Oldest City in the World: Varanasi/Kasi/Benares

Written by London swaminathan

Research Article No.1864; Dated 14 May 2015.

Uploaded in London at 12-07

“There is hardly any city in the world that can claim greater antiquity, greater popular veneration than Banaras”- P V Kane

Varanasi also known as Kashi and Benares is the oldest city in the world. Those who believe that Mahabharata war was fought just before the dawn of Kaliyuga in 3102 BCE would agree with me. King of Kasi is also mentioned in the Mahabharata. Before Mahabharata, we have references to Varanasi in the Vedic literature as well. Those who believe in encyclopaedias written by English only knowing lot may dis agree with me.

The archaeological proof we could get so far from Varanasi region takes us back to 900 BCE only. Those who witnessed the recent floods that destroyed Kedarnath temple and the Nepal earth quake that destroyed the Muktinath temple could understand that the enemies of Indian civilization are the floods and earth quake in addition to Muslim invaders. The changing course of Rivers Sarasvati, Sindhu, Ganga and Yamuna destroyed the oldest parts of our civilization. The monsoon rains coupled with the scorching sun make everything crumble into dust.

Three tributary rivers Varuna, Assi and Rajapur of Ganga contributed significantly to the make up of Varanasi. The city’s name came from the two rivers Varuna and Assi.

Following are the evidence for Kasi to enter the Records Book, as the oldest city in the world:

1.Why did Lord Buddha choose Kasi (Saranath is its suburb) to deliver his first lecture, particularly when he attained enlightenment in Buddha Gaya? He avoided all the places such as Kapilavastu (Nepal), Pataliputra/Patna, Gaya in Bihar, Rajagriha and came all the way to Saranath, part of Kashi area to deliver his most famous lecture. This is because Kashi was the holiest city in the whole of India and the oldest.

2.Kassites who ruled Babylonia from 1500 BCE, but settled there from 1800 BCE bore names in a language related to Sanskrit. Like Mitanni, who have very pure Sanskrit names (from 1400 BCE), they also spoke a language related to Sanskrit. All the encyclopaedias “dodge and escape” by saying that their origins were not known. The fact is that they migrated from Gangetic plain, like Saurashtra (Zoaraster) migrated to Iran from Saurashtra coast of Gujarat (Please read Kanchi Paramacharya’s (1894-1994) talk on Zoaraster/Saurashtra.

3.Most of the Jataka stories are centred around Kashi and the previous births of the Buddha are attributed to that city, because that was the oldest city in the world. Several stories begin with ,”Once upon a time when Brahmadatta was reigning in Kashi”. They wrote this “once upon a time” story 2300 years ago! So once upon a time for them meant at least 1000 years ago!

4.Jain literature also supports that Kashi was one of the oldest cities. Mahavira was the 24th Tirthankara who was Buddha’s senior. Before Mahavira there 23 were Tirthankaras and the seventh one Suparsvanath was born in Benares. Jains believe that the 23rd Tirthankara Parasvanath, also born in Benares, was Krishna’s contemporary in 3200 BCE. So seventh must be well before that period!

5.Ancient Varanasi was a famous education centre. Anyone who follows a new philosophy must go to Kashi and win over the scholars there in philosophical debates. It was an unofficial University – a unique Indian institution. Scholars used to stand in street corners and invite others for debates. We have to compare this with other cities of the world where prostitutes or beggars were standing in the street corners!

Scholars and “Scholars”

6.If one doesn’t know the culture of a country and write something, then the person’s ignorance will be revealed. At Maski, a megalithic deposit, a burial of a child was found with a pottery disc on the chest of the child’s body. Earlier “Scholars” described it as the play object of the child. But actually the Vedic rituals say that a kapala should be offered on the body of the diseased (AvalayanaGrihya Sutra 4-3-5). Kapala is a mud disc. Other Grihya sutras also describe the Kapalas as offerings in Vedic rituals. Literal meaning of Kapala is ‘broken piece of clay pot or a pot shred’. Such kapalas are discovered in various places in the Gangetic plain establishing its antiquity.

7.The earliest human occupation in Varanasi is found in the Atharvaveda (5-22-14) according to which Kasis are the indigenous people wo lived in Varanasi region. The name Kasi came from these people.

8.The name Kasi denotes (in the plural) the people of Kasi (Satapatha Brahmana 13-5-4-19). The Satapatha Brahmana tells of Dhrtarashtra, King of Kashi, who was defeated by Satanika Satrajita. We hear also of Ajatasatru as a king of Kasi (Brhadaranyaka Upanishad) and another king Bhadrasena Ajatasatrava of Kasi.

The River Varnanavati is referred to in the Atharva Veda (A.V. 4-7-1). It was known as Varuna in later literature.

9.Compound words Kasi-Videha and Kasi-Kausalya occurring in Brahmanas indicate the friendship between these kingdoms. Ayodhya, Capital of Kosala (Kausalya) is also one of the oldest cities in the world which is linked with the first Jain Tirthankara, Rishaba/Adinath.

10.Amba, Ambika and Amabalika are the three daughters of King of Kashi. They were abducted by Bhisma in a swayamvara ceremony. Abduction is one of the eight types marriages approved by Smritis (Hindu Law Books). Oldest Tamil work Tolkappiam also lists this type of marriage. It is well known from this story that several kingdoms including Kashi existed at the time of Mahabharata war. Conservative estimates date the war to 1500 BCE. Kalhana dates it to 2600 BCE. Hindu scriptures date it to 3150 BCE.

Hindus’ holiest city has a glorious history!

Oldest Democracy in the World! Oldest Female MP in the World!!

Written by London swaminathan

Research Article No.1858; Dated 11 May 2015.

