The story of ‘Samundra Manthan’ – the churning of the celestial ocean of milk

The churning of the ocean

Many of you might have seen this sculpture at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport. Here is the story behind it.

Background. There are numerous ancient Hindu scriptures ranging from the 4 Vedas, the Upanishads, the epics – Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the Bhagavad Gita (the essence of all knowledge of the scriptures – the Bible or the Quran equivalent for Hindus) and the various Puranas (which contain narratives about Gods and demons, and form the bulk of ancient Indian mythology). The story of ‘Samudra [Ocean] Manthan [the Churning]’ appears in two of the puranas (Bhagavad Purana and Vishnu Purana, as well as the Mahabharata). Hindus see God as one but with different forms and attributes, primarily as a trinity of the creator (Brahma), the preserver (Vishnu and his 10 avatars/incarnations as Ram, Krishna, etc.) and the destroyer (Shiva and his forms such as Hanuman). There is also the female energy in the form of Durga, Kali, Lakshmi (the Goddess of Wealth, workshipped during Diwali; the wife of Vishnu), Saraswati (the Goddess of learning and knowledge; the wife of Brahma), etc. Subsurvient to these are other deities or divinities who control individual forces of nature (referred to as ‘devta’ or ‘deva’ in Hindi) – Indra (the king of the devas; king of ‘swarga’ or heaven; controls thunder and lightning), Varun (the deva of rain), Agni (the deva of fire), Vayu (the deva of wind), etc. The evil forces are represented by the ‘asuras’ (the demons), who are in constant battle with the ‘devas’ (allegorically, the battle of the good versus evil within our minds). The devas and the asuras are both sons of the same father, but two different mothers – Diti and Aditi respectively. Both the good and the evil, or the ‘daivic’ and ‘asuric’ natures, reside within humans. Qualities such as fearlessness, cultivation of spiritual knowledge, charity, self-control, austerity, simplicity, non-violence, truthfulness, freedom from anger, renunciation, tranquility, aversion to faultfinding, compassion, gentleness, modesty, steady determination, forgiveness, cleanliness, freedom from envy, etc. are classified as ‘daivic’ or godly qualities (Bhagavad Gita, 16:1-3). Materialism, arrogance, pride, anger, conceit, harshness, ignorance come under ‘asuric’ or demonic qualities (Bhagavad Gita, 16:4). Both the ‘devas’ and the ‘asuras’ draw their energies from the supreme trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

The Story. In the story of the Samudra Manthan, the devas (Indra and the other divinities) were once cursed by the Sage named Durvasa, such that they lose all their strength. The asuras then win them in battle and take control of the universe. The devas go to Lord Vishnu for help, who advises that only the nectar, which resides at the bottom of the celestial ocean of milk (Ksheer [milk] + sagar [ocean]; sometimes alluded to the Milky Way galaxy) can make them strong again, and they would become immortal. However, the ocean would need to be churned in order for the nectar to surface, and this was a task they coudln’t do alone (considering they were bereft of energy). They would need to seek the help of the demons/asuras for this, with the lure of the nectar.

Now, churning is the process of making butter from milk i.e. vigorously shaking the milk to separate the butter/cream and the water elements from milk. Yashoda, the mother of Krishna, is often depicted in images were she is churning milk by pulling 2 ends of a rope tied to a wooden rod that is dipped in a pot of milk. For the churning of the ocean, the devas sought the help of the mountain Mandara to serve as the churning rod. Vasuki, the king of snakes (the snake around Lord Shiva’s neck) was approached to serve as the rope for the churning and to be bound around Mount Mandara. The devas were to pull one end of the giant serpent, and the asuras, the other. The demons/asuras held the head of the snake, while the devas, its tail. The churning went on for a 1,000 years. The force of the churning was so great that the mountain began to sink. Lord Vishnu then took the form of a huge turtle (Kurma avatar) and, like an island, supported the mountain on his back. The asuras turned pale due to the fumes and coming out of the mounths of Vasuki, the snake (as they were closer to the head). Then, a terrible poison came out from the ocean. Lord Shiva swallowed the poison and his throat turned blue since then. A number of valuables (14 in total) emerged from the ocean, which were divided by the devas and the asuras. Kamadhenu, the wish-granting cow was taken by Vishnu and given to the sages. Uchhaishravas, the 7-headed horse was given to the demons/asuras. Airavata, the white elephant, was taken by Indra, the king of devas. Parijat, the tree with never-fading blossoms was taken by the devas to Swarga or heaven. Varuni, the creator of wine or alcohol, was taken by the asuras. Then emerged Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. She chose to marry Lord Vishnu. Also produced was Chandra – the Moon, which adorned Lord Shiva’s hair. Finally, Dhanvantari, the divine physician emerged, holding a pot of nectar. The devas and asuras both began to fight over it. Garuda, Vishnu’s eagle [adopted as the national emblem of Indonesia, and the name of its national airline], took the pot and flew away. A few drops of nectar fell in Prayag (Allahabad) and 3 other places – Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik, where the ‘Kumbh Mela’ is celebrated every 12 years. One of the asuras got hold of the pot. The devas then appealed to Vishnu. He took the form of a beautiful woman, Mohini, and distracted the asuras. Volunteering to distribute the nectar to all of them, she gives some nectar each to each of the devas. RahuKetu, an asura, took the form of a deva and joined the line of the devas receiving the nectar. He gets a sip. Vishnu immediately cut off the head of the demon, but it had become immortal in two parts – Rahu, the head, and Ketu, the body. Rahu swallows the sun and the moon at regular intervals, causing eclipses 🙂 By the time the rest of the asuras realized what was happening, and that the beautiful Mohini was actually Lord Vishnu, the nectar had been distributed to the devas. The rejuvenated devas were able to defeat the asuras in battle, and regain their glory.

