Sika Andar, O Alexander!

Part ONE of the series on Sindh was titled ‘Sindh Gained Sindh Lost’. Read on.

Alexander is on the Way Back to his country,to Macedonia…. Passing through the region now known as Punjab and Sindh, he remembers his teacher Aristotle’s message: “When you are done with your military campaign, and passing through the land of seven rivers Sindhu Desh, do find a man of God there, a Godman who can teach you what I have not been able to teach you.”

Unlike the modern day scholars, Aristotle was very much down-to-earth a person, a philosopher par excellence. He did not consider it as belittling his own wisdom to advise his student to learn something of value from other masters.

The Ancient Greek Records tell us about Alexander’s meetings with a number of, what they referred to as gymnosophists or “the men of wisdom engaged in various physical exercises – the yoga practitioners. One of them, Dandamis, Danda Swami or Dandi Muni, made him realise the futility of his mission and prompted him to call it off.

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Sindh Gained – Sindh Lost

After a Long, Long Wait of more than 45 years, my father finally breathed his last with his unfulfilled dream of going back to Sindh, of kissing the earth of Jeejal or Mother Sindh. He lamented in one of his poems written in Sindhi: “Alas, I may die uprooted from my motherland… all hopes gone, my dream unfulfilled… I may not have a glimpse of Jeejal, Mother Sindh again… no, not in this life, it seems…”

He came to Indonesia in the 1930s, when he was in his twenties. As a Sindhwarki, an Overseas Sindhi, as they were then called, he cherished the dream of “making money overseas, and going back to Sindh to settle down.”

During the 1930s and early 1940s he may have made two trips back to Kotri, his hometown, or, rather home village in those days. He had decided for the third trip as his last one, “vari bhi pahinjo mulq pahinjo, pardes mein kahitro waqt guzaarbo?!” – How long can one live overseas, one must finally go back to where his roots are?

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On Guru Purnima, a Tribute to my Gurus

Guru Purnima is a Day for Reflection,a day to meditate upon not only the meaning and the inner significance of both Guru and Purnima, but also to offer our gratitude to all those who have inspired and guided us along the path.

We all are familiar with the following opening verse of the Guru Stotra in praise of the Guru:

Gurur Brahma Gurur Vishnu Gururdevo Maheshvarah |

Gurur Sakshat Param Brahma Tasmai Shri Gurave Namah ||

Guru is the very Manifestation of Brahma, the Creator; Vishnu, the Sustainer; and, Maheshvara or Shiva, the Recycler. Indeed, Guru is The Para Brahman, the Supreme One. Salutations to That Guru.

But, for Those who have long forgotten their ancestral wisdom, culture or samskriti, such praise, adulation or glorification of a “living being” can be considered blasphemous.

We are not talking about those not familiar with our traditions, but our own youth, our youngsters – they have a huge problem bowing down to the elders. The television anchors in Bharat not only call their elderly guests by name, but also shout and scream at them, forgetting the very Ethics of Journalism. Namaskar and Namaste have lost their meaning. They are used as lip service.

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Samskriti, Sanskrit and Indonesia

“(… the archeological evidence) confirms the origin of Civilisation and even of humanity itself in the Indies….that is, India and Indonesia…” Prof. Arysio Nunes dos Santos in “Atlantis, the Lost Continent Finally Found”.

To date, “Sanskrit in Indonesia” by Dr. J. Gonda, Professor of Sanskrit and Indonesia Linguistics, Utrecht (Holland) remains one of the most often quoted work on the subject. No doubt, it is an interesting read.

The Professor must have spent years researching the subject, not to miss the time and energy spent on learning the fineries and subtleties of the languages and the idioms. As any other professor and researcher before 1950s, he too starts with the premise that the Indonesian Archipelago, or Dvipantara as it was known in the ancient times, was influenced by India, thus coining the phrase “Indian Cultural Colonization” of the archipelago.

Almost seven decades after the publication of Dr. Gonda’s work in the year 1952, this premise is now being challenged.

The New Technology, satellite pictures, archeological findings, etc. prove beyond any doubt that there was no such thing as cultural invasion and colonization.

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Yoga beyond the Boundaries of Bharat

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana (1863-1952) Philosopher, Essayst, Poet and Novelist

Empires, Entire Nations and Civilizations have fallen from grace, disintegrated, fragmented and turned to dust because of this very reason. Many of them are totally forgotten, as if they never existed… Indeed, those who do not remember history are forgotten by history.

Decades ago, Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul warned us of what could happen in countries, where a foreign culture is forcibly imposed upon an indigenous one. And, he particularly mentioned countries belonging to the great civilization of Sindhu Valley.

The first most clear traces and remnants of this great civilization were found in a region, now part of the modern Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The ruins of Mohen-jo-daro, recognized as the cradle of this ancient civilization stand witness to its greatness.

It was the Great Arab Historian of the 10th century BC, Al Beruni, who mispronounced Sindhu as Hindu. The historian collectively called all the lands and the islands beyond the Sindh valley (now part of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan) “Hind”.

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