Saturday, December 28, 2013

Folktales of Various Countries-2

In my previous blog I wrote that how the project of collecting folktales of various countries was started. Here I write how this project is implemented.

Touch Read Project
To make them available first to our visually handicapped community I contacted National Association for the Blind in Mumbai, India and requested them to publish them in Braille script for the visually handicapped people. They were very happy to publish them.

Then I established a Project "Touch Read" project under which all these stories will be published by NAB Press. Because there are too many stories, they are published under the series "Desh Videsh ki Lok Kathayen".

As a consequence of these efforts  its first collection "Folktales from Nigeria, Part 1" is out in Braille script under the series "Desh Videsh ki Lok Kathayen" and the project "Touch Read".

This title has already been sent to 98 Hindi speaking schools of India.
This book is available free of charge to all Hindi Braille readers. 
Interested people can write to  ------- 

Another title in the series "Desh Videsh Ki Lok Kathayen"  is "Folktales of Nigeria, Part 2" is underway and will be out soon. As soon it will be out, we will inform our readers here.

As this Project has been started as a help project, all donations are welcome with a lot of gratitude. Help a visually handicapped person to see the world through a book. One book takes normally around $2.00 - $2.50  to reach its reader. Your little donation will help a visually handicapped person to broaden his or her horizon through a book sitting at home.

Folktales of Various Countries-1

Sushma Gupta

Friday, December 27, 2013

Folktales of Various Countries-1

Beginning of the Touch Read Project
Since my childhood I had the compassion for the visually handicapped people. The first visually handicapped person I saw was my music teacher. A boy used to bring him to the music school by holding his guiding stick. Then inside the school students used to help him for everything. He was so dependent.

I was only 11 years old then. When I told my mother about it, she told me that we have 5 knowledge collection senses (eyes to see, ears to hear, skin to feel, tongue to taste and speak and nose to smell). If even one of them does not work we are lost. Although all these 5 senses are important for a good living, still among them eyes, ears and tongue are the most important ones. Think of any one of them missing from your daily life, suppose you cannot see (blind), you cannot hear (deaf), or you cannot speak (dumb). It would be so frustrating.

After that I had to deal with a deaf and dumb person who worked in my library as my assistant in Nigeria. Although he knew Sign language to communicate but since I did not know it so we could not communicate. Fortunately he was educated and could read and write, so we could communicate by writing. I worked with him for about 10 years. I was always sympathetic to him. I was very much touched with these two people.

For a long time I wished if I could serve visually handicapped people in a meaningful way. I have always been for education. When I explored about the education of these people, I found that there were several schools around, there were libraries too for them etc etc. But I wanted to help them in my own small way.

While working as a librarian  in Nigeria and Ethiopia, I cam across their folktales. On searching these folktales in published form I could find only a couple of sources, and those  were also not  physically available there. So I started collecting them from unpublished sources - local magazines, oral sources, theses etc etc.

While doing this, I thought if this material is not available even to their local population, how it could be available to others outside? The idea struck, a spark rose and produced the fire. From wherever I got I started collecting these folktales of these countries of Africa. This material is certainly very difficult to get even to educated people in other countries, let alone our common Hindi speaking people in India and abroad. So I started translating them in Hindi. Now I have more than 300 folktales from various countries.

Now the question is how to make them available to their readers?

Continued on   Folktales of Various Countries-2

Sushma Gupta

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Karavaa Chauth

Hindu women are very particular about the welfare of their family. They do all kinds of Poojaa, fasts, Yantra, Tantra, Yagya for it. There are several festivals in their list for this.

One of such festivals is Karavaa Chauth. It always falls on Kaarttik Krishn Chaturthee. This year it is today on 22-Oct-2013. This day the married women keep fast and pray for their husband's long life. Karavaa Chauth coincides with Sankashti Chaturthee, a fasting day observed for Ganesh Jee.

The fasting of Karavaa Chauth and its rituals are observed by married women for the long life of their husband, but the women who wish to marry soon, or whose marriage is getting late can also keep this fast - they pray for their early marriage.

How to Celebrate It
This festival's celebration starts from the previous day. Women apply Menhdee (hina) on their hands and feet the previous day. On the day of Karavaa Chauth they wear new glass bangles, their most beautiful dresses and jewelry and get ready to do Poojaa. Pooree, Kachauree, Pakodee of wheat flour with jaggery are made. Women take out some food and sweets along with some money and offer it to their elderly women as a respect and to receive their blessings. This is called Baayanaa. Those women bless the younger women to be with their husband lifelong. The Baayanaa pot is returned keeping something in it for the welfare of that woman's children.

All families have their own style of taking out this Baayanaa. Many families take out the Baayanaa of  food items and sweets, or dry fruits etc. It is always accompanied with some money. It is customary to keep something else also with this food, sweets and money. People may keep some more food items, clothes or even jewelry for that woman to whom this Baayanaa is given. It is considered very auspicious and people do not normally refuse this Baayanaa because it is considered good fortune to have it.

Women worship Gauree (Paarvate Jee) and Ganesh Jee in the evening this day.  Their fast starts from the night before Karavaa Chauth, means after taking dinner at night they do not eat anything throughout the night also. It is auspicious to eat some sweets after dinner. For the newly married girls this is done by their mothers or mother-in-law wherever they are. This fast continues for the next day, actual Chauth day. This fast is a bit hard as the women do not drink even water until the evening Poojaa is done. Pregnant women and new mothers can take milk once or twice in the daytime. They break their water fast after their evening Poojaa and food fast only after sighting and making the offerings to the Moon god. Moon rises this day a bit late - about 9.00 pm.

Several family women, or friends may do the Poojaa together in one woman's house. They change their Karavaa during the Poojaa. Karavaa Chauth story is also told and heard. If somebody is alone, she tells the story in a loud voice as it should be heard too along with telling.

Karavaa Chauth is also known as Karak Chauth. Karavaa or Karak refers to the earthen pot through which water offering, known as Arghya, is made to the Moon god. Karavaa is very significant during the Poojaa and it is also given as Daan (donation) to a Braahman or any eligible married elderly woman. Compare to South Indian states, Karavaa Chauth is more popular in North Indian states.
[See the Karavaa Chauth Poojan]

Sushma Gupta

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Kaarttik Month-2

Previous blog was about the importance of Kaarttik Maas and activities during that month. Like Aashwin month this month is also full of festivals, so this blog is about the festivals falling in this month.

(1) Karavaa Chauth - The month starts with Karavaa Chauth celebrated by Suhaagin (married) on Kaarttik Krishn Chauth. This day they keep fast without drinking water for the welfare and long life of their husband and take food after Poojaa and seeing the Moon. This day the Moon rises about 9.00 PM.

(2) Raadhaa Ashtamee  or Raadhaa Jayantee - On Kaarttik Krishn Ashtamee Raadhaa's birthday is celebrated.

(3) Ahoee Ashtamee - Ahoee Ashtamee also falls on Kaarttik Krishn Ashtamee, This day women, if woman is not there or cannot keep the fast then men, keep fast for the welfare of their sons. They keep fast without drinking water and eat food in the evening after worshiping Mother Hoee and seeing stars. Whose children die just after their birth, they start eating food after seeing the Moon. It is believed that their children live by keeping this fast. On this day Moon rises very late.

(4) Dhan Teras - Dhan Teras is celebrated on Kaarttik Krish Trayodashee. Hindu celebrate this day by Lakshmee Poojan, buying some kitchen utensil. They buy some gold or silver also to invoke Lakshmee Jee on Divaalee (celebrated on Amaavasyaa).

(5) Dhanvantari Jayantee - This Kaarttik Krishn Trayodashee day is celebrated as the birthday of Dhanvantari Jee also. According to our Puraan he emerged from Saagar Manthan carrying Amrit Kalash and is the Devtaa of medicines. A lamp is lighted outside the main door to ward off untimely and unnatural death in the family.

(6) Narakaa Chaudas or Chhotee Divaalee - Kaarttik Krishn Chaturdashee is celebrated as Narakaa Chaudas. It is believed that the doors of Hell are wide open on this day, so to prevent oneself from landing in Hell people light a lamp for Yam Raaj - the god of Death. Facing the South, take a lamp with four wicks (each facing a direction) and black Til oil (sesame seed oil) and keep it outside the house door or gate and pray to Dharm Raaj to spare the family from untimely death in the family. This day a few clay lamps are also worshiped - one for Vishnu (keep it in your Poojaa place), one for Varun Devtaa (keep it near well or water tap), one for Tulasee (keep it with Tulasee plant), one for Yam Raaj (keep it outside the house door), one for Peepal tree (keep it under Peepal or in the roots of any tree) and a few lamps (maybe 5) for our ancestors and those dead people who expect this light from mortals - from their own people or others.

(7) Hanumaan Jayantee - It is ironical that Hanumaan Jayantee is celebrated in the year by various people at various times. Some people celebrate it on Chaitra Poornimaa. Vaayu Puraan says that he was born on this Chaudas at midnight. Both have supports by scriptures, so one can celebrate it on both days. Since he was born at midnight, the celebration should be on next day morning. People worship Hanumaan on this day (Amaavasyaa) in the morning, read Hanumaan Chaaleesaa and Sundar Kaand this day. You may listen to Sundar Kaand here.

(8) Divaalee - Kaarttik Amaavasyaa is Divaalee - the main festival of Hindu, especially of Vaishya. Worship Ganesh Jee and Lakshmee Jee at night. It is celebrated by eating sweets and distributing sweets to close relatives and friends. It is believed that Lakshmee Jee comes out in the night to distribute wealth and whoever's house She finds clean and beautiful she enters that house and gives wealth. So people clean their houses, whitewash or paint their houses, cook and eat delicious food and after worshiping Her wait for Her to come to their house. They keep awake the whole night by playing cards or some other means of entertainment. New clothes are worn and lots of crackers are cracked.

(9) New Year and Annakoot - Vaishya, traders and businessmen celebrate this day, Kaarttik Shukla Padavaa, as their New Year day. They change their account books and wish each other good for the New Year. This day is celebrated as Annakoot or Govardhan Poojaa also. This is a special festival of western UP. It is believed that Krishn saved Gokul from Indra's wrath - heavy rains for 7 consecutive days, by lifting Govardhan mountain on His left smallest finger. A huge mountain  is made by cow dung and Gop, Gwaalaa, cattle are made inside it. Men worship it and as many kinds of foods as possible are cooked and distributed. Temples also distributed Prasaad.

(10) Yam Dwiteeyaa or Bhaiyaa Doyaj - This day, Kaarttik Shukla Doyaj, is celebrated as Bhaiyaa Doyaj. Brothers go to their sister's house and sister puts Teekaa on their forehead and offers them delicious food. Brothers gives them some money or gift. It is believed that Yamee, sister of Yam, got attracted to her brother and asked for his favor, then Yam preached her about the sacred  relationship of brother and sister. Tulasee Planting  is also done this day. A new Tulasee plant may also be planted and is worshiped the whole Kaarttik month.

(11) Soorya Shashthee Vrat - On Kaarttik Shukla 6th day is celebrated as Soorya Shashthee Vrat. A 3-day fast is observed and it is concluded on the 4th day.

(12) Gopaa Ashtamee - On Kaarttik Shukla Ashtamee cows are worshiped, clothed and fed green grass and other foods. Cow donation is common on this day. Although donation of a real cow is not always necessary, only some donation towards it may also be counted as Gau Daan.

(13) Akshaya Navamee - Kaarttik Shukla Navamee is celebrated as Akshaya Navamee. Akshaya means immortal. Whatever Punya activity is done on this day becomes immortal; it means that one will be enjoying  its Punya till he gets salvation. Punya Karm include Jaap (recitation of Hari's name), Daan (donations), Sevaa (serving somebody or temple, Vrat (fasts), Deep Daan in temples or lighting lamps in home temples, Kathaa etc etc.

(14) Dev Uthaan Ekaadashee and Tulasee's Marriage - Kaarttik Shukla Ekaadashee is Dev Uthaan Ekaadashee. Vishnu wakes up this day from His 4 months sleep. This day people keep fast, do Vishnu or His Avataar's (Raam or Krishn) Bhajan, Keertan and read scriptures. There was a Daitya named Mur. Krishn killed him, that is how He got the name Muraari (Mur+Ari). Mur went to hide in rice today that is people do not eat rice on all Ekaadashee. Tulasee is also married this day to Shaalgraam. Her marriage is performed in the same way as people marry their children. All kinds of marriage ceremonies are performed in the same way.

(15) Bheeshm Panchak - Who cannot discipline themselves for the whole Kaarttik month, they can observe them from Kaarttik Shukla Ekaadashee to Kaarttik Poornimaa, 5 days, called Bheeshm Panchak. Keep fast on these days or eat only Saatwik food - no carrot, onions, garlic, mushroom etc. Listen to Raamaayan, Geetaa etc.

(16) Vaikunth Chaudas - It is believed that on this day the doors of Vaikunth, the abode of Vishnu, are wide open. One should worship Vishnu and Shiv this day. Once Vishnu went to Manikarnikaa Ghaat at Kaashee, to worship Shiv. he took 1,000 lotus flowers to worship him. To test Vishnu's devotion, Shiv hid one flower. When Vishnu found that one flower was short, He thought that people call my eye a lotus eye, so let me offer my eye. As soon as He got ready to pluck His eye Shiv appeared before Him and blessed Him. He also said - "From this day, this Chaudas will be known as Vaikunth Chaudas. Whoever will worship first you and then me will go directly to Vaikunth."

(17) Kaarttik Poornimaa - It is a very auspicious day to take bath in Gangaa River. If one cannot have access to Gangaa, he can invoke Gangaa while taking bath in home. It is also auspicious day for Satya Naaraayan Vrat Kathaa.

Thus this month is also full of important festivals.

Sushma Gupta

Kaarttik Month-1

Yesterday, on October 18, 2013, was Sharad Poornimaa. Sharad Poornimaa is the most important Poornimaa of the year among the 12 Poornimaa. This was Aashwin Maas Poornimaa. Almost the whole month was of festival month. First 15 days were dedicated to our Pitri (ancestors), next 9 days were dedicated to 9 forms of Durgaa, the next day was dedicated to Raam's victory over Raavan - Dashaharaa; and this last day of the month, Poornimaa, was the most important Poornimaa of the year - Sharad Poornimaa.

From today starts the holiest month of the year - Kaarttik Maas. It is the most favorite month for both Vishnu and Shiv. Vishnu who slept on Aashaadh Shukla Ekaadashee wakes up on Kaarttik Shukla Ekaadashee - after 4 months of sleep. This is the greatest thing for Vishnu Bhakt. A lot has been said in Puraan in the praise of this month. This month has been said to be the sin destroying month.

Whatever Poojaa you do in this month gives great Punya (merit) to the doer, that is why one must do at least something to earn Punya, if not all, such as - Jaap of Hari's name. Snaan in Brahm Muhoort, Deep Daan (lighting lamp) in the house or a temple, fasts (any kind of fast which is possible for you), any kind of Daan (charity), daily Aamalaa or Peepal or Tulasee tree worship, lighting lamp near Tulasee plant, applying Tilak from Tulasee's soil etc are the most Punya giving actions of this month.

About Snaan, Shiv Jee says to his son Kaarttikeya - "O my dear son, Taking bath in this month before sunrise is equal to taking bath in the holiest of holiest rivers, and sleeping on the ground in this month is equal to donating a piece of land to Braahman."

Padm Puraan gives an interesting story about Deep Daan - Once in a temple of Vishnu, there lived a mouse who used to eat the ghee from the extinguished ghee lamps which had been offered by devotees to Him. One day when she felt hungry to eat ghee, she tried to eat the ghee from a lamp which was not yet extinguished fully. While eating ghee from the lamp, the cotton wick got stuck in her teeth. Since the ghee wick had a flame, the mouse started jumping in front of the Deity and thus died due to fire. But Vishnu accepted the jumping of that mouse with a lit ghee wick in her mouth as His Aaratee and so He liberated her - the highest goal of one's life. If somebody lights a lamp in a Vishnu temple even for a short time in the month of Kaarttik, his millions of sins acquired from million  Kalp (one Kalp equals 1000 Chatur-Yug) are destroyed. This is best Punya Karm during the Kaarttik month.

Next Blog about Festivals in Kaarttik Maas

Sushma Gupta

Friday, October 18, 2013

Solomon and Jesus' Cross

In Solomon, I gave you an introduction to write my blog about Solomon.
Solomon was a great Jew king of his times. He was the son of David. David himself was a great king but Solomon had special grace of his God Yahweh.

Are you not surprised to read this title that how Solomon who existed 1,000 years before Jesus, is connected to Jesus' cross? Let us see how he is related to him.

This blog is in the continuation of Solomon's Temple. You read in Solomon's Temple that he was the first builder of temples. Since he thought that his God was only one and big, he thought to build his Temple also big. In those days there were no means to cut big pieces of wood or stones and to join them together , so Solomon prayed his God to give him something to help him build big temple for Him and He gave him a wood which could cut big, join big etc etc through a bird. It seemed to him that it was the wood of that tree which was planted in the Garden of Eden by God Himself and later cut it into many pieces when Adam and Eve did not obey Him.

With the help of that wood Solomon built his big temple and when the construction of the temple was over, it was kept at some secure place where it should not be misused. When Solomon met Queen of Sheba, Queen's foot touched this piece of wood accidentally and her foot got cured.  Now we proceed further from this point...

The Queen of Sheba honored that wood by studding a piece of silver on it. Seeing her doing this, Solomon also did the same except that he engraved his name on that piece of silver. Later he made a rule that all future kings should do the same and by the time of Jesus 30 pieces of silver were studded on that wood. When Solomon had died, this piece of wood was kept safely in the inner room of the Temple and continued to be there till it was needed.

When Judas conspired with the Temple priests to hand over Jesus to the King of Rome in exchange of 30 silver coins, at that time the Temple did not have money to give to Judas, so those priests gave these 30 pieces of silver to Judas in exchange of Jesus.

On the 5th day Jesus was ordered to be prosecuted on cross. At that time, some junior priests who believed that Jesus was pure and faultless but were scared to say it outwardly, thought that on whichever wooden cross Jesus will be prosecuted that wood will become holy. Thinking thus they took out that Garden of Eden wood from the inner room of the Temple and gave it to the Roman soldiers to build the cross for Jesus. Thus the same wood, which treated Queen of Sheba's foot, was used to give salvation to the King of Kings Jesus.

This story is written in Syria and Arabian books. In Ethiopia, this day is celebrated as a national festival with great pomp and show, because a piece of the same cross was brought to Ethiopia in the end of the 14th century. This festival is called Meskel and is celebrated on September 27.

Is it not interesting to know?

Solomon's Justice
Solomon's Throne
Solomon and Birds
Solomon's Temple

Sushma Gupta

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Solomon and Birds

In Solomon-1, I gave you an introduction to write my blog about Solomon.
Solomon was a great king of his times. He was the son of David. David himself was a great king but Solomon had special grace of his God Yahweh.

Once, when he was a child, his God Yahweh asked him to ask for a boon he wished for. He asked the boon of wisdom instead of wealth, fame, and victory over his enemies. And Yahweh gave him that too  which he did not ask for.

Solomon Knew All Languages
Solomon not only knew the languages of birds and all kinds of animals (animals of earth, sky and water) but he also had full control over them. He used to converse with them and take work from them. In fact he had control over all the living beings of the world - not only human beings, animals and birds but also over the Jinn, angels and other invisible beings too. Here I describe you an incident in which he used a bird to call the Queen of Sheba, the Queen of Ethiopia, to him.

Once Solomon called all the birds to him, so all the birds came to him, but there was one bird which did not come - that was Hoopoe bird. Solomon got very angry at this and he asked his servant Jenie to find that Hoopoe bird and bring it to him, and if he did not bring that Hoopoe, he would be bitten by worms in the desert. So Jenie went, found the bird after long time and came back to Solomon with it. The bird was trembling with fear.

Solomon asked her where was she and why she did not come when he had called all the birds. She said - "If you will just listen to me why I did not come, I will be convinced that I am pardoned." "Speak." Hoopoe bird said - "Flying high I continued to fly for 3 months without eating anything just to see is there any place which is not under your rule. Flying thus I reached Athiops and met another Hoopoe. I asked him about this. He said - "This kingdom is like that where people worship Sun God and do not even know your Solomon and his God Yahweh."

Hearing this I filled with rage and asked him the name of its king. He said - "This kingdom is called Sheba and here rules a maiden queen Balqis who is very beautiful." Solomon asked him - "Have you yourself seen that queen?" Hoopoe bird said - "Yes, She indeed is beautiful." Solomon then sent a letter to the queen through that Hoopoe bird. He wrote in that letter - "I rule over the whole world, including animals, birds, water animals, genie etc, so you should also come to me and accept me as your king. I will give you proper respect. If you did not come to me I will destroy your whole kingdom within a night."

Hoopoe bird  flew and dropped that letter in the laps of Balqis who was sitting in her court. After reading the letter she consulted her courtiers and decided that she would not go to him and let him destroy her kingdom. Then she sent 500 young boys in the guise of girls and 500 young girls in the guise of boys to him along with gold and an egg size pearl asking its meaning and a gem with a curved hole to be threaded. Since Solomon asked the Hoopoe bird to bring her reply, he came with this reply.

Solomon welcomed the queen's people and did what the queen asked him to do. He said - "It is not good to send people in opposite sex clothes. He wrote this pearl is the symbol of purity. He threaded the gem by ordering one worm to go through that curved hole of the gem tying a hair in his foot.

Balqis got very happy to see this and she set off to Juda to see Solomon.
Such was his control over birds and worms and genie etc.

Solomon's Justice
Solomon's Throne

Sushma Gupta

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Solomon's Temple

In Solomon-1, I gave an introduction to write my blog about Solomon.
Solomon was a great Jew king of his times. He was the son of David. David himself was a great king but Solomon had special grace of his God Yahweh.
Today I will tell you about his Temple.

Solomon's Temple
 He was the first builder of the Temple of his God Yahweh. He built this Temple in Jerusalem. He thought that since his God is only one and incomparable to any other, he should also build His Temple very big and high, so he built it really very big and on a high hill. The whole Temple was built miraculously throughout and Angels also helped him to build it, though not by choice - heavy stones rising and settling down in place automatically etc.

As he was thinking big, he thought that he would need very large stones for its foundation, but when he expressed this idea to his workers, they told him that no human tool could break such large stones. He himself also could not think of any other way to cut them. So he kept fast and worshiped Yahweh. One day Yahweh appeared in his dream and told him that he should catch a baby Simour bird and keep it in a brass cage, and his problem will be solved.

Simour bird is very large and the king of the birds. It is so big that it can carry even an elephant on its wing. Its power of seeing and hearing is great. It is mostly found on Eastern Hills in Jerusalem. He sent his 1,000 people with bow and arrow around to look for it. After three months of great efforts they were able to find a Simour bird and its nest. They found a baby bird also there, so they brought it to him. The baby bird was of a size of a calf. He had already built a brass cage in advance for it. As soon as the baby bird came, he shut it in the cage and fixed it to the ground with very long nails (approximately 50 inches long) to the ground.

So when his people had brought its baby to him, his mother had known and seen that her baby was in Solomon's Temple. She came there but she could not break the cage so she went back. She came again three days and three nights later with a large log of wood. She kept it over the cage and the cage broke into two pieces symmetrically. She took her baby from the cage and flew back to from where she came. Solomon understood and he used that log to cut the stones of his size.

It is believed, to build that temple Solomon employed 3,600 inspectors, 700 carpenters, 800 masons, 30,000 labors, and 70,000 load carriers. Its walls and floors were made of gold. It took 13 years to complete.

Since this temple was built as a permanent place to keep the Ark of Covenant, it was brought there with a pomp and show and the celebrations were made for a week. After its completion his God Yahweh came and blessed the temple.

Solomon's Throne

Sushma Gupta

Monday, October 14, 2013

Solomon's Justice

In Solomon-1 I gave an introduction to write my blog about Solomon.
Solomon was a great Jew king of his times. He was the son of David. David himself was a great king but Solomon had special grace of his God Yahweh. Although his father David was also famous for his justice and Solomon learnt this way of justice sitting at his feet only, still he is more famous for his justice and wisdom. It is believed that people walked beside with pen and paper to write his words whatever he used to speak because they considered them full of wisdom.

Although there are few stories about Solomon's justice, but here I will describe only one story of his justice - when he was only 7 years old....

Solomon's Justice
When Solomon was a little child he used to sit near his father David's feet in his court when he used to solve the problems of his public. One of such days, when Solomon was also sitting in the court, as usual, near his father's feet, two people came with their problem.

One man said - "O King, Some time ago I bought a garden from this man. When I was digging the roots of a tree I found some gold there. Since I bought only the garden from him, that gold did not belong to me, so I went to return that gold to him that "this gold is not mine, take it, it is yours." But this other man said -"This gold is not mine as I have already sold my garden to you, so whatever was in the garden, now it belongs to you, that is why I cannot accept this gold from you." Now you tell me what should I do?"

King David asked the other man that why did he not want to take his gold. He said - "This gold is not mine, O King, and I don't even know who it belongs to, because from whom I bought this garden, he has died a few years ago, and he has no heir also." At this the King said - "Since the real owner of the garden is no more in the world, you both may distribute it between yourselves." But both said in one voice - "How can we do this when it does not belong to us?"

The court was full and everybody was waiting for David's solution of this complex problem. Then David looked at his 7-year old child Solomon and said to him - "If you were at my place what would you do?"

The child looked first at the first man and asked him -"Do you have a son?" The first man replied - "O Prince, No, I do not have a son, but I have only one daughter." The the boy looked at the other man and asked him - "Do you have a son?" The other man said - "Yes Prince, I have a son." The boy looked at the King and said - "Then let both children get married and enjoy the treasure." And the same thing happened - they got married and enjoyed the treasure for a long time.

Such was the justice by Solomon at the age of 7...

Solomon's Throne

Sushma Gupta

Solomon's Throne

In Solomon-1, I gave an introduction to write my blogs about Solomon.
Solomon was a great Jew king of his times. He was the son of David. David himself was a great king but Solomon had special grace of his God Yahweh.

Recently I read about the throne of Solomon, I have yet to read any such description of a throne of somebody else...

When I read this description - among the thrones I have read, we have heard about King Vikram's throne which had 32 figures carved in his throne, which spoke of Vikram's qualities to Raajaa Bhoj through Sinhaasan Batteessee's 32 stories before he tried to ascended his throne. Since Raajaa Bhoj did not find himself comparable to Vikram at all he did not ascend his throne.  The second throne we know that of Mugal Emperor Shaah Jahaan. He had a peacock throne in which Kohinoor diamond was studded. But this throne was not any special, it just had only a very expensive diamond.

But read the description of Solomon's throne....

Solomon's Throne
Solomon's throne was not an ordinary throne, it was very grand. It was made of marble stone with ivory work on it. It was studded with numerous rubies and emeralds. It had flowers made of gold and lattice of pearl work on it. Its arm rests were made of gold and its foot stool was made of sapphire. His throne had 6 steps to climb to sit on it. It is believed that since between the World of Yahweh and this Earth there were 6 worlds, that is why Solomon's throne had 6 steps. But according to first Midrash, there were 6 steps because Solomon foresaw 6 kings will sit on that throne including Solomon.

On the first step, there were an iron lion and an iron ox. On the second step, there were a tiger and a goat made of lead. On its third step, there were a wolf and a sheep made of brass. On its fourth step, there were a bear and a stag made of bronze. On its fifth step, there were a buffalo and a donkey made of copper. On its sixth and the last step, there were a hawk and a dove made of silver. When the King climbed on his throne carrying the Book of Law and the royal scepter made of emerald then those animals spoke in their own language on whichever step he stepped on. [Different sources give the names of these animals differently.]

Supposedly due to another mechanical trick, when the King reached the first step the ox would stretch forth his leg, on which Solomon leaned. A similar action took place on each step by their respective animals. From the sixth step the the hawk and dove would raise the King and placed him in his seat, near which a golden serpent lay coiled. When the King was seated, the hawk will place the crown on his head. The serpent would uncoil itself and would move upward to make a shade over his head. The dove would then descend, took the scroll of the Law from the Ark and placed it on Solomon's knees.

On its top there was a candle holder which could hold 14 candles altogether. Above this candle holder there was a golden jar filled with olive oil and beneath it was a golden basin which supplied the jar with oil. There were 24 vines fixed over the throne to cast a shadow on the King's head. When the King sat on the throne, these golden vines surrounded him from all around spreading their fragrance.

When everything was done, and Solomon was ready to judge the people, the wheels began to turn and the beasts and the fowls began to utter their respective cries to frighten those who came there for false testimony. His throne could follow him wherever he wanted to go by mechanical contrivance. For all the people who came there to attend his court, there were the benches of jasper for them to sit.

After Solomon's death Egypt's Pharaoh took the treasures of the Temple, including his Throne. After some time this throne was passed on to Persians whose King Darius was the first king to sit on that throne. So such was the gracious throne of Solomon.

Do you any other throne like this in the history?
If yes, please tell us about it.

Sushma Gupta

Sunday, October 13, 2013


There are four main festivals for Hindu in North India, one for each of four Varn. Rakshaa Bandhan which falls on Shraavan Poornimaa is for Braahman, Dashaharaa which falls on Aashwin Shukla Dashamee is for Kshatriya, Deepaavalee which falls on Kaarttik Amaavasyaa is for Vaishya and Holee which falls on Phaalgun Poornimaa is for Shoodra.

These characteristics manifest themselves in the method of their celebrations also.
Rakshaa Bandhan is celebrated in a very quiet and decent way as of Braahman way,
Dashaharaa is celebrated with weapons in Kshatriya way,
Divaalee is celebrated in a prosperous way as of Vaishya way, and
Holee is celebrated in a rash way as of  Shoodra nature.

Dashaharaa, also known as Vijayaa Dashamee, falls on Aashwin Shukla Dashamee - after the Sharad Nava Raatri ends. It is believed that Raam killed Raavan on this day. Dashaharaa is a compound word, Dash + Haraa. Dash mans ten and Haraa means taking away of or abduction of something. Because this day Raam took away Raavan's ten heads that is why it is known as Dashaharaa. In the same way we should also resolve on this day to cut the ten heads of our passion, (1) pride, (2) anger, (3) greed, (4) infatuation, (5) lust, (6) hatred, (7) jealousy, (8) selfishness, (9) crookedness of demon and (10) ego which are in everybody in a small or big quantity, and thus justify the celebration of Dashaharaa.

Since this festival is mainly for Kshatriya, Kshatriya who have weapons, first clean their weapons and then worship them on this day. If the guns etc have been kept for some time unattended, they are taken out, cleaned and used at least once - they shoot a bullet from their gun or pistol whatever they have.

Many people read Raam Raavan fight and Raavan's killing incident from Raamaayan today.

At some places in UP, sister puts Teekaa (Tilak) on her brother's forehead and the brother gives some money to her.

Good tasty food is prepared on this day and people go to burn the images of Raavan and Kumbhkarn, and to attend the fair with their children after taking food in the afternoon. At several places in the city, the images of  Raavan and Kumbhkarn made from wood, straw and grass etc are erected with lots of fire crackers. Raam Raavan's mock fight takes place and Raam kills Raavan. Those images are set on fire and they burn with lots of noise of fire crackers.

Fairs are organized and men, women and children all enjoy these fairs. This festival is important for farmers also in Northern India. Farmers exchange their barley shoots which they have grown during the last nine days, to check whose produce will be good. They go out to look for special bird "Neelkanth" (whose neck is indigo blue) in their farms. If they find it there they feel happy because in that way their farms will be protected from harmful insects. Neelkanth bird eats many kinds of harmful worms of the fields.

And thus ends the 10-day long festival.
Happy Dashaharaa

Sushma Gupta

Sunday, October 6, 2013


This blog is something about Apsaraa

Apsaraa is considered the female counterpart of Gandharv. All Apsaraa connote beauty. Normally they entertain Devtaa and fallen heroes in Indra's court. Indra also uses them sometimes for his work - to disturb sages' penance. His most famous uses of Apsaraa to disturb the sages' penance are --
(1) to send Urvashee to disturb Vishwaamitra's penance, 
(2) to send Menakaa to disturb Vishwaamitra's penance - resulted in the birth of a girl Shakuntalaa, 
(3) to send Janapadee to Sharadwaan Rishi - resulted in the birth of Kripaa and Kripee
(4) to send Pramlochaa to Kandu Muni - resulted in the birth of a girl Maarishaa.

Padm Puraan and Vishnu Puraan mention that 600 million Apsaraa came out of the sea at the Saagar Manthan time and they were taken by both Devtaa and Asur.

In the Rig Ved and  Atharv Ved also the Apsaraa are said to be connected with water and compared to swans or ducks (Rig Ved, 10.95.9 etc.). This seems to be logical as they had come out of the sea.

In Mahaabhaarat, Shakuntalaa reminds Dushyant, that "there are only six foremost Apsaraa - Urvashee, Poorvchitti, Sahajanya, Menakaa, Vishwaachee and Ghritaachee. Since Menakaa was born from Brahmaa Jee, she is the first and foremost one."

But there is only one Apsaraa, Urvashee, who is mentioned in only one Ved, that is Rig Ved (Book 10, Hymn 95). She married Chandramaa's grandson Pururavaa and had 6 sons from him. Chandramaa's son was Budh from Brihaspati's wife Mamataa, and Budh's son was Pururavaa from Manu's daughter Ilaa and that is how Chandra Vansh started on Prithvi.

It is said about Urvashee that -- Once Naaraayan and Nar, the sons of Dharm, were doing penance in Badaree forest. Seeing their penance Indra got afraid, so he sent some Apsaraa to disturb their penance. When they came at the place where Naaraayan and Nar were there, Naaraayan scratched His thigh which produced a very beautiful Apsaraa (Urvashee) seeing whom all Apsaraa got embarrassed and went away from there. Later Naaraayan gave Urvashee to Indra. That is why Urvashee was the most beautiful Apsaraa of Indra's court and he regarded her very much.

In Vaayu Puraan (13.69.51) and in Vaaman Puraan (7.1-45-5) it is mentioned that Urvashee was born from the thigh of Naaraayan. In Mahaabhaarat. Urvashee's other name is Gangaa.

So it seems that Urvashee and Menakaa did not come out of the sea. One was produced by Naaraayan himself and the other one was produced by Brahmaa Jee.

I still do not understand how Apsaraa word, and especially Urvashee, is mentioned in Rig Ved and it is connected to water, because Urvashee has been born from the thigh of an incarnation of Vishnu, and no incarnation is mentioned in Ved, then how an Apsaraa can be mentioned?

Sushma Gupta

Arjun's Special Characteristics

The whole Mahaabhaarat revolves around Kaurav and Paandav. Although all Paandav were of  Divine birth, but still Arjun was special among all of them. he was so special that even Krishn has said in Geetaa that among Paandav He is Arjun. If you are thinking that he might be special in one or two or three ways, you are thinking still at a very low level. He had several special characteristics.

Arjun's Special Characteristics
We start his special characteristics from his birth and then proceed from there --

(1) Arjun was a part of Naaraayan
Arjun was not only the son of Indra, but he was the incarnation of Nar and that is how he was the part of Naaraayan. Ad that is why Krishn was right. He was Arjun among Paandav. WHY? Dharm had a son named Naaraayan. Naaraayan produced Nar from His own body and that is how there were Nar nad Naaraayan - both were one. Both did penance for long time in Badaree forest. This shows that Arjun was a part of Krishn. That is why Krishn said - "Among Paandav I am Arjun."

(2) It was only Arjun who was lucky enough to hear Geetaa from God's own mouth and see God's Viraat Roop with his own eyes. Sanjaya's case is different.

(3) Arjun could use his both hands to shoot arrows.

(4) He was so fast i shooting arrows, that when his one bow string was broken people could not see him changing the bow string. All they could see the circle made by pulling the string of his bow while shooting the arrow.

(5) He never lost any battle, except two - one was from Shiv, and he other one from his son, but that was because of a curse. That is why his one name was Vijaya.

(6) As Nar he had the control over Apsaraa and water. One should know that Apsaraa are born from water. The examples of his control over Apsaraa and water are --
----When he was only a child he saved Drone from the water creature crocodile
----When he became young His prowess over water while he was burning Khaandav forest - Indra made rain fall over it to put out the fire .... but he succeeded to stop that water...
----When he was in Heaven to take Divine weapos, he could restrain over Urvashee - the most beautiful Apsaraa of Indra's court. She was the same Apsaraa after whom his ancestor Pururavaa was so mad
----He rescued five Apsaraa who were living in water in the form of crocodile from curse.
----He brought water for Bheeshm too when he fell in the battlefield and asked for water

(7) He had full control over Kaam
----He remained calm when Uloopee abducted him to her Naag Kingdom under water.
----He had full control over Kaam, as he had control over Kaam Dev's vehicle crocodile too - Drone incident and the rescue of five Apsaraa in crocodile form.
----Because he had full control on Kaam that is why Drone considered him a worthy person to learn Brahmaastra. Ashwatthaamaa could not learn it in full and he was jealous with Arjun on this matter.

Sushma Gupta

Friday, October 4, 2013

Nava Raatri

Three goddesses - Durgaa, Lakshmee and Saraswatee - form a configuration which helps the human soul get rid of the Mal (impurities), gain spiritual knowledge and attain liberation or Moksh.

Durgaa is a demon killer (Kriyaa Shakti). Demons are the Taamasik (Dark) demons in our mind: Kaam, Krodh, Lobh, Moh, Mad, and Matsarya (desire, anger, greed, delusion, pride, and envy). Once Durgaa kills these demons, Lakshmee (Ichchhaa Shakti) takes over the mind and helps us get rid of Raajasik Vikshep (False perception; distraction; to and fro oscillations of the mind; gales of desire blowing in the mind) which are hard to remove from the mind. Lakshmee helps man acquire the Will Power (Ichchhaa Shakti) and get rid of remnants of desire and false perception by Upaasanaa (worship). What is left is ignorance, meaning spiritual ignorance. Removal of spiritual ignorance and spiritual enlightenment is infused by Saraswatee (Gyaan Shakti).

The eradication of impurities, desires and ignorance with the help of these three deities is celebrated for nine days and nine nights, 3 days and 3 nights for each deity (Nava Raatri = nine nights). It takes nine days and nine nights to defeat these demons. Nine manifestation of Mother Goddess (Durgaa, Bhadrakaalee, Ambaa, Annapoornaa, Sarvamangalaa, Bhairavee, Chandikaa, Lalitaa, and Bhavaanee) are celebrated over nine nights. The tenth day is Vijaya Dashamee - meaning victory (over the demons of the mind; realization and emancipation) on the 10th day.

Normally this festival of Devee or Shakti is celebrated two times a year - in the beginning of summer and in the beginning of winter.  In fact there are 9 Nava Raatri in one year. (365 / 9 = approx in every 40 days of the year) but most people only know and observe only the two Nava Raatri, one in the beginning of the New Year, in Chaitra Maas (April) after Holee and the another one after six months in Aashwin Maas (September-October) after Pitri Paksha.

On the ninth day of the First Nava Raatri (Chaitra or April) is the Janm Divas (birth day) of Shree Raam or Raam Navamee is celebrated. On the tenth day of Second Nava Raatri is celebrated Vijayaa Dashamee, the day when ten heads of ego was brought to Earth by God (Raam) Himself.

Read more about how to celebrate Nava Raatri HERE

Sushma Gupta

Various Sights

There are various types of seeing the things. Here we are giving some different types of seeing the things mentioned in our religious scriptures, you might be surprised to read them  --

(1) Kaamuk Sight
Kaamuk means with lust. Brahmaa Jee had several occasions when he created most beautiful women and after creating them he himself got attracted to them. Bhaagvat Puraan lists Saraswatee one of them. Another one was Ahalyaa. Another one was Tilottamaa whom he sent to kill Sund and Upasund named Raakshas. Among these three the first two are very important.

----When Brahmaa Jee created Saraswatee, he got so much attracted to her that he wanted to marry her. All Devtaa explained him that it was a sin to have the daughter as wife so he had to leave that body. Since he created her that is why she was considered his daughter.
----Second time when he created Ahalyaa, he again got attracted to her enchanting beauty, so wherever she went in his court, a face appeared on Brahmaa's body to see her. Thus he had four faces in all the four directions. When Shiv saw this he immediately cut Brahmaa's one head and left him only with three heads. Later Brahmaa Jee gave Ahalyaa to Gautam Rishi. So this was a Kaamuk Sight at Ahalyaa.
----One Kaamuk Sight and the whole Vansh started - Chandra Vansh. Once Chandramaa saw Brihaspati's wife Taaraa with this Kaamuk Sight, and this caused the birth of Budh. Once Budh was roaming on Prithvi, that he got attracted to Ilaa, the daughter of Manu, and had a son from her Pururavaa and that is how Chandra Vansh started.

(2) Divine Sight
Another is Divine Sight. Divine sight shows all those things which cannot be seen by these mortal eyes.
----When Mahaabhaarat war broke, Ved Vyaas Jee gave this Divine Sight to Sanjaya to see the war from Dhritraashtra's palace itself and even know what everybody was thinking.
----Again when Krishn was preaching Geetaa to Arjun, and Arjun expressed his desire to see Krishn's Viraat Roop, Krishn told him that he would not be able to see His Viraat Roop unless he had Divine Sight, so He gave him Divine Sight to see His Viraat Roop. Ved Vyaas Jee again gave Divine Sight to Dhritraashtra etc to see the scenes of Mahaabhaara war. So this is Divine Sight.
----Damayantee, wife of King Nal, was also given Divine Sight to recognize Nal from among Devtaa. Damayantee used to love Nal very much and wanted to marry him. She was so  beautiful that even Devtaa also wanted to marry her, so they sent their message to her by Nal that she should marry any one of them or face the consequences. For this they all assumed Nal's form and sat near nal. Damayantee got very surprised to see so many Nal and she prayed Devtaa to give her the power to recognize real Nal. Pleased with her prayers, they gave her the Divine Sight to recognize the real nal and she chose him as her husband.

(3) Power Sight
Another is Power Sight. Some people have so much power in their sight that if they see somebody with that sight, they can transform that thing something else. We find such an example in Gaandhaaree's sight in Mahaabhaarat. Gaandhaaree was a great Pativrataa and a devotee of Shiv. When her 99 sons had been killed Bheem in Mahaabhaarat war and only Duryodhan remained, she became sure that Bheem will fulfill his vow to kill her all the 100 sons and he will not spare Duryodhan.

So she decided to use his power sight at that time. She asked Duryodhan to have a bath in Gangaa River and come to her without any clothes so that she could use her Power Sight to make his whole body strong. But unfortunately Krishn had known this and He convinced him not to go to her without any clothes, and at least wear a loin cloth before going to her as he was an adult and she was a woman. Duryodhan got convinced and he wore a loin cloth before standing in front of his mother. When she asked him whether he was without clothes, he lied. As Gaandhaaree opened her eyes, her Power sight made only that part of his body as a Vajra which was without clothes. The covered part remained weak and Bheem killed by hitting his Gadaa on the same part of his body. Such was her Power Sight.

(4) Angry Sight
-----Another one is the Angry Sight. With  this sight one one looks at somebody with anger. When Taarakaasur Raakshas' had the boon to be killed by a 6-day old son of Shiv, it became necessary to have a son for Shiv Jee so that he could be killed. Only some time before his wife Satee had burnt herself in her father Daksh's Yagya. After that Shiv got Vairaagya and he went for Tapasyaa. To have a son it was necessary to marry him. Satee had taken birth as Paarvatee in Himaalaya's palace and was sent to do Tap to marry Shiv Jee.

Now how to wake up Shiv Jee from his Tapasayaa and got him ready to marry Paarvatee? So Indra asked Kaam Dev to go to him and distract him from his Tapasyaa and invoke love in his heart so that he could marry Paarvatee. First Kaam Dev refused to go to Shiv anticipating his death by Shiv's anger, but then considering it Devtaa's work, he got ready to go there. He went there and as soon as he spread his Maayaa, as he had anticipated, Shiv got angry at this and opened his third eye in anger. As soon he looked at Kaam Dev with his angry third eye he got burnt to ashes. On his wife Rati's request, Shiv revived him, but only Rati could see him, others only felt him.

-----Another example of the Angry Sight is found in Mahaabhaarat, when the Mahaabhaarat war was over and Paandav came to see both Dhritraashtra and Gaandhaaree, Gaandhaaree looked at Yudhishthir's feet with an Angry Sight from behind her strip of cloth, still she had so much power in her anger that with that Sight his nails became blue.  Yudhishthir  was very surprised to see this when he noticed this.

