The story of Nala and Damayanti

The Story of Nala and Damayanti – Mahabharat

The story of Nala & Damayanti was narrated by Sage Dhaumya, the guru of Pandavas in exile, a story to illustrate how even the great people would have difficult times. The story goes like this.

The raja Bhima of Kundinapuri had a daughter whose beauty was famous, and even the celestials were keen on marrying her. King Bhima had announced a Swayamvar for her, in which King Nala of Naishadha Kingdom had also been a candidate. He also happened to be well appreciated by all the celestial for his contributions in the war against the demons of the netherworld. Nala was even a great friend of many celestials, including Indra their lord. As Indra was a good friend of Nala, he and Agni, Vayu, and Varun decided to be present as exact duplicates of Nala, just to confuse Damayanti.

Sure, she was indeed perplexed seeing five Nalas instead of one, and in her mind did a quick prayer in the mind to Devi Parvati to help her. Immediately in her mind, Paravati told her that the four celestials would not be touching ground, while the real Nala would be standing on earth. With this clue, she could easily identify Nala and select him.

This didn’t please Kali whose term on earth was to begin years later. He decided to punish Nala and Damayanti for having rejected the celestial King. Kali soon bribed Nala’s brother Pushkara, together with Dwapara, another lord of the Yuga; in a game of deuce Pushkara defeated Nala who lost his kingdom. Very soon Kali and Dwapara did a number of vicious moves and even made him leave his wife.

Then came a most poisonous snake Takshaka, who was once saved from fire by Nala. He was found as a helpless snake in fire in front of Nala, and pleaded for help. As Nala had a boon from Agni that he would not be harmed by fire, he saved the snake. The snake then asked him to take ten steps, counting in Sanskrit. Thus eka, dwaya, … nava, dasa (a word which had dual “ten” and “bite me”. Immediately the snake bit him, which turned the handsome prince into an old hag. Nala asked the snake why he bit him as he had only tried to save him. Takshaka showed his normal form and told him that his poison was only to drive away Kali from his body, and his poison would not have any effect on Nala, though it has become very painful for Kali, and presented him with a piece of black cloth on wearing which he would regain his royal form, and asked him to be in the wretched clothes until the period of curse by Kali is over, during which he could help King Rituparna as a charioteer, (because Nala was the only one who knew Ashwahridaya, the science of speed driving of chariots) and asked him to learn the technique of Akshavidya, the science of precise estimation of large number of countables. He also told him that the moment he learns Akshvidya, the effect of Kali’s curse would cease to exist and wearing the cloth given by Takshaka he would regain his usual form.

Thus, feeling slightly motivated, Nala in his new form took a new name Bahuka and reached the kingdom of Kosala, of King Rituparna. He introduced himself as an excellent charioteer, and having worked for King Nala in the past. As a result of the misfortunes of his King he had to leave. He pleaded with a King to give him a chance as charioteer.

Very soon it became known to all that Nala was indeed a great charioteer. At another occasion he showed also how good he can cook nice food that too in a very short time. Naturally the King was highly impressed.

Meanwhile, queen Damayanti, abandoned in the forest by her husband, was picked up by a caravan of Merchants who knew her story. As per her request, the queen Damayanti was dropped at the palace of King Bhima, who had been on the lookout for his daughter. They planned to send a number of spies to look for King Nala in all countries near and far. One such spy, incidentally a Brahmin, reached the kingdom of King Rituparna, and heard about the new charioteer and his ability to cook large and tasty meals practically in a short time. This Brahman had also met King Nala a few times and wanted to meet Bahuka.

However the Brahman spy could not ascertain that Bahuka was indeed King Nala primarily because of the excellent disguise Nala had with the help of the serpent Takshaka. However he had some doubts and returned to Kundinapuri with a new plan.

King Bhima and Damayanti, with the information brought by the Brahman spy, chalked out a plan. They set out an invitation of remarriage of Damayanti, and spread it only in the kingdom of Rituparna. However, the time of Swayamvar announced wasn’t reachable from Rituparna’s palace by any charioteer. Learning about Damayanti’s swayamvar, King Rituparna was pleased but unhappy because no charioteer could make the journey in such a short time. Even his Mom mister Varshneya, himself being an excellent charioteer, concurred with the King.

Bahuka accepted the challenge as he knew he knew he could easily reach Kundinapuri much before the scheduled time. However, he was a bit bewitched thinking how his dear wife had agreed to a second swayamvar. Nevertheless, he told the King that if he would like to travel to Kundinapuri before the scheduled time, he could drive his charriot.

King Rituparna and Nala, in the disguise of Bahuka, had no sleep. Varshneya was wondering how Bahuka would reach Kundinapuri, as promised. Early next day, the three got into the chariot prepared the previous day by Bahuka, and they set off. Varshneya and King Rituparna were amazed by the ease at which Bahuka was driving and said to themselves that this is not just a charioteer like others. Varshneya wanted to do a trick to judge the speed, dropped his angavastra; Bahuka saw the cloth and turned his charriot in a fraction of a second, and picked up, but they all felt that the charriot was reversed for over several Yojana. King Rituparna asked Bahuka to teach this way of driving chariots; but Bahuka gave a condition that in return he would teach him Akshavidya, the science of precise estimation without counting. By the time they had reached a not so large peepal tree.

Bahuka stopped the chariot and asked the King how many leaves were there on the tree. He quickly made an estimate, Bahuka plucked the leaves and counted and found the estimation was quite right. After that both exchanged their knowledge while Varshneya was busy giving some water to the horses.

They continued the trip and arrived at Kundinapuri and the palace of King Bhima. They were surprised to find no preparation for a swayamvar, but they were heartily welcomed by the King himself. The Brahman spy who had been to Rituparna’s palace identified the charioteer and told his Raja this is the same charioteer whom he had mentioned. All were certain that with the exception of King Nala, nobody could drive charriot so fast, yet his body was so different. The Brahman then asked Bahuka who he really was and found out that he also cooks exactly like King Nala. Bahuka told him that he was disappointed as he never though Damayanti would never agree for a second marriage. The Brahman replied saying that the whole thing was to find out if Nala was still alive. He then requested the Brahman to arrange a meeting with him in the royal chamber with King Bhima, Damayanti, King Rituparna. Nala, disguised as Bahuka narrated a few incidents known to Damayanti alone, and she knew immediately that this is indeed her husband, and with tears in her eyes, she asked him why he is putting her to more anxiety. At that point, Bahuka opened the morsel of the dirty cloth given by Takshaka, and put it over his body. In a second the wretch became King Nala in his full splendour, with only remaining thing was to describe what all happened to him. This stood united were Nala and Damayanti.

The story was told by Sage Dhaumya to Pandava to illustrate that even good people have to undergo some suffering but eventually come out stronger. This story is the content of Naishadha by the great poet and author Harsha.

Second Vedanga: Nirukta – The Science of Etymology

Nirukta Vedanga is considered the ears of the Veda Purusha. ‘Nirukta’ means ‘etymology’ and it explains the reason why a particular word has been used i.e., the meaning of usage. The only work which has survived as a specimen of this Vedanga ‘etymology’ is the Nirukta of Yaska. It is a commentary on Nighantu which is ‘list of words’ found in the Vedas. Tradition ascribes the Nighantu also to Yaska. The Nighantus are five lists of words, which are again divided into three sections. The first section consists of three lists, in which Vedic words are collected under certain main ideas. The second section contains a list of ambiguous and particularly difficult words of the Veda, while the third section gives a classification of the deities according to the three regions, earth, sky and heaven. Yaska explained these lists in the twelve books followed. The most interesting portion of the Nirukta is the discussion which covers the whole of the first book and a part of the second, as well as the seventh book, which was as an admirable introduction to the study of the Veda.Yaska has mentioned a considerable number of important grammarians as his predecessors in the Nirukta such as Galava, Shakapuni, Katthakya.Niruka is very important for several reasons. Firstly, it represents the type of the earliest classical style and in this respect stands by itself. Secondly, it is the oldest known attempt in the field of Vedic etymology. As regards the importance of the etymology Yaska himself says that without it the precise meanings of the Vedic stanzas cannot be understood
Nirukta (Sanskrit: “etymology”) — auxiliary Vedic texts which discuss the origin and development of words; among the four linguistic skills taught for mastery of the Vedas and the rites of yagna. Nirukta relies upon ancient lexicons, nighantu, as well as detailed hymn indices, anukramani. Five nighantus existed at the time of sage Yaska, whose treatise is regarded a standard work on Vedic etymology. Another name of Nighandu is Kosh. Amarasimha, one of the Nava Ratnas of Emperor Vikramaditya created one of the most popular Kosh, the Amarakosh.
There are altogether fourteen chapters in Nirukta out of which the first twelve chapters from the beginning are the main chapters and the two chapters in the end are given in the form of appendix or supplementary. These last two chapters cannot be considered as a subsequent addition because sage Uvvat in his annotation of Yajurveda has taken excerpts from the Nirukta. Both he and sage Sayan (?) are well acquainted with the chapters of Nirukta. This goes to prove that the Nirukta is more ancient than the time when both these sages existed.
Nirukta is the commentary of Nighantu. In Nighantu are compiled the difficult and complex terms of the Vedas. There are difference of opinions regarding the actual numbers of Nighantu. Only one Nighantu is available nowdays. Some scholars are of the views that Nighantu is created by none other than Yask, but followers of ancient tradition. According to the Mahabharat (Ch-342 of Moksha dharm, Shlokas 86-87) sage Kashyap is the creator of Nighantu.
Therefore going by the statement made in the Mahabharat it seems that it was the creation of Prajapati Kashyap during the Mahabharat period. There are five chapters in Nighantu. The first three chapters from the beginning are called Naighantu kand, the fourth and the fifth chapter are called Naigam kand and Daivatkand respectively.
The first chapter contains words connected with nature and natural elements like earth. The second kand consists of root-words or mono-words. The word Naigam means the impossibility to know about the exact meaning of the words and their nature. In Daivat-kand is described the appearances of the deities and their abodes.
Nirukta tells us about the etymological expressions of words & its derivations. The meaning varies according to the etymological expressions.
The importance of the Nirukta created by Yask is very great. In the very beginning of his literary composition sage Yask has illustrated about the principle of Nirukta in a scientific way. During his time the meanings of Vedas were interpreted on the basis of diverse opinions, which were, (1) Adhidaivat, (2) Adhyatm, (3) Aakhyan Samay, (4) Ethihasikah, (5) Naidanah, (6) Nairuktah, (7) Parivrajahah, and (8) Yagyikah.
Although the study of grammar also helps in understanding the characteristics of words but I cannot interpret the meaning of words as deeply as Nirukta. Therefore the study of the Nirukta is very necessary to understand the Vedas. It is a supplementary science of Grammar.

Draupadi’s Questions and Sri Krishna’s Answers

The 18 day Mahabharata war was quite devastating. 35 million soldiers, including those mounted on horses, elephants and chariots and many chariot drivers (some collateral damage) perished. Some were cremated, some human bodies also were buried, along with carcasses of horses and elephants, as the fuel wood was running scarce, and many were eaten by carnivorous animals.
Draupadi was at total loss, seeing this great loss, also because she lost all her children, and step-children (I mean children of her husbands through other women). She was sad and full of repentance, and thought she was the cause of the war, which also sent many families into abject poverty. She went to Sri Krishna to get some answers.
Draupadi asked Sri Krishna “Could this was be avoided? i feel I am the soul reason for all the destruction. What I should have done instead, to avoid so much of damage”

Sri Krishna answered, “Oh Panchali, yes, perhaps you were the only one who could have avoided the war or reduced the destruction to some extent.
“At the Swayamvara hall, you knew I was present, and when Karna attempted to string the bow, it was unnecessary for you to prevent him from doing it. For a moment, you forgot the very purpose of My being there, and allowed me to do my job.
“Karna was equal in skills with bow and arrow, and if given an equal chance, could have hit the target. But it was my job to create a small ripple on the water surface when Karna was to fire the arrow to make him miss the target. Arjun was destined to win the contest, and you didn’t let me do my job. If you had not insulted Karna that time, he would have had no grudge, being a nice man, and even prevented Duryodhan to ill-treat you on various occasions.”

He continued to tell Draupadi, ” Oh Krishnaa, after the Swayamvar, you, Arjun and his four brothers reached the hut where you were to meet Kunti for the first time, prince Yudhishthira jokingly made you into an object they all got as Bhiksha. And unknowingly Kunti asked the five brothers to share you. Then knowing her mistake, she had reprimanded her son to make you an object.”

“That was the time, oh Panchali, you should have told your husband and his brother Yudhishthir that you are a human, a young bride, and not an object, to be shared. But you remained silent, agreed to being an object, let Yudhishthir treat you again the same way even years later in the hall of betting at Hastinapur. You only let the five brothers share you as their wife. When you let others to do an injustice once, yow are losing an opportunity to fight it.

“And if you had stated that you didn’t approve the brothers sharing you as wife, mother Kunti would have been on your side, and you would have remained Arjun’s only wife. I was following you all not far behind, and by the time I had reached Kunti’s hut, you all had taken her harmless words as an order. If you had said one word in protest, I would have changed the entire story.”

“Again, at the Palace of Khandavaprastha, i knew some bad things are going to happen, as Duryodhan and Shakuni were planning to stay back a few more days. I had to return to Dwaraka as the king of Salwa had started an attack on my city. I told you to control your tongue, and asked your husband’s to stay away from game of betting.”

“In spite of that, you laughed aloud when Duryodhan stepped into water (sthala-jala bhram), and unnecessarily insulted him hiring at his blind father. Anyone with self respect would remember such an insult.
“And your husbands went ahead with the game of gambling with Shakuni, whose only aim was to make them win initially so that in the next round at Hastinapur, you all would certainly come.”

“At Hastinapur, when Duryodhan invited your husbands to gamble, the only thing that was going in their minds was that Sri Krishna should not come into the gambling hall. How could I prevent the gambling?”

“Yudhishthir knew about Shakuni’s ways of cheating in gambling, which I could have dealt with easily, if only Yudhishthir asked me to play on his behalf, just as Duryodhan was doing the same proxy with Shakuni. But in his mind, he prayed that I should not come into the hall!”

“When Dusshasan started to disrobe you, your husbands were helpless, and you realized that only I could help, and pleaded to me so, and I did help you immediately. Remember, even I cannot act unless you plead.”

“Oh Panchali, after the war started, I thought your mind would melt, seeing the death of Bhishma Pitamah, your father and others, and you might forgo some of the desire to avenge, and like every other woman your heart would be filled with compassion. But that didn’t seem to happen.

You saw  Khatolkacha coming to the camp to join the fight against Kaurav Army, being the first son of Bhima. You also knew the his mother Hidumba (or Hidumbi) was the wife of any of the Pandava got married. Of course, being a forest dwelling hunter Hidumba did not have any family name to boast, And what if he didn’t show respect to you as the empress? He showed his obeisance to all five Pandavas correctly and as per protocol.  Did your children showed obeisance to Hidumba the way you wanted Khatolkacha to do with you? et, you cursed him to be short-lived, which provoked his mother Hidumba to curse your children also to be short lived. You should have known that mother’s curses have such great potential, which was also a cause for the untimely death of your children. You paid the price of your behaviour  through the brutal killing of your five sons by Ashwathama.”

Karma has to take its due course, and nobody could avert that

First of the Vedangas: Shiksha – the Science of Phonetic Alphabets

I would like to mention first of all the different organs of Vedas, or the Vedangas. Thus Shiksha tells us and how important is the correct pronunciation of syllables (Phonetics). Nirukta would tell us about the root of words (Etymology), based on which the different dictionaries are defined. Vyakaran tells about the rules of speaking or writing the language (Grammar). Then Chhandas is the rule if writing poetry, and how the sequencing of syllables add more beauty to the verses, and how different Chhandas are defined and the rules for making meters of different verses.

The next two vedangs, Kalpa which deals with vedic rituals and Jyotish which tells us when it is the correct time to do a certain task and when it is not. For the time being I have no intention to cover these two branches.

Shiksha is the organ of Veda that defines how the different sounds are formed. However, i find these rules are essential for learning every Indian language, rather than merely staying as one of the tools for learning veda alone. This auxiliary discipline has focused on the syllables of the Sanskrit alphabet, accent, quantity, stress, melody and rules of euphonic combination of words particularly during a Vedic recitation. It intends to train the students in the art and science of articulation of words and syllables so that they can chant the Vedic hymns perfectly, producing the desired sound vibrations and maintain the ritual purity and efficacy of the ceremonies they perform. This has also made it possible to have the same rhythm of chanting Veda throughout India.

Shiksha really means instruction, then in particular, instruction in reciting, i.e. in correct pronunciation, accentuation etc. of the samhita texts. Later, it was a name given to works containing rules regarding the proper pronunciation of Vedic texts. Thus, the Shiksha-sutras are treatises on phonetics. Phonetics is most important in the case of the Vedic language, because we see that change in sound leads to change in results and effect.

The vibrations generated by sounds are considered to possess immense power in Hindu mysticism of Akshara Brahma – sound is the supreme spirit. The teachings of the Shiksha are contained in the ancient texts known as Pratisakhyas, each attached to a specific Samhita of Veda, providing instructions for the recitation of the hymns Contained in it. Hence, Shiksha which is Vedic phonetics has been regarded as the most important of the Six Angas (organs) of the Veda Purusha.

The Pratisakhyas was probably composed by many grammarians like Saunaka before Panini and revised from time to time. Shiksha played an important role in Vedic India at a time when there was no written script and the knowledge of the Vedas had to be transmitted from one person to another orally. By establishing the ground rules of proper pronunciation, it minimized the changes of distortion that would usually accompany verbal communication. A lot of importance was attached in ancient India to correct pronunciation of the Vedic hymns because of the belief that the Vedas were inviolable and divine in origin. Shiksha developed into a separate branch of study to preserve the integrity and purity of the divine words and save the dharma from human fallibility. Every Veda has its own peculiar pronunciation of certain letters and each one of them has its specific modes and speed of recitation. The most important among the books relating to siksha is the famous Paniniya Shiksha. Another important book is Yaajnavalkya Shiksha. In Vasishthi Shiksha we have a detailed account of the differences between the mantras of Rigveda and Yajur Veda. Both Yaajnavalkya Shiksha and Vasishthi Siksha are related to the Vajasaneyi Samhita. The other important works are: Katyaayani Shiksha, Paaraashari Shiksha, Maadhyandini Shiksha, Keshavi Siksha and Manduki Shiksha. In Naaradiya Shiksha, which is related to the Sama-Veda. The development of Shiksha as a Vedanga and as a Science demonstrates the profundity and vast scope of research that was undertaken in respect of pronunciation in ancient India. It is because of this Vedanga that the system of Vedic recitation has remained intact right from the ancient times to the present day.

Shiksha deals with the pronunciation of each vowel, the short (Hrswa) or long form (Deergha), as well as the type of the regular 25 consonants (Khara, Atikhara, Mridu, Ghosha & Anunasika), each set belonging to क-varga, च-varga, ट-varga, त-varga and प-varga, as well as the other consonants य, र, ल, व, श, ष, स, ह & क्ष. There are also semivowels, or half consonants. Like the vowels, the semivowels are voiced and unaspirated. Also, they are produced by continuous air flow out of the mouth.

Indeed, the vowels and consonants together are produced by stressing the different parts of the mouth, such as lips, tongue, top of mouth, nose, and throat. Thus, we can define Kanthya (अ, आ, ह, क-varga), Talavya (इ, ई, य, श, & च-varga), Danthya (Vowel l, ल, स, त-varga), Moordhanya (Vowel ऋ, र, ष, ट-varga) and Oshthya (ओ, उ, ऊ, व, प-varga). I don’t think we humans can produce any sound other than what the rules of Shiksha provide.

The different consonants of क-varga: क, ख, ग, घ, ઙ, च-varga: च, छ, ज, झ, ઞ, ट-varga: ट, ठ, ड, ठ, ण, त-varga: त, थ, द, ध, न, and प-varga: प, फ ब, भ, म.

In fact, syllables are formed by two ways: you can have Swar sandhi and Vyanjan sandhi to join two sound dhatus. In fact, we only have only the following Swar (defined as those syllables which can be produced by humans without any addition of another sound): अ, इ, and उ (& अनुस्वार). The other Swar syllables आ, ई, ए, ऐ, ओ, & औ are formed by mixing two or more swar syllables. अ: (visarga) is also an independent vowel.

The vyanjan are those that alone would not have any existence but with a vowel, it can be pronounced to give rise to a syllable. These are the 25 from क to म, and then from य to क्ष, take pronounceable forms with the set if vowels described here. The semi consonants are useful in making combination letters, for example, प+य =प्य, द + म = द्म and so on. Once again, these combination letters, have no sound of their own, but when a vowel acts on them we can have syllables where the second half letter and the vowel would provide the syllable that can be pronounced. Thus the word पद्मा is formed by the syllables, प+अ, & द+म+आ. This kind of parsing a pronounceable word would be quite similar to the way a word is normally written in most other modern languages like English.

There is however, a small difference in the way ब्रह्म is pronounced, as if it were perhaps bramh. You can also find the departure from rule in a few more words चिह्न, वह्नि, where the usual pronounciation is chinh and vanhi, probably as makes the endings sound like a visarga.

I have no idea why this type of error has happened by design or a time dependent corruption of rules!

कालादेशावतीभ्यां निर्म्मुक्तं…

कालादेशावतीभ्यां निर्म्मुक्तं…

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Time Measurement as per Hindu Scriptures:
First, the kaala-chakra or measurement of time. The time of closing & opening of eyelids is a Nimisha, and is the smallest unit of time of the ancient Indians. We start working from that. (Of course there are smaller units, but as there is no specific way to measure, we may ignore them).

24 Nimisha – 1 Vinazhika
60 Vinazhika – 1 Nazhika
2.5 Nazhika – 1 Hora (1 hour)
3 hours – 1 Yama
24 Hora – 1 day
7 day – 1 week
15 day – 1 Paksha
2 Paksha – 1 month
2 months – 1 Ritu
3 Ritu – 1 Ayana
2 Ayana – 1 year (1 human year is 1 Deva day)
Kaliyuga has one Charana, Dwapara two, Treta three and Kritayuga 4 charanas.
432,000 years – 1 pada – Kaliyuga
864,000 years – 2 padas – Dwaparayug
1,296,000 years – 3 padas – Tretayuga
1,728,000 years – 4 padas- Kritayuga
Thus one Chaturyuga equals 4,320,000 years.
71 Chaturyuga – 1 Manvantara (306,720,000 years)
14 Manvantara makes 1 Kalpa (4.32 Billion years)

This is a day of Brahma, whose life span is 100 Brahma years. This also equals to 1000 Chaturyugas, if you also include the periods of inaction (probably time also stops then), after one manvantara is over and the next one starts.

Current Brahma is 50 years old. On his 1st day called Padma-Kalpa, the present time Measurement started. Already six Manvantaras has elapsed and we are now in the 7th Vaivaswata Manvantara. There are 14 Manus altogether, entrusted with the universe during his Manvantara.

First Manvantara, The Interval of Swayambhuva Manu

In this Manvantara, the Saptarshis were Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulaha, Kratu, Pulastya, and Vashishtha. In Svayambhuva-manvantara, Lord Vishnu’s avatar was called Yajna.

The first Manu was Svayambhuva Manu. He had three daughters, namely Akuti, Devahuti and Prasuti. Devahuti was given in marriage to sage Kardama and she gave birth to nine daughters, and a single son named Kapila. Prasuti gave birth to Yajna and Akuti gave birth to one son and one daughter. Both Kapila and Yajna, who were sons of Devahuti and Prasuti respectively, were incarnations of Vishnu. Svayambhuva Manu, along with his wife, Satarupa, went into the forest to practice austerities on the bank of the River Sunanda. At some point in time, Rakshasas attacked them, but Yajna, accompanied by his sons, the demigods, swiftly killed them. Then Yajna personally took the post of Indra, the King of the heavenly planets.

Second Manvantara – the interval of Swarochisha Manu

The Saptarshis were Urjastambha, Agni, Prana, Danti, Rishabha, Nischara, and Charvarivan. In Svarocisha-manvantara, Lord Vishnu’s avatar was called Vibhu.

The second Manu, whose name was Svarocisha, was the son of Agni, and His sons were headed by Dyumat, Sushena and Rochishmat. In the age of this Manu, Rochana became Indra, the ruler of the heavenly planets, and there were many demigods, headed by Tushita. There were also many saintly persons, such as Urjastambha. Among them was Vedasira, whose wife, Tushita, gave birth to Vibhu. Vibhu was the incarnation of Vishnu for this Manvantara. He remained a Brahmachari all his life and never married. He instructed eighty-eight thousand dridha-vratas, or saintly persons, on sense-control and austerity.