Uploaded in London at 21-07

 

India is the oldest democratic country in the world. Rig Veda, the oldest book in the world, confirms it. Not only that but also the two words used by the Vedic Hindus are used until today from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari and throughout the world. They had two assemblies: Sabha and Samiti. Sabha is used in all the states of India (Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Vidhan Sabha etc) Since Tolkappiam, the oldest Tamil book banned the use of letter ‘Sa’ in Tamil,  Sabha is changed as Avai (Sabhai) in Tamil Nadu. Samiti is used throughout the world as Committee (C=S; samiti=committee).

Several hundred words from the Rig Veda are being used throughout the country. Tamils have been using them for 2000 years! Sanskrit will never die! All the major languages of the world have Sanskrit words!

Bihar Vidhan Sabha

OLDEST FEMALE MP!!

Oldest female MP or MLA was also from India! Rig Veda mentioned female members of the Sabha as sabhavati (RV 1-167-3). It says female member utters fitting words in the sabha!! They were the best speakers! It also said that a woman who protects law (rta) comes thrice to the Sabha (RV 3-56-5). I have already given one proof where Miss Gargi Vachaknavi attended the Religious Conference convened by Janaka. She stood up in the conference and challenged the greatest scholar of the period Yajnavalkya! All this happened before Homer wrote the first book in Greek!

The words regarding Sabha, its activities, its members and its uses show that Rig Vedic society was the most advanced civilization in the world.

Tamil Nadu Assembly

ROLE OF SABHA (Avai in Tamil; S becomes ‘a’ and B becomes ‘v’; sabha=avai)

Sabha was an assembly where important members met and discussed matters of public interest (RV.6-28-6; 8-4-9; 10-34-6; 7-12-1; 8-10-5; 12-1-56; 19-55-6 etc). It is also mentioned in the later Samhitas and Brahmanas. The members were called sabhasaha like we call MLA or MP. Its director was called sabhasthanu; may be compared to Chief Secretary or the Speaker. The word literally meant Pillar of the Assembly.

The hall was used for social intercourse. General conversations and debates were also held there (RV2-24-13). Disputes were also solved and mitigated in the Sabha according to Mahidhara. He mentioned it in his commentary on Vajasaneyi Samhita (20-27). Financial affairs like wealth of the cattle were also discussed and settled in the sabha (RV6-28-6). Atharva Veda says that higher subjects were also discussed there (AV 7-12-3).

It looks like they performed various functions like enacting new laws, solving the problems. Another suggestion is that it was the assembly of the affluent (maghavan), like the House of Lords.

It was the meeting place of Village council. Domestic use of the sabha was confirmed in several passages of the later Samhita and Brahmanas (AV 8-10-5; TS 3-4-8-6; TB 1-1-10-3

Rajasthan Assembly

Dignity and Decorum of the House

Care was taken to maintain the standard of speech in the Sabha. No unparliamentarily words were allowed. Important participants were called ‘sabheya’ or fit for assembly (RV 2-24-13; AV 20-12-8; VS 22-22

Chandogya Upanishad says that the king attended the sabha (53-6). Chairperson of the Sabha was known as Sabhapala. Members were also known as sabhachara (TB 3-7-46)

Both Sabha and Samiti are described as the Twin Daughters of Prajapati (AV 7-12; SB 4-1-4-1)

Tamil Nadu Assemly

ROLE OF SAMITI (Comiti=Committee)

Samiti means a collective body (RV 9-92-6). Kings attended the samiti (RV 10-97-6)

Atharva Veda which described Samiti and Sabha as twin daughters of Prajapati says they are deliberative bodies (712). RV shows its importance and the business transacted there in 10-193-3.

AV gives more information about the Samiti

a)Courtly men coming as guests 8-10

b)Samiti’s praise sung in all gatherings of men 12-1-56

c)It was an assembly of people and its consent is essential for the King 5-19

Sayana says that Samiti was a War Council, where kings or tribal chiefs assembled to discuss the course of action.

It was conveyed to elect and accept the king or to approve of his acts (RV 1-95-8;9-92-6; 10-97-6.

Compared to Sabha, it was a smaller assembly.

Picture of Lok Sabha

Dasaratha’s Consultation

Even in Valmiki Ramayana we read that Dasaratha called the assembly of ministers and VIP.s and asked their opinion and consent to appoint Rama as the next king. Manu in his Smrti says how bad kings were thrown out of power. We read about Vijaya’s banishment from Kalinga/Bengal region who established a new dynasty in Sri Lanka. Later literature gives us information about Council of Five and Council of Eight people. So we have a continuous history of democratic institutions. The king was decorative post without much power.

Kiskindha Kanda Pictures from Valmiki Ramayana

Written by London swaminathan

Post No.1850; Date: 7 May 2015

Uploaded at London time: 7-51 am

You have seen the pictures of Balakanda, Ayodhya Kanda and Aranya Kanda already in my previous posts. Now you can enjoy the beautiful pictures drawn one hundred years. Pictures are from Picture Ramayana book.

Maruti meets Rama: KISHKINDHA KANDA PICTURE 1

Rama and Lakshmana went to Lake Pampa. Sugriva was afraid to see two mighty heroes from the top of Rishyamuka hill. He sent Maruti (Hanuman/Anjaneya) to find out who they were. Maruti/Hanuman went on a fact finding mission (scouting) and found out they were good people. Immediately he told them the sad story of Sugriva whose wife was abducted by his brother Vali. Maruti wanted to form an alliance with him so that they could help Sugriva in the Rescue Mission. Rama who was on the same boat, readily agreed. Then Maruti took the brothers to Sugriva, the King of Monkeys.

Rama – Sugriva Agreement:-KISHKINDHA KANDA PICTURE 2 (Ramayana Picture No.31) Rama and Sugriva took an oath, in the presence of sacred fire, to be friends even unto death and to help each other in all their undertakings. Then Sugriva brought the ornaments and garments cast down by Sita and showed them to Rama. He recognised them. Lakshmana could recognise Sita’s anklets. Rama promised Sugriva to kill Vali and make him the King of Monkeys again. Sugriva promised Rama to find Sita. An agreement was reached. In those days they did not sign any agreement but took an oath in front of Fire like we do during weddings nowadays. That is more than a written agreement.

KISHKINDHA KANDA PICTURE 3 (Ramayana Picture No.32)

VALI KILLED BY RAMA :-Once Vali fought with a demon named Dundubhi in a cave; Vali asked his friend Sugriva to guard the entrance but he did not come out for several days. Sugriva thought that Vali was dead and crowned himself as the king. When Vali killed Dundubhi and tried to come out, the cave was shut. He was angry and so dethroned Sugriva when he managed to come out. Sugriva took refuge in Rishyamukha Mountain which is a ‘No Go zone’ for Vali because of a curse. When Rama was ready to help, Sugriva asked Vali to come for a duel. Rama killed Vali from behind a tree. Lot of debates were done by scholars whether it was right to kill one hiding behind the tree. But the answer is in Vali’s final words. He himself praised Rama for upholding Dharma. After Vali’s death, Sugriva was crowned as the King of Kiskindha.

Sugriva’s Faithlessness:-KISHKINDHA KANDA PICTURE 4 (Ramayana Picture No.33) Sugriva stopped visiting Rama after he became the king. Rama was waiting for him at the Mountain Prasravana. He became very much worried about Sita. His brother Lakshmana consoled him.

Angry Lakshmana:-KISHKINDHA KANDA PICTURE 5 (Ramayana Picture No.34) Ordered by Rama, Lakshmana went to Kiskindha and reproached Sugriva severely for not honouring his agreement. Sugriva was enjoying life with his wives Tara, Ruma and others. When Lakshmana was angry, Sugriva hid himself behind Tara. She pacified Lakshmana who brought Sugriva into Rama’s presence.

GOLD JEWELS in RAMAYANA:-KISHKINDHA KANDA PICTURE 6 (Ramayana Picture No.35):Sugriva yielded to Rama and summoned all his force at Mount Prasravana. It was divided into four squadrons. Since they knew Ravana went towards South the elite commandos Maruti (Hanuman) and Angada were selected for the mission towards the south. Rama described the features of Sita to them and gave him his ring, which Sita could recognise easily. Women should note here that Indians used gold from time immemorial for good purpose. Sita threw her jewels for identification. Rama sent his ring for identification. Sita sent back her Choodamani. Kalidasa used this technique in two of his dramas.

STORY OF HANUMAN-KISHKINDHA KANDA PICTURE 7 and 8 (Ramayana Picture No.36 & 37Maruti was born on a full moon day in Chaitra. When his mother Anjana went to get him some fruits he tried to catch the sun and got burnt. When Indra came to know about it he started attacking him. Then Maruti was hurt and he got a scarred chin. That is why he is called Hanuman. Anajaneya/Maruti/Hanuman is a SUPERMAN. All the comics such as Superman, Spiderman are based upon him. (Scientific explanation: On the day Maruti was born there was a Lunar eclipse followed by Rains. He fell down and broke his chin. Probably that led to the story of him catching the sun, fighting with Inda/thunder and Hanuman/fell and broke his chin)

Hanuman Selected–KISHKINDHA KANDA PICTURE 9 (Ramayana Picture No.38)

Hanuman, Jambavan and Angada encountered many difficulties and reached the shores of southern ocean. Jatayu’s brother Sampati came and told them that Ravana kept Sita at Ashokavana in Lanka. It was unanimously decided by the monkeys that Hanuman should cross the ocean and search for Sita. Accordingly Hanuman climbed the Mahendra mountain and prepared to cross the ocean. (Kiskindha Kanda finito. Next comes Sundara Kanda)

SUBHAM.

Ramayana came first; Mahabharata came later!

Written by London swaminathan

Research Article No.1847; Date: 5 May 2015

Uploaded at London time: 16-08

 

Which came first Ramayana or Mahabharata? It is a question debated for long. Hindus believe that Ramayana happened in Treta Yuga and Mahabharata happened in Dwapara Yuga. That means Ramayana happened well before Mahabharata. But the question arose because of Parasurama and a few others who figured in both the epics. How is it possible if both the epics are Yugas (eras) apart?

The answer is very simple. There were more than one Parasurama.

Let us look at this issue in more details. There are two questions: Which one happened first? Which one was written first?

1.Ramayana happened first and was written first. Mahabharata has abridged Ramayana in the Ramopakhyayanam. Since Mahabharata (here afterwards abbreviated as Mbh) included lot of old stories Vyasa did not want to miss it. Like he gave other stories, he gave Ramayana in short. It is not the other way round.

2.The word Arya is used in its archaic sense in an archaic way in Ramayana. Sita addressed Rama, Hey Arya! and Ravana’s palace guards address him as Hey Arya (Respected Sir, or Cultured man)

  1. In the Ramayana we come across many ‘not so civilized’ tribes such as the Monkey people (Hanuman), Eagle (Jatayu) People, Bear (Jambhavan) People. These may be their totem symbols or they had such tattoos for identification and recognition. We see such customs among forest tribes around the world. During Ramayana days the forests were full of cannibals called demons. Mahabharata has more urban areas and urban culture. Very rarely we come across tribes or cannibals (except Bakasura). Both the cultures are poles (Yugas) apart.

4.Hanuman came across Mainaka Parvat, Simhika, Langini and other hurdles on his way to Lanka. We don’t see such things or similar hurdles in Mahabharata.

