Monday, 11 September 2017


On this day one hundred and twenty five years ago a fiery monk by the name of  Swami Vivekananda went to the USA to spread the message of the essential divinity of man across religions as taught by the ancient scriptures of the country and the philosophy of the great saint, Ramkrishna. The story of the people breaking into a deafening applause when they were addressed as brothers and sisters at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago has more than given us a peep into the essential spirit of the sensitivity of the American people, though they have always been depicted as being too materialistic and mundane. There is no denying the fact that they have always been inclined towards a materialistic mode of life but that they are capable of the tender feelings of love and emotions and are willing to reciprocate love was proved in their reciprocal gesture. The first thing that the great Swamiji, fortified with the blessings of his master, did was to reach the hearts of the American people and set the unprecedented yet extremely humane instance of reaching out to people with the message of love.
On the soil of the host country he did not lack the courage to tell them that instead of sending missionaries to his country to enlighten people about religion, it was desirable to stand by the famished people and feed them. He told them about the essential wisdom of the people of the country sustained by the religious teachings of one of the most ancient and enduring religions of the world. He sounded a warning by way of recounting the story of the frog in the well to drive home the message that one should come out of one’s restricted periphery and transcend barriers to discover the essential truth of divinity across all religions. That for the first time was dazzling the image of a monk, loved and nurtured by Lord Ramkrishna, spewing fire to burn away the impurities of ages. He was hailed in different cities and people turned out in large number to listen to him. His erudition, the style of speaking and the depth of his wisdom left a lasting impression on his audiences. He spoke at a great number of religious seminars and places and began to command a following among the educated people of the country, making many preachers from his country and the USA envious. He went ahead with his work to achieve his goal and finally came back to the motherland to do the work the master had assigned to him long ago.
He injected life into the youth of the country and told them to render services to those who are destitute and oppressed. He encouraged his followers and disciples to worship God in man and serve one and all without any precondition and prejudice. One hundred and twenty five years have passed since then but we have not been able to assimilate the essence of his teaching, the core of humanity with potential for elevation to divinity, the one of unalloyed love for one another. We tend to be overassertive, belligerent, violent and avaricious, forgetting our commitment to ourselves and the miserable and destitute around us.
When the environment of the world is marked by growing hostilities and religious indoctrination, the only resource that seems to be lacking is that of love. Against this murky backdrop of nations and people asserting their might that results only from hatred, it is the virtue of compassion that can effectively sustain the progress of the human civilization. Ironically the essence of all religions and scriptures teaches man to be compassionate and love one another to discover the essential entity of God in the form of pantheism. This was precisely the message that was delivered by Swami Vivekananda on this day at the world parliament of religions at Chicago one hundred and twenty five years ago. We therefore cannot miss out on the import of this profound message to rescue us from self annihilation. Instead of nursing the wounds we have inflicted on ourselves, we need to invigorate ourselves only with the feelings of altruism, compassion and love. Vivekananda told us to worship God in man and when we are able to embrace it from the core of the heart, one will not hurt one’s love, one’s God.