[Reference: Wikipedia and other online sources, Amar Chitra Katha comic, “The Churning of the Ocean: Vishnu saves creation”]

How to deal with words you don’t like to hear?

Whenever someone says something hurtful, insensitive or something you don’t want to hear, remember:

1) You are not a fig-leaf that can be blown away by the words of anyone
2) You are giving the person TOO MUCH importance by thinking about and being affected by the negative words
3) Separate the words from the person – discard the words (if they are not constructive) and love the person
4) Don’t see intention behind the words
5) Say ‘I forgive you for the words’ and give a mental hug to the person who’s said words you don’t like
6) Listen to the song in the video below 😀

[youtube 9frGc5beJPg 600]

शब्दों के जंगल में तू क्यों फंसा है रे Shabdon ke jungle mein tu kyon phansa hai re
Why are you entangled in the jungle of words?

परब्रह्म के रस से तेरा नस नस रमा है रे Parbrahm ke ras se tera nas nas rama hai re
The nectar of God flows through each vein of yours => there is God in you

आनंद तू ही, परमानन्द तू ही Anand tu hi, Parmanand tu hi
You are happiness and bliss; you are the creator of the supreme bliss

ॐ में खो कर, ॐ में रम कर, ॐ में मिलना है Om mein kho kar, Om mein ram kar, Om mein milna hai
We are to get lost in Om, to blend in Om, to to be one with Om

शब्दों के जंगल में तू क्यों फंसा है रे Shabdon ke jungle mein tu kyon phansa hai re
Why are you entangled in the jungle of words?

परब्रह्म के रस से तेरा नस नस रमा है रे Parbrahm ke ras se tera nas nas rama hai re
The nectar of God flows through each vein of yours => there is God in you

मान अपमान होता कहाँ रे Maan apmaan hota kahan re
What is respect and insult after all?

ये तो है शब्दों की पकड़ Ye to hai shabdon ki pakad
This is just play with words

भले बुरे शब्द तुझे हिला दे Bhale bure shabd tujhe hila de
For good and bad words to shake you

इतना तू नहीं है कमज़ोर Itna tu nahin hai kamzor
You are not that weak

ॐ में खो कर, ॐ में रम कर, ॐ में मिलना है Om mein kho kar, Om mein ram kar, Om mein milna hai
We are to get lost in Om, to blend in Om, to to be one with Om

शब्दों के जंगल में तू क्यों फंसा है रे Shabdon ke jungle mein tu kyon phansa hai re
Why are you entangled in the jungle of words?

परब्रह्म के रस से तेरा नस नस रमा है रे Parbrahm ke ras se tera nas nas rama hai re
The nectar of God flows through each vein of yours => there is God in you

Michhami Dukkadam: Why I must forgive to be happy?

Click here for an audio podcast of this blog post (recorded Sep 13, 2013 in Boston)

I have a simple motto in life, “to be happy always”. This is what I wish for all my friends and all the people I interact with – that they be happy always. I’ve learnt that happiness is not something that comes with circumstances – you don’t become happy when you get something or achieve something. Similarly, happiness is not something you postpone UNTIL you get something or achieve something. We’ve got to be happy right here, right now! Happy with all that we have, and all that we don’t have. It is important to realize that You and I are not leaves, that can be blown away by circumstances – one person says an unpleasant word, and we become unhappy; the train is late and we become unhappy. It’s like exposing our cheeks to the whole wide world, where each person and each event is free to come slap us every now and then in whichever way it pleases. I read somewhere that happiness is an art that ought to be learnt, practised and perfected like playing an violin. I think it is true.

