Sunday, May 13, 2007

O r p h a n s O f S a r a s w a t i

"Ambitame Sindhutame Devitame Saraswati"

The best of mothers, the best of rivers, the best of goddesses, Oh Saraswati.

This is how the Aryans addressed the mighty river that flowed through the green valleys of Rajasthan and Gujarat. As a result of tectonic plate shift, Saraswati lost its waters. The vedas are filled with hymns expressing the anguish of the Aryans at the loss of this river - their mother.

The bulk of the settlements of the majestic Harappan civilization were along the river bed of Saraswati. After they arrived, the Aryan people were as tremendously inspired by this great civilization as by the great river. Since it nurtured the civilization, the river Saraswati was equated with the very notion of culture.

Though now reduced to a tiny broken stream that dries up in the summer, the mighty Saraswati once flowed as the greatest of all rivers. But Saraswati would forever be preserved in the consciousness of India. She became the goddess of culture and learning. Vaagdevi (the goddess of speech) became another name for this river, because the ancient people knew about the equivalence of ideas and rivers.

The waters of the Saraswati got diverted to flow into the Sindhu and the Ganga, making them mightier than before. Sindhu in Sanskrit means river, and the people who lived by the banks of this mighty river are termed as Sindhu people. This got corrupted as Hindu by the Persians, and further got corrupted as Indians by the Greeks. Thus, Indians actually mean river people - the people who acknowledge the equivalence of rivers and ideas.

The other name for these people is Bhaarateeyas, meaning the people who live in the Bharata country (bharata means dazzlingly beautiful in Sanskrit). The knowledge goddess Saraswati earned another name Bhaarati (the one who is bharata - the one who is truly beautiful). Thus, the second name for the Indians - Bhaarateeyas means " the children of Saraswati ". Due to the equivalence of rivers and ideas, the two terms Indians and Bharateeyas become equivalent. The only other people who share a similar nomenclature were the Athenians who were named after Athena (the goddess of knowledge in Greek).

It is with this knowledge that I bemoan the current state of the Indian citizens. Just as the river Saraswati dried up turning lush green valleys into desert, the ethos of India is drying up turning it into a wasteland of cultural vacuum.

The mother Saraswati has been forsaken by the Indians and she has left them. Thus, Indians have become the Orphans of Saraswati. Does anybody have any craving for their mother (knowledge) anymore ? In the blind rote of religion, they have forsaken the very essence of Hindu thought.

God the omniscient is understood in terms of creation (Brahma), preservation (Vishnu) and destruction (Shiva). Each of these forms are equally represented by their female equivalents - knowledge (Saraswati), beauty/wealth (Lakshmi) and energy (Shakti). Even though they have separate names, all these three forms are one and the same. That is the essence of God (Brahmaan). Call Him by any name you want - Yaahveh, Elohim or Allaah - He is essentially the Brahmaan. The very act of worshipping Brahmaan means invoking his wife, Saraswati / Vaagdevi. Every word that is spoken (vaak) is a form of worship to God. The highest form of worship is an act of genuine creativity. Thus, the dearest sons of Saraswati would be the very people who get the closest to God (Brahmaan).

One need not even believe in Brahmaan (God/truth), but one needs to believe in Saraswati (prayer/knowledge).

Such people are already on their way to salvation. The mumbo-jumbo about God is unnecessary. This mumbo-jumbo becomes all the more useless if the very belief in prayer (knowledge/beauty/energy) is lost. Such orphans of Saraswati do not even deserve to be called as Bharateeyas / Indians.

Such people seem to populate the very shores of the once mighty river Saraswati - in the state of Gujarat. Mr. Niraj Jain, a politician of the Bharateeya Janata Party and his goons have entered the campus of a university in Vadodara and beat up Mr. Chandra Mohan, an art student.

An artist is the best chosen son of Saraswati and his creations are the most sublime forms of prayer. Just because one thinks that this art is offensive to one's own misunderstood religion, one does not hold any rights to suppress the freedom of speech of an artist. But, the state of Gujarat seems to license such behavior. These people are no less than Raakshasas (filthy demons) who torment the sages who meditate in the forest.

Just like Sri Rama, who came to the rescue of these sages and drove away the demons, the youth of Gujarat need to wake up and offer themselves in service to the sages (artists).