Third Manvantara – the interval of Uttama Manu

The Saptarshis for this Manvantara were Kaukundihi, Kurundi, Dalaya, Sankha, Pravahita, Mita, and Sammita. In Uttama-manvantara, Lord Vishnu’s avatar was called Satyasena.

Uttama, the son of Priyavrata, was the third Manu. Among his sons were Pavana, Srinjaya and Yajnahotra. During the reign of this Manu, the sons of Vashista, headed by Pramada, became the seven saintly persons. The Satyas, Devasrutas and Bhadras became the demigods, and Satyajit became Indra. From the womb of Sunrita, the wife of Dharma, the Supreme Lord Narayana appeared as Satyasena, and killed all the evil Rakshasas who created havoc in all the worlds, along with Satyajit, who was Indra at that time.

Fourth Manvantara – the interval of Tapasa/Tamasa Manu

Saptarshis list: Jyotirdhama, Prithu, Kavya, Chaitra, Agni, Vanaka, and Pivara. In Tapasa-manvantara, Lord Vishnu’s avatar was called Hari.

Tapasa/Tamasa, the brother of the third Manu, was the fourth Manu, and he had ten sons, including Prithu, Khyati, Nara and Ketu. During his reign, the Satyakas, Haris, Viras and others were demigods, the seven great saints were headed by Jyotirdhama, and Trisikha became Indra. Harimedha begot a son named Hari, who was the incarnation of Vishnu for this Manvantara, by his wife Harini. Hari was born to liberate the devotee Gajendra.

Fifth Manvantara – the interval of Raivata Manu

Saptarshis list: Hirannyaroma, Vedasrí, Urddhabahu, Vedabahu, Sudhaman, Parjanya, and Mahámuni. In Raivata-manvantara, Lord Vishnu’s avatar was called Vaikuntha, not to be confused with Vishnu’s divine realm, of the same name.

Vaikuntha came as Raivata Manu, the twin brother of Tamasa. His sons were headed by Arjuna, Bali and Vindhya. Among the demigods were the Bhutarayas, and among the seven brahmanas who occupied the seven planets were Hiranyaroma, Vedasira and Urdhvabahu.

Sixth Manvantara – the interval of Chakshusha Manu


Saptarshis list: Sumedhas, Virajas, Havishmat, Uttama, Madhu, Abhináman, and Sahishnnu. In Chakshusha-manvantara, Lord Vishnu’s avatar was called Ajita.

Ajita came as Chakshsusa Manu, the son of the demigod Chakshu. He had many sons, headed by Puru, Purusa and Sudyumna. During the reign of Chakshusa Manu, the King of heaven was known as Mantradruma. Among the demigods were the Apyas, and among the great sages were Havisman and Viraka.

The current, Seventh Manvantara – the interval of Vaivasvata Manu

Saptarshis list: Kashyapa, Atri, Vashista, Angira, Gautama, Agastya, Bharadvaja. During Vaivasvata-manvantara, Lord Vishnu’s avatar is called Vamana

The seventh Manu, who is the son of Vivasvan, is known as Sraddhadeva(or satyavrata ) or Vaivasvat(son of Vivasvan). He has ten sons, named Ikshvaku, Nabhaga, Dhrsta, Saryati, Narisyanta, Dista, Tarusa, Prsadhra and Vasuman. In this manvantara, or reign of Manu, among the demigods are the Adityas, Vasus, Rudras, Visvedevas, Maruts, Asvini-kumaras and Rbhus. The king of heaven, Indra, is known as Purandara, and the seven sages are known as Kashyapa, Atri, Vashista, Angira, Gautama, Agastya and Bharadwaja. During this period of Manu, Lord Vishnu took birth from the womb of Aditi, the wife of Kashyapa.

Eighth Manvantara – Savarni Manu

Saptarshis list: Diptimat, Galava, Parasurama, Kripa, Drauni or Ashwatthama, Vyasa, and Rishyasringa. In Savarnya-manvantara, Lord Vishnu’s avatar will be called Sarvabhauma.

In the period of the eighth Manu, the Manu is Surya Savarnika Manu. His sons are headed by Nirmoka, and among the demigods are the Sutapas. Bali, the son of Virochana, is Indra, and Galava and Parasurama are among the seven sages. In the age of this Manu, Lord Vishnu’s avatar will be called Sarvabhauma, the son of Devaguhya and Sarasvati.

Ninth – Daksa Savarni Manu

Saptarshis list: Savana, Dyutimat, Bhavya, Vasu, Medhatithi, Jyotishmán, and Satya. In Daksha-savarnya-manvantara, Lord Vishnu’s avatar will be called Rishabha.

The ninth Manu is Daksha-savarni. His sons are headed by Bhutaketu, and among the demigods are the Maricigarbhas. Adbhuta is Indra, and among the seven sages is Dyutiman. Rishabha would be born of Ayushman and Ambudhara.

Tenth – Brahma Savarni Manu

Saptarshis list: Havishmán, Sukriti, Satya, Apámmúrtti, Nábhága, Apratimaujas, and Satyaket. In Brahma-savarnya-manvantara, Lord Vishnu’s avatar will be called Vishvaksena.

In the period of the tenth Manu, the Manu is Brahma-savarni. Among his sons is Bhurishena, and the seven sages are Havishman and others. Among the demigods are the Suvasanas, and Sambhu is Indra. Vishvaksena would be a friend of Sambhu and will be born from the womb of Vishuci in the house of a brahmana named Visvasrashta.

Eleventh – Dharma Savarni Manu

Saptarshis list: Niśchara, Agnitejas, Vapushmán, Vishńu, Áruni, Havishmán, and Anagha. In Dharma-savarnya-manvantara, Lord Vishnu’s avatar will be called Dharmasetu.

In the period of the eleventh Manu, the Manu is Dharma-savarni, who has ten sons, headed by Satyadharma. Among the demigods are the Vihangamas, Indra is known as Vaidhrita, and the seven sages are Aruna and others. Dharmasetu will be born of Vaidhrita and Aryaka.

Twelfth – Rudra Savarni Manu

Saptarshis list: Tapaswí, Sutapas, Tapomúrtti, Taporati, Tapodhriti, Tapodyuti, and Tapodhan. In Rudra-savarnya-manvantara, Lord Vishnu’s avatar will be called Sudhama.

In the period of the twelfth Manu, the Manu is Rudra-savarni, whose sons are headed by Devavan. The demigods are the Haritas and others, Indra is Ritadhama, and the seven sages are Tapomurti and others. Sudhama, or Svadhama, who will be born from the womb of Sunrita, wife of a Satyasaha.

Thirteenth – Raucya or Deva Savarni Manu

Saptarshis list: Nirmoha, Tatwadersín, Nishprakampa, Nirutsuka, Dhritimat, Avyaya, and Sutapas. In Deva-savarnya-manvantara, Lord Vishnu’s avatar will be called Yogeshwara.

In the period of the thirteenth Manu, the Manu is Deva-savarni. Among his sons is Chitrasena, the demigods are the Sukarmas and others, Indra is Divaspati, and Nirmoka is among the sages. Yogeshwara will be born of Devahotra and Brihati.

Fourteenth – Indra Savarni Manu

Saptarshis list: Agnibáhu, Śuchi, Śhukra, Magadhá, Gridhra, Yukta, and Ajita. In Indra-savarnya-manvantara, Lord Vishnu’s avatar will be called Brihadbhanu.

In the period of the fourteenth Manu, the Manu is Indra-savarni. Among his sons are Uru and Gambhira, the demigods are the Pavitras and others, Indra is Suci, and among the sages are Agni and Bahu. Brihadbhanu will be born of Satrayana from the womb of Vitana.

Almost all purana literature refers to the first 9 Manus with the same names but there is a lot of disagreement on names after that, although all of them agree with a total of 14.

Within the elapsed period of the Seventh Manu till now, 27 Mahayugas (4 Yugas together is a Mahayuga), and the Krita, Treta and Dwapara Yugas of the 28th Mahayuga have elapsed. Thus, the present Kaliyuga is in the 28th Mahayuga. This Kaliyuga began the day when Sri Krishna died, in the year 3102 BCE. (5121 years over already).

After the death of the present Brahma, the next Brahma would take over his place. I think I have read about Hanuman taking over the place for the same period as present Brahma.

In the Brahma’s life, some 155,521,972,949,122 years have so far elapsed.
He is not very old, I think!

Now let us study the space measurement concepts.

The concept of the 14 Lokas of Hinduism state that they are divided into 7 upper worlds or Vyarthis and the 7 lower ones, known as the Patalas.

The 7 Urdhwalokas (Vyarthis)
1 Satya-loka: Brahma’s loka. Satya-loka planetary system is not eternal. Abode of Truth or of Brahma, where atman are released from the necessity of rebirth.

2 Tapa-loka: Abode of tapas or of other deities. Ayohnija Devadas live here.

3 Jana-loka: Abode of the sons of God Brahma.

4 Mahar-loka: The abode of great sages and enlightened beings like Markendeya and other rishies.

5 Svar-loka: Region between the sun and polar star, the heaven of the god Indra. Indra, devatas, Rishies, Gandharvas, Kimpurushas, and Apsaras live here: a heavenly paradise of pleasure, where all the 330 million Hindu gods (Deva) reside along with the king of gods, Indra.

6 Bhuvar-loka (aka Pitri Loka): Sun, planets, stars. Space between earth and the sun, inhabited by semi-divine beings. It is a real region, the atmosphere, the life-force.

7 Bhur-loka: The Vishnu Purana says that the earth is merely one of thousands of billions of inhabited worlds like itself to be found in our universe that we can see.
There are seven islands (dvīpas) are known as (1) Jambu, (2) Śāka, (3) Śālmalī, (4) Kuśa, (5) Krauñcha, (6) Gomeda, or Plakṣa, and (7) Puṣkara in our planet Earth. These are called dvīpas. Outer space is like an ocean of air. Just as there are islands in the watery ocean, these planets in the ocean of space are called dvīpas, or islands in outer space. There are nine khaṇḍas in Jambudvipa, and are named as (1) Bhārata, (2) Kinnara, (3) Hari, (4) Kuru, (5) Hiraṇmaya, (6) Ramyaka, (7) Ilāvṛta, (8) Bhadrāśva and (9) Ketumāla. A valley between two mountains is called a khaṇḍa or varṣa. We Indians live in Bharatakhanda or Bharatavarsha.

The 7 Adholokas (Patalas)
1 Atala-loka: Atala is ruled by Bala – a son of Maya – who possesses mystical powers. By one yawn, Bala created three types of women – svairiṇīs , who like to marry men from their own group; kāmiṇīs, who marry men from any group, and the puḿśchalīs.

2 Vitala-loka: Vitala is ruled by the god Hara-Bhava – a form of Shiva, who dwells with attendant ganas including ghosts and goblins as the master of gold mines. The residents of this realm are adorned with gold from this region.

3 Sutala-loka: Sutala is the kingdom of the pious demon king Bali, protected by Vamana. He is expected to take over as Indra, after the term of the present one gets over.

4 Talatala-loka: Talātala is the realm of the demon-architect Maya, who is well-versed in sorcery. Shiva, as Tripurantaka, destroyed the three cities of Maya but was later pleased with Maya and gave him this realm and promised to protect him.

5 Mahatala-loka: Mahātala is the abode of many-hooded Nagas (serpents) – the sons of Kadru, headed by the Krodhavasha (Irascible) band of Kuhaka, Taksshaka, Kaliya and Sushena. They live here with their families in peace but always fear Garuda, the eagle-man.

6 Rasatala-loka: Rasātala is the home of the demons – Danavas and Daityas, who are mighty but cruel. They are the eternal foes of Devas (the gods). They live in holes like serpents.

7 Patala-loka: The lowest realm is called Patala or Nagaloka, the region of the Nagas, ruled by Vasuki. Here live several Nagas with many hoods. Each of their hood is decorated by a jewel, whose light illuminates this realm.

Moving across the different universes.

These are the universes that the first few Slokas of Soundaryalahari spoke of, probably no mortals could go on their free will, as it might require the use of time – space warps, postulated by Einstein, (also defined by a term “kaalanemi” in our ancient literature). One should know how to move across universes to do that, and for such movements in space, no time change happens.

Soundaryalahari part 1 Anandalahari (41 stanzas)

01 Shivah shaktya yukto yadi bhavati shaktah prabhavitum

Na chedevam devo na khalu kusalah spanditumapi;

Atas tvam aaraadhyaam Hari-Hara-Virinchadibhir api

Pranamtum stotum vaa kathamakrita-punyah prabhavati

This shloka briefly points to the Advaita Philosophy of Hinduism. The primordial form of Matter or Energy (Shakti), which always existed in the realm of a proto-universe, even before the Big Bang happened. Besides, there was also the primordial intelligence of this proto-universe (Shivam), without which the Universe could not be created.
Almost all religious faiths accept that there is a creator, (I agree, there are Atheists, even in Hinduism, who do not consider this supreme form of intelligence as necessary for the start of creation of Universe, which they simply attach to being only accidental), and while this is the core principle explained here, it also points to the existence of pure form of Energy, without which the supreme primordial intelligence could not function. Atheists among Hindus do not consider this as “Creator”, nor the form of energy that existed before the Big Bang as that form of energy was contained in the proto-universe, where it cannot manifest itself, as it does in the Universe. But that would need creation of such large mass of energy from nowhere.
However, the union of the supreme intelligence (Shivam) with Energy, marked the start of creation. The author feels that this fact, known to the greatest exponents of the beginning of the Universe, namely Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva, is rarely perceivable by ordinary mortals. The union of the principles of Shivam with Shakti, caused the formation of the universe as we observe it now, as well as all subordinate forms of intelligence.
The formation of universe was the transformation of the purest form of energy into mass and most probably a huge ball of mass was formed which bursted (Big Bang, which occurred ~12 Billion years ago). It is pertinent to know how long the huge ball of matter, formed as a result of the union of the primordial intelligence with the primordial energy, but perhaps nobody is likely to know, as even time was not formed until the next event of Big Bang. Time began only at the time of Big Bang, and before that, while the proto-universe had energy or mass in some form, time didn’t exist.
After universe started expanding, into many galaxies, cluster of stars, stars, some of which also had planets around them, and also satellites to planets. I also feel that almost the same time, Black Holes are also formed, which, by its own gravity, pulls planets, stars and galaxies into itself, initially conserving mass and angular momentum, but ultimately converting everything it sucked into itself, to pure energy, which is probably recycled into some other proto-universe in the making, thus forming a continuous process. Time also tends to stop at this moment within the Black-Hole. Probably nobody would know when the energy content of these proto-universe would become enough for the primordial intelligence to start another cycle of creation!.
Where does the huge whirlpool that the Black Hole present itself take the energy content of the huge masses it sucked in? It is an interesting observation, but probably we might not know for certain. To know this, we should be able to travel faster than light, so as to go both forward and backward in time. Vishnu, and Shiva have both learned this technique, one has earned a name Kaalanemi and the other Kaalakaalan. (Besides, there are also some Asuras who have learned this technique, as per Purana). Knowledge of stopping time would also enable them to travel beyond the frontiers of universe.
Once we transcend time, we could go even beyond the 12 Billion year’s boundary where light has reached at the present time. It is beyond this part of the proto-universe that the energy content of the matter, that the Black Holes have sucked in has probably gone.
Now that within the known universe, we know that several galaxies (like our own Milky Way), stars (like our Sun), planets such as our own Earth among millions of other celestial objects. Even inside these objects, creation, maintenance and destruction cycles happen, as though directed by an intelligence.
The shloka doesn’t stop with the creation of universe! In a scale, perhaps a 1000 orders of magnitudes smaller, we have the state inside the atoms. The tightly packed nucleus, consisting of heavy particles such as protons, neutrons, and mesons, as well as smaller particles, the nucleus is a hugely concentrated mass, around which the electrons circle around in the empty space around. Perhaps at every scales of magnitude, you could find a similar system.

02 Taniyaamsam paamsum tava charana-pankeruha-bhavam

Virincih sanchinvan virachayati lokan avikalam;

Vahaty evam Shaurih katham api sahasrena shirasaam

Harah samkshudyainam bhajati bhasitoddhulana-vidhim.

After the creation of universe, which consists of many galaxies, stars, planets, and other celestial bodies, it is the turn of Lord Brahma to start creation of all lokas. Gayatri manthra describes only three of the lokas, Bhu (Earth wehere we live), Bhuvas (netherworld) and Swa (where higher beings live), other puranas describe many more. Most of the scriptures talk about 14 lokas at least, the higher lokas than Bhuloka, the Bhuvas, Svar, Mahas, Janas, Tapas, and Satya, as well as the lower ones, Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Rasaataala, Talatala, Mahaatala, Paatala. This stanza describes the fact that Lord Brahma created all these lokas and many more out of tiny specs of dust from the feet of Shakthi, which after the union with consciousness, has become very powerful. At the same time, Lord Vishnu takes care of the well-being of these lokas and their inhabitants, while Lord Hara their elimination and recycling. Some of these lokas are also the abode of Brahma (Satyaloka), Sutala (Mahabali, with Lord Vishnu as his protector) and so on.

03 Avidyaanaam antas-timira-mihira-dweeppa-nagari

Jadaanaam chaitanya-stabaka-makaranda-sruti jhari

Daridraanaam chinta-mani-gunanika janma-jaladhau

Nimagdaanaam damshtra mura-ripu-varaahasya bhavati.

This stanza talks about what the needs of individuals, in certain conditions are, and the way in which the Shakti provides relief to these conditions. For example, those who suffer from illiteracy or lack of consciousness (light) benefited by the bright sun, for those who have no spirits (dead bodies) the vibrancy of the bouquet of flowers (with nectar or the elixir of life), for those who lack wealth the Chitamani jewels, and for those who are drowned in worldly affairs, the teeth of Varahaavatara that lifts him up to consciousness. I have no more comments on this.

04 Tvad anyah paanibhyaam abhaya-varado daivataganah

Tvaam eka naivasi prakatita-varaabhityabhinaya;

Bhayaat traatum daatum phalam api cha vaancha samadhikam

Saranye lokaanaam tava hi charanaaveva nipunau.

Here the motherly affection of Shakti towards all her creations is described. While all other Gods provide for by their hands, the Mahashakti provides for those who have a glance at her feet, exactly what they need. No more comments.

05 Haris tvaam aradhya pranata-jana-saubhagya-jananim

Puraa naari bhutva Pura-ripum api ksobham anayat;

Smaropi tvaam natva rati-nayana-lehyena vapusha

Muninam apyantah prabhavati hi mohaya mahatam.

Out of all the learned ones, Hari and Kamadeva are the two, who have mastered the art of worshiping Shakti. Hari, by the grace of his worship of shakti, had attained the ability to become Mohini and deceive the daanav of nectar after the same was restored from the churning of the ocean of milk. And Mohini was so perfect that even it created ripples of wish in the minds of Shiva. And Kamadeva, as a result of the boons he received from Shakti, is able to move the minds of even maharishi.

06 Dhanuh paushpam maurvi madhu-kara-mayi pancha visikhaa

Vasantaha saamanto Malaya-marut ayodhana-rathah;

Tathaa’py ekah sarvam himagiri-suthe kaam api kripaam

Apaangat te labdhva jagadidam Anango vijayate.

This stanza again emphasiszes the ability of Kaamadeva, who could even cause a ripple in the minds of Lord Shiva, who by his anger burnt him to ashes; howwver, this one warrior of minds with no body, with a bow of flowers, the cord of bow made of a number of honey-bees, five flowers in the form of arrows, a friend in battle Vasanta Rithu, Cool breeze his war chariot. Even with these impossible objects, Kamadeva who has been blessed by Shakti, is able to conquer the entire world.

07 Kvanat-kanchi-daama kari-kalabha-kumbha-stana-nataa

Pariksheenaa madhye parinata-sarachandra-vadana;

Dhanur baanan paasam srinim api dadhaana karatalaii

Purastad astam noh Pura-mathitur aho-purushika.

I certainly loved the expression Puramathituraaho-purushika “Pride of the destroyer of Pura”, which the author has used here. Indeed she was always his pride.

08 Sudha-sindhor madhye sura-vitapi-vaati parivrte

Mani-dweepe nipo’pavana-vathi chintamani-grhe;

Shivaakare manche Parama-Shiva-paryanka-nilayaam

Bhajanti tvam dhanyah katichana chid-ananda-laharim.

I am yet to master the inner meaning of this stanza.

09 Mahim muladhare kamapi manipure huthavaham

Sthitham svadhistane hridi marutamakasam upari;

Mano’pi bhruu-madhye sakalamapi bhittva kula-patham

Sahasrare padme saha rahasi patyaa viharase.

This stanza of Soundaryalahari describes this the evolution of intellect in humans. The lowermost point, Mooladharam and Manipoorakam hosts the instincts of eating to grow and procreation, when the intelligence is at that level we are just animals (there might be some men too in this class, unfortunately). When the third point Swadhishtanam (fire) awakes he would have some instincts of making a home or living in family or even within a community, typical of lowest grade of humans (Shudra). When the next point of Hrudayam (wind) wakes, he would have Power, Courage and Skills to make things, fight and beginning of learning (Vaishya and Kshatriya). The next point is the neck (abode of Aakaasham, or the abode of sound) he would start reading and understanding more (veda-adhyayana) and having completed, can be considered Brahmana. When the skills are perfected the next point Ajna (abode of mind) wakes up, and he would be in a position to command and make others obey. When the awakening process continues, he could reach even the next state Sahasraram (abode of permanent happiness, bliss).
Essentially all these states can be achieved only by humans, all of whom are typically born Shudra, but attains higher skills by continued education and learning.

10 Sudhaa dhaara saaraischarana-yugalaantar vigalitaih
Prapancham sinchanti punarapi rasaamnaaya-mahasaah;
Avaapya svam bhumim bhujaga-nibham adhyusta-valayam
Svamaatmanam kritva svapishi kulakunde kuharini

From the literal meaning, it sounds like, she makes her apparition at times and from the her feet, the nectar that flows like a river, irrigates the entire universe, and after having done that, she retires into her hibernation in Mooladharam. However, the inner meaning is that even after the creation of universe, she appears to provide additional energy to it periodically and then withdraws it and vanishes.

I am not very certain, but it must be about the new matter & energy creation that happens in the universe, with no apparent reason.

11 Chaturbhih shrikantaih shivayuvatibhih panchabhirapi
Prabhinnaabhih sambhor navabhir api mula-prakrthibhih;
Chatus-chatvaarimsad vasu-dala-kalasra-trivalaya-
Trirekhaabhih saardham tava sarana-konaah parinatah

This stanza describes the residence of Shakti, and consists of four Shreekantha (Shiva) triangles, and five Shakti triangles unite to form the nine triangles which in turn becomes the entire peripheries of the Shree Chakram. This thus describes the construction of the Shree Chakram. This stanza too has a definite inner meaning, like the construction of some object for a specific purpose, but I am unable to go much beyond this now!

12 Tvadiyam saundaryam Tuhina-giri-kanye tulayitum

Kavindraah kalpante katham api Virinchi-prabhrutayah;

Yadalokautsukyaad amara-lalana yaanti manasaa

Tapobhir dushpraapam api girisa-saayujya-padavim.

The literal meaning of this is that even the most learned persons like Brahma are quite unable to describe the beauty of Shakti (the female form) or compare it with some other object. Even the immortal ladies of heavens, who wish to see her, have to do severe penance to get the mental state of Shiva (male form), as her beautiful form is visible only to Shiva.

I felt there has never been any better expression on the beauty of a female form!

13 Naram varshiyaamsam nayana virasam narmasu jadam,

Thavaa pangaaloke pathitha manudhaavanthi sathasa

Gala dweni bhandhaa kucha kalasa visthratha sichayaa

Hathath thrutyath kaanchyho vigalitha dhukoolaa yuvathaya.

I found this as one of the beautiful verses of this entire work. It suggests that a casual glance of the goddess, could make even an old, unpleasant in looks, and ignorant of pleasantries, can become the most desired favourite for hundreds of young girls, who would follow him unaware of the surroundings.

I suddenly felt jealous of the person who is blessed by the goddess!

