Saturday, November 19, 2016


Demonetization – Not Quite the Demon

People who visit the temple-town of Sringeri, the famous seat of learning situated amidst the lush green hills of the Western Ghats, swear not only by Goddess Nature who has endowed so much to the place but also by a shop located in the vicinity of the temple. 

The shop is run by Sri.Vijayanarasimha along with his wife and son. It deals in the usual rich goodies that Malnad has to offer - various varieties of pickles and chutneys, chips, spices, oils and what not. While other shops can boast of the same quality of goods, what sets this shop apart is the savviness of the father-son duo. They develop an affectionate connection with the customers. I do not know how they do it, but they seem to remember customers and their choices in spite of having a large number of them. When net banking and online fund transfers were still in their infancy, they had a mail order system which enabled people to transfer money to their account online and get stuff delivered to their houses, all from the small town of Sringeri. Actually, make it the other way round. They would deliver stuff to your house, and you could then transfer money to their account. And yes, all from the small town of Sringeri. Their account was one of the first recipients I added for fund transfer from mine. 

As the various news outlets were publicizing and highlighting the difficulties undergone by the "aam aadmi" due to the demonetization of 500 and 1000 - rupee notes, I could not get this small store ( not so small now, bless them; they now have online sales also) out of my mind. Why is demonetization hurting us more than it ought to when transferring money is so easy? All it takes is honesty and trust!

We can't deny that the news channels and the English language newspapers had their own agenda in maligning the initiative of the government and this contributing to the confusion. The queues which were still manageable a day after demonetization grew longer and longer, owing to the panic willfully stoked by the media. False reports of people dying in ATM queues and of children dying because the older currency was not accepted were feverishly circulated by journalists themselves in the social media. One news channel shamelessly asked people to send videos of people suffering in queues. The situation truly started going downhill then.

It is a very Indian - nay, human mentality to stock up on or even hoard things when they promise to become scarce. It is programmed in our genes. And human history has been proving that the hoarders will, in a large number of cases, eventually be better off than the non-hoarders. After a couple of days, thus, our instincts got the better of our good sense and the queues outside banks became longer still.

The black money mafia also did their bit to make the situation more chaotic, by promising commission to people who would deposit money in banks on their behalf. There were many flavors of this scam. Paytm ads notwithstanding, a substantial percentage of the low-income group is gullible and this promise of easy money is too hard to pass by. The result was unprecedented chaos, with people standing multiple times in queues and fights reportedly breaking out in front of the banks, adding to the general disorder.

There were many things that could have been done to reduce inconvenience to the people. Obviously, the initiative has to come from the people first. There were people drawing money from three or four cards when it was their turn at the ATM, adding to the wait time for the others in the queue. Banks could have mandated that only one card could be used at a time. Also, people who could get by with plastic money could have done so for a longer time instead of standing in queues and complaining. Let us face it, waiting is not pleasant for anyone – for us and also the bank employees. The security guard at the HDFC bank near my house was so cheerful and helpful even after dealing with hundreds of people who only had questions and complaints. Yes, that is another thing that would have helped – a smile of acceptance on the faces of the people. Because however much we try to argue against it, we know that this move of demonetization of high-value notes is going to be eventually good for the country.

If shop-owners had accepted cards and cheques it would have made life a lot easier for everyone. The day after demonetization, I was out shopping for some lamps in a respectably-sized shop in the heart of Bangalore. The bill came up to a decent amount of around 400 rupees. I offered to pay by card, but the shop-owner did not accept cards. And no, cheques were not accepted either. I did not have cash on me. After a lot of haggling over the mode of payment, the shop finally accepted the five-hundred-rupee note that I offered. I later learned that the cash transactions are not logged properly, so as to avoid tax.

So that's the root of this evil. With the memory of 97% tax and no development etched in our minds, we cannot bring ourselves to pay even a reasonable 35% amount as tax. And when the government does what it has to do to recover taxes we whine and complain because it is inconvenient. God help us!

In contrast, some people rose to the occasion and started conducting more cashless transactions. I paid my kids’ music class fees via online transfer. By the way, the teacher happens to be a housewife.

Finally, I recall the infamous words of a departed politician, said at a different time in a different context but completely valid now. When a big tree falls, the earth shakes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

ಇಂದೇ ಸುದಿನ...

Years ago, when I was still a young girl, participating in dance competitions, my mother had taught us - my sister and me and a few friends - a dance to a song. The song was about gopikas eager to meet Krishna on the banks of the Yamuna. We danced to it, dressed in langa-blouse and a veil on our heads. I think we had some painted pots also, to complete the effect of the gopikas. All I remember from that dance competition is how pretty my sister was looking, with kohl in her eyes and a bright light-green duppatta covering her hair.

The song went something like this - "ಇಂದೇ ಸುದಿನ ಬನ್ನಿ ಸಖಿಯರೇ ಹೋಗುವ ಯಮುನಾ ತೀರದೆಡೆಗೆ ". I knew the song was penned by my grandfather. However, the music was distinctly not South-Indian. I was not too curious about it at that time but got to know the story about that song later, from my grandmother.