5.Parasurama fought with Karta Veerya Arjuna. Mahabaharata Arjuna came several hundred years after Karta Veerya Arjuna, according to historians. So that Parsurama could not have taught Karna martial arts. Some one bearing similar name or someone was called  Parasurama for his Anti Kshatriya stance. Throughout our Puranic literature this confusion exists. There were several Parikshits, several Janamejayas etc. But Pauranics confused the public by saying all are one!

6.In Ramayana we come across some old phrases such as Dasaratha ruled for 60,000 years, Dasaratha had 60,000 wives. The meaning is “a lot of”. This archaic expression was not used in Mahabharata (Mbh).

7.Rama –Ravana battle was like an old style battle. No military formations etc. Whereas Mbh yuddha was fought on military formations. The result of the battle was decided by such formations. Abhimanyu was killed because of this. Moreover the army was divided into 7 and 11 divisions and each one had its commander. In Ramayana days they were never organised on similar lines.

8.Lava and Kusa “sang” Ramayana ballads. Valmiki taught them the ballads. Valmiki himself was praised as a Koel (Vande Valmiki Kokilam). So Ramayana evolved out of ballads like the Odyssey and Illiad of Homer. Whereas Mbh was “written” by Vyasa. There is a big time gap between the ballad period and writing period.

9.Some people were misled by the archaic style of Mahabharata and simple style of Valmiki Ramayana. Vyasa was well versed in the Vedas. In fact he was the one he compiled all the Vedic hymns fearing that it may be lost once and for all. But for him we would have got anything Vedic. Moreover he knit all the existing older materials into Mbh. To make the style uniform he used archaic style. Valmiki being the Adi Kavi—the First Poet—sang in the Anustubh metre for the first time in Sanskrit (apart from the Vedas).

  1. The message of Ramayana is very simple: Be honest, Speak the Truth, Obey your parents, Don’t desire for another man’s wife. Being Treta Yuga people were 50 percent to 75 percent good. But Mbh is full of intrigues, conspiracies, infightings in the family, hatred and jealousy. It was nearer to Kaliyuga, the Dark Age. So we have lot of moral teachings.
  1. Ramayana days were nearer to Upanishadic age. So there was no need for philosophical teaching. Whereas Mbh has the Bhagavad Gita which is the gist of all major Upanishads.

12.Ramayana has 24,000 slokas. When Lava and Kusa sang the ballads it might have been done in a different way; but the story line did not change. Mbh is the largest book in the ancient world with 100,000 slokas. It was that big even in the first century BCE. Lot of scholars have bluffed that it slowly grew to the present level. No scholar could show until today what the original was and what snowballed later. In spite of computers and other modern techniques they could not show it. The fact of the matter is Vyasa compiled everything available at his time. That is why we even see some contradictions in the moral teachings in it. The very word VYASA means a compiler, an essayist.

  1. Ramayana has 300 different versions because it was very old. The longer it travelled it, more and more varied it became. Whereas Mbh has got only one version throughout South East Asia. Ramayana has different versions from country to country in S E Asia. This shows the length of gap between the two epics.
  1. Mbh has got at least 29 countries represented in the great war. Ramayana has not got that many political divisions. We knew even the names of lots of kings of Mbh time. Whereas Ramayana gives only four or five kings names in the entire subcontinent.

15.We could identify many of the places mentioned in Mbh whereas we did not even know where Kiskidha was. We could only guess, but no written or literary records for Lanka or Kiskindha. Mbh places have been continuously repeated in several written or literary records.

  1. Mahabharata has many stories woven into the main Pandava-Kaurava conflict. Whereas Ramayana has only one simple story. It shows that it was the first one.

17.We have highly developed subjects/sciences in Mbh; but Ramayana did not deal with medicine or astronomy or astrology in the same way.

18.In short we see more advanced civilization in the Mbh and a very simple culture in Ramayana.

Since Parasurama existed at the time of Karta Veerya Arjuna he could not have lived at the time of Mahabharata Arjuna to teach martial arts to Karna.

I will deal with more minute details in another article.

Pictures re used from the book “Epic Narratives in the Hoysala Temples” by Kirsti Evans;thanks.

FLOATING STONE: RAMAYANA WONDER!!

(Based on News from Nakkiran magazine)

Translated by Swaminathan from Tamil

Post 1837 ;Date 30 April 2015; Time in London 5-23 am

All of us know that when Hanuman wrote RAM on the stones, the stones started floating. Like army build pontoon bridges Rama built a pontoon bridge with the help of a Tamil engineer named NALAN. Now Ponnagaram fishermen have found out a fifteen kilo floating stone. Ponnagaram is near Manalmelkudi in Pudukkottai District of Tamil Nadu,India.

When the fishermen told the villagers about their stone in the fishing net which floats when put in water, they tried it at the temple tank at Adikesava Perumal Temple. When it was floating, hundreds of people came and watched it. I have already written about how Rama flew from Sri Lanka to Uttar Pradesh in a day based on a New Scientist Article. Please visit my blog tamilandvedas.com

மிதக்கும் கல்!

புதுக்கோட்டை மாவட்டம், மணமேல்குடி அருகே உள்ள மீனவர் கிராமத்தில் மீன் பிடிக்க கடலுக்குச் சென்றபோது மீனவர் வலையில் தண்ணீரில் மிதக்கும் 15 கிலோ எடை கொண்ட அதிசய கல் சிக்கியது. இந்த கல்லை பொதுமக்கள் ஏராளமானோர் அதிசயத்துடன் பார்த்துச் செல்கின்றனர்.

