Friday, March 30, 2007

Fear Not The Evil - Prayer For Self-Confidence

(Inspired from Bharathiar’s verses)

(Thou Shall) Be afraid not, be oppressed not,
Quiver not, nor shall thou shy away.
(Thee) Is no sin and shall veil thyself not,

We shan’t fall for unto anything,
Nor shan’t we fear catastrophe.
Fear we not the seethe of holy sea.

We shall fear none, we shall fear nothing
We shall fear nowhere, we shall fear at no time

Skies exist and so do the rains
Sun exists and so do the waters
We fear not till fire and the moon,
Mind, body and soul are in togetherness.

Paritranaya Sadhunam - A Prayer Of Surrender


We stand before thee, My Lord!
As did Draupadi, with folded hands.
Hands folded above the head,
With abandoned ego and surrendered minds.
You promised us once, My Lord!
Of destroying the sinful.
Thus protecting the righteous,
At testing times when dharma needs to unfurl.


We cry before thee, My Lord!
As did Gajendra, at top of the voices.
Voices crying for protection,
In belief of thy appearance to destroy the vices.
You promised us once, My Lord!
To be born again in this world.
Thus shall redeem the mankind
From sins of denial, deception and dishonesty.


We pray before thee, My Lord!
As did Prahalada, with ultimate faith.
The faith that would undo all wrongs,
With commitment that bears the root & cause of dharma.
You promised us once, My Lord!
To be saviour of your servants.
Bless the good at times of anguish,
Onto regain trust in thee, thy ways and prayers.


We fall before thee, My Lord!
As a devotee and completely surrender.
Surrender that is unqualified,
At thy lotus feet and pray for benevolence and compassion.
Promise us NOW My Lord,
Thy trial shan’t be prolonging henceforth.
With belief, faith and trust,

Rahul! I am happy your boys did not win!!

Rahul, I am happy your boys did not win!

Dear Rahul Dravid,

You might think I am cynical, you might think I am negative and you might think I am being sarcastic, but the fact is I am happy that your boys did not win. Rather you did not deserve a victory because; you did not have the mental character to win. Rahul, I love Indian team, but I love cricket also. If would have won against Sri Lanka, or if you would have beat Bangladesh, I would probably think that a team that did not deserve victory on that day has won. I think you don’t deserve, not because you are inefficient players, but you are an inefficient team.

I am sure with the sort of pressure you had on field, you might not have appreciated Bangladesh’s performance the on that day. Find a recording and see the match again. You will start loving cricket more. I have witnessed the grit and determination that the team (…team, not individual players) exhibited, only with Australians and Pakistan before, and probably Sri Lanka in 1996. I have not seen such a performance by your boys on any given day. I would even say I have not witnessed such a performance from South Africa and Lloyd’s West Indies. While I am in awe of the Bangladeshi performance I am talking only about their team performing skills which you lacked on that day and which is your weak point, on any given day. Team performance is often exhibited on field through body language, intra-team communication and killer instinct attitude in every delivery (received or served). You guys were at rock bottom of your morale, exhibiting a dead man’s body language.

Successful teams can be classified into two types. One, that win on technical perfection; examples are South Africa under Hansie Cronje and Clive Lloyd’s invincible team. Two, that win on an emotional high supported by excellent individual skills; examples are Dada’s Indian team supported by excellent individual performances by Sachin and you, Imran’s Pakistani team supported by geniuses of Javed Miandad and Wasim Akram, Ranatunga’s Sri Lankan team with Sanath Jayasuriya and Arvinda De Silva. There is also a third variety which has a dangerous combination of both at the highest. That is Australia, both under Steve Waugh and under Ricky Ponting. Logically, a coach should have sat down to classify what is the temperament of the team, find its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and approached you accordingly. I don’t say that Greg Chappell has not done that, but I say, it just doesn’t show.