There is an important prerequisite to happiness — forgiveness. To be happy and in peace with ourselves and the entire world, we’ve got to forgive EACH and EVERY person in the world. I was once told a story where there was a man who said that he was ready to forgive the whole wide world, but he could NEVER forgive two people Mr X and Ms Y, who had really hurt him in the past. The fact is, nobody can hurt you without your permission. This person was told that if he wanted, he was free to hold grudges against the entire world…all he had to do was to forgive these two people.

Until we forgive people who’ve pained us, we continue to give them a lot of undue importance and they continue to dwell in our minds. Thus, contrary to our liking, we end up closely holding those people who we supposedly dislike.

The Jains have a lovely festival. Each year, at the end of an 8-day festival, they ask for forgiveness from all and sundry, saying, “Michhami Dukkadam” [Michchami=fruitless; Dukkadam=bad deeds] [“My bad deed (with you) be fruitless”] [“May any bad deeds I have committed towards you be forgiven”]. I got to know of this lovely festival when I received an email from a friend and his wife about two years ago with the subject: “Michchami Dukkadam”, and with words something like, “I request your forgiveness, if I may have hurt you, intentionally or unintentionally by thoughts, words or action.” I couldn’t remember them having hurt me, but it didn’t matter. The greeting (whether in person, on the phone, through a letter, email, sms, a facebook message or a tweet) is to be sent to (or felt for) one and all.

Today happens to be that day for 2009. So to everyone, Michchami Dukkadam!

क्षमा Kshama [forgiveness]
वीरस्य Veerasya [of the brave]
भूषणं Bhushnam [is the ornament]

Forgiveness is the ornament of the brave! So forgive all those who’ve hurt you, seek forgiveness from all those you’ve hurt, seek forgiveness from yourself. On this day, let us all endeavour to forgive and be happy!

If you want to practise forgiveness, I found the following steps on the world wide web, attributed most likely to Dr Christiane Northrup in her book on women: “Northrup, C. (2006). Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing, 3rd edition. Bantam Dell: New York, NY.”

step 1
close your eyes….for a moment just reflect on what the word
Forgiveness
might really mean.

What is forgiveness?
[ponder for a short while and after contemplating goto next]

step 2
And now, very gently — no force — just as an experiment in truth —
just for a moment — allow the image of someone for whom you have
much resentment — someone from whom you have anger and a sense
of distance — let them just gently — gently, come into your mind —
As an image, as a feeling.

May be you feel them at the centre of your chest as fear, as resistance.
However they manifest in your mind body, just invite them in very gently
for this — moment — for this experiment.

And in your heart, silently say to them, ‘ I forgive you’.
‘I forgive you for whatever you have done in the past that caused me
pain, intentionally or unintentionally. However you have caused me pain,
I forgive you’.

Speak gently to them in your heart with your ownwords- in your own way.
[close your eyes and talk in your heart with them- only for forgiveness]

In your heart, say to them, ‘I forgive you for whatever you may have done in
the past, through your words, through your actions, through your thoughts
that caused me pain, intentionally or unintentionally. I forgive you.’

Allow….Allow them to be touched… power of your thought is immense
and it would touch them….
just for a moment at least…
by your forgiveness.
Allow forgiveness.

It is so painful to hold someone out of your heart.
How can you hold on to that pain,
that resentment, even a moment longer?
Fear, doubt… let it go… and for this moment,
touch them with your forgiveness.

‘I FORGIVE YOU.’

Now let them go gently, let them leave quietly.
Let them go with your blessings.

step 3
Now picture someone who has great resentment for you.
Someone near or dear
May be a friend, customer/client oremployer/employee…..
staff or family…
supplier/creditor or a banker/broker of insurance
anyone who has any cause of resentment for you.
Could be spouse or parent, children or neighbour
who had any cause of resentment for you in recent past.

Feel them in your chest, may be in heart, seeing themin your mind as an image
— sense of their being. Invite them gently in.
Someone who has resentment, Anger —
someone who is unforgiving towards you.
Let them into your heart at this moment.
And in your heart, say to them ‘ I ask your forgiveness,
for whatever I may have done in the past that caused you pain,
intentionally or unintentionally —
through my words, through my actions, through my thoughts.
However I caused you pain,
I ask your forgiveness. I ask your forgiveness.’