14 Kshitau shat-panchaasad dvi-samadhika-panchaasadudake

Hutase dvaashastis chaturadhika-panchaasad anile;

Divi dvih-shadtrimsan manasi cha chatuh-sashtiriti ye

Mayukhaasteshaam athyupari tava padambuja yugam.

This stanza reveals the different numbers of nerves originating from the spinal cord and the brain, from the different centers. The nerves are depicted as Mayukha of Rays of light. For example, the lowermost node of spinal cord, the Moolaadharaa the abode of Earth, expressed by the word “Kshitau”, has 56 of them, the next, Manipooraka which is the center of Water (udaka) has 52, The next the abode of fire (huta), the Swaadhishthaana 62, the next Anaahata or Air (anila) with 54, and above that the Visuddhi which is also the abode of sky (divi) having 72 and the next Ajna, the abode of mind (manas) radiating 64 rays. Above this is the Sahasraaram which has the radiant feet of Shakti.

It would need a medical doctor to confirm if really the above points have these many nerves originating from them, of course all are part of the central nervous system, or the guidance of the human body. Indirectly it also hints about a central command system which is responsible for the good upkeep of the entire universe, at all levels of magnitudes.

15 Sarajjyotsnaa-shuddhaam sasiyuta jataajuta makutaam

Varatraasa-traana-sphatika-ghutikaa-pustaka karaam;

Sakrnna thvaa nathvaa kathamiva sathaam sannidadhate

Madhu kshira draakhsaa madhurimadhurinah phanitayah.

Here the poet describes again the beauty of Shakti. In India, six seasons are identified, with Sharad-ritu, which comes between the Rainy season (Varsha) and Pre-Winter (Hemant), is observed as the most beautiful. The Goddess is described as having Moonlight of a Sharad evening is identified as the color of her body, and having the Moon in her tuft of hair, and Varada and Abhaya postures, the garland of crystals, and the book of knowledge in her hands. Those who ever had the opportunity of worshipping her would be bestowed with a mastery of words, that would be as sweet as honey, milk, and grapes (those who worship the Goddess would become some of the most literate)

16 Kavindraanaam chetah kamalavana baalaatapa ruchim
Bhajante ye santah katichidarunaameva bhavatim;
Virinchi preyasyastarunatara sringaara laharee

Gabhiraabhi vaagbhir vidadhati sataam ranjanamami.

And for the minds of such great scholars, she would be like Sun to the group of Lotus flowers (Lotus flower usually blossoms with sun rise), and would produce literary works which would have the majestic flow of words of love (shringaara), that makes all those who read of hear them happy.

I loved the expression giving the color red to the mood Shringaara!

17 Savitribhir vaachaam sasi-mani-sila-bhanga-rucibhir

Vasinyaadyaabhistvaam saha anani samchintayati yah;

Sa karta kavyaanaam bhavati mahatam bhangi-ruchibhih

Vachobhi vaagdevi-vadana-kamalaamoda madhurai.

Oh Devi, those who worship thee, who is always accompanied by the Vaagdevatas like Vasini, who shine like the moonstone, and create beautiful words, would be bestowed with the ability to create works with powerful and sweet verses. Indirectly the reference of Vagdevatas here brings forth the beauty of the literature authored by Vasini and others (Lalita Sahasranaamam!). The eight Vagdevatas mentioned here are Vasini, Kaameshwari, Arunaa, Vimalaa, Jayinee, Modinee, Sarveshwari, and Koulini.

18 Thanuschaayabhisthe tharuna-tharuni –srisarinibhir
Divam sarvaamurveemarunimanimagnaam smarathi yah:
Bhavanthyasya thrasya-dhwana-harina shaleena nayanaa
Sahervasyaa vasyaa katikati na geervaana Ganikaa

Even those who imagine the entire worlds having been immersed completely due to the red color of rising sun as the effect of the glow of thy body, would have at his command even most of the celestial damsels like Urvashi, who are known for their beauty and to have beautiful eyes as those of deer.

This again describes what a devotee may get from worshipping her.

19 Mukham bindun kruthva kuchayugamathas thasya thadadho
Haraardham dhyaayedyo haramahishi the manmathakalaam
Sa sadya samkshobham nayathi vanithaa inyathilaghu
Thrilokimapyasu bramayathi ravindu sthana yugam.

This sloka may have some connotation of Thantrik Vidya; in fact most of the slokas of Soundaryalahari is known to have the roots of many of the Thantrik Vidya, allowing the devotees to practice them. The details of this path has to be learnt from a Guru.

The sloka tells that one who focusses his mind in the Sri Chakram, with the Bindu as representative of the face, the part below as her breasts, and still below as the private parts of a women he desires, and concentrates on the manmadhakala with her, it doesn’t need much to understand that that women would be attracted towards him; not only that, he would, very soon conquer the minds of the entire universe, which has the Sun and Moon as its breasts.

20 Kirantim angebhyah kirana-nikurumba’mrta-rasam

Hridi tvaamaadhatte hima-kara-silaamurthimiva yah;

Sa sarpaanam darpam shamayati shakuntadhipa iva

Jvara-plushtaan drshtyaa sukhayati sudhaadhaara-sirayaa.

This sloka also appears to be linked to Thantrik Vidya; probably to cure from snakebites or high fever. How to apply Thanthrik Vidya has to be learned separately.
It says that those who would worship devi, who has the ability to irrigate the worshipper through each of her organs, and such a person would be able to remove the poison of snakes, as Garuda eliminates the effect of snakes, and cures those who suffer from fever by a mere glance.

21 Tatillekhaathanvim thapana-sasi-vaisvaanara-mayim

Nishannaam shannaam apyupari kamalaanaam tava kalaam;

Mahaapadmaatavyaam mridita-mala-maayena manasaa

Mahaantah pasyanto dadhati paramaahlaada-laharim.

Oh Devi, you are bright, yet so thin as a blade of lightning, and representing Sun, Moon and Fire and having moved from Mooladhaaram to Sahasraarapadmam, where you stay in the Mahapdma Forest, you only can remove the dirt of ignorance, desires, anger, and make the worshipper transcend into a state of intoxication by happiness.

22 Bhavaani tvam daase mayi vitara drishtim sakarunaam

Iti sthotum vaanchan kadhayati Bhavaani tvam iti yah;

Tadaiva tvam tasmai disasi nija-saayujya-padavim


One who wish to request you as “Oh Bhavani, please bestow your blessings on me”, would, as soon as he syays “Bhavani Twam” you would provide the worshipper unification with your feet, which has been worshipped by the bright crowns of Mukunda (Mahavishnu), Brahma, and Indra.
Perhaps, the Devi probably interprets “Bhavani Twam” as “Let me become you”, and therefore grants a place in her feet immediately. It also shows that she loves her children so much so that any word uttered by them is interpreted by her in the most favorable way for them!

23 Tvayaa hrithvaa vaamam vapuraparitripthena manasaa

Sariraardham sambhoraparam api sankhe hrithamabhut;

Yadethat tvadrupam sakalam arunaabham trinayanam

Kuchaabhyaamaanamram kutila-sasi-chudala-makutam.

Oh Devi, you have already taken the left half of Lord Shiva, yet not fully satisfied, I feel you have also stolen his right half as well! Because when I see you in my mind, I always see you in red color, having three eyes and slightly bend due to the heavy weight of thy breasts, and a crown with moon on it. (This is the view the worshipper of Devi sees, in her form as Ardhanareeshwara.)

24 Jagat suthe dhata harir avati rudrah kshapayate

Tiraskurvannetat svamapi vapurisastirayati;

Sadaapurvah sarvam tadidamanugrihnaati cha Shiva-

Stavaajnaamaalambya kshanachalitayoh bhrulatikayoh.

This reaffirms the role of Brahma as the creator, Vishnu as the Preserver and Rudra as the destructor of universe, after which he also vanishes (even Rudra form has to undergo destruction). Oh Devi, Shiva restores everything in their previous state when he considers the slightest movement of thy eyebrows as an order.
This sloka illustrates her supremacy over every form of intelligence.

25 Trayaanam devaanaam thriguna janitaanaam tava Sive

Bhavet pujaa pujaa tava charanayor ya virachitaa;

Tathaa hi tvat-paadodvahana mani pithasya nikate

Sthitaa hyete sasvanmukulita karottamsa makutaah

Oh Devi, all worships at your feet becomes worship of the Trimurtis, who have been created out of thy three properties, Satwam, Rajas and Tamas. This is ideal, as theses three, with their joined hands and crowns, which have been placed near the foot-rest when and where you place your feet. In other words, the Trimurtis are just three different forms which you have taken, and so there is probably no need to worship them separately, for those who worship the Devi.

26 Virinchih panchatvam vrajati hariraapnoti virathim

Vinaasam kinaaso bhajati dhanado yaati nidhanam;

Vitantri maahendri vithathirapi sammeelitadrisaa

Mahaasamhaare asmin viharati sati tvatpatirasau.

Oh Devi, when the time of Mahapralayam comes (that is 156,733,920,000,000 human years), all Gods such as Brahma, Vishnu, Yama, Kubera as well as all 14 manus, get destroyed. However, because of your love towards him, your husband still moves around freely.

[Please note that Krita, Treta, Dwapara and Kaliyuga are respectively 1,728,000, 1,296,000, 864,000 and 432,000 human years, which makes a Chaturyuga. 71 Chaturyuga would make 1 Manwantara and 14 Manwantara makes to 1 Kalpa (4,294,080,000 human years) 1 Kalpam is a day of Brahma, who has a life span of 100 years (36,500 Kalpas). It is also learnt that present Brahma is at his middle age, and next one Sri Hanuman]

27 Japo jalpah shilpam sakalam api mudraavirachanaa

Gatih praadakshinya-kramanamasanaadyaahuti-vidhih;

Pranaamah samvesah sukham akilamaatmaarpana-drisaa

Saparyaa paryaayastava bhavatu yanme vilasitam.

Oh Devi, let all my utterances be your prayers, all my deeds the Thantrik mudras of thy worship, all my movements as thy pradakshina, my eating be Aahuti for you, and my lying posture thy namaskaaram. Thus, let all my happiness, wishes and actions be your Pooja.
Can there be any better expression for Puja to any God?!

28 Sudhaamapyaasvaadya pratibhayajaraamrityu-harinim

Vipadyante visve Vidhi-Satamakhaadya divishadah;

Karaalam yat kshvelam kabalitavatah kaala-kalanaa

Na Shambhostanmulam tava janani taatanka-mahimaa.

Even though all Gods such as Indra and Brahma, who have eaten the Amrit, which is to remove fear of death and old age ultimately succumb to death when the time comes. However, due to the grand effect of your ear ornaments (which are worn only by married women, and her ear ornaments are Sun and Moon, so are perpetual!), Shiva who had even eaten the most potent Kalakuta Poison, doesn’t get affected by death.

29 Kiritam vairincham parihara purah kaitabha bhidah

Kathore kotire skalasi jahi jambhaari-makutam;

Pranamreshwateshu prasabha mupayaatasya bhavanam

Bhavasyaabhyutthaane tava parijanoktir vijayate.

Oh Devi, once while Brahma, Vishnu and Indra were worshipping you with their metallic crowns near your feet, Paramashiva arrived there. While you suddenly got up to welcome him, your chambermaids were telling you, “Please avoid Brahma’s crown right in front of you”, and “Please avoid the hard crown of Vishnu, as it might hurt your feet”, and please leave Indra’s Crown”, etc.
This goes to state that your court is always full of so many omnipotent Gods all the time.
30 Svadehodbhutaabhir ghrinibhiranimaadyaabhirabhito

Nishevye nitye tvaamahamiti sadaa bhaavayati yah;

Kimaascharyam tasya trinayana-samriddhim trinayato

Mahaasamvartagnir virachayati nirajana-vidhim.

Oh Devi, you are surrounded by the Siddhis like Anima which are the rays of light emerging from your body. The one who would always believe and worship you with the understanding “you and I are the same”, such a person would have the blessings as much as Paramashiva. There is no wonder if such a person is getting Nirajanam by Pralayaagni.
This sloka goes to say that the one who finds no distinction between himself and the Devi would attain the same level of intellect as Devi.

31 Chatuh-shashtyaa tantraih sakalamatisamdhaaya bhuvanam

Stitastat-tat-siddhiprasava-para-tantraih pasupatih;

Punas tvannirbandhaad akhila-purushaarthaika ghatanaa-

Svatantram te tantram khsiti-talamavaatitaradidam.

Oh Devi, Lord Paramashiva created the Sixty-four Thantras that could provide the upaasak limited abilities, and just after the entire humans got attracted towards them, hid it from them. However, he released these Thantras for the benefits of humans, only due to your insistence, in such a form that it could now provide them with any desires (purushaartha).
[This is an introduction of how the Thantravidya originated]

32 Sivah saktih kaamah kshitiratha ravih shithakiranah

Smaro hamsah sakrastadanu cha paraamaara-harayah;

Amee hrillekhaabhistisribhiravasaaneshu ghatithaa

Bhajante varnaaste tava janani naamaavayavatham.

Oh Mother, if one assembles the specific syllables corresponding to Shiva, Shakti, Kamadeva, Bhumi ( meaning the letters ka, ai, ee, la), with those of Sun, Moon, Kamadeva, Hamsa, Indra, namely the syllables ha, sa, ka, ha, la, as well as those corresponding to Paraashakti, Maara and Hari, namely the syllables sa, ka and la, and at the end of this add your own syllable Hreem, that would be your signature mantra (panchadashaakshari manthra). This you would get the base of the mantra “Aim hrim srim ka ai ee la hrim ha sa ka la hrim sa ka la hrim” of the Shreechakram.

[This sloka explains how the different Mantras take shape with different syllables.]

33 Smaram yonim lakshmim tritayam idamaadau tava manor

Nidhaayaike nitye niravadhi-mahaa-bhoga-rasikaah;

Bhajanti tvaam chintaamani-guna-nibaddhaaksha-valayaah

Sivagnau juhvantah surabhi-ghrita-dhaarahuti-shataih.

Oh Devi, some of the learned devotees, while enjoying the eternal bliss of thy worship, wearing a rosary made of Chintamani stones, express the syllables of Kamadeva, Yoni, and Lakshmi (respectively, “aim hreem sreem”), make hundreds of offerings of ghee from Kamadhenu’s milk in Shivagni (which is represented by the Triangle in Sree Chakram).

[I haven’t fully understood this. But this is probably to show how the mantras are created out of this prime source of all Tantrashastra]

34 Sariram twam sambhoh sasi-mihira-vakshoruha-yugam

Tavaatmanam manye bhagavati navaatmanam anagham;

Atah seshah seshityayam ubhaya-saadharana taya

Sthitah sambandho vaam samarasa-parananda-parayoh.

Oh Devi, I understand that the body of Shiva, with breasts of Sun and Moon becomes your body. Therefore, Shiva and Shakti have the complete unity of shesha and sheshi (which is the relation between ‘important’ and ‘unimportant’). Probably because, at the time of creation of universe, one can consider Shakti (energy) is more important than Shiva (the intelligence behind it), while at the final phase of destruction, when the universe disappears into undefined energy, it is Shiva (the intelligence) that is more important, than the energy itself.

35 Manas tvam vyoma tvam marudasi marut saarathirasi

Tvamaapastvam bhoomistvayi parinathaayam na hi param;

Tvam eva svaatmaanam parinamayithum visvavapushaa

Chidaanandaakaaram Shivayuvati-bhaavena bibhrushe.

Oh devi, mind, ether (aakaasham), air, fire, water, and bhumi are all you. There isn’t anything that is other than you. And you take this perpetually happy form of Shiva’s consort, only to make the universe perceivable to others.
The five elements, Bhumi, Water Fire, Air, and sky are supposed to be the base of everything in universe (Matter or Energy). Mind represents the intellect or intelligence. Here we see the universe being formed by the unification of the primordial energy form with primordial intelligence.

36 Tavaajna chakrastam tapana shashi koti dyutidharam,

Param shambhum vande parimilita paarswam parachitaa

Yamaaradhyan bhaktya ravi sasi sucheenaama vishaye

Niraaloke-aloke nivasati hi bhalokha bhuvane

Oh Devi, I bow to the form of Shiva, who resides in your Ajnachakra as para, with brilliance of several millions of Suns and Moons, along with Shakti (who is apara).
Of course, those who worship that Parama Shiva would not get influenced by Sun, Moon or Fire, nor illuminated by their brilliance (because they have become luminescent), as they (or their minds) reside in the Sahasraara.

37 Vishuddhou the shuddha sphatika visadam vyoma janakam

Shivam seve devimapi siva samaana vyavasitaam

Yayo kaantyaayantyaa sasi kirana saaroopya sarane

Vidhootantardhwaantaa vilasati chakoreeva jagathi

Oh Devi, in your Vishuddhichakra, I bow to the Shiva who is clear as crystal and the proponent of Aakashatatwa, and thy equivalent form of Shakti. The brilliance of moon that radiate from you two make the entire universe happy as a Chakori bird and get rid of the darkness of ignorance.

[This also reminds us that when those who practice yoga, when the Kundalini arrives at Vishuddhichakra, the practitioner would get rid of ignorance and enjoy happiness.]

38 Samunmeelat samvitkamala makarandaika rasikam

Bhaje hamsadvandvam kimapi mahataam maanasacharam

Yadaalaapaa dashtaadasha gunitha vidyaparinati

Yadadate doshaad gunamakhila madbhayah paya eva

Oh Devi, I bow to thee, who enjoy the nectar of wisdom of numerous learned people, and who resides in the minds of all great people, and just as a Swan separates milk from water, who removes all bad qualities from their good deeds, and the couple (Shiva and Shakti), whose discussions have turned themselves as the 18 Learnings for human.s and other benefits]

[This also hints of the Kundalini having reached the Anaahata Chakra, when the practitioner attains all 18 learning]

39 Tava swaadhishtaane hutavahamadhishtaaya niratam

Tameede samvatam janani mahatim tam cha samayaam

Yadhaloke lokaan dahati mahati krodha kalithe

Dayaardra yaa drishti shisiramupachaaram rachayati

Oh mother, the one who is in (have mastered) your Swaadhishtaana Chakram would have the Agni tatwa at his command, and has attained saaroopya with Shiva, mere so that a glance can burn the entire world, and by your graceful glance could cure all such burns in the next glance. I bow to the time, that has taken birth at this moment.

[When ultimately the universe gets destroyed, you are the one to decide when to resurrect the universe once again, and time also takes rebirth and starts again; because the concept of time, also stops when the end of universe comes]

40 Tatitwantam shaktya timira paripandhi sphuranayaa

Sphurannaa naanaaratnaabharana pareenedhendra dhanusham

Tava shyaamam megham kamapi manipooraika sharanam

Nisheve varshantam haramihira taptham tribhuvanam.

Oh mother, you who stays in the Manipooraka Chakra has powers like the brilliance of lightning yet capable of removing darkness, and wearing numerous jeweled ornaments that resemble Rainbow, thou protect the worlds which are scortched by Sun through the rains from the clouds you send. I bow to the duality of Shiva and Shakti.
[This is almost a repetition of the concept of the previous sloka, reinforces the ways in which she protects the universe]

41 Tavaadhaare moole saha samayayaa laasyaparayaa

Navaatmaanam manye navarasa mahaa taandava natam

Ubhaabhyaa metabhyaamudaya vidhi muddhisya dayayaa

Sanaadhaabyaam jajne janaka jananeemat jagathidam.

Oh Devi, in your moolaadhara chakra, I bow to the thou and Shiva in his form of Anandabhairava, who dances in the Laasya style with you. In this way, they remembered the universe that was destroyed in the Mahapralaya and decided to start the Creation of universe again.
[The first part of Soundaryalahari, called Anandalahari ends here.]

As per some, this is the portion of Soundaryalahari that Aadishankaraacharya had read and memorized during his visit to Kailasa, while the remaining 59 slokas have been taught to him by Devi herself, by her love towards him, after Nandi had wiped off the rest, which is actually called Soundaryalahari!

Life as a Student in France – Part 1

This was after I resigned my job, and went as a Scholarship Holder to France. I will discuss the events that happened during the first two years here in France.

I immediately resignation to the Project Manager Mr L N Sarin, who was very kind and gave me all kinds of advices. I left Mehsana on 17/10/1973 evening, by train to Mumbai.

In Mumbai, I went with my passport to the French Consulate for my Visa. The officer went through my copy of the letter from ministry and examined my passport, and agreed to affix a visa. He also made a booking by air France by the flight on 20/10/1973. The airline official at the consulate advised me to go to the Reserve Bank of India Mumbai as their Ahmedabad office had not provided a certain P-Form. The RBI issued the necessary P-Form as well as approved a foreign exchange of FF 50 towards my initial travel expenses. The Air France office kindly issued my ticket for France and thus I was all set for my studies in France.

My flight was in the night, and as required, I checked in at Mumbai Airport (The Santa Cruz Terminal was the only one those days). I boarded the flight, a Boeing 747, coming from Hong Kong, with a stop at Tel Aviv before landing in Paris. I was given a great French Dinner, but most I didn’t enjoy it, as I already had my dinner before boarding. I felt bad of having to waste a dinner. Before landing in Paris Orly airport, they gave me a breakfast, which I really enjoyed.

At the Orly Sud International Airport, where I had arrived in the morning, I got my US$50 exchanged into French Franks, after which I went to the Helpdesk. I told them that I am a student from India and had to go to the address in Paris, given by the GOI. They told me that I could use a Cab which would cost me quite a bit, or use the Orly Rail & Bus, a system using French Metro & Bus. I decided to use this option. I purchased a Rail ticket to the place which was advised by the HelpDesk, and boarded a bus. The bus driver had very courteously lifted my suit case and kept inside the Bus, with a smile. I was surprised at his behaviour, as in India, the driver would not have bothered to do such a thing. After he loaded all baggages, and ensuring that all passengers had boarded, he started the bus which was to take us to the Rail (or Metro, probably) station Rungis. The same driver loaded all baggages in the train, very politely. I thanked him profusely.

The train took us to the Invalids Station, where I was to get down. The office I was to go was quite close by, and the Taxi fares were quite reasonable. I took a Taxi and told the driver where I was to go, by showing the address & directions given by the airport helpdesk. He was kind enough to take me to the office.

At this Office i was welcomed by a lady, who told me that if I am yet to pay the cab fares, she would pay, and told me that they generally expect students to take a cab from the airport to their office, even without any money with them. My case was different, as I had spent much less, all within the cash available with me.

The first part of my study program was a French Language Course. I was told that I need to be proficient in this language to be able to write exams or reports or theses in French. This was a quick fix, and this was in Royan, a small town in the Atlantic Coast in the Charente-Maritime District. A train was to take me there that evening from Gare d’Oreleans Austerlitz.

This office also had a university restaurant nearby, I was given a lunch coupon so that I could have a lunch there. In the evening I was courteously dropped off with my baggage at the Railway Station. The rail ticket and money for my journey and some more was also provided. Actually I don’t remember at all about how much money I was to get until then, but here somebody told me that the GOI scholarship was for FF 250 per month. Besides, since Royan didn’t have a university restaurant nor residence, I was to get an additional FF 100 per month.

Early morning the train had reached a station La Rochelle where I was to take small train to Royan. This way, I also had a view of the French country side. The train went through Rochefort, Saintes and finally Royan. It was in fact the rail Terminus. The Paris office had sent information of my arrival and I was picked up by my landlady Madame Gilet. The place I was to stay was in Boulevard de l’Ocean. The language institute was just walking distance from there.

I was the first of Indian students, sent by the Ministry of Education. I was told that they have received communication of three students in all, to undergo French Language Course at the Language center (Centre Audiovisuel de Royan pour l’Enseignement Linguistics (CAREL).

The director of the institute was Max Delhomme, the chief of administration Madamme(Mme) Reigneux, Head of French Language course Prof Patreuilleux, Reception Mademoiselle (Mlle) de la Chappelle. Apart from this there were teachers Mlle Moulya, Mlle Catherine, Mme Patreuilleux and Mme Jeanine Louche.

There were many students from Arabia, mostly Syrians, Palestinians, Jordanian, two from Yemen and Albania and one each from Rhodesia, and Malawi. We were to be soon three Indians.

In about a week, Mr Amar Ranjan Ghosal, chemical engineer from Jadavpur University joined. The same day there was also Aishwarya Mann Shreshtha from Nepal and Kaukert Bonchukosol from Thailand. After a few days, Mr Sharma who was a teacher in aeronautical engineering in University of Punjab also joined.