Picture Courtesy: Ramkrisna Math, Chennai and Ramkrishna Mission, New Delhi

Monday, 14 March 2016


The CPIM has formed an alliance with the congress in  West Bengal, once a sworn enemy when it had been in power, though they have chosen to be to be characteristically covert. Ever since it was routed in the polls in the state of west Bengal, it has been looking for an opportunity to come back to power to use it with clout. It has participated in a number of elections at different levels and has been trounced by the Trinamool because the people of west Bengal have not been able to forget the reign of terror unleashed by it in the state in addition to creating a malaise in every sphere of life.
The very alliance with the Congress underscores the moral bankruptcy of the CPIM because in the past it did not miss out on an opportunity to lash out at it and did not run out of its enthusiasm to organize the other parties as a united opposition to the Congress. The party gave support to the congress to form the government under Manmohan Shing but it was from outside without participating in the policies of the government. The most interesting and hypocritical aspect of the alliance at that time was that it made it clear that the alliance would not percolate down to one with the congress in the state of West Bengal where it had been in power.  The party has now tied the knot with the congress because it is not in power in West Bengal.
The electoral alliance of the CPIM with the congress has evoked mixed reactions from different circles and this is not without a plausible reason. The common reactions of vituperation from the rank and file of the congress in the state of West Bengal can be traced to their stance of belligerence that has been fostered over a period of time due to the persistent efforts of the CPIM to coerce the congress activists into accepting their domination. The CPIM has never failed to play the sordid political game of opportunism, even though the so called intellectual leaders of the party talk about righteousness every now and then.
Come the elections and the party goes from door to door trying to form pacts with the parties it finds suitable with a view to consolidating its position, never bothering to be bogged down in the mire of ethics. When the CPIM had been in power, it made a scathing attack on the congress as it viewed its emergence as a threat to its existence. Over the years when the substantial portion of the congress broke away from it and joined the Trinamool formed by the firebrand, Miss Mamta Banerjee, the CPIM began to see red ironically because she confronted the ruling party in the very belligerent manner in which the CPIM once endeared itself to the masses in Bengal. Never tiring of being in a combative mood she took the wind out of the sails of the CPIM by highlighting the various chinks that had begun to appear in the administration and the party because of the entry into and the growing influence of corrupt people. The leaders at different levels had become autocratic and took greater interest in squabbles than organize the party by maintaining contacts with the people. When this continued over a period of time in the absence of a coherent policy of the party to rein in the offenders ruling the roost in the party, the trust of the people was shaken, weakening the party to an extent where it had been swept away like an aspen leaf in the last general elections in the state.

Though there has an alliance with the congress in West Bengal, the activists of the latter will find it difficult to digest it and come out with spontaneous support for the show. On the other hand, if one is to go by the trends, a large number of activists of the party will switch over to the Trinamool as they have been raised on the diet of fierce opposition to the CPIM. Not many of them will accept the alliance that has been forced on them by some of their marginalized leaders too tactical about their electoral equations. Posters condemning the alliance of opportunism with the CPIM have appeared in different parts of the state. This only testifies to the anger and frustration of the congress activists on a larger scale as they have before them the belligerence of the Trinamool that dares to take on the CPIM and the Congress combine single handed.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

