Saturday, November 24, 2018

Did 'Mohan Dera' become Mohenjo-Daro where Kartik Purnima was celebrated?

Published in Ind Samachar

Kartik Purnima, the day of full moon in the month of Kartik is an important occasion in Somnath temple in Saurashtra. The very name Somnath evokes strong emotions in the Hindus for the numerous assaults struck on Somnath temple in the past. But what many had forgotten in the din is the silent sojourn of Soma, the Moon across the temple of Somnath on every Kartik Purnima, in a gesture of paying his obeisance to his lord Somnathji. The Full Moon crosses the temple exactly overhead only in the month of Kartik!  

The etymology of Somnath being ‘lord of the Moon’ and the legend of Moon being cursed by Daksha Prajapati  to lose lustre and regain it by the grace of Lord Shiva, it is perfectly fine that the Full Moon crosses the temple once a year. But how this happened has only one answer that the original and the olden builders of this temple had planned it to be so and carefully selected the site for the temple. One can only deduce that the legend had already existed and people had celebrated it by aptly choosing a site for Lord Somnath so that Soma in full glow can cross the temple in the month of Kartik.

A surprising parallel to this temple exists in Mohenjo-Daro, of all the places in India or anywhere in the world! One may be aware of a temple like structure along with a tank - what researchers call as the Great Bath, in Mohenjo-Daro. But the unnoticed fact is that both Somnath and Mohenjo-Daro are situated more or less along the same longitude. Somnath is situated at 70.4090° E while Mohenjo-Daro is at 68.1375° E, within 2 degrees apart. This means when the Full Moon crosses Somnath in the month of Kartik, it will also be seen crossing the temple like structure of Mohenjo-Daro!

To be more precise, exactly 8 minutes after the Kartik Full Moon touches the top of Somnath, it pays its obeisance at the temple of Mohenjo-Daro. Mohenjo-Daro being a planned city, this locational feature also seems to be a planned one, much like Somnath. The legend of Soma with his 27 wives also seems to have been recreated in this temple of Mohenjo-Daro as one can see an arrangement of 27 formations in Mohenjo-Daro close to the Great Bath.

Temple-like structure in Mohenjo-Daro

In the picture below, the water tank excavated in Mohenjo-Daro is seen in the forefront with a massive brick structure having 27 parts at the background.

On closer examination one can see 27 distinct parts arranged in 3 rows of 9 each. Each one of these 27 structures has separate foundations and arranged in East – West direction in 3 rows. It is also found that there were sockets for wooden super structure and doorways. This shows that this was originally a building having 27 distinct enclosures or partitions.  Initially it was thought (by western researchers) that this structure could have been a granary! But this structure was too close to the water-outlet of the Great Bath tank! How could a granary exist so close to a water outlet? 

Further examination shows that water had flowed around the 27- part structure. This shows that the 27-part structure was surrounded by a kind of moat filled with water. The water was drawn from the Great Bath tank nearby. 

First of all, the number 27 sounds interesting. Why is it not 28 or 26 or 25? Why they made only 27 structures and arranged them in groups of 9? This sounds familiar with the number associated with 27 stars of the zodiac. The stars also are arranged in groups of 9! Huge column of water (huge because the size of the outlet is quite unusual and would allow heavy rush of water from the tank) surrounding this structure reminds one of the concept of "Akash Ganga" – the Milky way in which the 27 stars of the zodiac are swimming! 

In a striking resemblance, wells numbering 27 were dug in Chennai in the year 1818. An inscription found in a well in the temple of Goddess Periya Pāḷayatthamman in Royapettah in Chennai says that this well was one among 27 wells constructed by the then Madras Collector, Mr Ellis in 1818. He did not just do this donation as a charity. He had followed the rituals and inaugurated them at an auspicious time. 

Here also why the specific number 27 was followed is a question. Was there a practice to offer water to the 27 stars or star lords? Or was it a symbolism for keeping the stars floating in the celestial waters? Was that the reason the tank was constructed in Mohenjo-Daro too close to the 27 part structure so that water could be let out on auspicious occasions? 

27-part structure in Mohenjo-Daro

In Mohenjo-Daro the length of the 27-part structure shows a unique connection to the zodiac. Lengthwise there are 3 rows in east – west direction with a uniform length of 4.5 metres. The breadth varies for each row as 8 m, 4.5 m and 6 metres. The uniform length of all the formations gives an impression of equal length of the star- span in the zodiac. The span of a star is 13 degrees and 20 minutes. Converted into minutes it is 13 x60 = 780 minutes + 20 minutes = 800 minutes. If we divide the zodiac of 360 degrees by the length of a part of the 27 part structure (360 / 4.5) it gives 80 parts. This is one tenth of the actual span of the star in the sky! Is this a just a coincidence or a calculated one

To show that the entire complex housing the tank and the 27-part structure are part of a temple, let me make a comparison with a famous temple –a functioning temple – the temple of Meenakshi at Madurai!

Similarities between Mohenjo-Daro and Meenakshi temple.

Let us first take a look at the Mohenjo-Daro plan.

In the aerial view shown above, the front structure named Buddha Vihar was formed 2000 years ago. That was not originally the Indus structure. The almost square shaped structure in our right side was the original structure built at about 2600 BCE.

The directions, the tank and the 27 part structure are highlighted in the picture below.

The area shown as Main structure must have housed a main building which is now lost. What looks strange is that the tank is not in the expected Vāstu direction of North East but in South East. Almost all olden temples of South India have the temple tank in the North East. The only exception is the Meenakshi temple of Madurai! This temple was supposed to have been built soon after the Pandyas settled down after the 3rd and last deluge which coincided with the deluge at Byt Dwaraka at the end of Indus civilisation. The famous tank of this temple is in the south east direction!

