The best hymn in Vedas

THIS refers to “The potent Gayatri Mantra” by Khushwant Singh (Windows, April 10). The Gayatri Mantra is one of the best hymns in the Rigveda and Yajurveda. The Rigveda is the contribution of various rishis of whom Rishi Vashishtha and Rishi Vishwamitra were the most prominent. The Gayatri Mantra is one of the hymns contributed by Rishi Vishwamitra.

Sometimes it is believed that this hymn is addressed to the Sun god. This belief is perhaps due to the use of the word Savitu that comes from the word Savitri that in the Sanskrit language has two meanings: the sun and the creator or father.

In my view, this word Savitri in this hymn refers to the creator or the father of the universe. My view is based on the fact that the hymn begins with an invocation to the Supreme Power.

C.D. KHANNA, Chandigarh




Although the mantra appears to be no more than a hymn in praise of the sun to the writer, he deserves praise for inviting the readers to discuss the true meaning of the mantra.



The writer asserts the rightness of the words and phrases written or published only in English. He must realise that what has been written by Prof V.N. Datta and Nafay Kumail was already there in our ancient texts and that too in a more dignified way.



The writer has questioned the importance of this sacred mantra which has been explained and described with utmost respect in Vedas, Upanishads, Gita and oher holy scriptures. Apart from rishis and saints such as Veda Vyas, Viswamitra etc., noble souls of present times such as Mahatma Gandhi, Lokmanya Tilak, Madan Mohan Malavya, Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Ramakrishna Paramhans, Swami Vivekananda, Radhakrishnan and many others have proclaimed that Mantra regenerates life.

The writer expressing his inability to understand the meaning and doubting the importance of Gayatri Mantra hurts the sentiments of many.

B.S. MISRA, Panchkula


Gayatri Mantra is basically prayer to Mata Gayatri. Mata Gayatri gave birth to Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. That is why this Mantra is looked upon as the most potent.



The writer has observed that Allama Iqbal, is his poem Aaftaab regarded this mantra as a prayer to the sun. This is not correct.

This poem was first published in The Monthly Makhzan, in August 1902. In his remarks, the poet clearly mentioned that the word Aaftaab used by him meant fauq-ul-mahsoosaat (above all the things felt and perceived and from whom this maadi aaftaab (material sun) gets light. Thus, Iqbal, in his poem, regarded the Gayatri Mantra as a prayer to the Supreme Being and not a litany of solar worship.



The writer is unable to understand the true significance of the Vedic prayer Gayatri. Admittedly, it is not the type of prayer we are familiar with. It seeks no blessings and bounties from God but prays that He may illumine and inspire our minds. A rare invocation, indeed!

P.N. PANGOTRA, Chandigarh


The writer has always derided Hindu practices. Every religion has its own set of practices, which may seem peculiar to those ignorant about that religion. For this reason the author should not raise controversial questions regarding religion and spirituality.



Where nationalism has been woven into religion

REFERENCE, “Wanted nationalism based on liberal individualism” by Sridhar K. Chari (Perspective, April 11). Nationalism is an important ingredient of the human psyche. It is rahter instinctive. Daring feats in mythology and history, all over the world, have been inspired by nationalism. Veer Savarkar, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev, et al were all products of nationalism. The Communists of India who despise Indian nationalism have been nothing but tools of Russian nationalism. Islam can truly be defined as Arab nationalism. Islam can truly be defined as Arab nationalism.

The devotion to motherland, the backbone of the RSS philosophy was nurtured by Guru Golwalkar who believed that “nothing can be holiest to us than this land”. In India, nationalism has been woven into even religion. That is why quite a few of our religious ceremonies begin with Bhoomi poojan — worthip of earth (motherland).

Of course, sometimes nationalism is the cause of wars among the nations. The tragedy of the murder of Mahatma Gandhi was caused by the intense, albeit misguided nationalism of Nathuram Godse.

Hence, nationalism needs to be tempered with the age-old Indian belief that the whole world is one family. True nationalism is always based on liberal individualism. It is only the Communism that is bereft of this trait. And Arab nationalism that exhorts its adherents to kill Kafirs.


Qazi’s concubine

In his write up, “Tiny specks don’t reflect a clear spectrum” (Perspective, April 11), V.I.K. Sharma has quoted Cunningham’s History of the Sikhs and refers to the abduction of a Qazi’s daughter by Shri Guru Hargobind who, the Muslims say, was Qazi’s concubine.

I have also read Joseph Davey Cunningham’s History of the Sikhs in which he has stated the following. I quote, “a discipline brought some valuable horses from Toorkistan; they were seized, as was said, for the emperor, and one was conferred as a gift on the Kazee or Judge of Lahore. The Gooro recovered this one animal by pretending to purchase it; the Kazee was decided, and his anger was further roused by the abduction of, the Sikhs say his daughter, the Mahometans, his favourite concubine, who had become enamored of the Gooroo.”

During the Muslim rule, the Muslim writers of that period were biased and anti-Sikh. According to the Sikhs, the Kazi’s daughter was a follower of the Guru who was impressed by his holiness and piety.

She became his follower and came to live in the Guru’s camp on her own free will and was not abducted by the Guru as stated by Mr Sharma in his letter.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |