I have no hesitation in admitting that Allahabad (ancient name Prayag) redefined my beingness.It made me down-to earth, allowing me to view life in its true shades. Although I tried my best to capture all the shades of Allahabad, I am sure I would have missed some beautiful locations. I hope future writers would explore these untouched places in a colourful way. However, in the last part of the photo feature, I have shifted my attention from modern landscape of Allahabad to areas which still remind of the ancient times. Infrastructural bottlenecks prevented me from using state-of-the-art technology in capturing the images and that made me bit depressed. However, now in the aftermath of the publication of photo features, I feel pretty satisfied that I still came to do some good work. These photo features are a tribute to great city Allahabad- my birthplace. A city that taught me how to emerge successful in rising above contradictions to have glimpse of the Absolute!
P.S. :- The copyright of these images rests with the author of this post. Anybody making use of them without prior permission of the author, or without giving due credit to the author, could be penalized as per legal norms.
बसंत ऋतू का आगमन हो चुका है। बहकना स्वाभाविक है। गाँव में तो फगुआ की बयार बहती है। ग्लोबल संस्कृति से सजी संवरी शहरी सभ्यता में क्या होलियाना रंग, क्या दीपावली के दियो की ल़ौ की चमक। दोनों पे कृत्रिमता की चादर चढ़ चुकी है। या तो समय का रोना है या फिर महँगाई का हवाला या फिर जैसे तैसे निपटा कर फिर से घरेलु कार्यो/आफिस के कामकाज में जुट जाने की धुन। त्यौहार कब आते है कब चले जाते है पता भी नहीं चलता। ये बड़ी बिडम्बना है कि त्यौहार सब के लिए दौड़ती भागती जिंदगी में टीवी सीरियल में आने वाले दो मिनट के ब्रेक जैसे हो गए है। सब के लिए त्यौहार के मायने ही बदल गए है। अलग अलग उम्र के वर्गों के लिए त्यौहार का मतलब जुदा जुदा सा है। और मतलब अलग भले ही होता हो लेकिन उद्देश्य त्यौहार के रंग में रंगने का नहीं वरन जीवन से कुछ पल फुरसत के चुरा लेने का होता है।
इन सब से परे मुझे याद आते है कई मधुर होली के रंग। वो लखनऊ की पहली होली जिसमे कमीने तिवारी ने मेरी मासुमियत का नाजायज़ फायदा उठाते हुए और लखनऊ की तहजीब की चिंदी चिंदी करते हुए मुझे रंग भरे टैंक में धक्का देकर गिरा दिया था। बहुत देर के बाद एक गीत उस तिवारी के लायक बजा है हर दोस्त कमीना होता है। तिवारी का नाम इस लिस्ट में पहले है। ये इतना मनहूस रहा है शनिचर की तरह कि हर अनुभव इसके साथ बुरा ही रहा है। बताइए बैंक के कैम्पस के अन्दर छुट्टी वाले दिन बैंक की चारदीवारी फांद कर हर्बेरिअम फाइल के लिए फूल तोड़ने का आईडिया ऐसे शैतानी दिमाग के आलावा कहा उपज सकती थी। गार्ड धर लेता तो निश्चित ही बैंक लूटने का आरोप लग जाता। वो तो कहिये हम लोग फूल-पत्तियों सहित इतनी तेज़ी से उड़न छू हुएं कि इतनी तेज़ी से प्रेतात्माएं भी न प्रकट होके गायब होती होंगी। गाँव की होली याद आती है जिसमे गुलाल तो कम उड़ रहे थें गीली माटी ज्यादा उड़ रही थी। पानी के गुब्बारों से निशाना साधना याद आता है। सुबह से सिर्फ पानी की बाल्टी और गुब्बारा लेकर तैयार रहते थें। याद आते है वार्निश पुते चेहरे, बिना भांग के गोले के ही बहकते मित्र, गुजिया पे पैनी नज़र। ये सब बहुत याद आता है। अपने मन को धन्यवाद देता हूँ कि मष्तिष्क का अन्दर इन यादो के रंग अभी भी ताज़े है।
स्मृतियाँ तकलीफ भी देती है और आनंद भी। इन्ही स्मृतियों में भींगकर पाठको को होली से जुड़े कुछ विशुद्ध शास्त्रीय संगीत पे आधारित ठुमरी/गीत जिनमे अपने प्यारे राधा और कन्हैय्या के होली का वर्णन है को सुनवा रहा हूँ। ये अलग बात है कि मेरे मित्रो के श्रेणी में इन गीतों को सुनने के संस्कार अभी ना जगे हो लेकिन इन्हें स्थापित उस्तादों ने इतना डूब कर गाया है कि अन्दर रस की धार फूट पड़ती है। कुछ एक गीत चलचित्र से भी है, अन्य भाषा के भी है भोजपुरी सहित। इन्हें जैसे तैसे आप सुन लें अगर एक बार भी तो मुझे यकीन है कि संवेदनशील ह्रदय इनसे आसानी से तादात्म्य कर लेंगे हमेशा के लिए। और इसके बाद भी यदि शुष्क ह्रदय रस में ना भीग सके तो उनके लिए जगजीत सिंह का भंगड़ा आधारित गीत भी है। सुने जरूर। ह्रदय हर्ष के हिलोरों से हिल जाएगा।
1. रंग डारूंगी, डारूंगी, रंग डारूंगी नन्द के लालन पे (पंडित छन्नूलाल मिश्र)
पंडितजी को सुनने का मतलब है आत्मा में आनंद के सागर को न्योता देने का सरीखा सा है। बनारस की शान पंडितजी से आप चाहे ठुमरी गवा लीजिये, कजरी गवा लीजिये, या ख्याल वो सीधे आपके रूह पे काबिज हो जाता है। ये किसी परिचय के मोहताज़ नहीं और ईश्वर की कृपा रही है कि प्रयाग की भूमि पर इनको साक्षात सुनने का मौका मिला है। ख़ास बात ये रहती है कि ये गीत के बीच में आपको मधुरतम तरीकें से आपको कुछ न कुछ बताते चलते है। और इस तरीके से बताते है कि आप सुनने को विवश हो जाते है। खैर इस बनारसी अंग में राधा जी ने अच्छी खबर ली है कृष्ण की। मुझे नारी बनाया सो लो अब आप नाचो मेरे संग स्त्री बन के। सुने कृष्ण का स्त्री रूप में अद्भुत रूपांतरण राधाजी के द्वारा होली के अवसर पर।
