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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January - A month to remember

For most people on this planet, January 1 is a sort of clock reset to yet another year of promises, hopes, celebrations and planning. To some it may even be a time to ponder and look back at the losses in the previous year. To the Krishnaswamy family, it is a whole month of mute remembrance about a tower of strength that was snatched away by fate's cruel hands a few years back.

Every year as January marches to its Ides (look up Julius Caesar), most Indians eagerly anticipate the onset of Makara Sankranti, the northern sojourn of our Sun, as DakshiNaayana gives way to Uttaraayana.  Tamilians especially engage in repainting their homes, stack sugarcane and fresh harvest to celebrate Bhogi, Pongal and Maattup-Pongal (and KaaNum Pongal) in that order. Most Ayyappa devotees are ready to have a darshan of the divine Makara Jyothi on the Kaanthamalai hill.

But one family dreads to tread the 16th because it brings to their tearful memories two great men in their lineage - a prophet of a maternal grandpa and his gifted son-in-law, both born the same day only 30 years apart, as if perchance they were destined to become intertwined as guiding lights to their families. And both equally imbued with a contrasting nature of being fiercely orthodox and nonchalantly maverick at once.

Pudukkottai K. Srinivasa Raghavan, a lawyer by profession, has never been a stranger to God. He journeyed through a lifetime of upheavals with unswerving devotion, hand in hand with his favorite deity, Lord Srinivasa of Saptagiri Hills. And narrated to us simpletons of his extended family, through magically appearing golden letters in his left palm, the wonderful acts of God's mighty creation and other abstruse philosophies that have been recorded only on handwritten notes☹. It is now a good 28 years since he departed, but the notes still stand as a testament to his glorious dictations from God.

The other man, inscrutably lovable to all his relatives and admirers was, and continues to be our lives' daily blessing and other-worldly light of wisdom. Sarukkai Kumandoor Parthasarathy Krishnaswamy (aka KANNAN aka Partha Krish) is still alive through his timeless musings in Bodhimaram and My Early Days, blogs that showcase two aspects of his eventful life. A humble but brave man, he achieved a graceful greatness simply by not pursuing it relentlessly. The 2015 Chennai flood is a reminder of his exemplary role as Chennai/Chengalpattu District's flood officer, preventing a near certain disaster of Chennai drowning in 1976 from a overflowing Chembarambakkam Lake.

On a less sober note, presented here are a medley of songs that were dear to his heart (the two visible videos are on the same krithi "Krishnaswamikku Sari Evare?", which my mom supposedly sung during her 'PeNN paarkum padalam' impressing her would-be as he was himself an able singer and connoisseur of Carnatic Music):

Sunday, June 14, 2015

OBITUARY: Sri. MelapaaLayam Jagannatha VIJAYARAGHAVAN, Coimbatore, TN

It is with deep remorse and impalpable grief that India Pundit mourns the sudden demise of our beloved patron Sri. MelapaaLayam Jagannatha Vijayaraghavan, Senior Partner of M/s Jagannathan and Vishwanathan, Chartered Accountants in Coimbatore, Tamilnadu. He was 84. He is survived by his wife Smt. Vijayalakshmi, son, daughter-in-law, granddaughter in Coimbatore and his daughter, son-in-law and grandson in Chennai.

He was previously ailing from multiple organ failure and had a close brush with death five years back. But the brave warrior that he was, he came back to life like a phoenix and lived to recount that experience.

A benevolent, cheerful, humorous, kind and endearing father figure within our family, and a direct uncle to me, he lived a "larger than life" life. As a religious couple, my aunt and uncle were the patrons to many a charities and highly regarded by the Coimbatore denizens. He was also the Rotary Club President for a while. He hails from the illustrious MelapaaLayam family and his father Sri Jagannatha Iyengar was himself a community leader.

As another banyan tree falls within our family, we are still attempting to absorb the shock of that event. Even as we continue to experience the vacuum he has left in us, we are fervently hoping his fond memories will temporarily fill that void till, by God's grace, a reunion does happen to the rejoicing of one and all that know Sriman MJV intimately, and are his family, friends and admirers.

An article on his association with Bapu, from The Hindu newspaper: Gandhiji's Letter

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

EXPOSE: The Kiss of Death

I meant to veer into more productive and interesting posts, but somehow this series had to be finished first. With due insincere apologies, therefore, I continue witch-hunting the subversiveness that is eating at the very vitals of India.

It is already a sorry spectacle that we have begun to live in morally perilous times. Mumbai, notorious for its youthful callousness to Indian culture right from the days of the streaking Protima Bedi, feministic Femina/Shobha De, and magazines like Star Dust, Cinema and Debonair to boot, has always whet the vagrant appetites of the spoiled rich and wannabe social elites. Now, the flagstaff to this trendsetter city is the advent of loud mouth propagandists who are stand-up comedians of the new doom generation. Even considering their ill-informed irreverence be met with a stoic smile because of the comedic license, their supporting view point is nothing to smile about, given the variety of video vignettes below, showcasing a society careening headlong without a brake (or even a break!) into a precipice of no return.