Sushma Gupta

Friday, September 13, 2013


King Solomon is not a Hindu character, nor he is related to Hinduism in any way. He is very famous Christian Biblical character. He was the last King of Israel just before its division. I had heard his name before also when I was working in Nigeria in a theological library but it was only a name sake only. I did not know anything abut him. But when I came to Ethiopia, lived there for four years, from 1989 to 1992, and worked there in the Institute of Ethiopian Studies Library of Addis Ababa University then only I came to know about him more. Ethiopian kings consider themselves the descendants of Solomon. How?

There is a very old legend about Solomon continuing from about 3000 BC. There was a Queen of Sheba in Ethiopia in those times with her capital at Axum. She went to see the King Solomon and brought his child with her to Ethiopia. She gave birth to a son who later was crowned as the King of Ethiopia by his father Solomon himself. Since then his descendants had been ruling Ethiopia till 1974, when its last ruler King Haile Selassie, the Lion of Judah, was killed. The account of their meeting is written in "Kebra Negast" (means the Glory of Kings) which is very important book of Ethiopia. This story is supported by Bible, Quran and Jews' Talmud also.

It is so popular that a few books have been written on this theme, even a few films have also been made on this story, but still they are so uncommon for common people that they do not know about it unless they are specifically in that field. It is next to impossible to know about it in India, unless somebody has interest in Ethiopian studies, leave alone Hindi readers. There are some paintings also related to them.

When I came to know about it, a curiosity rose in my heart to read it. Luckily I found a book in the Ethiopian Studies Library and I borrowed it. It was so well and charmingly written that it brought the story live to my mind. I finished it in one day only. When I read that book it seemed to me be a beautiful divine love story. It fascinated me so much that I decided to translate that book in Hindi and I did it. This translation is still with me.

Then I read about Solomon also. His life story is also so fantastic that I could not resist myself to tell people about him. I think I have yet to find a king like him in our Hindu history. A selected bibliography of books and films has also been compiled on "Solomon" and "Solomon and the Queen of Sheba", that is also with it.

He was a fantastic king. I will write something about him in my next blog, till then....

Sushma Gupta

Monday, September 9, 2013

Ganesh Chauth

Ganesh Jee is our one of the five main Deities - Shiv, Ganesh, Devee, VIshnu and Soorya. He is not only the one of five main Deities, but also to be worshiped first among all of them. He is the god of wisdom and prosperity

Ganesh Chaturthee is his birthday. He was  born on Bhaadrapad Krishn Chaturthee. Although this festival is celebrated all over India but it is more important and popular in southern India, especially in Mahaaraashtra. There its celebration continues for five, seven, or ten days. Some even stretch it to twenty one days, but ten is the most
popular time for its celebration. In the tradition of the right hand path the first day is the most important. In the left hand path tradition the final day is most important.

Ganesh Jee is invoked before the beginning of any auspicious work so that it is completed without any hurdle, because he is the Deity of removing all hurdles. It is also believed that for the fulfillment of one's desires, his blessing is absolutely necessary. His ride is Mooshak (mouse) and his  most loved food is Modak (Laddoo). He is the son of Shiv and Paarvatee, and the brother of Kaarttikeya - the general of the gods, Lakshmee Jee - the goddess of wealth, and Saraswatee - the goddess of learning. 

There are many stories about Ganesh Jee, you may read them at,  only a couple of stories are given here.

Birth of Ganesh and His Elephant Head
How he was born is an interesting story but there are several versions as how he got the elephant-head,

Legend has it that once Paarvatee Jee was taking bath in Shiv's absence that Nandee came inside, Paarvatee Jee got very embarrassed, so she asked her friends as what to do. She could not trust Nandee in this way. They suggested her to create a man of her own trust, So once when Paarvatee Jee was taking bath she created a boy out of the sandalwood dough that she used for her bath and breathed life into him. She asked him to stand as her guard at the door so that nobody can come in while she was taking her bath. The boy said "All right" and stood at the door as a guard.

Now Shiv was away to kill demon Jalandhar He had killed the demon and came back to his home with a great victory. When he came home he found a boy guarding his house. He wanted to come inside his house but the boy did not allow him to come inside at any cost. The boy always insisted - "I cannot let you enter the house as it is my mother's instruction." Shiv Jee was in a flux. He did not know that he had a son, who was that boy who was claiming that he was his son.

When even after long persuasion the boy did not allow Shiv to enter his own house, Shiv got angry and a fight broke in between both of them. A little later Shiv cut the neck of that boy and entered his house victoriously. When Paarvatee Jee saw Shiv inside the house, she asked him how did he enter the house? Shiv told her the whole story and told also about the killing of that boy.

Paarvatee Jee started crying, saying that she was her son and if he did not bring her son back to life, she will die. Shiv Jee got very sad. He sent his Gan to find a newborn's head whose mother was sleeping turning her face from her child. The Gan went here and there and found a she-elephant who was sleeping  turning her head from her child. They cut her child's head immediately and brought it to Shiv Jee. Shiv Jee also immediately fixed that head on the trunk of the dead boy and brought him to life.
Why People do not See the Moon Today?                                    
There is strong tradition that people do not see the Moon today. Once his mother Paarvatee cooked twenty-one types of delicious food and a lot of sweet porridge for him on one of his birthdays. Ganesh Jee ate so much that even his big belly could not contain it. Mounting his little mouse, he embarked on his nightly rounds. His mouse suddenly stumbled upon seeing a huge snake. To adjust His belly, Ganesh put that snake around his stomach as a belt.  All of a sudden, he heard a laughter emanating form the sky. 

He looked up and saw the Moon mocking at him. This was a great insult to Ganesh Jee. he got very angry at this. He cursed the Moon that whoever looks at him on my birthday will be accused wrongly. This curse shattered the pride of the Moon and he asked for his forgiveness and prayed him to take back his curse.

Ganesh Jee calmed down, he said - "My purpose is served. My purpose only to shatter your pride. Although my curse will not go in vain, but I assure you that people will regain their good name after seeing you on the 2nd day of the Shukla Paksh or by listening to the story of Syaamantak Mani." the Moon got satisfied.

That is why people do not see the Moon on this day.

Sushma Gupta

Friday, July 5, 2013

Death of Moses-3

Death of Moses-1       Death of Moses-2

Moses Goes to His Wife
Now Moses went to his wife. When he was going there his heart was sinking and the color of his face faded away. he did not know where was he going to. When he came to the door of his wife's house, he called - "I am Moses, open the door." His wife came and opened the door. Moses entered the house. His wife also noticed that his face was colorless and his heart was sinking. She said - "Dear, What has happened to you that your heart is sinking and the color of your face is gone? Have your camels slept or some other thing is lost?"

Moses replied her the same which he replied to his mother - "Who can call me except the God and who else can frighten me except the Death." His wife said - "He who has talked to God face to face also has to die?" Moses said - "Yes, he also has to die. Abraham has also died and other messengers have also died."

Moses again spoke - "Where are my children?" The wife said - "They are sleeping." Moses said - "Bring them to me." Hearing this Moses' wife broke into tears and crying said to her children - "Go meet you father before his death, because after that you will not be able to see him again." She woke them up and brought them to Moses holding their hands in their left and right hands. She again said to them - "Go and meet your father and weep for him because he is getting separated from us." the children asked - "Where is our father?" She brought them to their father and said - "You see your father to your heart desire because you will be separated from him in a very short time.

When the children saw their father, the fell their face down and then broke into tears. They were crying loudly. Moses also cried with them. Then he gathered himself and spoke to them - "We are separating on this Earth." Moses' wife said - "And then we will not be able to see each other ever again." Moses said - "Yes." He picked up his younger son Eliezer and made him sit on his right knee, and the elder son Gershom on his left knee. He blessed them.

The younger brother said to his elder brother - "From today, when we will be separated from our father, whoever has loved us before, he will deceive us; and whoever has hated us, he will exile us." Hearing this from his children Moses again cried. Sky and Earth also cried with him.

God Shows Him His Valor
God asked Moses - Why do you weep Moses? Is it that you are going leaving this Earth? Or is it that you fear the Death?" Moses said - "These my two children and my wife are making me weep. Because my wife's father Jethro has died, my brother Aaron has also died and my sister Miriam too is dead. And if I will also die then with whom I will leave them?"

God said - "When you were born Moses, your mother Jochebed had thrown you in the ocean hiding in a box. Did I forget you at that time? Only I shut the mouth of the King of Egypt Pharao. and shut his mouth in such a way that he was not able to speak even a word. And I made you such that Pharao's daughter Tarmut loved you very much and called you as her son. You stayed there for 40 years. Now you get up and beat a stick in Red Sea."

Moses got up and beat a stick in Red Sea. He saw a large round stone there. God said - "Now you hit that stick on this stone also and rll it." Moses did the same as God told him to do. As Moses hit the stone with his stick, the stone broke and he saw that a tiny worm was eating a blade of green grass. The worm said - "Thanks to that God who has not forgotten me while I am lying on this seabed inside this stone.

