Wednesday, March 19, 2008
(Dialogue with Yaksha)
Prof Dr Colonel ( Retired) K Prabhakar Rao
In Hindu mythology Yaksha is a celestial and divine person with divinity. In Mahabharatha epic there is an instant when Dharma raja the eldest Pandava prince and his brothers were deprived of their kingdom by the deceit of Duryodhana the Kaurava Prince. In the forests Pandava princes spent nearly 12 years and were leading a life of courage and discipline. Once a Brahmana came to the princes and said that his Arani ( The pair of wooden blocks to generate fire by friction) were entangled in the deer’s horns and the deer has run away in to the forest. He cried that he would not be in a position to generate fire for his daily rituals. The Pandava princes set out to catch hold of the deer as it was the duty of Kshatriya to protect and help hmanas.Although they searched at great length there was no trace of the animal and they were highly thirsty. Then Dharam raja told Nakula to climb a tree and search for water from a distance. Nakula obliged and having seen some water plants and cranes at a distance he told that they can expect wate at some distance. He took his quiver and walked away to fetch water for his thirsty brothers. He reached the pool and was about to drink when a voice said that the pool belonged to him and some questions have top be answered to satisfy him Nakula rejected the advice and drank water and immediately fell dead. Dhramaraja waited for long and sent Sahadeva to search Nakula and he too fell at the pool when he drank water. Arjuna and Bheema too met the same fate one after the other when sent and at last Dhramaraja moved to the pool and was much grieved at the site. The Yaksha commanded that his questions have to be answered and the Prince agreed. The dialogue is as under:
Q1.What makes sun shine every day?
A. The power of Brahman (This is not to be considered as Brahmans)
Q2. What rescues man in danger
A.Courage is mans salvation in danger
Q3.By study of which science man becomes wise?
A.By association with great in wisdom that he gets wisdom
Q4.What is more nobly sustaining than earth
A. The mother who brings up her children is nobler and more sustaining than earth
Q5.What is higher then sky?
Q6. What is more blighted than withered straw?
A.A sorrow stricken heart
Q7.What befriends a traveler?
Q8.Who is friend of one who stays at home?
Q9.Who accompanies a man in death?
Q10. Which is the biggest vessel?
A. Earth that contains every thing in it.
Q11.What is happiness?
A.It is the result of good conduct
Q12.What is that abandoning by which he is loved by al?
Q13. What is that loss that yields joy and not sorrow?
Q14. What is that by giving up which man becomes rich
Q15.What makes one a real Brahmana? Is it by birth, good conduct or learn. Reply decisively?
A.Good conduct alone makes a man Brahmana
Q16.What is the greatest wonder in the world
A.Every day man sees creatures die. Yet those who live seek to live for ever.
Yudhishtara ( Dharmaraja) Answered all correctly and the Yaksha much pleased came out and said that he can chose any one of his brothers who would be revived. Pandava eldest Prince said that his brother Nakula be brought to life. The Yaksha was much pleased and demanded why he chose Nakula while other brothers such Arjuna and Bheema were
Very great warriors. Dhramaraja said Nakula and Sahdeva were the sons of queen Madri his step mother. He was alive being the son of Kunti and it was therefore proper to demand the life of Madri’s son. The Yaksha who was none other than the God of death was very greatly pleased and revived all the dear princes. He blessed the Princes that they would be able to overcome all hardships and would destroy all their enemies and regain the lost kingdom. The Yaksha then disappeared.
We see that the answers given by the illustrious prince were convincing and Mahabharatha epic centers around the correct conduct of Dahrmaraja who displayed no anger, intolerance and ego and was the embodiment of truth. Hinduism sustains on such Characters of yore..
Dr K Prabhakar Rao
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Prof Dr Colonel (Retired) K Prabhakar Rao
Intolerance towards others is the fundamental short coming of a human being in particular because he has been bestowed with power of reasoning. If wants he can have control over himself and reason out. This of course lacks in other species. A bitch that suckles its ten or twelve Pups drives away another extra pup arriving from some where. Some birds drive out other birds trying to nest on the same tree. A dominant male ape does not allow other male ape to dominate the troop. It is by instinct. Yet we do come across some instances when mother cat suckles a pup and a bitch suckling tiger cubs. Such photographs were flashed in newspapers many times. These are exceptions. By and large animals tolerate others as long as they don’t interfere with them. But Humans are not so. They interfere with others even if other person keeps away. This is a typical trait. This is probably because human being is a social animal. Some characters consider all others as enemies and are at fault trying to exploit and interfering with their religion and tradition and way of life and hence need to be punished. At times even to be killed. They feel that all others are spreading lies except himself. Terrorists world wide are suffering from this disease. This word disease is used to indicate that it is a mental disorder causing intolerance. This is because of self imposed greatness and limitation to see the world and others with open eyes and with enlightened mind. Such men disturb themselves and are in great mental stress spoiling their own health and day by day inch towards the grave. Stress causes rise of blood pressure, heart attacks, ulcers, mental disorders, and Diabetes and skin ailments. This is very much proved medically in all countries.