Individually just imagine the caliber of your boys. Between Saurav, Sachin and you, you share close to 35000 runs. You are the three of only six batsmen who have crossed 10000 runs in ODIs. What bad could be said about Sehwag apart that he has been in poor form for a long time? On a good day anyone knows and I am sure Ricky Ponting knows god of death cannot be deadlier. Yuvi, a man in form, who could perform even after an injury and seen as the future captain. And Dhoni? The messiah whom we have been waiting for all these years, a wicket keeper who could bat, an Indian version of Moin Khan, Boucher or Kaluwitharana, if not Adam Gilchrist. You had gone to the Carrebean with a five pacemen for the first time. Probably, for the first ever time, Indian team had these many pacers. And for the great Indian spin, you had Jumbo Kumble, the epitome of self confidence and how on earth could you drop him from a crucial match against Lanka? How come such great individual players could not perform as a team? Because they are just not used to.

I again reiterate that as a team your boys never deserved to win. There was no exhibition of team spirit. You could win or lose a match but you should never lose the morale. But your boys never had that morale in the first place. I don’t say that you are a bad captain but I am sure Saurav was a better captain, because he knew if at all India could win, it was only because of the emotional high, and only an emotional high will bring this team together. For god’s sake understand that India is not South Africa. Indians are made of emotions and our blood has slightly higher temperature than that of South Africans. Greg and you tried to make a South African lion out of this team but ended up making a Central African chimpanzee. Indians are Indians and you need to treat them the Indian way. Rahul, just tell Greg that we even eat pizzas with paneer and have vegetarian hot dogs.

To all of us, cricket is next to religion. We enjoy cricket when we travel in the local trains, when we get crushed in the crowded bus, when we walk on a polluted road or when we fight with a guy who has just banged on our car. We love cricket more than Amitabh Bachan or Rajnikant. Fans would not agitate in front of Amitabh’s house or Rajnikant’s house if they gave a bad movie, but even kill themselves if you played badly. Rahulbhai, victory comes and goes, matches are won and lost, but spirit should never die. Indian fans did not ask you to win every match, they did not even ask you to win the Bangladesh match and Sri Lanka match. They just asked you to die like a warrior when you had to die. Don’t present a meek surrender. On that day you weren’t boys in blue, you were boys in pale.

Boss, play cricket with that spirit with which Indian Junta watches cricket.

Don't Touch Rama's Bridge

A Loud Call – “Don’t Touch Rama’s Bridge”
Ashwin Kumar Iyer

First Hand Layman Witness

I have visited Rama's bridge near Rameshwaram. I went there last year. Though the place assumes a lot of importance historically and religiously, there is no sign board or organised tourism to this place. We had to go asking local residents on the way.

Once we reach the nearby area (there is a newly built small hanuman temple) we have to take a motor boat to venture close to a kilo meter into the sea to reach Rama Sethu. Reaching there was not exactly a great experience, since there was no organised facility. I was told that a good view of the Sethu can be had during low tide times and especially during the nights or early mornings, I had chosen such a time to visit the place. Once I reached the actual Sethu Site, I was astonished and was in loss of words. The bridge should be easily 40-50 feet wide (the visible part) and made of huge stones. For a normal logical mind it certainly does not seem to be a geographical phenomenon. It certainly looks like a huge manmade structure. At least that is was the structure of the bridge suggests.

Historical Facts

Let us get into a little bit of history and find out what the said structure means factually.

This structure of close to 48 kilometers which is 3 to 30 feet deep through its course and was well above the sea level till the 15th century. The oldest recorded map that mentions of Rama’s Bridge is the Malabar Bowen Map of Netherlands which is supposed to have been made in 1747, where the map mentions no name to the bridge but has mention about a place Ramencoil. Further, the same place is mentioned again in a 1788 Map of Hindoostan available in the Sarasvathi Mahal Library, Thanjavur.

This bridge has also been mentioned by James Rennel in his earliest maps of India 1788 as Rama’s Bridge. However, Rennel carefully and tactfully renamed the bridge as Adam’s Bridge in his 1804 version of the map.

