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Gupta, Early 5th century AD
Cave 5, Udayagiri, Madhya Pradesh, India.This large (4m, or 13 feet, high) relief sculpture is one of the icons of Indian art. It is carved into a shallow niche and protected by an overhang, but is otherwise open to the outside, where there was originally a water tank.
The relief depicts Varāha, the boar incarnation of Vishnu, rescuing the Earth Goddess (Bhu Devi, also called Prithvi) from the engulfing Ocean. Varāha lifts Bhu Devi on his massive shoulder, his foot subduing a naga who folds his hands in submission and adoration, while gods and sages surround Varāha in recognition of the miracle. A circular lotus flower appears above the god's head. Bhudevi is also supported by a lotus plant. The figure on a lotus pedestal, at the left side of the photo beside Varāha's leg, holds the stem of the lotus that appears above Varāha's head.
Technically this image is called a nara-Varāha, or man-boar, since it has a man's body and a boar's head. The relief may have a political meaning in addition to the mythological one; it is said to be an allegory of the unification of India under Chandragupta II.
For the ordinary mortar-shaped top-piece fixed on the post… On the present occasion it is to be made of wheaten dough. According to a legend given at III, 1, 2, 13 seq., man had originally a (hairy) skin, or hide; but the gods having flayed him, put his skin on the cow.)
A skambha linking heaven and earth, a fiery pillar of light. The following three ricas of Rigveda also refer to and explain the metaphor of skambha as a prop which upholds heaven and earth; RV 9.89.6 places it in the context of purification of Soma, reinforcing the possibility that the Skambha signified the impeller of the purification process of yajna -- a process which is replicated in the purification of metals in a smelter/funace/fire-altar:
10.111.05 Indra, the counterpart of heaven and earth, is cognizant of all sacrifices, he is the slayer of S'us.n.a; he spread out the spacious heaven with the sun (to light it up); best of proppers, he propped up (the heaven) with a prop. [Propped up the heaven with a prop: Satyata_ta_ = that which is stretched out by the true ones, the gods; or, ta_ti as a suffix, that which is true, i.e., heaven].
9.074.02 The supporter of heaven, the prop (of the earth), the Soma-juice who, widely spreading, filling (the vessels), flows in all directions-- may he unite the two great worlds by his own strength; he has upheld them combined; (may he) the sage (bestow) food upon (his worshippers). [The prop of the earth: cf. RV. 9.089.06; may he unite: yaks.at = sam.yojayatu; a_vr.ta = by its own unaided strength].
9.089.06 The prop of heaven, the support of earth-- all beings (are) in his hands; may (Soma) the fountain (of desires) be possessed of horses for you (his) adorer; the filament of the sweet-flavoured (Soma) is purified for (the sake of winning) strength.
Linga with One Face of Shiva (Ekamukhalinga), Mon–Dvaravati period, 7th–early 8th century. Thailand (Phetchabun Province, Si Thep) Stone; H. 55 1/8 in.
Octagonal form of ViSNubhAga and the occurrence of pancamukhalinga is consistent with the tradition of pancaloha 'five dhAtu or five mineral alloy' images as utsavaberas.
Indus Script Hieroglyph: barāh, baḍhi ‘boar’ Rebus: vāḍhī, bari, barea ‘merchant’
baḍhoe ‘a carpenter, worker in wood’; badhoria ‘expert in working in wood’ Together with an anthropomorph of copper/bronze with the curved horns of a ‘ram’, the hypertext signifies: meḍh‘ram’ rebus: meḍ ‘iron’ PLUS baḍhi ‘boar’ rebus: baḍhoria, ‘expert in working in wood’PLUS khondar ‘young bull’ rebus: konda‘furnace’ kundaṇa ‘fine gold’ Thus, the anthropomorph is a professional calling card of a worker with furnace, worker in iron, fine gold and wood. It is not mere coincidence that Varāha signifies an ancient gold coin. Another anthropomorph rplaces the young bull frieze on the chest of the ram with a ‘fish’ hieroglyph. ayo‘fish’ rebus: aya‘iron’ ayas‘alloy metal’.
Anthropomorph, Varāha. Anthropomorph, Fish. Indus Script
One anthropomorph links Indus Script hieroglyph one-horned young bull to Varāha and reinforces Vedic roots of civilization of Bharatam Janam. Another anthropomorphic representation occurs of Varāha in the Vedic tradition.
Vedic divinities engraved on the side of the metal Varāha.Broken metal footThe decipherment is consistent with the archaeological finds of Bhirrana-Kalibangan-Karanpura-Ahar-Banas complex as Vedic Sarasvati civilization metalwork continuum of Bharatam Janam (RV 3.53.12), 'metalcaster folk'.
m1534b On this copper tablet, the correct identification of the animal heads will be turtle species comparable to Meiolania, a horned large turtle of New Guinea.m1532b On another copper tablet, the emphasis is clearly on the turtle's shell like that of Meiolania's shell.
kassa 'turtle' rebus: kãsā 'bell-metal' (Oriya), kamaṭha 'turtle' rebus: kãsā kammaṭa 'bell-metal coiner, mint, portable furnace'.
A synonym is kachchhapa (tortoise or turtle shell) which is one of the nine treasures of Kubera.
Map of Giant Tortoises: light blue on South Asia for Colossochelys
Samudra manthan or 'Churning of Ocean of Milk' Deva and Da_nava churn the ocean, using Va_suki, the serpent as the rope and Mandara, the mountain as the churning rod. Ganesh Lena, Ellora, ca. 11th cent. CE.
Bas Relief of Samudra Manthan from the Angkor Wat temple (c) Gettyimages.com
The Vishnu Purana
translated by Horace Hayman Wilson
मन्थन n. churning out (of अमृत) MBh. (cf. अमृत-म्°).
CHAP. IX.Legend of Lakshmí. Durvásas gives a garland to Indra: he treats it disrespectfully, and is cursed by the Muni. The power of the gods impaired: they are oppressed by the Dánavas, and have recourse to Vishńu. The churning of the ocean. Praises of Śrí.
PARÁŚARA.--But with respect to the question thou hast asked me, Maitreya, relating to the history of Śrí, hear from me the tale as it was told to me by Maríchi.
Durvásas, a portion of Śankara (Śiva) 1, was wandering over the earth; when be beheld, in the hands of a nymph of air 2, a garland of flowers culled from the trees of heaven, the fragrant odour of which spread throughout the forest, and enraptured all who dwelt beneath its shade. The sage, who was then possessed by religious phrensy 3, when he beheld that garland, demanded it of the graceful and full-eyed nymph, who, bowing to him reverentially, immediately presented it to him. He, as one frantic, placed the chaplet upon his brow, and thus decorated resumed his path; when he beheld (Indra) the husband of Śachí, the ruler of the three worlds, approach, seated on his infuriated elephant Airávata, and attended by the gods. The phrensied sage, taking from his head the garland of flowers, amidst which the bees collected ambrosia, threw it to the king of the gods, who caught it, and suspended it on the brow of Airávata, where it shone like the river Jáhnaví, glittering on the dark summit of the mountain Kailása. The elephant, whose eyes were dim with inebriety, and attracted by the smell, took hold of the garland with his trunk, and cast it on the earth. That chief of sages, Durvásas, was
highly incensed at this disrespectful treatment of his gift, and thus angrily addressed the sovereign of the immortals: "Inflated with the intoxication of power, Vásava, vile of spirit, thou art an idiot not to respect the garland I presented to thee, which was the dwelling of Fortune (Śrí). Thou hast not acknowledged it as a largess; thou hast not bowed thyself before me; thou hast not placed the wreath upon thy head, with thy countenance expanding with delight. Now, fool, for that thou hast not infinitely prized the garland that I gave thee, thy sovereignty over the three worlds shall be subverted. Thou confoundest me, Śakra, with other Brahmans, and hence I have suffered disrespect from thy arrogance: but in like manner as thou hast cast the garland I gave thee down on the ground, so shall thy dominion over the universe be whelmed in ruin. Thou hast offended one whose wrath is dreaded by all created things, king of the gods, even me, by thine excessive pride."
Descending hastily from his elephant, Mahendra endeavoured to appease the sinless Durvásas: but to the excuses and prostrations of the thousand-eyed, the Muni answered, "I am not of a compassionate heart, nor is forgiveness congenial to my nature. Other Munis may relent; but know me, Śakra, to be Durvásas. Thou hast in vain been rendered insolent by Gautama and others; for know me, Indra, to be Durvásas, whose nature is a stranger to remorse. Thou hast been flattered by Vaśisht́ha and other tender-hearted saints, whose loud praises (lave made thee so arrogant, that thou hast insulted me. But who is there in the universe that can behold my countenance, dark with frowns, and surrounded by my blazing hair, and not tremble? What need of words? I will not forgive, whatever semblance of humility thou mayest assume."