‘Through my anger, my fear, my blindness, my laziness.
However I caused you pain,
intentionally or unintentionally — I ask your forgiveness.’

Let it be. Allow that forgiveness in.
Allow your self to be touched by their forgiveness.
Power of your thoughts is immense… they are forgiving you.
If the mind rises up
with thoughts like self-indulgence or doubt,
just see how profound our mercilessness is
with ourself and be open to the forgiveness.

Allow yourself to be forgiven.
Allow yourself to be forgiven.

However I caused you pain,
I ask for your forgiveness.
Allow yourself feel their forgiveness.
Let it be.
Let it be.

And gently …. very gently … let them go on their way
in forgiveness for you — in blessings foryou.

step 4
And turn to yourself in your own heart and say
‘ I forgive you’ to you/rself.
whatever tries to block that
the merciless and fear.
Let it go.

Let it be touched by your forgiveness andyour mercy.
And gently in your heart, calling yourselfby
your own first name, say,
‘ I FORGIVE YOU ‘ to you.

It is so painful to put yourself out of your heart.
Let yourself in. Allow yourself to be touched
by this forgiveness.
Let the healing in.
Say, ‘ I FORGIVE YOU ‘ to you.

[ you will feel very peaceful…light hearted and relieved
if not, try repeating step 2,3 & 4….
till you have softened your heart, feel your inner peace…
then goto step 5]

step 5

[ say with immense love and joy,….openly, loudly…]

Let that forgiveness be extended to the beings all around you.
May all beings forgive themselves.
May they discover joy.
May all being be freed of suffering.
May all beings be healed.
May they be at one with their thru nature.
May they be free from suffering.
May they be at peace.
Let that loving kindness,
that forgiveness,
extend to the whole planet…
extend to entire universe
to every level of existence, seen and unseen.
May all beings be freed of sufferings.

May they know the power of forgiveness,
may they know their true being.
May they know their vastness
their infinite peacefulness.
May all beings be free.
May all beings be free.

Forgiveness

Which name of God is greater?

Ever since organized religion has existed in the world, people in different parts of the world have tried to establish the name by which they call God as greater than any other name used to call God. Those who use the same name as theirs come within the ‘We or Us’ circle. Those who use a different name are addressed as ‘They or Them’ and fall outside the ‘We’ circle.

Some say “Krishna is the greatest”, some say “Shiva is the greatest”, some say, “There is no God but Allah”, some say “Christ is the greatest”…

Those who call God by the names of Rama/Krishna/Vishnu, they call themselves Vaishnavas or Gaudya Vaishnavas (represented in ISKCON or Hare Krishna movement today that establishes Lord Krishna as supreme). Those who call God by the name of Shiva call themselves Shaivas. In India, if you go to Maharashtra, you’ll see people remembering God by the name of Ganesh. If you go to West Bengal, you will find people chanting the names Durga or Kali. In India and in other parts of the world, those who know the son of God by the name of Jesus Christ call themselves Christians (or Roman Catholics or Protestants, etc. when they disagree over various aspects). Similarly, those who do not recognize any other name for God apart from Allah call themselves Muslims (or Shias or Sunnis, a distinction established after the death of Prophet Mohammad when his followers couldn’t agree on whether the leadership after the great Prophet should be based on lineage or capability).

Remember God by any name (including those of Energy, Time, Consciousness, etc.), and He (or She if you see God in the female form) will manifest within you in that particular form [जाकी रही भावना जैसी प्रभु मूरत देखहिं तिन तैसी Jaaki rahi bhawna jaisi, Prabhu murat dekhi tin taisi “One sees God as per his/her feelings”, or “the form of God you see is a reflection of your thought process”, says Tulsidas in Ram Charit Manas]. Call God by any name you wish, s/he’ll present himself/herself in the image, form, symbol (or lack thereof) you wish to see.

In this beautiful video from the new Ramayan made by Sagar Arts and presented in the Indian channel ‘NDTV Imagine’, Lord Ram establishes that He is a bhakta or devotee of Lord Shiva (thus, He’s a Shaiva). On the other hand, Lord Shiva establishes that He is a devotee of Lord Rama (thus, He’s a Vaishnava). Thus, Lord Rama sings and plays the instrument in devotion of Lord Shiva. On the other hand, Lord Shiva dances in devotion of Lord Ram. Each is trying to please his Lord. Each is the devotee of the other. Each is the Lord of the other.

