Sunday, August 27, 2006

God of the people.

Ganesha (in Sanskrit) = Gana (People) + Eshwaraa (God) : God of the people

Let me see if I have the facts (basically the myth) right ...
Ganesh is the son (intelligent and very clever) of Shiva and Parvati.
For the appearance part, the story goes like this (this tale has two variants):
  • Goddess Parvati asks her brother Shani-deva to see her son, Ganesh and even after his refusals he is forced to view him, which results in the severing of his head.
  • Goddess Parvati goes to take bath and sets Ganesha as guard, who refuses Shiva into the place wherein in anger Shiva slices off his head.
  • Later as a replacement, the felled Airavata's head is used or something of the sort ...
Interestingly, this makes me think about how varied our folklores and religious mythologies are ...
Like Ganesha is the Siddhidaayakaa - the bestower of success !
He has two wives (Siddhi and Buddhi - Success and Wisdom) - not sure if everyone agrees with this line of thought.
However the symbolism attached to these tales and the underlying divinity represented by the easily recognizable forms, is what is important to remember.

One thing is for sure - He is the 'cutest' of gods in the Hindu pantheon :-), the chubby lord being a favourite among kids and adults alike.
With modaka (laddu) in one hand and the mooshika vahana (mouse as his vehicle - a PC sounds familiar ;-)).
'Ekadantaya, Vakratundaya, Gauritanayaydhemahi, Ganadheesha ...' the recent rendition by Shankar Mahadevan sums up all the various names for the Vighnavinashaka, fine ....



What, indeed, when he sang to Allah in Rag Bhairav (composed for Shiva) and brought to tears the Iraqi maulana who had just told him music was blasphemy, “evil, a trap of the devil”. Khan Saheb said, “I told him, Maulana, I will sing to Allah. All I ask you is to be fair. And when I finished I asked him if it is blasphemy. He was speechless.” And then Khan Saheb told me with that trademark mischievous glint: “But I did not tell him it was in Rag Bhairav.”
Read more here:

Khan Saheb in Kashi by Shekhar Gupta (Saturday, August 26, 2006) - Indian Express



Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A genius passes away ...

After a bad day at work, was coming back home; it was past 9 pm, and the cabbie was playing Radio City 91 FM. It was so atrocious with western music especially hip-hop and all those irritating new-age techno forms of music, that I got a severe headache.
Indian music is so much better ......
As soon I reached home, I found Doordarshan was playing a documentary on Ustad Bismillah Khan, who I had heard in the afternoon, had passed away.
What brilliant music, those sweet strains of shehnai, godly, as if speaking a language of its own. And then those sudden variations - so melodious. Cannot describe the sheer joy, trying to keep track of those talas etc, my headache had vanished; I was so intoxicated in the Ustad's magical spell. The intoxication through music is so high, why do people even think of alcohol ???

A genius (Bharat Ratna, 2001) passed away yesterday. A short history here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bismillah_Khan

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Three Books.

I cannot describe the joy of reading 'The Argumentative Indian' which I am reading since months; ever so slowly as if savouring a delicious dish, bit by bit; but in one of his essay which I am currently reading, he seems to be repeating very common sense things about gender disparity, class hierarchies and their economic effects – that may seem so much mundane for us Indians. Amartya Sen, the economist comes across as more of an analytical mind capable of deconstructing complex issues into social theories and economic ideas.

On the other hand is the economist, Jeffrey Sachs who is an activist non-parallel, the father of the UN Milennium Development Goals with the goal of ending poverty or atleast having mission statements to reduce it to acceptable levels by 2015; which is indeed commendable. With the extensive consultancy and economic turnarounds that he has been able to demonstrate in countries such as Bolivia, Poland etc, which is a part of the other book I am also currently reading 'The End of Poverty' – delving into the reasons for extreme poverty and the application of clinical economics to eliminate the same; these goals too, seem very much achievable.

Also read the short story 'The Mount of Kilimanjaro' by Hemingway; from his short story collection, 'The First Fourty-Nine Stories' - liked its abrupt, hallucination-like ending.