We Indians the Thai and the Nepalese knew no French and naturally were moving together. But soon we started talking in Hindi, as Shreshtha also knew Hindi, putting Kaukert to some discomfort. Though I felt it was not good, this Hindi conversation always continued, although Kaukert, Shreshtha and me used to be together more occasionally. In fact we became quite thick friends. Among the Indians, such friendship was only with Ghosal, as Sharmaji was interested in his personal activities alone.

I started communicating with Indian embassy for information and news from India. They were very friendly those days, probably because of the very small Indian Community. In one of my letters, I explained to poor understanding of India among my classmates from various countries, as well as the French staff of the Language centre, and without any notice, I got a carton of Film Reels, suggesting that I could project them for the benefit of the public there. As soon as I had this, I requested the Director Max, who agreed to screen it, Professor Julian of the English Department was asked to coordinate, along with Mme Reigneux. My friends Ghoshal, Sharma were also very happy, so was Shreshtha. A good crowd, mostly Frenchmen, took part in the screening of the film and discussions that followed. Of course, for me also, it was the first time I had seen the film, so I didn’t have a clue what was going to be shown, but it was a good show. From the Language Centre, they had arranged some cold drinks / coffee for the participants. The next day, I packed up all the stuff and sent the reels back to Indian Embassy, by Rail Courier Service.

This event made Professor Julian to be one of my good friends, as he had invited me to his home to meet his wife, who was from Australia.

My class teacher was Mlle Moulya, but after about a few months, some of the Arab Students requested for changing her, and it was immediately agreed, and Mme Louche became our teacher. Kaukert and Shreshtha were also in my class, also the Albanian, Jordanian, Yemeni, Malawi, Rhodesian, Kuwaiti and some Syrian, and Palestinian students. Ghosal and Sharma used to be in another class with Catherine as the teacher, with the rest of Palestinian and Syrian students. Perhaps this association of such diverse nationalities that helped me to learn language much faster and better.

Professor Patreuilleux was also advising students in their pursuit of higher studies in France. I had written a couple of letters, of course in my own French, to universities and the Institut Francais du Petrol, requesting for an opportunity of research. Professor Patreuilleux had modified those letters, encouraging me to write more, and told me of the nuances of addressing persons of higher education or public institutions, as well as the polite ways of ending the letters in different contexts. I think I followed his ways, even in the last ever letter I wrote to someone.

We also used to have Weekly picnics around the area, to Cognac, Saintes, Poitiers, La Rochelle, as a part of our Language Program. Probably the funding was from the French Government, as we didn’t have to pay except for the packed lunch (Sandwiches generally).

In Cognac we had visited several of the famous the wineries and the distillery of Martell. We used to get free samples of wine and cognac, which some of our Arab friends weren’t supposed to have, but in general, they had enjoyed the drink more than others. We were given an introduction to wines of the region and Cognac. Saintes was a small town nearby, known for its cathedral and wineries around.

Poitiers was a historical sleepy town, or a small city, where in the olden days, the Crusades were fought between invading Muslim Army and the defending Christians under Charles Martel (Who subsequently became the Pope Charlemagne of Avignon). Battle of Poitiers was quite decisive as if the results went otherwise the Europe would have been another large islamic area. I had no idea that Spain and the southern half of France were part of the Arabs of North Africa till then.

La Rochelle was also a small city like Poitiers, had a sea port and Chemical Industry, and looked prosperous. Characteristic of all towns and cities was a large Cathedral, which could be seen from almost everywhere. Buildings were small, unlike in larger towns and small cities which had many multi storied buildings.

By March we had completed the Courses, all of us could read, write and speak fairly fluently. Professor Michel Combarnous had replied me saying that he would be in Bordeaux one of those days, and i could meet and discuss the prospects of my higher studies under him. This was a decisive interview, and he had suggested that after a few more months of my present course, I can join him in the team at Toulouse. When he saw a communication I had with the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore offering me admission to a course in Master of Engineering, he took a copy of the same and told me that that was the only recognized educational/research institution in India by the French Government and would be very handy for my admissions.

At this time, we were scheduled to go to some larger university premises where we were to undergo specialised training for the specific areas of industry or science where we were to be specialised. Ghosal and I, along with several Arab students were sent to the Paul Valerie University of Montpellier in the Southern France. The Course here was under Prof Lalaurie of the Faculty of Chemistry. We had a good teacher who explained various technical terms of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, comprehension and writing of technical language.

Weekends were more interesting, as we were taken on picnics to Sete, Nimes, Avignon, Sea Beaches and Grottes (Caves) of Clamouse, and Notre-Dame, Pont-du Gard, and many other places. I saw Bull fight for the first time in Avignon (known to be the seat of Holy pope, until Vatican had the prestige many years later).

In the month of April, I had been called to visit Toulouse, where I was to meet Professor Serge Bories and Michel Combarnous. Serge had taken me around the Laboratories of the group and in the institute in Banleve as well. I was told that I could actually come any time and start the program.

Thus, I think in May or June 1974, I was in Toulouse, staying in the University Hostel of Daniel Faucher (It was a vacation Hostel for students who actually stay in any of the six or seven Hostels in the city), and started my work in the IFP-IMF Group under Prof Serge Bories.

My work in the Research Lab had started earlier than the University sessions to reopen. After that happened, I was advised to take a few courses as a pre-requisite for my PhD Registration. Turbulence, Mechanics of Suspensions, Two-Phase Flow and Heat transfer with phase change were among the compulsory subjects that I had to clear. Meanwhile my first year’s requirement was to study literature, and find a suitable project, which if approved by the industry, would fetch me grants to pursue my research, apart from the University’s grants, which was not as high. In about three months, I had completed the Library research, and selected a project, which Serge and Michel had reviewed. They felt that it could be presented to the Group’s Board, for possible grants. And the funding of the research was soon approved by March-April 1975.

However, the passage of the compulsory courses was far from satisfactory. Out of the four subjects, I could not clear in one in the Exams of May 1975, and had to take it fresh in July 1975 once again. The rule was that the repeat examination was just on one subject, which I would know only when I start writing the exam!. This time, I was much luckier, and the exam results were fine.

With this, my research project had started in July 1975

Sri Chakram: What it represents


Since ancient times, it has been a common practice to install a Shri Yantra (or Chakra) at the gate of all Hindu temples. This Yantra is said to possess the powers to remove all negative vibrations and energies from the environment. Meditating on the Shri Yantra and worship of Goddess Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth & prosperity) harmonizes and optimizes all the four legitimate goals in our life.

  • Pursuit of Dharma (Vocation)
  • Pursuit of Wealth (Artha)
  • Pursuit of Sensual Pleasures (Kama)
  • Pursuit of Salvation (Moksha)

The Shri Yantra is said to be the most powerful geometrical Yantra for peace & prosperity. Its design is based on intersection of nine triangles. Four of these triangles are pointing upward and five downward. The four upward pointing triangles are Shiva triangle (Yang forces) and five downward pointing triangles are Shakti or Durga triangles (Yin forces). A combination of these nine triangles makes Shri Yantra the most dynamic of all Yantras.

What does the Shri Yantra do?

The Shri Yantra has the powers to remove all negative vibrations and energies from the environment. Installing a Shri Yantra in one’s home or at the place of work will protect the person from all Vastu deficiencies (referred to as the Fengshui distortions by the Chinese) It purifies the environment and it helps creating wealth and prosperity, not only for the individual, but also in the entire environment surrounding the individual.

The Geometry of the Shri Yantra

The Shri Yantra is constructed with nine triangles – four pointing upwards and five pointing downwards – it is the symbol of balance and the static state. The imbalance is deliberately introduced in the construction of Shri Yantra in the form of the 9th triangle, which makes the Yantra dynamic and powerful, symbolizing increasing prosperity and wealth. Shri Yantra is the only asymmetric geometric Yantra, but the beauty of it is that visually, it will appear symmetrical. Shri Yantra usually represents the body of goddess Tripurasundari but some scriptures refer to it as the navel of the Divine Mother from which the entire universe is created. Shri Yantra is also known as the Yantra of the cosmos. It is constructed on the sameo principles as the human organism is created. Just as the body has nine Chakras (Psychic centers), so too does the Shri Yantra.

I- Bhupur (TRAILOKYAMOHANA CHAKRAM): All geometrical Yantras reside on Bhupur, the square with four gates is also known as “Trailokya Mohana Chakram”, the point that attracts the three Lokas (places) the physical, astral and the celestial. Bhupur is the seat of the Yantra – the dwelling place of Shakti, representing the grass material phenomenon – in which Shakti dwells as long as cycle of creation and preservations lasts.

Bhupur consists of three concentric enclosures made from parallel straight lines. The outer line is the home for ten Siddhis, namely Anima, Laghima, Mahima, Isitva, Vasitwa, Prapti, Prakamya, Bhukti, Iccha, and Sarva Kaama. All these ten Sidhis are depicted red in colour, have four hand, are armed with Chintamani, Kapaalam, Trident and Siddhyanjanam and are very compassionate.

The middle line of Bhupur is the home for the 8 matas, namely, Brahmi, Maheswari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Mahendri, Chamunda, and Mahalakshmi. They have similar powers as generally attributed to their male counterparts and also are armed similarly.

The innermost enclosure of Bhupur has 10 Mudradevatas, namely, SarvaSamkshobhini, SarvaVidravini, Sarvaakarshini, Sarvavasamkari, Sarvonmadini, SarvaMahankusha, Sarvakheshari, SarvaBija, SarvaYoni, and Sarvatrikhanda. They are embodiment of all Mantras. Sarvasamkhsobhini is the Mudradevata of the entire Trailokyamohanachakram.

Thus the Trailokyamohana Chakram is the outermost of Sri Chakram, and has 28 (Siddhi / Mata / Mudradevata), and is represented by the formless Prakata Yogini. The Trailokya Mohana Chakram is worshipped in the form “Aim Hrim Srim Amam Souhu Etah Prakata Yoginyah Trailokyamohana Chakre. Om Aim Hrim Srim Parijaata gunadhikya padabjayai namaha”. The Siddhis and devis are to be worshipped by a prayer to each one, for example, to the Devi representing Anima / Brahmi, it would be “Aim Hrim Srim Amam Souhu Anima Sidhaye Namaha” or for any of the Devi, it would be “Aim Hrim Srim Amam Souhu Brahmi Maatai Namaha” or “Aim Hrim Srim Amam Souhu Sarvasamkshobhini mudradevyai Namaha As I am not certain which order these Siddhi / Maata / Mudradevata have to be worshipped.

Regarding the eight Sidhis, we can have the following explanations:

Minuteness – anima. This is the power which the yogi possesses to become as small as an atom, to identify himself with the smallest part of the universe, knowing the self in that atom to be one with himself. This is due to the fact that the anima mundi, or soul of the world, is universally spread throughout all aspects of divine life. Anima also means you know the subtlest of things around you and just by mere will, you can make yourself appear very small to everyone. Or you can become so subtle that you can enter into the dreams of people and guide them or if you misuse the power, you can misguide them, which is dangerous. Or even though all the doors to a room are locked and the walls are solid, by assuming a subtle form, you are able to penetrate those walls and doors. So anima means very subtle, to be atomic in size or to assume the minutest form with which you could go anywhere you like.

Magnitude – mahima. This is the power to expand one’s consciousness and thus enter into the greater whole as well as into the lesser part. Mahima means to be very, very, very heavy. These are only the surface meanings. There are so many other celestial meanings to these most practical powers, which come to you.

Gravity – garima. This concerns weight and mass and deals with the law of gravity, which is an aspect of the Law of Attraction. Garima is to be able to assume a mountainous size, which means your form, appears colossal, mountainous or cosmic.

Lightness – Laghima. This is the power underlying the phenomenon of levitation. It is the capacity of the adept to offset the attractive force of the planet and to leave the earth. It is the opposite of the third siddhi. Laghima means to be very light. By practice of the mantra, no matter how weighty you are, you have the power to make your entire system very light, like cotton or flower petals. That is the secret of levitation and reaching anywhere.

The attainment of the objective – prapti. This is the capacity of the yogi to achieve his goal, to extend his realization to any locality or to reach anything or any place he desires. It will be apparent that this will have an application on all the planes in the three worlds, as indeed all the siddhis have. Prapti means that whatever you wish for, either for yourself or for others, immediately you obtain the same.

Irresistible will – prakamya. This is sometimes described as sovereignty, and it is that driving irresistible force found in every adept, which bring about the fruition of his plans, the attainment of his desires, and the completion of his impulses. It is this quality which is the distinguishing characteristic of the black and the white magician alike. It necessarily demonstrates with greatest force on that plane in the three worlds which reflects the will aspect of divinity, the mental plane. All the elements obey this force of will as used by the yogin. Prakamya means, among other things, that if a soul is not resurrected, that is, it is caught somewhere in the astral worlds, it is visible to you, and you can use that prakamya power to send that soul to a higher dimension. Or if someone is asking for help in conquering the prarabdha karma, the incurable karma, and he remembers the guru, the guru is able to cure that karma and see that the person is healed, restored to his health or pristine purity or lifted from any fall and raised to a higher height. With prakamya, you even have the power to create new dimensions or to ask a special favor from God for certain souls for their enlightenment. This applies not only for individual wishes, but for the collective wishes of mankind.

Creative power – Ishitva. This concerns the power of the adept to deal with the elements in their five forms and produce with them objective realities, and thus to create on the physical plane. Ishitva means lordship. You are the lord of your senses, the lord of your mind. It means you conquer and wherever you go, that lordship is there. That is why you call Jesus ‘Lord Jesus,’ or Krishna ‘Lord Krishna.” Often these powers come to a social, political or religious leader and all too often, we see how this power is misused. You have to develop humility and remember that God alone is Lord. If you allow the ego to operate this siddhi, then definitely there will be brainwashing and the killing of the spirit of others. You must be very careful to remain humble. All great Masters fall on their knees when this siddhi manifests and pray again to the Almighty to bless them with humility. “Blessed are the poor in spirit …” it is said, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Otherwise, you will get lordship over certain things, such as continents or wealth, etc., but you’ll lose the Kingdom.

The power to command – vasitva. The magician as he controls the elemental forces of nature, utilizes this power and it is the basis of mantra yoga, the yoga of sound or of the creative word. Creative power, the seventh siddhi, concerns the elements and their vitalizing, so that they become “effective causes;” this siddhi, the eighth, concerns the power of the Word to drive the building forces of nature into coherent activity so that forms are produced. It also means attraction. Wherever you go, you are the magnet, the centre of attraction. You attract everything–all the angels, all the human beings, all the species–towards you.

Out of the 100 stanzas of Soundarya Lahari, some 28 are also associated with the above Siddhi, Maata / Mudradevata. Here again, I am not sure which of the 28, and so I am not making any suggestion!

II- Shodashdal (SARVAASAPARIPURAKA CHAKRAM): Within Bhupur, there are three circles, which are only to keep a separation between it and the next Chakram, the Sarvaasaparipuraka Chakram. This ring of sixteen lotus petals, the final outer ring of the Yantra is also known as “Sarvaashaparipuraka Chakra”. This is the point of fulfilling all our hopes and desires, of materialising all kinds of expectations. It is the final wish fulfilling Chakra.

The sixteen petals are the seats of sixteen Shaktidevatas. The Shaktis work through five Elements, ten Indriyas and one Mind, thus, Kaama, Buddhi, Ahankaara, Shabda, Rupa, Rasa, Gandha, Chitta, Dhairya, Smruti, Nama, Beeja, Atmaa, Amruta, and Sareera – The sixteen tools that are represented by the sixteen petals. The corresponding devatas are, Kamaakarshini Devi, Budhyaakarshini Devi, Ahamkaraakarshini Devi, Shabdaakarshini Devi, Sparshaakarshini Devi, Rupaakarshini Devi, Rasaakarshini Devi, Gandhaakarshini Devi, Chittaakarshini Devi, Dhairyaakarshini Devi, Smrutyaakarshini Devi, Namaakarshini Devi, Bijaakarshini Devi, Atmaakarshini Devi, Amrutaakarshini Devi, and Sariraakarshini Devi. These devataas are of the colour of Corals, and radiate a bright smile, four-handed, three-eyed and armed with Bow, Arrows, Sword and Shield. The presiding Mudradevata of this Chakram is Sarvavidravini. We start our meditation from this outer ring of sixteen petals where we first create before seeking divine grace to fulfill all our desires.

The Sarvaasaparipuraka Chakram: The enclosure is worshipped as Gupta Yogini as “Aim Hrim Srim Aim Klim Souhu Etah Gupta Yoginyah Sarvasa Paripuraka Chakre. Om Aim Hrim Srim Chakraraja Mahayantra Madhya vartayai Namaha”. Each of the devis could be worshiped in the general form: “Aim Hrim Srim Aim Klim Souhu Kamaakarshini devyai namaha” etc.

Just as in the case of the 28 Siddhi / Maata / Mudradevatas of the Trailokya Mohana Chakram, 16 of the stanzas of Soundarya Lahari are also associated with the yoginis described here.

III- Ashtadal (SARVA SAMKSHOBANA CHAKRA): The inner ring of eight-louse petals is also known as Sarva Samkshobana Chakra. These petals symbolize the seat of eight goddesses. Their functions are Vachan (Speech) , Adaan (Transaction), Gaman (Departure), Visarg (Transcendence), Ananda (Bliss), Upadan (Giving), Upeksha (Neglect), The eight petals symbolize Rupa (Form), Rasa (Taste), Gandha (Smell), Sparsha (Touch), Shabda (Sound), Nada (Primordial Sound), Prakriti (Primordial nature) and Purusha (The self). The corresponding devataas are Anangakusuma Devi, Anangamekhala Devi, Anangamadana Devi, Anangamadanatura Devi, Anagarekha Devi, Anagavegini Devi, Anangankusha Devi, and Anangamalini Devi.

This is the superset of our complete human existence. Meditation on this Chakra harmonizes the complete human existence in all its manifestation. They are also red in colour, with bows of sugar-cane, and arrows of flowers, and capable of defeating anybody. They derive their strength from Kaamadev. The Mudraadevi of this chakram is Sarvaakarshini Devi. Sarvasamkshobhana Chakram is represented by Guptatara Yogini, worshipped as “Aim Hrim Srim Hrim Klim Souhu Etah Guptatara Yoginyah Sarva Samkshobhana Chakre. Om Aim Hrim Srim Sahasra Surya Samyukta prakashayai Namaha”. The Devis can be worshiped like: “Aim Hrim Srim Hrim Klim Souhu Anangakusuma devyai Namaha”.

As in the previous cases, eight of the shlokas of Soundarya lahari are associated with these eight devis.

IV- Chaturdashar (SARVASAUBHAGYADAYAKA CHAKRA): The group of fourteen outermost triangles or Shaktis is also known as ‘SarvaSaubhagyadayaka Chakra’. This means the divine grace, which allows us to take control of our destiny or fortune. Thes fourteen Shaktis reside in manas (mind), buddhi (intellect), chitta (being), ahankara (ego or self consciousness), and the 10 Indriyas. The Devis of this Chakram are Sarvasamkshobhini Devi, Sarvavidravini Devi, Sarvaakarshini Devi, Sarvaakladini Devi, Sarvasammohini Devi, Sarvastambhini Devi, Sarvajrumbhini Devi, Sarvavasamkari Devi, Sarvaranjini Devi, Sarvonmadini Devi, Sarvarthasadhini Devi, Sarvasampathipurani Devi, Sarvamantramayi Devi, and Sarvadwandwakshayamkari Devi. They are collectively known as Sampradaaya Yoginis and have their hair bound as a single bunch, have four hands armed with Bow Arrows, Sword and a Shield named Vanhichakram. This creates the complete synthesis – and we are blessed with “Divine Grace” to create the destiny that we desire in this life. The Sarvasaubhagyadayaka Chakram is with 14 devis. The entire chakram is represented by Sampradaya Yogini, worshipped as “Aim Hrim Srim Haim Haklim Hasouhu Etah Sampradaya Yoginyah Sarvasaubhagyadayaka Chakre. Om Aim Hrim Srim Sahasra Rati Soundarya Sariraya Namo Namaha”. The ten devis can be worshipped in the form: “Aim Hrim Srim Haim Haklim Hasouhu Sarvasamkshobhinyai Namaha”.

Again, fourteen of the shlokas of soundarya lahari are associated with these Sampradaaya yoginis.

V- Bahiradashaaram (SARVAARTHASADHAKA CHAKRA): The group of ten outer triangles known as the Bahiradasharam is also known as “Sarvaarthasadhaka Chakra”- the point of realization of all desires. This Chakra gives one the power to realize what one wants – whatever gives meaning to one’s life. It removes all impediments to pursue wealth or Artha in this life. In the ten triangles reside ten Yonis or Shaktis (Energy points). These Shakties regulates the ten Pranaas or life forces in human organism. It is through Pranaas that everything becomes alive and full of meaningful (Artha). Meditation on this Chakra helps one get control over Pranaas which in turn gives control over mind. The mind works through ten Indriyas (five organs of action and five organ of senses). The sense organs make the outside world meaningful and the organs of the action provide the skill to obtain the objects of desire and satisfy the senses. These shaktis are Sarvasidhiprada Devi, Sarvasampathprada Devi, Sarvapriyamkari Devi, Sarvamangalakaarini Devi, Sarvakamaprada Devi, Sarvadukhavimochini Devi, Sarvamrtyuprasamani Devi, Sarvavighnanivarini Devi, Sarvangasundari Devi, and Sarvasoubhagyadayini Devi. They are responsible with providing their respective siddhis to the worshipers. They have a clear complection, and armed with Parasu (Axe), Paasam (Rope), and Ghantamani (Bell). These shaktis are collectively known as Kulottirna Yoginis. The mudradevi of the Sarvaarthasaadhaka Chakram is Sarvonmadini.

Sarvaarthasadhaka Chakram manifests ten devis. The enclosure is represented by Kulottirna Yogini, worshipped as “Aim Hrim Srim Hsaim Hsklim Hsouhu Etah Kulottirna Yoginyah Sarvarthasadhaka chakre. Om Aim Hrim Srim Srishodashakshari Mantra Madhyakayai Namaha”. The ten devis can be worshipped in the form: “Aim Hrim Srim Hsaim Hsklim Hsouhu Sarvadukhavimochani devyai Namaha”, etc.

Ten of the shlokas of Soundarya Lahari are associated with these ten devis.

VI- Antardashaaram (SARVARAKSHAAKARA CHAKRA): The group of ten inner triangles, the Antardashaaram is known as “SarvaRakshaakara Chakra”- the all-round protector. Protection is achieved not from the outside but from within – through inner discipline. The ten triangles represent all the five organs of action and the five organs of sense, known as the Indiryas. By controlling these ten Indriyas one creates an inner protective shield from all external stimuli. Within the ten triangles, are seated the ten Yonis, representing the ten body fires or functions. The deities on this chakra are Sarvajna, Sarvasakti, Sarvaishvaryaprada, Sarvajnanamayi, Sarvavyadhivinasini, Sarvaadharaswarupa, Sarvapaapahara, Sarvanandamayi, Sarvarakshaswaroopni, and Sarepsitaphalaprada. These shaktis have four hands in which they all have Lightning, Spear, Mace and Chakra as weapons. They are very fair in colour and brilliance. They are commonly called Nigarbha Yoginis and the Mudradevi of this chakra is Sarvamahaamkusa.

Meditation on this group of 10 triangles regulates these 10 body functions and helps one become the master of the five organs of actions and five organs of senses – providing full internal protection. Sarvarakshakara Chakram is with 10 devis. The Chakram is represented by Nigarbha Yogini, worshipped as “Aim Hrim Srim Klim Blem Etah Nigarbha Yoginyah Sarvarakshakara Chakre. Om Aim Hrim Srim Mahesha Yukta Natana Tatparayai Namo Namaha”. The devis can be worshipped in the form “Aim Hrim Srim Klim Blem Sarvajna Devyai Namaha”

As shown earlier, ten of the Shlokas of Soundarya Lahari are devoted to these ten devis.

VII- Ashtar (SARVAROGAHARA CHAKRA): Ashtar is the group of eight triangles, is also known as “Sarva Rogahara Chakra” which means destroyer of all disease or disturbance of ease. The 8 triangles, in fact symbolize the 8 implements or weapons held by Kameshwar and Kameshwari to destroy all diseases. The 8 triangles of Ashtar and one central Trikona – these 9 triangles are called the “Navdwar Chakra” – the foundation stone of the phenomenal world. Meditation on the Ashtar, Trikona and Bindu gives protection, power, bliss and takes away all kinds of spiritual, mental and physical ailments. These eight Vagdevataas are bright with colour of Ashoka Flowers, and have in their four hands Bow, Arrows, Book and Veena. the Theydevataas are also theauthor of They are collectively called Rahasya Yoginis. Tripuraasiddha is the Keeper of this Chakra and its Mudradevi is Sarvakhechari.

