Posts Tagged ‘religion’

mahishAsura mardhini, 191018

October 19, 2018

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अयि गिरिनन्दिनि नन्दितमेदिनि विश्वविनोदिनि नन्दिनुते
गिरिवरविन्ध्यशिरोऽधिनिवासिनि विष्णुविलासिनि जिष्णुनुते ।
भगवति हे शितिकण्ठकुटुम्बिनि भूरिकुटुम्बिनि भूरिकृते
जय जय हे महिषासुरमर्दिनि रम्यकपर्दिनि शैलसुते ॥ १ ॥

Ayi Ranna-Durmada Shatru-Vadho[a-U]dita Durdhara-Nirjara Shakti-Bhrte
Catura-Vicaara Dhuriinna-Mahaashiva Duuta-Krta Pramatha-[A]dhipate |
Durita-Duriiha Duraashaya-Durmati Daanava-Duta Krtaanta-Mate
Jaya Jaya He Mahissaasura-Mardini Ramya-Kapardini Shaila-Sute || 5 ||

Meaning:
(O Divine Mother, I invoke You and take refuge in Your Auspicious Feet)
5.1: Salutations to You O Divine Mother; I Invoke You; Who Manifested to Destroy the Battle-Intoxicated Arrogant Demons and Who is the possessor of Unrestrainable and Imperishable Power,
5.2: (I Invoke You) Who made Lord Shiva Her Messenger, that Shiva Who is Distinguished by Cleverness in Deliberation and is the Lord of the Ghosts and Goblins,
5.3: Who is Honoured for Bringing an End (i.e. Rejecting) to the Proposal of the Evil-Minded and Ignorant Messenger of the Demon (Shumbha) (and hence bringing an end to the demons themselves),
5.4: Victory to You, Victory to You, (I take Refuge in Your Auspicious Feet) O the Destroyer of Demon Mahishasura; (Victory to You) Who Shine with Beautiful Locks of Hair and Who is the Daughter of the Mountain.

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सुरललना ततथेयि तथेयि कृताभिनयोदर नृत्यरते
कृत कुकुथः कुकुथो गडदादिकताल कुतूहल गानरते ।
धुधुकुट धुक्कुट धिंधिमित ध्वनि धीर मृदंग निनादरते
जय जय हे महिषासुरमर्दिनि रम्यकपर्दिनि शैलसुते ॥ ९ ॥

Sura-Lalanaa Tatatheyi Tatheyi Krta-Abhinayo-[U]dara Nrtya-Rate
Krta Kukuthah Kukutho Gaddadaadika-Taala Kutuuhala Gaana-Rate |
Dhudhukutta Dhukkutta Dhimdhimita Dhvani Dhiira Mrdamga Ninaada-Rate
Jaya Jaya He Mahissaasura-Mardini Ramya-Kapardini Shaila-Sute || 9 ||

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Meaning:
(O Divine Mother, I invoke You and take refuge in Your Auspicious Feet)
9.1: (Salutations to You O Divine Mother) I Invoke You; Following the Rhythm of Whose Great Battle the Celestial Dancers Dance the rhythm of Ta-Tha-Theyi, Ta-Theyi, expressing the sentiment of the battle with their Dramatic Acts,
9.2: (I Invoke You) Following the Rhythm of Whose Great Battle the Celestial Musicians Create Music capturing the Tense Eagerness of the battle with the Talas (musical beats) like Ku-Kutha, Ku-Kutha, Ga-Da-Dha, Ga-Da-Dha,
9.3: Following the Rhythm of Whose Great Battle a Steady Deep Sound of Dhu-Dhu-Kuta, Dhu-Kuta, Dhim-Dhimi is played in the background from the Mridangam (a musical drum),
9.4: Victory to You, Victory to You, (I take Refuge in Your Auspicious Feet) O the Destroyer of Demon Mahishasura; (Victory to You) Who Shine with Beautiful Locks of Hair and Who is the Daughter of the Mountain.

