Rain havoc in Western Ghats… Scientific and unscientific or non-scientific reasoning….

This article is purely based on my perception and understanding of the Nature and Indian culture.

Huyo.. huyo.. maleraya huvina totake neerilla (pour, pour rain king there is no water for the flower garden..) a song we all sang and played in the rain while growing up. Now the situation in Kerala and Karnataka is such that one has to sing nillo.. nillo.. maleraya kudiyoke neerilla (stop, stop rain king there is no water to drink). Sadly after four years of draught, rain god has unleashed his fury with a bang like the minor version of big-bang. Ativrushti and anavrushti (too much or too little falling from heaven), both are purely under the control of nature and no matter what one cannot control it.

Both Kerala (nick named God’s own country) and Karnataka are part of Western Ghats. The Western Ghats or Sahyadri (benevolent) Mountain range along the Western side of India, which was formed more 150 million years ago during Gondwana split-up and is older than the mighty Himalayas. The range starts near the Gujarat and Maharashtra border and runs approximately 1,600 KMS through Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Kerala till Kanyakumari.

Irrigated by healthy monsoons, Western Ghats was a dense tropical forest and the canopy was always wet. These ancient well balanced hills form a catchment area for complex riverine drainage system and were filled with tall remarkable trees, giant bamboo clusters, medicinal plants, flora and fauna. The area had over 5,000 species of flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species and 179 amphibian species recorded. The UNESCO world heritage site is one of the eight hotspots of biological diversity in the world.

But nothing has stopped man from meddling in Mother Nature’s affair. Due to ignorance and greed, destruction and death on the Western Ghats, which Mother Nature nursed and nurtured so very carefully over thousands of years has been going on over a period of time. But now it is slipped into fast forward motion which I have witnessed in my life time. Flora and fauna is pushed into extinction faster than the food is being digested in the stomach! Even the insects including the major pollinator the honey bee population is practically wiped out. Sight of sands on the river banks has become a luxurious sight! Karnataka and Kerala are strange bed mates and are poles apart in ideology but vested interests are common. After all they are human.. For some personal gains of few people, it’s been massacred and continued to do so.

In 1947, the onslaught of endless invaders from Middle East to Mongolia who brought their looting, killing and messing up the religious beliefs finally ended. Unfortunately seven decades of independence we are still held hostage by few powerful ruthless politicians and dynasties. Regrettably there are few individuals, in the name of religion and politics doesn’t lag behind too. Innocent people become victims of party wars and religious propaganda.

Aiding and abating is equally sinful as committing a crime. Like how both the states seems to be competing on who gets more rain, they competed in victimizing the people too. When politicians makes Kodagu a battle ground for votes, men armed with whatever they can afford comes to do dadagiri from Kerala too…. For example when an innocent man was hunted down and killed in broad day light in front of thousands of people within the hospital premises, even before his body was cooled down completely the verdict on killing was passed sitting in a faraway place, perhaps the fasted verdict on record. This is the fate of our beloved country… murder, rape, corruption has reached almost to the point of no return. At times, even a demon king shines dim in front of some deeds.

Now the scientific reason… over the years Mother Nature has been used, misused and abused by man, continuing to do so. Even when I was growing up the situation was not that bad. Even the Kasturirangan committee report sought to balance the development and environment protection of Western Ghats never saw the day light.

Unfortunately Man has short memory and he never learns from history. There is a limit to the tolerance of the most tolerant, the beloved Mother Nature. Unless the children/children are reformed from time to time, they will surely go wayward. How much of an imbalance is being created in recent years can be compared with the picture of Kodagu and its forest using the following report as benchmark even with habitation after establishing Madikeri.

When Tippu Sultan came to Kodagu in summer, he was also accompanied by officers and Munshi, who were shocked to experience the climatic conditions, forest, cold and rains in Kodagu. The weather was such that Tipu Sultan’s soldiers imprisoned themselves inside the fort to keep warm. A historian who accompanied him writes about Kodagu in his words. Since they were in a new place and new atmosphere, he could give a better picture than a local who was bred there.

What can I say about the amazingly wild land? Just uttering or spelling the words, the pen shivers. The bamboo bushes like the Abyssinian sheep fur, curled and impossible to penetrate. Both the large paths (cart-ways) and small paths (footways) are like passing through the stars in the sky. This country’s hills and valleys are impossible to pass through. On the taggu bhoomi (flat land), paddy crops are as tall as the chest level. Sun, even though hotter-than-hot thyself always covers himself with clouds being afraid of the cold in Kodagu, hurries along and departs early from here. Every night the fast traveling moon seeks cover under the blue sky. If summer is like this, then God only have to save us in rainy season.