संध्या मुखर्जी को मैंने पहले नहीं सुना। इस लेख को लिखने के दौरान इनको सुनने का सौभाग्य मिला। बंगाली संगीत में निपुण इस गायिका की आवाज़ मन में घर कर गयी। उस्ताद बड़े ग़ुलाम अली खान की शिष्या बंगाली फिल्मो सहित हिंदी फिल्मो के लिए भी गीत गाये। इस शास्त्रीय गीत को सुनने के बाद आपको राधाजी का किसी बात पे रूठना याद आता है। कोई शिकायत जो अभिव्यक्त होने से रह गयी उसी की खीज इस गीत में प्रकट हो रही है। दर्द है तो प्रकट होगा ही। इसमें कौन से बड़ी बात है लेकिन ये क्या कि आप फगुआ की बयार में बहने से इन्कार कर दे? शिकायत दूर कर के होली जरूर खेले मै तो बस यही कहूँगा।
होली पे मुझे तो वैसे अक्सर ये गीत “होली आई रे कन्हाई” (मदर इंडिया) याद आ जाता है लेकिन ये गीत कम बजता है। बहुत मधुर गीत है। व्ही शांताराम के फिल्मो के ये विशेषता रही है कि भारतीयता के सुंदर पक्षों को उन्होंने बड़े कलात्मक तरीके से उकेरा है हम सभी के चित्तो पर। नवरंग के सभी गीत बेहद सुंदर है जैसे “श्यामल श्यामल वरन” और “आधा है चन्द्रमा रात आधी” लेकिन कृष्ण और राधा के होली प्रसंग पर आधारित गीत कालजयी बन गया। कौन कहता है कि भारतीय स्त्री बोल्ड नहीं रही? देखिये क्या कह रही है राधा इसमें जिसको जीवंत कर दिया संध्या के सधे हुए नृत्य की भाव भंगिमाओ ने। महेंद्र कपूर और आशा भोंसले ने गीत में स्वर दिया है। संगीत सी रामचंद्र का है और गीत हिंदी गीतों को शुद्ध हिंदी के शब्द देने वाले भरत व्यास का लिखा है।
नदिया के पार ने ऐतहासिक सफलता प्राप्त की थी भोजपुरी में होने के बावजूद। रविन्द्र जैन का गीत और संगीत मील का पत्थर बन गया। और यही से भोजपुरी संगीत ने एक नयी उंचाई प्राप्त की लेकिन ये अलग बात है उस मूल तत्त्व से भटक गया जिसके दर्शन इस फिल्मो के गीतों में हुए है। भारतीय फिल्मो में गाँव कभी भी असल तरीके से प्रकट नहीं हुआ। ये कुछ उन विलक्षण फिल्मो में से एक है जिसमे गाँव ने अपनी आत्मा को प्रकट किया है अपने कई मूल तत्वों के साथ।
इस गीत को सिर्फ इसलिए सुनवा रहा हूँ कि इस गीत में मेरे गाँव का स्वरूप बिलकुल यथावत तरीकें से प्रस्तुतीकरण हुआ है। इस में दीखते रास्ते, पगडण्डीयाँ, खेत, नदी बिलकुल अपने गाँव सरीखा है। गीत के बीच में आपको पालकी पे विदा होती दुल्हन भी दिख जायेगी। क्योकि पालकी पे सवार होकर कभी दुल्हन को विदा होते हुए होते देखा था सो इस युग में जहाँ पे सजी धजी कार में दुल्हन को भेज़ने की नौटंकी होती है वहां ये दृश्य आपको बिलकुल भावविभोर कर देता है। खैर गीत सुने जो बहुत मधुर है ऐसा शायद बताने की जरुरत ना पड़े। ये बताने की जरुरत अवश्य पड़ सकती है कि गीत को गाया है हेमलता और जसपाल सिंह नें।
मनोज तिवारी की आवाज में ये भोजपुरी गीत मन को भाता है। ये अलग बात है कि गीत को भोजपुरी गीतों में व्याप्त लटको झटको जैसा ही फिल्माया गया है। वही रंग बिरंगी परिधानों में कूदती फांदती स्त्रिया जो गीत के साथ न्याय नहीं करती प्रतीत होती। फिर भी हरे भरे खेत मन में उमंग को जगह तो दे हे देते है। भाग्यश्री “मैंने प्यार किया” के बाद लगभग गायब ही हो गयी। मैंने प्यार किया जैसी वाहियात फ़िल्म मैंने देखी नहीं सो बता नहीं सकता कि ये टैलेंटेड है कि नहीं लेकिन जहा तक इस गीत की बात है गीत में इनकी उपस्थिति से चार चाँद तो लग ही रहे है लुक्स की वजह सें। खैर इतने दिनों बाद देखना इस एक्ट्रेस को और वो भी एक भोजपुरी गीत में एक सुखद आश्चर्य है।
लारा लप्पा “एक थी लड़की” से बहुत ही सुंदर गीत है। इसी के खोज में ये जगजीत सिंह का ये पंजाबी गीत हाथ लग गया। इसको जगजीत सिंह ने जिस चिरपरिचित दिलकश अंदाज़ में गाया है उतने ही कमाल के तरीकें से इनके साजिंदों ने बजाया है। निश्चित ही सुनने योग्य गीत अगर आप चाहते है कि आप का दिल बल्ले बल्ले करने पे मजबूर हो उठें। वैसे इस गीत के शुरू में मजनू ने अपनी लैला को काली कहने वालो की दृष्टि को गरियाया है सभ्य तर्कों के साथ वो भी सुन लें। हम तो भाई मजनू से बस इतना ही कहेंगे कि जो बकते है उनको बकने दो काहे कि “यथा दृष्टि तथा सृष्टि” ( जैसी हमारी दृष्टि होती है, वैसी ही यह सृष्टि हमें दिखती है)
Carvind, belonged to the world of naughtiest kids. This image of innocence, a pure-hearted spirit, was always found involved in some sort of mess by his parents, who were quite a character in themselves. Naturally, Carvind was natural ally for all disturbing elements. One day, the Lord appeared in his dreams at an unusual hour and said:” My son, I want to visit earth to see how it fares in Kali Age.” “Lord I have heard that you give darshana (appear) at auspicious hours and so I am really surprised to find you at such an odd hour,” said Carvind.