Having thus spoken, the Brahman went his way; and the king of the gods, remounting his elephant, returned to his capital Amarávati. Thenceforward, Maitreya, the three worlds and Śakra lost their vigour, and all vegetable products, plants, and herbs were withered and died; sacrifices were no longer offered; devout exercises no longer practised; men were no more addicted to charity, or any moral or religious obligation;
all beings became devoid of steadiness 4; all the faculties of sense were obstructed by cupidity; and men's desires were excited by frivolous objects. Where there is energy, there is prosperity; and upon prosperity energy depends. How can those abandoned by prosperity be possessed of energy; and without energy, where is excellence? Without excellence there can be no vigour nor heroism amongst men: he who has neither courage nor strength, will be spurned by all: and he who is universally treated with disgrace, must suffer abasement of his intellectual faculties.
The three regions being thus wholly divested of prosperity, and deprived of energy, the Dánavas and sons of Diti, the enemies of the gods, who were incapable of steadiness, and agitated by ambition, put forth their strength against the gods. They engaged in war with the feeble and unfortunate divinities; and Indra and the rest, being overcome in fight, fled for refuge to Brahmá, preceded by the god of flame (Hutáśana). When the great father of the universe had heard all that had come to pass, he said to the deities, "Repair for protection to the god of high and low; the tamer of the demons; the causeless cause of creation, preservation, and destruction; the progenitor of the progenitors; the immortal, unconquerable Vishńu; the cause of matter and spirit, of his unengendered products; the remover of the grief of all who humble themselves before him: he will give you aid." Having thus spoken to the deities, Brahmá proceeded along with them to the northern shore of the sea of milk; and with reverential words thus prayed to the supreme Hari:--
"We glorify him who is all things; the lord supreme over all; unborn, imperishable; the protector of the mighty ones of creation; the unperceived, indivisible Náráyańa; the smallest of the smallest, the largest of the largest, of the elements; in whom are all things, from whom are all things; who was before existence; the god who is all beings; who is the end of ultimate objects; who is beyond final spirit, and is one with supreme soul; who is contemplated as the cause of final liberation by
sages anxious to be free; in whom are not the qualities of goodness, foulness, or darkness, that belong to undeveloped nature. May that purest of all pure spirits this day be propitious to us. May that Hari be propitious to us, whose inherent might is not an object of the progressive chain of moments or of days, that make up time. May he who is called the supreme god, who is not in need of assistance, Hari, the soul of all embodied substance, be favourable unto us. May that Hari, who is both cause and effect; who is the cause of cause, the effect of effect; he who is the effect of successive effect; who is the effect of the effect of the effect himself; the product of the effect of the effect of the effect, or elemental substance; to him I bow 5. The cause of the cause; the cause of the cause of the cause; the cause of them all; to him I bow. To him who is the enjoyer and thing to be enjoyed; the creator and thing to be created; who is the agent and the effect; to that supreme being I bow. The infinite nature of Vishńu is pure, intelligent, perpetual, unborn, undecayable, inexhaustible, inscrutable, immutable; it is neither gross nor subtile, nor capable of being defined: to that ever holy nature of Vishńu I bow. To him whose faculty to create the universe abides in but a part of but the ten-millionth part of him; to him who is one with the inexhaustible supreme spirit, I bow: and to the glorious nature of the supreme Vishńu, which nor gods, nor sages, nor I, nor Śankara apprehend; that nature which the Yogis, after incessant effort, effacing both moral merit and demerit, behold to be contemplated in the mystical monosyllable Om: the supreme glory of Vishńu, who is the first of all; of whom, one only god, the triple energy is the same with Brahmá, Vishńu, and Śiva: oh lord of all, great soul of all, asylum of all, undecayable, have pity upon thy servants; oh Vishńu, be manifest unto us."
Paráśara continued.--The gods, having heard this prayer uttered by Brahmá, bowed down, and cried, "Be favourable to us; be present to our sight: we bow down to that glorious nature which the mighty Brahmá does not know; that which is thy nature, oh imperishable, in whom the universe abides." Then the gods having ended, Vrihaspati and the divine Rishis thus prayed: "We bow down to the being entitled to adoration; who is the first object of sacrifice; who was before the first of things; the creator of the creator of the world; the undefinable: oh lord of all that has been or is to be; imperishable type of sacrifice; have pity upon thy worshippers; appear to them, prostrate before thee. Here is Brahmá; here is Trilochana (the three-eyed Śiva), with the Rudras; Pushá, (the sun), with the Ádityas; and Fire, with all the mighty luminaries: here are the sons of Aswiní (the two Aswiní Kumáras), the Vasus and all the winds, the Sádhyas, the Viśwadevas, and Indra the king of the gods: all of whom bow lowly before thee: all the tribes of the immortals, vanquished by the demon host, have fled to thee for succour."
Thus prayed to, the supreme deity, the mighty holder of the conch and discus, shewed himself to them: and beholding the lord of gods, bearing a shell, a discus, and a mace, the assemblage of primeval form, and radiant with embodied light, Pitámahá and the other deities, their eyes moistened with rapture, first paid him homage, and then thus addressed him: "Repeated salutation to thee, who art indefinable: thou art Brahmá; thou art the wielder of the Pináka bow (Śiva); thou art Indra; thou art fire, air, the god of waters, the sun, the king of death (Yama), the Vasus, the Máruts (the winds), the Sádhyas, and Viśwadevas. This assembly of divinities, that now has come before thee, thou art; for, the creator of the world, thou art every where. Thou art the sacrifice, the prayer of oblation, the mystic syllable Om, the sovereign of all creatures: thou art all that is to be known, or to be unknown: oh universal soul, the whole world consists of thee. We, discomfited by the Daityas, have fled to thee, oh Vishńu, for refuge. Spirit of all, have compassion upon us; defend us with thy mighty power. There will be affliction, desire, trouble, and grief, until thy protection is obtained: but thou art the remover of all sins. Do thou then, oh pure of spirit, shew favour unto
us, who have fled to thee: oh lord of all, protect us with thy great power, in union with the goddess who is thy strength 6." Hari, the creator of the universe, being thus prayed to by the prostrate divinities, smiled, and thus spake: "With renovated energy, oh gods, I will restore your strength. Do you act as I enjoin. Let all the gods, associated with the Asuras, cast all sorts of medicinal herbs into the sea of milk; and then taking the mountain Mandara for the churning-stick, the serpent Vásuki for the rope, churn the ocean together for ambrosia; depending upon my aid. To secure the assistance of the Daityas, you must be at peace with them, and engage to give them an equal portion of the fruit of your associated toil; promising them, that by drinking the Amrita that shall be produced from the agitated ocean, they shall become mighty and immortal. I will take care that the enemies of the gods shall not partake of the precious draught; that they shall share in the labour alone."
Being thus instructed by the god of gods, the divinities entered into alliance with the demons, and they jointly undertook the acquirement of the beverage of immortality. They collected various kinds of medicinal herbs, and cast them into the sea of milk, the waters of which were radiant as the thin and shining clouds of autumn. They then took the mountain Mandara for the staff; the serpent Vásuki for the cord; and commenced to churn the ocean for the Amrita. The assembled gods were stationed by Krishńa at the tail of the serpent; the Daityas and Dánavas at its head and neck. Scorched by the flames emitted from his inflated hood, the demons were shorn of their glory; whilst the clouds driven towards his tail by the breath of his mouth, refreshed the gods with revivifying showers. In the midst of the milky sea, Hari himself, in the form of a tortoise, served as a pivot for the mountain, as it was whirled around. The holder of the mace and discus was present in other forms amongst the gods and demons, and assisted to drag the monarch of the serpent race: and in another vast body he sat upon the summit of the mountain. With one portion of his energy, unseen by gods or demons, he sustained the serpent king; and with another, infused vigour into the gods.