Lying dormant under the waters, the bridge again came into light after the NASA’s satellite pictures released in the early 1990s created curiosity among historians and excitement among Dharmics. Tales started going around on the date of Rama’s Bridge starting from 1.75 million years to 3500 years. NASA though accepted the authenticity of the pictures, however refused to comment on the dating.

Few dating attempts have been made after that. While the Sri Lankan Archeological Department dates the bridge to close to 2 million years old, Centre For Remote Sensing, Bharathidasan University dated it close to 3500 years old.

While existence of this geographical phenomenon is not disputed, no research has been done to find out neither the man-made nature of the bridge nor the religious connection.

Religious Questions

For devout Dharmics who assume and believe the said structure or the geographical formation is a bridge built by Shri Rama, there are certainly a couple of religious questions that arise often. I have attempted to answer them supported by Valmiki’s Ramayana.

Why did Rama build a bridge instead of crossing over in a ship?

The number of soldeirs in Rama's army was huge. You might have to build too many
ships to cross over. Ramayana says "thousand crore monkeys crossed over". We can
take this number to be a poetic exaggeration, but the fact remains that the
number was on a higher side. Moreover, the sea god himself says that the waters
are rough and he will not be able to go against nature (even if god wishes, he
shall not breach the law of nature, is the beauty of Sanatana Dharma).

In slokas 2-22-25 to 2-22-28, the King of Ocean says, “O, beloved
Rama! Earth, wind ether, water and light remain fixed in their own nature,
resorting to their eternal path. Therefore, I am fathomless and my nature is
that it is impossible of being swum across. It becomes unnatural if I am
shallow. I am telling you the following device to cross me. O, prince! Neither
from desire nor ambition nor fear nor from affection, I am able to solidify my
waters inhabited by alligators. O, Rama! I shall make it possible to see that
you are able to cross over. I will arrange a place for the monkeys to cross me
and bear with it. As far as the army crosses me, the crocodiles will not be
aggressive to them.”

How was it possible to build such a bridge across the Ocean?

It was a planned effort and did not happen easily. Nala, the son of Viswakarma, the
celestial architect was a good architect as his father. I am giving below the
slokas and their translations on the building of the bridge. The posting of
slokas are too long, but then just read them, they are wonderful and worthwhile.
Valmiki describes construction of this bridge between Slokas 2-22-50 and 2-22-72

“I am a son born of Visvakarma’s own loins. I am equal to Viswakarma.
This god of Ocean has reminded me. The great ocean spoke the truth. Being
unasked, I have not told you my details earlier. I am capable of constructing a
bridge across the ocean. Hence, let the foremost of monkeys build the bridge now
itself. Then, being sent by Rama, hundreds and thousands of monkey heroes jumped
in joy on all sides towards the great forest. Those army-chiefs of monkeys, who
resembled mountains, broke the rocks and trees there and dragged them away
towards the sea. Those monkeys filled the ocean with all types of trees like
Sala and Asvakarna, Dhava and bamboo, Kutaja, Arjuna, palmyra,Tilaka, Tinisa,
Bilva, Saptaparna, Karnika, in blossom as also mango and Asoka. The excellent
monkeys, the forest animals lifted and brought, like Indra’s flag posts, some
trees with roots intact and some others without roots. From here and there the
monkeys brought Palmyra trees, pomegranate shrubs, coconut and Vibhitaka,
Karira, Bakula and neem trees. The huge bodied monkeys with mighty strength
uprooted elephant-sized rocks and mountains and transported them by mechanical
contrivances. The water, raised up due to sudden throwing of mountains in the
sea, soured upward towards the sky and from there again, gushed back. The rocks
befalling on all sides perturbed the ocean. Some others drew up strings a
hundred Yojanas long (in order to keep the rocks in a straight line.) Nala on
his part initiated a monumental bridge in the middle of the ocean. The bridge
was built at that time with the cooperation of other monkeys, of terrible
doings. Some monkeys were holding poles for measuring the bridge and some others
collected the material. Reeds and logs resembling clouds and mountains, brought
by hundreds of monkeys, lead by the command of Rama, fastened some parts of the
bridge. Monkeys constructed the bridge with trees having blossom at the end of
their boughs. Some monkeys looking like demons seized rocks resembling mountains
and peaks of mountains and appeared running hither and thither. Then, a
tumultuous sound occurred when the rocks were thrown into the sea and when
mountains were caused to fall there. On the first day, fourteen Yojanas of
bridge were constructed by the monkeys speedily, thrilled with delight as they
were, resembling elephants. In the same manner, on the second day twenty Yojanas
of bridge were constructed speedily by the monkeys of terrific bodies and of
mighty strength. Thus, on the third day twenty-one Yojanas of the bridge were
constructed in the ocean speedily by the monkeys with their colossal bodies. On
the forth day, a further of twenty-two Yojanas were constructed by the dashing
monkeys with a great speed. In that manner, on the fifth day, the monkeys
working quickly constructed twenty-three yojanas of the bridge up to the other
seashore. That Nala, the strong and illustrious son of Visvakarma and an
excellent monkey built the bridge across the sea as truly as his father would
have built it. That beautiful and lovely bridge constructed by Nala across the
ocean the abode of alligators, shone brightly like a milky way of stars in the