The rainy season, for six months in all of this country it rains so much that the entire land is filled with water in such a way like a sad person’s eyes filled with water all the time. From evening till after the sun rise, the valley is filled with heavy mist. Lots of tall, well built, active young men, losing their body heat with bone biting cold, sleeps like an arched bow pulling their body close to their chest.  For six months, farmers cover with thick cloth or old blanket from head to toe and work nine to ten hours. During this season, the leeches from the trees and branches suck enough blood from them and their cattle before letting them go. While describing the condition of Kodagu, the hand that holds the pen is frozen like the hand dipped in the frozen icy sea. When the weather is being explained, the tongue safe within the lips feels like the ice berg with fear and astonishment!

Let us look at it in the non-scientific angle. Kerala is said to be created by the axe carrying warrior sage Parsurama, the Sixth Avatara of Lord Vishnu. He is supposed have thrown his axe and the sea receded covering the distance it covered. No wonder there are thousands of temples for the size of Kerala. In short the legend goes that:

His birth claimed to be to quell the oppression of the then ruling Kshatriyas. When he finished the blood filled five lakes! Burdened by the sins of killing, he approached an assembly of learned men to find a way for penitence. He was advised that, to save his soul from damnation, he must hand over the war gains to noble and pious people and meditate at Gokaranam. Doing so in Gokaranam, Varuna, the god of ocean/rain and Bhudevi, Goddess of Earth blessed him.

Once free of his sins, from Gokaranam he walked upto Kanyakumari and threw his axe northward across the ocean. The place where the axe landed is Kerala. According to the old measures it was 160 Katam. Earlier Kerala was known as Parasurama Kshetram or in Sanskrit Aitareya Aranyaka. Later when King Keralian Thamboran ruled it got its name Kerala. There are some people who also say, when desert dwelling Arabs landed on the shores of Kerala they were mesmerized by the beauty and said Kair-alla (gift of God) and hence the name.

Then there is the world famous harvest festival Onam, in the honour of benevolent Asura (demon) utopian King Mahabali, the great grandson of Hiranyakshipu, the grandson of Prahlada and son of Virochana who was wise, judicious and extremely generous. But that legend is from Lord Vishnu’s Vamana (dwarf) avatara. However, both the legends are related to the arrival of Lord Vishnu.

Santana dharma, the oldest philosophical school of thoughts has given us not just a book but a library to learn. It teaches us to respect Mother Nature and live in harmony with every living being in the universe.

Indian culture believes that every element in the universe created by the creator has sagacity. That’s why the philosophy says God in me is God everywhere. God is not an individual entity sitting in a far off place probably known as heaven but we are all inside him, he is part of us. Mother Nature is the manifested form of the God. Like a fish in the ocean we dwell within him in his unmanifested form. The very spark of life which makes us alive, the very breath we take which when stops we die, is the very presence God. (Sorry these explanations come from my limited knowledge and I cannot explain more).

Based on that Indian culture says water carries memory. Now scientists say that under certain circumstances water can retain a memory of solute particles after arbitrarily large dilution. Water memory is the purported ability of water to retain a memory of substance previously dissolved in it even after an arbitrary number of serial dilutions. So if we think in that term then is the water claiming its property which was taken forcibly?

Scientists gave up searching for the God particles even though they claimed finding it and spent billions and billions of something to be scraped! So is there a force beyond our understanding capacity? What our forefathers found and tried to explain has some essence in it? Is there a secret buried or hidden in Western Ghats which cannot be disturbed? Is it time to learn to respect the privacy of Mother Nature?

Then there is Naga, the serpent people who is supposed to live underground. There is no logical explanation as no one has seen them in the living memory but it appears in Indian scriptures. A remnant of it still lives in Indian culture as Naga Panchami (it was on August 15th). While building the new airport, yet to be commissioned, the once sacred grove of serpents was claimed by man forcing them to seek shelters in people’s home. Deeming homeless over night after thousands of years, Mother Nature wants people to taste the same?

In the home front, whatever is happening in Vidhanasoudha, the New Chief is not sleeping during the session but has been knocking on the doors of every Gods within reach! In 80 days of power ONLY 42 temples are visited.. so more begging in front of God than….. Its noteworthy that sadly the movement of Indian politicians disrupts the normal life as if a green corridor is made for a organ carriage, including in holy places.

Scientific or unscientific of nonscientific, it’s a wakeup call for all the citizens of Mother India, to wake up and live in harmony with all the living beings, with utmost priority to the welfare of the nation and fellow living beings. To use the God given commonsense instead of being influenced by propaganda of imaginary differences, outside forces, social media, etc. Come out of the Religious intolerance in the name of unseen God, no one can ever show God to anyone or give ticket to heaven. If they could do it then what are they still doing here provoking others to act bad to fulfill their own personal ego than going to their favourite destination? All-pervading God is an not object to see or hold, no one can see the God one can only feel or sense the presence of God. Unless this is done we will be dragging the rock on our own feet.

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Story of King Ravana from Ramayana – Part 1

Ravana’s KARMA & reflection in Modern man!?!

In India, Sri Rama (incarnation of Lord Vishnu) is seen as a personification of goodness & Ravana as the prime antagonist of the epic Ramayana. Ravana is shown with ten heads & all the ten heads plotting to do bad all the time

So who is Ravana? Ravana was the mighty, controversial King of Lanka & the villain of Ramayana. But there is a lot to learn from his character for us.

It is said that “Humility is a Virtue not a Weakness” & Ravana’s paid a very high price to learn the lesson on humility & his life seems to be conjectural…. His life outlines the reach of KARMA & I am sure when the time comes, we have to settle our scores too. It’s remarkable to learn that even though Devas & Ausars shared the same ancestry how they are different in their thoughts  processes & deeds, like how our own minds & functionality vary from time to time depending upon our culture, mood & circumstance. In a strange reality we are not really very different from both of them & in the process of evolution we have only managed to become more ignorant & egoistic. The main culprit in the mean behaviour in general is the selfish, self-centered, egoistic, greedy, etc, etc., nature of humanity.

Ravana’s story begins much before his birth as Ravana. He & his brother Kumbhakarna were the famous duo Jaya-Vijaya, the devoted Dwara Palakas (gatekeepers) of Vaikunta, heavenly abode of Lord Vishnu. They were very loyal to Lord Vishnu & loved him dearly but they were also proud of their status… it’s no joke to be guarding Maha Vishnu. No one could even see him without their permission!

One day the Kumar brothers {Sanak, Sanandan, Sanatan & Sanat Kumars} went to meet Lord Vishnu. At the beginning of the process of creation, Lord Brahma had created them from his manas (mind) by just a desire & as such they are referred to as his Manasaputras. They were said to be free from negative qualities like Kama, Krodha, Lobh, Moha, Ahankara, etc., (material desires, anger, attachment, lust, pride, etc.,) as well as trigunas (Sato, Rajo, Tamo) of Maya (illusion). Lord Brahma had created them to help him in the process of creation but they chose Brahmacarya (celibacy) & devotion to God over procreation. They also obtained the boon to remain perpetual 5-years old from their father to remain pure & blissful forever. Boon coupled with the strength of their tapa, kept them looking like kids even in their advanced age. They had no attachment to any material possessions & using their spiritual powers, they moved freely around the universe. They were closest to Godly like. Jaya-Vijaya mistook them to be a bunch of pranky kids & not only stopped them but also made fun of them.

Kumar brothers tried to convince them saying they were great devotees of Lord Vishnu & Vishnu is never too busy to see his devotees.  But the gatekeepers were not ready to budge. Knowing what was happening out side, Lord Vishnu took the opportunity to teach them a lesson on humility & created Maya (illusion) & made the Kumaras curse both of them to be born & live as mortals 7-times on Earth. Meantime Lord Vishnu appeared on the scene & the Kumars forgetting everything ran to him with childlike enthusiasm. After a while they departed & then Jaya-Vijaya pleaded with Vishnu to liberate them from the curse.

Lord Vishnu said that words of Kumaras cannot be reverted. However, He could give them 2-options. The first option is to take 7-births on Earth as devotee of Lord Vishnu, while the second is to take 3-births as His enemies & meet death in his hands. After serving either of these sentences, they can re-attain their status at Vaikuntha & be with Him permanently. Jaya-Vijaya were heartbroken & could not bear the thought of staying away from their beloved Lord for 7-lives & chose the 2nd-option to become enemies (those days’ longevity was lengthy too). Moreover, even getting killed by Lord’s hands are also a boon. Thus began their peregrination on earth.

In the first birth as enemies of Lord, they were born in Satya Yuga as brothers Hiraneyaksha & Hiraneyakashyipu, the sons of Diti & Kashyapa rishi. Hiranyaksha was slained by Lord Vishnu after he took the Earth to the bottom of what has been described as the “Cosmic Ocean”. Lord Vishnu in Varaha (boar) Avatara dove into the ocean to lift the Earth, in the bargain slaying Hiranyaksha who was obstructing Him after a battle of over thousand years. His elder brother Hiranyakashipu who was incredibly powerful after a boon & invincible unless several conditions were met, was later slain by the next Avatara as Lord Narasimha (half man-half lion).