Someday if this post were to be read, if at all by any of those loose cannons, I believe they would either scoff and dismiss it as a sheer waste of time or make further spoofs to sell their wares to an ever increasing debased fan-base. But that's understandable in a changing milieu where the defiant stand of the youth is underlined strongly in the terms "live in relationship" and "sexual freedom". Looks like the 60s baby boomer generation effect of USA is making a comeback in India for all the wrong reasons. And even if, is bound to have similar repercussions.

I would like to believe that you may be an illustrious example of a sizable readership who are still entrenched in the vibrant values of yore and nurture a secret longing to see it take roots in today's India. I sincerely wish to prod your conscience and garner your sympathetic vote, by presenting uncouth facets of our ailing Indian society. I also like to aver that I am not the new moral police on the block, nor have any intentions to infringe on genuine individual freedom. But responsible freedom, that is a totally different ballgame. Sadly, a far cry for the lost among the Indian youth.

Monday, May 25, 2015

EXPOSE: Debasing Tamil Culture

I meant to add (if any left) to the post's title, but that would have made it long, and redundant too.

It is said in almost every meaningful scripture across the cultures of the world that when depravity takes over most of humanity, the end will come about quite suddenly.

It is indeed pathetic to see that the once glorious Tamil culture is now slowly being debased through a steady decline in moral values and eclectic pursuits like gentle performing arts, valorous martial arts, uplifting music and outstanding literature. It is being replaced with the most ugly facet of rottenness that every culture dreads would lead to its ultimate demise. Tamil Nadu is no exception!

I used to quip lightheartedly that "DK started all of this decay" by turning an intellectually superior, morally strong culture into a mere paper tiger. But then came the films, and the societal breakdown took an even deeper nose-dive. All of the videos you will see below are stellar examples of that demeaning influence of Tamil films. Some of the actions that you see in these performances are small exaggerations of what you get to see on the silver screen.

I am not sure if we will ever regain the glory that was once the Tamil that spread across continents, or get to see the brave men and women who would bend a coin with their hands and drive a tiger away with a mere muram.  All of this will continue to remain in the distant past!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

EXPOSE: Whitherto Ye Moral Beacon?

What can you tell a patient who is in grave danger of certain death because of rotting from the inside? Especially if it is your own mother-land?

I am sure there would be pointers and evidences to the contrary, but the scar left by the Delhi Rape incident will stay forever in India's psyche as a grim reminder that we have lost our way and meandered from being the once moral beacon-light of this world.

I will not indulge in a boring cycle of "upadesha"s to what is now merely a "upa-desha". Enough to state that this once mighty and noble "desha" is dying from a cancerous wasting disease far worse than it had faced during its subjugation by the Mughals and then by the British. I will let the remaining god-fearing and righteous hearts of India decide how we wish to go about cleansing India and making her whole once again:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Monday, February 16, 2015

A badly translated shlokam in SINGHAM

What ticks me off also forces me to post an article on it.

This time it is the bad, and I mean really bad, translation of the "Mukharavosya Mrugendra" shlokam from the movie Singham. All over the web where the lyrics to the title song are splattered, the translation seems to be copied and awfully woeful.

The actual lyrics carefully noted from the film song with my translation, after researching the Sankrit-English dictionary for the correct meaning of the words:
Mukharavosya (Mukha Ravasya) Mrugendra Sugharjana
The breath from the mouth of the animal king lion is his great roar
Sabala Matta Gajendraabhi Mardanah
A killer he is, of a mighty and mad elephant
(remember Gajakesari Yoga of Vedic Astrology?)
Vipinaraaj Sadrusho Balavaanayam
He is seen to be strong in the thicket (of a forest)
Samanujo Hi Nrusingha Balas Tatha
Amongst humans, the man-lion is mighty thus!

And the horrible errors in sanskrit words and poor translation effort as seen on several websites:
Mukharavosya Mrugendra Sugharjana
The roar of the lion (His roar) defeats
Sabala Patra Gajendraabhi Mardanah
A crazy wild elephant
Vipinaraa Sadrusho Balavaanayam
His strength is comparable that of a powerful wind
Samarjo Hi Nrusingha Balas Tatha
That is how strong Lord Narsimha is

My humble request to the enthused and well-meaning hindi film fans who post such lyrics is to give due consideration to our ancient language Sanskrit, which is a treasure-house  and source of our national pride. Remember please, no word (shabdha) in Sanskrit was ever coined meaningless.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A gnawing spiritual riddle solved!

Why Would a Perfect God Create an Imperfect Universe?