Logical Questions to be Addressed

In the wake of Sethu Samudram Project, it is a known fact that the historically and religiously important Rama’s Bridge would be demolished to make way for a new shipping canal between India and Sri Lanka. A few political parties have raised security concerns over this idea and a few other experts have raised eyebrows on the economic benefits this project could offer. However, I have done no research on that subject and would not speak about security concerns and economic benefits. Besides security issues and economic viability the said project is attached to an extremely sensitive issue of history and religion.

It is highly surprising how the said project was approved and cleared by various departments (especially geology and archeological departments). It is understandable that the said project has not gone to their purview because no archeological activity or geological research is happening in the current site. However, in the wake of said allegations by various political parties, non-governmental organizations and religious institutions, these departments could have made a suo moto response to the Union Ministry of Shipping & Transport to halt the project till a research is commenced and concluded in the said site. The ministry in a self-confession in the parliament has come out with a statement saying that ‘no archeological work has been done in the said Rama’s Bridge site’. In that case, it is highly inappropriate to demolish a structure which has a historical and religious importance without a proper justified research backing the decision.

Relevant to this case, there are a few questions that are still unaddressed, say,

1) First and foremost question is that whether the said bridge is man-made or a geological phenomenon.

2) If it were a geological phenomenon it would assume a great importance for geologists and scientists, making it very important for us to preserve it. It would probably become the oldest natural rock formation in India and the biggest and oldest natural rock formation of the world and the only one under the sea.

3) If it were man-made but not built by Rama, still it is of extreme importance as an archeological site. Probably it would classify as one of the man-made wonders of the world and the oldest ever man-made bridge to exist.

4) If archeologists and theologists can prove it to be anywhere closer related to Shri Rama, the importance would be the greatest, since it has a religious connotation and probably the biggest find relating the religion (especially Dharmic) and also of archeological importance attached with religion.

Answers to these questions would certainly direct us to only one conclusion – the Rama’s Bridge should not be touched for demolition. It might/might not be a religious site, but it is certainly beyond even what we call as “precious”. It is a natural phenomenon which has surprised scientists and geologists by its sheer existence.

If Indian government tries demolishing Rama’s bridge for enabling a shipping canal project, I might probably even think that the government might take Qutab Minar off the place because it disrupts traffic. I do not think the UPA government would want themselves to be equated with the Taliban who destroyed Bamiyan Budhas while the whole world witnessed. In both cases of Taliban and UPA government the action is the same, destroying of world heritage, while only the motive is different.

The word of caution is loud and open – Don’t Touch Rama’s Bridge.