In Hindu scriptures, there are 18 puranas – each dedicated to a particular name for God – and each establishing that name as supreme. The Shiva purana establishes Lord Shiva as the greatest. The Vishnu purana establishes Lord Vishnu as the greatest. The Shrimad Bhagvad Purana establishes Lord Krishna as the greatest. Do you see a contradiction? There is a welcome contradiction. It has been done purposely so that the devotee can be free to choose the name/form of God s/he is most comfortable with, and also be assured that the name s/he is chanting is the greatest. Similarly, there is nothing wrong when we, as Christians, recognize the name Jesus Christ as the greatest or when we, as Muslims, recognize the name Allah as the greatest.

However, we should understand that while we have the right to call the name we know for God as greatest, other fellow human beings have the right to call the name they know for God as greatest. This essentially means that call Him (or Her, if you’re a feminist) by any name, we are all reaching out to the same God within us and outside us and all around us. Instead of fighting over which name is greater, devote yourself in realizing the name/form/words of the God you worship deep within you. If you’re a Hindu, be a good Hindu. If you’re a Muslim, be a good Muslim. If you’re a Christian, be a good Christian.

While it is perfectly fine to have your favorite name for God, don’t give your faiths a bad name by looking down at those in other faiths who address God by their own favorite name(s), or by having the misconception that those who address God by different names or try to reach him through different paths will go to hell. Observe the other path(s), go for a trek using the other path(s), meet and speak to people who’ve taken that way, read the guidebooks detailing those path(s) and you’ll find that it may be better or worse laid out, there might be more people treading them or less people treading them, but they too lead to the same peak up there! We are giving ourselves too much of credit when we think that there is only one superhighway leading to God and that anybody who is not on it will land up nowhere and that it is our moral duty to coerce them, beg them, pull them into the highway – even if the person was already on a well-paved road leading to the peak. If you really want to help the person, show him how to be a better driver or trekker on the road s/he already is, instead of trying to change his/her road to the peak.

When the missionary E. Stanley Jones had met with Mahatma Gandhi, he had asked him, “Mr. Gandhi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?” Gandhi had replied, “Oh, I don’t reject Christ. I love Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ.” “If Christians would really live according to the teachings of Christ, as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today,” he added (Dibin Samuel, 14 Aug 2008, Mahatma Gandhi and Christianity, Christian Today).

On quest for conversion to Christianity, Gandhi’s message was that instead of preaching Christianity, if a Christian Missionary was to live his life in service as exemplified by Christ, the message would be better received…”live the life according to the light…. If, therefore, you go on serving people and ask them also to serve, they would understand. But you quote instead John 3:16 and ask them to believe it and that has no appeal to me, and I am sure people will not understand it.” “A rose does not need to preach. It simply spreads its fragrance. The fragrance is its own sermon; the fragrance of religious and spiritual life is much finer and subtler than that of the rose.” (Dibin Samuel, 14 Aug 2008, Mahatma Gandhi and Christianity, Christian Today).

For Martin Luther King: “Mahatma Gandhi was the first person in human history to lift the ethic of love of Jesus Christ, above mere interaction between individuals and make it into a powerful and effective social force on a large scale. If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. We may ignore him at our own peril”. When an American churchman upbraided him for this he replied “It is ironic yet inescapably true that the greatest Christian of the modern world was a man who never embraced Christianity.” (Ambassador (Retd) Alan Nazareth, Gandhi and Christianity, mkgandhi.org)

“Ekam sat vipra bahauda vadanti” (There is but one REALITY, though the wise speak of it in many ways), declared the Rig Veda [I.164.46 ], the oldest scripture of the oldest living religion in the world. In the few millenniums since the Rig Veda, the human race is still struggling to understand this simple truth.

Thus, instead of trying to establish the supremacy of Krishna or Rama or Shiva or Allah or Christ, we should recognize that they are different ways to address the same God (who is all pervading and within each one of us and all around us). Our quest should be to realize this God within us – to remove the layer of dust that is covering our inner soul. As a Hindu and as an Indian, I can safely say that this is the essence of Hinduism. This is the essence of India!

हर मानव में छिपी हुई है दिव्य गुणों की आग – Har maanav mein chipi hui hai divya gunon ki aag
दिल से मर्म शिखा बस छू दो तुरंत उठेगी जाग – Dil se marm shikhaa bas choo do, turant uthegi jaag

“Inside every human is hidden a fire of divine qualities
Simply touch the molten tip with all your heart, and it will immediately set ablaze”

So forget about establishing which name of God is the greatest! Go seek out the God inside you. Once you know that there is God within you, and that God can do anything, you’ll see that nothing is impossible! Go, outshine the stars!!