A question that has always plagued my mind since my childhood. I kept playing God's and his arch adversary's advocate alternately, until I could play no more to get an answer! This article came as a welcome relief and even contained a sensible solution I could agree with (you see Librans like me can never quite make up their mind between blind faith and inquisitive reasoning by themselves, they need a healthy debate to help scratch their personal itches). But even from the many convincing answers, I still remain unconvinced about a perfect God engaged in the needless act of an imperfect creation. The only sanskrit verse from the Vedas that even dares to wrestle with my mind is 'Sa Eko Na Ramyathe!' (God did not enjoy being alone). Anyway, the solutions from the article are excerpted below for your immediate reading pleasure:

R. Jay Pearson • 2 years ago
Lausten, turning your question around, or upside down, or inside out . . . what (with the theology you've presented for analysis in mind) do you imagine the universe and humankind should look/behave like if God is the perfect Creator? What specific expectations ought people have of the God you've described?

Lausten North R. Jay Pearson • 2 years ago
I’m asking the question about the specific God of the Bible. If we were talking about what haunts me about Shiva, or what troubles me about Plato, we would have no problem agreeing on many things. I ask the question because there are so many who claim this specific God is working for them. These are my neighbors, these are the people who cancel my vote and want me to live like them.

That God was supposed to help the descendants of Abraham build a kingdom in the land of milk and honey. That worked out for a while and differences between Elohim and Yahweh were fading but differences between Moses and Aaron split the kingdom and eventually both fell. That was quite a while ago, and I’m seeing a lot of people in need of milk. That’s my first criteria, the end of chronic starvation. We were supposed to get back to living under the laws of Moses, then God would be back on our side, but who has ever unscrambled those laws? Second criteria, a clear sense of what it means to lead a good life. This one really shouldn’t be that hard, but so many fail at it while saying they are righteous. Then God comes down and says that soon everything will be done, and we just need to live by the law of love. It was an improvement, but too much was left to chance and the laws were still unclear. Not even a statement on slavery, that should have been an easy one. Now simply too much time has passed and too many prophecies have gone unfulfilled. I’d like a world with no death and very little pain, but even just some incremental steps towards some of the promises of the Bible would be nice.

R. Jay Pearson Lausten North • 2 years ago
Lausten, from what I gathered, your main issues are with the following: 1) inconsistencies of insistent Bible-believers; 2) temporal and moral inconsistencies of Bible pronouncements; 3) unfulfilled Bible prophecies.

You also mentioned objections to chronic starvation and slavery. In most cases, starvation is a result of regional wars and conflicts (e.g., Darfur, Ethiopia, Iraq, etc.). Man-made events. The same with slavery. It is a man-made thing. Not God-made. So starvation and slavery is on us, not God. Therefore it is up to us to solve our own errors.

As to the Bible . . . I would say that it is also man-made. God-inspired? Perhaps. But inspiration is not authorship. The most rational conclusion I make about the Bible is that while it contains godly words, it is not the "Word of God." It is ultimately the product of man. And so any disappointment you may have about the inconsistencies and failures of the Bible's pronouncements and prophecies should come as no surprise.

As for the God of the Bible . . . with the Bible being a product of man, logic requires us to accept the probability that the image of God in the Bible is a reflection of man's ideas, not cosmic/universal reality. The God of the Bible is an icon borne of human imagination. Ultimately, a fiction. (This isn't to say that, where the nature of "God" is concerned, there are no "diamonds of reality" in the otherwise vast "dunghill" of Scripture, as Thomas Jefferson once eloquently put it. But the diamonds are scatterings, and not representative of the whole.)

As for those believers who insist that the fiction is a reality, and try to impose that fiction on others . . . well, their imbalance will only create imbalance. We can either engage it with balanced humanity, or lay expectations on a fictional God to handle it for us.

Like you, I would also like to see a world with no death and very little pain. Outside of the uninterrupted natural progression of our human lifespans, we create death and we create pain. How do we create death? By our own destructive and self-destructive behaviors. How do we create pain? Through those same behaviors, but also by the attitudes and values we embrace and which inspire those behaviors. We are the creators of most of our suffering.

So the solutions to almost everything you've mentioned rest in our own human hands.

Lausten North R. Jay Pearson • 2 years ago
Amen to that.

Pax • 2 years ago
I really like to speculate about this question. It seems to me that there are at least two parts that can be looked at individually:

1) Does God's will that we love him mean that he is lacking in some way? I don't understand God's love in that way. God's love for us is agape: selflessly willing what is best for us. However, when we love God, there's no need to wish what's best for Him, but we can have agape for each other - loving the things He loves. So, our love for God includes conforming our will to His, which ultimately makes us (and others) better, and so it's not for God's benefit but for ours. It's not something that God needs for His own sake.

2) Why would a perfect being create something imperfect? I think anything that is not God must stop short of Him and therefore must be imperfect. Thus, a "perfect creation" is a logical contradiction. It's like asking if God could create a stone so heavy that He couldn't lift it. But, of course, we can talk about degrees of perfection. So, why didn't He create us more perfect than we are? Actually, I think that's what He's doing. We're all in formation to become more and more perfect. The imperfections of our world have tremendous value in our formation.