सहितमहाहव मल्लमतल्लिक मल्लितरल्लक मल्लरते
विरचितवल्लिक पल्लिकमल्लिक झिल्लिकभिल्लिक वर्गवृते ।
शितकृतफुल्ल समुल्लसितारुण तल्लजपल्लव सल्ललिते
जय जय हे महिषासुरमर्दिनि रम्यकपर्दिनि शैलसुते ॥ १२ ॥
Sahita-Mahaahava Mallama-Tallika Malli-Tarallaka Malla-Rate
Viracita-Vallika Pallika-Mallika Jhillika-Bhillika Varga-Vrte |
Shita-Krta-Phulla Samullasita-[A]runna Tallaja-Pallava Sal-Lalite
Jaya Jaya He Mahissaasura-Mardini Ramya-Kapardini Shaila-Sute || 12 ||

Meaning:
(O Divine Mother, I invoke You and take refuge in Your Auspicious Feet)
12.1: (Salutations to You O Divine Mother) I Invoke You; Who is Accompanied in the Great Battle against Excellent Wrestlers (Fighters) by Girls who appear Tender like Jasmine Fighting against the Enemies,
12.2: (I Invoke You) Whose Accompaniments are Composed of Girls from the Bheel Tribe who are Tender like Creepers of Jasmine and buzz like Swarms of Bees,
12.3: Whose Face Play a Smile Created by Joy which appear like Dawn Shining forth with Red Colour and Blossoming the Excellent Buds of Flowers,
12.4: Victory to You, Victory to You, (I take Refuge in Your Auspicious Feet) O the Destroyer of Demon Mahishasura; (Victory to You) Who Shine with Beautiful Locks of Hair and Who is the Daughter of the Mountain.

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विजितसहस्रकरैक सहस्रकरैक सहस्रकरैकनुते
कृतसुरतारक सङ्गरतारक सङ्गरतारक सूनुसुते ।
सुरथसमाधि समानसमाधि समाधिसमाधि सुजातरते ।
जय जय हे महिषासुरमर्दिनि रम्यकपर्दिनि शैलसुते ॥ १७ ॥
Vijita-Sahasra-Karaika Sahasra-Karaika Sahasra-Karaika-Nute
Krta-Sura-Taaraka Sanggara-Taaraka Sanggara-Taaraka Suunu-Sute |
Suratha-Samaadhi Samaana-Samaadhi Samaadhi-Samaadhi Sujaata-Rate |
Jaya Jaya He Mahissaasura-Mardini Ramya-Kapardini Shaila-Sute || 17 ||

Meaning:
(O Divine Mother, I invoke You and take refuge in Your Auspicious Feet)
17.1: (Salutations to You O Divine Mother) I Invoke You; Who Conquer Thousands of Enemies who fight against Her with Thousands of Hands (by manifesting Her Own Thousand Hands); Who then Make Thousands of Hands (of Devotees) Praise Her,
17.2: (I Invoke You) Who Created the Rescuer of the Devas (Son Kartikeya) to Fight with Demon Tarkasura and then Urged Her Son for that Great Fight,
17.3: Who is Pleased with both: The Devotional Contemplation like King Suratha for Worldly Gains, and also the Excellent Devotional Contemplation like Merchant Samadhi for Spiritual Knowledge,
17.4: Victory to You, Victory to You, (I take Refuge in Your Auspicious Feet) O the Destroyer of Demon Mahishasura; (Victory to You) Who Shine with Beautiful Locks of Hair and Who is the Daughter of the Mountain.

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पदकमलं करुणानिलये वरिवस्यति योऽनुदिनं सुशिवे
अयि कमले कमलानिलये कमलानिलयः स कथं न भवेत् ।
तव पदमेव परम्पदमित्यनुशीलयतो मम किं न शिवे
जय जय हे महिषासुरमर्दिनि रम्यकपर्दिनि शैलसुते ॥ १८ ॥
Pada-Kamalam Karunnaa-Nilaye Varivasyati Yo-[A]nudinam Su-Shive
Ayi Kamale Kamalaa-Nilaye Kamalaa-Nilayah Sa Katham Na Bhavet |
Tava Padam-Eva Param-Padam-Ity-Anushiilayato Mama Kim Na Shive
Jaya Jaya He Mahissaasura-Mardini Ramya-Kapardini Shaila-Sute || 18 ||

Meaning:
(O Divine Mother, I invoke You and take refuge in Your Auspicious Feet)
18.1: (Salutations to You O Divine Mother) I Invoke You knowing that Whoever Serves Your Highly Auspicious Lotus Feet Everyday, Which is an Abode of Compassion, …
18.2: (He Serves) That Lotus (Lotus Feet), Which is an Abode of Kamala (Goddess Mahalakshmi); (Therefore) Will He Not Himself Become an Abode of Kamala (i.e. filled with Purity and Prosperity)?
18.3: Your Feet Indeed is the Supreme Feet (i.e. Supreme Refuge); Therefore How can I Not Practise Devotion Towards them, O Auspicious Mother?
18.4: Victory to You, Victory to You, (I take Refuge in Your Auspicious Feet) O the Destroyer of Demon Mahishasura; (Victory to You) Who Shine with Beautiful Locks of Hair and Who is the Daughter of the Mountain.

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अयि मयि दीन दयालुतया कृपयैव त्वया भवितव्यमुमे
अयि जगतो जननी कृपयासि यथासि तथानुमितासिरते ।
यदुचितमत्र भवत्युररीकुरुतादुरुतापमपाकुरुते
जय जय हे महिषासुरमर्दिनि रम्यकपर्दिनि शैलसुते ॥ २१ ॥
Ayi Mayi Diina Dayaalu-Tayaa Krpaya-Iva Tvayaa Bhavitavyam-Ume
Ayi Jagato Jananii Krpayaasi Yathaasi Tathanu-mita-Asira-Te |
Yad-Ucitam-Atra Bhavatyurarii-Kurutaa-Duru-Taapam-Apaakurute
Jaya Jaya He Mahissaasura-Mardini Ramya-Kapardini Shaila-Sute || 21 ||

Meaning:
(O Divine Mother, I invoke You and take refuge in Your Auspicious Feet)
21.1: (Salutations to You O Divine Mother) I Invoke You; You Must Bestow Your Grace on Me, O Mother Uma, Who is Compassionate to the Miserable,
21.2: (I Invoke You) O Mother of the Universe; Just as Your Grace is Showered (on the Devotees), In the Same Manner are Your Arrows Scattered (on the Enemies) (destroying their egos),
21.3 Please do Whatever is Appropriate at this time, O Worshipful Mother, to Remove the Sorrows and Afflictions (of the world) which has become Difficult for me to bear,
21.4: Victory to You, Victory to You, (I take Refuge in Your Auspicious Feet) O the Destroyer of Demon Mahishasura; (Victory to You) Who Shine with Beautiful Locks of Hair and Who is the Daughter of the Mountain.

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For the full Mahishasura Mardhini Stothram, click

here

clicking on each Sanskrit word will also give its meaning.

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Turahalli State Forest, 180918

September 27, 2018

Warning, contains images that may be disturbing.

The Bangalore skyline from Turahalli

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Post to the bngbirds egroup:

Today was the fourth time in a few days that I went to Turahalli. After Vijetha Sanjay discovered the patch of the carnivorous plant, Drosera burmannii (Sundew plant), I have taken friends to see the plant; they have all been surprised by how tiny it is!

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Today was the first weekday that I have been to Turahalli in a while. As we climbed the path to the Muniswara temple, we heard the temple bells being rung and some chanting too. What, however, the three of us were unprepared for, was to have four chickens beheaded and their bodies thrown in front of us, twitching as they bled to death.

The family offering the worship included young children; they were obviously inured to this, and everyone seemed quite matter-of-fact about it.