Carvind had slept late in the night. “Vatsa (my dear son), what can I do! You people have given way to strange habits, which defy my system. I waited for you to sleep at proper time but you never did so,” answered the Lord. Carvind felt really embarrassed. “My son, I would come tomorrow and be visible only to you. Though you have often entered in nuisance of all sorts and defied my mode of life as mentioned in the scriptures, it’s quite pleasing to see the temple of innocence prevailing in your heart. I am glad that you find time to remember me.”
Carvind was now fully awake after being in that trance like state. He started recollecting the episodes. How beautiful Lord appeared! The one infinite blue-bodied Narayana was clothed in his “yellow garb”. In his four hands, he carried the conch, the discus, the mace and the lotus. A soft but impressive golden light environed the Lord. He soon became sad as he failed to greet Lord with folded hands and also did not bother to touch his feet.
Carvind decided to rectify his mistake. This morning he extended the duration of his pooja, performing it with greater concentration. He planned to greet Him methodically on His arrival. Carvind got involved in preparations to receive Him and the day soon gave way to evening. He went to bed soon but since he never slept that early, the sleep remained elusive. Anyway, his mind was full of excitement-something that kept sleep at safe distance from the eyes.
He woke up at 3 am. It was dark outside and others were still in deep slumber. Carvind had his bath, which created noise sufficient enough to awaken his mother from deep sleep. She saw Carvind shivering and lost her cool. “So it was not cat but you who were producing such strange sounds in the middle of the night!” “You have become the agent of problems for us” she said before marching towards her bedroom.
Carvind ignored her wrath and sat down for meditation. Today, he attained the divine state very soon. The various zones of his brain got filled with divine consciousness.” Now I have attained a perfect state of mind to receive Him” spoke Carvind to himself as he waited for the Lord’s arrival. He was becoming quite impatient. “Has the Lord forgotten his promise? By now He should have arrived.” Then under the impact of past tendencies, his mind got focused on beautiful girl, whom he had seen at magazine shop near his home.
“Dear son! Please regain your sense. It’s time to break your sahaj yoga (spontaneous attunement), “a familiar voice hit the ear drums of Carvind. The Lord was standing in front of Carvind and His smile said all! Carvind, for a while said nothing, just the way a child gets caught by the mother stealing food from the kitchen. He bent down and touched His Lotus feet, offered some flowers which he had stolen from the garden of his neighbor guarded by a dangerous Doberman, and then washed his feet with holy water, which her mother had warned not to use at all; after all, she had brought it from quite a distance.
The fragrance of His body left him spell bound, rejuvenating his dull senses. “Will Lord, tell me the name of the perfume He uses? If I get hold of this brand of perfume, it would make him instant hit amid his boring girlfriends, always complaining about his choice of clothes and perfume.”
“ Won’t we move out, little angel?” asked the Lord in pleasing voice. “Oh! Definitely Lord” said Carvind, once again found caught on the wrong foot by the Lord. They were now on the road to Sangam(Confluence of three rivers at Allahabad: the Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati). The tempo in which they were sitting was nearly chock-a-block with passengers. The record player was on and devotional songs, based on latest chart-busters echoed inside the tempo. “If I am not wrong, these songs in some way seem to be connected with me,” remarked the Lord with displeasure. “Lord, very few people in the world remember you in the ways prescribed by you in ancient times. Human beings of modern times have attained new means of attaining intimacy with you. They are no longer interested in going by your likes and dislikes.”