A comparison of the temple plan of Meenakshi Amman and the temple like structure in Mohenjo-daro is shown below.

One can notice the similarities in the 3 main structures – the tank is placed in the same region of South East in Meenakshi temple and in Mohenjo-Daro as well. The shrine of Meenaskhi corresponds to the 27 part structure of Mohenjo-Daro.  The main shrine of Shiva corresponds to that part which is now vacant but looks suggestive of a lost structure in Mohenjo-Daro.  This comparison is shown here to drive home the point that the 27 –part structure could have been a place of worship! The similarities also offer proof for similar school of architecture present in wider Bharat in the 2nd millennium BCE.

Mohenjo-Daro, a temple for Krishna?

The worship of 27 Nakshatras as Nakshatra Purusha vrata was vogue in olden times. The last chapter of Brihad samhita explains how the 27 nakshatras were worshiped as the body of the Nakshatra purusha starting from Moola as the feet of Nakshatra Purusha in Sagittarius. Even today, Sagittarius is called as "Nakshatra māsa" in Dwaraka. 

The Nakshtra Purusha is identified as Lakshmi Narayana in a narration that involves Rudra and Narada. The worship of Narayana in Mohenjo-Daro is not odd given the fact that the very name Mohenjo-Daro is identified as “Mound of MohanOnly Krishna was known as Mohan among all deities.

Incidentally Dera and Deri are the names for temples in Gujarati language and continue to be in use in rural Gujarat. The word Dera has wider presence beyond Gujarat as known from the name Dehradun. Dehra in Dehradun refers to ‘camp’.

The reference to Dera or Deri as a temple and also a tent seems to have its origins to the times of Krishna as Krishna kept changing places before finally settling down in the newly built Dvārakā.
The same name Dera or Deri appearing in the names many Harappan sites raises the possibility of those sites being camps for workshops, though some of them may have acquired the name from later day personalities. Among them Mohenjo-Daro has a unique position by virtue of the name Mohan. It was Dera or Deru of Mohan which later became daro of Mohan. In Pāli language ‘of Mohan’ is spoken as ‘Mohanasa. This seems to have become Mohanja, in course of time. The wider presence of Pāli for millennia before the Common Era could have brought out this change to the name of this site.
Associating Kartik Purnima with Krishna is still in vogue today. Krishna and Radha were supposed to have danced Rasa on this day. Perhaps in times soon after Krishna, people had retained that memory and Mohan Dera (Mohenjo-Daro) was built to glory him as Nakshatra Purusha. The locational preference around the same longitude of Somnath, popularly known as Prabhas where Krishna laid down his life could have been a cause for building Mohan Dera in more or less the same longitude.

One cannot ignore the fact that Mohenjo-Daro is dated around 2500 BCE, a few centuries after the death of Krishna which marked the start of Kali Yuga. The memory of Krishna worshiping Somnathji on Kartik Purnima seems to have been taken over to Mohan Dera where Krishna himself was worshiped as Nakshatra Purusha on Kartik Purnima. The 27 part structure has no other plausible justification than this. 

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Is Sabarimala a secular temple?

Earlier published in Vijayvaani

Indian secularism has always been at odds with the commonly accepted meaning of the word secularism. It made a new record when the Kerala government claimed in an affidavit submitted to the High Court that Sabarimala is a secular temple “where entry of devotees is not restricted on the ground of any caste or religion”. As justification, the importance of Vavar mosque was highlighted in the pilgrim tour of some Ayyappa devotees. Given the kind of ‘secular’ atmosphere in the country, days are not far off to get a Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court take up on a priority basis and validate the ‘secular’ nature of the Hindu temples! But there is no need for it.

If acceptance of devotees from any caste or religion is the criteria for secularism of the temple, then Hindu temples are definitely secular. Ranking high in the list are the two big temples of India, namely Srirangam and Tirupati. Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam and Lord Venkateśvara at Tirupati have accepted the devotion of women from Muslim community and even married them. These women have been given separate shrines within their temples. The marriage festival of these deities with the Muslim women is celebrated every year in their temples.

The God at Srirangam had gone a step higher in secularism, by partaking Roti, the food of his Muslim wife, everyday for his breakfast. He had been such an indulgent husband, that he takes Roti after it is offered to his Muslim wife, Surathani.

Similar episode of marriage with a Muslim devotee is reported in the temple at Melkote in Karnataka. Here the Muslim woman was said to have merged with the image of Lakshmi at the feet of the Lord. Local people worship her before conducting marriage in their families.

All these devotees of other religion are accepted and have been given a place within the temples. They are worshipped in the temples of the Hindu Gods and not outside. Can the same be said about Vavar of Vavar mosque? If the legend of friendship of Vavar with Lord Ayyappa was true, either Ayyappa would have given a place for him within his temple or ordained that he be enshrined in a temple and not in a mosque as the legend goes. If there is any truth in the Vavar legend, there should exist some presentation of honour to Ayyappa by Vavar mosque. In the absence of any visible or token connection with the lord at Sabarimala, one is forced to conclude that the vulnerability of the devotees have been exploited by some vested interests. Only Ayyappa devotees are going to the mosque and no Muslim is coming to the temple of Ayyappa.

If a Muslim or Christian comes to the temple, he can no longer be a Muslim or Christian but only a Hindu. If someone claims that he undertook the vrat (penance) and scaled Sabarimala to worship Lord Ayyappa but went back to his parent religion, then he can be said to be secular, but this is not what the Hindu deity demands. The basic idea of worship in Hinduism is surrender to the god. Whatever be the background of the person, the one who surrenders to the lord in an attitude of a lover or a friend or a devotee, would eventually be Hinduised and cannot retain the earlier identity as a Muslim or Christian. If he does then he is disloyal to both religions. Such persons need not put on the garb of a religion or devotion. They can as well tow the line of the Marx that religion is the opium of the people.