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Sacrifice is a part of many rituals of worship, and I cannot presume to judge such customs. But being completely unused to it, it was very unsettling indeed. Even more upsetting was seeing the head of one of the birds lying amongst the flowers offered for worship.

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So if anyone is not used to watching such customs, please do not go up to the temple on a Tuesday, as it seems to be the day for such sacrifices. I have never, in all my years of visiting Turahalli, seen this before.

However, the rest of our outing was very pleasant indeed. The patch of the carnivorous plants was rewarding, as was the brightly-coloured male Red Avadavat which seems to sit regularly on some dried trees near the top of the hillock.

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Several kind of insects,spiders and flies showed us their beauty. Four Southern Birdwings flashed their bright yellow and black as they flew overhead near the Eucalyptus trees. A Pale Grass Blue opened up the blue as it repeatedly sat on the freshly-fallen petals of the Cassia senna.

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Spotted Dove
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A dog near us charged at a young peacock, which flew up into the Eucalypus and afforded us a shot.

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A young family who’d brought a professional photographer (and a plastic sign saying “BABY GIRL”) to capture their daughter’s infant moments, kept yelling at her to look at the camera. (“IL NODU, PUTTA!”) Patient for a while, she finally started her own bit of yelling when she was made to put on a pair of blue plastic butterfly wings and a blue antenna headband!

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Such lilttle vignettes kept us quite happy as we slowly wended our way back, and went home after a nice hot coffee at SLV Coffee, where the ever-smiling Triveni was working as hard as usual.

A fly:

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Blister Beetle with pollen from the Stachytarpeta flowers:

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I have put up the photos from the outing

here

and the Flickr album is

here

And have made a short video of the wonderful “pot” entrance that the ants were making to their nest:

Also rather struck by the exponential growth in the human habitation in the less-than-ten-years I have been visiting Turahalli, I made a quick video of the skyline:

The eBird list is

here

Rangoli on Ganesha Chathurthi, 130919

September 13, 2018

Instead of the stock Ganesha Puja photos, I thought I’d click some of the beautiful rangolis that I saw on my morning walk. So much art on our roads and footpaths, I felt like documenting and preserving these transient works.

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Kolams like these are called “puLLi kOlam” in Tamizh, that is, they have first an arrangement of dots, which are joined together or have lines drawn around them (sometimes a single continuous line); very geometrical and precise.

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Ones like this are freestyle:

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Let me end with a lovely Ganesha-themed puLLi kOlam:

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4th Sunday outing, Bngbirds: Muthanallur Kere, 220718

July 25, 2018

Our group, the Usual Gang of Suspects, at MCS or Mandatory Chai Stop. The group always has different people, so this is a good way of introducing ourselves to each other!

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The assembled group except for MBK.

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Anil, Anindita, Divya, Regin, Arpita,Sushma, Imtiaz (hidden),Siri, Sanjay, Suhasini, Padma,Prathap, Ramaswamy, Gopinath, Raju, Harish, Ganesha, Priyaranjan, Subramanya, Sahas, Vijay, Arnab, Srini, Deepak. MBK is missing. Muthanallur lake,220718

With MBK, who was photographing me photographing the group!

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Email to bngbirds egroup:

Dear Shyam, Sorry that you had to miss a very pleasant morning, and one where two of the most experienced birders of Bangalore were present! It was very nice to have Dr M B Krishna and Dr S Subramanya, who shared some of their encyclopaedic knowledge with us.

Suhasini with MBK and Subbu

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All of us met at the Shani temple at Muthanallur,

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but when we started walking on the lake bund, it was apparent that because of the proliferation of water hyacinth, this part of the lake was completely choked and we could not see much. So we all piled into our cars and went to the Muthanallur bus stop, and from there to the path that leads past a pig farm to the shore of the lake.

Rose-ringed Parakeet

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The lake was brimming; this is, surely, the fullest that I have seen this waterbody.

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The path that we usually walked on was completely under water, so we took the higher path. This, too, was very overgrown after the rains, and we did not cover more than half the distance we usually cover in drier seasons. However enough interesting beings kept us occupied.

Pied Kingfisher

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Having started with Coppersmith Barbets and White-throated Kingfishers near the temple, we looked at Little Grebes, Little and Great Cormorants, Coots and an occasional Egret and Pond Heron. Black Kites and Brahminy Kites soared over the water, effortlessly riding on the monsoon wind. We heard the Common Iora before some of us spotted it. Some Purple Swamphens, Common Moorhens, and an Indian Cormorant added to our list. We watched Sunbirds and Flowerpeckers, too.

Sunbird’s nest

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Oriental Darter

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Nor was there a lack of other creatures to observe. Today certainly seemed to be Spider Day! Wood Spiders, Orb Weavers, Tent Spiders, Signature Spiders, Comb-footed Spiders, Social Spiders…what a variety of them we were privileged to see this morning!

Butterflies, dragonflies, and damselflies, too, dotted our walk and it was nice to see ants farming hoppers on the Milkweed plants. Siri was the only child on the walk, but she was most interested in everything, even though a snail shell had her drawing back in disgust!

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Green Lynx Spider with fly kill.

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A variety of wild plants were all around us. I showed them the Abutilon, the Devil’s Coach Whip, the Coat Button flowers, and the heart-shaped mark on the seeds of the Balloon Vine, that gives it the scientific name “cardiospermum” (cardio=heart, spermum=seed).Evolvulus, Justicia, Richardia, Senna, bloomed everywhere.The water hyacinth led the list of invasive plants, with Parthenium, Lantana, Eupatorium there too. We looked at the monocultures of Acacia and Eucalyptus.

Returning, we paused at the Adi Parasakhti temple that has been recently built, next to the huge old Mahua tree, which was fruiting.

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MBK aaked an intriguing question about why the tree dropped all its seeds near itself rather than trying to disperse it far and wide. (Want to know the answer? Email him!) We shared the variety of snacks that we brought, and having restored our tissues, walked back to our waiting commitments elsewhere and the routine of our weekday lives.

Some of us stopped for breakfast at South Inn, on Sarjapura Road, as we returned that way.

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Replete, and charged up with the easy companionship of a morning spent in Nature, we wended our way homewards.

Many thanks to Deepak, who came along in spite of running a fever the previous day. As one of us had locked the key inside the car, he stayed until the issue was sorted out (Gautam went to the village and got a mechanic from a garage, who opened the car in a few minutes!), before leaving.

Small Salmon Arab.

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MBK made the point that the walk must start later to allow students to join in. However, on my own walks, I ensure that college students and young women are provided safe transportation, and have many of them on walks that start sharp at 6.30am. It just takes a little extra effort to accommodate people in cars; and it results in everyone meeting new people and bonds the group together!

So please, if you have any difficulty with transportation on the 3rd and 4th Sunday walks, do ask on the group if someone is coming from your area; people are generally happy to share a ride, and people like me, who do not have a car, or have trouble with the low frequency and late start of public transport on a Sunday, can still enjoy these outings.

I have put up an album of my photos on FB,

here

and on Flickr,

here

I have taken a short video of the group while we took a snack break:

Shyam and others, wishing you a good time for the rest of the Sunday, (I mean the siesta as well as the time left!) and a productive week ahead.

Cheers, Deepa.

I reflect…

March 7, 2017

What if the reflections
Of faith and belief, in my soul,
Are different from yours?
I might see a temple in the glass;
You might see a church spire.
Should we then fight
And argue and shed blood
Over what is right and wrong?
Surely, all these paths and reflections
Lead but to the innermost soul
Where resides the Force, the Being
That we believe in…both you and I.

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Mist-ery, and creating the look, Hoskote Kere, 251216

December 28, 2016

On Christmas Day, I went to the 4th Sunday outing of BngBirds, which I had organized this month at Hoskote Lake. It was foggy, and I got some mist-erious shots:

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Amongst other things, I noticed this godman getting ready for his day, donning the accoutrements of his trade (sorry, religion seems to be as much a profession these days as any other more-usual one!)