“My son, I find iron rods on every roof top, connected to strange Chakra (discus) like round object. What purpose do they serve? Are they some sort of safety device, which prevent you people from dangers?” “No Lord! They do not save human beings from dangers; instead, they drown them deeper into ocean of heinous crimes and problems. This is known as dish antenna, which is connected with a device called Television, watched by human beings the way Yogis fix attention on your form during meditation!”
They were now on the banks of the Ganges. The unhygienic condition that prevailed there left Lord in bitter mood. Dead bodies, bones and waste material were floating on the water. “Whom are you trying to locate?” asked Carvind. “Vatsa, in my previous incarnations I always found people meditating and performing tapas at the banks of Ganges. I am really surprised that nobody is engaged in such pious activity. Where have these people disappeared?” “Lord, they are all sleeping. They are all lost in deep sleep after having watched late night movies, and people like my father and mother, who usually work till late hours of the night, and then go to sleep, just cannot leave bed too early.”
The Lord was pleased to find a Shiva temple. They entered inside the temple and found dogs roaming there. One of them was busy in searching leftovers there; another one was comfortably sleeping over the Shivalinga. I looked at the face of Lord to notice His reaction but He seemed to be lost in some different world.
“Lord, it is not the fault of these dogs. These hungry dogs arrived here in search of food, and entered inside the temple” The compassionate Lord produced food and offered them to the hungry dogs. Carvind’s attitude towards animals had please the Lord. After performing pooja there, they moved out of the temple. In the way, they met some cows. The Lord rushed towards them. He was visibly very happy on seeing them. “Do you love cows?” asked the Lord. “Yes, since they remind me of my mother. She has cow like eyes and when she is angry I also notice same pointed thorns on her head as I come to notice in these cows.” These cows had very little fat on their bodies and most of them looked quite weak.
“Don’t you people take care of creatures? Have I not provided you enough resources and, in some cases, more than enough? In fact, the case is that you people have become greedy and do not believe in charity at all.” The cows standing there suddenly vanished. The Lord sent them to unknown destination, having grass and safe water in abundance. The Lord had suggested Carvind to take him to the needy people. They moved towards slums located close to the rail tracks. The Lord was eager to cross these tracks to reach to the other side but Carvind prevented him from doing so.
“But why?“ asked the Lord. “The signal lights are bright green and so let’s wait. Let the train pass.” He thanked Carvind for providing such valuable life-giving information. The train passed and they moved to the other side. Carvind was amazed at the simplicity of the Lord. The Lord was moved to see the bare bodies of the starving children. The labourers living there were getting ready to leave in search of work. It was a noisy scene. The pungent smell of garbage, scattered around us, entered inside our nostrils, which forced us to leave the spot.
The Lord seemed to be lost in some thoughts after witnessing such a scene. “Lord, that‘s the condition which prevails in the whole nation. The wealth has been distributed in an unequal manner. The rich people have got everything; the poor people have been left at the mercy of fate. The poor person always finds himself in all sorts of troubles. Lord, you sound right that greed is cause of sufferings. “Is nobody working for the cause of poor people?” inquired Lord. “Lord, nobody is working sincerely for their cause. Some organizations, which in the beginning worked in whole-hearted manner, became political in their approach, and thus, deviated away from the cause of the poor people.
They had now arrived near a school. God wished to see the activities inside the school. Unfortunately, it was a government-run school. The teachers were nowhere in sight. The blackboard was barren like a dead river. Some senior students were busy in discussion revolving around good and bad points of latest movies running in the theaters of city. The junior ones were seriously trying to make their paper aircraft attain the maximum height, and also attain the perfect aerial route! Some girls have already opened their Tiffin boxes and were in great hurry to finish the lunch! We found one section of boys getting ready for cricket match and so heated discussion regarding the format of the match was in full flow.
They had moved out of the school and now walking on the road in leisurely way. They came to anticipate a large gathering of people and they turned towards it. It was a meeting organized by the rationalists to create awareness in society and motivate people to develop scientific spirit. The chief speaker asked loudly, “Has anyone of us seen God? No. Then why do we believe in His existence? My friend, you people should not waste time in adoring abstractions by strengthening faith in Lord. I request you all to be more realistic by giving way to scientific explanations.”
For a while they listened to him with great attention but they soon gave way to peals of derisive laughter. They said enough is enough and made sure, as they moved away from that spot, that his words fail to hit their ear drums. Carvind was now feeling hungry as he had not eaten anything since morning. The sun was now shining above their heads. Carvind brought two cups of tea and some pieces of bread from nearby tea stall.
“Vatsa, I find its taste unique. I wasn’t offered this flavor during my previous arrivals on earth. I need nothing, and, therefore, I come to taste this drink, sheer out of grace, as an offering on part of little Bhakta (devotee) like you” said the Lord in a hilarious tone.
“Lord, please forgive me! I am ruled by my desires. That‘s why I dared to offer you tea. However, Lord, if tea vanished from our lives, millions of people across the globe would never get out of their beds! We have become slaves of very things we have discovered!”
