Archive for ‘Culture’

February 21, 2010

A Project Manager of 13th century

by Sarvesh K Tiwari

Here is a real estate Project Manager in 13th century, working out the details of his construction schedule, budget and resources or maybe going through the blueprint… he is not working on a Laptop punching at the keyboard, but in old fashioned way having a neat bundle of papers at his desk…

We snapped it a few weeks back from a temple in our favourite oDishA country…

January 12, 2010

Some legends of bhojadeva

by Sarvesh K Tiwari

Many legends of rAjan bhojadeva pramAra allude to widespread erudition of the common man of his reign; many tales portray carpenters, potters, ironsmiths, tailors, field-labourers and even thieves having stunning knowledge of saMskR^ita and poetic talent.

Once, goes one such legend, a criminal condemned with capital punishment by the nyAyAdhyakSha was brought before bhoja for final hearing. Having heard the case bhoja asked the convict whether he had any plea before he delivered his verdict.  The criminal, as is anticipated in the bhoja legends, responded with:

भट्टिर्नष्टो भारविश्चापि नष्टो भिक्षुर्नष्टो भीमसेनश्च नष्टः
भुक्कुण्डोहम् भुपतिस्त्वम् च राजन भानां पंक्तावंतकः सम्प्रविष्टः

bhaTTi has died, so has bhAravi; bhikShu is dead, so also bhImasena;
(Now watch out) O rAjan, yamarAja seems bent on consuming away the “bha-” vya~njana sequence (by the svara order a-A-i-I-u-U- etc), and with bhukkuNDa, that is me, about to be executed, you, bhUpati bhojadeva, might be the next one on his list! 

Poetic audacity ensured clemency to the saMskR^ita-speaking convict.

Once his tailor taking measurements for making a waistcoat, uttererd this prAkR^ita pada:  “bho.a.ehu gali kaNThula.u bhaNa keha.u paDihA.i / ura lachcHihi muha sarasati sIma nibaddhi kA.i”  [O bhojadeva, (shall I) say how I see your neck? As if a boundary drawn between the realms of lakShamI residing in your heart and of sarasvatI in your mouth!]

prabandha chintAmaNi mentions that once traveling bhoja passed by an inn in his kingdom, and desirous of knowing how it was kept by the innkeepers, he went inside.  It was managed by a lady named sItA and her daughter vijayA.  The senior innkeeper impressed bhoja with her erudite poetry and was welcomed to join his retinue of the learned poets, and vijayA who was as splendid at poetry as striking she was in her looks, eventually won bhoja’s heart and became her favourite.  One conversation is given:  bhoja uttered, “suratAya namastasmai jagadAnanda-dAyine” [Bow to lovemaking, giver of pleasure to the worlds] to which she replied, “AnuSha~Ngika-phalaM yasya bhojarAja bhavAdR^ishAH” [which brings the births of the likes of bhojadeva.]  This is similar to the conversation of samasyA-pUrti between bhoja and another young poetess in appreaciation of whose looks bhoja remarked, “asAre khalu saMsAre sAram sAra~NgalochanA” [Of this baseless world the only essence is those with the bow-like-eyes (women like you)], to which pat came the reply, “yasyAM kukShau samutpanno bhojarAja bhavAdR^ishaH” [whose wombs give birth to the likes of bhojarAja] 

Once, says PC, bhoja taught his parrot to repeat ‘eko na bhavyaH’ [Only this one is not good], and asked his favourite vararuchi (the author of metrical vikramacharita and others) to go compose a convincing reply before the end of the day, on completion of which a great reward awaited.  As the fate would have it he just could not find the right words and he was sitting by uttering these words near a field where the cows of an elderly shepherd were grazing.  The shepherd approached him and asked what the matter was.  vararuchi told him.  Now the old man said that he could provide the best answer to this and let vararuchi have the reward, only if varachuti took him to the king, and carry his pet dog on his shoulders as the shepherd was too old to carry it himself.  vararuchi did as told, and before bhojadeva the shepherd recited a pada that meant that, “Causing even a learned brAhmaNa to carry on his own shoulders the dog of a shepherd, the greed for money and fame is the one thing that is no good!”

In another legend, bhoja was once riding his horse when he saw an elderly timber-seller carrying an apparently heavy burden on his shoulders, so he asked him, in “broken” saMskR^ita, whether the burden was not too heavy for the old man.  To this, the man sadly replied with a hemstitch in immaculate saMskR^ita, “Not anymore O moon-like bhojadeva, now that I have an even heavier burden on my heart!  That our beloved rAjan either himself speaks ashuddha bhAShA or likely thinks that we do.”  After apologies from bhoja, the man was greatly rewarded.

The great mammaTa of kashmIra country said about bhoja:  “Scattered at night from the strings during kAmakeli from the bedrooms of the learned / pearls from being swept in the morning by the careless housemaids used to reach the streets/ where in reflection of the redness of AlatA from the feet of the young girls playfully walking / used to delude the parrots who chewed on them thinking to be pomegranate seeds / such was dhArA, and such its king bhojadeva whose generosity and scholarship created such happy days.” (kAvyaprakAsha 10.505)

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?

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.

November 16, 2009

pAtisAha’s diktat

by Sarvesh K Tiwari

We are guilty of having put off pAtisAha’s apostasy for some time now, conveniently blaming it on the lack of time but in reality suffering from our chronic lack of discipline and the habit of suddenly losing interest in a task after initiating it.

But this is not acceptable to pAtisAha, who recently decided to haunt us, and inserted an unplanned trip to sikandarA in our recent itinerary through the region. Although we have visited before where he was buried by his fanatic murderous son, but coming here fills us every time with more ideas and insights about him. The monkeys guarding the ASI description at the place reminded us of the job that our textbooks have done with pAtisAha’s apostasy:

monkeys at the ASI's description of Akbar at sikandarA

But this was not all. Just days later, pAtisAha next encountered us in mAravADa. Wandering through the alleys of a famous temple of AdinAtha around pAlI, we were sure to have missed this inscription, had our priyadarshinI companion not asked us to translate for her what was written on this one of those hundreds of pillars. And surely, here pAtisAha was, announcing in our face a grant he had issued for the temple during the happy days of his kAfirhood in 1594, through a famous AchArya! nAgarI lines announce in the second line, ‘pAtisAhi shrI akabbara pradatta…’:

pAtisAha's inscription at rANakapura temple

But as though this was not enough. He now seemed to be furious with us for ignoring his task for too long, when right in the next week he suddenly popped before us on a plaque in ambara country, sitting in vIrAsana facing ShoDashabhujI jagadambA, angrily staring down at us, censuring us for our laziness.

a plaque at ambara

We wonder what he would do next if we still ignored him any longer…

October 30, 2009

bhUShaNa: sivAjI na hoto tau sunnati hota sabakI

by Sarvesh K Tiwari

देवल गिरावते फिरावते निसान अली ऐसे डूबे राव राने सबी गये लबकी
गौरागनपति आप औरन को देत ताप आप के मकान सब मारि गये दबकी
पीरा पयगम्बरा दिगम्बरा दिखाई देत सिद्ध की सिधाई गई रही बात रबकी
कासिहू ते कला जाती मथुरा मसीद होती सिवाजी न होतो तौ सुनति होत सबकी

सांच को न मानै देवीदेवता न जानै अरु ऐसी उर आनै मैं कहत बात जबकी
और पातसाहन के हुती चाह हिन्दुन की अकबर साहजहां कहै साखि तबकी
बब्बर के तिब्बर हुमायूं हद्द बान्धि गये दो मैं एक करीना कुरान बेद ढबकी
कासिहू की कला जाती मथुरा मसीद होती सिवाजी न होतो तौ सुनति होत सबकी

कुम्भकर्न असुर औतारी अवरंगज़ेब कीन्ही कत्ल मथुरा दोहाई फेरी रबकी
खोदि डारे देवी देव सहर मोहल्ला बांके लाखन तुरुक कीन्हे छूट गई तबकी
भूषण भनत भाग्यो कासीपति बिस्वनाथ और कौन गिनती मै भूली गति भव की
चारौ वर्ण धर्म छोडि कलमा नेवाज पढि सिवाजी न होतो तौ सुनति होत सबकी

When temples were demolished by those marching under nishAn-i-alI [1], rAvals-rANA-s had been tamed and every Hindu intimidated
When foresaken by gaura-gaNapatau themselves, the Hindus becoming timid were afraid even to come out from their homes
When renouncing their siddhi, siddha-s and digambara-s were happy to become pIra and paigambara, and talk was heard only of ‘raba’
kAshI was losing its kalA, mathurA becoming a masjid, and everyone was about to lose his foreskin, had shivAjI not been born!

All hearts were deluded, and faith in deities evaporated, such were the days that I speak of
Akbar the earlier pAtisAh had shown regard for the Hindus, even shAhajahAn will bear witness to it
The grandson of bAbur[2], and also humAyUn, had follwed the policy of not allowing the creed of Qoran to consume up the sacred religion of the veda-s
But now? kAshI was losing its kalA, mathurA becoming a masjid, and all were about to lose their foreskin, had shivAjI not happened!

Awrangzib, the very devil incarnated, the perpetrator of the genocide of mathurA in name of ‘Rab’
When he was uprooting abodes of devI-s and deva-s, and converting millions upon millions to mahomedanism across the cities and mohalla-s, have you forgotten that day?
bhUShana had thought that even mahAdeva, the Lord of kAshI, had fled away renouncing the world to its own, counts who else!
All four varNa-s were about to renounce dharma to read kalamA and do namAz and everyone was ready to lose his foreskin, had shivAjI not happened right then, that is!

[1]nishAn-i-alI, also known as the nishAn-i-haydar, is today the highest award of military honour in terrorist country.
[2]bhUShaNa uses the epithet ‘babbara ke tibbara’, we think for Akbar. ‘tibbar’ can be from trivara, and might be used for ‘third one’, ‘third time’, ‘third generation’, or grandson.

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