My aunt, herself a teacher, had taught a few neighboring children a dance to perform at a function in the layout. It was a Hindi song. The kids learnt the dance with great enthusiasm and were looking forward to performing at the function. A couple of days before the performance, they got to know something shocking. A few miscreants - Kannada warriors got to know that there was going to be a dance performance set to a Hindi song, and they had decided to create trouble. The kids were crestfallen. After practising for so many days, getting ready with costumes and telling all their friends about the dance, their program was about to be cancelled because it was simply not safe to dance to a Hindi song.

My grandfather had a brilliant idea then. He immediately composed a song in Kannada which could be sung to the same tune and matched the dance steps. The kids practised a few times with the changed lyrics in Kannada. The adaptation was beautiful. On the evening of the dance performance, the miscreants went back home with greater wisdom in their heads and their pockets still bulging with the rotten tomatoes they had intended to throw at the dancing children.

The song is beautiful and set to the rāga Kāpi. It does not adhere completely to the metrical rules of Kannada poetry, but has great word-ly beauty - like "ಜುಳು ಜುಳು ಹರಿಯುವ ಯಮುನೆಯ ಕಲ ಕಲ ನಾದವ ಕೇಳುವ ಬನ್ನಿ ", "ಜಗದ ಜಂಜಡವ ಮರೆಯುವ ಬನ್ನಿ ಜಗನ್ನಾಥನೆಡೆಗೆ".

I happen to be humming this song since morning, and wanted to share the story here. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

To Enter or Not To Enter; That is the Question

There is a beautiful story about Meera Bai, whose devotional songs linger on a million tongues even to this day. She once visited a temple at Brindavan, which, at that time, was only open to men. When the priests prevented her from entering, she innocently told them "I thought Krishna was the only male in this universe". The priests were tongue-tied and let her in. 

I wonder if the women who are making a hue and cry about Sabarimala and Shani Shinganapur know about Meera bai. The noise that is being made over Sabarimala and Shani Shinganapur would have been funny (come on, airdrop?) if it were not so pathetic. It is evident that these ladies do not have any love for these Gods or for the religion that endorses these Gods. They are in it just to prove a political point and buy their two minutes of fame, and that is it. 

In a country as diverse as India, there are many, many unique temples and unique ways of worship. In Sandur, there is a Kumaraswamy temple that women of child-bearing age are denied entry to, much like Sabarimala. There is a short wall right in front of the main door, that prevents others from even snatching a glimpse at the icon inside. And there are some Maaramma temples, where traditionally there are priestesses but no priests. Some Gods and Goddesses are worshipped with flowers and fruits and sweets, whereas others need meat and liquor. Yet others are worshipped with song and dance. Flowers are not to be worn in Tirumala, because all the flowers that grow in the vicinity are meant for the Lord. There is room for the devotion of everyone and answers to the spiritual aspirations of everyone. This diversity is what makes sanAtana dharma so charming but yet so difficult to understand. 

The devotees of Ayyappa undergo penance for forty days before visiting Sabarimala. They dress differently. They abstain from meat, alcohol and sex. Can they do these without the consent and help of their wives? The day before the men leave for Sabarimala yatra is a big festival for the entire family. All the people (women included) worship and sing bhajans in praise of the lord. At least, this was what I had seen a few years ago, when I was invited to the celebration before the departure of the yaatris. The women send their husbands and brothers and fathers happily for the yaatra. Women participate in the celebrations with great fervor, even if they don't enter the temple.

And then there is Shani Shinganapur, unique in its own way. The temple does not have doors, like any other house in the village (even the bathrooms do not have doors, believe me!). Contrary to what some of the loud voices of today would have us believe, women do enter the temple for darshan. However, going up on the platform to pour oil on the icon is done by males who have undergone purificatory bath just before entering the temple. My mind simply fails to understand how this is an affront to women.

The vrata men perform before visiting Sabarimala is arduous. Also, it emphasizes self-denial and detachment. The daily duties of women need some level of attachment to the family and worldliness. Taking care of children, for instance. Whatever the feminists say, mothers' duties towards children are more those of the father. This affects other aspects of their lives also. They dress in different ways. They prefer different timings at work. They worship in different ways. sandhyāvandane is for men, whereas Hūvīḻya and kuṅkumārcane are for women. The Kathasaritsagara talks about a weird vrata that was performed by women to ward off diseases that are common in the rainy season. 

The argument that feminists put forth is that the patriarchal society of the day kept women out of places of worship because they menstruate. This is, however, true only in places like Sabarimala. Women do not visit any temple on the days when they are menstruating. Frankly, half the women I know would rather spend those days curled up in a bed and reading, than visiting overcrowded temples. Whatever prompted theses rules to be dictated, they are a blessing, even if in disguise. This is especially true in India where public sanitation leaves much to be desired.

Finally, the ultimate truth is that Biology is Destiny*. Until technology can make men with uteruses and make them produce babies, there is going to be this difference. But I hope we never get such technology, because we should accept and cherish these differences. A painting with many colors looks prettier than one that has been smeared with red ink all over. 

