Archive for December, 2009

December 25, 2009

vayaM pArasIkaM; We the pArasI-s

by Sarvesh K Tiwari

सुर्यँ ध्यायंति ये वै हुतवहमनिलं भुमिमाकाशमाद्यं
तोयो सम्पंचतत्वं त्रिभुवनसदनं न्यासमंत्रैस्त्रिसन्ध्यं
श्री होरमिज्दं बहुगुणगरिमाणं तमेवम् कृपालुं
गौराः धीराः सुवीरा बहुबलनिलयास्ते वयं पारसीकं 1

[Those who meditate on the Sun, and make offerings to the Fire, Wind, Earth, Space and Water,
that is, to the five elements of the three-Worlds, through the nyAsa sandhyA-s thrice a day;
Who adore the merciful shrI ahuramAzdAh, the Lord of the Gods, of many virtues;
Those, (O rAjan,) we are, the pArasIka-s, bold, valiant, strong, and fair]

प्रायश्चित्तम् पवित्रं पशुमपि सहसा हंति चेत्पंचगव्यम्
गोमूत्रं स्नानपूर्वं घनतरदिवसैः शुद्धिरेवं मनोज्ञा
नित्यंनित्यं गुरुणां सुवचनकरणं कल्मषक्षालनार्थं
येषामाचार एवं प्रतिदिनमुदितास्ते वयं पारसीकं 15

[Those, who if happen to even accidentally hurt a creature, undertake penances and adulations with pa~ncha-gavya-s , i.e. the five products of the cow;
Apply gomUtra before bathing for many days to get purified
from the sin; who always strive to keep the wonderful traditions of our masters and ancestors;
Such are whose conducts and who rejoice in following such our ways (O rAjan), are we the pArasIka-s]

Between the above two shloka-s written in shragdharA metre are thirteen more, that constitute the appeal written by a jaruthastrian scholar addressing the rANA of kAThiyAvADa. Not willing to sacrifice their sacred religion at any cost, but unable any more to bear the persecutions and humiliation at the hands of the fanatical desert marauders and their own converted coethnics, the surviving pArasIka-s had painfully decided to finally flee from their motherland and seek refuge in their sisterly Hindu Nation.

Having rapidly loaded their ships with their women and children and the bare necessities of voyage that could be found, they sailed through the eastern winds for over a week before laying anchors at the port of diu. The high priest sent a representation to the rANA with these 15 stanza-s, which speak about pArasIka religion and customs and highlight the hoary concordance of pArasIka and hindU religions and shared legacy of yore, written in an interesting saMskR^ita which harmoniously uses pehalavI words such as ‘dIna’ for religion!

As is well known, the rANA welcomed them to his domain, and his reply sent through his own chief priest became the sixteenth stanza of this composition which is reverently remembered and used by the pArasIka-s to this day.

श्री होरमिज़्दमुखम् सकलविजयकृत्पुत्रपौत्रादिवृध्यै
दाता श्री आतशोयं स भवतु भवतां पाप नाशाय नित्यं
श्री सूर्यः स्वानुकूलो बहुतरफलदा न्यासजाप्याय पंच
हे सर्वे पारसीका असुरविजयिनो यांतु मान्यं च नित्यं

[O pArasIka-s, May shrI ahuramAzdah grant you victory always, and may your children and grandchildren multiply;
Let your Sacred Fire be destroyer of the sins, and burn forever;
Verily, Let Lord Sun and the Five Elements, the givers of boons, always receive your nyAsa offerings and jApa-s;
And (fear not), O All you pArasIka-s, you shall be victorious over (these) demons and (re)gain the honour of yours]

Little did the rANA know! But, where will the Hindus go and to whom will they send their appeals?

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December 3, 2009

Some ancient kumAra vigraha-s of North India

by Sarvesh K Tiwari

In the days of our childhood, which now seem like light-years away, our loving grandmother would perform offerings to kArttikeya and ShaShThIdevI on certain occasions, drawing their images near the gaushAlA by dipping her finger in turmeric and milk paste, and murmur some prayers for the wellbeing of us kids. Years later, we used to be reminded of it, when now living in the draviDa country we would flock to the lush hillock of the kongu-s and find ourselves at the ancient shrine of the fierce surasenApati. We would often wonder why the charming deity was almost forgotten by the hindU-s of North India, not knowing the answer. Still later, reading a hindI novel ‘jaya yaudheya’ written by the marxist scholar, we learnt how kumAra was indeed a very popular deity, a principal deity of North, in an era long gone by. But it is not until we read the encyclopedic essays by the AchArya of mAnasataraMgiNI that we learnt more about the kumAra traditions (Read several kumAra-related essays, starting with some discursion on skanda tantra-s and bAlagraha-s)

In our travels to rAjapUtAnA, mathurA and magadha in recent months, we have come across some ancient kumAra vigraha-s; posting here the pictures.

The following is a surprisingly intact and marvelous vigraha of skanda from abhanerI of dausA, datable to 700s:

This one has got to probably be the oldest available intact kumAra vigraha from anywhere in North India. From mathurA, 1st century of the CE, the age of the shu~Nga-s:

Also from mathurA, kept in the UP state museum there, is this 2nd century terracotta figure of ShaNmukha kumAra riding a flying mayUra, which has got broken into two pieces:


From the same age is this other figure where kumAra holds his shUla in the right hand and embraces his mayUra with left.

Our relatives settled in magadha country took us to this ancient temple on the shores of gaNDakI, at the meeting point of darabha~NgA and samastIpura, where true to his name skanda oozes out from shivali~Nga. There is no way to tell the date, but to us it seems like from roughly before the jehAd of bakhtiyAr khaljI.

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