மணமேல்குடி அருகே உள்ளது பொன்னகரம் மீனவர் கிராமம். இங்கு தினசரி 500க்கும் மேற்பட்டோர் கடலுக்கு சென்று மீன்பிடித்து வருகின்றனர். நேற்று வழக்கம் போல் கடலுக்குச் சென்று மீன்பிடிப்பதற்காக வலையை கடலில் வீசிவிட்டு பின்பு வலையை எடுத்தபோது, அந்த வலையில் மீன்களுடன் ஒரு கல்லும் வந்தது. அந்த கல்லை எடுத்து அந்த மீனவர் தண்ணீரில் வீசியபோது அந்த கல் மிதந்தது. உடனே ஆச்சியப்பட்ட அந்த மீனவர் படகில் அந்த கல்லை தூக்கி போட்டுக் கொண்டு கரைக்கு வந்து பொதுமக்களிடம் இந்த அதிசயத்தை கூறினார். பின்னர் அந்த கல் அருகில் உள்ள ஆதிகேசவ பெருமாள் கோவில் வாசலில் உள்ள குளத்தில் போடப்பட்டது. குளத்தில் போடப்பட்ட அந்தக்கல் தண்ணீரில் மூழ்காமல் மிதந்தது. இந்த அதிசயத்தை கேள்விப்பட்ட சுற்றுவட்டார பொதுமக்கள் ஏராளமானோர் வந்து குளத்தில் மிதந்துக் கொண்டிருக்கும் அந்த கல்லை அதிசயத்துடன் பார்த்துச் செல்கின்றனர்.
(நன்றி -நக்கீரன் )

31 Beautiful Quotes on Virtue and Excellence

Compiled by London Swaminathan

 

Post No. 1834; Dated 28 April 2015.

 

Uploaded at London time  16-37

Calendar of Golden Sayings, May 2015

Important Days: May 1- May Day, May 4 & 25 Bank Holidays (UK),

5- Sri Annamacharya Jayanthi, 13: Sri Dattareya Jayanthi, Hanuman Jayanthi, Auspicious days: May 1, 6, 8, 10, 14, 15, 20, 22, 29

 

Ekathasi- May 14, 29; Amavasya – May 17; Pournami-  May 3 Chitra pournami

 

 

May 1 Friday

Of what use is beauty sans virtue. – Subhasitaratnabhandagara-3-260

Agunasya hatam ruupam

 

May 2 Saturday

 

It is impossible to recognise virtue. — Kahavatratnakar p29

Asakyaiva gunajnataa

 

May 3 Sunday

Virtues reside in the forthright.—Granthasthagathagaku

Rjuhrdayamadhivasanti gunaah

 

 

May 4 Monday

The lotus stem is high according to water depth. A man’s merit is the measure of his mental strength -Tirukkural in Tamil, couplet 595

 

May 5 Tuesday

Difficult to find one endowed with all virtues. —  Carudatta 2

Ekasmin durlabho guna vibhavah

 

May 6 Wednesday

Will the wicked ever have an inkling of what virtue is?

Kim jaanaatyaguno gunam

 

 

May 7 Thursday

There is not a single soul in whom all good qualities come together  –Hanumannataka 9

Kva nu punasvekatra sarve gnaah

 

May 8 Friday

All thought should be the thought of rising high though it fails; your aspirations keep you on higher plane -Tirukkural, couplet 596

 

May 9 Saturday

Goodness is the ornament of beauty. – Canakyaniti 3-4

Guno bhuusayate ruupam

 

 

May 10 Sunday

Virtues and wealth are hard to come by. Mrccakatika 2

Durlabhaa gunaa vibhavaasca

 

 

May 11 Monday

Can vices ever stir men whose hearts are stolen by virtues  –Subhasitavali

Dosaah kim naama kurvanti gunaapahrtaccetasah

 

 

May 12 Tuesday

The merits, even of foes are acceptable, and the demerits, even of friends, are contemptible.

Dvisatopi gunaah kaamyaah suhrdopi na durgunaah

 

 

May 13 Wednesday

The many merits of the virtuous do not get diminished by his silence.

Na maunena nyuuno  bhavanti gunabhaajaam gunagana

 

May 14 Thursday

Though wounded with arrows, the elephant stands firm in his greatness; he who has spirit never loses heart when he fails-Tirukkural in Tamil, couplet 597

 

 

May 15 Friday

The merit which destroys capability is no merit. –Hitopadesa

Na yogyataahaaryamapeksate gunam

Rarely does one find a person endowed with all good qualities

 

 

Ananthapura Lake Temple

May 16 Saturday

Good looks glow not without goodness.  Jatakamala

Na ruupasobhaa ramate vinaa hunaih

 

 

May 17 Sunday

A man’s deeds are the touchstone of his greatness and littleness —Tirukkural in Tamil, couplet 505

 

 

May 18 Monday

There is neither happiness nor good fortune in self glorification  –2-2 Subhasitaratnabhandagara

Na sukham na ca saubhaagyam svayam svagunavarnane

 

 

May 19 Tuesday

Where does one find the virtuous, devoid of even a single blemish –

Brhatkathamanjari

Niskalankaah kva vaa gunaah

 

 

May 20 Wednesday

Virtues set foot everywhere — Raguvamsa 3-62

Padam hi sarvatra gunairnidhiiyate

 

 

Kanchi Paramacharya Swamiji (1894-1994)

May 21 Thursday

The excellence of merit depends on receptacle – Kiratarjuniya 3-18

Prakarsamaadhaaravasam gunaanaam

 

 

May 22 Friday

 

Why go after form when merits abound –Brhatkathamanjari 1-14-674

Prakarsasced gunesvasti kimaakaarapariiksayaa

 

May 23 Saturday

Do not despise men for their forms; there are men like the axle of pin of a big rolling car (charit) –Tirukkural in Tamil, couplet 667

May 24 Sunday

The creator is averse to bringing together a totality of positives in a single soul —  Kumarasambhava 3-28

Praayena saamaryavidhau gunaanaam paraanmukhi visvasrjah pravrttih

 

 

May 25 Monday

The noble attain fame by virtue of their virtues. What has birth got to do with it Pancatantra 1-94

Praakaasyam svagunodayena gunino gaccanti kim janmanaa

 

 

May 26 Tuesday

Everyone is respectable on the basis of some merit  – sisupalavadha 15-1

Sarva eva samaveksya kamapi gunameti puujyataam

 

 

May 27 Wednesday

The world abounds in prettiness; goodness indeed is rare -Kiratarjuniya 11-11

Sulabhaa ramyataa loke durlabham hi gunaarjanam

 

 

May 28 Thursday

 

Merits outlive death  –Karnabhara 1.s17

Hartesu dehesu gunaa dharante

 

 

May 29 Friday

Pure speech and noble associations are the hallmark of the virtuous

Sphitaa vaacah sataam sangha laksanam  hi gunaisinaam

May 30 Saturday

Not appearance, but morality indeed leads one to nobility .

Prayaanti gurutaam hi gunaa na caakrtih

 

 

May 31 Sunday

All merits do not accumulate in one person. — Subhasitavali 3 – 847

Naikatra sarvo gunasannipaatah

Pictures are from my Face book friends; Quotations are from Suktisudha, Chinmaya International Foundation and Tirukkural; thanks. swami_48@yahoo.com  

 

Humility of Indian poets! Varahamihira, Kalidasa, Kamban & Purandaradasa

Bend it like Modi ( More you bow, More you Grow)

Written by London swaminathan

Research Article No: 1831

Date: 27 April 2015; Uploaded in London at 17-29

Sanskrit and Tamil poets were great poets and yet they were very humble. We may find several examples in our literature that show their humility. Let us look at a few examples:

VARAHAMIHIRA

Varahamihira who authored two encyclopaedic works’ Brhat Jataka’ and ‘Brhat Samhita’ among others, says in the concluding chapter of Brhat Samhita,

Jyotih sasstrasamudram pramathya matimandaraadrinaatha mayaa

Lokasyaalokakarah saastrasasaangkah samuthksipthah

“Having churned the ocean of astrology with the Mandara mountain of my intelligence, I have taken out the moon of science that affords light to the world.

Then in the next verse he says,

“I have not discarded the works of ancient seers while writing this scientific work. Hence, O ye good men, you may by all means compare mine with theirs, and accept whichever you like

He continues,

“Good men, on finding some excellence, though slender, in an ocean of faults, proclaim it, while the mean minded do the contrary. This is the nature of the good and the wicked

Durjanahutaasataptam kaavyasuvarnam visuddhimaayaati

Sraavayitavyam tasmaaddusta janasya prayatnena

 

“The gold of poetry being heated by the fire of wicked men gets purified. Hence, it should be read to the wicked by all means”.

KALIDASA

Kalidasa, the greatest of the Indian poets, in his Raguvamsa Kavya, says,

“The dynasty originated from Sun; with the meagre intellect of mine,  I am wishing to go across this unnavigable ocean called the solar dynasty by a small boat.

“Will I become the butt of ridicule if I were to covet the celebrity of an eminent poet, like a short fellow overstretching his arms for a fruit obtainable only by the tall, because I am still a dunce in this subject matter?

“But my course in depicting this dynasty might as well be easy through the gateway already crafted by the earlier poets, like a diamond bore holed by a diamond-edged tool for an easy passage of thread”.

In Malavikagnimitra, he says,

“Every old poem is not good simply because it is old; nor is a poem without charm, because it is new; sound critics favour the one or the other, after proper examination; while a blockhead is guided by another’s judgement”.

KAMBAN

Greatest of the middle age Tamil poets Kamban in his Tamil Ramayana says in Balakanda,

“I wanted to write the story of Rama. My desire is like a cat licking the milky ocean (thinking it could drink the full ocean).

“Are you people wondering at my endeavour of writing the great story done by Valmiki– full of penance? He wrote the story of great Rama who pierced the seven strong trees with a single arrow which never miss the target like the curse of great people.

“I know the world will ridicule me; but my intention is to highlight the greatness of Valmiki who wrote flawless divine poetry”.

PURANDARADASA

The famous Kannada saint and composer Purandaradasa says in one of his songs

“There ought to be traducers. Without them the glory of the virtuous would not gain celebrity. For example the paddy grain would be worthless without its slender thorn”.

Varahamihira  concludes by saying

“With my intellectual power blessed by the Divine Sun, the sages and my preceptor, as a result of my having made obeisance to their feet, I have only summarized this science. Hence I offer salutations to the ancient authors”.

Bowing Modi

“Gunaprakarso vinyaadavaapyate”

“All virtues are enhanced with humility” – Subhasita ratna bhandakaram 3-869

Octogenarian Manmohanji Namaskar!

Nakshatra Purusa: Worship of the Stellar Deity!

Written by London swaminathan

Research Article No: 1829

Date: 27 April 2015; Uploaded in London at 8-40 am

A lot of things about stars, planets and comets are in the Vedas and later literature. German scholar Jacobi and Indian Independence hero B G Tilak have studied them independently and arrived at the date of 4000 BCE or before for the Vedas. Both the Rig Veda and Atharva Veda have got special hymns on the stars.

The study of the Vedic Astronomy explodes the Aryan Dravidian Racist theory into pieces. Had the Vedic Hindus arrived from other areas as suggested by foreign “scholars”, the 27 star system and other Vedic Hindus’ beliefs must be there or at least the remnants would have been there. We have not seen anything like that anywhere else. This shows clearly the Vedic astronomy and astrology are independent of any other system. Westerners told us that we borrowed the planetary astrology from the Greeks. It cannot be correct because all the beliefs are here even before the Greeks started writing in their language. Those who study the four Vedas together would understand it. If we include the Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads, the subjects covered by them are amazing, though they are all religious books!!