But instead, they would rather shout angry slogans of "Jai Sriram Ji" and go butcher other human beings. These people are nothing less than Raakshasas. Seeing his name sullied like this in the Kali Yuga, Srirama is bemoaning his fate. He is questining sadly, "Oh Saraswati, why did you turn these people into orphans ?"

That is the feeling of every Indian who knows about his mother and his roots "Oh mother, why did you turn us into orphans ? Please come back and make green valleys out of these desert lands".

Like Bhageeratha, who convinced the Shiva to let go of the Ganga and let it flow on the earth, we need Parama Bhageerathas who could bring the Saraswati down onto this orphaned land, and let it flow once again like the mighty river it used to be.

Vandemaataram.

4 comments:

సత్యసాయి కొవ్వలి said...

u need to rethink about ur post and the dubbing of some section as rakshasas. According to my inderstanding- this has become a competetive religious fanatism. I donot agree with people attacking anybody including the artists. Let the artist in question create something odd about Alla or muslim religion and see what happens. Here only artist was attacked. In the other case Hindu shops in old city area of Hyderabad would be ransacked. There will be some bomb blasts in Mumbai- or there will be a parliament attack. Did n't u read the reaction of Muslims in Hyderabad when some Danish cartoon was drawn demeaning Prophet? I join you in condemnining the persecution of an artist and curbing the freedom of expression. At the same time i cannot endorse selective secularism of people like u who are trying to play deaf and dumb to provocations floating around which are furthering such intolerance. Only solution is for the country to be really secular.

Ray Lightning said...

Namaskáram Satyasái gáru
Thanks for your comments :-) I have many friends who think exactly like you. But I think this is wrong because of two reasons.

1) Competitive religious fanaticism is an extremely stupid strategy for self defence. The hindu shop owners that you mentioned, whose shops get targeted by muslim rioters, basically get nothing out of the antics of the saffron brigade. They get no security, no confidence and no peace. Muslims are in a minority, and they know well what will get them into trouble. It is only a fringe element who have no jobs who fall prety to terrorist organizations like Lashkar-e-toiba, and it is these people who do riots. Now, about the hindu shop owners, if at all they get any confidence, that is purely due to the Indian police force. We are a strong country with a disciplined police and army. We have an independent press. What exactly is the VHP, Bajrang Dal or Shiv Sena achieving here ? Do we need these private saffron armies ? Further more, why do they attack innocent people who have no links to terrorists ? Most importantly, how can they target artists !!? I am clear in my opinion - they are just rákshasás.

2) In India, we aspire to be sages and philosophers. We should not degenerate into behaving like rowdies, irrespective of what the other party does. We have a strong tradition of ethics. and we should follow that. Competitive religious fanaticism is just religious fanaticism, there is no competitiveness about it ! These people are a blot on our society, and if left unchecked, they will cause the downfall of our culture and turn India into a talebanistan. Just look what happened to Iran !!

Swami said...

Saraswati has been rejuvenated with waters of narmada. It was something that could have been achieved long back, but it took 55 years and person termed as fanatic (Narendra Modi) to do it. It is easy to target people of Gujarat but you should compare them to people all over the world. Your reference to Gujarat riot without mentioning Godhra in which 56 pilgrims mostly women and children were burned alive by muslim mob, smacks of pseudo-secularism. Violence was not only committed by Niraj jain it was also committed by artist on hearts of thousands of believers. Whatever way you see it. So your musings are incomplete and inappropriate.

Ray Lightning said...

@Swami :

If you think bringing in Narmada's waters into a dry river bed means rejuvenating the Saraswati, you are completely lost. If we want to rebuild the Saraswati civilization, first bring decent drinking water and sanitation for the 1 billion Indian people. Clean up the shit in Yamuna and Ganga, and make their waters blue. Let the knowledge flow in this land with all the vigour and vitality of a mighty river.

56 in Godhra vs 2000 all over Gujarat : Is murdering people some kind of ping pong game ? Being an Indian, you should be ashamed to think in these terms.

Violence commited by an artist on the hearts of thousands of believers : What the #@(! do you mean ? An artist doesn't have a right to speak his mind out, just because the majority is against it ? The words of an artist - whatever they might be - is his own prayer (saraswati) in understanding God (brahman). You don't have any right to get offended by it. If you are any decent human being in the vision of your own God, create an art form that you think will celebrate your relationship with Him. If beating up an artist is all that you can come up with to express yourself, you are no better than a Rákshasa.