As I Understand The GITA-The Song Of The LORD

According to the interpretation of the different masters, the message of the Gita touches every aspect of our life. When the Lord was on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, he revealed the secrets of divine knowledge to his friend and disciple Arjuna who did not fail to follow in his footsteps. The very necessity of the knowledge of the Gita was born out of the compassion of a soldier who was redoubtable. Arjuna despite his valour and dauntless courage broke down and did not want to fight the battle because he betrayed an instinctive aversion for the motive of belligerence. Far from being driven by animosity, he was able to discover his relations in the men who had assembled on the battlefield and that explained his reluctance to kill them. He did not want to rule nor did he want to savor the taste of victory sans the men pitted against him as his adversaries. This gesture of the lieutenant of the Pandavas shows his humanity and compassion from an apparently worldly perspective but he is admonished by the master as he finds in this lethargy to shirk his duty. He takes him to task as he wants him to tread the path of his worldly duties- those of a soldier to restore peace to a land ravaged by the misrule of those who had deviated from the path of virtuosity.
 The insistence of the Lord on embracing the means essential for the fulfillment of the purpose intended is not suggestive of the passion of a war monger but the promotion of a great cause that culminates in redemption. He realized the heaviness of the emotions making Arjuna cumbersome and felt the need to enlighten him about the goals of life mortal and spiritual as a representative of mankind. The lord’s choice of the occasion of the battle to deliver the ultimate message of life filtered through the transparency of his wisdom is to highlight the climax of actions. Life faces an ordeal when a crisis deepens validating a battle as the only alternative. No matter how somber the situation looks, this is a climax of life; the good or bad is to be extracted from it. The soldiers gathered on the battlefield cannot spill blood until it has been revealed to Arjuna in general and his devotees in particular that death is not a way of obliteration but a process of transition with potential for evolution in a manner desirable or downgrade.
Arjunaj’s feeling of sorrow over the apparent action of killing his enemies, his relatives, in the battle is the result of his obsession with a life of ignorance that has bound him in the shackles of a life of illusions. When he turns to the Lord with tears in his eyes, unable to come to terms with the reality of setting in motion an order of poise without the enemies vitiating the atmosphere, he is an archetypal human being trapped in his delusion. The lord reaches out with compassion to retrieve what he feels is an ideal instrument to establish an order of goodness and virtuosity. But in an attempt not to mollify him, he chastises him with the purport of a divine cause to arouse the seer in him and to goad him to his cherished plan of action he has envisioned with far reaching consequences. He wants him to experience his, or for that matter, the universal conflict of man to know the limitations of life and extract from it the unalloyed spirit of renunciation to graduate to a life that is sanctified by the grace of god. Therefore Arjuna is a role model God chooses in each of his appellations to preach the message of divine perfection. When this plan of action is going to be enacted through the meticulous motivation of the lord, the keeper of the creation, Judhistira, an instrument of mortal life trapped in its follies, is a static witness to the story of action going to unfold to set things right.
The lord pities the man, Arjuna, who is bundle of nerves, though he is talking about his compassion for his kindred who he is supposed to kill. The Lord realizes it is time he allowed the treasures of divine knowledge to come tumbling out of the fountain of his creative impulse. Arjuna, the essential man with his limitations as the father of the race of men, listened to the incredible story of nonchalance with its myriad attributes, the battle of kurukshetra being the backdrop to it. The Lord urges him to reinvent himself to set his priorities and fulfill them with the kind of nonchalance that will guarantee his elevation to the state of divinity, the only desired goal of man blessed by God. The Lord helps Arjuna come out of the cocoon of his restricted existence to assimilate the essence of the knowledge he shares with the disciple mellow with his obeisance. Even as the Lord articulates his divine utterances, he pinpoints the blemishes in the character of the man before him. He wants him to rise above the pettiness of the kind of life he has lead so far to qualify for an engagement in the process of purification characteristic of the battle he is required to fight.
The Lord urges him to be indifferent to the immediacy of the action he is supposed to initiate and keep on doing his work without being influenced by the result of the action. The conscious attempt of the Lord to disengage him from an involvement in the forces of life with a parochial outlook on it is not a negation of mortal life but a glorification of the life perpetual. Even as he told him to give up moral compunction to do what should be the virtue of a man committed to the cause of life with the steadfastness of a kshatriya, he gradually unfolded to him the loftiness of a life of divine redemption. These were the circumstances under which the Lord decided to sing the song to an ardent devotee who had been enmeshed in the tentacles of his infatuation.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Our Corruption Their Corruption

We often complain of corruption in the lives of people in public life but we do not care to take stock of the way we have been corrupt in our dealings. Whenever an opportunity comes our way, we make the most of it by making a buck or two and sacrifice our so called morality. Though all of us do not give in to temptation, many of us are lured by the prospect of a gain spawned by factors not moral. But the most interesting twist to the tale is that we are not without our enthusiasm to take on the big names that have been tainted.
In the first place it is important to know for sure if it is feasible to fight against corruption when we ourselves are corrupt. Corruption is not all about making money by resorting to unfair ways. It is also about being deceptive in life that we often lead with double standards. Our obsession with our lives makes us behave in a way that does not reflect our concern for the people around us many of whom may not be that fortunate. Quite often the son does not do his duty to his father or mother just as a brother shows his empathy to his fellow brother or the neighbour to his neighbour. We fail to show the spirit of altruism and tend to behave in a way that is all for the fulfillment of our goals. The result is inevitable. We become the prototypes of those educated and successful people, whose virtuosity lies in their ability to be clinical, betraying an undercurrent of corruption. They deceive us with their suavity- a façade or the emblem of their corruption eating into the vitals of our national and social life.
In spite of all this marking the nature of our collective life, we are not without the stimulus to move ahead as many of us are bolstered by the intrinsic virtue of goodness running deep into the psyche of the country most of which is pastoral. In our eagerness to identify ourselves with the soul of the country with the conceit of our education and glitter, we forget about the maturity of the innocence of the people living in rural India. The mightiest of clandestine deals smacking of worst treachery have not been able to dampen our enthusiasm to boast of our national pride because we have not ceased to bank upon the innocence of these people together with that of many from amongst us.