From the ocean, thus churned by the gods and Dánavas, first uprose the cow Surabhi, the fountain of milk and curds, worshipped by the divinities, and beheld by them and their associates with minds disturbed, and eyes glistening with delight. Then, as the holy Siddhas in the sky wondered what this could be, appeared the goddess Váruní (the deity of wine), her eyes rolling with intoxication. Next, from the whirlpool of the deep, sprang the celestial Párijáta tree, the delight of the nymphs of heaven, perfuming the world with its blossoms. The troop of Ápsarasas, the nymphs of heaven, were then produced, of surprising loveliness, endowed with beauty and with taste. The cool-rayed moon next rose, and was seized by Mahádeva: and then poison was engendered from the sea, of which the snake gods (Nágas) took possession. Dhanwantari, robed in white, and bearing in his hand the cup of Amrita, next came forth: beholding which, the sons of Diti and of Danu, as well as the Munis, were filled with satisfaction and delight. Then, seated on a full-blown lotus, and holding a water-lily in her hand, the goddess Śrí, radiant with beauty, rose from the waves. The great sages, enraptured, hymned her with the song dedicated to her praise 7. Viśwavasu and other heavenly quiristers sang, and Ghritáchí and other celestial nymphs danced before her. Gangá and other holy streams attended for her ablutions; and the elephants of the skies, taking up their pure waters in vases of gold, poured them over the goddess, the queen of the universal world. The sea of milk in person presented her with a wreath of never-fading flowers; and the artist of the gods (Viswakermá) decorated her person with heavenly ornaments. Thus bathed, attired, and adorned, the goddess, in the view of the celestials, cast herself upon the breast of Hari; and there reclining, turned her eyes upon the deities, who were inspired with rapture by her gaze. Not so the Daityas, who, with Viprachitti at their head, were filled with indignation, as Vishńu turned away from them, and they were abandoned by the goddess of prosperity (Lakshmí.)
The powerful and indignant Daityas then forcibly seized the Amrita-cup, that was in the hand of Dhanwantari: but Vishńu, assuming a female form, fascinated and deluded them; and recovering the Amrita
from them, delivered it to the gods. Śakra and the other deities quaffed the ambrosia. The incensed demons, grasping their weapons, fell upon them; but the gods, into whom the ambrosial draught had infused new vigour, defeated and put their host to flight, and they fled through the regions of space, and plunged into the subterraneous realms of Pátála. The gods thereat greatly rejoiced, did homage to the holder of the discus and mace, and resumed their reign in heaven. The sun shone with renovated splendour, and again discharged his appointed task; and the celestial luminaries again circled, oh best of Munis, in their respective orbits. Fire once more blazed aloft, beautiful in splendour; and the minds of all beings were animated by devotion. The three worlds again were rendered happy by prosperity; and Indra, the chief of the gods, was restored to power 8. Seated upon his throne, and once more in
heaven, exercising sovereignty over the gods, Śakra thus eulogized the goddess who bears a lotus in her hand:--
"I bow down to Śrí, the mother of all beings, seated on her lotus throne, with eyes like full-blown lotuses, reclining on the breast of Vishńu. Thou art Siddhi (superhuman power): thou art Swadhá and Swáhá: thou art ambrosia (Sudhá), the purifier of the universe: thou art evening, night, and dawn: thou art power, faith, intellect: thou art the goddess of letters (Saraswatí). Thou, beautiful goddess, art knowledge of devotion,
great knowledge, mystic knowledge, and spiritual knowledge 9; which confers eternal liberation. Thou art the science of reasoning, the three Vedas, the arts and sciences 10: thou art moral and political science. The world is peopled by thee with pleasing or displeasing forms. Who else than thou, oh goddess, is seated on that person of the god of gods, the wielder of the mace, which is made up of sacrifice, and contemplated by holy ascetics? Abandoned by thee, the three worlds were on the brink of ruin; but they have been reanimated by thee. From thy propitious gaze, oh mighty goddess, men obtain wives, children, dwellings, friends, harvests, wealth. Health and strength, power, victory, happiness, are easy of attainment to those upon whom thou smilest. Thou art the mother of all beings, as the god of gods, Hari, is their father; and this world, whether animate or inanimate, is pervaded by thee and Vishńu. Oh thou who purifiest all things, forsake not our treasures, our granaries, our dwellings, our dependants, our persons, our wives: abandon not our children, our friends, our lineage, our jewels, oh thou who abidest on the bosom of the god of gods. They whom thou desertest are forsaken by truth, by purity, and goodness, by every amiable and excellent quality; whilst the base and worthless upon whom thou lookest favourably become immediately endowed with all excellent qualifications, with families, and with power. He on whom thy countenance is turned is honourable, amiable, prosperous, wise, and of exalted birth; a hero of irresistible prowess: but all his merits and his advantages are converted into worthlessness from whom, beloved of Vishńu, mother of the world, thou avertest thy face. The tongues of Brahmá, are unequal to celebrate thy excellence. Be propitious to me, oh goddess, lotus-eyed, and never forsake me more."
Being thus praised, the gratified Śrí, abiding in all creatures, and
heard by all beings, replied to the god of a hundred rites (Śatakratu); "I am pleased, monarch of the gods, by thine adoration. Demand from me what thou desirest: I have come to fulfil thy wishes.""If, goddess," replied Indra, "thou wilt grant my prayers; if I am worthy of thy bounty; be this my first request, that the three worlds may never again be deprived of thy presence. My second supplication, daughter of ocean, is, that thou wilt not forsake him who shall celebrate thy praises in the words I have addressed to thee.""I will not abandon," the goddess answered, "the three worlds again: this thy first boon is granted; for I am gratified by thy praises: and further, I will never turn my face away from that mortal who morning and evening shall repeat the hymn with which thou hast addressed me."
Paráśara proceeded.--Thus, Maitreya, in former times the goddess Śrí conferred these boons upon the king of the gods, being pleased by his adorations; but her first birth was as the daughter of Bhrigu by Khyáti: it was at a subsequent period that she was produced from the sea, at the churning of the ocean by the demons and the gods, to obtain ambrosia 11. For in like manner as the lord of the world, the god of gods, Janárddana, descends amongst mankind (in various shapes), so does his coadjutrix Śrí. Thus when Hari was born as a dwarf, the son of Adití, Lakshmí appeared from a lotus (as Padmá, or Kamalá); when he was born as Ráma, of the race of Bhrigu (or Paraśuráma), she was Dharańí; when he was Rághava (Rámachandra), she was Sítá; and when he was Krishńa, she became Rukminí. In the other descents of Vishńu, she is his associate. If he takes a celestial form, she appears as divine; if a mortal, she becomes a mortal too, transforming her own person agreeably to whatever character it pleases Vishńu to put on. Whosoever hears this
account of the birth of Lakshmí, whosoever reads it, shall never lose the goddess Fortune from his dwelling for three generations; and misfortune, the fountain of strife, shall never enter into those houses in which the hymns to Śrí are repeated.
Thus, Brahman, have I narrated to thee, in answer to thy question, how Lakshmí, formerly the daughter of Bhrigu, sprang from the sea of milk; and misfortune shall never visit those amongst mankind who daily recite the praises of Lakshmí uttered by Indra, which are the origin and cause of all prosperity.
Footnotes70:1 Durvásas was the son of Atri by Anasúyá, and was an incarnation of a portion of Śiva.
70:2 Vidyádharí. These beings, male and female, are spirits of an inferior order, tenanting the middle regions of the atmosphere. According to the Váyu, the garland was given to the nymph by Deví.
70:3 He observed the Vrata, or vow of insanity; equivalent to the ecstasies of some religious fanatics. In this state,' says the commentator, 'even saints are devils.'
72:4 They became Nih-satwa; and Satwa is explained throughout by Dhairyya, 'steadiness,''fortitude.'
73:5 The first effect of primary cause is nature, or Prakriti: the effect of the effect, or of Prakriti, is Mahat: effect in the third degree is Ahankára: in the fourth, or the effect of the effect (Ahankára) of the effect (Mahat) of the effect (Prakriti), is elementary substance, or Bhúta. Vishńu is each and all. So in the succeeding ascending scale, Brahmá is the cause of mortal life; the cause of Brahmá is the egg, or aggregate elementary matter: its cause is, therefore, elementary matter; the cause of which is subtile or rudimental matter, which originates from Ahankára, and so on. Vishńu is also each and all of these.
75:6 With thy Śakti, or the goddess Śrí or Lakshmí.
76:7 Or with the Súkta, or hymn of the Vedas, commencing, "Hiranya vernám,"&c.
77:8 The churning of the ocean does not occur in several of the Puráńas, and is but cursorily alluded to in the Śiva, Linga, and Kúrma Puráńas. The Váyu and Padma have much the same narrative as that of our text; and so have the Agni and Bhágavata, except that they refer only briefly to the anger of Durvásas, without narrating the circumstances; indicating their being posterior, therefore, to the original tale. The part, however, assigned to Durvásas appears to be an embellishment added to the original, for no mention of him occurs in the Matsya P. nor even in the Hari Vanśa, neither does it occur in what may be considered the oldest extant versions of the story, those of the Rámáyana and Mahábhárata: both these ascribe the occurrence to the desire of the gods and Daityas to become immortal. The Matsya assigns a similar motive to the gods, instigated by observing that the Daityas slain by them in battle were restored to life by Śukra with the Sanjíviní, or herb of immortality, which he had discovered. The account in the Hari Vanśa is brief and obscure, and is explained by the commentator as an allegory, in which the churning of the ocean typifies ascetic penance, and the ambrosia is final liberation: but this is mere mystification. The legend of the Rámáyana is translated, vol. I. p. 410. of the Serampore edition; and that of the Mahábhárata by Sir C. Wilkins, in the notes to his translation of the Bhágavata Gítá. See also the original text, Cal. ed. p. 40. It has been presented to general readers in a more attractive form by my friend H. M. Parker, in his Draught of Immortality, printed with other poems, Lond. 1827. The Matsya P. has many of the stanzas of the Mahábhárata interspersed with others. There is some variety in the order and number of articles produced from the ocean. As I have observed elsewhere (Hindu Theatre, I. 59. Lond. ed.), the popular enumeration is fourteen; but the Rámáyana specifies but nine; the Mahábhárata, nine; the Bhágavata, ten; the Padma, nine; the Váyu, twelve; the p. 78 Matsya, perhaps, gives the whole number. Those in which most agree, are, 1. the Háláhala or Kálakúta poison, swallowed by Śiva: 2. Váruní or Surá, the goddess of wine, who being taken by the gods, and rejected by the Daityas, the former were termed Suras, and the latter Asuras: 3. the horse Uchchaiśśravas, taken by Indra: 4. Kaustubha, the jewel worn by Vishńu: 5. the moon: 6. Dhanwantari, with the Amrita in his Kamańd́alu, or vase; and these two articles are in the Váyu considered as distinct products: 7. the goddess Padmá or Śrí: 8. the Apsarasas, or nymphs of heaven: 9. Surabhi, or the cow of plenty: 10. the Párijáta tree, or tree of heaven: 11. Airávata, the elephant taken by Indra. The Matsya adds, 12. the umbrella taken by Varuna: 13. the earrings taken by Indra, and given to Adití: and apparently another horse, the white horse of the sun: or the number may be completed by counting the Amrita separately from Dhanwantari. The number is made up in the popular lists by adding the bow and the conch of Vishńu; but there does not seem to be any good authority for this, and the addition is a sectarial one: so is that of the Tulaśí tree, a plant sacred to Krishńa, which is one of the twelve specified by the Váyu P. The Uttara Khanda of the Padma P. has a peculiar enumeration, or, Poison; Jyesht́há or Alakshmí, the goddess of misfortune, the elder born to fortune; the goddess of wine; Nidrá, or sloth; the Apsarasas; the elephant of Indra; Lakshmí; the moon; and the Tulaśí plant. The reference to Mohiní, the female form assumed by Vishńu, is very brief in our text; and no notice is taken of the story told in the Mahábhárata and some of the Puráńas, of the Daitya Ráhu's insinuating himself amongst the gods, and obtaining a portion of the Amrita: being beheaded for this by Vishńu, the head became immortal, in consequence of the Amrita having reached the throat, and was transferred as a constellation to the skies; and as the sun and moon detected his presence amongst the gods, Ráhu pursues them with implacable hatred, and his efforts to seize them are the causes of eclipses; Ráhu typifying the ascending and descending nodes. This seems to be the simplest and oldest form of the legend. The equal immortality of the body, under the name Ketu, and his being the cause of meteorical phenomena, seems to have been an after-thought. In the Padma and Bhágavata, Ráhu and Ketu are the sons of Sinhiká, the wife of the Dánava Viprachitti.
79:9 The four Vidyás, or branches of knowledge, are said to be, Yajna vidyá, knowledge or performance of religious rites; Mahá vidyá, great knowledge, the worship of the female principle, or Tántrika worship; Guhya vidyá, knowledge of mantras, mystical prayers, and incantations; and Átma vidyá, knowledge of soul, true wisdom.
79:10 Or Várttá, explained to mean the Śilpa śástra, mechanics, sculpture, and architecture; Áyur-veda, medicine, &c.
80:11 The cause of this, however, is left unexplained. The Padma P. inserts a legend to account for the temporary separation of Lakshmí from Vishńu, which appears to be peculiar to that work. Bhrigu was lord of Lakshmípur, a city on the Narmadá, given him by Brahmá. His daughter Lakshmí instigated her husband to request its being conceded to her, which offending Bhrigu, he cursed Vishńu to be born upon earth ten times, to be separated from his wife, and to have no children. The legend is an insipid modern embellishment.
Will Pakistan be the next Syria-like battleground?by LAWRENCE SELLIN, PHD November 25, 2017
Early users of monsoon winds for navigation -- Sila Tripathi (2017)
Abstract. The maritime history of India can be traced back to the Harappan Civilization. Studies suggest that even at that time, monsoon winds and currents assisted in navigation. Recent archaeological exploration and excavations along the Indian margin, Persian Gulf, Red Sea, and coasts of Southeast Asia provide convincing evidence about a maritime network and connections between mariners of India and other parts of the world in ancient times. The author of Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (PES) (60–100 CE) has credited Hippalus (~45 CE), the Greek mariner, with the discovery of monsoon winds and the mid-ocean route to the Indian ports from the Mediterranean. However, archaeological findings of Harappan Civilization, as well as the Vedic and Sangam period texts, suggest that the mariners of India who were trading in the Indian Ocean and adjoining seas had knowledge about monsoon winds much before Hippalus. In this paper, an attempt has been made to demonstrate the fact that knowledge of the monsoon winds was familiar to Indian mariners during the Harappan Civilization as well as in the later period.
Full text: http://www.currentscience.ac.in/Volumes/113/08/1618.pdf
(tamar) -- palm tree, date palm rebus: tAmra 'copper' Thus, hard alloy ingot (ox-hide shape) are signified as supercargo.
Slide 24. Moulded tablet, Mohenjo-daro.Three sided molded tablet. One side shows a flat bottomed boat with a central hut that has leafy fronds at the top of two poles. Two birds sit on the deck and a large double rudder extends from the rear of the boat. On the second side is a snout nosed gharial with a fish in its mouth. The third side has eight symbols of the Indus script.
Material: terra cotta.Dimensions: 4.6 cm length, 1.2 x 1.5 cm width Mohenjo-daro, MD 602.Islamabad Museum, NMP 1384.Dales 1965a: 147, 1968: 39
The shape of he boat on the moulded tablet is comparable to the Bronze Age Uluburn ship which had a shipwreck.I suggest that this boat carried a supercargo (rebus: karNi Most frequently-occurring hieroglyph on Indus writing corpora: 'rim-of-jar') of copper and tin ingots, based on a rebus reading of the hieroglyphs on three sides of the prism tablet, including a text in Indus writing, apart from the ligatured hieroglyph of a crocodile catching a fish in its jaws [which is read ayakara 'blacksmith'; cf. khar 'blacksmith' (Kashmiri); karavu'crocodile' (Telugu); ayo 'fish' rebus: aya 'metal (tin+ copper alloy)'.
bagalo = an Arabian merchant vessel (Gujarati) bagala = an Arab boat of a particular description (Ka.); bagalā (M.); bagarige, bagarage = a kind of vessel (Kannada) Rebus: bangala = kumpaṭi = angāra śakaṭī = a chafing dish a portable stove a goldsmith’s portable furnace (Telugu) cf. bangaru bangaramu = gold (Telugu)
karaṇḍa ‘duck’ (Sanskrit) karaṛa ‘a very large aquatic bird’ (Sindhi) Rebus: करडा [karaḍā] Hard from alloy--iron, silver &c. (Marathi)
A pair of birds కారండవము [ kāraṇḍavamu ] n. A sort of duck. కారండవము [ kāraṇḍavamu ] kāraṇḍavamu. [Skt.] n. A sort of duck. कारंडव [kāraṇḍava ] m S A drake or sort of duck. कारंडवी f S The female. karandava [ kârandava ] m. kind of duck. कारण्ड a sort of duck R. vii , 31 , 21 கரண்டம் karaṇṭam, n. Rebus: karaḍa 'hard alloy (metal)'. tamar ‘palm’ (Hebrew) Rebus: tam(b)ra ‘copper’ (Santali) dula ‘pair’ Rebus: dul ‘cast metal’ (Santali)
Rebus readings of the other 2 sides of the Mohenjo-daro tablet:
Side A: kāru a wild crocodile or alligator (Telugu) ghariyal id. (Hindi)
kāru 'crocodile' (Telugu) கராம் karām, n. prob. grāha. 1. A species of alligator; முதலைவகை. முதலையு மிடங்கருங் கராமும் (குறிஞ்சிப். 257). 2. Male alligator; ஆண் முதலை. (திவா.) కారుమొసలి a wild crocodile or alligator. (Telugu) Rebus: kāru ‘artisan’ (Marathi) kāruvu 'artisan' (Telugu) khār 'blacksmith' (Kashmiri)
[fish = aya (G.); crocodile = kāru (Telugu)] Rebus: ayakāra ‘ironsmith’ (Pali)
खार् । लोहकारः m. (sg. abl. khāra 1 खार; the pl. dat. of this word is khāran 1 खारन्, which is to be distinguished from khāran 2, q.v., s.v.), a blacksmith, an iron worker (cf. bandūka-khār, p. 111b, l. 46; K.Pr. 46; H. xi, 17); a farrier (El.) Side C: Text 3246 on the third side of the prism. kāḍ काड् ‘, the stature of a man’ Rebus: खडा [ khaḍā ] m A small stone, a pebble (Marathi) dula ‘pair’ Rebus: dul ‘cast (metal)’shapes objects on a lathe’ (Gujarati) kanka, karṇaka ‘rim of jar’ Rebus: karṇaka ‘account scribe’. kārṇī m. ʻsuper cargo of a ship ʼ(Marathi)
A pair of ingots with notches in-fixed as ligatures.
ढाल [ ḍhāla ] f (S through H) The grand flag of an army directing its march and encampments: also the standard or banner of a chieftain: also a flag flying on forts &c. ढालकाठी [ ḍhālakāṭhī ] f ढालखांब m A flagstaff. (Paras'u?) Rebus: ḍhālako = a large metal ingot (G.) ḍhālakī = a metal heated and poured into a mould; a solid piece of metal; an ingot (Gujarati). I suggest that the gloss ḍhālako denotes the oxhide ingot.
ḍhālako ‘large ingot’. खोट [khōṭa] ‘ingot, wedge’; A mass of metal (unwrought or of old metal melted down)(Marathi) khoṭ f ʻalloy (Lahnda) Thus the pair of ligatured oval glyphs read: khoṭ ḍhālako ‘alloy ingots’ PLUS dula 'pair' Rebus: dul 'cast metal'.
Forge: stone, minerals, gemstones
khaḍā ‘circumscribe’ (M.); Rebs: khaḍā ‘nodule (ore), stone’ (M.) kolom ‘cob’; rebus: kolmo ‘seedling, rice (paddy) plant’ (Munda.) kolma hoṛo = a variety of the paddy plant (Desi)(Santali.) kolmo ‘rice plant’ (Mu.) Rebus: kolami ‘furnace,smithy’ (Telugu) Thus, the ligatured glyph reads: khaḍā ‘stone-ore nodule’kolami ‘furnace,smithy’. Alternatives: 1. koṛuŋ young shoot (Pa.) (DEDR 2149)
Rebus: kol iron, working in iron, blacksmith (Tamil) kollan blacksmith, artificer (Malayalam) kolhali to forge.(DEDR 2133).2. kaṇḍe A head or ear of millet or maize (Telugu) Rebus: kaṇḍa ‘stone (ore)(Gadba)’ Ga. (Oll.) kanḍ, (S.) kanḍu (pl. kanḍkil) stone (DEDR 1298).
kolmo ‘three’ Rebus: kolami ‘furnace,smithy’. Thus, the pair of glyphs may denote lapidary work – working with stone, mineral, gemstones.
ayo ‘fish’ Rebus: ayas ‘metal’.
kanka 'rim of jar' (Santali) karṇika id. (Samskritam) Rebus: kārṇī m. ʻsuper cargo of a ship ʼ(Marathi)
कर्णक m. du. the two legs spread out AV. xx , 133 , 3 rebus: karNI 'helmsman' करण m. writer , scribe W. m. a man of a mixed class (the son of an outcast क्षत्रिय Mn. x , 22 ; or the son of a शूद्र woman by a वैश्य Ya1jn5. i , 92; or the son of a वैश्य woman by a क्षत्रिय MBh. i , 2446 ; 4521 ; the occupation of this class is writing , accounts &c ) (Samskrtam) कारणी or
कारणीक [ kāraṇī or kāraṇīka ] a (
कारण S) That causes, conducts, carries on, manages. Applied to the prime minister of a state, the supercargo of a ship &c. (Marathi) [ kárṇa -- , dhāra -- 1] Pa. kaṇṇadhāra -- m. ʻ helmsman ʼ; Pk. kaṇṇahāra -- m. ʻ helmsman, sailor ʼ; H. kanahār m. ʻ helmsman, fisherman (CDIAL 2836)
कर्णिक A knot, round protuberance
कारण a number of scribes or कायस्थs W. करण m. a man of a mixed class (the son of an outcast क्षत्रिय Mn. x , 22 ; or the son of a शूद्र woman by a वैश्य Ya1jn5. i , 92 ; or the son of a वैश्य woman by a क्षत्रिय MBh. i , 2446 ; 4521 ; the occupation of this class is writing , accounts &c )m. writer , scribe W.
karṇadhāra m. ʻ helmsman ʼ Suśr. [
kárṇa -- , dhāra -- 1]Pa. kaṇṇadhāra -- m. ʻ helmsman ʼ; Pk. kaṇṇahāra -- m. ʻ helmsman, sailor ʼ; H. kanahār m. ʻ helmsman, fisherman ʼ.(CDIAl 2836)
कर्णिक a. Having a helm. -कः A steersman.
कर्णिन् karṇinकर्णिन् a. 1 Having ears; Av.1.1.2.-2 Long- eared.-3 Barbed (as an arrow). -m. 1 An ass.-2 A helmsman.-3 An arrow furnished with knots &c. (Apte)
kāraṇika m. ʻ teacher ʼ MBh., ʻ judge ʼ Pañcat. [
kā- raṇa -- ]Pa. usu -- kāraṇika -- m. ʻ arrow -- maker ʼ; Pk. kāraṇiya -- m. ʻ teacher of Nyāya ʼ; S. kāriṇī m. ʻ guardian, heir ʼ; N. kārani ʻ abettor in crime ʼ; M. kārṇī m. ʻ prime minister, supercargo of a ship ʼ, kul -- karṇī m. ʻ village accountant ʼ.(CDIAL 3058)
கருணீகம் karuṇīkam, n. < karaṇa. [T. karaṇikamu.] Office of village accountant or karṇam;கிராமக்கணக்குவேலை.
கருணீகன் karuṇīkaṉ , n. < id. 1. Village accountant; கிராமக்கணக்கன். கடுகையொருமலை யாகக் . . . காட்டுவோன் கருணீகனாம் (அறப். சத. 86). 2. A South Indian caste of accountants; கணக்குவேலைபார்க்கும் ஒருசாதி.
गांवकुळकरणी (p. 234) [ gāṃvakuḷakaraṇī ] m The hereditary village-accountant: in contrad. from
देशकुळकरण [ dēśakuḷakaraṇa ] n The office of देशकुळकरणी.देशकुळकरणी [ dēśakuḷakaraṇī ]
m An hereditary officer of a Mahál. He frames the general account from the
accounts of the several Khots and Kulkarn̤ís of the villages within the Mahál;
meḍ ‘body’, ‘dance’ (Santali) Rebus: meḍ ‘iron’ (Ho.)
kāḍ काड् ‘, the stature of a man’ Rebus: खडा [ khaḍā ] m A small stone, a pebble (Marathi)
China cannot rob us of Brahmaputra
Identifying the flow
Making the discourse realistic
The Tibetan region lies in the rain shadow with the Himalaya acting as the barrier to the rain-laden monsoon. The annual precipitation in the trans-Himalaya Tibet averages about 300 mm annually. As the tributaries cross the Himalayan crest line, the annual average precipitation reaches about 2000 mm. A very large component of the total annual flow of Brahmaputra is generated in the southern aspect of the Himalaya in India by tributaries from Buri Dihing in the East to Teesta in the west.
A popular hypothesis
Indus Script hypertexts document wealth accounting ledgers, recording production of zinc metal in Sarasvati Civilization.
The hieroglyph used is svastika (Over 60 inscriptions with svastika hieroglyph have been recorded in Indus Script Corpora).
sattva, 'svastika symbol' rebus: sattva'zinc', jasta'zinc, spelter; pewter'
The mint artisans continued the tradition of wealth ledger accounting of Indus Script -- using hypertexts and punch-marked or embossed the hypertexts on ancient coins to signify their wealth-producing repertoire of metalwork in mints.
The Meluhha gloss for 'five' is: taṭṭal Homonym is: ṭhaṭṭha brass (i.e. alloy of copper + zinc) *ṭhaṭṭha1 ʻbrassʼ. [Onom. from noise of hammering brass?]N. ṭhaṭṭar ʻ an alloy of copper and bell metal ʼ. *ṭhaṭṭhakāra ʻ brass worker ʼ. 1.Pk. ṭhaṭṭhāra -- m., K. ṭhö̃ṭhur m., S. ṭhã̄ṭhāro m., P. ṭhaṭhiār, °rā m.2. P. ludh. ṭhaṭherā m., Ku. ṭhaṭhero m., N. ṭhaṭero, Bi. ṭhaṭherā, Mth. ṭhaṭheri, H.ṭhaṭherā m.(CDIAL 5491, 5493).
Western Pahari) dolutsu'tumble' Rebus: dul 'cast metal'. karaḍa 'double-drum' rebus: karaḍa'hard alloy'.
karã̄ n.' pl. wristlets, bangles' Rebus: khār 'blacksmith, iron worker'.
dula'two' rebus: dul 'metal casting'
karṇaka'rim of jar' rebus: karṇI 'supercargo, a representative of the ship's owner on board a merchant ship, responsible for overseeing the cargo and its sale.' rebus: karṇika 'scribe, account'. कर्णिका '
steersman, helmsman' (seafaring merchant)
What has been documented in Indus Script Corpora is validated by the archaeometallurgical enquiries of Zawar mines by Paul Craddock. Though the evidence of industrial production is dated to period from 14th century, ancient texts of ca. 1st cent. CE, document the distillation processes for zinc. (pace Prafulla Chandra Ray, History of Hindu Chemistry, Calcutta, Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works Ltd., 1903).
5 December 2017
Origins of chemical industry -- Paul Craddock (2017)
How excavations in India have changed our view on industrialisation
My life story will not be complete without narrating this part. This is not to offend anyone’s religious sentiments and thereby, encourage someone else’s sentiments. This should not be used for any such purpose either.
It was in 1990 that the issue of Ayodhya became hot. Before that, in 1978 itself, as an archeology student, I had the opportunity to survey Ayodhya.
As a student of School of Archeology, Delhi, I was a member of the team headed by Prof B B Lal, which was carrying out an extensive survey at Ayodhya. We found that there existed brick foundations which supported the pillars of a pre-existed temple. No one had viewed such findings as controversial those days. We examined the facts with due sense of history as archeological experts.
There were temple-pillars embedded on the walls of Babri Masjid. These pillars were made of a particular stone called Black Basalt. There were ‘Poorna Kalasas’ engraved at the bottom of the pillars as was the practice in the 11th – 12th centuries. In the temple art, ‘Poorna Kalas’ is one among the eight auspicious symbols of prosperity. Not one or two,
fourteen such pillars were there before the mosque was demolished in 1992. Though the mosque was under police protection and no one was allowed inside, we were not
prevented because we were members of the research team. Therefore I could see the pillars closely. The team headed by Prof B B Lal included officials of the ASI and us, the twelve students of School of Archeology. We spent around two months in various explorations at Ayodhya. Mir, the chief of the army of Babar constructed this mosque using remnants of a temple which was either demolished by him or was already demolished by someone else.
While excavating on the back and sides of the mosque, we found brick platforms on which the Black Basalt pillars used to rest. It was based on these facts that I made a statement in 1990 that there existed a temple beneath the Babri Masjid. By then the atmosphere had surcharged. The Hindu and Muslim leaders had taken opposite positions. Moderates on both sides were making some efforts to bring about a rapprochement. But the strident VHP had already taken over the Ram Janmabhumi issue as its agenda. The moderates among Muslims started thinking that it is better to leave Ayodhya for Hindus and solve the dispute. A few Muslim leaders were also of this opinion but no one dared say this. I knew that at least some Muslim leaders felt that leaving Ayodhya to Hindus would take wind out of the sails of VHP. Had such voices got prominence, it would have been possible to diffuse the situation. But a few Leftist historians allied themselves with the confrontationist Muslims and distorted the matter.
Few historians under the leadership of S. Gopal, Romila Thapar and Bipan Chandra started questioning the historicity of the Ramayana. They argued that there is no record of demolition of a temple before 19th century. They even declared that Ayodhya is a Buddhist – Jain Centre. This group assumed gigantic size with the induction of Prof R S Sharma, Aktar Ali, D N Jha, Suraj Bhan, Irfan Habib etc. Among them Suraj Bhan was the only archeologist. The historians of R S Sharma’s group took part in various official meetings as experts from the side of Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC).
Many of the BMAC meetings were conducted under the leadership of Dr. Irfan Habib who was the Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) . Though the Member Secretary M G S Narayanan of ICHR objected to the meetings of BMAC being conducted in ICHR, he was overruled by Irfan Habib. These Leftist group of historians had tremendous influence in newspapers and periodicals and articles published by them questioning the facts of Ayodhya created confusion in the minds of general public. It were these historians and publications which acted like their exclusive mouth piece and were responsible for the volte – face of even the moderates among the Muslims, who had favoured settlement. It was unfortunate that this atmosphere gifted legitimacy and a resultant belligerence to BMAC. The common Muslims who, at some point of time, toyed with the idea of ceding their claim in favour of Hindus, slowly started changing their position. Consequently moderates also took a stand that the Masjid cannot be given up. The interventions of the Communist historians brainwashed them. The joint mischief of these two groups resulted in blocking the doors of settlement rather permanently.
Had only this compromise worked out it would have been a major turning point in the history of Hindu – Muslim relations in our country.This would have resulted in the natural solution to other various contentious issues also.
This lost opportunity demonstrated that not only the Hindu – Muslim fanaticism but the Communist fanaticism is equally dangerous to our nation.
My statement came out on December 15, 1990. By then the historians and archeologists had started fierce arguments from both sides. I made it clear in my statement that I have seen remnants of a temple beneath the Masjid.
I was working in Chennai as Deputy Superintending Archeologist in ASI. I happened to read an article by Iravataam Mahadevan IAS in the Indian Express. Iravatam, who wrote extensively on the Sindhu script, was a widely respected scholar. After retiring he was working as editor of the widely read Tamil newspaper Dinamani.
He wrote:- “If historians still doubt whether a temple existed beneath, such doubt can be removed by excavating once again. But it is wrong to say that to correct a historical wrong a historical monument (Babri Masjid) shall be demolished.”
I respected his balanced opinion and wrote a letter appreciating him. I mentioned that I was a member of the team which carried out excavations during 1976-77. “Your opinion that it is wrong to demolish a monument to avenge a historical wrong is laudable. You have shared your liberal views.” On the date of receipt of my letter he came to my office at Clive building at the Tamil Nadu Secretariat. He wanted permission to publish my letter. He said: “Since you are a govt. servant, writing on such sensitive matters without permission from the Government will be suicidal. It is sure that permission will not be granted by your superiors. Nevertheless, truth should not be kept hidden. Decide suitably.”
We discussed with Superintendent Archeologist B Narasimhayya and decided that such important information should not be concealed. Narasimhayya was the General Supervisor when we discovered the brick platforms while excavating under the guidance of Prof B B Lal. But we did not want to play into the hands of fanatic Hindus. We must keep equal distance from all communal elements.
Finally my statement came in the Letters to the Editor column in all editions of Indian Express. Subsequently it was also published by all other papers in all languages. I got many phone calls – threatening and appreciating me. But as decided I kept aloof from all that was going around me.
Those days we conducted a UNESCO sponsored Silk Route Seminar in Chennai. I, along with one Shri KT Narasimhan, was the organiser. From Delhi, the Joint Secretary (Culture) Shri RC Tripathi and the Director General of ASI Shri MC Joshi came to attend. Both appreciated me for the successful conduct of the seminar. Dr Joshi said “If that Aligarh Professor were here, he would have felt ashamed.” He was referring to Dr Irfan Habib. Dr Joshi also told my personal details to Dr Tripathi.
Thereafter Dr Joshi said:-“Now we have questions about your press statement. How did you go public on such an important issue without the permission of the Govt.? We are going to suspend you right now pending enquiry.”
I said “Sir I knew that I was not going to get permission for such a matter. I spoke the truth in public interest.”
I also recited a Sanskrit shloka – Lokasamgramevapi Sampasyan Kartumarhasi.
“Are you teaching me? I am a Brahmin from Allahabad” – Tripathi shouted. He added “I will suspend you right now.” Calmly I told him – “Swadharme nidhanam shreya” – meaning even death is preferable while on duty. Tripathi became cool and said – “Mohammed, I appreciate your firm stand. This is expected from an archeologist. But I am under pressure from the top to take action against you.” I said “I know Sir. I issued the statement after considering all consequences.”
Joshi was still not happy and asked – “Why did you give your name, address and designation on the newspaper?” “I thought it is required because no one should think that it is some insignificant Mohammed”.
Mahadevan met both of them next day and got the suspension changed into a transfer, from Chennai to Goa.
On December 6, 1992 I was in conversation with the Rector of Bom Jesus Church, Goa where the holy relics of St. Xavier are kept. Then came the news of the demolition of Babri Masjid. Next year Fr. Rigo feared that there will be attacks by Hindu fanatics on Christian churches of Old Goa on the anniversary of the demolition. We formed two teams. One team camped at Bom Jesus Church under Fr. Rigo and the second one under me in St. Cathedral and St. Assisi throughout the night. It was a thrilling example of Indian secularism that a Muslim, Hindu and Christian stood guard to protect a national monument.
The most important artefact which came out during demolition at Ayodhya was the stone plaque called Vishnu Hari Shila. On the plaque it was inscribed in Nagari script of 11-12 century in Sanskrit that this temple is dedicated to Vishnu (Rama is the avatar of Vishnu) who killed Bali and the 10- headed (Ravana).
In 1992, when Dr Y D Sharma and Dr K M Srivastava studied the site they could find small statues of Vishnu’s avataras, Shiva, Parvati etc. made of clay. These belonged to the Kusana period (100 – 300 AD). In 2003, when excavations were again conducted as ordered by the Allahabad High Court, more than fifty brick foundations which once supported the pillars of the temple were found. The ‘amalaka’ which is usually found on the top of the temple and ‘makar pranali’ through which the ‘abhisheka’ water flows, were also excavated. The Uttar Pradesh Archeology Director Dr Ragesh Tiwari submitted a report that when the front yard of the Babri Masjid was leveled, 263 temple related artefacts were found.
After a comprehensive analysis of the evidences that had surfaced during the excavation and the discovery of historical artefacts, the Archeological Survey Of India came to the conclusion that there existed a temple beneath the Babri Masjid. The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court also reached the same conclusion. To make the excavation impartial it was ensured that 52 Muslims were included in the team of 131 of excavators. Not only that, the excavation was conducted in the presence of the representatives and archeological historians belonging to the BMAC group viz Suraj Bhan, Mondal, Supriya Varma and Jaya Menon.
Could the excavation have been made more impartial?
Even after the judgment of the High Court, the Leftist historians continued their somersaults. They had changed their positions previously also without any qualms. The reason behind this inconsistency was that those who participated in the excavations as representatives of the BMAC were mere historians. Three or four of them had some knowledge of archeology but even they were absolutely ignorant about the Field Archeology. Therefore they were mere dwarfs in front of eminent archeologists like Dr B R Mani. The people from the JNU and Aligarh Universities, who represented the BMAC, for their lack of knowledge of field archeology, were not counted by other archeologists of the ASI. The ASI was committed to truth and impartiality.
Meanwhile, an officer of the ASI claiming proximity to the VHP tried to usurp the position of Dr Mani. Had he succeeded in his design, the enthusiasm to establish the existence of a temple would have landed Ayodhya into a different battle. But the ASI did not budge and Dr Mani was not removed. The ASI once again proved its impartiality.
One of the prominent leaders of the BMAC Syed Shahabudin, in a letter to the then Union Minister Anantha Kumar appreciated the ASI for boldly preventing the expansion of the temple by Jawahar Prasad, a BJP MLA, even while the BJP was ruling at the Centre. This official letter was forwarded to me by the Director General of ASI. I wrote a detailed response to Syed Shahabudin in which I mentioned Ayodhya issue also. I wrote that I took part in the Ayodhya excavation under Prof B B Lal and I had seen the remains of a temple beneath the Babri Masjid. I pleaded with him to understand this truth and create favourable Muslim opinion and take initiative to solve the Ayodhya issue. He assured me that he would discuss these facts in the next meeting with the Muslim leaders. After the said meeting he informed me that no one had agreed to handover the Masjid to Hindus.
Later I had a long discussion with him. He did not agree to handover Babri Masjid to the Hindus.
While travelling back I deeply contemplated. If India were a Muslim majority-secular country (a Muslim majority country will never be secular though) and if a Muslim leader had tried to illegally expand a mosque within the precincts of a temple (which is also a national monument) and if a Hindu officer had opposed it, how many Muslims would have supported the officer? This is the greatness of Indian secularism.
Exceptions could be shown – that there were mass killings of Muslims etc. Considering everything in the proper perspective let me make one thing clear – communalism of Hindus is not of a fundamental trait. Mostly it starts as a reaction to some incidents. This is true of the Godhra as well.
Once I went to Salala in Oman for an international excavation team based in Germany. The purpose was to excavate an underground city Al Balid. I came into contact with few Keralites there. They were from the Kannur-Thalassery area of Kerala and were sympathisers of SIMI. They invited me to a programme. Some of them knew my opinion about Ayodhya. But I put forth certain conditions. I will come and speak. My opinions can be questioned. But since I have come here on an invitation by Germans there shall not be any untoward incident. Discipline shall be maintained and counter point shall be tolerated. They agreed and I spoke about Rama Janma Bhumi. I started with the initial tolerant period of Islam. My recital of Koran was a surprise to them. I spoke in detail about the excavations and the discovery of artefacts. They listened in rapt attention. I concluded my speech thus:
“Ayodhya for a Hindu is as important as Mecca and Medina for a Muslim. A Muslim cannot think of Mecca or Medina in the custody of another religion. Muslims should listen to the cry of a helpless Hindu who suffers the ignominy of his temples being in Muslim custody despite ours being a Hindu majority land. While Hindus believe Babri Masjid to be the birth place of Rama, this spot has nothing to do with Prophet Muhammed. This place has no relation with Sahabis or Khulafaur Rasyidins; neither with Tabiun nor Aulia or Salaf us-Salih. This is related only to the Mughal King Babar. Why such an importance is to be attached to this Masjid?”
I further narrated an incident of my childhood. “When the Baitul Muqaddas of Jerusalem fell to Jews we assembled in Koduvally Juma Mazjid and cried to Allah to get back Baitul Muqaddas. An ordinary Hindu suffers the same pain which we suffered at the loss of Baitul Muqadda. I am not speaking about the educated and progressive Hindu. I am speaking about that Hindu of North India who, in extreme cold weather, wearing not even a shirt, without chappals, walks great distances just to have glance of Sri Ram. Can we not respect his pain and religious feelings a little?”
The audience went through a spell of introspection. I continued:- After independence an exclusive country was carved out for Muslims. Bharat could have very well declared itself a Hindu Nation. But since Gandhiji, Nehru, Patel, Azad etc all were great personalities, they refrained from doing it. Even after giving the Muslim minority a country of their own, Bharat was declared a secular country. You will not find such large-heartedness anywhere in the world. For this gesture, that old man in a dhoti had to sacrifice his life on the altar of secularism.
I stopped briefly for the audience to think further. I continued after a pause:-“But would Bharat have been a secular country if it were a Muslim majority land?” When there was no answer I said:-“No. If Bharat were a Muslim majority country it would never have declared itself secular after giving a separate nation to minority Hindus. This is the liberal mind embedded in Hinduism; the tolerant nature of Hinduism. We must understand this mind. We must respect this mentality. It will be good if you think about what would have been the plight of Muslims if people of some other religion were in majority in India in place of Hindus. Everyone shall understand such historical facts and be prepared to compromise. Then only we will become a secular country in the real sense. I have named this thought Reverse Thinking. If you are a Hindu, imagine that you are a Muslim and approach the problem. And if you are a Muslim, approach the problem as if you are a Hindu and try to solve it. We all belong to different religions, it is quite accidental.”
A question came from the audience:-“If we surrender these three places what if VHP demands three thousand? Is not their list too big?”
I answered:-“We are on the path of reconciliation. We dream of a dawn of peace through negotiations. Muslims are not needed to stand up against unreasonable demands; Hindus will do that themselves. That is the greatness of Hinduism. Do not forget that fanatic Hindu organizations like Bajrang Dal, VHP, Ram Sena etc. have not been granted general acceptance by Hindu society.”
I felt the audience agreed with my opinion that the problem shall be solved by abandoning the claim on Babri Mazjid in favour of Hindus. But no one openly admitted. Sometimes we get the answers from the body language. The audience were mostly youngsters. After the program the organisers took me to a small room and asked:-“Why did you not inform all these facts to top leaders like Syed Shahabudin?”
“I did not know him at that point of time. I came into contact with him after the Sher Shah Suri Maqbara incident and I wrote to him in detail thereafter.”
There are so many religions in Bharat. In Europe, religiosity has reduced substantially. Religions in the West are existing today just because of inheritance and culture. Remember, it was largely Hindus who raised their voice against the growing Hindu intolerance. So also against atrocities like what happened in Dadri. They blocked the surging intolerance by returning their awards. People like Infosys Narayan Murthy and RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan reacted.
In India religion influences every facet of our life. Every religion has its own archeology and building technology. Bharat is the confluence of all these cultural barter. Hindu culture is the foundation of all these transformations. Budhism and Jainism are offshoots of Hinduism. Islamic architecture added beauty to this Hindu-Budha-Jain foundation. Christian architecture further enriched the beauty. Qtub Minar and Taj Mahal are examples of this. Iran Iraq and Turkey are the birth places of Minars and Domes. But they do not have any structure comparable to Qtub Minar, why? Why they could not construct at least a shadow of Taj Mahal? India could do this because we could mix Indian handicraft with Islamic structural ideas. We are growing in a composite culture. Let there be a Brahmadutt in every Muhammed and a Muhammed in every Brahmadutt. We must build up such a composite cultural Bharat. (Translated by TG Mohandas)
Nikola Tesla, who was both an inventor and mathematician, persisted with actual experiments and speculations on wireless transmission of energy that went beyond the physics of the day. This note presents a summary of Tesla’s ideas on wireless transmission to explain his intuition that he could use the capacity of ether to hold and transfer energy. This intuition was related to ākāśa, the Indian concept of ether, on which he communicated with Vivekananda.
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 113, NO. 11, 10 DECEMBER 2017
The peopling of Asia
OUT OF AFRICA: PREHISTORIC HUMANS LEFT AFRICA 60,000 YEARS EARLIER THAN WE THOUGHT
https://oi.uchicago.edu/sites/oi.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/shared/docs/oip130.pdf Full text
|by F William Engdahl|
Weight Of The Poonool Wearers
Bhaskar, a Chennai goldsmith, is a Vishvakarma and wears a poonool
Over the past century, the janeu—in addition to its age-old connotations—gathered an extra charge in Tamil Nadu, where to cut off the ‘poonool of a parppaan’ (the sacred thread of a brahmin) was considered an act of radicalism in the high noon of the state’s self-respect movement.
Over the past century, the janeu—in addition to its age-old connotations—gathered an extra charge in Tamil Nadu, where to cut off the ‘poonool of a parppaan’ (the sacred thread of a brahmin) was considered an act of radicalism in the high noon of the state’s self-respect movement. That tradition of throwing a spanner in the works of rigid Brahminism has new adherents, armed with new, imaginative methods. A fringe group put up posters last August that declared its intention to hold a thread ceremony for pigs—to coincide with Aavani Aavittam, the day Brahmins and a few other communities change their sacred threads and renew their vows. While Brahmin groups were aghast at the proposed insult, others were merely amused.
“By tradition, only a father would put the poonool on his son. So, I have no objection if these Periyarists want to put a poonool on a pig. For them, anti-Brahminism equals to anti-Hinduism. But they do not equate any other community’s practice with Hinduism. Thus, they are only giving a special place to Brahmins,” says former Mylapore MLA and BJP leader S. Ve Shekher.
As D-Day approached, the protests petered out. The police clamped down on would-be protestors; a few doughty ones could just manage to march a few pigs, sans the threads. “The poonool is nothing but an upper caste symbol aimed solely at degrading other castes. Brahmins wear them only to assert their caste superiority. Our ‘Poonool for Pigs’ sought to discourage it, which has no place in a secular democracy,” argues a spirited L. Manoj, an ofæce-bearer of Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, the organiser group.
HATRED FOR PIGS A poster for the ‘Poonool for Pigs’ programme In April 2015, the group had used the old method and tried to cut off janeus of Brahmins in Chennai, resulting in the hospitalisation of a victim— an old priest—and the arrest of æve members. In hindsight, Manoj admits that it was a mistake, as it had violated privacy of individuals. “Hence, we wanted to target the community for perpetrating the practice of poonool.”
In Tamil Nadu, only Brahmins have been targeted for wearing sacred threads, not other communities who wear them. The Vishvakarma caste, consisting of goldsmiths, carpenters, stonemasons, ironsmiths and metalworkers, has been left alone, even though its male members proudly where their janeu. “This further proves that brandishing cultural illiteracy as social reform has been one of the hallmarks of the Dravidian movement,” points out right-wing author Aravindan Neelakandan. Though Vishvakarmas and Brahmins are almost equal in numbers—forming about three per cent of the state’s population—targeting Brahmins solely gives, naturally, greater mileage for such groups.
“By targeting Brahmins and not other communities the so-called social reformists have themselves placed the Brahmins on a higher pedestal unwittingly,” points out Thuglak Editor S. Gurumurthy.
Bhaskar, a goldsmith on the narrow C.P. Koil street near Mylapore’s Kapali Temple, feels that Brahmins have not protested strongly in the face of such attacks. “These DK people know that we too wear the thread, renew them on Aavani Aavittam day and yet haven’t grabbed ours. If such a thing happened our community would have agitated as one man and jewellery stores would have shut down in protest,” he says with a note of pride, pulling out his poonool from beneath his shirt. Advertisement opens in new window Along with Vishvakarmas, a section of Chettys are the other non-Brahmins in Tamil Nadu who wear the thread. “We have our own purohits who preside over our rituals, including changing the holy thread on Aavani Aavittam. Our rituals may not be as exacting as those of the Brahmins, but we wear the poonool as it is a symbol of knowledge and skill passed on by our forefathers. It is a matter of pride for us,” explains Dinesh, a Vishvakarma who conducts the community’s rituals as a priest and teaches computer science in a local school.
Writer Kalachakaram Narasimmaa says that the sacred thread was merely a symbol of enlightenment, not one inherited by way of birth. “The poonool merely represents the four stages of one’s life, from brahmacharya to sanyasa and used to apply to all communities. Whereas others have discarded the practice, Brahmins have clung on to it. So wearing the thread does not give them any hierarchical advantage. Some observers feel that Brahmins are still being targeted through such protests as the Dravidian movement had failed to displace them from a position of pre-eminence in society. “Politically they might have been weakened, but when it comes to industry, law, media, cinema and arts and culture, the Brahmins still have a lot of clout. Many IAS ofæcers are Brahmins, as they are recruited directly. When every community started its own self-ænancing engineering college, the Brahmins started their own. This is nothing but a failure of Periyar and DMK’s anti-Brahmin propagaNDA,” points out political commentator Raveendran Duraiswamy.
Even as mere protocol, the poonool has failed to cut through the caste divide. The temple archakas (priests) from non-Brahmin communities, trained and appointed by the Karunanidhi government in 2007, continue to languish in a limbo. “After being selected from among thousands of applicants, 206 of us who were appointed archakas are left jobless as the Supreme Court, while upholding the appointment of non- Brahmin archakas, laid down a rider that their appointment should conform to the local customs (agamas) of the respective temple. This effectively æltered out the 206, who had spent a year-and-a-half in training to be archakas,” points out Ranganathan.
A Yadava by birth, he had applied when the DMK government decided to appoint archakas from amongst non- Brahmins and was selected for the course conducted at Thriuvannamalai Shiva Temple. “Not only were the enrolment orders hand delivered, we were even given new sets of apparel. And we also took Deekshaa from a holy person to wear the poonool, which was an important ritual in the process of training as an archaka. But the SC order indirectly beneæts Brahmins, making them defacto archakas, which has made our trai-ning meaningless,” rues Ranganathan.
Ranganathan and a fellow archaka garlanded Periyar’s statue to protest the DMK’s reluctance to push for temples free from casteism. “Even the DMK government, which enacted the law to appoint non-Brahmin archakas, left the candidates marooned, refusing to even get the interim stay against their appointment in 2010 vacated. And after the ænal verdict it was a case of ‘operation successful, patient dead’,” pointed out S. Raju, advocate who fought the aggrieved archakas’ case in the Supreme Court. To publicise their woe, Ranganathan and a fellow archaka, wearing their sacred threads, even climbed on to the Periyar statue in Thiruvannamalai and garlanded it to protest the DMK’s reluctance to bring Periyar’s dream of casteism-free temples to fruition.
“I think the DMK government lost its resolve to bring the issue to a logical conclusion. It again proved that Karunanidhi believed more in tokenism rather than real social emancipation. The subsequent government of Jayalalithaa fought the case with even more reluctance and was greatly relieved when the SC virtually maintained status quo,” observes a former advocate-general.
Ironically, Karunanidhi’s last creative work—before his retirement from active public life—was the script for the TV serial Ramanujar, which was telecast on his family-run Kalaignar TV. Karunanidhi claimed that he wrote about the saint since he had broken caste barriers by letting non-Brahmins worship in temples. The DMK veteran’s critics, however, could not help but point out that for someone who had excelled in anti-Hindu posturing throughout his political career, his swansong had a Hindu saint as subject. “And thereby hangs a thread,” someone chuckles.
Day 1: History and Myth
God or Geology? The Genesis of Ram’s Bridge
Secular and religious Indians are butting heads over the origin of an important shoal.
*Correction: The declaration was made by ASI, not ICHR. Ariel Sophia Bardi is a multimedia journalist and researcher, currently based in South Asia. Her work has appeared in BBC, the Guardian, Slate, Roads & Kingdoms, the Atlantic, Buzzfeed, Quartz, and VICE.https://www.hakaimagazine.com/news/god-or-geology-genesis-rams-bridge/