The stone cold truth


30-10-october-20th-2013

Although the gargoyle was a devoted servant of The White Witch, he knew better than to deliver any bad news to her. Therefore, when he had to inform her of Edward – The Son of Adam’s escape, he hid behind the shield.

Little did he know that it would not protect him from the witch’s curse.

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This post has been inspired by the character of The White Witch in the book, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, the first one in the Narnia series by CS Lewis. This character was well known for her tendency to turn people and animals into stone whenever things didn’t quite go her way.

This post has been written for Alastair’s Photo Fiction : October 20th 2013 where the post had to be based on the picture at the top of the post.

Bhakti rasa – Krishna and the Viswaroopa


Image courtesy : devdutt.com
Image courtesy : devdutt.com

Read this post about an introduction to the Rasas.

Read this post for the shringara rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Ganga and her love

Read this post for the hasya rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Draupadi and her laughter

Read this post for the raudra rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Amba and her anger

Read this post for the karunya  rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Chitrasena and Duryodhana

Read this post for the bibhatsa rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – The effect of Vyasa on Ambika and Ambalika

Read this post for the bhayanaka rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Hidimba and his hideous Asura form

Read this post for the santha rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Yudhisthira and his attempts for peace

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At the beginning of the Kurukshetra war, faced with the dilemma of the inevitability of raising arms and spilling the blood of his relative, cousins and kinsmen, Arjuna is filled with despair and is completely despondent at the helplessness of his situation. So much so, that he even neglects his duty as a Kshatriya warrior and drops his weapons in his chariot and steadfastly refuses to pick them up and prepare for the war.

At this juncture, Krishna counsels Arjuna about his duties as a warrior and a Kshatriya prince, elaborating on a variety of philosophical concepts. To convince Arjuna of his words, Krishna also reveals his true divine form, his Viswaroopa to him. Arjuna experiences the vision of the Viswaroopa with divine vision endowed to him by Krishna.

Some descriptions of the Viswaroopa are thus – He has innumerable forms, eyes, faces, mouths and arms. All creatures of the universe are part of Him. He is the infinite universe, without a beginning or an end. He contains peaceful as well as wrathful forms.

Another description of the Viswaroopa goes thus – In this form, Krishna no longer looks familiar. He is neither cowherd nor charioteer.  He is a magnificent being with countless legs and countless arms and countless heads, breathing fire, containing within himself all the things that exist – all the worlds, all the animate beings and inanimate objects. It is an awe inspiring sight. Containing everything that Arjuna imagined and also everything that was beyond Arjuna’s imagination.

Despite multiple descriptions of the Viswaroopa, one thing is for certain, Arjuna was so dazzled by the brilliance and the magnificence of this particular form of Krishna that all his doubts, fears and hesitation was immediately put to rest and he picked up his weapons and prepared for combat. The Viswaroopa convinced him that performance of one’s duty was of paramount importance. Arjuna was so overcome with faith, devotion and confidence in Krishna that all his doubts were assuaged immediately.

Thus, the episode with the Viswaroopa is a clear allusion to the bhakti rasa in the Mahabharata.

Santha rasa – Yudhisthira and his attempts for peace


Image courtesy: wikipedia
Image courtesy: wikipedia

Read this post about an introduction to the Rasas.

Read this post for the shringara rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Ganga and her love

Read this post for the hasya rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Draupadi and her laughter

Read this post for the raudra rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Amba and her anger

Read this post for the karunya  rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Chitrasena and Duryodhana

Read this post for the bibhatsa rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – The effect of Vyasa on Ambika and Ambalika

Read this post for the bhayanaka rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Hidimba and his hideous Asura form

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After the Pandava brothers completed their exile of 12 yrs and the 13th year in disguise evading all attempts by the Kauravas in trying to find out where they were during this year, they came out of exile and temporarily settled down in Upalavya. From there Yudhisthira send out emissaries to summon all his friends, relatives and brethren, to which almost all responded and arrived.

Addressing the gathering, Krishna spoke and reminded the people present as to how Duryodhana and Shakuni had cheated Yudhisthira at the game of dice and sent the Pandava brothers to exile for the past 13 yrs. He went on to state that Yudhisthira did not want to spill the blood of his cousins and wanted only what was rightfully his share of the kingdom. Despite the fact that the Kauravas had treated them wrongly and had cheated them out of their rights, the Pandavas were magnanimous to treat their cousins with ‘dharma’ and did not hold any grudges against them. He then went on to state that it was the intention of Yudhisthira to send an envoy of peace to the Kauravas to ask for their rightful share of the kingdom.

However, despite multiple attempts by the Pandavas to find a peaceful solution to the issue, Duryodhana refused to budge from his position. He steadfastly refused to recognize the right of the Pandavas to the kingdom and even went to the extent of declaring in open court that the Pandavas will not receive a needle-point of territory from him. Even after this declaration, Yudhisthira maintained his calm despite protests from his own brothers, kinsmen and other friends, and sent Krishna as an envoy of peace to convince Duryodhana of the mistake of his actions.

Thus, despite being cheated by the Kauravas out of his share of the kingdom, despite the fact that Duryodhana and his brothers had humiliated him and his brothers, despite the fact that they had tried to disrobe his wife in open court, Yudhisthira maintained his efforts to find a peaceful solution to this issue. This is a classic example of the santha rasa being referred to in the Mahabharata.

Maitreyi explains the origins of Srimad Bhagavatham


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Google images search

Rishi Sanatkumara accompanied by other Rishis once went to the underground world called Patala and approached Sankarshana to know more about Vasudeva the superior being. The rishis prostrated and praised hymns in praise of Sankarshana who imparted the Bhagavata to Rishi Sanatkumara. Rishi Sanatkumara taught it to Sage Maitreyi’s guru Sage Parasara who then taught it to Sage Maitreyi.

Brahma’s birth

At the end of a Yuga the whole universe plunges into the cosmic waters, which is called Pralaya. After Maha Vishnu spends a thousand chaturyugas in the cosmic waters in a slumber of self-awareness he gets up and views the universe in latent condition in Himself. With his power he creates a form of a lotus bud with its root in Him and enters into the lotus bud.

Then later the creator Brahma appeared in the Lotus, he is called self-born and an embodiment of Vedas. Brahma, after getting up did not understand anything about himself or the Lotus. Brahma was wondering, “Who am I? How has this Lotus sprung up from these water? What is the origin of this Lotus?

Thinking thus he tried to find the stalk of the Lotus but to no avail. After searching for a long time he abandoned his quest and sat in a meditative absorptional state for around a hundred years. The truth of the Lord as the indwelling spirit dawned on Brahma and he praises Maha Vishnu as the indwelling spirit and all-pervading Lord of the universe.

Maha Vishnu understanding that Brahma was lacking confidence in creation told him, “Practice concentration and self-absorption in me and then you will find the worlds within their ideal form with all obstructions removed. When your mind has reached to such a level of concentration that you see only me as penetrating the universe and yourself then you will also see the world and jivas resting in me. When aspirants see me as residing in all beings then they overcome their delusion. You will be able to engage in the creation of countless creatures and never be affected by the work of creation because your mind is always dedicated to Me alone. You have all my blessings and start creating all beings that have become latent in me.

Saying so Maha Vishnu left the place.

Good filter coffee


LuwakCollage

Santhanam Gopalakrishnan Iyer (let’s call him Sandy for short) was proud of his Tamil Iyer heritage. After all his grandfather (too long a name, let’s just call him Thatha) was Director General of Schools in Kerala. His father (another long name, let’s just call him Appa) was an IAS Officer from the 1976 batch and had a long distinguished service. Sandy was no less an achiever. He had completed his Chartered Accountancy when he was 22, his Cost Accounting credentials were proved when he cleared those exams when he was 23, and as if this was not enough he also became a Certified Company Secretary when he was just 25 yrs old.

Sandy was more than convinced that along with the wonderful gene pool which he inherited from his achiever grandparents and parents, the secret to his success was a strict regime that he followed on a daily basis. Getting up at 5 AM, brushing his teeth and completion of his morning ablutions, followed by a cup of hot filter coffee was the secret to his sprightliness in the mornings. Sandy was a worshipper of caffeine in its purest form, the decoction concocted by having the same filtered through a stainless steel coffee filter, and he had to have filter coffee in the mornings, no matter what condition the rest of the world was in. This and the fact that Sandy was a strict vegetarian as was the norm for all TamBrahms also reinforced his belief that filter coffee and vegetarian food were the secret of his success.

By the time he was 30 yrs old, Sandy was a globe-trotter in every sense of the world. His high profile Management Consultancy job took him to extremely offbeat places such as Bosnia, Ethiopia, Liberia and closer home, to the South East Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. And irrespective of whatever else he packed, he ensured that his faithful Salem Stainless Steel coffee filter made all these trips with him. In all the cities he went, he made it a point to taste the best local coffee, buy a couple of hundred grams of the same, and prepare and drink his early morning filter coffee without fail.  He also made it a point only to have strict vegetarian food in all these exotic countries as well.

And as fate would have it, his fortune and fame only increased, which reinforced the faith in his strict morning regime and vegetarianism.

On one of these trips to Indonesia, he happened to come across a coffee which was called Kopi Luwak and based on the recommendation of his local host, he bought some of it. And true to its reputation, the coffee was nothing short of extraordinary. In fact, Sandy liked it so much that he immediately bought a couple of kilos of the same and took it back home. And as if the stars were aligned in his favor, this Indonesian trip gave such a fillip to his already successful career that Sandy was soon ascending the stairs to stardom in his given field. He was made partner in his firm, the youngest person in the firm’s 300 yr history to make partner, he got married to the daughter of one of the country’s biggest automotive component manufacturer’s Board of Directors, his good fortune just went into orbit.

And all this time, he credited it to the wonderful effects of Kopi Luwak which his local host used to regularly parcel to him from Indonesia every two months or so. Sandy became a fanatic of the coffee and loved it so much that he modified his morning regime to include a second coffee after breakfast as well. He also gave equal credit to his strict vegetarian diet as well, for his streak of good luck.

His next assignment in Indonesia was with the Government department for Spices and Cash Crops. And when he reached there, by virtue of his assignment he was invited by one of the biggest producers and plantation owner to his coffee estate where his favorite brand, Kopi Luwak was grown. In the six years that Sandy had started drinking this brand, his fortunes had soared so much that at some levels he felt obliged to the coffee bean itself to make the visit to the plantation.

And when he reached the plantation, he was invited to the processing plant where all his notions about the brand and his strictly vegetarian diet came crashing down on his head.

Kopi Luwak in Indonesian local  dialect meant civet coffee, and these were beans of coffee berries that had been eaten and excreted by the Asian Palm Civet.

All these days Sandy’s fortunes were because he had been drinking animal shit. And that is why ignorance indeed is bliss, he thought to himself.

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All the points in the above post about Kopi Luwak are true. Read this Wikipedia entry to know more about the coffee.

I first heard about this coffee in the movie The Bucket List starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

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This post has been selected as one of Blogadda’s WoW picks of the week.

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