The question is that an average person in the world could suffer with this ailment of intolerance. But we also come across instances when wise men too loose their cool and behave abnormally. Their are any number of examples to high lights this aspect irrespective of the religions and intellectual elevation. Anger is fundamentally arises out of in toleration. With this, stability and wisdom degrades at least at that moment. One of the most distinguished sage who was greatly egoistic and fumed with anger at slightest chance was Doorvasa. Another was Brighu Vishwamitras anger and intolerance is well known in Hindu world. Although these men achieved great accomplishments suffered from intolerance and others greatly suffered at their hands. Even Balarama, krishnas bother suffered from anger and intolerance.
On the day of final battle between Duryodhana and Bheema Balarama returned from pilgrimage. In fact Balarama was not willing t take sides between Pandavas and Kauravas. Duryodhana was his most liked pupil in the warfare using maces and wrestling and he had to support him while Krishna was on Pandavas. Thus there would have been a clash between the divine brothers. Balarama can not even imagine such clash and decided to be away from the war. They were watching the duel and Krishna was worried because the battle was equal and Duryodhana enjoyed a boon from his mother that he will not be wounded by any weapon if it strikes his body any where. However there was a vulnerable spot of Thighs on his body. Earlier Bheema took a vow in Kaurava court that he would avenge the insult to Pandava queen by breaking his thighs by his mace.
It is worthwhile recalling the reason for the vow of Bheema. After Dhramaraja was defeated in a game of dice by Duryodhana by deception Dharamaraja lost complte territories and even his brothers, himself and his wife. Duryodhana claimed that they were his slaves and Draupadi was just a servant and could be dishonored to take revenge on Pandavas and Draupadi. He atonce ordered his brother Duhssasana to drag Darupadi from the palace and disrobe her in the court in front of every one. When she was brought to court dragging by hair, Duryodhna gave her gesture to her asking her to sit on his thigh. This was very outrageous and at once Bheema got up and looking at the sky and raising his mace took a vow that he would break Duryodhans thighs by his mace on the battle field and avengeDraupadi. Every one was awe struck and Duryodhana laughed off. He happily accepted the order and started pulling out her clothes and she helplessly prayed to Krishna. A miracle occurred. The clothes were endless and Duhssasan fell down tired. Draupadis honor was saved.
When Bheema was looking at Krishna with a question mark on his face, during the duel Krishna gave a sign to him clapping on the thigh. Bheema at once remembered his vow and with great vigor cornered the opponent and smashed the thighs of Duryodhana and he crashed like an elephant mortally wounded. Bheema put his foot on Duryodhans head and pressed and sneered at him. Such were the levels of intolerance of wise men, knowledgeable in Vedas and scriptures. They were victims of anger. Balarama having seen this fight at once shouted at Bheema that he exceeded the rules of mace duel in which one should not hit below the naval. He took up his divine weapon Plough and wanted to kill Bheema. Krishna interfered and explained the heinous insults heaped on Pandava and Draupadi and said that Bheema only acted as per his vow. Balarama cooled and went away dejected. Thus there are ample instances in the epics. In fact Ramayana and Mahbharatha were victories of virtue over hate and anger.
1. Acharya C Rajagopalachari, Mahabharatha, Bharateeya Vidy Bhavan, Bombay, India, 1987, PP 92, 287, 291
DR K PrabhakarRao
Saturday, March 15, 2008
AT AN AIRPORT
Prof Dr Colonel ( Retired) K Prabhakar Rao
In India going to see off relatives at air port is considered as a great style.There is one guy travelling and there are dozens to see him off. This is more so when people go to Middle Esat and Dubai and emirates and on Hajj. The air port is crammed up. To control the crowd the governmnet has increased the rate of ticket and parking fees. Still there is no change. When a political leader is arriving or departing chas is so great that every one suffers. This is typical to India...
