I HAVE succeeded in memorising the lines (like to show-off the little knowledge Ihave) but I have failed to comprehend their meaning nor understood why Hindus regard it as the mantra of all mantras. To me it appears to be no more than a hymn in praise of the sun. Allama Iqbal in his poem Aaftab also regarded it as a litany of solar worship. I have two other versions in translation. The first is by Professor V.N. Datta. The second by Nafay Kumail Radaulvi. Before their versions I reproduce the original:
Aum Bhur Bhuvah Svah,
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Professor Datta translates the lines as follows:
"O Lord, who pervades the earth,
The intermediate world and the world of life,
We mediate on the supreme light
Of the illumining Sun-god,
That he may impel our mind."
Rudaulvi, who is himself a poet of some calibre, translated the same lines in more poetic words:
Oh Lord, the soul of this beautiful world and the founder of day and night
You are the creator of the universe and the provider for all
The Moon the Sun are there due to you and help creation
The life and death is subject to your existence
You are the Noor that is everywhere
The heart beats and all breathe with your permission
Please have mercy in the name of that noor
The knowledge and Aql gets the right intellectual orientation
Can some reader tell me why this mantra is looked upon as the most potent?
Many years ago, I happened to be in the Nagerhole Wildlife sanctuary. I drove through the early part of the night, hoping to catch a glimpse of a tiger or two and other beasts of the jungle. All I saw was a herd of elephants, a few gaur and lots of cheetal deer. My disappointment was compensated by running into Vivek Sinha and his wife. Vivek, who retired as Additional Secretary, had made his home in evergreen Bangalore, which is close to a few wildlife sanctuaries and rich with bird life. Vivek’s passion in life is to shoot wildlife with his camera. Three years ago, his The Tiger is a Gentleman was published. I was enchanted by his pictures and the encounters he had with those ferocious rulers of the jungle. Recently, he has come out with another book The Vanishing Tiger: Wild Tigers Co-predators and prey species (Salamander). As the title claims, besides tigers, it has photographs of leopards, hyenas, wild dogs, foxes, varieties of deer, a python and lots of birds. The pictures are spectacular and show animals and birds living in total freedom in their habitats. I haven’t seen any better.
In the covering letter that Vivek Sinha sent me, he included a few couplets in Urdu composed by him. The first two pretty well capture his philosophy of life:
Dozakh-o-jannat kay chakkar mein nahin phanstaa
Yeh mahaz Sheikh-o-Birahman kee rozee kay zareeye hain
Pasey-marg kaun jaaney kay hota hai,
Zindgi jeeta hoon, maaloom hai kya hota hai
I do not entangle myself in the maze of heaven or hell, They are items preachers of Islam and Hinduism sell, who knows where we go after we are dead? I live my life to the full, I know what it is, I live it well.
In his second composition, Vivek Sinha spells out another aspect of his falsafa (philosophy):
Gunahgaar hoon to apna hoon;
Kisee aur ka naheen;
Rahta hoon sadaakat say
Par Kisee Khauf say nahi
I am a sinner; my sins be on my head
I do not sin against anyone else;
I live in peace with myself.
I do not live in dread.
You got it wrong
How they talk to Muslims, Messers Vajpayee, Advani
"We will mend our ways, vote for us; see,
We are friendly with Pak
But they forget when they talk
That Indian Muslims are Indian, not Pakistani.
Why such crowding after BJP bandwagon rides?
Is there some ulterior motive that guides?
The reason is obvious
Intentions, though dubious
It is the bread that’s buttered on both sides.
Najma Heptullah is making statements brave
Strange are the ways the politicians behave
Or is it no more strange
That genes too undergo change
Maulana Azad must be turning in his grave.
(Courtesy: J.R. Jyoti, Secunderabad)
A smart Malayalee — Debo Nair
A rich Malayalee — Millio Nair
A dynamic Malayalee — Pheno Menon
A talkative Bengali — Chatter-jee
A Maharashtrian who acts as James Bond — Rajan More
A Jat who falls at people’s feet — Charan Singh
A Jat who falls at people’s feet and stays there — Gir Charan Singh
A Jat who falls at just anyone’s feet — Har Charan Singh
A Bihari who distributes stale food at temples — Kalka Prasad
A Bihari who is above the law — Law-loo Prasad.
(Contributed by Brig Sukhjit