Walk Alone একলা চলো রে Ekla Chalo Re

[youtube ErbH7dT8prk 600]

When I watched this beautiful video, was reminded of the great Rabindranath Tagore’s message through his song penned in 1905 when Bengal was to be partitioned:

Have tried to translate it in English with the help of Tagore’s English version and Nikhil Kulkarni’s blog, and the Hindi translation from the English one arrived at). Here’s the song in Kishore Kumar’s voice. [Update Jan 7, 2013: Other versions by Shreya Ghoshal and by Amitabh Bachchan in the movie Kahaani] :

যদি তোর ডাক শুনে কেউ না আসে তবে একলা চলো রে। (2)
Jodi tor đak shune keu na ashe tôbe êkla chôlo re, (2)
जोदी तोर डाक शुने केउ ना आशे तॉबे एख्ला चॉलो रे (2)
(यदि तोरी डाक सुनके कोई ना आए तब अकेले चलो रे
If they answer not to your call walk alone)

তবে একলা চলো, একলা চলো, একলা চলো, একলা চলো রে॥ (2)
tôbe Êkla chôlo, êkla chôlo, êkla chôlo, êkla chôlo re. (2)
तॉबे एख्ला चॉलो, एख्ला चॉलो, एख्ला चॉलो, एख्ला चॉलो रे (2)
(अकेले चलो, अकेले चलो, अकेले चलो, अकेले चलो रे
walk alone, walk alone, walk alone, O walk alone)

যদি তোর ডাক শুনে কেউ না আসে তবে একলা চলো রে।
Jodi tor đak shune keu na ashe tôbe êkla chôlo re,
जोदी तोर डाक शुने केउ ना आशे तॉबे एख्ला चॉलो रे
(यदि तोरी डाक सुनके कोई ना आए तब अकेले चलो रे
If they answer not to your call walk alone)

যদি কেউ কথা না কয়, ওরে ওরে ও অভাগা,
Jodi keu kôtha na kôe, ore ore o ôbhaga,
जोदी केउ कॉथा ना कोए, ओरे ओरे ओ अभागा
(यदि कोई बात ना करे, अरे अरे ओ अभागा
if no one speaks to you, O you unlucky one)

যদি সবাই থাকে মুখ ফিরায়ে সবাই করে ভয়—
Jodi shôbai thake mukh firaee shôbai kôre bhôe—
जोदी शॉबाय थाके मूख फिराए शॉबाय कोरे भॉय (2)
(यदि सभी तोसे मुह फिराए सबको हो भय
if they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,)

তবে পরান খুলে
Tôbe pôran khule
तॉबे पॉरान खूले
(तब पूरे मन से
then wholeheartedly)

ও তুই মুখ ফুটে তোর মনের কথা একলা বলো রে॥
O tui mukh fuţe tor moner kôtha êkla bôlo re.
ओ तूई मूख़ फूटे तोर मोनेर कॉथा एख्ला बॉलो रे (2)
(ओ तू मुह खोल के तेरे मन की गाथा अकेले बोल रे
open what’s in your mind and speak up alone.)

যদি তোর ডাক শুনে কেউ না আসে তবে একলা চলো রে।
Jodi tor đak shune keu na ashe tôbe êkla chôlo re,
जोदी तोर डाक शुने केउ ना आशे तॉबे एख्ला चॉलो रे
(यदि तोरी डाक सुनके कोई ना आए तब अकेले चलो रे
If they answer not to your call walk alone)

যদি সবাই ফিরে যায়, ওরে ওরে ও অভাগা,
Jodi shôbai fire jae, ore ore o ôbhaga,
जोदी शॉबाय फिरे जाय, ओरे ओरे ओ अभागा
(यदि सब फ़िर जाएँ, अरे अरे ओ अभागा
if everyone turns away, O you unlucky one)

যদি গহন পথে যাবার কালে কেউ ফিরে না চায়—
Jodi gôhon pôthe jabar kale keu fire na chae—
जोदी गॉहोन पॉथे जबॉर काले केउ फिरे ना चाए (2)
(यदि गहन पथ में तेरे साथ कोई फिरना न चाहे 
If they turn away, and desert you when crossing the wilderness)

তবে পথের কাঁটা
Tôbe pôther kãţa
तॉबे पॉथेर काँटा
(तब पथ के कांटे
then the thorns on your path)