They did not drink the tea even as the Lord was eager to empty the cup totally. They arrived at a juice corner and sat there on a bench in a relaxed manner. The staff at the juice corner was asked to serve the juice. The person, who was told to serve the juice, was surprised that I needed one extra glass even as I was all alone! At a close distance was a busy bus stand. Some college going girls had been waiting for the arrival of buses. Like previous days, arrived some youths and started making obscene gestures at them. There were many people present at the bus stand but they preferred to remain mute spectator. But toady something unusual happened. Some men in uniform appeared from nowhere and beat these youths black and blue. They were arrested and taken to police station. The girls and others were quite taken aback as they never found men in uniform intervening in such a timely manner. They like, filmy cops, were used to arrive only after the criminals have left the crime scene.
Carvind stared at the face of Lord and a big smile appeared on his cute face. He realized why the cops had appeared all of a sudden. “Lord, these grown up modern youths do not believe in living life based on values and principles. At next corner, you would find girls and boys consuming cigarette and beer. The cut throat competition has murdered their sensitivity.”
“ My son, every age has got its own peculiar tendencies. The cycle of good and bad actions never stops and as it rotates, it unleashes various effects. You are an enlightened soul, Carvind! You must be aware that Gunas(attributes) constitute character of a human being. When Sattva increases, it brings peace and knowledge. The increase in Rajas creates desires, leading to hectic activities and rise of Tamas creates ignorance, bringing pain and misery. One should always try to increase ones sattva portion in the personality. That also ensures peace and stability in the external world. The change is inevitable and so one should not worry too much about particular condition or happening.”
“Vatsa, now I wish to return back to my abode but before I disappear I would love to meet a real devotee. Carvind took him to home of man in late 40s. He had a wife and three daughters. Though he wanted to have a male child, he had only daughters. He had no source of income and yet he and his family were always found smiling. The girls went to government run school and were talented in many ways. Since the person had gone outside, Carvind and Lord were welcomed by his wife and daughters. His wife was always delighted to find Carvind at his door step and sudden visit has surprised them all. Lord had a close look the home. It lacked many articles required for sophisticated living yet the home looked complete. It had traces of bliss in the atmosphere. Meanwhile, his wife told Carvind that his husband is retarded in terms of worldly understanding. He has no idea what it means to live life in practical terms. The people around him treat him to be a fool but it appears he doesn’t feel bad about it. Meanwhile his youngest daughter, Gauri, interrupting the monologue of her mother, sang for us a beautiful devotional song. Her amazing voice left all of us spellbound. What Carvind really liked about her was that she never said no to singing, even in front of strangers. However, she disliked film music unless it had classical base or really sweet melody. His father has now arrived and seeing Carvind became really happy.
Carvind told him that Gauri had just now sung a beautiful bhajan for us. His father seemed to be pleased but said that she was least interested in refining her voice through regular practice sessions. He stated that Lord has given him enough and though he cannot manage all, he is always in a relaxed state of mind. He never felt he is the actual doer. Lord is driving this body and he noticed that instead of me, Lord has taken better care of his family. Lord’s effort brings greater results than his own individual effort. And so whenever he has to leave home all of a sudden for a long distance journey, he leaves leaving everything on Lord’s shoulder and when he returns he finds home in lesser mess. At that point, his wife informed him that, like always, person acting as in-charge of their fields has cheated them by giving less share of the produce! He received the news with smile. At that point, Carvind and Lord left his room after seeking permission from his family. However, before leaving, this man didn’t forget to compliment Carvind about his eyes and smile and told him that today he found him unusually attractive! “My mother called me this morning son of monkey,” said Carvind. Hearing that not even Lord could prevent himself from giving way to loud laughter! Others were naturally in grip of incredulous laughter.
“Before leaving do teach fitting lesson to my mother. No time for me and not even for herself. She all the time works and just works. And my father! He is like you in a sense that he is always lost in some thoughts. When he is not thinking that way, he is always writing something. They are always pretty conscious about my monkey business. Is it a crime to steal guavas from someone’s trees? If I do not steal them, they soon fall on ground and become unfit for eating. I am preventing the fruits from getting wasted and they all perceive it as a monkey business and give me a bad name.”
Lord heard the tale of Carvind with great attention. He noticed that Carvind has become extremely sad on hearing that he was about to leave. “Do not lose heart. I promise to reside in your heart forever. I would always remain one with you. I know everything, and, therefore, such visits do not mean anything to Me. I come on earth to meet extremely cute children like you-monkeys with sensibility found in cows! So promise me that you would not act as monkey with a razor not only for this world but also for your parents!”
“ I had to say something to you. You would never drop me from your memory and your heart as you come to live a life based on virtues. In nutshell, move in this world freely with an unbroken remembrance of mine” said Lord as He embraced Carvind in His divine arms.
Carvind bent down to touch his Lotus feet and soon forgot everything. Carvind regained normalcy after few hours. Carvind desperately looked for Him but in vain. Lord had returned to His abode. As he closed his eyes, Carvind, felt deep peace within his mind and heart. It was sign of His eternal presence. He had vanished to become one with Carvind!
Pic Two (Internet)
I was once again with Radha. When all others have lost their relevance in my life, she continues to serve me like dutiful wife, opening new zones of vision each day. Who is Radha? Obviously, she cannot belong to this earthly plane. She represents my chamber of mind, which has been personified to provide it a bit of tangibility. And named Radha? To show its origin.
Night was towards its nadir. Only Radha and I were there in the dingy room, arguing over merits and demerits of certain aspect, staring into nothingness during moments of silence that too often interrupted our conversation. Of late, it has become extremely difficult for me to appease Radha. With her strange notions, she always manages to put me on the knife-edge. Later, she repents over her harshness but by then damage has become irreparable. As a damage-control measure, Radha, for few days, distances away from too much of twisting but as I am about to regain equanimity she is back to her usual business with a bang. These days intense debate is going on over the place of marriage in my life.
“So you have decided not to get married,”
“Will you please let the cat out of the bag?” she demanded with a stroke of sarcasm.
“I thought that by now you would have guessed about it. If you haven’t let me tell you that in absence of right partner, I have put this issue on the backburner”, I replied in a cool and calm way.
“What a pity! Yaar, can’t you be little pragmatic? Why are you always hell-bent on emulating a self-destructive logic? You are now well past marriage age. Think about your anxious parents…” she said before being interrupted.
“Well, lend me your ears,” I said, seeking her attention. After a moment of silence I said: ‘ Just like other obedient sons and daughters of present age! They pretend to be close to their parents but on their back care a damn about their reputation. They are always up to confrontation but for the world’s sake they project a sober picture of their maddening lives, keep marrying in the name of providing relief to the parents, but once this tamasha gets over, they immediately abandon their parents. And for rest of their life parents live a lonely life; neither the society not their faithful children show up their faces. Only the other day I read about a lady who died after fighting a long battle with a dreaded disease. Do you know what their sons were doing when her heart must be burning with a desire to see them? They were relaxing in their apartments in Canada, came back seven or eight months later after so many reminders?
“No, I did not mean that, what I am trying to convey is that your parents be greatly relieved once you get married. After all, haven’t they raised you up amid comforts? Aren’t you ashamed over your callousness which has burdened their hearts with additional pain besides those emanating from worldly concerns?”, asked Radha stubbornly.
“Do you understand, Radha, do you anticipate the real motives in the words flowing out unconsciously from the bosom. You are mistaken if you find this sort of thing fit for casual execution; it’s not as simple as it appears to be. Listen, children should never be made vehicle for carrying out ambitions of the parents. Since you have brought them up it becomes obligatory for them to serve your interests, such uttering sound blasphemous. When such intimate relations are build up to ignite selfish considerations, no matter how noble your intentions may be, what is the need to carve place for lofty ideals in our lives? To rope in your bogus expectations, all in the name of rituals would only make the values redundant, existing in our life like lightening in the clouds!
“I understand it all! You are trying to make suspect myself. But remember, you could no longer fool me by spooky versions, “said Radha caught in whirlpool of contradictory emotions. I was smiling being aware of the fact that she was on the brink of losing ground.
“Radha, at least you should not be mindless in criticizing my stand point. Parents, Chachas*, Mamas*, friends and other near and dear ones, have put to sleep their analytical faculty, drugged their discrimination, having given way to compromises. It doesn’t hurt me at all as I know well that such relations are guided by second-rate convictions, frequently changing color to remain in sync with the world. Don’t you think concerns like marriage, job and etc. must be perforce choice of an individual, more so if he or she has attained a level of maturity? The only factor that should be given utmost importance is that whether or not it leads to beneficial changers for people around. If it doesn’t violate the above-mentioned condition, I don’t feel anyone has the right to question about its worth.”
“Now look at the fate,” trembling with passion I said, “of married couples, those who in the eyes of world have been sincere in honoring the wishes of their parent. Be sure, I am not trying to pass a moral judgment on one of the most respectable institutions established by our forefathers with great care. But one cannot ignore the degeneration that has wiped away its finer aspects. They quarrel over trivial issues, hurl choicest abuses at each other, emotionally and intellectually so wide apart yet living together for fulfillment of physical desires, meaningless union but could not separate owing to societal compulsions and yet in the eyes of the world they belong to honorable class of people. Why? Just because they are the by-product of time-tested institution! In other cases husbands and wives are living shattered lives, thanks to the ups and downs of the realistic life, existing merely as instruments with no time to exchange compliments. In some exaggerated examples, both the partners are found trapped in immoral affairs. Reason-not satisfied with each other desperately and now need a change coupled with experimentation! I wonder in age of so many revolutionary isms, it would be highly unfair to treat immoral as immoral. Give it a respectable place, or, simply vanish.”
I said all this with a provocative smile. Not willing to give her room to cast stones at me, I went ahead with my views “What hurts me is elders stubborn refusal to learn lesson from their past mistakes. Having witnessed the consequence of pursuing faulty line of action, they come up with another set of perverse notions. The most shameful thing is that they don’t regret at all. I am horrified over the dullness of these ‘experienced’ brains, which are so cocksure about efficiency of their worn-out ways and means. It was indeed grave mistake that I came to assume repentance unleashed wisdom in their consciousness.”
For some reason, this greatly moved her. Refusing the emotion let loose on her head she said: “Forgive me, I wasn’t aware of the seriousness of the crises. Yes, you are right that one should not expect anything worthwhile from people with a very limited vision. But I am more concerned about you. In all this drama, it’s you who have suffered the most, being the victim of events, which were not entirely your own making. Let them resort to such desperate remedies, at this point of time, I would like to know about your steps to diffuse the crisis.”