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He had an assistant, who did not seem to need as much adornment as he did.

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I asked them if I could take photographs, and he and his assistant nodded and carried on with their makeup. Everything…the “rudrAksha” beads, the “vibhUti”, the “sindUr”…was being applied carefully.

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I got a strange, half-suspicious look when they realized I was taking more than one photograph! So I stopped and went on my way.

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What are the lives of these people like, and how do they eke a living? I will never know…we live in the same city, but on different planets!

On the death of children….

December 17, 2014

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Yesterday,
Children reached out
For the shimmering colours
Of their future
Little knowing
That their own elders
Would burst that bubble
In the red glare of a bloodbath.
Nothing will remain now
But the memory of their innocence.
Trusting lambs,
Slaughtered where they came to learn, to grow.
Agony, incredible pain,
In the hearts of their families.
What inhuman beings are these
Whose hearts hold so much anger
And hatred, that they can kill children
In cold blood?

Every child, to me, is like my little grandchildrn, chasing dreams, with happiness and hope..

On different orientation…..

November 7, 2014

A thread about cross-dressing, trans-genders and homosexuality prompted a friend to write the following mythological/religious reference on a mailing list:

Just consider the following:
1. Shiva cross-dressed as Ardhanarishwara

2. Arjuna cross-dressed as Bruhannala

3. Vishnu, not only cross-dressed, but actually “crossed over” as Mohini, had an affair with Shiva and produced Hariharaputra/Shaasta/Ayyappa.

4. We have a tradition that Aravaan, who was Arjuna’s son was expected to die in the next day’s battle—-such was the prophecy. Aravaan was asked as to what his last wish was. He wanted to marry. No one wanted to marry a person who was going to die the next day. Finally a transvestite/Hijra volunteered. That is why Hijras are also called Aravaanis. There are Aravaan temples which are visited by Hijras and others.

5. Many male Krishna-worshippers, even today cross-dress as Radha and worship Krishna.

6. In the 1500-year old Jambukeswara Temple at Tiruvanaikovil near Tiruchirapalli, even today, every day at noon, the priest cross-dresses as a young woman and performs the puja to Shiva.

7. Sakhi and Sakha are all traditions with enormous homoerotic content and are considered entirely legitimate.

8. Khajuraho has sculptures depicting both male homosexuality and lesbianism. At least our ancestors did not feel these were “dirty” for the temple atmosphere. If they are dirty, it is only because the dirt arises in the mind of the beholder.

In fact, cross-dressing, pursuit of androgyny, homo-eroticism, transvestite identities etc. are so common and frequent in Hindu traditions that they do not even call for excess comment. Arjuna, who is one of our great heroes, exhibited signs of bisexuality, cross-dressing and a refreshing androgynous personality. He was known as “Sabyasachi” because he was ambidextrous and could shoot arrows from both hands. The term also captures his inherent androgyny. Quite cool, if you ask me.

My take on homosexuality/lesbianism:

How on earth does it matter who we sleep with, or not? The people we are are what matters. I too have several friends of a different orientation; when they told me so, my response was that I was waiting for the day when it would no longer be necessary to make these statements at all.

Especially in our repressed, hypocritical Indian culture, where even heterosexual activity is so frowned upon, just imagine how tough life must be if one has a different orientation (it’s been proved that this is genetic and not a cultivated choice.)

We can be in denial, as we seem to be often in denial of there being child molesters in so many Indian families. Or…we can accept an aspect of humanity that has existed as long as humanity does. Believe me, as a naturalist, I know that such behaviour is common to other species too. If we remove the moral tag from so many things….smoking, drinking, non-vegetarianism, and others…we would, I feel, be happier people ourselves, accepting those whom we meet for what they are.

I have several friends on both sides of the spectrum, and the good friends are good friends NMW…No Matter What!