ও তুই রক্তমাখা চরণতলে একলা দলো রে॥
O tui rôktomakha chôrontôle êkla dôlo re.
ओ तूई रॉक्तोमाखा चॉरोनतॉले एख्ला डॉलो रे (2)
(ओ तू रक्त सने चरण तले दे के अकेले डोल रे
O you trample them under your feet and travel alone with your blood-soaked feet)

যদি তোর ডাক শুনে কেউ না আসে তবে একলা চলো রে।
Jodi tor đak shune keu na ashe tôbe êkla chôlo re,
जोदी तोर डाक शुने केउ ना आशे तॉबे एख्ला चॉलो रे
(यदि तोरी डाक सुनके कोई ना आए तब अकेले चलो रे
If they answer not to your call walk alone)

যদি আলো না ধরে, ওরে ওরে ও অভাগা,
Jodi alo na dhôre, ore ore o ôbhaga,
जोदी आलो ना धॉरे, ओरे ओरे ओ अभागा
(यदि दिया न जलाये, अरे अरे ओ अभागा
If they do not hold up the light, O you unlucky one)

যদি ঝড়-বাদলে আঁধার রাতে দুয়ার দেয় ঘরে—
Jodi jhôŗ-badole ãdhar rate duar dêe ghôre—
जोदी झॉड़-बादोले आधार राते दुआर दऐई घॉरे (2)
(यदि घोर बादल में आधी रात में रौशनी दूर हो घर की
When its the middle of the night with stormy winds and clouds, and the light of your house is far)

তবে বজ্রানলে 
Tôbe bojranôle
तॉबे बोज्रनॉले
(तब दुःख की वज्र ज्योति से
then with the thunder flame of pain)

আপন বুকের পাঁজর জ্বালিয়ে নিয়ে একলা জ্বলো রে॥
Apon buker pãjor jalie nie êkla jôlo re.
आपोन बुकेर पाजोर जालीये नीये एख्ला जॉलो रे (2)
(अपने मन में ज्योत जला के अकेले जलो रे
ignite your own heart and let it burn alone)

যদি তোর ডাক শুনে কেউ না আসে তবে একলা চলো রে।
Jodi tor đak shune keu na ashe tôbe êkla chôlo re,
जोदी तोर डाक शुने केउ ना आशे तॉबे एख्ला चॉलो रे
(यदि तोरी डाक सुनके कोई ना आए तब अकेले चलो रे
If they answer not to your call walk alone)

The mouth-organ piece with the soul of the song well preserved:

[youtube tuP7ai0DFuc 600]

Making ourselves useful to others as we live

In Day 36 of his blog, Amitabh Bachchan acknowledged a poem written by the grandfather (Shri Krishna Mittra) of one of the 494 commentators on his previous day entry (where Amitabh had described the person his father, the well-known poet, Mr Harivanshrai Bachchan was).

The poem by Shree Krishna Mitra is indeed beautiful. I believe it brings forth the purpose of our lives and can serve as an inspiration, as it was to his granddaughter Vibhuti.

श्रीकृष्ण मित्रा द्वारा लिखी गई कविता
(उनकी पोती ‘vibhuti love’ ने अमिताभ बच्चन के Day 35 ब्लॉग के comments में post किया)

आँख जिनकी नहीं उनकी आंखें बनो aankh jinki nahin unki aankhein bano (those who don’t have eyes, become their eyes)
पंख बिन कुछ परिंदों की पंखें बनो pankh bin kuch parindo ki pankh bano (become wings of those birds who are without wings)
जिनको चलने में होती हैं कठिनाईयाँ jinko chalne mein hoti hai kathinaayeian (those who have difficulty walking)
बन सको तो बनो उनकी परछाईयाँ ban sako to bano unki parchaiyaan (if you can, become their shadows)
जिनके बाजू को थोड़ा सा बल चाहिए jinke bazoo ko thoda sa bal chahiye
(those whose arm requires a little strength)
या जिन्हें ज़िंदगी में पहल चाहिए ya jinhein zindagi mein pehal chahiye (or those who need to get ahead in life)
उनके हर काम में तुम सहारे बनो unke har kaam mein tum sahaare bano (become their support in whatever they do)
रौशनी के लिए चाँद तारे बनो roushni ke liye chaand taare bano (to spread the light, become the moon and the stars) 

In the same vein, I’m reminded of the lines of the song of a Hindi movie I watched years ago on Doordarshan as a kid…(which incidentally I listened today after all these years. I remember Ashok Kumar singing to a group of kids.