One upon a time I went to an air port
To see off a friend with whom I had no much rapport
At the entrance I saw a fleet of cars
While some burly men came right from the bras
The men were clad in spotless pyjamas and slacks
Some were also holding big gift packs
Few were sporting gold chains around their necks
And all wanted to reach the aero plane’s decks
They were seeing off a street bully and a hero
Who was a mere thug and mighty zero
The guy was drowned in a maze of garlands
I leant him to be a shepherd from highlands
All these guys blocked the entrance gate
While others cursed their fate
Then I saw a bunch of police men
Rushing to salute a recluse senior man
I bought a ticket to enter the waiting hall
Wanted to make home a telephone call
The phone was silent and dead
Through the window a cow laughed chewing cud
A pack of guys were garlanding a guy
Most of them did not know why
Kids were yelling in high pitch
And at entrance a dog was chasing a bitch
Then I moved to have a cup of tea
The guy at counter was in looting spree
A packet of chips he sold for rupees hundred and ten
I wanted to run away and sleep in my den
I saw off my friend at the gate
And left him there to his fate
The plane soared high into the sky
And as a fool I waived my hand high
Airport is a place where people are fleeced
And official/s palms can be easily greased
People take it as a matter of pride
That they at air port were peeled off their hide
Dr K Prabhakar Rao
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Prof Dr Colonel (Retired) K Prabhakar Rao
I once went to a bus station
After purchasing a bag of rations
There I saw a crowd of men
While a guy was carrying a country hen
I went to the enquiry window
Behind me was standing an aged widow
A doping guy was sitting in a chair
To reply the sleeping guy had no flair
Then I went to a coffee shop
Where milk was was boiled non stop
The guy in the shop was in looting spree
With no one to check him and he was free
Urchins were sleeping in the chair
I told a guy it was not very fair
The guy gave me a dirtiest look
As if he would kill me and also cook
A bus came in as if it was a race
Waiting men in queue jumped out in one pace
The driver gave me dirty smile
Some thought they lost life for a while
The driver and conductor went for tea
Passengers were running as a busy bee
The bus however displayed no name plate
However fares displayed were of high rate
I sat in the bus to reach my place
At last it moved and I had some solace
Suddenly there was a blast of loud song
I felt as if my head was hit with a steel tong
Some cranky song was played at full blast
My tempers rose high as a ship mast
A guy has hidden a chicken in a bag
And it jumped out of the bag with a bang
The hen flew around here and there
There appeared in the bus a big fan fare
Finally the hen was caught by the guy
Who was chided for bringing it in sly
The conductor came to me for fare
I had no change and he gave a fearful stare
He wrote the balance behind the ticket and gave a smile
And I was sure to forget and reconciled for a while
The bus at last reached my place
I went away in hurry leaving no trace
The balance money was lost as usual
And it was a thing of the past and casual
Indian systems are really weird
Where Swamis and Gurus grow long beard
None can set right the poor nation
Although every guy runs after western fashion
Dr K Prabhakar Rao
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Prof Dr Colonel (Retired) K Prabhakar Rao
Army is famous for regimental traditions. The life at officers is peculiar to itself and most of the officers take pride in these traditions, at least outwardly. After spending more than two decades in service and burning the blood and tissues, I called it a day and hung my uniform to a great relief of my remaining life; indeed to say the truth. While in service, I attended many dinner night functions at various officers’ messes. In all these parties there was lot of mixing of seniors and juniors apart from homely atmosphere. In all these parties at the end, the guy usually high up with drinks and being dined out was bodily lifted up in a chair by the fellow officers singing “He is a jolly good fellow… so say all of us”. Then he was dumped out of the gate and he had to tell a dirty joke. Of course, ladies did not join this and stayed away. They had their own.
I used to wonder why and how this tradition started and what it really meant. In some units special chairs with extended poles were kept in the officers messes to dine out senior officers. I scratched my head severely several times to extract some answer for this vexing question. But to of no avail. I was at loss to loose some of my hair on my head that already has receding hair line. I actually wanted to enquire from senior guys who retired. But I felt small and thought that they would laugh and make joke out of me.
One day I happened to visit Rajendra Sinhji Institute (RSI) at Secunderabad and there I met a very aged and retired colonel who was gulping chilled beer. I said “Hello” and paid compliments. I introduced my self to him and slowly got into conversation with him. I learnt that he was miles senior to me and retired from an Infantry regiment nearly thirty years ago. He took active part in World WarII in Burma and Middle East. He proudly claimed that he shook hands with Field Marshal Montgomery of allied forces. I really envied him and with great difficulty and greatest humility put forward my doubt about dining out of the guys especially chair’s aspect. The old colonel smiled and patted me affectionately. I never felt so homely in the last fifty years except with my mother. I was of course scared of my dad even when I retired from Army. The old man went on to narrate a story occasionally gulping chilled beer.
It appears that once up on a time there was a military regiment stationed at MHOW that was the command Head Quarters during the War of 1857.It was responsible to fight Rani of Jhansi during the war. The regiment was commanded by a British Colonel. After a long stint he was posted to another station that was far away. The Colonel was very much upset as he was highly attached to the regiment. More over the regiment had a great history as one that laid seize to the fort at Jhansi in 1857. The regiment was presented colors by Queen Victoria after the war. The guy scuttled all moves for his transfer and finally he had to go. His second in command was to be promoted in his place. Probably the colonel would have taken it easy had some other Colonel was posted there instead of promoting his deputy. Any how he could not do any thing. On the day of handing over the colonel reported sick. But he was brought to the office in an ambulance and stretcher and was made to sign the handing over notes. There was also a talk that Deputy General Officer Commanding (DY GOC) thrust his heavy 0.455 Browning Semi automatic service Pistol at colonel’s temple and made him sign. The senior officer was present in the office to ensure that colonel would not play tricks and everything goes smoothly.
In the evening the colonel was invited to a dining out party at the officer’s mess where a regimental band was present. The Colonel under great grief attended the dinner. He was morose and did not touch food. Every one completed dinned and were yawning. It was midnight. Ladies were half asleep in the sofas while some were yawning showing all their teeth. At last the officers had to tell the colonel that it was already too late and the function had to be wound up. All the officers had to attend Physical Training parade in the morning. When there was no reaction from the guy and was not getting up from the chair, the officers forcibly lifted him up along with the chair. They carried him away shouting, “He was a horrible fellow… So say all of us…” and was dumped at the gate. He was forcibly put in a Austin 14 staff car. The car refused to start in cold winter. It was pushed and started and some officers went with him to his house. The entire thing was a big joke and the vexed up officers under influence of liquor abused him in filthiest language once he left the gate. They were greatly relieved.
The old colonel narrated the story and said that over the years the incident got converted into a tradition of seeing off the outgoing officer at a dining out party in the officer’s mess. At the gate the officer had to tell a filthy joke reminiscent of vulgar abuses showered on the Colonel in the past many years ago. I was very much convinced with the story narrated by the old colonel and felt happy that at last my head was cleared off the doubt that harbored for many years. As it is my head is always full of doubts. I thanked the senior colonel profusely, bowed to him, took his blessing and left the club. I had a very peaceful sleep that night and in the dream I found myself gaily shouting, “He is a jolly god fellow….” I woke up with a jerk when my wife gave me a jolt. She was yelling it was high time I should stop dreaming and shouting while asleep. She was cursing herself for marrying me. Three cheers to chair lifters, slogan shouters, and the cranky traditions…
Dr K Prabhakar Rao
THE AGONY OF AWARDS
Prof Dr Colonel (Retired) K Prabhakar Rao
The other day, I saw a news paper and found a long list of awards on the occasion of the Republic day. My head reeled after seeing the list of awardees who were supposed to have excelled in their fields some way or other. I was aghast to see that some commercial artists who only performed for coppers and consideration throughout their lives were bestowed with highest civilian award like Bharat Ratna.There were serious allegations against some that youngsters were in fact snubbed by the artist and the artist ensured they could not come up. It is a lifes truth that under a large Banyan tree no other tree would survive. They are at same level as Patel, Ambedkar, Kalam and few more. After noticing that the two stalwarts from two different communities, the helpless ness of the government was very clear. In fact the entire process of these awards is engulfed in a mist of dubious distinction. Some time ago, the highest award was bestowed up on Patel and Netaji Bose because it was to be given to some other guy to appease a section of Indian community. It was very much revealing to note that Netaji’s German daughter politely refused to accept the award. Subhas was no way less than the father of the nation. That is exactly most of the Indians feel about Netaji although some of the previous governments in Indian underplayed him in all aspects. In one of my discussions with a relative years ago, I was shocked to listen when he said Netaji was a terrorist. I was highly upset and felt very sorry for him and prayed to God to give him some wisdom. However there was a great difference of age between him and me. I do not blame him because the history produced in Indian bookshops portrayed Netaji that way. In some of the history books Netaji is not even mentioned. He also ran in freedom movement as per these books.