“Radha, it’s never has been a well-guarded secret. In fact, the very clarity of my purpose has often allowed others to sabotage it. The likes of worldly experts have left little room for bringing in better choices, yet I have not lost hopes. One thing is crystal clear that it’s not going to fall in the same bracket of affairs like gambling. Instead of being dictated by hazy vision, personal complexes and inflated egos of aberrated minds, the decision should emanate from deeper realm of intellect, leaving no room for setbacks in the future.”
“But suppose such a holistic version refuses to materialize in your life?” she questioned thoughtfully. She was aware of the fact that rudeness of life does not provide humane approaches many chances to germinate.
“Radha, you are now loosing your sense of proportion. Is it sin to go beyond the dictates of people whose thinking abilities are covered in cobwebs? It is crime to provide life and vibrancy to your prized affairs? Perhaps it’s better to move alone than to be part of nightmarish experiences all your life, under the veneer of traditions and rigorous social customs.”
Radha half-whispered to herself and for a while allowed the silence to reign. She was unsuccessfully trying to conceal her tears, something that prevented her to go ahead with the conversation. Being absorbed in the same state of mind she exclaimed, “ I am afraid you would not be able to survive for too long in the world reserved solely for dogs! I know well that sensitive souls like you cannot survive without a companion. When that was the case, why didn’t you find one molded in your perception?”
“Well, a chance encounter had dragged me towards such a soul, but before it could blossom, it succumbed to the primitive-thoughtlessness of the pseudo-crusaders of the society. These perfect spoilsports who are mired in unspeakable affairs attain a sacrosanct position in these matters; on their verdicts innocent souls are mercilessly butchered without given a slight chance to communicate their intentions. As the days pass away, souls like us slowly get reduced to ashes amid gross activities of average everyday life.” “ I am eager to know her name, my dear fellow” Radha insisted.
“What is in the name? For me, she was simply your reflection! That’s all,” I suddenly said, looking straight at her face.
“Hm-that’s all right- but what about your friends? Why didn’t they conceive a strategy to pull you out of the mess?” she asked, blushing with gloomy eyes.
“It’s a sad reflection, but I could not resist myself from making a confession that they were enemies masquerading as friends. It seems strange but they left no opportunity, like bunch of cheap crooks, to create nuisance at defining moments. Worse, after causing the debacle, they were little ashamed in delivering absurd suggestions, to view the whole episode as hand-work of destiny! It was indeed misplaced trust on these determined liars, who with help of their half-truths, spelled doom for me. Though I wanted to retain the illusion of recognizing them as friends for a longer time, however, their sincerity towards shrewdness made it impossible.”
“So now you are all alone! Being burdened with awesome grief how are you going to remain on the right-track, one that makes the journey of life fruitful? You are in terrible state of loss!” burst out Radha with restless anxiety. Evidently, she was quite out of her wits, all the time eyes were glued on her feet, momentarily rising up to stare at my face with sad and severe look that left me horrified.
“Radha! I find myself trapped in the body. I don’t want to get identified with fifth of this sort, an identification that has now little meaning for me except initiating cycle of meaningless cause and effects. Give me blue, for survival” I said in a distinct tone.
“Blue? What does it stand for?” asked Radha in a trembling voice with a cold smile.
“Radha, you seem to have fallen in league of present day politicians, who so easily forget their promises! I am surprised to find you so forgettable a person. Just a little while ago, haven’t I attributed it to you as your intrinsic nature?” no sooner had I asked this I found her giving way to strange look.
Later, a smile dipped in divinity, flashed across her face. The night has changed her tempo, inviting the dawn to unfold its magic. Meanwhile, Radha has embraced my consciousness, placing me in her domain – unending stretch of blueness that came to annihilate our distinction, making us one forever.
Chacha: Brother Of Father
Mama: Brother Of Mother
(Today we are celebrating the birthday of Shri Radhaji. I am posting this article, an ode to female power, to mark the occasion. The article has been previously published in Northern India Patrika, 2001; Soham, bilingual International magazine, 2005; British edition of Indowaves)
Radha holds a special place in the hearts of Radha-Krishna devotees. Krishna without Radha can never be meditated upon, and that explains why Janmashtmi is incomplete without Radhashtmi’s celebrations in full fervour. On this day devotees plunge into a state of euphoria in Vraja where it is celebrated with grandeur. Radharani, daughter of Brishabhanu and Kalawati, was born in Barsaane fifteen days after Krishna’s birth in Mathura. Radha being ‘hladinishakti’ (the power of bliss) of Shri Krishna always remains in unison with him. Radhashtmi, her appearance day, is viewed by the devotees as a day that leads an aspirant on to the path of bhakti and bliss—a step closer towards absolute merging of the lover in the beloved. Radha’s grace alone provide as supreme Bhakti (devotion) and it is she who makes a seeker’s union with Krishna a reality.
According to Padma Purana, Gopis (cow-herd girls) were Rishis of Dandakarnya who had expressed their desire to be in intimate service of Lord Rama. Lord Rama had then told them to wait till his next incarnation as Krishna takes place in Dvapar age. Upanishads, too, appeared in the form of Gopis to participate in Leelas (divine gestures) of Krishna. Gopis who embraced the lotus feet of Lord Krishna have been classified into several categories due to difference in attitude and service. Some are sadhna –oriented i.e. they have attained Gopi bhava because of austerities performed in their earlier births whereas some are in service of Krishna from beginning (Nitya-priya). It is said that a jeeva( worldly soul) attains Gopi bhava through intense tapas. Radha, Chandraravali Visakha, Lalita, Shyama and Padma were prominent Gopis. Shri Radharani is of Mahabhava Swaroopa and, therefore, she stands apart from others as the Chief Gopika.