The second birth is the story of Ravana & Kumbhakarna, to be killed by Lord Vishnu in the Avatara of Sri Rama & Lakshmana (Ramayana) in Treta Yuga.

Pulastya was the Manasa putra (mind-born son) of Brahma the creator & one of the Sapta-Rishis (7-great Sages). So he had inherited the virtue & learning of Brahma & became a great Sage. Once pleased with the devotion of Rishi Trinbindu’s daughter, Pulastya promised her a son worthy of both their clans & Vishrava (Visravasam) was born. It is not clear if the child was a blessing or they were married. Vishrava was also a renowned Vedic scholar like his father Pulastya. Vishrava was married to Rishi Bhardwaj’s daughter Ilavida (Idavida).

They had a son called Vaishravana (Kubera); who was knowledgeable of the Vedas & equal to Lord Indra in valour. Vishrava told his son that the deserted city of Lanka (on Mount Trikut, off the Southern coast) would be ideal for his residence & established him there. Kubera was of modest demeanor, a well-wisher of the people & many Asura tribes accepted his rule without much opposition. Later he became the Lord of Wealth through a blessing from Brahma after tapasya. Kubera possessed the magnificent Pushpaka-Vimana (the shape-shifting flying craft made of golden flowers, which could travel at the speed of mind). It’s noteworthy that very sophisticated aircrafts were mentioned in Ramayana & man of this epoch is yet to even dream of it!!

Smitten by the glory of Kubera, the Asura leader Sumali (Sumalaya) wanted his daughter Kaikesi (Kaikasi) to marry Sage Vishrava. So that their offspring would be as illustrious as Kubera, & would bring glory & dignity to the entire Asura clan. So Kaikesi became the 2nd wife of Sage Vishrava.

According to Uttara Kand of Ramayana, Sage Vishrava knew that the off-springs by such a match would be bad & unworthy & mentioned it to her. On hearing his words, a sad Kaikesi said: Mahatma, I came not to get such children from a great soul like you. I want a virtuous child & Sage Vishrava told her that the 4th child (Vibhishana) would be born as she desired.

Eventually they had 6-sons {handsome Dashagriva or Dashanana (the ten-faced or the ten-necked) – later came to known as Ravana}, Kumbhakarna, Vibhishana (a scholar, pious – great Rama devout & a minister of Ravana), Khara (King of Janasthan), Dushana (Viceroy of Janasthan), Ahiravan (King of the Underworld), Kumbhini (well known for her beauty was the wife of Madhu, demon King of Mathura) & infamous Surpanakha (she was the root cause of Sita’s kidnapping & instigated her brothers to wage a war against Rama because both him & his brother refused to marry her). Thus by lineage, Ravana was only partly Daitya (through his mother, he was related to Maricha & Subahu).

Ravana seems to be a confused being as he had too many people influencing his upbringing {too many cooks spoil the broth} & his DNA mixture was erotic. Mother Kaikesi was a great devotee of Lord Shiva so was he. He had lots of merits obtained by penance but had quite a few curses(*1) shaping his life too. His father Vishrava noted that while Ravana was aggressive & arrogant, he was also an erudite scholar. Under his tutelage, Ravana mastered the Vedas, scriptures, arts & ways, was well-known Veena player. On the other hand, his maternal grandfather Sumali, kept him close to the ethics of the Daityas. Then there was the pushing to limits of spoken/unspoken words of disparity between the half-brother Kubera… & his wealth, pomp-romp, glory… Golden Pushpaka-Vimana was an eye sore too… Sadly, this conflicting influence by different set of parenting made him a character of Jekyll & Hyde. Often I wonder what kind of parenting does the terrorists & other negative characters must have had?

Except his citizen who loved him dearly for he was a just ruler everyone else was scared of him….. Ravana is said to be an excellent ruler & under him his citizens were happy & prosperous, close to utopia. He had 3-wives & 7-children, & his Pattada-Rani (chief queen) was Mandodari, the daughter of Danava king Mayasura & celestial dancer Hema. Mandodari said to be gorgeous, very pious & virtuous woman.

To read more about the source of Ravana’s powers, his rule, and Ramayana, check out my 2nd article on the series.