[youtube 0vcZxELBvZ0 600]

Somewhere, I’ve been affected by the beautiful lines. Looks like its from the movie ‘Anurodh’ and sung by Manna Dey (the 89-year old legend lives in Bengaluru) and chorus. The lyrics (by Anand Bakshi) speak for themselves:

तुम बेसहारा हो तो किसी का सहारा बनो (२) tum besahaara ho to kisi ka sahaara bano (2) (if you are helpless, become somebody’s support)
तुमको अपने आप ही सहारा मिल जायेगा tumko apne aap hi sahaara mil jaayega (you will automatically get help and support)
कश्ती कोई डूबती पहुँचा दो किनारे पे kashti koi doobti pahunch do kinaare pe (take a drowning boat to the shore)
तुमको अपने आप ही किनारा मिल जायेगा tumko apne aap hi kinaara mil jaayega (you will automatically find the shore)
तुम बेसहारा हो तो किसी का सहारा बनो tum besahaara ho to kisi ka sahaara bano (if you are helpless, become somebody’s support)
तुम बेसहारा हो तो tum besahaara ho to (if you are helpless…)

हंस कर ज़िंदा रहना पड़ता है hans kar zinda rehna padta hai (we have to smile and live/survive)
अपना दुःख ख़ुद सहना पड़ता है apna dukh khud sehna padta hai (we have to bear our pain/difficulties ourselves)
रस्ता चाहे कितना लंबा हो rastaa chahe kinta lamba ho (howsoever long the path might be)
दरिया को तो बहना पड़ता है dariya ko to behna padta hai (the stream has to keep flowing)

हो ho
तुम हो एक अकेले तो tum ho ek akele to (if you are all alone)
रुक मत जाओ चल निकलो ruk mat jaao chal niklo (don’t stop, come on, get up)
रस्ते में कोई साथी तुम्हारा मिल जायेगा raste mein koi saathi tumhara mil jaayega (along the way, you’ll meet some friend/companion)
तुम बेसहारा हो तो किसी का सहारा बनो tum besahaara ho to kisi ka sahaara bano (if you are helpless, become somebody’s support)
तुम बेसहारा हो तो tum besahaara ho to (if you are helpless…)

ला ल ल ल ला (२) laa la la la laa (2)
ल ल ला (२) ला la la laa (2) laa
ल ला (३) la laa (3)

जीवन तो एक जैसा होता है jeewan to ek jaisa hota hai (life is the same)
कोई हँसता कोई रोता है koi hansta koi rota hai (someone laughs/smiles someone cries)
सब्र से जीना आसान होता है sabra se jeena aasaan hota hai (to live with patience/perseverence is easier)
फिक्र से जीना मुश्किल होता है fikra se jeena mushkil hota hai (to live with worry is difficult)

हो ho
थोड़े फूल और कांटे हैं thode phool aur kaante hain (there are a few flowers and a few thorns)
जो तकदीर ने बांटे हैं jo takdeer ne baante hain (that destiny has distrubuted)
हमको इनमें से हिस्सा हमारा मिल जायेगा humko inmein se hissa hamaara mil jaayega (we will get our share from these)
तुम बेसहारा हो तो किसी का सहारा बनो tum besahaara ho to kisi ka sahaara bano (if you are helpless, become somebody’s support)
तुम बेसहारा हो तो tum besaaraa ho to (if you are helpless…)

The sad version has an additional paragraph:

ना बस्ती में ना वीरानों में na basti mein na veeranon mein (not in the village, not in the wilderness)
ना खेतों में न खलियानों में na kheton mein na khaliyaanon mein (not in the fields)
ना मिलता है प्यार बजारों में na milta hai pyar bazaaron mein (neither can you find love in the markets)
न बिकता हैं चैन दुकानों में na bikta hai chain dukanon mein (nor is peace of mind sold in shops)
ढूँढ रहे हो तुम जिसको dhoond rahe ho tum jisko (the one you’re looking for)
उसको बाहर मत ढूंढो usko baahar mat dhoondo (don’t search outside)
मन के अन्दर ढूंढो प्रीतम प्यारा मिल जायेगा man ke andar dhoondo preetam pyara mil jaayega (search within your mind, you’ll find your dearmost lover)
तुम बेसहारा हो तो किसी का सहारा बनो tum besahaara ho to kisi ka sahaara bano (if you are helpless, become somebody’s support)
तुम बेसहारा हो तो tum besahaara ho to (if you are helpless…)

My poem ‘A passage to dreams‘ has similar sentiment.