*Not my quote, but I love it.



Monday, May 25, 2015

The Voice of Kashmiris

Kashmir has a special place in the hearts of Indians. For centuries, it has been the dwelling of Saraswati. It is the land of Philosophy and poetry. It is home to beauty of nature, mind and spirit. Which Indian heart does not swell at the feats of King Lalitaditya? Which Indian poet does not heave a sigh of pleasure on reading the poetry of Bilhana? Indeed, Kashmir, both by its geographical location and its importance, is the crown jewel of India.

Yet, Kashmir is almost always in the news for all the wrong reasons. Since my childhood, it was a given that the daily newspaper contained details about some militant activity in Kashmir or the other. Some times the newspaper reports talked about militants killed, sometimes it was the security personnel. And some other times the reports contained the statements of politicians condemning the attacks. It looked like a hopeless, helpless situation always. During such a time, the Kannada magazine Taranga (I think) carried an article about the displacement of Kashmiri Pandit population. I was too young to read the article, but I remember that it carried pictures of beautiful, modern-looking Kashmiri Pandit men and women standing at water taps in front of one-room dwellings.

Since then, I have heard the Kashmiri Pandits being mentioned many times. Our first prime minister apparently belonged to that community. The exodus of the KPs has been the subject of many debates; many times they are just mentioned in passing. When someone mentions the Gujarat riots where muslims were killed (conveniently forgetting the Godhra carnage), it is almost a reflex action to say "But what about the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits?". What exactly this exodus was, I had not known until I recently read Rahul Pandita's book "Our Moon has Blood Clots".

Rahul Pandita is not a new name to me. Nandini Krishnan (a very good writer who writes with style and yet with balance) had interviewed Pandita and had published it. I thought I should read the book, all the more interesting because he claims to be a communist. From what little left literature I have read (including articles by Arundhati Roy, Dilip D'souza, Romila Thapar and others), I know enough to wonder how a KP and communist can coexist in one person. However, as I discovered when I read the book, RP turns out to be quite different from the rabid communists that Arundhati Roy and her ilk are. He is proud of the traditions of the Kashmiris, of their Shivratri, their sacrifices and rituals and Durgasaptashati. He mourns the loss of tradition like the passing of an old uncle.

Rahul's writing is very simple. He says that he wrote this book only because he wants the story of the Pandits to reach the next generation, and not get lost in the flood of secularism and dhimmitude that is setting the course of political discourse these days. And I must say he is quite successful. If this story about Kashmir can move me, a kannaDiti to tears for a few hours, I cannot even start imagining how a Kashmiri may feel about it. He describes the compound outside his family home, the apple and cashew trees and the heavy snow that makes the tin roofs cave in. His childhood was idyllic, surrounded by people he loved and looked up to. He had friends with whom he played cricket. All this was gradually taken from him, and suddenly one night in January 1990, everything turned topsy turvy and within a few days, his whole family was seeking refuge in Jammu.

It is not the story of RP alone. Thousands of Kashmiri Pandits lost their homes, many of them lost their lives too, that fateful night. The estimated number is more than 300,000. There are many theories to explain this exodus. Some say that the muslim-hating Jagmohan packed off the KPs so that he could hunt the muslims without any danger of harming the Hindus. This is very unlikely, keeping in mind that that night in Kashmir, it was mainly Pandit blood that flowed and it was the Pandit women who went through untold horrors. As always, our media glosses over these stark realities and harps on the atrocities of the army in Kashmir. Not to condone the civilian killings done knowingly or unknowingly by the Indian army, but major brunt of militant insurgency was borne by the Pandit population and no one else. They have a reputation of physically being weak; so much that it is a matter of shame to lose a physical fight against them. This made them soft targets to the insurgents. While the youth who were fresh from Pakistan were indulging in military exercises, the helpless Pandits could only look on. Or I should  say they "would" only look on. All portents of a looming invasion were ignored by the government and the Pandits themselves. As Rahul Pandita says, after the first few killings happened, the then Chief minister assured people that militancy would end soon. This is the same shortsightedness that was displayed by our first prime minister during Chinese insurgency. In spite of all our learnings from Arthaśāstra and Rājataraṅgiṇi, we really never learnt.

Things in Kashmir have only gone downhill since Independence. A major contributor was the myopic judgment of our first prime minister who brought Article 370 into governance. Recently, about a year ago, the flamboyant Sunanda Pushkar had raised the issue of Article 370 and had mourned that she would never be able to buy any land in her homeland. Rahul raises the same issue and says that he may own land in any place in the whole world other than his homeland. There is a telling moment, when he visits the house that was his when he was a child. There is someone else living there; the apple tree is cut and the bookshelves are filled with onion and garlic. Whether it was intended or not, a very important "dhvani" is brought out here. When the Pandits were turned out of Kashmir, it lost its scholarship and beauty. Only sorry relics - like the "showpiece almari" without the showpieces and the bookshelf devoid of books remain.