And God said - "Aren't you seeing that I have not forgotten even this tiny worm which is lying in the sea hiding in this stone. Then do you think that if they worship me, I will forget them? Your children are now under my protection. Now you kiss your wife and children,  because whoever will take your life will never bring you back and they are standing nearby." Moses' wife cried a lot embracing him and Moses also wept a lot along with her.

Moses Dies
Moses left his wife and children and set off. His heart was sinking, his face was gloomy and he did not his path also. As he was going, he met three young men who were digging a grave. He said to them - "Be happy. And may God also keep you happy. For whom you are digging this grave?" Those young men said - "We are digging this grave for one of God's dear men." Moses said - "If you are digging this grave for one of God's dear men then I will also help you in digging this grave."

When that grave was dug, Moses asked - "Where is that dead body whom you want to bury it here?" The young men said - "We are afraid that lest this place falls short for him to whom we want to bury here, but he is like you in form, size and length. Give us the measurement of this grave by entering this grave." And Moses entered the grave. There he met the Death angel, he spoke to Moses - "O the Son of Amram, be happy." Moses said - "May God give this greeting back to you.." And Moses died and those God's messengers young men buried him.

Death of Moses-1       Death of Moses-2

Sushma Gupta

Death of Moses-2

Death of Moses-1    Death of Moses-3

Moses Meets the Death Angel
Now from that day Moses started wearing his death dress every Friday and waited for his death that perhaps on that the Death angel comes to take his life. Thus lots of time passed and Moses forgot about his death. One day Moses again went on Mount Sinai to pray God and he prayed God. The Death angel appeared in the form of an Israel young man and said to Moses - "Be happy, Moses."

When Moses heard the voice of Death angel, his throat started choking and his tongue started freezing. No word could come out of his mouth. His legs started trembling and he fell down on the ground face down. A little later he got up and said to the Death angel - "Who are you who is saying to me to be happy? I have never heard such frightening voice as yours ever before." The Death angel said - "Don't you know me? Listen to O Moses, I am the same who compels to leaves one's family. I am the same who makes graves after destroying houses till deluge time comes. My name is Suryal, the Death angel."

Moses said - "But what are you dong here?" The Death angel said - "I have come here to take your life which I will give to God." Moses said - "I pray you by the same God who has asked you to bring my life by the third hour of the day (9.00 am) that let me go to see my wife and children till then." At this God said - "Till his Time comes, leave him him." And the Death angel left him there only till his Time came and went away.

Moses Goes to See His Mother
Moses came down of Mount Sinai and came to crossroad where three roads met. One road went to his mother's house and another road went to his wife's house. He was thinking that where should he go first , to mother's house or to wife's house. In the meantime a Divine voice said - "Go first to your mother." and he went to his mother's house.

He knocked at mother's door and spoke loudly - "Mother, Open the door." His mother came and opened the door. She saw that her son is serious and his face is colorless. She said - "My Son, What has happened to you? Have your shepherds said to you that you animals are lost? What has happened to you, my Son?"

Moses said - "Who can call me except the God? And who can frighten me except the Death?" Mother said - "Does he, who talks to God face to face, also has to die?" Moses said - "Yes, Mother, He also has to die. All prophets have died. Now you get up and keep your left foot on my left side and pray to God extending your both hands that he should spare me from the pain of death." Moses' mother did what Moses said to her. he then kissed his mother and went away.

Moses' mother cried a lot and said - "We should not believe on our existence in this world, rather we should expect for it from the Heaven."

Death of Moses-1    Death of Moses-3

Sushma Gupta

Death of Moses-1

Today I am writing a blog on Jewish religion, not on Hindu religion. You must have heard the name of Moses who brought Ten Commandments to this world. So this blog is about the same Moses. This story of Moses is from Falasha literature of Ethiopia. Falasha are the Israel Jews living in Ethiopia. It is long time ago, about 3000 years before, South-western Arabian queen Maqeda (or Queen Sheba) went to see Solomon. Later they had a son from that meeting. Queen Sheba named him Menelik. Queen Sheba was the queen of Ethiopia also. Later Solomon sent some of his people of Israel to help Menelik to rule his country Ethiopia. Those Israel people who came to Ethiopia initially were called Falasha (foreigners) in Ethiopia, although this term was coined in 15th century by the then King of Ethiopia.

They live near Lake Tana, the source of River Blue Nile, speak Agaw language. They worship in Geez language and their worshiping place is called Masjid (mosque)

Falasha have developed their own literature - some biblical and some non-biblical, and it has its own very special important place in Ethiopian literature, although it is very little.Among the non-biblical literature there is one Mota Muse (The Death of Moses) also. Edward Ullendorff has translated this piece in English. This story is based on the same translation. This story describes the death of Moses as how Falasha know about his death. I love this story very much.

It is such a beautiful that it reminds me several basic tenets of Hinduism at different points. That is why I am presenting this story here. Read it and think over it. It is a bit long story that it is presented in three parts.

Moses Meets the God
Once Moses went to pray on Mount Sinai. There he prayed and opened the Book of Torah. He found five things in that book which he could not understand. God appeared before him and said - "Moses, I myself have written these so I know their meaning. I tell you their meaning, listen to it and try to understand it. The first thing is that at the time of living outside of one's own country, being in poverty, being hungry, getting something in plenty, being happy, being sick, being poor and being sorrowful, who thinks that there is some God who is with me, I will guide him. Because I am God whose seat is at the highest.

The second thing is, who has faith in me, he passes his life comfortably and is worthy of my immediate kindness. The third thing is, he who commits sins happily and smilingly, I take him towards the fire of Gehenna (Hell) weeping and crying. The fourth things is, he who gets lots of wealth, and he does not accept that he has got it by God's grace, rather he says that he has earned it himself, I throw him in the fire of Gehenna at the time of deluge. And now you listen to the fifth thing, to whom I have created , if they do not worship me sincerely and do not say that "You are our master", then I cannot show them any kind of my grace. If they do not believe that only I have created these Earth and sky, Heaven and Hell, day and night and Sun and Moon; and they do not believe this also that only I sit on my throne above the sky, I cannot show my grace to them."

Hearing all this Moses said - "I have read in your book that You asked the Earth and sky whether they believe in you or not, and they said - "O Master, Yes we believe in You. But if they had said that we do not believe in You, what would You have done with them?" God said to Moses - "I would have chosen the tiniest animal of the world, whether it was of the Earth or of the sea; and nobody would have known where it lived, and to whom I alone could search; I would have sent the same immediately to destroy them. Then they would not have been seen even like a mustard seed fallen on the Earth."

Moses said - "O Master, Now I ask you by your that name which is not known to anybody else except me, that tell me the day on which you will take my life?" God said - "Listen Moses, what I say to you. Till now there has been no human being born to whom I have told the day of his death, even not to those prophets who has been born before you, nor to those angels who live with me. But Moses, I will surely tell you this I will take your life on Friday." And God disappeared.

Death of Moses-2    Death of Moses-3

Sushma Gupta

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Chaatak Bird

Water is an essential thing for all living beings. Some need it 5-6 times a day while some can manage only with a few times a year. We are familiar with camel that it can retain water for several weeks that is why it is very useful animal for desert areas because the water is scarce there.

Chaatak is a Pied Crested Cuckoo bird who is several steps ahead then camel. He is a migratory bird who appears only in rainy season. He has a shrill voice in which he pleads to the clouds to rain water to quench his thirst.He can survive even for months together without drinking water. Why? Because he is a special bird. What is that specialty? That he does not drink water found on earth. He drinks only that water which falls as rain from the sky during Swaati Nakshatra. He will never drink any ordinary water from anywhere even if his throat is cracking with thirst. Even if he is about to die of a parched throat, and around him there are seven oceans, rivers, and lakes overflowing with water still he will not touch that water. He looks only up, mouth agape, for the rain to fall when the star Swaati is in the ascendant. To the Chaatak bird all waters are mere dryness besides Swaati Nakshatra water.

The Curse of the Bullock
There is a short story related to Chaatak bird - "The Curse of the Bullock". In fact it was not so all the time with Chaatk bird that he would drink water only from sky raining in Swaati Nakshatra. Before he used to drink water ordinarily like other birds and animals, but after this curse his nature changed.

Long time ago, there lived an old woman with her daughter in a small village. While the old woman was hard working, her daughter was very lazy and selfish. They had a bullock in their house too.

“We should take proper care of our bullock.” The old woman would say.
“Hah! Animals should serve us, not that we should serve them,” the daughter would reply.

Now there was a pond, at some distance from the woman’s house. Every afternoon, the woman used to take the bullock to the pond to have a bath and to make him drink water. Meanwhile her lazy daughter would eat and sleep.

One day, the old woman fell ill, so she requested her daughter to take the bullock to the pond.
“It is very hot today, dear! The bullock must be thirsty, take him for a drink” said the old woman.
“Look! I have some sweets here. I know you love sweets, dear. Take the bullock for a drink. While he is drinking water, you can eat these sweets,” the old woman added, handing a box of sweets to her daughter.