In today’s article I will analyse what Varahamihira wrote 1500 years ago, in his Brhat Samhita.

Like we have Graha purusa and Vastu Purusa, Varahamihira gives us some information about Nakshatra Purusa:

The FEET of the stellar deity are represented by the star Mula

The LEGS by Rohini

The KNEES by Asvini

The THIGHS by two (Purva/Uttara) Asadas

The PRIVITIES by two Phalgunis (Purva/ Uttara)

The HIPS by Krittikas

The SIDES by Purva and Utthara) Bhadrapadas

The STOMACH by Revati

The BREAST by Anuradha

The BACK by Dhanista

The ARMS by Visakha

The HANDS by Hastha

The FINGERS by Punarvasu

The NAILS by Aslesa

The NECK by Jyeshata

The EARS by Sravana

The MOUTH by Pusya

The TEETH by Svati

LAUGHTER by Sathabishak

The NOSE by Magha

The EYES by Mrgasiras

The FOREHEAD by Chitra

The HEAD by Bharani and

The HAIR by Arudra

Hindus always describe Gods from Foot to Head and human beings from Head to Foot. It is seen in Sangam Tamil and more ancient Sanskrit literature.

12 signs of zodiac (12 Rasis) represent Kalapurusa (Time in the form of a Person). Likewise the 27 Nakshatras are distributed among the limbs of the Nakshatra purusa.

One should worship Lord Vishnu and the Stellar Deity and then observe fast on the 8th of dark half (Krishna paksha Ashtami) of the Chitra month. After this verse Varahamihira explains various gifts to the Brahmins.

The benefits  one gets by the worship make interesting reading: a man who does this gets 1)long arms 2) broad, muscular breast 3)moon like face 4) white teeth 5)Gait of lordly elephants 6)Lotus like eyes 7) a personality that captivate the hears of damsels and a body verily that of Manmatha (Cupid).

This description gives an idea about what the Vedic civilization considered as the features of a handsome man.

A woman who performs the Puja will get a face as bright and as lustrous as autumnal full moon, eyes like the petals of lotus, beautiful sparkling teeth, hair resembling the belly of the bees, a voice as sweet as that of an intoxicated cuckoo, red lips , hands and feet like as tender and charming like lotus petals, a slender waist bending under the weight of the bosoms, a navel with turns from left to right, thighs similar to banana trunks, fine buttock and excellent loins. She will win the love of her husband, and have well knit toes.

Belly of the bee: Golden hair?

This gives an idea of the concept of beauty in Indian literature. It is almost similar in ancient Sangam Tamil literature. The presence of such a concept from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari and the absence of such a concept in any other country explodes the Aryan Dravidian Racist theory.

Varahamihira , in his book, adds, “such a person, man or woman, will become a star and move with the stars in the sky, as long as the rows of stars move in the sky and illumine the world, till the end of the Creator’s Day i.e Kalpa. And when the universe is re-created, the person will become a monarch; and will be reborn in the world as a king or a rich Brahmana.

No other religion other than Hinduism (includes its offshoots like Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism) accepts that Soul can neither be created nor destroyed. Hindus only have found out that the Soul is indestructible. It can only merge with the God at the end.

The scientists have not yet understood the cyclical nature of TIME. They will agree with the Hindus when they understand fully the nature of Black holes.

The twelve months beginning with Margasirsa are said to be presided by Kesava, Narayana, Madhava, Govinda, Visnu, Madhusudana, Trivikrama, Vamana, Sridhara, Rishikesa and Padmanabha respectively. This shows the calendar year started with Margasirsa at one time. This is a proof for the antiquity of the ancient Indian/Hindu civilization. The twelve names are the names of Vishnu.

Source: I have used the translation of Brhat Samhita by Mr M Ramakrishna Bhat and added my comments.

Pictures are used from various sources; thanks.

Milk and Yogurt in the Vedas!

Curd Rice

Written by London swaminathan

Research Article No: 1827

Date: 25 April 2015; Uploaded in London at 21-26

The vegan concept is unknown in ancient India. Vedic Hindus used milk and other dairy products without any hesitation. The definition of vegan is “a person who does not eat or use animal products”. Vegans don’t use honey or milk; but Vedic Hindus used madhuparka, a mixture of curd and honey. This was offered to honoured guests and distinguished visitors “rtviks, Acharya, bridegroom, king and someone who is dear to one. The references are available in Manava, (1-9-1),Baudayana (1-2-65) and  Asvalayana (1-24-5) Grhya sutras.

No book in the ancient world gave so much importance and respect to cow, bull and milk products. My view is that only the Vedic Hindus introduced the cow and its products to the world. Milk and honey are offered to gods until today during the ritual bathing of the idols every day. The ritual bathing is called Abhishek.

Milk (ksira), also called go or payas played a large part in the economy of the Vedic Hindus RV 1-109-3, 1-167-7, 8-2-9, 9-67-32; AV 2-26-4, 5-19-5, 8-3-15, 10-9-12). Later literature has got more references.

Milk was cooked with grain. They drank it fresh or in the form of curd or butter. Boiled milk and cream of boiled milk were in common use. They ate milk and rice (ksira odanam). Grain s the word sed here so it may even be the Payasa (sweet liquid). Hindus nowadays offer to God Payasa (sweet liquid made up of milk with vermicelli or rava or pounded rice/powa or rice ).

Payasam photo by T Suchasini

Goat’s milk was also used (TB 4-1-6-1; SB 14-1-2-13)

There were people who lived on milk alone (payavrata SB 9-5-1-1; KB 8-9). Ascetics in India survived just by drinking milk and eating fruits.