We cry ourselves hoarse about the shenanigans of a section of leaders who have deceived us by their actions but what about our corruption when we do not lend a helping hand to a man who fails to get a square meal for his family, the old man who has nowhere to turn to for shelter, the people who perish as they cannot afford expensive treatment. One will argue that it the lookout of the government in power and the common people have nothing to do in this respect. The argument will also be advanced to the extent of pointing out the fact that the taxes paid by the common people of the country should be utilized effectively to support these underprivileged people. Only in the core of our hearts we know with the sanctity of our conscience that we also have a lot to do in terms of our contribution to the cause of social justice. We lavish money on many of our events without feeling inclined to stash away a little of it towards the betterment of these hapless people. We will not be able to get rid of the stigma of corruption until we are selfless with the realization that people everywhere are an extension of my own self. 

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Our Responsibility Towards The Poor of the Country

 Though we have been making long and galvanic strides in different spheres ensuring the possibility of the emergence of the country as a world leader, we have not been able to get rid of the feeling of anguish that many of our people are still poor. In addition to our grandiose projects and pragmatic schemes for development, what we need to change the lot of the poor in the country is to create an ambiance of compassion that will enable us to see the truth and act accordingly. Over the years we have been able to extricate many of the hapless people of the country from the bane of poverty but the task is still mammoth in view of the nature of poverty characterizing a huge number of people still bogged down in the quagmire. In this context we need to ask ourselves what we do with regard to the poor.
Some of our leaders trained in the art of populist politics have encouraged us to make the most of the generosity of the government only at the cost of the poor. But very few of us have cared to give a thought to it- the way we are forcing the government to siphon off a huge chunk of the resources that could have been effectively used for the alleviation of poverty if not for its elimination. We tend to be so selfish because we do not feel the way we say we do. Many of us love to exact a price for being Indians without being conscious of the legacy of compassion that we have inherited from our glorious masters.
Before it is too late we need to reach out to the poor and the destitute with the greatest of our resources- our compassion. We need to make them feel they are not to get lost in the dark caverns of life as long as we around with whatever we have at our disposal.  The stark reality of our impoverished and emaciated brethren languishing in different parts of the country and across the road, the bus stop, the station and everywhere only makes us painfully aware of the poverty of our compassion and that we have not been able to do just enough for them. 

Before we have been blinded by the flashes of our conceit, our ostentatious and parochial lifestyle, our smart phones and clichés, we need to be magnanimous to evade the crime of being too preoccupied with ourselves. The realization should dawn on us that to love the country is to love the people and surely all of them. Hands are to be stretched out to embrace those whose miseries are not without our follies. We cannot ignore our responsibility towards the poor of the country with the excuse that measures are to be initiated and implemented by the government. If we give away a bit of what we have that will go a long way towards sustaining the poor. A forced show of pity will be an exercise in nothingness until we love to love all of us.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

