It is not an over statement to say that nobody had struggled more in discharging one's duty than the Grand-sire; still his commitment to kingdom was not shaken. Even when he was down on bed of arrows he is committed to the welfare of Hastinapur. For the sake of his duty he had to ignore a lot of personal emotions and face consequences. He had fought a duel with Arjun who is the apple of his eye. what more can be more painful to take up arms on someone who was nurtured by yourself! I am convinced that we are living in a society where ethics are ridiculed; decency is strangled and principles are forgotten long back. In this unfortunate age,  stoic legacy of Bhishma is something which has tailor made lessons for each of us.


Another reason why I like that character is the ground to earth attitude. He had always referred himself as the "representative" of Hastinapur while in reality Hastinapur does not have any strength without him. While inviting Dronacharya to his kingdom, in the swayamvara of amba, ambika, ambalika and in many other instances he had always maintained himself as the employee of Hastinapur. I am a project manager by profession and I witness so many occasions where people fight like cats and dogs for grabbing limelight. Many a time the so called lime light is not even worth few thousand bucks. So if I see Grand-sire Bhishma with the same eyes as I see this people I find him on the highest pedestal of ethics and morality. Longlive Grand-sire! I am proud have been born on the same land as you are born! My respects


Ace actor Mukesh Khanna played this role to perfection and i thoroughly enjoy his dialogue delivery. He had won many laurels for his performance and later on went to make the superhit serial Shaktimaan.

Sarvejana Sukhinobhavantu,
-Karthik


Friday, October 24, 2014

Genesis of Taboo Secularism!!!

Jai Guru Deva!

Among several myths that were busted by Indian Elections of 2014, there is a tacit message to the politicians: "We ARE middle class; we PAY taxes for the common good of this country but not safeguarding secularism or any other ism that sound politically romantic; you better meet our expectations or GET LOST!" This message is clear and unequivocal. This blog post is a postmortem analysis of why and how secularism as a political argument failed to attract the masses and why today secularism is treated as unpatriotic, anti-national and synonymous to minority appeasement. As a close observer of Indian politics I am trying to chronicle ten instances which enhanced secularism as taboo. Years passed since some of these incidents yet I allude to them as they had successfully created a negative psyche about secularism among the Indian masses.

1. Manmohan singh's Minorities first comment:
As the prime minister of world's largest democracy Manmohan Singh was expected to articulate his stance and opinions on various issues. Albeit special instances he didn’t bother to do that in his decade long stay at 7 RCR New Delhi. But one such instance where he was very talkative was about the first right of minorities on the resources of this country. He failed to understand that the social landscape of this country has changed drastically in the last couple of decades and saying that somebody should have a preference only because of birth is neither understood nor condoned by the masses.

2. M F Hussain problem:
Padmavibhushan awardee M F Hussain was never a congenial personality but the kind of support he enjoyed in the print and electronic media irked a lot of Hindus. Lets accept that religion is a sensitive issue in India and attacking one religion and claiming the championship of liberalism-pluralism etc would make no sense. M F Hussain himself accepted in 2006 that he ran away to Qatar because of the legal advice which effectively means he ran away from this country failing to defend himself before the court of law. Prima Facie he is a fugitive of law. Actually, Mr N.Ram of The Hindu had written a detailed article how and why M F Hussain is champion of liberal thinking. However, many an Indian didn’t shared the same view. By supporting such person with all the enthusiasm in the world, mainstream media only did a damage its own credibility. 

3. Batla House Encounter:
A brave officer of the Delhi Police had laid down his life discharging his duties as the law enforcement officer and at the time of elections union minister Salman Khurshid says Sonia Gandhi had shed tears knowing that muslims are killed in the Batla house encounter. By giving such an irresponsible statement, Mr. Khurshid had belittled the sanctity of valour displayed by the brave officer. This was one of the outrageous statements supporting terrorists in the name of secularism. Indian public just did not accept this.