The greedy girl agreed, but as soon as she was out of her mother’s sight, the lazy girl tied the bullock to a tree and sat down to eat the sweets. The thirsty bullocks waited for the daughter to finish eating the sweets. “I hope she eats her sweets fast. I am really thirsty,” thought the bullock.

But even after having eaten all the sweets the daughter will not take the bullock to give him a drink of water, The daughter returned home and lied to her mother that she had taken the bullock to the pond and that the bullock had drank water from the pond. The bullock was extremely angry. He cursed the daughter, “In your next birth, you may be born as a Chaatak bird, and will drink water when only it rains in Swaati Nakshatra, not from water found on the earth. As you kept me thirsty today, so you will also remain thirsty.” The curse of the bullock came true. In her next birth, the daughter was born as a Chaatak bird.

Sushma Gupta

Monday, July 1, 2013


Although there are many stories about Vashishth Jee, but here I will tell you only those stories where he had changed the course of Destiny of the people. Vashishth Jee was 1 of he 10 Maanas Putra of Brahmaa Jee in the beginning of the Creation.

(1) Vaivaswat Manu
The 7th Manu, Vaivaswat Manu, had no son in the beginning. Then Vashishth Jee performed a Yagya for him to get a son, but his wife Shraddhaa wanted a daughter, so at the end of the Yagya she requested for a girl. The priest offered the Aahuti and Shraddhaa had a daughter named Ilaa. Manu performed this Yagya for a son, so he was not happy. Then Vashishth Jee changed her gender and made her a male, named Sudyumn.

(2) Vishwaamitra
Vishwaamitra was a king, the son of King Gaadhi. Once he saw the glory of Nandinee cow and bent upon that the powers of a Brahmarshi had more powers than a king. So he left his kingdom and started doing penance to become a Brahmarshi. Now it depended on Vashishth Jee when he declares him a Brahmarshi. But his ego was not going and that is why Vashishth Jee was not declaring him Brahmarshi. After the penance of several thousand of years Vashishth Jee declared him the Brahmarshi and change his Varn from Kshatriya to Braahman. This is the only case of changing Varn in the whole history.

(3) Raajaa Dileep
It is believed that when Raajaa Dileep was getting married to Sudakshhinaa, the ends of the garments of the groom and the bride were tied very tightly. When Vashishth Jee inquired the reason of this tight knot, he was told that the couple would die the moment their knot was untied. Vashishth Jee then altered the course of their Destiny and averted their death.

(4) Raajaa Dasharath
Raajaa Dasharath of Soorya Vansh had no son in the beginning. He waited for many thousand years for a son. Vashishth Jee then suggested him to invite Rishyashring Muni to perform a Putreshti Yagya for him. Rishyashring Muni was the son-in-law of Raajaa Rompaad. Rompaad had married his daughter Shaantaa to him. And Shaantaa was in fact Raajaa Dasharath's daughter. Romapaad was his very good friend, and he had no child of his own, so Raajaa Dasharath gave his daughter to him. That is how indirectly Rishyashring was Dasharath's own son-in-law too. He came and he performed the Yagya then only Dasharath had 4 sons at the age of 60,000 years. Everybody knows that he did not live long after getting his sons, maybe at the most 30 years only.

(5) Changed of the Sequence of the Yug
I read this incident in Gita Press Tulasee's Maans Notes. I do not know how far it is true, but when it is given in Gita Press' Maanas Notes, it should be true, but I myself have never read it anywhere. Vashhishth Jee is a 1 of the 10 Maanas Putra of Brahmaa Jee. So Brahmaa Jee appointed him the family priest of Soorya Vansh. Vashishth Jee was not willing to accept this position as it was not a very respectable position for a Maharshi like him, but Brahmaa Jee persuaded him saying that "the Lord Himself will incarnate in this family in Tretaa Yug, you will benefited with HIs Darshan.".

Now original sequence of the Yug was Sat Yug, Dwaapar Yug (literally the second Yug), Tretaa Yug (literally the third Yug) and in the last Kali Yug. But Vashishth Jee could not wait for Tretaa Yug (the third Yug) to come as the third Yug, so he changed their order of their sequence. It was under his dispensation that after Sat Yug came Tretaa Yug and then came Dwaapar Yug.

That is how he not only changed the course of people's fate, but also even the sequence of Yug also.

Sushma Gupta

Friday, June 28, 2013

Duryodhan's Army

Duryodhan had always been ready for war with Paandav, but since his Maamaa Shakuni was with him, he always suggested some kind of cheating. First he planned for Bheem's killing by feeding him Kheer; second time he planned to kill all Paandav along with their mother Kuntee by burning them in Laakshaa Grih fire and third time he planned the cheating by making them lose in dice game. He did not succeed in the first two but he succeeded in defeating them in dice game.

So why Duryodhan was ready to fight? Because he was sure that he would win the war. Why? Because he had such warriors in his army that Paandav could have never defeated his army. Here I would like to count the warriors of his army on which he was counting, and you will find that he was counting right.

Bheeshm Pitaamaha was great warrior. He was educated by Prashuraam Jee himself and had defeated him once. Besides he had the boon of Ichchhaa Mrityu (he could die only whenever he wanted) from his father Shaantanu. He had already taken vow to kill only 10,000 soldiers daily, not the Paandav.

Dronaachaarya was another great warrior. Apart from the warfare training from his father Bharadwaaj, he had obtained many weapons and warfare tricks from Parashuraam Jee too. Besides he himself was the Guru of Kaurav and Paandav.

Ashwatthaamaa was the son of Dronaachaarya. He was also a great warrior and was immortal.

Kripaachaarya was the disciple of his father Sharadwaan and was immortal too. before meeting Dronaachaarya, only Kripaachaarya was training Kaurav and Paandav in warfare education.

Karn was another great warrior. As he was a Kshatriya, he never liked Duryodhan's Maamaa Shakuni's cheap tactics. He was always in favor of war. He was born with Soorya Dev's natural Kavach (armor) and Kundal (earrings) as his lifesavers and good luck. To save his son Arjun, Indra had to take those Kavach and Kundal in alms from him appearing in disguise of a Braahman. Indra was not satisfied with this only, Krishn wasted Indra's Shakti (Power), given by him in exchange of the Kavach and Kundal, on killing Ghatotkach, Bheem's son. Karn was made powerless by his Guru Parashuraam Jee by cursing him that whatever he had learnt from him he would forget when he would need that education very badly; and was cursed by a Braahman that he would be killed when his chariot would stick in the earth and he would not be able to take it out. Poor Karn.

Dushaasan was also very mighty. He had 10,000 elephants power in his body, like Bheem. Duryodhan had a lots of trust and faith in him and he was his right hand. Dushaasan also loved him very much and he was always ready to obey him whether he ordered him for a justified or unjustified work, that is why he misbehaved with his elder sister-in-law Draupadee.

Shalya was another great warrior, that is why Duryodhan cheated him and made him join his side. Besides being a great warrior,  Karn himself has told about Shalya, that there was no other Saarathee (charioteer) equaled to Shalya who could stand against Krishn. That is why Karn requested him to be his Saarathee and he served that position for two full days. After that he was appointed the Chief Commander of Kaurav Army , on the last day of the war - the 18th day, and he held the front for half a day.

Duryodhan Himself
Duryodhan himself was also a great warrior. He was a Gadaa fighter and he had learnt Gadaa from Balaraam Jee. Although Bheem also learnt Gadaa from Balaraam Jee but he was more skilled than Bheem because then he practiced it for all the 13 years with an iron statue. Krishn Himself has accepted his skills in Gadaa when  in the last, on the 18th day, Bheem and Duryodhan were ready to fight. He said to Paandav - "You all five with your combined efforts also cannot defeat Duryodhan." That is why He had to point Bheem to kill him by cheating - by breaking his thigh according to his vow taken at the time of the dice game.

Eklavya, Jaraasandh and Shishupaal
Unfortunately these three were killed before MBH war, but if they had been alive at that time they would surely be fighting from Duryodhan's side and he had some more feathers to his army. Krishn himself has said to Arjun about these three in Drone Parv - "If Jaraasandh and Eklavya had been alive, they would have been terrible..... They jointly could have won the whole world.... They could not have been killed even  by Indra himself. Once Jaraasandh hurled his Gadaa at us. Balaraam Jee stopped by his weapon, so it fell on the earth and split it. After losing his Gadaa he was killed by me.... Even Bheem was unable to kill him. He got tired after fighting with for 29 days, then Krishn made a sign at him and that is how he killed him.

Eklavya was weakened by Drone by asking his thumb. Otherwise he was like second Parashuraam. he was capable of shooting day and night and was unable to be won even by Devtaa,

Shishupaal was another mighty king, that is why Jaraasandh wanted Bheeshmak's daughter Rukminee to marry Shishupaal. He was invincible even by Devtaa and Raakshas together."

He had several other major warriors also, including Raakshas, Naag etc who were trying to seek revenge from Bheem and Arjun, that is why they were bent upon to kill Paandav and that is what Duryodhan wanted. Thus there is no doubt that Duryodhan would have surely won the war if Krishn had not killed his major warriors by cheating.....  (see Vishnu Cheats)

Sushma Gupta