 

Story of Squirrel from the epic Ramayana in BRIEF (3/3)

During Sri Rama exile in the forest, the ten-headed demon king Ravana from who was infatuated by Sita’s beauty managed to kidnap her by deceit. Searching desperately for his beloved wife Sri Rama meets the bird king Jatayu on his way & learns the whereabouts of Sita. But he has to cross the ocean about 300 miles to reach her. In the dense forest without any army at his disposal, Sri Rama in despair seeks the assistance of Monkey King Sugriva to get back his beloved wife. The entire monkey army as well as hundreds of thousands of other monkeys (civilian) volunteers came under Sri Rama’s command. Nala, one of the monkeys had the magical ability to make any object float in water & with his help they decided to build a stone bridge to Lanka. A smart female squirrel let’s call her “Ms. Asha Kiran” (ray of Hope) was watching all the commotion going on around the construction. The despair & grief in Sri Rama’s eyes touched the heart of Ms. AK & with compassion & love she decided to help Sri Rama.Since she was tiny & could not carry the stone boulders, she would carry little pebbles in her mouth. When tired went to the water, wet herself & rolled over the sand & mud, then to the construction site, locate the cracks & dropped the mud/sand down by shaking the body. Back then India was the land of plenty… in every term, like food, animals, flowers, etc.,… & every creature lived in harmony with each other & with the nature.

At that time the Indian squirrels were all brown & could camouflage easily blending in with the ground. But it was also a disadvantage because sometimes they got stepped on or hurt in other ways by bigger creatures who could not see them. At first the monkeys thought that Ms. AK was a nuisance running around, one of the young monkeys caught hold of her & asked her what was she doing? Ms. AK said with pride I am helping Sri Rama to build the bridge!!
LoL… you tiny creature helping build the bridge…the monkey started laughing at her… by then a small crowd of monkeys had gathered around… the young monkey said look every one she is helping to build the bridge… this is the funniest thing I have ever heard… others tired from work & looking for a chance to cheer thought it was funny & joined the young monkey in laughter.

Finally tired of laughing one of them asked: do you think Sri Rama is in need of your pebbles? He commands the largest army in the Seven Worlds, & for whom we carry whole mountains with their granite & rock. He does not want your little pebbles.
Ms. AK said, I cannot carry mountains or rocks like you guys as God has only given me strength to carry pebbles. I cannot do more; hence I will continue to do what I can as long as possible, for my heart weeps for the sorrowing Sri Rama, & what I can do to help, I will.

The monkeys said, enough of your foolishness, little one. We have no time for play & for the likes of you. You are getting on our way…. go home to your nest in the trees & let us get on with our work.
Ms. AK wouldn’t listen & one irritated young mischievous monkey picked her up & threw her away… & Ms. AK fell in the very hands of Sri Rama. Sri Rama the incarnate, knowing everything, still asked: What is it that you were trying to accomplish, my little one?

Ms. AK humbly replied, Lord, I am meek & tiny, I cannot carry big rocks, but I was very eager to contribute to your cause. Therefore was carrying these small pebbles in my mouth. I did not want to lose this opportunity to serve you & so I tried performing service in a manner that befits my size, strength, & abilities. With a smile Sri Rama held the little Ms. AK close to him with compassion & lovingly chided them. Then he said to the monkeys, despise not the weak & the small, for according to each man’s strength will he serve. And to me what matters is not how great the strength & service, but how great the love, care & devotion. This little squirrel with her pebbles has love in her heart that would move the earth & the heavens by its strength & power. Little one, your devotion has touched my heart. Be blessed then by me whom you have loved & served. So saying, he stroked the little squirrel’s furry back. And as he put her down all who had crowded round saw upon the brown fur the three white lines that were the marks of Sri Rama’s fingers. Sri Rama also blessed Ms. AK with the boon that all her descendants would bear the same three marks on their backs making them distinctive as a token of his appreciation & gratitude. Ever since then, the Indian squirrel has carried the three white stripes on its back.
Happy & honoured with the recognition Ms. AK worked harder than ever with more zest along with humans & monkey. Finally the bridge (Rama’s or Adam’s bridge between Pamban Island (aka Rameswaram Island), off the southeastern coast of Tamil Nadu) was built in five days & Sri Rama & his friends were on the road to saving Sita! Traces of which still exists & it are supposed to be visible from the space….

Moral of the story: No matter big or small you can make a difference in the world. We are bound by time (limited), action, cause & duty; let us put our act together & do something positive when we still can!! Get up & play your part & do whatever possible in your capacity.

Let us stop penalizing Mother Nature in spite of her nourishing us from birth to death (even after death when no one wants us she will accept us). Even a small honest favour to the Mother Nature counts & helps restore, no matter whom & from where it comes!! Let us live in harmony with everything like the pink and white flower in the picture.