When D’s uncle and his partner (they’ve been together for 20+ years now) came to attend DnA’s wedding, we were rather apprehensive about whether they would face whispers and sniggers. But on the other hand, my friends seemed to perceive them as people, and everyone got along so well!

One of my gay friends in Bangalore laughs about the fact that landlords are so against letting an apartment out to a young man and a young woman, and unthinkingly let their homes out to two men or two women.

Let’s just meet and interact with people as people, and not go by the bodies they inhabit! And let’s remember…love is so precious and rare to find in this world, let’s not scorn it because it may come in an unusual garb….pun intended!

Memories of Pujo

October 2, 2014

IMG_0009 Durga Puja, Ulsoor, 06

চেযে দেখলাম নিজের মনের মধ্যে।
পুজোর সে দিনগুলি আবার
চোখের সামনে এসে পড়ল।
ঢাকি, প্রসাদ, নতুন কাপড় জামা,মিষ্টি,ঘুঘনি,সে যে ভীড় ….
মনে করিলাম সেই দৃশ্যগুলোকে।
আজ আমি অনেক দূরে আছি.
তবুও আমার মন ক্ষণে পৌঁছে গেল
মায়ের কাছে….
মহিষাসুর মর্ধিনি! দেবী!
আমার প্রনাম স্বীকার কর গো মা!
তোমার চরণ স্পর্শতে
আমার মন ও আত্মা
কমলের মতন ফুটিয়া পড়ে।
জননী, ই জগতের রক্ষা কর !

I looked back, in my mind,
And revisited the days of Pujo.
The dhaakis, prasad, new clothes, sweets, those crowds..
I saw those scenes once again.
Today, I am very far away.
But my mind reached the Mother
In an instant.
O Slayer of Mahishasur! O Goddess!
Accept my reverence, O Mother!
At the touch of your feet
My mind and soul
Blossom like lotuses.
O Mother, protect this Earth!

here

is my blogpost from 8 years ago! Happy Bijoya to everyone!

Reflections on Krishna Jayanti (Janmashtami)

September 16, 2014

A friend on a mailing list had talked about Krishna, and said:

Surprisingly, the word Krishna means dark/ black color. However this had not affected his immense popularity.

One point occurs to me, visiting St.Louis at a time when division based on the colour of one’s skin is more pronounced than ever, in this deeply segregated city.

​I personally find the “dark/black colour” of Krishna has been sanitized in Indian folklore (like Rama’s skin colour, too!) to a purple-blue, from the actual dark grey that “megha varNam” is…the rain-bearing monsoon clouds certainly don’t have a hue other than that!

I have heard so many Indian people claim, with righteous pride, “We venerate dark gods.” It is precisely these people, for whom the colour of even a god seems important, who seem more intolerant of darkness of skin in humans.

I think it is the other qualities of Krishna…his romantic allure, his people skills, and indeed, his crafty statesmanship…that account for his popularity.That, and his association with music, and the allied “lalit kala” (fine arts.)

I can never help being impressed by the subtlety by which he ensured that the Pandavas’ representative, Arjuna, got the first choice of his guidance in the war. (He asked one Pandava and one Kaurava to come and sit next to him, and ask their boons when he awoke. Arjuna devotedly sat at his feet as he slept, and Duryodhana proudly sat at his head. This ensured that on waking, Krishna saw Arjuna first, and gave him the first choice. Arjuna chose Krishna, and the Kauravas got Krishna’s armies. It does intrigue me that Krishna, knowing in advance the outcome of the war, so easily sacrificed his loyal soldiers on the battlefield.)

In Anjana’s high school Hindi text book (probably Class 5 or 6, in the early nineties) there was a prose passage which dealt with Krishna, not as a god, but as an excellent statesman and leader of the various tribes which made up the kingdoms around Mathura.

I thought that Rahi Masoom Reza’s characterization of Krishna in the famous TV serial as a mischieviousm impish person, not above the occasional deviousness and political stratagem, is very human, and sticks close to the persona that most of our literature and music talk about.

God or man? The choice is ours to make, based on our faith, or lack of it.