The fact is that the national award has become the joke of the millennium and the government uses it to appease some communities and gain vote bank in their nefarious games in politics. Why not give these awards to characters such as Lord Hanuman, Lord Buddha, Krishna, Rama, Mahavira, Balarama, Vamana, Rani Laxmi bai, Chinnamma, Eknath, Tukaram, Annamayya, Tyagaraja, Vemana, Tulsidas, Kattabomman, Bhagat singh, Mangal Singh( Lately glorified) Velu Tambi, Prithwiraj chauhan, Asoka, Tilak, Rana Pratap, Rana Sangram, Akbar ( Some disagree), and Porus who were the real sons of the soil. These men and women were far great personalities than the present pseudo lot who played more politics and did less work. It is time some real distinction is shown in this field. The episode of Singer Hemant Kumar is revealing. The great singer and director of music was awarded Padma Sri, the lowest in the order. The singer promptly and politely refused. He deserved better award. There is no doubt that many politics are played in the entire game of award distribution. Many great men and women are sidelined and they go into oblivion. The interview of Seshendra Sharma in a news paper is highly revealing. It is a great tragedy that the government completely forgot the greatest and legendary KL Saigal in the field of music.
Now we come to army peacetime awards. One finds that Awards such as Ati Vishitha Seva Medal (AVSM) and Param Vishitha Seva Medal (PVSM) are awarded to officers of the rank of major General and Lt Generals as a matter of routine. Why not? They deserve these because they have managed to survive in uniform all these years without getting into trouble and played safe. The second aspect is more important for bagging the awards. Job in army is a great balancing act, you know. You may slip down from the rope any time. In fact every soldier in the country is devoted. Otherwise the nation would have been in others hands by this time. But only few selected get recognition. These guys smile through the color photographs and grin in the corps journals from time to time while those who really worked and slogged in uniform burn their spleens unsung and unheard. They were left in lurch. If one talks to those who hung their uniforms years ago, tales of service would be out. Soldiers gracefully fade out and are forgotten. In services there is a rat race for these awards. Skeletons would roll out if the subject is touched. In this context
I recollect the story of 17 th century while Vijaynagar empire was fading out. During the reign of Sri Krishnadeva Raya the most illustrious monarch to rule south India, arts, literature, dance, music, poetry and drama were at their zenith and were greatly patronized by the emperor who was great scholar by himself. Artists and poets with smaller distinction were also given awards and recognition. Such was the love of the king for his subjects. After the death of this illustrious king subsequent rulers found it difficult to follow the practice. Kingdom suffered due to a war with Muslim armies of Deccani Sultans at Tallikota and other places. The financial position of the rulers dwindled. One of the rulers Chikkaraya faced serious problem as citizens neglected their basic duties and profession and were busy writing some thing or other to get favors from the State. One day the king and the prime minister went out in disguise to feel the pulse of the people.. One the way they found the royal barber walking in haste with something tucked under his arm. He did not recognize the king and the minister. The king asked him what he was carrying and the barber promptly replied that he wrote a book and that he was going to the court to read it and get some award from the ruler. The king asked him what was the book about and the barber replied, “Katti Rai Samvadam.” Meaning the dialogue between the barber’s stone and the barber’s knife. The king after hearing he felt giddy and was about to fall when the minister comforted him and took him to royal palace. He was soon revived in the company of fat concubines and queens. The king fumed fretted the whole night. Next day after consulting the minister issued a decree that whoever wrote a book of prose, poetry, drama and dance would be given hundred lashes in public after disrobing him or her and this immediately put an end to this vexed practice of writing something and seeking awards. Great was Chikkaraya that he found a ingenious way for putting the practice to an end. That is the difference. In recent times there was a great lobbying for the grant of Bharat Ratna by various leaders in political field. There were any names in the field such as Atul Bihari Bajpai, Kanshiram, Karunanaidhi (Who called SriRama a drunkard), Mulayam Singh Yadav and many more. Thank god none got it. How do we solve the problem in India? It is democracy now. Chikkaraya was a king. We have to wait till another Chikkaraya emerges out. Till then Indians have to suffer the agony of these awards and yearly joke.
Crazy Indians are after the awards
Creepy they behave like the lizards
Funny guys are found in the awards list
Entire thing is covered in a dusty mist
Meritorious guys are dumped in a drain
While shady souls are found to brightly grin
Guys in uniform do the balancing act
Who mange the wards that is a life’s fact
Dr K PRabhakar Rao