They used pieces of Putika creeper, bark of palasa tree or kuvala (jujube).

The term payasya in later samhitas and brahmanas denotes curds and hot or cold milk. I think this is what now we call Shrikhand, a sweet made up of Youghurt (curd).

Lord Krishna who lived 5100 years ago according to Hindus tradition is linked with the cows and all dairy products. He is known as Buttter Krishna (Navaneetha Krishna). Several Upanishad stories are spined around raising cows or making two cows into 1000 cows (Satyakama Jabala in Chandigya Upanishad and 1000 cows for Yajnavalkya in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad). All these 1000 cow stories as early as 900 BCE show the wealth of the Vedic Hindus.

Churning Curd

The process of churning with a churning stick was known from Rig Vedic times (1-28-4, BU 6-3-13).

The mixture of curds and minute globules of butter,when the latter have not been removed, was called prasadajya.

Two varieties of cheese – one with pores and the other without pores were mentioned in the RV6-48-18

A preparation of curds with boiled milk was very popular The solid part of the preparation was called amiiksa, while the liquid part was called vajina (lot of references in TS, M, VS, AV 10-9-13, SB, TA, CU, JU.

Butter was heated to make ghee. Butter was used to make apupas.

shrikhand-recipe

Shrikhand

Conclusion:

Vedic society was the one that showed the importance of cow and milk to the mankind.

Sweets like Rice Pudding and Shrikhand existed even during Vedic times.

Milk and honey were considered holy and they are offered to God until today.

Vegan concept is a modern, western concept, unknown in India.

What did Vedic Hindus Eat?

Famous tasty Apuupa (masaapuupa) South Indian Vada

Written by London swaminathan

Research Article No: 1825

Date: 23 April 2015; Uploaded in London at 20–43

It is very interesting to study the food items listed in the Vedas. It is a long list and it deserves a separate research book. I have not come across any book comparing the food items in the Vedas with the food items in the epics and the mythologies. But there are some articles on food items in the Vedas. Going through the Vedic food items will give us some idea about their life style. Rig Veda is the oldest book in the world, now dated between 1700 BCE and 6000 BCE.

Not all the Hindus were vegetarians. The Vedic society comprised of the fighting Kshatriyas and travelling Vaisyas along with the manual labourers called Shudras. No wonder meat was part of their menu. But the surprising thing is the mention of meat is very little compared to the vegetarian items.

The most interesting item is Apuupa (RV 3-52-7; RV 10-45-9). Even today the Puja offering includes Mashapupa (Vada made of black gram or Urad Dhal). If rice flour is used with ghee and sugar/jaggery it becomes a sweet dish Appam. Tamils use both Appam and Vada today. It shows the food items did not change for at least 3700 years!

Apuupa is translated as a cake in the Vedic Index by Keith and Macdonell. It might be a dish made up of rice or barley mixed with ghee (clarified butter) according to them. It is mentioned in the Rig Veda (3-52-7; 10-45-9) and Satapatha Brahmana (2-2-3-12; 4-2-5-19)

Sweet Apuupa is at the right extreme.

Vedic seers were honoured with Madhuparka, a mixture of milk and honey. Both of them were available in the forests where their ashrams (dwellin places) or Parnaslas (Leafy huts) were constructed. They had gruels as well. Even today all the village temples in Tamil Nadu offer gruel during their festivals. This shows the continuity of the Vedic food or offering.

Here is a list of the food items:

Odana – grains cooked with milk or other items. Like today they had different odanas such as dadhy odana (curd rice), ksiraudana (milk rice) mudgaudana bean rice, sesame audana, ghrtraudana( ghee rice) and meat rice( biriyani) . They are found in RV and AV in addition to the Upanishads and Satapatha Brahmana.

Pinda is a ball of rice offered to departed souls. This is mentioned with the same Sanskrit word in Sangam Tamil literature. The use of water, rice and sesame seeds shows that the Aryan Dravidian Racist Theory was unfounded. They are grown and used in tropical countries. All are found in Indus valley and the same Sanskrit words are used till the Southernmost Part of Tamil Nadu. Til= El, Vrihi= Arisi, Nara= Neer. Had the Hindus come from cold central Asia or Europe they would not have used water from birth to death in all the ceremonies. For auspicious events they used yellow rice and inauspicious they used white rice. It was even put into the mouth of dead body. All these show they were born and brought up here. All the customs originated here.

Savoury Apuupa (kuzi appam)

Kharambha – gruel

Aamiksa – clotted curds

Kiilaala/ parisruta/pana paanta/  – sweet drink

Go /Ksira/payas/pratiduh – milk

Dadhi/payasaa – – yogurt or curd

Navanita – butter

Pakti – cake

Pakva /Pacata – cooked food

Parivapa – fried rice

Piiyusaa – biestings

Pitu – food (This word is used in Tamil as well)

Pista – flour

Madhu – honey

Maamsa – meat

Madhya/ suraa – liquor

Yavaagu – baley

Vistarin – porridge

Soma rasa – not a food, but an offering or Prasad

Grains used by the Vedic Hindus: at least 25 different types of grains are mentioned. Ten types of fishes are also found in the Vedas but not as food items. In the Asvamedha Yajna more than 200 items are offered as offering from grains to animals. But we don’t know whether they are symbolic or actual.

apuupa in yogurt (Dahi Vada)

Rice gets more mentions. Dairy products are referred to in hundreds of places. That deserves a separate article. This shows the Vedic Hindus were the one who introduced the cow to the mankind and it was worshipped as mother cow/ Go Matha. Water and rivers were worshipped as goddesses.

Swami_48@yahoo.com