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Sunday, April 25, 1999

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Merger of the martial and spiritual

THIS refers to the article "Khalsa epitomises valour, freedom and dignity" by Satish K.Kapoor (April 11).

The importance of the event that took place at Anandpur Sahib on the Baisakhi day in 1699, lies in the fact that saintliness and soldierliness, considered mutually exclusive till that date, coalesced into a single concept of the Saint-Soldier. Henceforth, a person need not be either a saint or a soldier; he could be both. Guru Gobind Singh had finally done away with Krishna’s self-imposed condition of "non-participation in actual fighting" in a dharamyudha. The sheer originality of the idea.

That this step was a well considered reaction to "the proselytising zeal of rulers like Aurangzeb" has been remarkably brought out. Years of research and even worship had preceded this historic step, because the Guru was aware of the far-reaching impact the concept of sant-sipahi was going to have. He sang his hymn to the sword only after he was convinced that scripture without weapon will not equip one to meet the situation.

By bestowing the title "Singh", the Guru attempted to restore among Hindus a sense of pride and dignity which they had lost in the face of the Muslim invasion. And come from a different caste as each of the panj piaras did, their initiation proved that bravery and valour are not limited to any caste. Unity is the mulmantra.

Hopefully, the test-firing of nuclear devices and Agni will boost the national morale. Vajpayee did well to remember Gobind Singh on the occasion. Freedom from fear is as relevant today as it was in the Upanishadic age, or 300 years back. We must cultivate this quality if we are to achieve and attain the four-fold purpose of life; namely, dharma, artha, kama and moksha.

Above all, the Khalsa must remember that the Khalsa was created to protect others, not Khalsa itself.


Tribute to India

This refers to Satish K Kapoor’s article "Walt Whitman’s tribute to India (April 4).

In Hindu philosophy, the earth has been adored as the gentle and primeval mother of all living beings and the tradition of worshipping the earth continues to this day in many parts of India. Interestingly, Walt Whitman, in one of his poems faces has lucidly evoked the feeling of harmony. The concluding portion of the poem strongly supports the Hindu idea by declaring that the earth is the "justified mother of men" having the melodious character.

The following lines from the poem are an evidence to it:

The melodious character of the earth, The finish beyond which philosophy cannot go and does not wish to go,
The justified mother of men
The theme relies on the ultimate spiritual life or immortality as is evident in the following lines:
And thee my soul,
Joys, ceaseless exercises, exaltations,
The yearning amply fed at last, prepared to meet,
Thy mates, eidolons


Chola art

Apropos of Raghuvendra Tanwar’s article "Masterpieces of Hoysala, Chola art" (March 28), the writer has wrongly stated that Hoysala was completely vanquished by Muhammad-bin Tughlaq. The correct position is, that the last king of this dynasty was Vir Balla III, who was defeated by Malik Kafur, the chief general of King Allauddin Khilji in 1311 A.D. He deposed him from the throne and thus this dynasty came to its end.

Architecture and sculpture made great advancement in the reign of the Hoysalas. The most renowned of all the temples, is the one built at Hoyasalaesvara. Soap stone was employed in its construction.

It is said about this temple "Though the sculpture of the Hoyasalesvara temple is marvellous, it is never obstructive (blocked). Though each individual figure is a work of art, sculpture is definitely used by the designers as a subordinate element embellishing (decorating) the beauty of structure’s architectural design".

The Chola dynasty also came to its end during the reign of Allauddin Khilji (1295-1316 A.D), when Malik Kafur, caused the final ruin of the Cholas. It is said of Chola artists: "They conceived like giants and finished like jewellers."

The Cholas encouraged plastic art and the metal and stone images cast in their time are exquisitely executed and display a wonderful vigour, dignity and grace. Of the metallic images and figures, the Natraj figure is unique in its beauty and the modern musician receives particular inspiration from it.



Taru Bahl in her write-up "The Mother of all virtues" (March 28) is right in saying that humility denotes strength of character. People of substance are always humble and as placid as a mountain lake. It is only hollow men who trumpet their virtues. On the contrary, a real worker prefers leading a nondescript existence away from the arclights.

Humility has become a rare commodity, while self promoters, are ruling the roost. The writer has truthfully pointed out that these self-conceited snobs may acheive temporary fame but they never command unflinching respect.


Bitter pills all the way...

This refers to the article "Indians will have to swallow a bitter pill" (March 14). The title of the article is not a revelation because Indians have been doing this almost every year for a long time. I have the highest respect for Sansar Chandra as a Sanskrit scholar but I have not seen his fame as an astrologer. Two subjects i.e. homoeopathy and astrology are very dicey. Sometimes, they work wonders but most of the times go wrong. Real astrology lies in predicting specific incidents in advance with accuracy. Very few astrologers have this knack. They try to analyse the event astrologically after it has occurred. The dictum that "success has many fathers but failure is an orphan" applies perfectly to them.

Many astrologers predicted a great future for Sanjay Gandhi during the Emergency. But when he died at a young age in 1981 they were nowhere to be seen. Likewise, most astrologers were under confusion to predict the results of 1980 Lok Sabha elections because the Mahadasha of Indira Gandhi was changing in April, 1980 while elections were held in January, 1980. Only one astrologer could predict her thumping majority.

The probability of an astrological event coming true is hardly 20 per cent. Most predictions in the present article are couched in a circumlocutery and general language.

One can only have a general idea of good or bad period in the life of a native. Predictions down to the accuracy of days and months is impossible because rules for interpretation in astrology books are grossly inadequate.

As a litmus test, take the horoscope of your friend to any famous or not so famous astrologer and ask him two questions — the present profession of the native and the number of male and female children he has. I bet, no astrologer will be able to answer these queries correctly.


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