Every religion demands perfect allegiance to its God and tenets. Hinduism is no exception but it differs from other religions in the kind of relationship that a devotee comes to hold with the God. The relationship is something personal that Krishna indicates in his sermon to Arjuna. Whatever one gives, one must give it as an offering to God. It could be a leaf or flower or fruit or just water. But it must be given with utmost devotion and an attitude that it belongs to Him and not to oneself. Even when actions and motives are done with that attitude, it becomes a Yajna or oblation to God. The one who gives in that attitude gets freed from one’s karmic bondage. This attitude is consciously cultivated in Ayyappa worship atleast for a limited period vrat of 41 days.

Interestingly, a Rig Vedic practice of worship is also found in the worship of Lord Ayyappa. Verses 25-28 of Rig Jyothisha and 32-35 of Yajusha Jyothisha list down the names of deities of the 27 asterisms and state that the one who does the yajna must substitute his name with the deity- name and conduct the yajna as though the deity in him is doing it. This means the person born in an asterism gets embodied with the deity of the asterism and does the yajana in an attitude that the deity is performing the yajna.

Oneness with God is the ultimate purpose of this attitude and the Ayyappa devotee does the same during the period of vrat. He gets embodied with Ayyappa Himself and lives like Ayyappa by taking up the celibacy vow of Ayyappa. Anyone who is seen in that attitude is recognised as an embodiment of Ayyappa and worshiped as ‘Swamy’. The one who continues this vrat year after year is bound to develop that attitude into an attribute. That takes one closer to Liberation and ultimate merger with Ayyappa Himself. Those who cannot undertake the vrat are no way lagging behind as it is the attitude that matters. They wait till such a time they can undertake the vrat in all earnestness.

The one Universal God with whom several individuals can develop exclusive personal relationship is best visible in Ayyappa vrat. That individual can be from any background or any religion, but only a sustained relationship can help him attain merger with Him as how Ayyappa Himself attained that status at Sabarimala. Let the Marxist government rest assured that Ayyappa would never swerve from ‘secular’ path. He accepts one and all that come with the attitude expected of them. Our secular governments and secular courts need not worry at all.   

From my comments to the same article in on Menstruation and other issues in Sabarimala row. 

(1) None of the traditional temples of South India allow people of other religions. Only those who sign an undertaking that they believe in Hinduism can enter the temples. Singer Yesudas did that and had gone to Sabarimala with his wife by following the vrat.

Hindus and Hindu Gurus had wholeheartedly embraced such persons. Let me point out one such person, D.A.Joseph who has been honoured by various matadhipathis. He has given discourses in the famous Parthasarathy temple in Triplicane, Chennai. Browse his website to know more

2 (a). Vedas do not talk about menstruation. They are basically in praise of Gods. To quote Paramacharya (Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi Swamigal), Rig Veda is a compilation of stotras in Mantra form. Yajur is the practical application of them in worship. Saman calms down the mind. These are main texts. How to conduct them in action is told in smritis. Dharma sastras are derived form smritis. They recommend that woman during her menses must be away from religious rituals. There is no basis to the claim that “there was historically no bar against menstruating women”. Daupadi was in her periods when she was summoned to the court after the dice game. She lamented that she had to appear before the elders in such a condition.

(b) Impurity issue: Texts like Angirasa smriti do speak about purity as a necessary condition to conduct any religious austerity. As per this text impurity (Ashaucha) arises both in birth and death, but there is no untouchability in birth related impurity. In death related impurity all rites have to be stopped and Vedas cannot be recited. Menstruation is impurity in this sense. It is not difficult to understand why. What come out are dead tissues, deoxygenated blood and dead ovum. Modern science had identified apoptosis (programmed cell death) in them. There are body cells which are destroyed within the body and regenerated. Some are resorbed too. But none of the menstruated substances are accepted back by the body. That itself is proof of impurity.

Emergency closure of temple happens on one occasion – when a person living in the vicinity of the temple dies. Till the body is taken out, the temple would not be opened. Once it is opened purification ceremony has to be done. The same applies to a menstruating woman who enters the temple. No menstruating woman enters the temple in South India where this is common knowledge.

(c) Prana prathishta happens in two ways – done through rituals and when the atman of a person merges with the idol. Andal merged with Namperumal in Srirangam. Ayyappa merged with the Sasta that he earlier re-consecrated at Sabarimala.

(d) 'Is it hard to know deity's wishes?':-
There are many references in Silappadhikaram of how deities talk and convey their mind. Many paranormal things are happening even now, which look as though some deities or departed ones are speaking through someone. I have seen this in the heart of Chennai in the initiation ceremony of ‘Kaavadi’ ritual for Muruga. In Sabarimala, the mind of Ayyappa is deduced from Deva prasnam. As an astrologer I know the basis of that and other types of prasnam and have even managed to deduce the rationale in some of them. All these cannot be explained in one sitting.

(e) Deities giving boons and withdrawing boons are not so simple and straight forward and do not always mean literally. Everything must be analysed case by case and on purport.

(f) Why Ayyappan “cannot stand the sight of a woman of a certain age”?
The reason is as explained in 2(b). The celibacy vrat calls for the complete seclusion of Ayyappa(s) away from women of a particular age. This is comparable to the Brahmacharya asrama of a boy in olden days. Once the upanayanam is done the boy leaves for Guru’s abode and stays there with no connection with / sight of women throughout the period of this asrama. He returns only at the time of his marriage. That kind of tradition continuing in Sabarimala deserves protection, not destruction. Sabarimala deserves to be called as Heritage Site.