There have been efforts to rehabilitate the Pandits in their homeland. The then Prime Minister, Dr.Manmohan Singh started a program to that effect in 2008. However, so far, they have not been very successful because it is difficult to promise safety in a war-zone. It is a chicken-and-egg problem; While the Pandits are not rehabilitated in their own homes, peace in the region will remain a farce. But to even promise the Pandits their original homes, there has to be some semblance of peace in the valley.

After reading the book, I googled references to this book. There have been books about Kashmir - but Rahul Pandita's book is different in that it talks about Kashmir from the point of view of the minority community. Not only that; it does not gloss over the atrocities of the army or the amiability of the Kashmiri Muslim brethren.

During my long hiatus, I did read a lot. But not one of them spurred me to write. This book did that. Dear readers, if you read this book, and a tear rolls down your eye as you do and you spread the word about the book - the plight and the resilience of the Kashmiri Pandits, and then all of us lend our voices to them, the purpose of the book will be served.

Jai Hind! 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

ಶ್ರೀ ಆಂಜನೇಯತತ್ತ್ವ


ಬುದ್ಧಿರ್ಬಲಂ ಯಶೋ ಧೈರ್ಯಂ ನಿರ್ಭಯತ್ವಮ್ ಅರೋಗತಾ |
ಅಜಾಡ್ಯಂ ವಾಕ್ಪಟುತ್ವಂ ಚ ಹನೂಮತ್ಸ್ಮರಣಾತ್ ಭವೇತ್ ||

ಆಸೇತುಹಿಮಾಚಲವೂ ಜನರಿಂದ ಪ್ರೀತಿಭಕ್ತಿಗಳಿಂದ ಪೂಜೆಗೊಳ್ಳುವ ದೇವರು ಶ್ರೀಮದಾಂಜನೇಯಸ್ವಾಮಿ. ಆಂಜನೇಯನ ಸ್ಮರಣೆ ಮಾಡುವವರಿಗೆ ಬುದ್ಧಿ, ಬಲ, ಯಶಸ್ಸು, ಧೈರ್ಯ, ನಿರ್ಭಯತೆ, ಆರೋಗ್ಯ, ಮುಂತಾದವುಗಳು ಸಿದ್ಧಿಸುವವೆಂಬುದು ಮೇಲಿನ ಶ್ಲೋಕದ ತಾತ್ಪರ್ಯ. ಸ್ಮರಣೆಯೆಂದರೆ ಬರಿಯ ನಾಮಸ್ಮರಣೆಯಲ್ಲದೆ ಹನೂಮಂತನು ಪಾಲಿಸಿದ ಆದರ್ಶ, ಆತನ ಧ್ಯೇಯಗಳನ್ನು ನಮ್ಮ ಜೀವನದಲ್ಲಿ ಅಳವಡಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವುದೇ ಆಗಿದೆ.
          ಆಂಜನೇಯನು ಸಕಲರಿಗೂ ಪ್ರಾಣದಾತನಾದ ವಾಯುವಿನ ಪುತ್ರ. ವಾಯುವಿನಿಂದ ನಮ್ಮಲ್ಲಿ ಶಕ್ತಿಸಂಚಲನವಾಗುವುದರಿಂದ ಹನೂಮಂತನನ್ನು ಶಕ್ತಿಸ್ವರೂಪನೆಂದು ಕರೆಯುವುದು ಯುಕ್ತವೇ ಆಗಿದೆ. ಇನ್ನೂ ನಮ್ಮ ದೇಹವ್ಯಾಪಾರವೆಲ್ಲವೂ ವಾಯುವಿನಿಂದಲೇ ನಡೆಯುವುದರಿಂದ ಬುದ್ಧಿಗೂ, ಬಲಕ್ಕೂ ನಮ್ಮ ಇನ್ನಿತರ ಎಲ್ಲ ಶಕ್ತಿಗಳೂ ಆತನದೇ ರೂಪಗಳು; ಎಲ್ಲ ಶಕ್ತಿಗಳಿಗೂ ಆತನೇ ಮೂಲ.
ಆಂಜನೇಯನು ನಮಗೆ ತಿಳಿದಂತೆ ಕೇಸರಿ-ಅಂಜನಾದೇವಿಯರಿಗೆ ವಾಯುವಿನ ಪ್ರಸಾದದಿಂದ ಜನಿಸಿದವನು. ಚಿಕ್ಕಂದಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಸೂರ್ಯನನ್ನೇ ಹಣ್ಣೆಂದು ತಿನ್ನಲು ಹವಣಿಸಿದ ಪರಾಕ್ರಮಶಾಲಿ. ಇಂಥ ಆಂಜನೇಯನು ಸಾಕ್ಷಾತ್ ಸೂರ್ಯನಲ್ಲಿ ಶಿಷ್ಯವೃತ್ತಿಯನ್ನು ಕೈಗೊಂಡನು. ವಿದ್ಯಾಭ್ಯಾಸಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಸೂರ್ಯನ ತಾಪವನ್ನು ಸಹಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು, ಅವನ ಸತತಚಲನೆಯನ್ನೂ ಅಭ್ಯಸಿಸಿ ರೂಢಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು ಆದರ್ಶವಿದ್ಯಾರ್ಥಿಯೆನಿಸಿಕೊಂಡನು. ವಿದ್ಯಾಭ್ಯಾಸಾನಂತರ ಸೂರ್ಯನ ಆಜ್ಞೆಯಂತೆ ಸುಗ್ರೀವನ ಮಂತ್ರಿಯಾದನು. ನಂತರ ಶ್ರೀರಾಮಲಕ್ಷ್ಮಣರ ಪರಿಚಯವಾಗಿ ಸೀತಾಮಾತೆಯನ್ನು ಹುಡುಕಿದ್ದು, ಶ್ರೀರಾಮನಿಗೆ ಬಂಟನಾಗಿದ್ದು ಎಲ್ಲರೂ ಬಲ್ಲ ಕಥೆಯೇ ಆಗಿದೆ. ಉತ್ತರಕಾಂಡದ ಒಂದು ಸುಂದರವಾದ ಸಂದರ್ಭದಲ್ಲಿ ಶ್ರೀರಾಮನು ಸೀತೆಗೆ ಒಂದು ಹಾರವನ್ನಿತ್ತು – ’ತೇಜೋ ಧೃತಿರ್ಯಶೋ ದಾಕ್ಷ್ಯಂ ಸಾಮರ್ಥ್ಯಂ ವಿನಯೋ ನಯಃ | ಪೌರುಷಂ ವಿಕ್ರಮೋ ಬುದ್ದಿರ್ಯಸ್ಮಿನ್ನೇತಾನಿ ನಿತ್ಯದಾ’ –ಇಂತಹ ಗುಣಗಳು ಇರುವಂಥವನಿಗೆ ಇದನ್ನು ಕೊಡು ಎಂದಾಗ ಸೀತೆ ಅದನ್ನಿತ್ತಿದ್ದು ಹನೂಮಂತನಿಗೆ. ಹನೂಮಂತನ ಎಲ್ಲ ಕಥೆಗಳಲ್ಲಿಯೂ ನಮಗೆ ಮುಖ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಕಂಡುಬರುವುದು ಅವನ ಜಾಣತನ, ಸ್ಥೈರ್ಯ, ಧೈರ್ಯ, ಸ್ವಾಮಿನಿಷ್ಠೆಗಳು.