4. Threat from Bangladeshi immigrants:
It is an open secret that muslim immigrants from Bangladesh are changing the socio political landscape of bengal and assam. Reluctance of so called secular parties to take any action against the immigrants is shocking to say the least. Counting them as their vote bank to retain power is perhaps the lowest pedestal which the secular parties can touch. They did not even have the courage to acknowledge that the problem is turning chronic and some action is the need of the hour.

5. Homage to OBL by Indian Muslims:
After Osama was killed by the American Marines, there were reports in electronic media that several mosques have held special prayers for him. Even the Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid went on record saying that as a muslim he will pray for Osama. What message are these people giving? Did they ever bother to think about the implications of such a reckless and regressive statement? If Osama's death needs sympathy as a muslim his philosophy deserves the tag "Islamic Terrorism", Period!

6. 26/11 and the nonsense:
As the country is regrouping after a great tragedy called 26/11 one of the ministers of  Maharashtra Govt. went on saying "Small things happen in Big Cities". Not less than 183 people have lost their life and a responsible minister says its a small thing. My Foot! This is perhaps a classic case of adding insult to injury. Though the minister was temporarily ripped of his minister status he was reinstated within few months. This whole episode sent a message to the public: "Whatever happens, this is the way we are and we dont change!"

7. Anti Hindu rants by Owaisi, Karunanidhi et al:
This is perhaps the most telling part of secular parties. Every Tom Dick and Harry makes controversial rather insulting comments about Hindu religion, Hindu Gods etc and gets away in the name of freedom of speech. Karunanidhi asks "In which college did Rama studied Engg?" Definitely not the one benami owned by his nephew or grand nephew. And Owaisi says we will clear India of Hindus within 15minutes forgetting that it was a Hindu doctor who treated him when a fellow muslim sent an array of bullets into his chest. However,  more disgusting part was the apathy of Hyderabad police to take any action against him. It was after the outrage in social media that the FIR was lodged against him. What an irony!

Majority of Hindus didnt take these as stray incidents and perceive them as a systematic assault on Hindu identity. When the culprits of these heinous acts proclaims themselves as secular, naturally all the wrong doings of these individuals are attributed to that ideology.

8. Media, Internet Hindus etc:

Sagarika Ghose coined a word "internet hindus" demonizing the hindus in the name of plural thinking and diversity. I wonder if she had the courage to say Islamic Terrorism when the country reeled under the series of bomb blasts. More significant point to note is the over enthusiasm of media personnel to malign hindus and hindu religion. There was an article in CNN IBN claiming the pre Narasimha Rao era slow growth rate of India as "Hindu" rate of growth. The channel might cry foul saying the word was invented by some economist. However, my question is, doesnt the media have any responsibility while discharging their duties? particularly when dealing about sensitive things like religion.

9. Only Gujarath policy:

The secular parties always used the Gujarath riots as the reason for terrorism, reason for growing extremism in muslim community. But they conveniently forget that the riots were started by the local muslim corporator who had planned the killings of karsevaks in the Sabarmati Express.  It should be noted that there was a purchase of dozens of litres of kerosene few days before the incident and the coach was locked from outside to ensure that the karsevaks have no chance of escape. Not many people supported the riots and loss of lives (both hindus and muslims), but by pointing out to the same thing again and again the secular parties lost their mileage very soon. Thus ended with the perception of "Cry Foul" parties.

10. International Politics:

All the barriers of secular baton are keen to criticize Israel and support the demand for separate palestine country. The communist approach of holding Israel alone for the bloodshed of middle east is seen as "Islamic Communism" and it lost its steam as social media became very active in establishing the terrorist acts done by Arab terrorists. In this context, I want to recall that as many as ten Arab nations did not agree to lower their flags when Israeli athletes were killed by Arab terrorists in Munich Olympics. This just shows the level of hatred the arabs have towards Israel and they expect Israel to be reasonable to them. How silly!


Sarvejana Sukhinobhavantu,
-Karthik