(g) Women were never allowed in Sabarimala in the past. The article on Swarajyamag vouchsafes that.

(i) No woman who is a worshiper of Ayyappa would dare to defy this tradition. Why Kerala, in Tamilnadu too, a survey taken by a magazine (Thanthi) showed that more than 80% were against defying this tradition. 


Reproducing a comment by Dr Maya Bharat posted for the same blog in

Modernity needs to find ways to adapt to the tradition rather than breaking the tradition. If in the name of modernity we keep diluting the tradition, then the temple is going to be a piece of architecture and the idols will be just a stone. The entire concept of temple will become moot. Instead believe that there is a logic for these traditions and search for the reasons rather than dismissing them in the name of modernity.

From my experiences with the different facets of astrology, the ways to converse with gods through prasna has been laid down by the 'enlightened rishis' which have been handed down to us and followed by tantris. So there is a well laid rule and also to identify false queries and answers. That is what is followed by tantris. It is not a seance where veracity cannot be verified and highly evolved mind power is needed. Knowing the limitations of human mind in kaliyyuga the rishis have laid down the rules which is followed. The same seems to be the concept of temples. For people who don't have evolved minds to connect with god, temples where godly energy is consecrated is necessary. For people who want specific boons, specific god's with specific worship rules have been given. Rules have also been laid down how to protect this energy. That's why we have systems where menstruating women do not go to temples, some temples have gender preference. If one wants to dismiss this in the name of modernity, then sadly one has not understood the basis of the god and temple concept due to limitation of their knowledge. Modernity and science have not explored the tenets of our religion. Yet they gain precedence over ancient wisdom. This is how a civilisation disappears.

I know there is a lot of debate on impurity of menstrual blood. But as a healthy woman and seeing many female patients in my medical practice, I have found that physically the energy levels are low with many physical complaints like pain, headaches, extreme sensitivity to lights and sounds, lethargy etc. Many patients refuse even out-patient procedures during this time due to general weakness. Today if women take pills and control these symptoms it doesn't mean they have overcome the hurdles of physical suffering. The cause remains. The materialistic needs of today's world have pushed women out of the comfort zone to take meds and work during the menses time. They don't realise they are abusing their body. But the traditional seclusion has given the much deserved rest. Somewhere this has gotten distorted. Modernity has caused more problems as one can see in the rise of new diseases.

If inspite of physical discomfort during menses, a woman wants to go to temple. I would say to the woman "please understand the concept of temple. Do not interfere with the energies of the temple as the ancient rules state. You are not desecrating temple. You are depriving a community from reaping the benefits of the temple by interfering with the energies that don't sync with ur energy during the menses. You can always connect to god through meditation for the four days. " Hinduism proposes multiple ways to connect to god. Hence let temples be let to function in its own way and there are ways to reach to god in those four days. That's the beauty of this wonderful religion.

With lots of debates on “purity” of menstrual blood, I gather it is the ‘cellular nature’ that determines the pure/ impure nature. Menstrual blood contains the dead cells that formed the lining of the uterus as a preparation for pregnancy. As no fertilization took place, the hormones causes constriction of vessels in the uterus cutting off the blood supply to this uterine lining which gets sloughed off. Also a programmed cell death occurs causing the tissues to detach from the uterine wall. So what comes out is the tissues that are no longer useful for “procreation” with the deoxygenated blood. Tissues (including blood) without oxygen is “dead” similar to a human body without oxygen is a “corpse”. So now there is a raw area in the uterus which has to heal. The healing takes place by these “stem cells” present in the uterine blood. Why were they present? To help in the growth of embryo if fertilization occurs. Since it didn’t, the stem cells are used for the repair of the uterine lining and the excess pushed out with the menstrual blood.

a. These stem cells are “procreative” but why did body eject them from the body? Even the umbilical cord is a rich source of stem cells. Why do we cut it off and removed from the baby as well as the mother? Their function is over and they are devoid of oxygen and are considered “dead” and dangerous to the human body. Hence they are ejected out.

b. If the human body considered it pure, then it would have been recycled. We have the “deoxygenated blood” in the veins which is sent to heart and the lungs. The red blood cells are recycled in the spleen. There are many such examples of the human body having an excellent recycling mechanism. So why is menstrual blood not recycled? That is a point to ponder.

c. Now “modern medicine” has seen a potential use of the stem cells from menstrual fluid. One of the reason for this is because the stem cells can be obtained from menstrual blood in a non-invasive manner. There are stem cells in our blood, bone marrow. But to extract it from these sources requires invasion of the human body and the morbidity associated with such procedures. But obtaining stem cells from menstrual blood is not as easy as it sounds. One needs fresh blood collected in menstrual cups placed inside the vagina (not sanitary blood or tampons) for not more than 2-3 hours and immediately freeze-stored to maintain the viability (the so called pure nature) of the cells. Is it actually possible for a menstruating woman to continuously maintain the purity in the above said method? Because according to medical science these “stem cells” have a couple of hours to stay “pure” after which they get “deoxygenated” and are “dead”.

Modern medicine may find ways to make use of the expelled biological end products from the human body to treat diseases which are man-made in literal sense as well as karmic. Faeces (poop) is an end product of the digestive metabolism which the human body no more requires. But it is only the “good bacteria” that is processed from the “fresh” faeces” that is used to treat diseases like C. difficile colitis (man-made disease mostly due to improper use of antibiotics) and Inflammatory bowel disease (autoimmune disease and I call these type of diseases ‘Karmic diseases’). Likewise urine is an end product of protein metabolism and they cannot remain in the human body because there are many diseases linked to retention of ammonia, urea or uric acid. Again a very novice research field of extracting gonadotropin from post-menopausal “fresh” urine is for “karmic diseases” like infertility.