Vasini Vagdevatadevi – worshipped as “Aim Hrim Srim Hrim Srim Souhu amam im eem um uum arum aruum alum aluum em aim om oum ah am arbum Vasini Vagdevatayai Namaha” Thus Vasini Vagdevata represents all vowels of the alphabet. Incidentally, the Rshis of Lalita Sahasranamam are the same Vagdevatas.

Kameshwari Vagdevatadevi- worshipped as “Aim hrim srim hrim souhu kam kham gam gham gnam khlrim kameshvari Vagdevatayai Namaha” (This is the “kavargam” or group of consonents)

Modini Vagdevatadevi- worshipped as “Aim hrim srim hrim souhu cham chham jam jham njam Nablim Modini Vagdevatayai Namaha” (This is the “chavargam” or group of consonents)

Vimala Vagdevatadevi- worshipped as “Aim hrim srim hrim souhu tam tham dam dham nam ylum Vimala Vagdevatayai Namaha” (This is the “Tavargam” or group of consonents)

Aruna Vagdevatadevi- worshipped as “Aim hrim srim hrim souhu tam tham dam dham nam jmrim ArunaVagdevatayai Namaha” (This is the “thavargam” or group of consonents)

Jayaini Vagdevatadevi- worshipped as “Aim hrim srim hrim souhu pam pham bam bham mam Hsluyum Jayaini Vagdevatayai Namaha” (This is the “pavargam” or group of consonents)

Sarveshwari Vagdevatadevi- worshipped as “Aim hrim srim hrim souhu yam ram lam vam jhmrym Sarveshvari Vagdevatayai Namaha” (The group of consonents ya, ra, la, va)

Kaulini Vagdevatadevi- worshipped as “Aim hrim srim hrim souhu sam sham sam ham lam zham ksmrim Kaulini Vagdevatayai Namaha” (The group of consonents sa, sha, sa, ha and la)

Sarvarogahara Chakram with its eight devis, represented by Rahasya Yogini, worshipped as “Aim Hrim Srim Hrim Srim Souhu Etah Rahasya Yoginyah Sarvarogahara Chakre. Om Aim Hrim Srim Ashesha Dushta Danuja sudanayai Namo Namaha”.

These eight Vagdevatas are also worshipped through the eight shlokas of Soundarya Lahari.

VIII- Trikona (SHARVASIDDHIPRADA CHAKRA): The Trikona is also known as the “Sharva Siddhiprada Chakra” which means the point of eternal enlightenment and powers. It is the main triangle where the Bindu is located. This triangle is created when the Bindu manifests itself, in all its radiance. The three goddesses, Mahakameshwari, Mahavajreswari and Mahabhagamalini represent the three sides of the triangle. They manifest the three Gunas or characteristics of all living beings. (Sattva, Rajash, Tamash). The Trikona is also seen as a Yoni (female genital organ), the primordial self with all three Gunas. These three Gunas, namely, Jagriti (the waking state), Swapna (the dream state), and Sushupti (the state of deep slumber), represent the three states of consciousness: They have, as weapons Bow, Arrows, Alcoholic beverage, pomegranate fruit, Sword, Shield, Naagapasa (Rope of Snakes) and Ghantamani (Bell) in their eight hands They are collectively called Atirahasya Yoginis. The ruler of this Chakra is Tripurambika and the Mudradevi is Sarvabija. Meditation on Trikona helps one to exercise the powers of consciousness.

Sarvasidhiprada Chakram with its three devis. The deity representing this chakram is Atirahasya Yogini, worshipped as “Aim Hrim Srim Hsraim Haskrim Hsrouhu Etah Atirahasya Yoginyah Sarvasidhiprada Chakre. Om Aim Hrim Sumabaneshu Kodanda Manditayai Namo Namaha”.

Mahakameshwari Devi – worshipped in the form “Aim Hrim Srim Hsraim Haskrim Hsrouhu ka ei la hrim Vama Rajoguna ichcha sakti Kameshvarayai namaha. Sri ichchashakti sri padukam pujayami tarpayami namaha”

Mahavajreshwari Devi- worshipped in the form “Aim Hrim Srim Hsraim Haskrim Hsrouhu ha sa ka la hrim jyeshta Sattva guna jnanashakti Vajreshvarayai namaha. Sri jnanashakti sri padukam pujayami tarpayami namaha”

Mahabhagamalini Devi- worshipped in the form “Aim Hrim Srim Hsraim Hasklim Hsrouhu sa ka la hrim Roudri Tamo Guna Kriyashakti Bhagamalinyai namaha. Sri Kriyashakti sri padukam pujayami tarpayami namaha”

Three shlokas of Soundarya Lahari are also devoted to these three mahadevis.

IX- Bindu (SARVAANANDAMAYA CHAKRAM): The point inside the central triangle and the center of the Yantra is also known as the “Sarva Anandamaya Chakra”, which means the point of all-encompassing bliss. The point is the seed of the entire universe, the supreme consciousness and is beyond time and space. At this point, Mahakaameshwar (the lord of Kama or Desire) and the mother of entire universe Kameshwari (the Energy of the desire for the final union) remain ever united. The final act of meditation is to concentrate on the Bindu, the symbol of eternal union of Lord Shiva and his consort, Parvati, the symbol of shakti (power/energy).

Sarvanandamaya Chakram: It has one devi. The yogini representing this Chakram is Parapara Rahasya yogini – worshipped in the form “Aim Hrim Srim ka e i la hrim ha sa ka la hrim sa ka la hrim Lalita Sri Maha Chakreshvari Sri Padukam pujayami tarpayami namaha. Aim Sarva yonimudra pradarsya”. Srirajarajeshwari Devi- worshipped in the form “Aim Hrim Srim ka e i la hrim ha sa ka la hrim sa ka la hrim Sri Sri Lalitambika Sri Sahasrakshi Sri Rajarajeshvari Sri Padukam pujayami tarpayami namaha”.

Shree Lalitambika Shree Rajarajeshwari, as Chakreshwari, is worshipped through the remaining three of the shlokas of Soundarya Lahari.

Soundarya Lahari: Sri Shankaraacharya’s Soundarya Lahari is in two parts, Ananda Lahari (Shlokas 1 to 41 and Soundarya Lahari (Shlokas 42 to 100). Just as Sri Chakra is the ultimate in mysticism, the 100 Shlokas of Soundarya Lahari are considered to possess many mystical properties, and can result in attainment of all the worldly desires! The way in which these shlokas have to be used has not been presented here, but in almost all cases, it involves usage of the specific shlokas along with recitation of some mantras (and of course offerings of lamps, flowers, etc.).

The following has been taken from

01 Shivah shakthya yukto yadi bhavati shaktah prabhavitum
Na chedevam devo na khalu kusalah spanditumapi;
Atas tvam aradhyam Hari-Hara-Virinchadibhir api
Pranantum stotum vaa katham akrta-punyah prabhavati

02 Taniyamsam pamsum tava carana-pankeruha-bhavam
Virincih sanchinvan virachayati lokan avikalam;
Vahaty evam Shaurih katham api sahasrena shirasaam
Harah samksudy’ainam bhajati bhajati bhasito’ddhalama-vidhim.

03 Avidyanam antas-timira-mihira-dweeppa-nagari
Jadanam chaitanya-stabaka-makaranda-sruti jhari
Daridranam cinta-mani-gunanika janma-jaladhau
Nimadhanam damshtra mura-ripu-varahasya bhavati.

04 Tvad anyah paanibhyam abhaya-varado daivataganah
Tvam eka n’aivasi prakatita-var’abhityabhinaya;
Bhayat tratum datum phalam api cha vancha samadhikam
Saranye lokanam tava hi charanaveva nipunav.

05 Haris tvam aradhya pranata-jana-saubhagya-jananim
Pura nari bhutva Pura-ripum api ksobham anayat;
Smaro’pi tvam natva rati-nayana-lehyena vapusha
Muninam apyantah prabhavati hi mohaya mahatam.

06 Dhanun paushpam maurvi madhu-kara-mayi pancha visikha
Vasantaha samanto Malaya-marud ayodhana-rathah;
Tatha’py ekah sarvam Himagiri-suthe kam api kripaam
Apangat te labdhva jagadidam Anango vijayate.

07 Kvanat-kanchi-dama kari-kalabha-kumbha-stana-nata
Pariksheena madhye parinata-sarachandra-vadana;
Dhanur banan pasam srinim api dadhana karatalaii
Purastad astam noh Pura-mathitur aho-purushika.

08 Sudha-sindhor madhye sura-vitapi-vati parivrte
Mani-dweepe nipo’pavana-vathi chintamani-grhe;
Shivaakare manche Parama-Shiva-paryanka-nilayam
Bhajanti tvam dhanyah katichana chid-ananda-laharim.

09 Mahim muladhare kamapi manipure huthavaham
Sthitham svadhistane hridi marutamakasam upari;
Mano’pi bhruu-madhye sakalamapi bhittva kula-patham
Sahasrare padme saha rahasi patyaa viharase.

10 Sudha-dhara-sarais carana-yugalanta vigalitaih
Prapancham sinchanti punarapi ras’amnaya-mahasah;
Avapya svam bhumim bhujaga-nibham adhyusta-valayam
Svam atmanam krtva svapishi kulakunde kuharini

11 Chaturbhih shri-kantaih shiva-yuvatibhih panchabhir api
Prabhinnabhih sambhor navabhir api mula-prakrthibhih;
Chatus-chatvarimsad vasu-dala-kalasra-trivalaya-
Tri-rekhabhih sardham tava sarana-konah parinatah

12 Tvadiyam saundaryam Tuhina-giri-kanye tulayitum
Kavindrah kalpante katham api Virinchi-prabhrutayah;
Yadaloka’utsukyad amara-lalana yanti manasa
Tapobhir dus-prapam api girisa-sayujya-padavim.

13 Naram varshiyamsam nayana virasam narmasu jadam,
Thava panga loke pathitha manudhavanthi sathasa
Gala dweni bhandha kuch kalasa visthrutha sichaya
Hatath thrudyath kanchyho vigalidha dhukoola yuva thaya.

14 Ksitau sat-panchasad dvi-samadhika-panchasadudake
Hutase dva-sastis chatur-adhika-panchasad anile;
Divi dvih-shatrimsan manasi cha chatuh-sashtir iti ye
Mayukhastesham athyupari tava padambuja yugam.

15 Saraj-jyotsna-shuddham sasi-yuta-jata-juta-makutam
Vara-traasa-traana-sphatika-ghutika-pustaka karaam;
Sakrn na thva nathva katham iva sathaam sannidadhate
Madhu-kshira-drakhsa-madhurima-dhurinah phanitayah.

16 Kavindranam chetah-kamala-vana-baal’atapa-ruchim
Bhajante ye santah katichid arunameva bhavatim;
Virinchi-preyasyas tarunatara sringara-lahari-
Gabhirabhi vagbhir vidadhati satam ranjanamami.

17 Savitribhir vacham Chasi-mani-sila-bhanga-rucibhir
Vasiny’adyabhis tvam saha janani samchintayati yah;
Sa karta kavyanam bhavati mahatam bhangi-rucibhih
Vacobhi vagdevi-vadana-kamal’amoda madhuraii.

18 Thanuschayabhi sthe tharuna-tharuni –srisarinibhi
Divam sarva-murvi-marunimani magnam smaranthi ya
Bhavanthasya thrasya-dhwana-harina shaleena nayana
Sahervasya vasya kathikathi na geervana Ganika

19 Mukham bindun kruthva kucha yuga mada sthasya thadha dho
Harardha dhyayedhyo haramamahishi the manmathakalam
Sa sadhya samkshebham nayathi vanitha inyathiladhu
Thrilokimapyasu bramayathi ravindu sthana yugam.

20 Kirantim angebhyah kirana-nikurumba’mrta-rasam
Hrdi tvam adhatte hima-kara-sila murthimiva yah;
Sa sarpanam darpam samayati sakuntadhipa iva
Jvara-plustan drshtya sukhayati sudhadhara-siraya.

21 Tatil-lekha-thanvim thapana-sasi-vaisvanara-mayim
Nishannam shannam apy upari kamalanam tava kalaam;
Maha-padma tavyam mrdita-mala-mayena manasa
Mahantah pasyanto dadhati parama’hlada-laharim.

22 Bhavani tvam daase mayi vitara drishtim sakarunam
Iti sthotum vanchan kadhayati Bhavani tvam iti yah;
Tadaiva tvam tasmai disasi nija-sayujya-padavim

23 Tvaya hrithva vamam vapur aparitripthena manasa
Sarir’ardham sambhor aparam api sankhe hritham abhut;
Yad ethat tvadrupam sakalam arunabham trinayanam
Kuchabhyam anamram kutila-sadi-chuudala-makutam.

24 Jagat suthe dhata harir avati rudrah kshapayate
Tiraskurvan etat svam api vapurisastirayati;
Sada-purvah sarvam tad idamanugrhnati cha Shiva-
Stavajnam aalambya kshana-chalitayor bhru-latikayoh.

25 Trayanam devanam thri-guna-janitanam tava Sive
Bhavet puja puja tava charanayor ya virachita;
Tatha hi tvat-pado’dvahana-mani-pithasya nikate
Sthita hy’ete sasvan mukulita-karottamsa-makuta

26 Virincih panchatvam vrajati harir apnoti virathim
Vinasam kinaso bhajati dhanado yati nighanam;
Vitandri mahendri vithathir api sammeelita-drsa
Maha-samhare smin viharati sati tvat-patirasau.

27 Japo jalpah shilpam sakalam api mudra-virachana
Gatih pradaksinya-kramanam asanady’ahuti-vidhih;
Pranamah samvesah sukham akilam atmarpana-drsa
Saparya-paryayas tava bhavatu yan me vilasitam.

28 Sudham apy asvadya pratibhaya-jaraa-mrtyu-harinim
Vipadyante visve Vidhi-Satamakhadya divishadah;
Karalam yat ksvelam kabalitavatah kaala-kalana
Na Sambhos tan-mulam tava janani tadanka-mahima.

29 Kiritam vairincham parihara purah kaitabha bhidah
Katore kotire skalasi jahi jambhari-makutam;
Pranamreshwateshu prasabha mupayatasya bhavanam
Bhavasy’abhyutthane tava parijanoktir vijayate.

30 Sva-deh’odbhutabhir ghrnibhir animadyabhir abhito
Nishevye nitye tvamahamiti sada bhavayati yah;
Kim-ascharyam tasya tri-nayana-samrddhim trinayato
Maha-samvartagnir virchayati nirajana-vidhim.

31 Cautuh-shashtya tantraih sakalam atisamdhaya bhuvanam
Sthitas tat-tat-siddhi-prasava-para-tantraih pasupatih;
Punas tvan-nirbandhad akhila-purusarth’aika ghatana-
Svatantram te tantram khsiti-talam avatitaradidam.

32 Sivah saktih kamah kshitir atha ravih sithakiranah
Smaro hamsah sakrastadanu cha para-mara-harayah;
Amee hrllekhabhis tisrbhir avasanesu ghatitha
Bhajante varnaste tava janani nam’avayavatham.

33 Smaram yonim lakshmim trithayam idam adau tava manor
Nidhay’aike nitye niravadhi-maha-bhoga-rasikah;
Bhajanti tvam chintamani-guna-nibaddh’aksha-valayah
Sivagnau juhvantah surabhi-ghrta-dhara’huti-sataih.

34 Sariram twam sambhoh sasi-mihira-vakshoruha-yugam
Tav’atmanam manye bhagavati nav’ atmanam anagham;
Atah seshah seshityayam ubhaya-saadharana taya
Sthitah sambandho vaam samarasa-parananda-parayoh.

35 Manas tvam vyoma tvam marud asi marut saarathir asi
Tvam aastvam bhoomis tvayi parinathayam na hi param;
Tvam eva svatmanam parinamayithum visva-vapusha
Chidanand’aakaram Shiva-yuvati-bhaavena bibhrushe.

36 Tavaagna chakrastham thapana shakthi koti dhyudhidharam,
Param shambhum vande parimilitha –paarswa parachitha
Yamaradhyan bhakthya ravi sasi suchinama vishaye
Niraalokeloke nivasathi hi bhalokha bhuvane

37 Vishuddhou the shuddha sphatika visadham vyoma janakam
Shivam seve devimapi siva samana vyavasitham
Yayo kaanthya sasi kirana saaroopya sarane
Vidhoo thantha dwarvantha vilamathi chakoriva jagathi

38 Samunmeelath samvithkamala makarandhaika rasikam
Bhaje hamsadwandham kimapi mahatham maanasacharam
Yadhalapaa dhashtadasa gunitha vidhyaparinathi
Yadadhathe doshad gunamakhila madhbhaya paya eva

39 Thava swadhishtane huthavahamadhishtaya niratham
Thameede sarvatha janani mahathim tham cha samayam
Yadhaloke lokan dhahathi mahasi krodha kalithe
Dhayardhra ya drushti sishiramupacharam rachayathi

40 Thatithwantham shakthya thimira paree pandhi sphuranaya
Sphuranna na rathnabharana pareenedwendra dhanusham
Thava syamam megham kamapi manipooraika sharanam
Nisheve varshantham haramihira thaptham thribhuvanam.

41 Thavadhare mole saha samayaya lasyaparaya
Navathmanam manye navarasa maha thandava natam
Ubhabhya Methabhyamudaya vidhi muddhisya dhayaya
Sanadhabyam jagne janaka jananimatha jagathidam.

42 Gathair manikyatvam gagana-manibhih-sandraghatitham.
Kiritam te haimam himagiri-suthe kirthayathi yah;
Sa nideyascchaya-cchurana-sabalam chandra-sakalam
Dhanuh saunasiram kim iti na nibadhnati dhishanam.

43 Dhunotu dhvaantam nas tulita-dalit’endivara-vanam
Ghana-snigdha-slakshnam chikura-nikurumbham thava sive;
Yadhiyam saurabhyam sahajamupalabdhum sumanaso
Vasanthyasmin manye vala-madhana-vaati-vitapinam.

44 Tanothu kshemam nas tava vadhana-saundarya lahari
Parivaha-sthrotah-saraniriva seemantha-saranih
Vahanti sinduram prabala-kabari-bhara-thimira-
Dvisham brindair bandi-krtham iva navin’arka kiranam;

45 Aralaih swabhavyadalikalabha-sasribhiralakaih
Paritham the vakhtram parihasati pankheruha-ruchim;
Dara-smere yasmin dasana-ruchi-kinjalka-ruchire
Sugandhau madhyanti Smara-dahana-chaksur-madhu-lihah.

46 Lalatam lavanya-dyuthi-vimalamaabhati tava yath
Dvithiyam tan manye makuta-ghatitham chandra-sakalam;
Viparyasa-nyasad ubhayam api sambhuya cha mithah
Sudhalepa-syutih pareenamati raka-himakarah.

47 Bhruvau bhugne kinchit bhuvana-bhaya-bhanga-vyasanini
Tvadhiye nethrabhyam madhukara-ruchibhyam dhrita-gunam;
Dhanur manye savye’tara-kara-grhitam rathipateh
Prakoshte mushtau ca sthagayati nigudha’ntharam ume

48 Ahah sute savyam tava nayanam ark’athmakathaya
Triyamam vamam the srujati rajani-nayakataya;
Trithiya the drishtir dhara-dhalita-hemambuja-ruchih
Samadhatte sandhyam divasa-nisayor antara-charim

49 Vishala kalyani sphuta-ruchir ayodhya kuvalayaih
Kripa-dhara-dhara kimapi madhur’a bhogavatika;
Avanthi drishtis the bahu-nagara-vistara-vijaya
Dhruvam tattan-nama-vyavaharana-yogya vijayate

50 Kavinam sandharbha-sthabaka-makarandh’aika-rasikam
Amunchantau drshtva tava nava-ras’asvada tharalau-
Asuya-samsargadhalika-nayanam kinchid arunam.

51 Shive sringarardhra tad-ithara-jane kutsana-paraa
Sarosha Gangayam Girisa-charite’vismayavathi;
Har’ahibhyo bhita sarasi-ruha-saubhagya-janani
Sakhishu smera the mayi janani dristih sakaruna.

52 Gathe karnabhyarnam garutha iva pakshmani dhadhati.
Puraam bhetthus chitta-prasama-rasa-vidhravana-phale;
Ime nethre gothra-dhara-pathi-kulottamsa-kalike
Tav’akarn’akrishta-smara-sara-vilasam kalayathah.

53 Vibhaktha-traivarnyam vyatikaritha-lila’njanathaya
Vibhati tvan-netra-trithayam idam Isana-dayite;
Punah strashtum devan Druhina-Hari-Rudran uparatan
Rajah sattvam vibhrat thama ithi gunanam trayam iva.

54 Pavithrikarthum nah pasupathi-paradheena-hridhaye
Daya-mithrair nethrair aruna-dhavala-syama ruchibhih;
Nadah sono ganga tapana-tanay’eti dhruvamamum
Trayanam tirthanam upanayasi sambhedam anagham.

55 Nimesh’onmeshabhyam pralayam udayam yaati jagati
Tave’ty ahuh santho Dharani-dhara-raajanya-thanaye;
Tvad-unmeshaj jatham jagad idham asesham pralyatah
Pari-trathum sankhe parihruta-nimeshas tava drusah.

56 Tav’aparne karne-japa-nayana-paisunya-chakita
Niliyante thoye niyatham animeshah sapharikah;
Iyam cha srir baddhasc-chada-puta-kavaiam kuvalayam
Jahati pratyupe nisi cha vighatayya pravisathi.

57 Drisa draghiyasya dhara-dhalita-nilotpala-rucha
Dhaviyamsam dhinam snapaya kripaya mam api Sive;
Anenayam dhanyo bhavathi na cha the hanir iyata
Vane va harmye va sama-kara-nipaatho himakarah

58 Araalam the paali-yugalam aga-rajanya-thanaye
Na kesham adhatte kusuma-shara-kodhanda kuthukam;
Tiraschino yathra sravana-patham ullanghya vilasann-
Apaanga-vyasango disati sara-sandhana-dhisanam.

59 Sphurad-ganddabhoga-prathiphalitha-thatanka yugalam
Chatus-chakram manye thava mukham idam manmatha-ratham;
Yam-aruhya druhyaty avani-ratham arkendhu-charanam
Mahaviro marah pramatha-pathaye sajjitavate.

60 Sarasvatyah sukthir amrutha-lahari-kaushala-harih
Pibanthyah Sarvani Sravana-chuluk abhyam aviralam;
Chamathkara-slagha-chalita-sirasah kundala-gano
Jhanatkarais taraih prati-vachanam achashta iva te.

61 Asau naasa-vamsas tuhina-girivamsa-dhvajapati
Thvadhiyo nedhiyah phalatu phalam asmakam uchitam;
Vahathy anthar muktah sisira-kara-nisvasa galitham
Samruddhya yat tasam bahir api cha mukta-mani-dharah.

62 Prakrithya’rakthayas thava sudhati dantha-cchada-ruchaih
Pravakshye saadrisyam janayathu phalam vidhruma-latha;
Na bimbam tad-bimba-prathiphalana-raagad arunitham
Thulam adhya’rodhum katham iva bhilajjetha kalaya.

63 Smitha-jyothsna-jalam thava vadana-chandrasya pibatham
Chakoranam asid athi-rasataya chanchu-jadima;
Athas the sithamsor amrtha-laharim amla-ruchayah
Pibanthi svacchhandam nisi nisi bhrusam kaanjika-dhiya.

64 Avishrantam pathyur guna-gana-katha’mridana-japa
Japa-pushpasc-chaya thava janani jihva jayathi saa;
Yad-agrasinayah sphatika-drishad-acchac-chavi mayi
Sarasvathya murthih parinamati manikya-vapusha.

65 Rane jithva’daithyan apahrutha-sirastraih kavachibhir
Nivrittais Chandamsa-Tripurahara-nirmalva-vimukhaih;
Visakh’endr’opendraih sasi-visadha-karpura-sakala
Viliyanthe maatas tava vadana-tambula-kabalah.

66 Vipanchya gayanthi vividham apadhanam Pasupathea
Thvay’arabdhe vakthum chalita-sirasa sadhuvachane;
Tadhiyair madhuryair apalapitha-tantri-kala-ravam
Nijaam vinam vani nichulayati cholena nibhrutham.

