Thursday, November 9, 2017

Shiva For Me

Hello Friends,

In this auspicious Kaarthika Maasam, I would like to contemplate and reflect on Lord Shiva and share some thoughts with you.

Parameshwara

Let me start off with the naming - Lord Shiva is known as Parameshwara. The meaning of Parameshwara is "Supreme or Highest Lord" per Sanskrit.

The name and the meaning certainly tells us that Shiva is considered the "Highest" of the Lords. This practice is from the ancient time as the Sanskrit dictionary that I mentioned is among the early works of the civilization.

Ardhanarishvara

Ardhanarishwara - State of ultimate equilibrium !
Puranas tell us that Lord Shiva gave utmost importance to His wife Parvati. The picture depicted gives an indication of that where the Lord "splits" Himself into two equal parts and the left half of His body shows Parvati. It has also been portrayed as Prakriti (Parvati)  and Purusha (Shiva) co-mingling together.


I would interpret this as the state of perfect equilibrium as the Masculine Transcendent is in combination with Feminine Energy. Adi Sankara tells us the same in Soundarya Lahiri mentioning that Lord Parvati moves Lord Shiva with Her energy. This representation seems to be unique to Shiva in Indian mythology.


Kaamadahana

The legend tells us that Shiva had burnt Manmada (reducing him to ashes) by opening his Third Eye when He was disturbed from His deep penance. Of course we know what happened next with Lord Shiva finally marrying Parvati who had given a boon to Rati Devi that Manmadha will have a body form only visible to Rati.

Forever in Contemplation
Kaama means desire and this can be interpreted that Lord Shiva is above all the desires and He burnt the very source of all desires. This is a very deep statement and philosophical as well - can be reinforced with so many images of Shiva deep in utmost concentration and deep contemplation.

Neelakantha

According to Bhagavata Purana and Vishnu Purana among others, the Devas and Asuras churned the ocean to get Amrutam. During the course of getting to Amrutam, a very dangerous poison called Haala Hala came into being. The Devas and Asuras when faced with no choice rushed to Lord Shiva who swallowed Haala Hala and kept it in His throat earning him the name Neelakantha. He did this as if He let it go to His stomach, the whole universe
( that resides in Him ) would have got burnt.

This instance again can be interpreted as how we should lead our lives. When troubles come to us, we should not drown in sorrow and wallow in self-pity. We would need to be brave, face those challenges head-on and not let those take control of you. Neelakantha is clearly an inspiration for us!

Nandishwara

Nandi and Siva
The images of Nandi and Shiva Lingam are visible in any of the temples we see. Nandi serves as the Mount/Vahana for Shiva and is available at His beck and call. Nandi stays very close to Him so that there is no delay if he gets summoned.

Well, there is again a deep philosophical lesson to be learnt here. Nandi literally means Happiness and it shows that if you are faithful to Him and surrender to Him, all you have is Happiness! We can all learn that quality from Nandi and try to have no gap between us and the Lord! In fact the duality of God and Human only exists if we believe that we don't have divinity inside of us.

There is so much of  "Shiva  Tatva" that I or anyone cannot possibly look at all the aspects and interpret them. These are for now, my very first reflections and I am sure there would be many, many more in the coming future.

Om Namah Sivaya !!!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Demonetization or Demonization - Much Ado About Nothing?

Hello Friends,

It has been a few days since the 1.2 Billion Indian population was caught completely unaware with the Prime Minister introducing what is now termed as "Once in a Life Time Change".

A Political and Economic Risk - will it pay off?

There have been reams written about it along with countless hours of electronic media coverage as well. I am here to add a perspective from a "Every Day Indian" as the other word is taken over by a political party.

To start off, I would like to put out a few questions as they seem to bother me the most.

Frustrating to stand in queue to take your own money!
The Timing - Agreed that there never is the best time to take such decisive and "bold" decisions, the timing is not ideal with Rabi season mid-way through in a nation that still depends on agriculture for the GDP. The hard felt impact on the agricultural laborers, farmers and of course the middle-men (who we love to hate) is bound to put things in perspective when we get to the harvesting time. With the marriage season commencing and with seemingly stupid guidelines (marriages only between certain dates)on who becomes eligible for the 2.5 Lakh withdrawal, the move will impact the average middle class citizen.
  • The Process - With a grand standing and an emotional quotient, the PM appealed to all the citizens to "bear" for 50 days with the promise of fair days ahead! The very first thing that went wrong was the announcement that money will be available from 10th November which did not happen. Each day, the government is forced to react and change rules - 4500 exchange to 2000 with indelible ink and so on. The rules kept changing through out and led to the earlier confused and in some cases frustrated people.
  • The Assumptions - It was a huge Leap of Faith assumption from the people in power that enough accounts were created under "Jan-Dhan" so that the deposits and exchange can be easy which even by looking at RBI's statistics of March were wrong. The assumption that folks who said Yes on an App on Smart Phones is being brandished as a vindication of the move - does the government truly believes that the rural folks who are suffering the most will have logged a response? 
    No one is spending - will it impact the Economy?
  • Accountability - It is widely understood that the PM stands accountable for this huge political and economic gamble, what is not clear yet is the reluctance to do so in the parliament which represents people's elected representatives. This is not the first time that this PM has done that - largely disappointing especially the former PM mocked for not being eloquent stands up and delivers a rousing speech!
  • The Growth - The long term growth seems to be still on track even with the current turmoil. That alone is still making people like me hope for a better future with the troubles that all of us are going through.
  • The "Digital" interpretations - The world around has changed dramatically of late - every sane question directed against the people in power is being branded as Anti-National in the social media. Even in the current scenario, questions asked of the actual process followed are ridiculed and jeered. Can't we agree to disagree instead of indulging in loud rhetoric?
    Higher Denomination - Easy to hoard in future?
  • Why not "200"? - This is perhaps one of the biggest questions in my mind - when the government banned the higher denominations and introduces a new higher denomination, it stumps me! It is a nightmare to exchange a tough gotten 2000 Rs note - why did the government not think of introducing a 200 Rs currency instead?
  • The "Black" Money - The creation of "Black" money is a process and needs to be addressed in a end-end fashion. I am sure that there are concrete steps waiting to be taken which will address the issue (Gold, Property, Benami accounts etc.) as the current exercise subjected inconvenience and hardship to at least 90% of the population and the others listed perhaps will not impact the "White" population. I will hope to see the details on the real black money found during this exercise and the tax earned by the government.
ATM - All Time No Money :)
I will end the note on a positive "note" that the people are waiting to see "Acche Din" and hence are supporting this huge step. However, if those days are not coming soon, the patience on the ground will run out faster!

Here's to wishing to a "Cashless" and "ATM less" economy in the lines that the PM is expecting us to be! Till then, let's stand in the line, hope for the "cash" to show up in the still defunct ATMs and wish for a Digital India to come upon us soon!