It is my strong contention that one must respect the functioning of human body. Yes, it is the dead cells which are not needed by the body that is ejected out. Take an example of the vessel containing putrefied milk. The vessel which is the carrier of milk is not impure; it is the milk which is impure. So we drain the milk and wash the vessel and use it again. Similarly, the menstrual blood is impure and it takes a few days to empty it and cleanse the vessel (the uterus). How one does not carry a vessel of putrefied milk everywhere they go (because it smells? Or it cannot be consumed?), the carrier of the putrefied blood is refrained only from temples (there is a whole another dimension of energy type in a normal person, ailing person, menstruating person and the energy lodged in a temple which I am not going to elaborate on).

Looking at today’s situation regarding this issue, I can see temples becoming an architectural art and a storehouse of idols (almost like a museum or ancient ruins of temples we hear/ see in different parts of the world), thanks to the liberals and the feminists who want to break the wisdom of the ancient in the name of modernity just because modernity has no answers to the ancient wisdom.

Dr. Maya Bharat
November 26, 2018

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Tipu Sultan assaulted natural resources too.

Tipu Sultan’s assault on men, material and temples is well known by now, but a lesser known atrocity by him was the destruction he caused to Tonnur Lake, popularly known as Tonnur kere located in Mandya district. This lake was named as ‘Moti Talab’ by Nasir Jung, the Subedar of the Deccan in view of the crystal clear water ever present in this lake. The waters are so clear that one can see the pebbles at the bottom of the lake.

Popular notion today attributes the modern Moti Talab to Tipu Sultan! People also believe that he repaired the lake, but facts speak otherwise. A dig into the history of this lake shows that Tipu Sultan was the only person to have caused extensive damage to this lake which was subsequently repaired by the British. In a short period of 200 years after that, the atrocity was forgotten or twisted deliberately with the result the one who breached it was credited with having repaired it! And the motive for the breach was his hatred for Hindus, as expected.... Read on here for the full article.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Hinduism’s long history deciphered from the legends of Diwali. Part 2

Published in Ind Samachar

Part 1 HERE

Deciphering Narakasura story

Aditi was mother earth that had risen from waters (attributed to Varaha avatara). The one who rises from her and torments people must have been a volcano. That was Narakasura. Naraka means tormenter. Because he was a tormenter he was identified as Naraka! The location name Prāgjyothisha also has a relevance to volcano. Prāg means summit and the Prāgjyothisha refers to a light at summit, which is but a reference to volcano. (The same name appears in Valmiki Ramayana as a product of Varaha, but in the western side of India. It could refer to Mount Vesuvius) 

The continuous flowing down of the lava had caused series of rings (nooses) in the surroundings that looked like the handiwork of Muru (Muru means kind of dance). The spreading lava started blocking access to the surrounding regions. Krishna broke off the lava sediments and paved a way. He had even caused the volcano to crumble or implode and become extinguished. This resulted in access to two jewelled items held by the earth. Further decipherment of these ideas and the location of Narakasura can be made from two clues given in the narration itself.

1. Krishna brought the tree of Parijata after this episode from the land of Indra.

2. Indra’s elephant Iravata was saved from Narakasura who was threatening to take it away.

First clue shows that the land of Indra was Indra Dweepa, a name for the combined lands of Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. The flower Parijata (Nyctanthes arbor-tristis ) is native to these regions (South East Asia) and the Indian sub continent also. But it was not growing in India until this episode means that it was originally found in South East Asia (Indra Dweepa) from where it was brought to India. Krishna had brought it to India (Dwaraka) at the insistence of Satyabhama. From this we can locate Prāgjyothisha of Narakasura in Indra Dweepa.

Parijata flower.

The second clue shows that the volcanic flow of Naraka had gone closer to river Iravati of Indra Dweepa.

We can locate a volcano named Mt Popa (Pali equivalent of Pushpa) in the region of Mynamar 60 km away from river Iravati! Interestingly this volcano had collapsed in its north and North West side – in the direction of anyone coming from India. One can see a deep caldera in that part signalling the death of the volcano. By not growing further, the lava had not reached the river Iravati.

Mount Popa in Mynamar with fissures in the North-western slope

Once this volcano had stopped tormenting the people, the road to further south became clear where two gem mines are located. In places like Chanthaburi and Kanchanaburi in today’s Thailand are located the famous mines of two gems namely sapphire and ruby. The path taken by Krishna to these mines after crossing (slaying) Naraka (Mt Popa) looks as follows:

The recovery of the two jewelled ear studs of Aditi could mean access to these mines and starting the work of mining those gems. This could also mean that Krishna and his clan had access to the wealth of Kubera or Lakshmi! Krishna’s visit to this place could have had the motive of gaining control over the mines. Or why else should he take his wife on this journey if it was meant only for destroying Narakasura?

The ultimate success of the trip by gaining wealth for his clan was celebrated as Dhanteras (Dhana- Trayodasi). Further variation as Dhanvantari Trayodasi must have been added later for the fact that health is the greatest wealth.

The collapse of the volcano must have happened on Chaturdasi day. For the faithfuls, Krishna had caused the collapse by his discus, for others it was a natural phenomenon that could have coincided with Krishna’s arrival. The event happening in the traditional Trivikrama New Year day coinciding with the end of Mahabali must have made it a new repetition of the olden belief. But the event occurring in Krishna’s presence or by the grace of Krishna, the people would have started glorifying it as Deepa Dāna day that removes darkness from the lives of people – of that region and also of Dvārakā as new wealth had started pouring into Dvārakā.

The next day, that is., the Amavasya day was therefore a thanksgiving day to Lakshmi. As an extension, the wealth of cow is recognised after that – on the day that was originally the beginning of the New Year in Mahabali’s location. And the day after that was celebration time among the siblings. Thus we find the 5-day celebration of Diwali of current times having evolved from Krishna’s times with different regions focusing on one or more of them as time went by. Any different version in a region, say of Kali worship in Bengal is aligned with the basic concept of destruction followed by Light. 

Further support to the supposition from Krishna’s life comes from the archaeological findings in Myanmar and Thailand. A vast region covering places like Kanchanaburi where the gem-mines are located was known as DVARAVATI since ancient times.

Dvaravati was originally the name of Dvārakā of Krishna. This name appearing in regions as far as Laos could only reiterate the Krishna-legend of visit to Prāgjyothisha. It also raises the possibility of movement of people between Indra Dweepa and India (Dvaraka in particular). One cannot dismiss the fact that both Gujarat and Bangkok (along with Kanchanaburi) are well known for gem cutting and polishing even today – an occupation that could have evolved at the time of Krishna whose primary objective of the trip to Prāgjyothisha could have been to gain control over the gem producing mines. Or why else he should lay the road to Prāgjyothisha?   

Though Dvaravati culture started appearing from 4th to 5th century onwards, researchers are of the opinion that a proto-Dvaravati culture must have existed much before that as it would have taken a long time for the sophisticated culture to have come into place in the 4th century. There are Chinese and Buddhist sources to attest to the presence of this culture, but this culture was not Buddhist, but pre-Buddhist according to researchers.

Another interesting confirmation of Krishna’s connection to this place comes from a Khmer inscription dated at 937 CE that gives a list of princes of Chanasapura starting from one Bhagadatta. Bhagadatta is the name of the king of Prāgjyothisha in Krishna’s times. Even before Krishna went to Prāgjyothisha to ‘slay’ Naraka, Bhagadatta had left for the western frontiers of India for fear of Jarāsandha. But his name had remained, perhaps along with his descendants in Mynamar and someone with that name had started a new dynasty.

All this goes to show that the stories on Krishna’s life are not myths; that evidence of Hindu culture, names and temples in Myanmar and Thailad are not of recent origin but as old as Krishna’s times; that Diwali contains in itself more secrets than what we can imagine. All talk of diversity and variation in Diwali are of recent origin perhaps due to disconnect with our past caused by continuous onslaught of invaders. The celebration of Diwali in any part of India bears some connection with Krishna’s journey to Prāgjyothisha while the core concept remains the same ever since Mahabali was lost to the seas!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Hinduism’s long history deciphered from the legends of Diwali. Part 1

Published in Ind Samachar

n the wake of cracker ban by the Supreme Court on the entire country, Diwali this year has evoked great interest among people comparing the variants of this festival in different parts of the country spanning over a period of not just one day, but five days, making people wonder which day was referred to by the Supreme Court in its stricture on fire-crackers. With most of South India celebrating Diwali as Naraka Chaturdasi, there is another dissenting voice heard from the fringe political elements in Tamilnadu condemning the festival as glorification of murder, as the story goes that Diwali was the celebration of elimination of Narakasura by Krishna. Those fringe elements had gone to the extent of glorifying Narakasura – without even knowing who he is - in their urge to sully Krishna, the Hindu deity. Analysis of these two issues, the variants in Diwali and the truth about the death of Narakasura brings us to a pleasant conclusion on the very long history and spread of Hinduism across Asia.

Basis of Diwali legends.

Starting of a new life after destruction is the basic theme in the different legends of Diwali celebrated throughout India. A popular version in North India is that Diwali marks the return of Rama to Ayodhya after the destruction of Ravana, while the fact remains that Rama returned on a Pushyami day and not on the day of Chitra or Swati when Diwali occurs. The only justification for this deviation from the original fact could have been the tradition that Diwali marks the ushering in of Light after a period of gloom! So there is something special about the day that even if Krishna’s legend is forgotten, people had felt it necessary to replace it with an olden legend of Rama without checking the veracity of it, only to be in consonance with the importance of the day. This goes to show that there is something cosmologically important for the day of Diwali. The following illustration shows the cosmic position of the day.

The illustration shows two signs in opposite ends, namely Aries and Libra. Aries marks the coming of the New Year in the northern hemisphere of the globe. The opposite holds good for the southern hemisphere, that is, Libra heralds the arrival of the New Year in the southern hemisphere. It is in the month of Libra around the time of the new Moon, Diwali is celebrated throughout India. It is a 5-day festival in its entirety starting from the 13th tithi before the New Moon and ending on the 2nd tithi after the new Moon. Within this period comes the New Year of the southern hemisphere– on the day after New Moon. Wonder of wonders, this is the New Year for only one people of India (northern hemisphere) – that is the people of Gujarat, the land ruled by Krishna!

Doesn’t it sound puzzling that what is rationally the New Year in the southern hemisphere happens to be the New Year for the land of Krishna?

If we probe deeper, we would see that the now discarded Vikrama Era started on the same day as in the southern hemisphere. Its original name was ‘Krita’ or ‘Purva’ Era indicating its origin in antiquity. It was followed by the Mālava gaṇa, whose origins can be traced to the paternal home of Savitri, famous for getting back to life her husband Satyavan from the noose of Yama. Malavi was the name of Savitri’s mother and by the boon extracted by Savitri from Yama, the sons of Malavi came to be known as Mālavas whose location came to be named after them as Malwa. That Mālavas had followed the tradition of the southern hemisphere could only mean their ancestors had their origin somewhere in the southern hemisphere.

The Vikrama Era followed by them can be related to Trivikrama in the legend of Bali, an Asura whose location can be traced to the southern hemisphere. (Usually the inhabitants of the southern parts were known as Asuras while those of the north were known as Devas. Another definition of an Asura is that he is a tormenter). The dominance of Mahabali, the Asura tells of a time when the Southern hemisphere was brimming with life. With movement of Time, the location of life shifts places. This happened when the Northern hemisphere started becoming habitable and the southern hemisphere went under water. This is made out in the story of Mahabali. 

Mahabali initiated Diwali.

The narration of Vamana Purana on Mahabali sounds metaphorical of geological events of land forms experiencing tremors and going under water. Wherever Vamana went –even when he was in his mother’s womb – the land lowered. The lowered land got easily inundated with sea water. After Vamana was born and went on to meet Bali, the same thing happened. When Vamana placed his foot on Bali’s head, Bali sank into Pātāla which is the lowermost layer of the earth’s crust and the covering over the mantle. This is an allegorical description of loss of land into deep sea. The lands were lost to the seas in sudden and violent tremors causing many to lose their lives. The survivors had started a new life with new hope of a bright future.

In the legend of Bali comes the reference to Diwali!  Mahabali asked for a boon from Trivikrama that people make Deepa-dāna for three days in his memory for getting vanquished by three feet measures of Trivikrama. The three feet measures in fact refer to the tremors in the land and in the sky and then again on the land making it sink forever - the last one referring to the loss of habitat for people represented by Mahabali. Trivikrama’s boon that Mahabali would once again come back in a future Manvantra is allegorical of a future probability of the sunken lands rising up again which would then be recognised as Varaha lifting up the lands.  Vamana and Varaha avataras are thus alternating recurrences of two geological phenomena.

The three days starting from the day before the New Moon in Libra till the day after that are supposed to be the time of a massive destruction of a former civilization in the southern hemisphere. That also happens to be the New Year time in the southern hemisphere. The survivors have remembered it in two ways, as destruction of Asuras (of the southern hemisphere) and a beginning of new life and marked it with lighting lamps.

The continuity of New Year Era of the south in India by Mālavas and the people of Krishna’s country is in effect proof of migration of an olden civilization from South and South East Asia and not from Europe or West Asia, as western Indologists want us to believe. Migrations could have happened from Europe at later dates but the original customs and culture had come from the south along with the people who survived destruction. Or else kings from Manu’s times could not be expected to have celebrated the day with Lamps.

In support of this claim, there is an inscription (E.I. Vol 4, No 18) found in the northern wall of the 2nd prakara of the temple of Lord Ranganatha at Srirangam attributed to king Ravivarman of Kerala saying that the auspicious festival of ‘Deepotsava’ aimed at dispersing darkness was celebrated in olden days by kings Ila, Kartavirya and Sagara. Of them Ila was the son of Vaivasvata Manu, the progenitor of the current population of India as per Hindu texts whose name is associated with Matsya avatara. But celebration of Deepotsava by his son is proof of a further past with a connection to southern hemisphere (Mahabali) and subsequent migration to Indian mainland. He had carried the memory of Trivikrama.  One must remember that until 12,000 years ago, India, particularly north India was not habitable due to Ice Age and glaciations of the Himalayas while southern hemisphere was more hospitable for human life.

Newer legends of Diwali from Krishna’s times

As time passed by, newer episodes added fresh impetus to the old concept of Deepa-dāna. All the concepts around the 5-day Diwali except Bali Pratipada (in memory of Mahabali) can be related to a single event in Krishna’s life that happened in a place called Prāgjyothisha, which was originally located in today’s Myanmar and Thailand – known as Indra Dweepa in olden days! That event was the slaying of Narakasura!

This event recounted in Mahabharata and Vishnu Purana sounds more like a geological happening, similar to the destruction of Mahabali by Trivikrama. The etymological understanding of the names further reinforces the geological secret embedded in the event. The story is this:

The city of Prāgjyothisha was held by Naraka, the son of earth (hence he was known as Bhauma). He was fierce and tormented the people killing them often. He kept the two ear rings of Aditi under him, and made it inaccessible to the Devas. Many were imprisoned by him. His deputy, another asura by name Muru defended his city be a series of nooses around that were difficult to cross.

Then came Krishna from Dwaraka along with his wife Satyabhama, mounted on his carrier, Garuda. He entered Prāgjyothisha by clearing the way and making a road. He cut the nooses laid by Muru by his Chakrayudha (discus) and killed many asuras in a place called Nirmochana (meaning Liberation). Finally he killed Naraka and freed the people trapped by him. Then Aditi, the mother of Devas and also of Naraka appeared before Krishna. What she told to Krishna unravels the true purport of the slaying of Narakasura.

Aditi told that when she was held high by Krishna in his Varaha avatar, Naraka was born to her by rising from her. Naraka was given by Krishna and was also killed by him. Her two jewelled ear studs had been restored from Naraka and she was happy to offer them to Krishna to keep for progeny.  What does this all convey? Basically it conveys that Naraka was not a human being! There was some geological trouble happening for a long time which Krishna had stopped. 

To be continued in Part 2

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Increasing number of elopements with married men – isn’t this a signal to bring in Adultery law?

Published in PGurus

Just a month after the Supreme Court of India scrapped Section 497 of the IPC on Adultery, we happened to hear the Madras High court expressing concern over the increasing cases of minor girls eloping with married men. A division bench of Justice N. Kirubakaran and Justice S. Baskaran observed on 1st November 2018 that four such cases had come up for hearing on that day alone making them express their worries on the rise in such cases. Since the cases involved minor girls of under-eighteen, the judges turned their attention to POCSO Act (The Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences Act) and directed the State to furnish a report on cases booked under this Act in the last 10 years. They also put the onus on parents and teachers to educate their teenage girls and wanted the Government to introduce counselling programmes for teenagers from getting lured and for parents and teachers for sensitising their wards to the dangers from luring persons.

Advisories such as this serve no purpose if they are really intended to make a change. There is no dearth of advises and advisories in our families but what makes one cross the boundary is that there is no fear of punishment. Take for example the helmet rule. The fatality rate is such that 73.14% of death of bikers was due to non-wearing of helmets, according to the Government release.  Although the Government of Tamilnadu had made it mandatory for all bikers and pillion riders to wear helmets, following the directions of the High court, it is rare to see helmet wearing riders on the streets where there is no traffic police in sight. Not that people are not aware of the helmet rule or the hazards of not wearing it, it is simply that they won’t be caught for not wearing. That is human mentality and the mentality of most people in India. Only fear of punishment keeps one to behave well even in advanced countries.

One can as well dismiss the helmet rule as an intrusion in one’s personal liberty and one’s privilege of likes and dislikes. But it is made compulsory as per Section 129 (a) of Motor Vehicle Act 1988 to afford a degree of protection from injury to the rider. Why should the Government worry about the safety of the rider who himself is not much worried about it? It is because the Government takes care of the safety of the person. When the person for whose sake this rule is made, is caught not wearing it, the State is empowered to penalise the person. With so much care running into the safety of the individual it is just inadmissible that similar care is not shown in the case of the individual embroiled in adulterous activities. There is no physical threat to the life of the one involved, but one cannot turn a blind eye to the indescribable mental torture undergone by those closely related to the person.

For example in the case under purview of the judges who expressed their anguish with the increasing number of eloping cases with married men, a 17 year old girl had eloped with a 45 year old married man. On the complaint by the mother of the girl, the police went on a search and nabbed them in three days. The man was slapped with kidnapping charges while the actual intention was not that. He again eloped with that girl when released on bail and this made the mother move the court with a habeas corpus. It was while dealing at this stage, the judges had asked for a report on POCSO Act. POCSO is once again a deviation from the original intent of the offense. Once the girl completes her 18th year, no judge of India can stop her from eloping with that older married man. In the melee, the man’s wife and her children from him and the girl’s parents and her siblings are going to be left with terrible trauma for no fault of theirs, but for the fault of faulty judicial laws!

If the judges think that the girl has been unduly lured by the man, the same continues to hold good from the 1st day of her 19th year – that is., once she crosses her minor status. So the bottom-line of the issue is not her age, but the inadmissibility of the relationship she has with that man. Without admitting it and by passing on the responsibility to the parents and the teachers, the judiciary is perceived to have lost focus by slapping kidnapping charges and POCSO. 

Suppose there is an adultery law penalising them, both of them could have been deterred from their adventures and their families could have been spared of death like agony. Unfortunately there is no law in this country to check the elopement of a major girl with a married man. The only law on Adultery was the now scrapped Section 497 of IPC which was anyway a faulty law as it was based on a faulty notion of adultery committed by a married man and a married woman. Nothing can be more ludicrous than this, as even if one is already married while the other is not, it still amounts to adultery. In an advanced country like the USA, the Arizona adultery statute penalises both the persons if one of them is unmarried. The trauma such a relationship causes to the family members of those in adultery is huge enough to justify penalisation of both of them.

Unfortunately none of the six Sections of Chapter XX of the IPC on offenses relating to marriage speak about the extramarital relationship with an unmarried woman. The only one on adultery had now been scrapped but not replaced by a fortified Section to deter extramarital relationship with unmarried major girl (or anyone other than his spouse). The State and the judiciary cannot wash off their hands in the pretext of personal liberty as done by the 5-member bench headed by CJ Dipak Misra when it dismissed Section 497 of IPC as violative of Article 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution, because what is at stake is not the personal liberty and freedom of an individual or even consensual relationship, but the trauma caused to the legally wedded spouse of the one in extramarital relationship. Justice must be done to her by punishing the errant spouse even though their marriage is doomed for a divorce. 

Article 21 was behind another judgement of a similar type in the year 2010 when the Supreme Court did not find any offense in live-in relationship. While quashing 22 criminal cases filed against actress Khushboo for her alleged endorsement of pre-marital sex, the Bench asked for evidnece to show that girls eloped from their homes after hearing the actress endorse pre-marital sex.  Can the same yardstick be applied to the present case under discussion? The rise in the number of minor girls eloping with married men as observed by the High Court Bench a recent phenomenon after decriminalisation of adultery? The specific reference to 4 such cases on 1st November seems to support a sudden spurt in the number of cases after decriminalisation of adultery by the Supreme Court. There is a case of suicide too, by a woman on hearing her husband justify his extramarital affair on the basis of the verdict by the Supreme Court.

Only the cases involving minor girls had come to the court. How do we know how many major girls had eloped with married men for, there is no way they come under the purview of the court? A judicial system that does not invoke Article 21 in giving freedom to a person to make a choice in wearing helmet or not, is allowing the destruction of families and family peace and passes sermons to parents and teachers on issues that involve a third party (the married man) who can be deterred only if a proper law is in place.

Before concluding it is not out of place to quote here what the judges in Khushboo-case asked the complainants. They asked whether the complainants had any daughters. When the answer was in the negative, the judges commented how then they were adversely affected by Khushboo’s support for pre-marital sex. Never knew that judicial empathy is so easily definable that I am tempted to ask the judges of the High Court and the 5 member bench of the Supreme Court whether none of them had daughters. If they had, weren’t there any cases of extramarital affairs in their families? This is being asked to point out the stunted logic in their comment and how disconnected the judges are with the real life hazards faced by millions of families in India.