ಬುದ್ಧಿಮಾನ್ ಸಾಧುಸಮ್ಮತಃ :
ಶ್ರೀಮದಾಂಜನೇಯನು ಸಾಕ್ಷಾತ್ ಪ್ರಾಣವಾಯುವಿನ ಪುತ್ರನಾಗಿದ್ದರಿಂದ ಬುದ್ಧಿರೂಪನಾಗಿದ್ದಾನೆ. ಇನ್ನು ಕಥೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ನೋಡುವುದಾದರೆ ಆತನ ಬುದ್ಧಿಮತ್ತೆಯು ಅಗಾಧ. ಸಂಕಟಕಾಲದಲ್ಲಿಯೂ ಮೋಹಕ್ಕೊಳಗಾಗದೆ ಬುದ್ಧಿಸಾಹಾಯ್ಯದಿಂದಲೇ ಪರಿಸ್ಥಿತಿಯನ್ನು ವಿವೇಚಿಸುವ ಗುಣ ಆತನಲ್ಲಿತ್ತು. ಶ್ರೀರಾಮಲಕ್ಷ್ಮಣರನ್ನು ಕಂಡು ಸುಗ್ರೀವನು ಹೆದರಿದಾಗ, ಸ್ವಯಂಪ್ರಭೆಯ ಗುಹೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಸಿಕ್ಕಿಬಿದ್ದಾಗ, ಅಂಗದನು ಕಂಗೆಟ್ಟು ಪ್ರಾಯೋಪವೇಶ ಮಾಡುವೆನೆಂದು ಹಠ ಹಿಡಿದಾಗ, ಸುರಸೆಯಿಂದ ತಪ್ಪಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಬೇಕಾದಾಗ, ಸೀತಾಮಾತೆಯನ್ನು ಹುಡುಕುವಾಗ ಆಂಜನೇಯನ ಕಾರ್ಯಗಳನ್ನು ನಿರ್ವಿಘ್ನವಾಗಿ ಸಾಧಿಸಿದ್ದು ಸರ್ವೋಪಲಬ್ಧಿಹೇತುವಾದ ಆತನ ಬುದ್ಧಿ. ’ಏತಿ ಜೀವಂತಮಾನಂದೋ ನರಂ ವರ್ಷಶತಾದಪಿ’ – ಜೀವದಿಂದಿರುವವನು ತಡವಾಗಿಯಾದರೂ ಆನಂದವನ್ನು ಪಡೆಯುತ್ತಾನೆ (ಜೀವನವನ್ನು ತೊರೆದವನು ಏನನ್ನೂ ಪಡೆಯುವುದಿಲ್ಲವೆಂದು ಅರ್ಥ), ’ಅನಿರ್ವೇದಃ ಶ್ರಿಯೋ ಮೂಲಮ್ ಅನಿರ್ವೇದಃ ಪರಂ ಸುಖಮ್ | ಅನಿರ್ವೇದೋ ಹಿ ಸತತಂ ಸರ್ವಾರ್ಥೇಷು ಪ್ರವರ್ತಕಃ’ – ನಿರಾಶೆಯನ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟರೆ ಸಕಲವನ್ನೂ ಸಾಧಿಸಬಹುದು ಎಂಬೀ ವಿಚಾರಗಳನ್ನು ನಾವು ಆತನಿಂದ ಕಲಿಯಬೇಕು.
ಇನ್ನು ಆತನ ವಾಕ್ಪಟುತ್ವವನ್ನು ಶ್ರೀರಾಮನು ಹೊಗಳಿದ ಕೆಲವು ಶ್ಲೋಕಗಳು ಶ್ರೀಮದ್ರಾಮಾಯಣದಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಪ್ರಸಿದ್ಧವಾದವು. ಆತನ ಮಾತನ್ನು ಕೇಳಿದರೆ ಋಗ್ವೇದ, ಯಜುರ್ವೇದ, ಸಾಮವೇದಗಳನ್ನು ಅರ್ಥಸಹಿತವಾಗಿ ಅಧ್ಯಯನ ಮಾಡಿರುವನೆಂಬುದು ಸುವಿದಿತವಾಗುತ್ತಿತ್ತು. ಮಾತನ್ನು ಅನಾವಶ್ಯಕವಾಗಿ ವಿಸ್ತರಿಸುತ್ತಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಸಂದೇಹಕ್ಕೆಡೆಯಾಗುವಂತೆ ಮಾತನಾಡುತ್ತಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಬಹುವೇಗವಾಗಿಯೂ ಬಹುವಿಲಂಬಿತವಾಗಿಯೂ ಮಾತನಾಡುತ್ತಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಮಾತು ಹೃದಯದಿಂದ ಹುಟ್ಟಿ ಕಂಠದಿಂದ ಬರುತ್ತಿತ್ತು. ಆತನ ವಾಙ್ಮಹಿಮೆ ಎಂತಹುದೆಂದರೆ ಕತ್ತರಿಸಲು ಕತ್ತಿಯನ್ನೆತ್ತಿದ ಶತ್ರುವಿನ ಚಿತ್ತವನ್ನೂ ಪ್ರಸನ್ನಗೊಳಿಸುತ್ತಿತ್ತು. ಇಂತಹ ವಾಕ್ಪಟುತ್ವವಿದ್ದರಿಂದಲೇ ಆತನು ಸೀತೆಗೆ ನಂಬಿಕೆಯನ್ನೂ, ರಾವಣನಲ್ಲಿ ಭೀತಿಯನ್ನೂ ಹುಟ್ಟಿಸಲು ಸಫಲನಾದನು.
ಸರ್ವಶಾಸ್ತ್ರವೇತ್ತನಾದ ಆಂಜನೇಯನು ಧರ್ಮಭೀರು. ರಾವಣನ ಅಂತಃಪುರದಲ್ಲಿದ್ದ ಸಾವಿರಾರು ಸ್ತ್ರೀಯರನ್ನು ನಿದ್ರಿಸುತ್ತಿರುವಾಗ ನೋಡಬೇಕಾಯಿತಲ್ಲಾ ಎಂದು ಚಿಂತಿಸುವಷ್ಟು ಪಾಪಭೀರು. ಆದರೂ ಬ್ರಹ್ಮಚಾರಿಯಾದ ತಾನು ಅವರನ್ನು ನೋಡಿದ್ದು ಪಾಪದ ದೃಷ್ಟಿಯಿಂದ ಅಲ್ಲವೆಂದು ವಿವೇಚಿಸಿ ಸಮಾಧಾನವನ್ನು ತಂದುಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಆಂಜನೇಯನಲ್ಲಿ ತನ್ನನ್ನು ತಾನೇ ಅವಿರತವಾಗಿ ಪರೀಕ್ಷಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ಗುಣವಿತ್ತು. ಇದನ್ನು ನಾವು ವಿಶೇಷವಾಗಿ ಗಮನಿಸಬೇಕು.
ಭಕ್ತಿಯೇ ಶಕ್ತಿ
ಆಂಜನೇಯನು ತನ್ನ ಎಲ್ಲ ಕಾರ್ಯಗಳನ್ನೂ ಸ್ವಾಮಿಯಾದ ಶ್ರೀರಾಮನಿಗೋಸ್ಕರವಾಗಿಯೇ ಸಮರ್ಪಿಸಿದ್ದು. ಸೀತಾಮಾತೆಯನ್ನು ಹುಡುಕಿದ್ದಾಗಲಿ, ಲಂಕಾದಹನವಾಗಲಿ, ಸಂಜೀವನಪರ್ವತವನ್ನು ಹೊತ್ತು ತಂದಿದ್ದಾಗಲಿ ಯುದ್ಧದಲ್ಲಿ ಅತೀವಪರಾಕ್ರಮವನ್ನು ತೋರಿದ್ದಾಗಲಿ ಶ್ರೀರಾಮನ ಪ್ರಯೋಜನಕ್ಕಾಗಿಯೇ. ಅನಿತರಸಾಧ್ಯವಾದ ಈ ಕಾರ್ಯಗಳನ್ನು ನಿರ್ವಹಿಸಲು ಆತನಿಗೆ ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾಗಿದ್ದು ಆತನ ಸ್ವಾಮಿಭಕ್ತಿಯಿಂದ. ಈ ಸ್ವಾಮಿಭಕ್ತಿ ಯಾವ ಮಟ್ಟದ್ದೆಂದರೆ ಕೆಲವೊಮ್ಮೆ ಶ್ರೀರಾಮನ ಪರಾಕ್ರಮಕ್ಕಿಂತ ಆಂಜನೇಯನ ಭಕ್ತಿಯೇ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಬಲವುಳ್ಳದ್ದೆಂದು ರಾಮಾಯಣದ ಕೆಲವು ಪ್ರಕ್ಷಿಪ್ತಭಾಗಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಕಥೆಗಳುಂಟು.
ಶ್ರೀಮದ್ರಾಮಾಯಣದ ಉತ್ತರಕಾಂಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಶ್ರೀರಾಮನು ಹನೂಮಂತನಿಗೆ ಏನನ್ನಾದರೂ ಬೇಡಲು ಹೇಳಿದಾಗ ಆತನು ಕೇಳಿದುದು – ’ಸ್ನೇಹೋ ಮೇ ಪರಮೋ ರಾಜನ್-ಸ್ತ್ವಯಿ ತಿಷ್ಠತು ನಿತ್ಯದಾ | ಭಕ್ತಿಶ್ಚ ನಿಯತಾ ವೀರ ಭಾವೋ ನಾನ್ಯತ್ರ ಗಚ್ಛತು ||’ ಅಂದರೆ, ’ನಿನ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಯಾವತ್ತೂ ನನಗೆ ಸ್ನೇಹಭಾವವು ಕಡಿಮೆಯಾಗದಿರಲಿ. ನಿನ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಭಕ್ತಿಯನ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಬೇರೆ ಯಾವ ಭಾವವೂ ನನ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಬರದಿರಲಿ’ ಎಂದು. ಇಂತಹ ಅಹೈತುಕವಾದ ಭಕ್ತಿಪ್ರೀತಿಗಳು ಮಾನವಮಾತ್ರರಾದ ನಮಗೆ ದುಷ್ಕರವಾದರೂ ಶ್ರೀಮದಾಂಜನೇಯನ ಸ್ವಾಮಿನಿಷ್ಠೆ ನಮ್ಮಲ್ಲಿ ಮೈಗೂಡಬೇಕೆಂಬುದು ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಗ್ರಾಹ್ಯ.
ಅಪ್ರತಿಮಬಲಶಾಲಿ:
ಆಂಜನೇಯನ ಪರಾಕ್ರಮದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಎಷ್ಟು ಹೇಳಿದರೂ ಕಡಿಮೆಯೇ! ಇಡಿಯ ಸುಂದರಕಾಂಡ-ಯುದ್ಧಕಾಂಡಗಳು ಶ್ರೀಮದಾಂಜನೇಯನ ಯಶೋಗಾಥೆಗಳೇ ಆಗಿವೆ. ಅಪ್ರತಿಮಬಲಶಾಲಿಯಾದ ಆತನ ಬಾಹುಗಳಿಗೆ ವೈನತೇಯನ ರೆಕ್ಕೆಗಳ ಬಲವುಂಟು. ಪರಾಕ್ರಮದಲ್ಲಿ, ತೇಜಸ್ಸಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಆತನು ವಾಯುವಿಗೆ ಸಮಾನನು. ಆತನೇ ಹೇಳುವಂತೆ ಆದಿತ್ಯನೊಡನೆ ಉದಯಗಿರಿಯಿಂದ ಹೊರಟು ಅಸ್ತಾಚಲವನ್ನು ಮುಟ್ಟಿ, ತಿರುಗಿ ಬರುತ್ತ ಆದಿತ್ಯನು ಆಕಾಶಮಧ್ಯದಲ್ಲಿರುವಾಗಲೇ ಆತನನ್ನು ಎದುರುಗೊಳ್ಳಬಲ್ಲ ಶೀಘ್ರಗಾಮಿ. ಬೆಟ್ಟಗುಡ್ಡಗಳನ್ನೇ ಆಯುಧಗಳನ್ನಾಗಿ ಉಪಯೋಗಿಸುವ ಬಲಶಾಲಿ.
ಇಂತಹ ಹನುಮಂತನ ಬಗೆಗೆ ಶ್ರೀರಾಮನಾಡಿದ ಮಾತು – ಕೃತಂ ಹನುಮತಾ ಕಾರ್ಯಂ ಸುಮಹದ್ಭುವಿ ದುಷ್ಕರಮ್ | ಮನಸಾಪಿ ಯದನ್ಯೇನ ನ ಶಕ್ಯಂ ಧರಣೀತಲೇ|| – ಬೇರೆಯವರು ಮನಸ್ಸಿನಲ್ಲಿಯೂ ಚಿಂತಿಸದ ಮಹಾಕಾರ್ಯವನ್ನು ಹನೂಮಂತನು ಸಾಧಿಸಿದ್ದಾನೆ ಎಂದು.
ಇನ್ನು ಸಮುದ್ರವನ್ನು ಲಂಘಿಸುವಾಗ ಉಂಟಾದ ವಿಘ್ನಗಳು ಒಂದೇ? ಎರಡೇ? ಕ್ರೂರಿಯಾದ ಸಿಂಹಿಕೆ ಒಂದೆಡೆಯಾದರೆ, ಸ್ನಿಗ್ಧಭಾವದಿಂದ ತನ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ವಿಶ್ರಮಿಸಿ ಹೋಗೆಂದು ಬೇಡುವ ಮೈನಾಕಪರ್ವತನು ಇನ್ನೊಂದೆಡೆ. ಇದಾವುದಕ್ಕೂ ಬಗ್ಗದೆ, ಹಿಡಿದ ಕಾರ್ಯವನ್ನು ಸಂಪನ್ನಗೊಳಿಸಿಯೇ ತೀರುವೆನೆಂಬ ಅಚಲ ವಿಶ್ವಾಸ ಆತನನ್ನು ನಡೆಸಿತು.

ಹೀಗೆ ಶ್ರೀಮದಾಂಜನೇಯನು ಬುದ್ಧಿ-ಸ್ಥೈರ್ಯ-ಶೌರ್ಯ-ಬಲಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಅದ್ವಿತೀಯನಾಗಿ ಸನಾತನಧರ್ಮದ ಪಾಠವನ್ನು ತನ್ನ ಚರ್ಯೆಯಿಂದ ಬೋಧಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದಾನೆ. ಅಂತಹ ಮಹಾಮಹಿಮನ ಚರಿತೆಯನ್ನೂ, ಅದರಿಂದ ನಾವು ಕಲಿಯಬೇಕಾದದ್ದನ್ನೂ, ಶ್ರೀಹನೂಮಜ್ಜಯಂತಿಯ ಈ ಶುಭಸಂದರ್ಭದಲ್ಲಿ ಚಿಕ್ಕದಾಗಿ ವಿಚಾರಿಸುವುದಾಗಿದೆ. ಇದನ್ನು ಯಥಾಶಕ್ತಿ ತಿಳಿದು ನಮ್ಮ ಜೀವನದಲ್ಲಿ ಅಳವಡಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು ಸುಖಿಗಳಾಗೋಣ.

|| ಇತಿ ಶಮ್ ||

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

To Daffodils


I had written this some time back for Padyapaana, but did not publish it there because I was too late. It is a translation of the famous poem 'To Daffodils' by Robert Herrick.
ಕಳೆವ ಮುನ್ನವೆ ಹೊತ್ತು, ಓಡೋಡಿ ಹೋಗದಿರಿ
ಎಳೆಬಿಸಿಲ ತಂಪಿನಲಿ ನಗುವ ಹೂವುಗಳೇ !
ಅಳುವುಕ್ಕುವುದು ನೀವು ಸೊರಗುವುದ ನೋಡುತ್ತೆ
ನಳನಳಿಸಿ ಗಿಡಗಳಲಿ ನವಸುಮಗಳೇ! !

ತಡೆಯಿರೈ! ನಿಲ್ಲಿರೈ! ಸಂಜೆಯಾಗುವ ತನಕ
ಪಡುವಣದಿ ರವಿತೇಜ ಮರೆಯಾಗುವನಕ
ಕೂಡಿ ನಿಮ್ಮನು ನಾವು ಬರುವೆವೈ, ನಮ್ಮೊಡನೆ
ಮಾಡಿ ನೀವ್ ಸಂಧ್ಯೆಯೊಳಗರ್ಚನೆಯನು

ನಿಮ್ಮಂತೆ ಕ್ಷಣಿಕವೈ ನಮ್ಮ ಬಾಳೂ ಕೂಡ
ನಮ್ಮಯ ವಸಂತವೂ ಚಿರವಲ್ಲವಲ್ಲ!
ನಮ್ಮ ಜವದೇಳಿಗೆಗೆ ಜವರಾಯ ಕಾದಿರುವ
ಎಮ್ಮ ತೆರವೂ ಕೂಡ ನಿಮ್ಮಂತೆಯೇ

ಮುಗಿಸುವೆವು ನೀವು ಜೀವನ ಮುಗಿಸುವಂತೆ, ಬೇ
ಸಗೆಯ ಮಳೆ ಧರಣಿಯಿಂದಾವಿಯಾದಂತೆ
ನಗುವೆಲೆಯ ಮೇಲಿನಿಬ್ಬನಿಯ ಮುತ್ತುಗಳೆಲ್ಲ
ಮುಗಿಲ ಮಡಿಲನು ಸೇರಿ ಕಾಣೆಯಾದಂತೆ ||