67 Karagrena sprustam thuhina-girina vatsalathaya
Girisen’odasthama muhur adhara-pan’akulataya;
Kara-grahyam sambhor mukha-mukura-vrintham Giri-sute
Kadham-karam bramas thava chubukam aupamya-rahitham.

68 Bhujasleshan nithyam Pura-damayituh kantaka-vathi
Tava griva dhatte mukha-kamalanaala-sriyam iyam;
Svatah swetha kaalaagaru-bahula-jambala-malina
Mrinali-lalithyam vahati yadadho hara-lathika.

69 Gale rekhas thisro gathi-gamaka-gith’aika nipune
Virajanthe nana-vidha-madhura-ragakara-bhuvam
Thrayanam gramanam sthithi-niyama-seemana iva the.

70 Mrinali-mridhvinam thava bhuja-lathanam chatasrinam
Chaturbhih saundaryam Sarasija-bhavah stauthi vadanaih;
Nakhebhyah samtrasyan prathama-madhanadandhaka-ripo
Chaturnam sirshanam samam abhaya-hasth’arapana-dhiya.

71 Nakhanam uddyotai nava-nalina-ragam vihasatham
Karanam te kantim kathaya kathayamah katham Ume;
Kayachid va samyam bhajatu kalaya hanta kamalam
Yadi kridal-lakshmi-charana-tala-laksha-rasa-chanam.

72 Samam devi skanda dwipa vadana peetham sthanayugam
Thavedham na khedham harathu sathatham prasnutha mukham
Yada loakakhya sankha kulitha hridayo hasa janaka
Swa kumbhou herambha parisrusathi hasthena jhhaddithi

73 Amuu theey vakshoja vamrutharasa manikhya kuthupou
Na sadhehaspatho nagapathi pathake manasi na
Pibhanthou thow yasma dhavadhitha bhadusangha rasikou
Kumara vadhyapi dwiradhavadhana krouncha dhalanou

74 Bahathyambha sthamberam dhanuja kumbha prakrithibhi
Samaarabhdham muktha mamibhi ramalam haara lathikam
Kuchabhogo bhimbhadara ruchibhi rathna saabhalitham
Prathapa vyamishram puradamayithu keerthimiva thee

75 Twa stanyam manye dharanidhara kanye hridhayatha
Paya paraabhaara parivahathi saaraswathamiva
Dhayavathya dhattham dravida sisu raaswadhya thava yat
Kaveenam proudana majani kamaniya kavayitha

76 Hara krodha jwalaavalibhir avaleedena vapusha
Gabhire thee nabhisarasi kruthasangho manasija
Samuthasthou thasmath achalathanaye dhoomalathika
Janastham janithe thava janani romaavalirithi

77 Yadhethath kalindhi thanu thara ngaa kruthi shive
Krushe mahye kinchid janani thawa yadbhathi sudheeyam
Vimardha –dhanyonyam kuchakalasayo –ranthara gatham
Thanu bhootham vyoma pravishadhiva nabhim kuharinim

78 Sthiro gangavartha sthana mukula romaa vali latha
Kalaabhalam kundam kusuma sara thejo hutha bhuja
Rathe leelamgaram kimapi thava nabhir giri suthe
Bhila dwaram siddhe rgirisa nayananam vijayathe

79 Nisargha ksheenasya sthana thata bharena klamajusho
Namanmurthe narree thilaka sanakaii –sthrutayatha eva
Chiram thee Madhyasya thruthitha thatini theera tharuna
Samavasthaa sthemno bhavathu kusalam sailathanaye

80 Kuchou sadhya swidhya-sthata =ghatitha koorpasabhidurou
Kasnthou dhormule kanaka kalasabhou kalayatha
Thava thrathum bhangadhalamithi valagnam thanubhava
Thridha naddham devi trivali lavalovallibhiriva

81 Guruthvam vistharam ksithidharapathi paravathy nijaath
Nithambha Dhhachhidhya twayi harana roopena nidhadhe
Athasthe vistheerno guruyamasesham vasumathim
Nithambha =praabhara sthagayathi lagutwam nayathi cha

82 Karrendranam sundan kanaka kadhali kaadapatali
Umabhamurubhyam –mubhayamapi nirjithya bhavathi
Savrithabhyam pathyu pranathikatinabham giri suthe
Vidhigne janubhysm vibhudha karikumbha dwayamasi

83 Paraa jenu rudhram dwigunasara garbhoy girisuthe
Nishanghou Unghe thee vishamavishikho bhada –maakrutha
Yadagre drishyanthe dasa satra phalaa paadayugali
Nakhagrachadhyan sura makuta sanayika nishitha

84 Sruthinam murdhano dadhati thava yau sekharathaya
Mama’py etau Matah sirasi dayaya dhehi charanau;
Yayoh paadhyam paathah Pasupathi-jata-juta-thatini
Yayor larksha-lakshmir aruna-Hari-chudamani-ruchih

85 Namo vakam broomo nayana ramaneeyaya padayo
Thavasmai dwandhaya sphuta ruchi rasalaktha kavathe
Asooyathyantham yadhamihananaaya spruhyathe
Passonamisana pramadhavana kamkhelitharave

86 Mrisha krithva gothra skhalana matha vailakshya namitham
Lalate bhartharam charana kamala thadayathi thee
Chiradantha salyam dhahanakritha –munmilee thavatha
Thula koti kkana kilikilith –meesana ripuna

87 Himani-hanthavyam hima-giri-nivas’aika-chaturau
Nisayam nidranam nisi charama-bhaghe cha visadau;
Varam laksmi-pathram sriyam ati srijanthau samayinam
Sarojam thvad-padau janani jayatas chitram iha kim.

88 Padham the kirhtinam prapadham apadham Devi vipadham
Katham nitham sadbhih kutina-kamati-karpara-thulam;
Katham vaa bahubhyam upayamana-kaale purabhida
Yad adhaya nyastham drshadi daya-manena manasa.

89 Nakhair naka-sthrinam kara-kamala-samkocha sasibhi
Tarunam dhivyanam hasata iva te chandi charanau;
Phalani svah-sthebhyah kisalaya-karagrena dhadhatam
Daridhrebhyo bhadraam sriyam anisam ahnaya dhadhatau.

90 Dhadhane dinebhyah sriyam anisam asaanusadhrusim
Amandham saundharya-prakara-makarandham vikirathi;
Tav’asmin mandhara-sthabhaka-subhage yatu charane
Nimajjan majjivah karana-charanah sat-charanathaam.

91 Pada-nyasa-kreeda-parichayam iv’arabdhu-manasah
Skhalanthas the khelam bhavana-kala-hamsa na jahati;
Atas tesham siksham subhaga-mani-manjira-ranitha-
Chchalad achakshanam charana-kamalam charu-charite.

92 Gataas the mancathvam Druhina-Hari-Rudr’eshavara-bhrutah
Sivah svacchac-chaya-ghatita-kapata-pracchada-pata;
Tvadhiyanam bhasaam prati-phalana-rag’arunathaya
Sariri srungaro rasa iva dhrisam dhogdhi kuthukam.

93 Araala kesheshu prakruthi-saralaa manda-hasithe
Sireeshabha chite drushad upala-sobha kucha-thate;
Bhrusam thanvi madhye pruthur urasijh’aroha-vishaye
Jagat trathum sambhor jayahti karuna kaachid aruna.

94 Kalankah kasthuri rajani-kara-bimbham jalamayam
Kalabhih karpurair marakatha-karandam nibiditam;
Athas thvad-bhogena prahti-dinam idam riktha-kuharam
Vidhir bhuyo bhuyo nibidayathi nunam thava krithe.

95 Pur’arather antah-puram asi thathas thvach-charanayoh
Saparya-maryadha tharala-karananam asulabha;
Thatha hy’ethe neetah sathamukha-mukhah siddhim athulam
Thava dvar’opantha-sthithibhir anim’adyabhir amarah.

96 Kalathram vaidhathram kathi kathi bhajante na kavayah
Sriyo devyah ko va na bhavati pathih kairapi dhanaih;
Mahadevam hithva thava sathi sathinam acharame
Kuchabhyam aasangah kuravaka-tharor apyasulabhah.

97 Giram aahur devim Druhina-gruhinim agaamavidho
Hareh pathnim padhmam Hara-sahacharim adhri-thanayam;
Thuriya kapi thvam dhuradhigama-niseema-mahima
Maha-maya visvam bhramayasi parabhrahma mahishi.

98 Kadha kaale mathah kathaya kalith’alakthaka-rasam
Pibheyam vidyarthi thava charana-nirnejana-jalam;
Prakrithya mukhanam api cha kavitha-karanathaya
Kadha dhathe vani-mukha-kamala-thambula-rasatham.

99 Saraswathya lakshmya vidhi hari sapathno viharathe
Rathe pathivrithyam sidhilayathi ramyena vapusha
Chiram jivannehva kshapathi pasu pasa vyathikara
Paranandabhikhyam rasayathi rasam twadjanavaan.

100 Pradhipa-jvalabhir dhivasa-kara-neerajana-vidhih
Sudha-suthes chandropala-jala-lavair arghya-rachana;
Svakiyair ambhobhih salila-nidhi-sauhitya karanam
Tvadiyabhir vagbhis thava janani vacham stutir iyam.

Agricultural Crisis in Kerala

Like most parts of India, the traditional economy of keralites was essentially based on agriculture. Primarily it was paddy, coconuts, pepper and other spices, and lastly rubber.

Typically, the low lying wetlands have been Kerala’s rice fields, and the medium altitude plots have coconut farms and the highlands cash crops like cashew nuts, cardamom, and at still higher altitudes, tea.

1. Paddy Cultivation:

Pokkali, among rice fields, are in places which are all year under water. Traditionally two crops are taken after sowing once, when the water level is at minimum level on elevated mounds of Earth, and after the seedlings become taller, they are replanted by carefully breaking up the mounds. Pokkali doesn’t need fertilizer application, as the fields are almost always submerged in water. The first type of seeds, e.g. Mundokkannan, is sowed with Aryan, another seed, but they have different harvesting times.

The Puncha, on the other hand, is submerged under water for almost half a year, and one crop. The high lands nearby provides the foliage as manure for the rice crops.

There is also the level lands which have much better water control, usually have two crops. As these lands are near thickly populated areas, cow-dunk, and foliage forms the primary fertiliser.

2. Coconut Cultivation:

The coconut farms which used to be the main cultivation in dry lands, were very common. The coconut trees are usually 45ft apart, in rows and columns. As the trees grow up to about 30 years, ditches are taken in the mid points, to plant new trees. The older trees are removed when the trees reach 50 to 60 years. In addition, the space between trees are used to plant bananas, vegetables like snake gourds, bitter gourds, ash gourds, legumes and beans of various types, etc, fruit trees like mangos, and chickoos, guavas or areca nut trees along the boundaries. It was indeed a good Eco system supporting a large number of birds. Most of the trees also would have pepper wines, which yield every year a good crop of pepper.

3. Rubber

The high profitability of Rubber with about 7 years of nurturing the saplings followed by a productive period of 25-30 years, made sure that plantations of every other crops gave way to Rubber. The grant of subsidies by the Rubber Board for plantation, and nurturing, made sure that cultivators filled up and converted even the low lands which could have supported only paddy cultivation normally.

Prices of around Rs 200/kg of Rubber made sure that no other crop survived. Most plots which had coconut plantation were converted into Rubber. Even the paddy fields and other low lying areas were filled up, partly illegally and rest with permission. As a result of the rising competition to convert paddy fields and coconut farms into rubber estates, the price of land increased very fast, thus an acre of paddy field, fetching as little as Rs 50,000/- increased to Rs 5,000,000/- within a span of 5-10 years. Similarly, an acre of coconut farm, which used to be available at Rs 100,000/-, increased to Rs 10,000,000/-

The Rubber Board also ensured that the Kerala Land Ceiling Act, applicable over all landed property in Kerala exempts Rubber Plantation, thus the estate owners could have Rubber plantation owned by individuals with 100 or 500 acres. The same act also ensured that the Rice or Coconut fields got fragmented to the present size of half an acre on an average, preventing application of mechanised agriculture.

Along with the cost of agricultural property, the wages also spiralled very fast. Rubber tapping is a skilled job, performed between 0500 AM and 0800 AM, followed by selling the produce either as liquid latex, or processed as Rubber Sheet, which required another a few hours more in the morning. For this the tapper would get for a wage of Rs 1000/- This made many of the farm labourers into the skilled job of tapper. This made all costs in the farmlands of Kerala expensive.

Conversion of farm lands into dwelling sites was yet another development. Dwelling plots were much more expensive and builders would often use every strategy to get farm lands which they would have bought as dwelling sites and sold at a very high premium.

As against this, the produce fetched very little increase in price. Governments of course provided some incentives to farmers, but the difficulties in using mechanised farming, and over dependence of expensive manual labour, made the profit margins shrink. In addition, all Rice farming depended on the timely rains, and the uncertainties of water availability and ability to drain fields when necessary resulted in crop failures.

The farmers started thinking about their economics. An acre of farm land fetches about Rs 50,000,000, and if he were to sell it, he would easily get this (even sometimes a price up to Rs 1 crore). This could fetch an annual interest of Rs 3-4 lakhs. With the vagaries of agriculture, except Rubber plantations, it was impossible to find a single crop that would bring in this much of profit.

As more and more farmers found Rubber as more profitable, the acreage of other crops diminished very fast. However, this panacea for agricultural sector in India came to a stop recently, when the Rubber prices came down sharply from Rs 200/kg to less than Rs 100/kg. The reason for this is attributable to the drop in Crude Price and the resulting availability of synthetic Rubber at low prices. In spite of the drop in Rubber prices, the cost of fertilisers, wages of tappers and other employees in Rubber plantations and other expenses did not come down. The state government made an attempt to provide a support price by directly paying the cultivator the difference of a notional Rs 150/kg and the actual market price at which he would have sold Rubber!. In fact, such a provision is not made available to any other crop, yet it is far from a sustainable solution.

The other cash crops such as pepper, ginger, turmeric, cloves, etc., which used to be cultivated among the coconut farms, have been also affected by the spiralling land prices and labour costs. Similarly, the others like tea, coffee, cardamom, cinnamon, etc, grown at high altitudes, have also been affected by the same factors.

The land taxes for agricultural land in Kerala is one of the highest in India (around Rs 600/ha for holdings below 5 ha, and Rs 1200/ha for over 5 ha). I understand that the taxes are below Rs 100/ha in most other states)

Agriculture provides a lot of free time to the farm owners and labourers. When the paddy, coconut and other village based agriculture was still being practised, a large number of people used to spend their free time in other professions, the common-most being weaving. A few were also engaged as teachers in the village schools, etc. Weaving provided profitable engagement to a large number of people. This led to the formation of Weavers’ Co-op Societies in each village. Most of the woven cotton materials was being used up in the village itself, and some to the neighbouring villages.

When the agricultural activity came to a halt, most people tried to find alternate employment; many of the educated went to other states as stenographers, a few went to other countries (mostly to the middle east, which was in brisk activities following the oil discovery). Many women also started taking employment as school teachers, nurses, secretaries, etc., both in other Indian states and in middle east, Europe and North America.

The employment potential of Keralites in other states and abroad started bringing in plenty of cash. This suddenly became the source for investment in the form of landed property. This led to the filling up of more and more agricultural land. While agriculture and weaving came to a grinding halt, many became owners of land in villages and cities. Many of the youngsters didn’t know how to spend money which was coming plenty from abroad. As the money was not earned by hard work, they had to device new ways of spending; alcohol became the number one drain for money. This led to Kerala replacing Punjab in per-capita alcohol consumption, coming to the top place in India. And with the high rates of taxation on liquor, the Government’s revenue started increasing very fast.

There were many who were not as lucky as those who had relatives abroad, sending money to Kerala. Also, those who already spent money of a relative, wanted to replace the fund by the time they returned. As this was not possible, many started buying Lottery Tickets, and making offerings in temples. No wonder Kerala topped in the sale of lottery tickets in India. The revenue of temples also was increasing fast. The governments also took active role in siphoning part of the profits, by starting Government Lotteries. Already the Hindu Temples were under the State’s Devaswom Boards, which are under the State Government’s Ministry, and it was quite easy to collect the majority of temple funds to the public exchequer! Thus, instead of other more common sources of revenue, Kerala’s revenue comes from Alcohol, Lotteries and Hindu Temples. In a state where traditional economic activities like agriculture and manufacturing have suffered from the political and trade-unionist overexposures, such activities are making the most of state’s revenue. The only other industry that has survived is Tourism, that too mostly eco-tourism and Health-Tourism, which took advantage of the absence of polluting industries in the state.

I feel that the state has to make some hard decisions before it is too late to save the younger generation from abuse of alcohol (and probably drugs too, perhaps), and bring the mainstream to agriculture, cottage industries, tourism.

The Ancient Science of writing verse: Chhandas

Chhandas are the basic rules for writing verses in Sanskrit. As the rules are strict and classified according to a logic, it is possible to stay within these, making the verses sound beautiful, and meeting a specific purpose. The study of Vedic meters, along with post-Vedic meters, is part of Chhandas, one of the six Vedanga disciplines:
Vedangas are six auxiliary disciplines associated with the study and understanding of the Vedas. Before understanding Chhanda, it might be interesting to see an overall view of the six Vedangas. The six vedangas are, Shiksha (Phonetics), Nirukta (explanation), Vyakaran (Grammar), Chhanda (Vedic meter), Kalpa (Ritual Canon), & Jyotisha (Astrology). Usually people Associate the four Vedas together as Vedapurusha, whose Nose makes Shiksha, Ears Nirukta, Face Vyakaran, Chandas Legs, Eyes Jyotisha, and Hands Kalpa.

Chhanda (Meter of Verses)
It measures and divides Vedic Mantras by number of padas in a verse, which is called Padas. Number of padas divides each verse, hymn, or mantra and number of syllables divides each pada. There is a distinct taxonomy on this basis. For example a Gayatri Chhandas has 4 padas of 6 syllables containing 24 syllables in each stanza. Similarly, Anuṣṭup has 4 padas of 8 syllables, thus has 32 syllables in each stanza. Anustup is used for most of the shlokas of classical Sanskrit Itihas like Mahabharata. However, we can see only 7 Chandas, namely Gayatri, Ushnik, Anushtubh, Brihati, Pankti, Trishtup and Jagati. The first five Chhandas are found only in Atharva Veda

Chhanda Basic Principles:
The six Vedangas, and as such, used to have a better understanding of Vedas. However, they are used in any kind of verse that we use in daily life. We can try to understand some of the features of Chhandas.

It was the Sage Pingalacharya who organised the Chhandas in its present form. It is often stated “NACHCHHANDAI VAGUCHCHARIT”, meaning, without Chhand (stanza), one cannot even pronounce!

Akshara (Syllables): First of all, all Indian languages are phonetic, and are based on the sounds that we can create. To utter a word, one has to create a vocal sound, which is called an akshar (One does not get destroyed). Each akshara could have one or two maatras. When it has one maatra, it is Hrswa (e.g., a, ka, etc.), and when it has two, Deergha (e.g., aa, kaa, etc). We can consider them as basic (binary) building blocks of a word. Consonants get their maatra from the swara, associated to it.

The Chhanda have been listed into 26 categories, by the number of Akshara in each on the four lines of the verse. (Sanskrit and most Indian Languages use quartets for all literary purposes). Each Chhanda can have more than one Vritta which are so numerous, and used in literary works. The first of 26 Chhandas, named Ukta, has just one syllable, the next Atyukta has two and so on. The list of Chhandas are as follows:
1. Ukta
2. Atyukta
3. Madhya
4. Pratishta
5. Supratishta
6. Gayatri
7. Ushnik
8. Anushtup
9. Brihati
10. Pankti
11. Trishtup
12. Jagati
13. Atijagati
14. Shakwari
15. Atishakwari
16. Ashti
17. Atyashti
18. Dhriti
19. Atidhriti
20. Kriti
21. Prakriti
22. Aakriti
23. Vikriti
24. Sankriti
25. Atikriti
26. Utkriti

Even though there are such long number of Chhandas, most poets use Chhandas between Anushtup (8) and Prakriti (21) for literary works. In fact, the name of Chhanda and Vritta are the same for the first 8 among them.  However, Most of the works in epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana have used Anushtup. One of the most used Mantra is Gayatri which has six syllables in each paad.

In addition to the categorization into Chhandas, the framework of verses fall into a large number of Vrittas. Each Vritta has a pattern of its syllables. Each syllable can be a Hrswa or a Deergha. As the number of syllables increase, the number of possible Vrittas (or patterns) also increase. Here the mathematical rule Fibbonacci series of Pascal’s Traingle applies. Thus, Ukhta can have no other Vritta, while Atyukhta can have one more variant, and so on. Larger number of letters in each paada can give rise to very large number of Vrittas in the same Chhanda.

The way in which syllables are placed in each Vritta follows grouping into Ganas, a group of three syllable, each place occupied by either a Hrswa or a Deergha. Thus, as there are 2 types of syllables, each possibly occupying any of the 3 places in the Gana, there are 8 possible Ganas. The following are these eight Ganas. A hrswa syllable is marked by “L” and a Deergha with a “H”.
Na-Gana = L-L-L
Ya-Gana = L-H-H
Ra-Gana = H-L-H
Ta-Gana = H-H-L
Bha-Gana = H-L-L
Ja-Gana = L-H-L
Sa-Gana = L-L-H
Ma-Gana = H-H-H

The mnemonic “yamātārājabhānasalagaṃ” is used by Pingalaacharya’s gaṇas, developed by ancient commentators, using the vowels “a” and “ā” for light and heavy syllables respectively with the letters of his scheme. In the form without a grammatical ending, yamātārājabhānasalagā is self-descriptive, where the structure of each gaṇa is shown by its own syllable and the two following it:

ya-gaṇa: ya-mā-tā = L-H-H
ma-gaṇa: mā-tā-rā = H-H-H
ta-gaṇa: tā-rā-ja = H-H-L
ra-gaṇa: rā-ja-bhā = H-L-H
ja-gaṇa: ja-bhā-na = L-H-L
bha-gaṇa: bhā-na-sa = H-L-L
na-gaṇa: na-sa-la = L-L-L
sa-gaṇa: sa-la-gā = L-L-H

Next is Sama Vritta, and Vishama Vritta, Sama when all four paadas of the quartet have same order of syllables. In case of Vishama Vritta, the alternate lines will have a different order of syllables.

There could be mixed vrittas, where the vishama paada and sama paada could have different matrices of syllables. Such vrittas are called upajaadi (you may need to state the two participating vrittas in this).

Examples of most common Vrittas:
1. Indravajra: The disposition of syllables in each paada are, Ta-Ta-Ja-followed by two deergha, thus “H-H-L-H-H-L-L-H-L-H-H”. I am going to indicate a Hrswa by “La” and a deergha by “Haa”, so that each paada of the verse would sound “Haa-Haa-La-Haa-Haa-La-La-La-Haa-Haa-Haa”. You will have to make these sounds to have a feel of this vritta. Also, with 11 syllables in each paada, this will fall under Trishtup Chhanda.
2. Upendravajra: The disposition of syllables in each paada are, Ja-Ta-Ja-followed by two deergha, thus “L-H-L-H-H-L-L-H-L-H-H”. Thus, each paada of the verse would sound “La-Haa-La-Haa-Haa-La-La-La-Haa-Haa-Haa”. Also, with 11 syllables in each paada, this will too fall under Trishtup Chhanda.
3. Vasanthatilakam: The disposition of syllables in each paada are, Ta-Bha-Ja-Ja, followed by two deergha, thus “H-H-L-H-L-L-L-H-L-L-H-L-H-H”. Thus, each paada of the verse would sound “Haa-Haa-La-Haa-La-La-La-Haa-La-La-Haa-La-Haa-Haa”. You will have to make these sounds to have a feel of this vritta. Also, with 14 syllables in each paada, this will fall under Shakwari Chhanda. Poet Kaalidasa has used this, perhaps one of the reasons for the beauty of his verses is the Vritta!
4. Sragdhara: Each stanza would have Ma-Ra-Bha-Na-Ya-Ya-Ya, thus with 21 syllables (Chhanda Kriti). Besides, there is a pause after each 7 syllables. The phonetic form would be “Haa-Haa-Haa-Haa-La-Haa-Haa|La-La-La-La-La-La-Haa|-Haa-La-Haa-Haa-La-Haa-Haa”
5. Bhujangaprayaanam: This Vritta has in each paada four Ya-gana, so 12 syllables (Chhanda Jagati). The phonetic form would be “La-Haa-Haa-La-Haa-Haa-La-Haa-Haa-La-Haa-Haa”. This is an interesting sequence, and gives the feel of the movement of a snake!
6. Viyogini: This one is more popular in Kerala. The Malayalam poet “Kumaaranaasaan” has immortalised this vritta through his work, “Chintaavishtayaaya Sita”. The vritta has been able to convey the melancholy mood of a wife who was suffering separation. It has the alternative paadas different, the first paada having the scale, Sa-Sa-Ja-H and the other Sa-Bha-Ra-L-H. So phonetically, it would sound “La-La-Haa-La-La-Haa-La-Haa-La-Haa” for the first or Vishama pada, and “La-La-Haa-Haa-La-La-Haa-La-Haa-La-Haa” for the even or Sama pada.

6. Kusumamanjari: This Vritta has all four paadas “Ra-Na-Ra-Na-Ra-Na-Ra”, thus altogether 21 syllables (Prakriti Chhanda). Phonetically, this would sound like “Haa-La-Haa-La-La-La-Haa-La-Haa-La-La-La-Haa-La-Haa-La-La-La-Haa-La-Haa”

7. Mandaakraanta: This Vritta has in its four paada the sequence “Ma-Bha-Na-Ta-Ta-H-H”, thus 17 syllables (Atyashti Chhanda), with pauses after 4th and 7th syllables, thus the paada broken into three groupings of 4, 6, and 7 syllables. The Vritta would sound “Haa-Haa-Haa-Haa|-La-La-La-La-La-Haa|-Haa-La-Haa-Haa-La-Haa-Haa”

8. Shaardoolavikreeditham: The sequence of Ganas in this vritta are “Ma-Sa-Ja-Sa-Ta-Ta-H, thus 19 syllables per paada (Chhanda Atidhriti), with a pause after 12 syllables. The phonetic equivalent of each paada would be “Haa-Haa-Haa-La-La-Haa-La-Haa-La-La-La-Haa-Haa-Haa-La-Haa-Haa-La-Haa”.

9. Shaardoolavikreeditham: The sequence of Ganas in this vritta are “Ma-Sa-Ja-Sa-Ta-Ta-H, thus 19 syllables per paada (Chhanda Atidhriti), with a pause after 12 syllables. The phonetic equivalent of each paada would be “Haa-Haa-Haa-La-La-Haa-La-Haa-La-La-La-Haa-Haa-Haa-La-Haa-Haa-La-Haa”.

Invasion of Kuwait

I had taken Voluntary Retirement from Agartala Project ONGC in the first week of 1990, and returned to Ahmedabad, where my family was residing at that time. Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) had already offered me a job as Petroleum Engineer to have a peek at their Thermal EOR Pilot in Ratqa Field, in North Kuwait. I joined KOC on 27 January 1990.

The new atmosphere of workplace was great. I had several friends like B B Singh, P R Sarkar, P Viswanathan, Mohammad Idris, M M Huda, K Z N Ahmad, J R Singh, K P Chandrashekharan, U B Acharya. Many of them were from ISM, some from ONGC, and the rest new friends. All of them were very helpful to integrate me to the new working environment. Almost the same time, my residence formalities with the civil authorities were completed.

Some of the Kuwaiti Friends I met those days were Ealian Al-Anezi, who was posted in Ratqa Field, whom i used to meet and discuss while at the WHI of Ratqa. He had his education in US (Most probably, Marietta College, Ohio, USA) and quite fluent in English. I had also almost daily interaction with my boss, Mr Mahmoud Milhem, a Palestinian National, from Egypt. He was a classmate of my other Egyptian friend in IFP, Mr Ayman El-Naggar, but Ayman had pursued his higher education and got a doctorate before he joined KOC, while Mahmoud joined directly after passing out, and rose to the level of Superintendent. There was also a pro-palestini factor in KOC which helped him to go up faster. Another Palestini Superintendent who was very helpful and kind was Mr Ahmed Saleh.

My probation period was for 90 days, thus ending on 27/04/1990. However, Mahmoud was kind enough to declare satisfactory completion so that I could bring my family to Kuwait. He also was happy about the work I was doing. As soon as my probation period was declared complete, I could ask KOC to allow me bring my family. However, my wife and daughter had to wait for their present academic sessions to be over before they could join me. As soon as I had the probation completed, I was offered KOC accommodation. I took accommodation in the KOC Rented Flats in Jabriya. After that I had asked KOC to arrange me family visa, & passage for them to rejoin me, and finally they joined on 24 June 1990.

As soon as they arrived, I could apply for their residence permit. This was being done through KOC for my new residential area in Jabriya. I was told that the process would take about 3 months. Till then, they had to move around with me along with their passports, which were returned after my applications were verified, pending the approval of the residence permit. I didn’t have a driving license and car, so we were dependent on others, Mr PJ Vincent, my neighbor was very helpful. Besides there were two buses in Jabriya and although I didn’t know the route, we soon figured out that it covered our basic necessities. My friends in office, Mr P Vishwanathan, Mr E S S Menon, and Samuel was also very helpful and introduced us to the Malayali crowd. Time flew very fast, and the month of July was over, during which we had furnished the house with TV, Washing Machine, and the like. We also had a dining table, a few chairs, a second-hand sofa, all essential cooking utensils, and a big double-bed by then.

As most of our friends told us that my daughter would have to pass a school exam in Arabic, we thought it would be better to get her some private Arabic Tuition from a Keralite teacher. This person used to reside in Abbassia, and told us that twice a week he came to Jabriya to give private tuition to a student in another family and we could join that class. So we had been to that family, who was also from Kerala, and strangely enough, my wife could trace them to one of our relatives!

And then came the fateful day of August 02, 1990 of Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait. The previous day, a Wednesday, August 01, 1990, I was in the office, and was not even aware of what was going to happen the next day. The morning newspaper of that Wednesday, did not contain any news report about the possibility of a war or invasion of Kuwait. We used to get “Kuwait Times” those days.

On the fateful day, my friend Viswanatnan called early in the morning (unusual, as most people stay in bed longer as it was a holiday (Thursday and Friday used to be our weekly holidays in KOC). He announced that we are in Iraq overnight! I thought it was a joke, told him so, and he said if I didn’t believe, asked me to look out to see any battle tanks on road.  We then did so, and found a couple of (kuwaiti) police cars at a fierce speed, being chased by a larger number of military jeeps. We also heard loud sounds of fire from somewhere far, and could not know where it was. It was clear that something has gone wrong. We realized that something has gone wrong, and decided to call home to tell our people that Iraq seems to have overrun our area in Kuwait. By noon, we understood that the previous night, while Kuwait and Iraq representatives were having a discussion on the monetary compensation that Iraq wanted from Kuwait had failed, Iraq decided to invade Kuwait. Knowing this, the entire government, royal family, army, police and majority of Kuwaitis had fled to neighboring Saudi Arabia. The population of Kuwait at that time was essentially expatriates. Expatriates didn’t have an option to leave like Kuwaitis.

Those days we only had Kuwait TV, which would start only much later in the day. Some foreign channels covered the news of Iraqi Invasion, and Arabic channels were showing a picture of Saddam Hussain, and people were discussing in Arabic. We couldn’t follow what they were talking in that channel. Kuwait TV was silent. Soon there were others who spoke to us about the Iraqi Invasion that had happened the previous night.

Our first attention was to ensure that during our stay at home, get informed about the status around us through TV, have enough food and water, stay safe from the Iraqi Army, and find when and how to leave Kuwait under occupation. One day we were told that KOC was to issue cash to its employees and went along with friends in one of their cars. We got KD 10 per employee, which was not a very big amount, but was a great gesture by the company, a decision made by one of the very senior Kuwaiti Employee who could not leave the country.

Supermarkets, particularly those owned by Indians were open, and we tried to stock as much of food, wheat flour, fruit juices, dry fruits and nuts, and drinking water as possible. By that time, some of those who were staying in Ahmadi, KOC headquarters came to our rented houses in Salmiya, and Jabriya, as Ahmadi had by that time a large presence of Army, with their tanks, heavy artillery guns and military vehicles. The residential areas near Kuwait City were safer, and had mainly expatriates. Many of them were Arab nationals from Egypt, Syria and of nationality Palestinian.

One day we were told that banks were to disburse cash from individual accounts to the tune of KD 300. We went to the branches which were open for such operation. My bank, Bank of Kuwait & Middle East (BKME) had a branch in Fahaheel which was to be open. When I reached, there was already a big crowd, but in the end we had the money. There was one more money disbursal during my stay under occupation. Meanwhile there was a feeling that the Iraqi Army was not hostile to Indians in particular, and we also heard stories of them asking for food from Indians who obliged such requests without question (perhaps out of fear or by our culture of providing food to those who plead, probably both). We realised that things were not so bad any way.

One day, we were told that the Indian Community leaders were to explain to the General Indian Public ways to stay alive under Iraqi occupation. They told us the need to minimize journeys, the importance of having food and drinking water, and basic emergencies. There was Dr Narayanan Nampoori among this group and said he was ready to help, and offered us his phone number, to be used in any emergency. Then one day we were informed about the visit of Mr I K Gujral, India’s foreign affairs minister to Kuwait, to negotiate safe repatriation of the sick, women and children among the Indian Community. We were told that he would carry with him any letter to India that we wished to send. I think almost all Indians made use of this opportunity and left the letters in Indian School, Salmiya, to be picked up by Indian Ministry Officials. On among the rich Indian merchants had also agreed to provide Rice, Pulses, and wheat flour to us, as a means to clear his stocks. Within days his stocks were converted to cash. We later learnt that he was among the important people to leave with Mr Gujral to India. I think the only person who remained in Kuwait was Dr Narayanan Nampoori, who later became our close friend.

Soon after this, a ship full of Food for Iraq had arrived in Kuwait, and returned with some 500 women and children to Mumbai. The month of August went of quite fast, and  towards the end, we heard of many leaving Kuwait, mostly through Iraq and Turkey. However, by then we heard that Jordan allowed refugee camps near border. The life of refugees was not quite nice, as the hostile summer weather in desert was bad. Those who went towards Turkey were not that lucky, as the Turkish border had not permitted refugees. However, after the Indian Embassy in Ankara intervened and offered to keep one of their staff near border, the border guards started allowing indians who were given temporary permits to enter Turkey and were promptly sent back to India. I am told that those numbers were not very large.

By first week of September 1990, we were told that Iraqi Airlines were offering air passage to Amman (from Baghdad) against payment in US Dollars. By that time, Iraqi currency was devalued thoroughly and the running rate was USD 1 = 20 Iraqi Dinar. Also One Kuwaiti Dinar was worth 10 Iraqi Dinars. We decided to tell or household items to Iraqi merchants, but insisted that they give us only Kuwaiti Dinars or US Dollars. Finally we got Enough Kuwaiti Dinars in exchange of our Television, VCR player, Washing machine, dishwasher, Vacuum Cleaner etc. Then we had them exchanged to US Dollars (which we later learnt as an illegal transaction!). We also did not have any idea of counterfeit currency those days. Sometimes, ignorance becomes better.

With the US Dollars, a few of us went to Baghdad for Air Tickets to Amman, with which we also got a visa for Jordan from the Jordanian Embassy (This was on a piece of paper, just the names and passport numbers and a stamp of the Embassy official along with his signature) We also had booked a bus to take us from Kuwait to Baghdad a day before on 18/09/1990, to catch our flight on 19/09/1990. We were still unaware whether we would be admitted to Jordan at Amman Airport with the Group Visa we had been issued.

We had plenty of Sugar, Oil, Milk & Milk Powder, Plain Flour, and other food items. With these, we decided to make a large quantity of biscuits for our way to India. We knew we cannot have except small baggage. We had kept the biscuits in a number of carry bags, which we could finally discard after finishing the contents. We also had sugar, coffee, milk powder, and condensed milk besides the biscuits.

Then the due departure day came of 17/09/1990, when we thought it would have been better if we could leave a day before. The bus contractor agreed to take us at dusk, on 17/09/1990, instead of dawn of 18/09/1990. But Iraqi police had different designs, and stopped us even before the bus had left Kuwait City, and escorted us to the nearest police station (Manned by Iraqi Police). We had no idea why they stopped us, but later we came to know that those days many of bus convoys were robbed by miscreants at dark on highway, and Iraqi Police didn’t want such a thing to happen. The night was not very cold as we were in the bus, and the winter had not set in. The day journey was quite OK, too, and the way was pleasant as we went through many ancient cities. We also had seen many Air Coolers, which was a common sight in Ahmedabad and Delhi. No wonder why Iraqis were buying window AC units in large numbers just as they were doing with Color TV Sets and VCR.

By early afternoon we arrived in Baghdad, at the Hotel where we were planning to stay. The Hotel reception informed us that there was no food with them. But of course we had quite a lot of food with us, and later we had offered them to the hotel boys. Most of them were from India, particularly, Kerala. They were extra courteous to our Group. We left with the Hotel workers, the remaining food stock that we did not take, like Packaged milk, water, pulses, and wheat flour. The same bus which had brought us to Baghdad was to take us to Baghdad Airport the next day to catch our flight.

The night was quite peaceful. As there were more people in our team than our booked numbers, some had to sleep in a few rooms with extra beds. The next day, we decided to go to the airport a bit early. Thus we had arrived at the airport a few hours before time.

Airport had a deserted look, as the only airline “Iraqi Airlines” was flying only between Baghdad and Amman. They were not allowed to land in any other neighboring countries. Our only wish was to escape Iraq before any fight between NATO led forces and Iraq, which was beginning to materialize.

Iraqi border police were frisking passengers and some of us were asked to leave behind money and gold ornaments they had, but for some reason that I still don’t know, we three didn’t face any such action. The policemen were correct with us. And at the scheduled time, the flight took off and in about an hour and half, it landed in Amman. I don’t even remember if there were Air Hostesses in that flight. The only fact I realized was why Indian Airlines had the code IC, as Iraqi Airlines was already allocated the Code IA!. Of course, after the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines to a single entity Air India, Indian Airlines has become almost irrelevant.

There were Indian Embassy officials at airport, who told us that they would not take us to the refugee camps, but instead, repatriate us in one of the 20 or so flights between Amman and India, both direct flights as well as via Dubai. Indian Airlines had pressed into service their grounded A-320, into this service. (These were the aircrafts which were grounded after the air crashes at Ahmedabad and Chennai in 1989, and it was evident that those accidents were probably due to human error, rather than equipment failure. However, the Government was not willing to accept their stand earlier!)

We were happy at this, the embassy officials had taken our passport to stamp it for issuance of the tickets, which we had not had for a long time. We were also able to provide some of our biscuits to the batch of Indian passengers who had been coming from Refugee Camps. Finally our time came, and we found that the Airline didn’t have boarding cards, but let us into the flight on the strength of the passport with the stamp of Embassy. (The ticket jackets and Boarding cards were all exhausted by then). In the flight, I found almost everybody had fallen asleep after the crew had served hot dinner. Perhaps a sound sleep after a bit of anxious moments. Finally, after a flight that lasted for 4 or 5 hours, we arrived in Mumbai.

Most of us had tears in our eyes on touching Indian soil after a short period of uncertainty. And the surprise was not yet over. The newly constructed Haj Departure facility had been utilised even before its inauguration, as the Mumbai Airport Could not have handled the large number of flights between Amman and Mumbai. The Emigration & Custom officials were also nice, and after the passports were stamped, they had placed a crisp Rs 500/- in it for us to reach home. How thoughtful of Government of India, who knew that there would be many without even a rupee in hand. There was also special trains, free to our destinations, free food and newspapers from social organisations. We had called our people that we all have arrived in India, and after a brief halt in Mumbai left to our homes. Most of the stations en-route to Bangalore was aware of this train, and vendors were quite eager to provide us food and water.

The experience of living under occupied Kuwait for over a month was an experience: no two-way communications with outside world, seeing so many guns with young soldiers (who should have been studying in High Schools or College, rather than being deployed in war!), constant threat to life by a possible air-born war, starvation, in case our food and water stocks depleted too fast, getting ill and having little or no options for medical treatment, having money but not being able to use, and so many other issues, which are difficult to imagine in a free society. Nevertheless, the happy fallout from this is that all three of us became stronger to face similar realities.

Bad Dads in Indian Mythology

Bad dads are a part and parcel of mythologies from across the globe, and no matter how inspiring the mythical kings from the vast Hindu mythology might seem to you, you just can’t deny that they didn’t match up to the ideals of fatherhood. Don’t believe?

Here are a few dads from Hindu mythology who just weren’t the best, or not even there, when their kids needed them the most. Certainly not an example to emulate to present kids!

Dushyanta and Bharata (also known as Sarvadamana) 

Now this story has two children abandoned by their fathers. Vishwamitra left the heavenly nymph, Menaka, and their newborn daughter–because Menaka had dared to disturb his meditation. Menaka couldn’t take the child back to heaven, so she left her in the forest, where the sage Kanva found her and adopted her. That’s how Shakuntala, the heroine of Kalidasa’s famous Abhignanshakuntalam was born.

She probably didn’t know that history would repeat itself when she would fall in love with King Dushyanta. The couple fell in love and married through the Gandharva ritual (which is a legal marriage by mutual consent, without anything further to sanctify it!), while Kanva was away, and their time together left Shakuntala pregnant. All she had as a proof of the wedding was a signet ring, which she was supposed to present to the king’s court when she reached his capital. After Dushyanta left to resume work in his kingdom, Shakuntala was cursed by sage Durvasa that her beloved would forget her, unless she is able to show the signet ring.

When Shakuntala travelled to Dushyanta’s court (and lost the ring on the way), the king rejected her. Kalidasa’ plot might have been poetically penned, but what sort of a man forgets a woman he married simply because of a curse? Shakuntala returned to her hermitage, and gave birth to a son, Bharata. Dushyanta went on to be a king with a huge dominion, and stumbled across the young Bharata only years later.

Yes, he did finally accept Shakuntala and Bharata, but the whole story points to the fact that this mythological king didn’t give two hoots about the woman he had married in secret, or the son from that union. The king whose name inspired the name of India grew up without knowing the love or recognition of his father. Dushyanta might have been a great conqueror, but he was clearly not a great dad.

And even Shakuntala’s father, Sage Vishwamitra, couldn’t say a word, because he too had abandoned the pregnant Menaka, from whom the child Shakuntala was born. We can see Sage Vishwamitra too wasn’t very reputed as a great dad.

Shiva and Ganesha

We’re all aware of the wrath, the ‘destroyer of the world’, Shiva is capable of. But beheading his own son? That was a little extreme.

The legend described in the Shiva Purana says that Parvati created Ganesha, by her in divine power of being resplendent, when Shiva left for an expedition, leaving her alone and bored. On being persuaded by Lakshmi, Parvati created a statue of clay and blew life into it, and created a son who was called Ganesha.

Parvati ordered her son to guard the entrance while she was bathing, which is when Shiva, oblivious to Ganesha’s relation with him, returned. The obedient son that Ganesha was, he denied Shiva entry inside his mother’s bath, despite all the hermits and Devas trying to convince him. A stubborn Ganesha refused to listen to anyone but his mother, enraging his father.

Soon, the father and son were involved in a battle-like situation, which ended with Shiva beheading his son. The grieving Parvati’s fury on her husband forced him to reinstate life into her son’s headless body. Giving in to the prayers of the entire celestial beings, Shiva placed an elephant’s head on the body, and it came to life, thus, Lord Ganesha was reborn with an Elephant’s head!.

While it’s okay to have ideological differences with your children, and disagreements are a part of life, such violent acts should be condemned. There were other ways of penalizing Ganesha for his behavior; or else, he could just wait till Parvati  came out from her bath, but going to the extent of killing him out of rage, was extreme.

Of course, there are some versions if this story, which doesn’t punish Shiva as much!

Arjuna and Iravan

The son of Pandava prince, Arjuna, and Naga princess, Ulupi, turned out to be the ultimate sacrificial son.  Arjuna met and fell in love with the Naga princess, while he was living in the forest, as a punishment for a year, for entering Draupadi’s chamber while she was with Yudhishtira.

He married her, and the two were blessed with a boy, Iravan, the son Arjuna abandoned shortly after his birth, when his exile was over, only to turn his own son into his scapegoat much later.

Iravan lived in Nagaloka with his just mother, until the day his mother asked him to join Arjuna for the Mahabharatha war. Arjuna was fighting the battle, the Kauravas were winning, and Iravan joined in on his father’s command, because that’s what one was expected to do, even as a son abandoned shows up, out of respect.

Soon after Iravan’s entry into the battle, it was declared that the Pandavas could only win the battle if a prince was sacrificed to Goddess Kali. As expected, Iravan agreed to offer himself to the deity, because that’s what an obedient son was expected to do. Iravan himself chopped his head off for the father who abandoned him, without looking back with regret.

Arjuna might be the greatest archer in the world, but clearly, he wasn’t the greatest father.

Bhima and Ghatothkacha

Another scapegoat from the Mahabharata, Ghatothkacha was the son of the strongest Pandava, Bhima, and his Rakshasi wife Hidimbi. Like Arjuna, Bhima abadoned his son and wife in the forest only to think of his half-human half-rakshasa son when the need arose.

Ghatothkacha embodied the strengths of a rakshasa, and the intellect of a human. This made him one of the strongest warriors in the battle of Mahabharata. Abandoned by his father on Kunti’s (his grandmother) wishes, Ghatothkacha was remembered first when the Pandavas were too fatigued to walk, after coming out of the burning castle of wax. So, he carried them on his shoulders.

The next time Ghatothkacha was called to duty by Bhima was during the battle, where he killed Kauravas like ants under an elephant’s foot. To stop the terror he had unleashed on the Kauravas, Karna killed him using the Vaijayanthi Shastra (granted to him by Indra, in Exchange of Karna’s kavacha-kundala, with which he would have been invincible, and in spite of the fact that Karna had actually reserved this for his arch enemy Arjuna). Such was the power of this human-rakshas, who died serving his father, and is still an unsung hero.

Shantanu and Bhishma (Devavrata)

To be fair to Shantanu, one has to admit that he did try to stop Bhishma’s mother, Ganga, from drowning him at birth. She had drowned all seven previous children in the river, but he feared that she would leave him if he utters a word that could displease her. When the eighth son was born, Shantanu tried to stop her, and she revealed to him that she was Ganga and would leave him immediately, but promised him to bring him back after the infancy stage was over. When the father and son were reunited on the banks of the Ganga years later, Shantanu announced Devavrata as the crown prince.

But here, the good bit of this story from the Mahabharata ends. Four years after reuniting with Devavrata, Shantanu went for a little stroll in the forest, where he fell for the sweet-scented Satyavati. Of course, he couldn’t control himself, and Satyavati was not foolish enough to be seduced by a king without benefits. Her father, the chief fisherman of the village, asked Shantanu to vow that any child born of Satyavati and his union could claim the throne of Hastinapur.

When Devavrata learned about this, he wished to support his father’s desire, and took a pratigna of renouncing the throne, and staying a life-long celibate so that none of his lineage could ever challenge Satyavati’s children. Subsequently he was named Bhishma, as the vow was so strong that the entire world knew this was impossible for mortals, and he didn’t stray from his word till he died at Kurukshetra.

Bhishma has always been an ideal for us, but don’t you think Shantanu’s lust was the root of everything the young prince had to go through, even the war at Kurukshetra?

Hiranyakashipu and Prahlada

Both the Bhagavata Purana and Vishnu Purana describe the terrifying story of this father-son duo. Most Hindu kids have grown up hearing the stories of the villain that Hiranyakashipu was, thanks to the nearly immortal boon he got from Brahma. His son Prahlada, born away from his father’s evil influence under the tutelage of sage Narada, was a bhakt of Vishnu, whom Hiranyakashipu hated.

Obviously, this father was very disappointed with his son for choosing a God he didn’t love one bit. I am sure your father might have been disappointed with your choices of friends, careers, or partners, and perhaps learnt to deal with them in time. That’s what parents do when they realize their child is an individual, and has a right to his/her own choices. But that’s a good father we’re talking about, not Hiranyakashipu.

He tried to get his son killed on numerous occasions. At one point, he has his sister, Holika, sit with Prahlada on a burning pyre. This led to Holika dahan, but Prahlada the Devout was unscathed. Finally, Hiranyakashipu directly challenged Prahlada’s beliefs, and Vishnu himself appeared in his Narasimha avatar to kill the demon king.

Uttaanpaada and Dhruva

Another character mentioned in Bhagavata Purana and Vishnu Purana, Dhruva craved the love of his father, but did not receive it. He was born to King Uttaanpaada and his first wive, the gentle queen Suniti. His favourite wive was, however, Suruchi, who also had a son and competitor for the throne, Uttama.

Suruchi always managed to turn Uttaanpaada against Dhruva. On one occasion, Dhruva was sitting on his father’s lap when Suruchi forcefully separated them. When Druva lay claim to his father’s affection, Suruchi told him to go and ask god for it. So Dhruva did. He performed severe austerities and prayed to Vishnu, who finally granted him his presence, love and Dhruvapadam (which means that he would become a celestial body after death, and be untouched by mahapralaya or apocalypse).

Dhruva went back to his kingdom and ascended the throne at the age of six. He was a good ruler, not by courtesy of his dad, and became the Dhruva star after his death.

If only Uttaanpaada had been a fair and loving father, Dhruva wouldn’t have had to compete with his brother for his affection. Vishnu was clearly a better father-figure in this story than this king. But then, we wouldn’t have the Dhruva Star or the Pole Star!

Rama and Luva-Kusha

There are as many versions of how Lord Rama came to know about his sons as there are versions of the Ramayana in this subcontinent.

According to the Valmiki Ramayana, Sita lived in Valmiki’s ashram after her banishment from Ayodhya under the suspicion of having committed adultery. Lord Rama sentenced her even without any trial, even ignoring the fact that she had already been put on a fire-test, immediately after the fall of Lanka.

The story states that Sita had twins, Luva and Kusha, who were born and brought up in Valmiki’s ashram, and trained by the sage himself.

They stopped the horse from Rama’s Ashwamedha yagna, and went on to battle with (and defeat) Shatrughna, Bharata and Laxmana. Finally, Rama encountered these twin boys in battle, and invited them to the Yagna in Ayodhya after witnessing their prowess. It was then that he was told that these young warriors were his sons. [Other versions say that Luva and Kusha travelled to Ayodhya with Valmiki, and sang the sage’s Ramayana to the citizens as well as the king. The citizens commented on their resemblance with Rama, and Valmiki finally revealed that they were the king’s true-born sons.] No matter which narrative you choose to believe, it’s clear that Rama’s love for laws and his kingdom far exceeded his love for his unborn children, especially when he banished Sita, even during her pregnancy.

Some might choose to believe that this proved Ram was an ideal ruler, but I think he failed as a father by not just missing out on the twins’ birth, but also by not keeping in touch with his wife and kids while they lived a life of penance in the jungle?

Dhritarashtra and Duryodhana

This is one case when a blind emperor became totally blind by his love for his son. All good advices from elders and noblemen were totally ignored, till the Mahabharata War destroyed the entire 18 Akshauhini of Armies, Duryodhana and his brothers, Bhishma, Drona, Karna, Shakuni and all maharathis, and all male children.

In other words, love for kids from dads also must have certain limits!

Our mythical kings and princes were quite the inspiration, but only as rulers. Their lives stand testimony to the fact that they weren’t the best dads; most of them were absent during their kids’ childhood, some didn’t even recognize the child’s mother until much later. These are clearly not the examples our great fathers looked up to, and we couldn’t be more glad for it.

My Recent Travel through the Epic Ramayana

I had read the great Epic Ramayana several times, that too a few different versions, the Adhyatma Ramayanam in Malayalam, translated by Thunchathu Ezhutachan; actually at home, we used to read a chapter of Adhyatma Ramayana almost everyday, and occasionally Srimad Bhagavatam,  never Mahabharatha.

I don’t know the reason, perhaps we didn’t have a copy of Mahabharatha at home. (Most people here believe that daily reading of Mahabharatha is not very auspicious, although it was also one of the holy books, for fear that mere reading might trigger family disputes.)

Ezuthachhan, has translated several holy books Adhyatma Ramayanam and Srimad Bhagavatham, Mahabharatham, besides writing several others like Harinamakeerthanam.

A story of Ramayana always intrigued me. The story of Sampati, the king of birds, and elder brother of Jatayu. It seems that once he and Jatayu decided to fly to sun, and as an elder brother, he felt it is his duty to protect his brother and flew above him. The hot rays of sun quickly burnt all feathers on his wings, and he dropped fast like a stone. Even his brother Jatayu could not look out for him, and he was lost.

After some searches, Jatayu abandoned his search for his brother and left the scene in sorrow, and later became a friend of King Dasaratha. Actually Sampati had fallen to an inaccessible valley in a hill.

Centuries of penance at the spot where Sampati fell, Lord Vishnu felt sympathy on him and appeared before him. He asked him to continue his penance and told him that soon in Tretayuga, A group of monkeys would come looking for Lord Ram’s wife Sita, and you have to tell him where the Mighty Ravan has abducted her. On giving the directions to them, you will regrow the feathers on your wings and get back to your youthful age.

Recently, I was reading an article on Vultures and Condors, who are the present largest birds on earth with wingspan over 10ft almost! These birds usually become heavy as they age, and their talons and beaks grow crooked inwards, making them useless to hunt. The bird, after having lost its ability to hunt will have to die. But they are given yet another chance of life, if they were willing to go through a long and painful process in their life.

These birds then stay  in the safety of a tree-top, without food for almost a month, they start carefully plucking the talons with their crooked beak, until the talons are almost bare, without their calcareous coating. He then starts plucking each of the old heavy feathers from the wings, till the bird almost becomes nude. The long neck helps him to do this. Then he hits the beak on the hard parts of the tree, until it breaks off. After that, the surviving bird waits till their new beaks, feathers on the wing and talons start growing, and believe me, they grow and the bird has yet another lease of life!

When I read this article, I felt whether Aadikavi Valmiki knew this fact, while writing the epic!


Coding of Numbers in Malayalam

Most people find it difficult to remember numbers, especially when it is a monotonous string of the 10 digits, often with decimals. It is true that the decimal system was invented by Indian Mathematicians, most likely before Buddha’s time, or roughly 2000 years ago, but except the names of multiples of ten, which are used to write the numbers in words, the numerals are written with the 9 numerals and zero.

To remember the strings of numbers, people of many places have devised coding for many reasons. However, I find that in Kerala, there is something astonishingly simple. I am referring to. the Paralpper System (Also known as Katapayadi).

The Paralpperu or Katapayaadi is a code in Malayalam to represent a number. This could even be used in all Indian Languages. The convention is as follows, based on the consonants displayed in the table below:

Ka 1 Kha 2 Ga 3 Gha 4 Nga 5 Kandhya
Cha 6 Chha 7 Ja 8 Jha 9 Nja 0 Talavya
Ta 1 Tha 2 Da 3 Dha 4 Na 5 Murdhanya
Pa 6 Pha 7 Ba 8 Bha 9 Ma 5 Oshthya
Ya 1 Ra 2 La 3 Va 4
Sha 5 sha 6 sa 7 Ha 8 Sha (talavya),  sha (murdhanya), sa (dantya)
La 9 Zha 0 Rha 0 Special characters of Malayalam

1 -> Ka, Ta, Pa, Ya

2->  Kha, Tha, Pha, Ra

3->  Ga, Da, Ba, La

4->  Gha, Dha, Bha, Va

5->  Nga, Na, Ma, Sha

6->  Cha, ta, sha

7->   Chha, tha, sa

8->  Ja, da, Ha

9->  Jha, dha, la

0->  Nja, na, Zha, Rha

Vowels do not have any value and can be used to effectively compose meaningful words. The first character of the code would represent the place of unity, the second in tens, third in hundreds and so on, and in general you would need to inverse the numbers you get while coding.

Altogether there are 51 letters in Malayalam script. There is a very popular saying “Please do not speak any “KaMa”, to indirectly say, “do not speak anything”. Ka has a value of 1 and Ma 5. Place value of Ka in Unit place, and Ma in place of Ten, which would make 51, and this popular saying would mean “Do not speak any of the 51 letters”

The word Kavi would signify a number 41, Kavita 641, and so on. Ganita would mean 653, Bharata would have a value of 624. You can start composing some words to mean different numbers.

In ancient texts dealing with mathematics, the value of p, the ratio of circumference to the diameter of a circle, expressed to 10 decimal places is given by a Word “ChandaamshuChandraadhamaKumbhipaala” which would be (31415926536).

In Karnatic Music, there are altogether 72 “melakarta ragas”, each of them have been coded this way. Thus, the Raga Kanakaamgi would be 01, or the First Melakarta Raaga. Similarly, Kharaharapriya would be 22nd Melakarta raga, Dheerashankaraabharanam, the 29th and so on.

The Malayalam Year started on the Kali year represented by the word “Taralaamgam” or 3926. So, if you add 3926 to Malayalam year, you would have the Kali year. Also, The same Malayalam year was started on the Common Era (CE) Year Sharajam (825), so if you add 825 to Malayalam year, you would have the CE year.

It is a known fact that many of the mathematical constants used in Astronomy are expressed in this way. I am sure many of them are still to be explored, and now open for the scientists to decipher these wonders for popular usage.

The zero was invented many centuries ago, but the decimal and fractions were not so much use.  However, fractions were used with certain ingenuity. It gives the circumference of a circle of diameter, expressed as “anūnanūnnānananunnanityai” (10,00,00,00,000) ,as chaṇḍāṃśuchandrādhamakuṃbhipālair (31,41,59,26,536). This gives the value of the Circumference to diameter ratio, pi (π) as 3.1415926536. The exact sloka (in Malayalam) Karaṇa·paddhati, written has the following śloka for the value of pi (π):

വ്യാസസ്തദര്‍ദ്ധം ത്രിഭമൗര്‍വിക സ്യാത്‌

Similarly, Shaṅkara·varman’s Sadratnamaalā uses the Kaṭapayādi system.  A famous verse found in Sad·ratna·mālā is . भद्राम्बुद्धिसिद्धजन्मगणितश्रद्धा स्म यद् भूपगी:
It’s transliteration is bhadrāṃbuddhisiddha janmagaṇita śraddhāsmayad bhūpagīḥ, which gives the number 314159265358979324. A more accurate value of pi has not been referred in the 15th century by any other text. People used the katapayadi system for coding such large numbers. I am told about pi having been worked to 32 places of decimal by yet another sutra. As there are more than one alternate to represent a number, our ancient astronomers and mathematicians used very interesting combinations to better remember the code later on!

Life as a Student in France – Part 2

This is continuation from part 1, where I described how i spent the first few months in France, in the cities of Royan, Montpellier and Toulouse. It was in August that I finally cleared the course work and completed a technical formality towards my Provisional Registration to PhD, which now has become regular. And with the encouragement from my friends and the research team, and having got a “yes” from Baby, life suddenly became more meaningful. Serge found the changes happening to me, and suddenly wondered what happened to me in the past week, and I told him about my love affair and what happened very recently. He couldn’t believe that anyone could have had a love affair for such a long time!

I have now 3 years to go, but wished that I could do it faster, perhaps in 2 years. My friend Jean-Marie Martin gave me a name “Fusee”, meaning Rocket, as I worked practically from 07:00 in the morning till 18:00 hours on all five days. (Primarily because I used to have breakfast in my Hostel Room (Not the cafeteria), Lunch near the office at a University Restaurant, and dinner on my way back from Institute. I usually reached home by 20:00, after a walk from the Restaurant Universitaire d’Arsenal.

We had a new addition in the group, Mr Louis Castanier that year. He was from Institut National de Sciences Appliqués (INSA), I found his base in mathematics and physics to be extremely strong, much better than mine. The patrons of the group, Professors Combarnous and Bories were not very happy with the progress made in the Geothermal project by François Klockenbring during the previous year, a project sponsored by the DGRST (funding from the R&D budget if France), and was perhaps waiting for a replacement. Louis was inducted into that place, and François left for some other job. I was very sorry for him as he was already with a family with three children. But then, that was life. From then onwards Louis and I became very close. Meanwhile, IFP had sent Roland Lenormand on a post doctoral assignment in the group. He and Jacques were working on visualization of two-phase flow in porous medium. Jacques Bonnet had already made 2-D structures of porous media and was experimenting with visualization, and the association with Roland made some very quick progress on the project. I suddenly found we have three leaders, Serge, Jean-Marie and Roland, in the group with whom I could discuss any research related issues. Louis was a very lively person, who took me out for a few evenings in town, where I could freshen up a bit, away from the pressures of work. I am not certain if it was the idea of Roland or Serge to ask Louis to cool me a bit, once a while.

I knew the standard ways of determining interfacial tension between oil and water phases at ambient temperature. but what I needed was the IFT at elevated temperatures and pressures. Jean-Marie suggested that I contact Mr Minssieux and Mr Cuiec of IFP who could help me with this problem. Roland and Jean-Marie called them and discussed the problem, and it was then decided that I should go to IFP for a month and carry out IFT studies. I was also given accommodation at the IFP Scholars’ residence of IFP on Rue Sophie Rodrigues, about 1-1.5 km from IFP. I was given all facilities for my work at IFP by Mr Minssieux, so that my work was complete in about a month. My friends Ghoshal and Ayman were there, as good company. We went to Museums, and other landmarks of Paris during weekends. I had set a number of conditions for IFT measurements by varying salinity, and temperature, while preserving a high constant pressure. Of course, for control, I also carried two additional measurements, one at much higher pressure than the other. On one of those days, I had gone to Indian Embassy and met Mr Iyengar also. When I showed the results, Serge was very impressed and happy and told me that my research is going in the right direction. We also published a technical paper in the IFP Magazine “Revue de l’IFP”.

The research was to proceed in the planned direction from then onwards, after discussing the results of those experiments with the patrons of research, Mr Simandoux of IFP, Mr Gravier of CFP, and Mr De Lamballerie of  Elf-Aquitaine.

Winter in Toulouse was never very cold, and there is a saying that if the Christmas is warm, the Easter would freeze. That year it was exactly so, Toulouse did have a warm Christmas in 1975, but the following Easter 1976  was very cold. I also decided to have a summer vacation in July-August in Kerala, and made a request to my Scholarship Authorities. It would be Paris-Bombay-Cochin, but till the last day, there was no confirmation on the Bombay-Cochin sector. I wrote to Ghoshal, if he needed anything from Toulouse as my exit point was Paris, and I would perhaps stay with him for a day or so. I was also told that there is a need to get a Visa Return+Re-entry, that I needed to apply at the Toulouse Prefecture Office, as directed by Air France, So I applied and got the same in a couple of days.

Thereafter I had the tickets from Air France delivered to me by post. I then booked my train journey to Paris for arriving the previous day of my departure. Still there was no confirmation for the Bombay-Cochin Sector.

Meanwhile, Ghoshal, Ayman and I decided to visit some more shops, and Ghoshal asked me to buy things for my people in Kerala. With their help, I had bought some things to fill my suitcase. Ayman dropped me at the Airport well ahead of time, and I had an easy check-in and boarding. I ate and slept well during the flight, and arrived in Bombay at an early morning. I found out that the Bombay-Cochin flight was full and I might not stand a chance, so contacted one of my friends from Indian Airlines, Mr Vellodi, who could somehow arrange a ticket for Trivandrum instead. As that was the only one available. That flight was in the evening, and Indian Airlines had agreed to take me to Cochin after landing in Trivandrum.

The flight must have landed in the evening around 0500 PM, after a very long flight (probably 3-4 hours I don’t remember, in one of the old Avros turboprop aircrafts, which was very bumpy and noisy) and immediately after collecting baggages, I got into a KSRTC bus going to Ernakulam. Luckily for me, the flight was passing through Kottayam, Vaikom and Tripunithura. I told the Conductor that I would like to get down at Tripunithura. It reached around 0900 PM, and I went straight to my uncle’s place near the bus stop. There was a big crowd there, as the very next day, Thulasi Chettan was getting married.  I was very happy and could meet all their family. Early in the morning, I took one of the first buses to Kanjiramattom with my suitcase.

I had to get ready for the wedding and came with my people. At the wedding place, met Baby, her parents & brother Rajan, Sasi my other cousin, who was also in Ranchi & Durgapur those days (after I had left Dhanbad), Thulasichettan’s sister Rajachechi and Appuchettan, from BHU, (Whom I had met many years ago, while they were in Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Calcutta. I was pleasantly surprised that almost everyone knew about the affair between Baby and I, and were even asking when we were planning to get married!. Of course, both of us didn’t have any plan to get married at that point of time.

After the wedding, or probably the next day, the three of us (Rajan, Sasi and I) were introduced  by Thulasichettan Prema, his new sister-in-law, her brothers and parents. That time, we were all his cousins. Sasi and I were also taking some photos with my camera (I was having a few colour film rolls those days). Weddings are always very exciting.

I remember having attended a few (at least two more) weddings during those days. One was of Latha, daughter of my cousin Kuttanchettan (Ittanthottu), and the other of my classmate in school, Surendran. Latha’s wedding was in their house in Kanjiramattom, while Surendran’s wedding was in another village, we as groom’s party, went by a chartered bus. I remember a guy got drunk in at a toddy shop in that village, created some scene, but then was quite tired by the time we were returning. I felt that it is necessary for the Groom’s party to be at least decent, and it should be the responsibility of one senior member of the party. I spent quite some time with Baby, as by then most of our relatives were aware of our plans. One of my uncles told us that it is not a nice idea to go out together before marriage, but since our parents had full confidence on us, we did not bother much. Most probably we restricted our going together to relatives’ houses after that.

The two months were over so fast, and it was time to return. One day, I suddenly realized my camera developed some snag, and would not click. I opened the lens from the body, and gave a few jerks and it was OK again. Baby was near me, and was amused at that and enquired if that’s what I were to do later in my life, when someone or something doesn’t function correctly! I don’t think I had answered her question.

From Kochi, I could not get confirmation of my air France flight, but I booked for my flight Cochin-Bombay. Airlines office said they would send a message to Bombay. The date of my departure came and I was ready to go.

The flight was pretty eventless, and not as bumpy as the flight from Bombay to Trivandrum I had taken earlier. I also had a window seat, so took some photos from the plane. At Bombay, I got down in a hurry, and then took a cab to go to my uncle’s house. I didn’t realize that it was far away, in Borivali. All of a sudden, I realized that I don’t have my camera with me, so took a return to airport, where I tried to enquire with Indian Airlines, if they had found my Camera (Mamiya 35mm SLR). As I didn’t find it, I lodged a police complaint  at the airport, and then took a cab to the Vile Parle railway station and took a suburban train to Borivali. I reached there by about 0930 PM, I think, told my uncle about the missing camera.

Next day, I contacted the Air France Office about my flight, which was to be delayed. I then went to the airport customs to see what can be done about the lost camera, which had an entry in my passport. With the help of some of my friends in Indian Airlines, I could meet the additional collector of customs, who reduced the customs duty on my camera, which was paid the next day. Thereafter I went to the Air France office and reconfirmed my return journey for the next available flight.

I had almost exhausted most my my cash in hand, and had paid my rail ticket Paris-Toulouse from bank account by cheque, which had very little balance; my scholarship was also a month away almost, but still work in the lab immediately made me busy. Of course, I had to wait for my scholarship before I could print my photos. Buying a camera was still farther. My radio and tape recorder were giving me some company & entertainment. As the Cite Universitaire Chapou was closed, and the available accommodation was a bit farther, I stayed with a friend for about a week till my residence was open. And when I moved in, I had to fetch my suit cases which were left in the cloak room, however, I could not find one. I waited for some time till I was certain that the person who took mine by mistake had no intent return mine! So it was lost for ever. Luckily, I had no idea what i had packed in, and as I didn’t really miss anything at all, probably those things were junks for me any way, except perhaps the suitcase itself!

I was spending more on postage, as every week I was writing letters to Baby, in addition to my parents, and once a while to my other friends, in France, and in India.

The post office, which was near my lab, where I used to have a savings account, also became a place I used to visit. For some reasons, we students could not have a bank account those days, except in my last year, although in my first year in Royan, with the help of the Language Institute, I could have a bank account in “Credit Agricole”, however the branch of this bank in Montpellier and Toulouse, refused me to operate the account. But in the year 1976, the branch of “Banque National de Paris” agreed to open an account which I made use of.

 There was a new occupant from DGCA for association with Airbus Toulouse. He told me about his well-researched SLR camera, a Praktika, and after listening to his descriptions I decided to go for that. He was also keen to buy that. Then on one of the next tours to Andorre, we too decided to go. There was also some more friends from ISRO, Mr Dasgupta and Singhal. In Andorre, we got Praktika with even better specifications that what my friend had described. And the price was just about half of what I would have paid for a Japanese make equivalent. I realized that this camera had designs from East German Zeiss, but manufactured probably in Czechoslovakia (those days it was just one country). It was of course a very good buy.

Very soon my research project was approved by the patrons (IFP, CFP and Elf-Aquitaine) and so, my research guide asked me to start writing my thesis. His secretary did a good job of typing the text from my manuscript, and after about two further corrections, it was submitted. I think they had made about 100 copies of the same. My scholarship had a provision to these jobs and I didn’t have to spend any money from my pocket.

 The Institut National Polytechnique of Toulouse and the Academy of Toulouse had fixed provided copies of the thesis to a number of important personalities of university and industry, and based on their convenience, it fixed a date for the public presentation of the thesis. And after about three hours, they pronounced the verdict, and gave me a copy of their judgement. I was asked to take it to the Director of ENSEEIHT, Professeur Nougaro, who had also chaired the Jury, to fix his signature and stamp, so that the Ministry of Education, Ministry of External Affairs would attest it, and Indian Embassy would attest the signature of the Ministry of External Affairs. All this was required to make the document a legal document in India or anywhere outside France. On my return journey, I had kept a full week in Paris, so that all these formalities would be completed in time, before my departure. I took a Visa for Exit this time with adequate time to pack my bags and leave France. My Toulouse team gave me a warm send off, with everybody with their family members in a nice restaurant.

In Paris, things went very well with me, only because my friend Mr Ayman El-Naggar helped me to go from place to place in his car. And at the Indian Embassy, I didn’t have any difficulty as Mr Iyengar  was in full readiness to help me out. Meanwhile I got a letter from Baby, asking for some chemicals (which were also used in medicine) to be bought. I checked with the chemical suppliers, and found out that they need to be stored in Refrigerator. I decided to pick up them the last day, so that the storage would not be an issue.

Finally on the day when I had to leave, I had been given a warm send off by Ghosal and Ayman who also dropped me at the airport. The flight itself was quite boring, and I think it stopped at Tel Aviv before landing in Bombay at an early morning hour. The queue for immigration was long, and by the time I came out to fetch my baggage, I could not find it. Apparently, there was a mix up and the airline baggage handling staff had not brought in my suitcase! I made a complaint at the Air France Counter, who gave me a copy of the same, and told me that the flight has already left for (I think) Hong Kong, and they would send it to Kochi Customs for me to collect it there. They also advised me to get a landing certificate from Customs, to this effect, so that I could collect my suitcase.

This time, I had more time to prepare my return journey, so my Indian Airlines (Now Air India) flight was sometime late in the morning, and I reached Cochin Airport (at Wellington Island) early afternoon. As there was just a carry-on bag, I didn’t have to take a taxi to go home. My sister and brother-in-law were at the airport, and very soon we were at our home in Kanjiramattom.

I had a small bag with chemicals Baby had asked, and as we didn’t have a fridge to store it, I took it to her parents, also in Kanjiramattom, saying that I would go to deliver it at Andhra University very soon, and till then it must be kept in the fridge. And we were talking for some time, and it became late in the evening when I left for my home.

The very next morning, we got the news that my grandfather expired, and we all left for their house, also at walking distance. That delayed my going to Andhra University by about a week, I think. Eventually I took a train to Visakhapattnam and delivered the packet to Baby. I think I stayed for a couple of days at  Andhra University Guest House, and then returned. She was also planning to take leave and come over to Kerala after a few weeks.

I got a message from Air France that my baggage had been sent under Customs seal to Cochin, and asked me to collect it at Cochin Customs. I promptly went there with my brother-in-law to clear the suitcase. The customs officials found that it contained my clothes, and cleared it very easily.

 Within a month plenty of things happened to me. First was my marriage with Baby. After that, I received a letter from ONGC, asking me to report to the GM of Ahmedabad Project and join as Deputy Director in the Institute of Reservoir Studies. So, within days of the wedding, we both proceeded to Andhra University, and then after a couple of days to Ahmedabad, via Bombay. There I met a number of my friends, and reported to Mr A. K. Gupta, GM of Ahmedabad Project, as one of the new employees of the Institute of Reservoir Studies, which was yet to be built and inaugurated!