To Be Compassionate And Straight With The Mother

It was a festive occasion and the house was full of people, everybody being busy in some or the way other. It was the sacred thread ceremony of the eldest brother.  My father, a development officer of the LICI, had made all the preparations strictly according to the instructions of a number of priests. There was an aura of purity in the air because of the incantations being chanted and the sticky smoke bellowing from the different ceremonial offerings. In addition to this, outside the precincts marked by the kind of religiosity of which the most conservative priests approved, we broke into bedlam. We the children were merry. The elders also seemed to enjoy the occasion because of the fact that the father made elaborate arrangements for the eldest son and a good number of people had been invited. But due to my proximity to the mother I had a feeling that something was wrong.
At the entrance of the huge canopy that had been erected, there were an equal number of beggars and dogs. It was decided that though the beggars could not be invited for fear of annoying many of the guests known for their aversion for such slovenly and destitute people, my father arranged to have food sent to them. A little later my mother came and stood there, gazing at the way the beggars were being piled with the fare. She could have derived satisfaction from the sight as she had been in the habit of feeding such people whenever they came to the house and they did come in a good number because of her generosity but suddenly she broke into sobs and ran inside the house. I saw her as I had been doing the good job of watching those people eating with ravenous appetite. I followed the mother into the house and saw her crying silently. Later I learnt that the sight of the young hunchbacked girl, Manthara, relishing her food with the beggars by the side of a pack of dogs shattered her heart. I stood by the mother holding her hand, allowing myself to be soaked in the palpability of her compassion. The next day when I was about to throw a stone at a hapless crow sitting on the branch of one of the trees in the garden, I dropped it.
I often loved to tease the mother about her love for god and ended up putting her favourite portrait of Lord Krishna, adorning the wall of the sitting room, at an uneven angle. Though I expected her to be miffed, she told me in a soothing voice that my attempt to play with her love showed a kind of my love for it and it would prove positive one day.  I could not understand many of the things she spoke about but the serenity of her presence seemed to absorb me in the entity of the essential mother that she had been. Then out of the blue she told me that that the portrait sitting askew on the wall marred the principle of straightness and should not be done in the least. The very pronunciation of the word had an immediate effect on me. A couple of days later I politely refused the help of a friend who wanted me to copy from him during a mathematics test at the school, even though I had been infinitely weak in the subject.
Later during the college days I owed my allegiance to a party and the candidate fielded in the municipal elections in our ward happened to be the adversary of the sitting councilor, the youngest uncle of my mother. She knew about the way I had been opposed to her uncle, gearing up to get him defeated with the support of the local boys who complained of many an evil. Time and again I talked about political issues, castigating the activities of the sitting councilor but my mother did not express her opinions. On the day of the polls, when the emerging trends suggested that the mother’s uncle was going to be trounced and she was on her way to the polling booth to cast her vote for the sitting councilor, she told me in her characteristic manner that one should not ever switch one’s loyalties and should adhere to one’s principles. Then she looked up at the clear sky and crooned, ‘The image of the Lord has acquired the expanse of the sky irrespective of walls and angles.’ At the end of the day she told me again that she had not voted for her uncle as he had proved to be wholly corrupt. Though she seemed to be an enigma, I could luxuriate in the essential spirit of her motherly entity.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015


It felt dreary as inside the room it was dark
The mind reminded him of the reality stark.
Every time he probed the self of the room
A voice whispered his mind was full of gloom.
It was no wonder he should hear the junk of the mind
To his reality for a second he could not be blind.
He was too shocked to mourn the death of his wife
From whom life ebbed away in a cardiac strife.
He wondered why he could not be wild with shock
After all his life was now verily on the block.
He could hear the gibberish of his son capering about
He walked in the funeral procession wry as a scout.

For years he lived his life and did his duties
Raising his son, never bothering to mock at niceties.
He sailed through life caressing his worries as bubbles
He could not but smile when someone talked about troubles.
Then he learnt to do what made him cry with tears profuse
Turning into the serenity of prayers as he could deduce.
He could now wallow in the light flooding the room
His benign God traded peace for his gloom.

Courtesy Photo: Google Images