Raadhika possesses infinite qualities prominent among them being twenty five, which includes chief among Krishna-priyas, soft-spoken, clever, and adept in classical form of music, Rasaswaroopa kind-hearted, owner of pious smile and unusual depth within. Her actions are borne out of desire to serve and please Govinda.
Surdas gives a loving detail of the first meeting of Radha and Krishna. One day Shri Krishna while engaged in the Bal Leela (childhood gesture) happens to reach the bank of Yamuna. He is surprised, as well as delighted, to find there a new face which was glowing with supreme beauty. Krishna, left dumb struck by such a beauty could not resist himself from asking her name, “I have never seen you before in Brija.Who are you?” he asked. “Why should I come to ever come to Brija, I have too many friends to play with at my place. I have come to know that Nanda’s son is a big trouble-maker who excels in the art of stealing,” she shot back. Krishna, determined to get her company said, “What do you possess that I am going to steal from you and which you fear to lose? Come let’s play together. We would form an excellent pair.” Poor Radha she didn’t realize that what she was going to lose—heart the most valuable possession of any woman.
The conjugal relationship between Radha and Krishna is pinnacle of Madhurya Bhava (the bliss oriented state). At this point it is necessary to mention that Parmatma (Supreme Self) is one-without-a-second! Therefore no leela (divine act) is possible in this state. In the madhurya bhava, Nirguna Parabrahman is supposed to have a form with which a bhakta can establish a relationship. Gradually moving through five principle bhavas a stage comes when a bhakta cares little for worldly obligations and principles. This is the peak point popularly known as “Kanta Bhava’in Vaishnava literature. Something that separates Rasa leela from ordinary leelas is whereas the former takes place at yoga maya level, the latter is performed at Mahamaya level (highest plane of consciousness). Surdas considers total surrendering and forgetfulness of body consciousness essential for maturity of Madhurya Bhava. Bhagvan Ramakrishna said, “I have spent a few days in Radha Bhava. On those occasions I use to dress like woman. It is indeed impossible to sing the glory of Radha who is embodiment of refined virtue and supreme love.”
Gross mundane realities prevent us from having a glimpse of Rasa leela of Radha and Krishna but bhaktas like Surdas are always absorbed in their Madhurya. Explaining the reason of deep love between Radha and Krishna Surdas cites chidhod fancies. He feels a bond of friendship formed in the childhood contains in it the seeds of deep love, which under favourable circumstances get converted into life-long commitment. Gaudiya cult provides an absolutely a different explanation. Here love already exists in their hearts and its growth is not dependant on outside influences. Similarly Radha conceived by Chandidas is too sensitive whose heart aches on hearing the name of Madhava.
Perhaps differences in their outlook are the result of bhava that captivated their hearts, which is in each case unique. So Radha of Surdas has egocentric tendencies. She not only humiliates Krishna but even rebukes him on trivial issues. So what if in isolation she weeps for Krishna, her heart always aching for intimate moments. It is this duality in her behavior and paradoxical approach that keeps Krishna guessing whenever He meets her. On the other hand, Vidyapati’s Radha too has ego but it subsides when she faces Krishna. Radha perceived by Chandidas is completely devoid of ego. She neither reacts nor retaliates but remains absorbed in His thoughts.
Vaishnavaas have carved unique image of Radha, which has no parallel. It is so because Vaishnavas don’t consider Bhakti to be bhava, Bahakti is ‘Rasa’ to them. Though Radha does not figure in clearly in Bhagavat Purana, she is the prime character of Brahma Vaivarta and Padma Purana. Jaideva’s appearance on the scene in 12th century makes Radharani comes into limelight. It is believed that these two Puranas and Geeta Govinda of Jayadeva established her as paragon of love and virtue. But it was Nimbakacharya who first revealed philosophical aspects of Shri Radha’s various dimensions. Lord has two powers namely Kriyashakti (power to perform) and Gyanaskati (power to seek knowledge). Satyabhama (Bhudevi) represents the former while the Rukamani(Sridevi) stands for the latter. In Radha, these two powers get unified and she thus becomes Parashakti (supreme power) of the Lod. In this form these two powers attain a non –dual relationship with the Lord but in their individual state retain their particular relationship. Thus, exists a distinction when one fails to identify with Sri Radha. Sri Nimabakacharya provides a much elevated status to Radha. She becomes Bhakti or Brahman Vidya (Knowledge of self) which liberates jeeva from bondage of Maya. In other words, she becomes a Supreme Master.
Shri Krishna, who always remains one with her, is called “Atma Rama”. Krishna states in Padma Purana: ‘Know Radhika to be best of teachers of the Highest Knowledge—Knowledge of Brahman.’ Let us pray that she appears on the earth again and again. If Radha arrives how can Krishna remain far behind? May we get devotion for her so that our hearts get purified to receive her grace. And, thus, we become one of the participants of ever happening grand ‘Rasa leela of Radha and Krishna ’.
Some Popular Bhajans Associated With Her: