Wednesday 17 July 2024

Before the Varsities there were Gurus… Yuva Bharati JULY 2024


Before the Varsities there were Gurus…

Guru Purnima is nearing (July 21st) and we are all gearing up for paying our tributes to Sage Vyasa as well as our own Gurus. It will be relevant to remind ourselves about this ancient tradition and precarious state this concept is facing now. Though the Guru Shishya Parampara is mentioned in the Itihasas like Ramayana, even by the conservative estimates of the modern-day approaches towards oriental history, we can say that it is 5000 years old. It predates the varsity education and it is much more than the scholastic education which we are familiar with. A Guru is one who dispels the darkness of ignorance from the mind of the disciple. Apart from the secular knowledge like science, agriculture, metallurgy, mathematics, warfare and other fields of study, a disciple will be taught the vital life skills like logic and critical thinking as well. As a part of the Vedic teachings, he will be taught Yoga, Dhyana and other practices for his Spiritual growth. Likewise, depending on the student’s innate ability he/she will be taught music, dance and other art forms too. Thus, unlike the present-day education a student or disciple was never delinked from their cultural and spiritual heritage. It also shows that a Guru should be well versed in many fields, which makes them an ideal preceptor. A student who is separated from his/her parents at an early age of 6 or 7, will never face any crisis for want of love. The Guru will show abundant care and love towards the disciples, so that they never feel the separation from their family.

An example of that love is illustrated in this event. Karna goes to Lord Parashurama to learn important Astras like the Brahmastra. Knowing very well Parashurama’s hatred for Kshatriyas, Karna lied to him, saying that he is a Brahmin. After learning all the necessary skills from him, one day Parashurama laid his head on the lap of his disciple and fell asleep. At that time Karna felt a pain in his thigh. The pain became unbearable. When he looked at it, he saw an insect cutting into his skin and making a hole in his right thigh. Now, Karna was in a quandary. If he bears the pain his Guru will realize that he is a Kshatriya, as Kshatriyas alone can bear such bodily pains. If he shouts then that will wake his Guru from his slumber. In this difficult situation Karna could have very well chosen the easy way out, that is to feign as if he is unable to bear the pain. Remember that he came to his Guru by telling a lie and posing as a brahmin. All that was required was to continue that drama was to feign. But that would have disturbed the sleep of his Guru.

The Guru’s Sparsha and love infused in him the greatest of virtues that is Love and so he chose to bear the pain and remain silent, knowing very well that the wrath of his Guru may end his Life. Guru has already transformed him. After getting disturbed by the flowing blood, Parashurama realizes that his dear disciple has lied to him. He has killed 21 generations of kshatriyas before that. But he curses Karna and leaves him alive. This shows the wonderful relationship between a Guru and Shishya where a Guru’s love works as a philosophers’ stone.

But the current education system was brought in with a deceitful intention of removing this Guru Shishya Parampara and uprooting the society from its tradition. Immediately after a couple of decades of its advent, people like Swami Vivekananda, Maharishi Aurobindo, Rabindranath Tagore strongly opposed the western education system and advocated for a system with emphasis on our Indic roots. The word education has its root in the word educe which means to draw out; something potent or latent. All the present system does is reduce the pride one has in their own cultural roots. Let us pray to our Gurus to change this scenario.

V.V. Balasubramanian


Thursday 30 May 2024

Yugpurusha: Chhatrapati Shri Shivaji Maharaj: Yuva Bharati JUNE 2024

 Yugpurusha: Chhatrapati Shri Shivaji Maharaj

Yugpurusha is a special concept of India. Our religious principles are eternal but according to different eras, Yugpurushas come to restore the religion. Yugpurusha knows the eternal principles, interprets them as per the age and takes care that the society based on these eternal principles is protected. According to this concept, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was a man of the era in the full sense.

Before the emergence of Shivaji Maharaj, most parts of India were occupied by Muslim invaders. They used to demolish Indian temples and abduct Hindu women. The invaders used the then farmers, villagers and poor people in their army. Therefore, whenever two Muslim rulers fought, no matter which of them won, thousands of Hindu soldiers were killed in that war. During that period, hundreds of Hindus lost their lives in wars but not for their land and religion. Shivaji Maharaj inspired these simple poor people to use their bravery in the interest of the country.


Shivaji Maharaj gave a new form to the war. During that period, small kings and Kshatriya warriors in Rajputana and elsewhere used to fight till death for their land and religion. If they felt that their defeat was certain against an army many times larger than theirs, then the brave Hindu soldiers of Rajasthan would fight till they were killed in the name of upholding the honor of Kshatriyahood. Certainly, this was bravery, but as a result, not only did we not get victory, but the will of our common people to fight the invaders also gradually weakened. Shivaji Maharaj developed new dimensions of war. They believed that wars are fought for final victory. If final victory is to be achieved then interim migration or compromise, even self-surrender, must be done. There is no place for mere sentimentality in the path of final victory. Therefore, when Afzal Khan, to enrage Shivaji, destroyed famous Hindu temples coming in his way, Shivaji did not react. His colleagues were getting disturbed and started thinking, “What is the meaning of such life or independence when they are not able to protect their own temples. We should rather protect these temples by sacrificing our lives than see them destroyed. But Shivaji Maharaj told them, “If we go to the plains to fight Afzal Khan, we will all be killed. Today our power is limited. Therefore, we cannot invite our destruction by going before the enemy. If we defeat Afzal Khan in these hills, our power will increase and as a result of this increased power we will get our temples rebuilt. This is what he did also. Whenever they felt that fighting the Muslim invaders would result in their defeat and heavy loss of life and property, they would dodge from the battlefield and remain busy in gaining enough power. They were determined for complete victory.

Before the rule of Shivaji Maharaj, it was a custom that whenever a Hindu king won a battle, he used to celebrate his victory, but did not completely destroy the defeated enemy. Due to this, the enemy reorganized his power and attacked the Hindu king with more force and destroyed him completely. Hindu kings did not oppress defeated enemies, because before the entry of Muslim invaders in India, wars were fought merely for the sake of war (this is described in the book Transcending Conflicts: Indian and Eastern Way” published by Global Foundation for Civilization Harmony) Is). The defeated Hindu king did not attack the victorious Hindu king again. Even when a king was defeated in such attacks, his kingdom, his people, his traditions and customs were allowed to remain intact. Therefore, a king's defeat was only his personal defeat and there was no upheaval in his empire. But this scenario changed after the Muslim invasions. Muslim invaders, after defeating the Hindu kings, destroyed all the temples of that state, abducted women and converted the common people or killed them. Hundreds of Hindu scholars were also murdered. Therefore, in those changed circumstances, it was necessary to carry forward the victory won in the war and regain control of our lost land by continuously attacking the enemy.

This is what Shivaji Maharaj did. After defeating Afzal Khan, he did not remain silent, nor did he celebrate his victory, nor did he return to Raigarh where his wife had died a month earlier and his son Sambhaji was only one and a half years old. Shivaji Maharaj continued fighting for two and a half years and won many forts and Adilshah's land. Before Adilshah could recover from the shock of Afzal Khan's defeat, Shivaji had snatched a large part of Adilshah's empire from his possession. Before the Muslim invasions, every community and every sect of India respected the traditions of others. Hindus welcomed and respected everyone with a big heart. For us, every person born was a Hindu. Therefore, we never found it necessary to convert them. We have always respected the worship methods of other religions. But when the Muslim invaders conquered the Hindu areas and forcibly converted many Hindus into Muslims, the Hindu society had no mechanism nor idea to bring those converted Hindus back into their religion. Yugpurush Shivaji Maharaj saw this. When he prayed to the pundits to accept the convert Bajaji Nimbalkar back into Hinduism, the pundits said that there is no such provision in our scriptures. Immediately he said to the pundits, “If such a provision does not exist then make it now. In this way Bajaji Nimbalkar was made a Hindu again. But in a society where such religious conversions never took place, there was no positive reaction to such incidents. This required personal example. After Bajaji Nimbalkar became a Hindu again, no one was ready to marry his daughter to his son. At such a time, Shri Shivaji Maharaj got his daughter married to Bajaji Nimbalkar's son and again gave social recognition to his family. It is necessary to adopt new rules, popularize them and implement them. Shivaji Maharaj did the same, which proves that he was a man of the times. 

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj went to conquer the south. At that time, when he went to Tiruvannamalai, he came to know that before his army reached there, the Muslim army had converted two temples there into mosques. Time was short so they did not demolish the temple but converted it into a mosque. When Shivaji Maharaj came to know about this, he was enraged and said that both the temples should be purified and reestablished as temples. This was also a specialty of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. He never disrespected the Muslim sect or Allah or the Quran. That is not India's method either. But when Muslim invaders insulted the Hindu religion, destroyed temples, forcibly converted people, then Shivaji Maharaj understood that to protect our culture, we need to keep our temples safe, and bring our converted people back to our religion. It is necessary to bring. Till then hardly any king had thought about this and unfortunately even after a few centuries passed, the Hindu society did not do any further work on this subject.

Another characteristic of Yugpurusha is that he inspires people to live and die for a higher ideal rather than limiting themselves to their sect and religion. Therefore, with the inspiration of Shivaji Maharaj, be it Maratha, Brahmin or Lohar all these castes presented themselves for the establishment of Hinduvi Swaraj. He established the ideal of serving one's religion and nation by rising above castes in everyone's heart. Not only Hindus, but also Muslims like Madari, Mehtar or Ibrahim Khan, being united with the nation and its traditions, offered their lives for the establishment of Swaraj to protect it. Some ignorant and selfish Muslims also opposed such Muslims. Shivaji Maharaj was the undisputed heart-emperor of the people of all communities. In Bengal, Swami Vivekananda once told his disciples on a full moon night about the fame of Shivaji Maharaj and many important information related to him throughout the night. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj thought about the welfare of the nation in every way, he was a visionary. The Maharaja understood this very well that the British had come to India not for trade but to grab the land. The strength of the British is their navy and if they have to be stopped then India should also have a good navy, thinking this, Shivaji Maharaj set up an excellent navy and built forts. If his work had continued in the next centuries, it would not have been possible for the British to occupy India.

Shivaji had instilled the feeling of patriotism among the common people to such an extent that even after his death, people continued fighting against the heretics with the same intensity and stubbornness and Aurangzeb had to leave his capital and fight in South India for 27 years. At that time Sambhaji Maharaj and Rajaram Maharaj had died. There was no king to lead the people, but the society stood up. The Hindus gave such a tough fight that Aurangzeb had to try and fight for 27 years, yet he did not succeed; And he died of a broken heart in the south itself. Perhaps this is such an example in the history of the world that a so-called king left his capital and struggled for 27 years and died.


I have heard an example that when the Defence Minister of Vietnam visited India, he told that he wanted to garland the statue of Shivaji Maharaj. The Indian Defense Ministry was surprised. When he was asked the reason for this special prayer, he told that his small country had fought against the powerful America by taking inspiration from Shivaji Maharaj.

Yugpurusha is not bound by the boundaries of any community or regions. Shivaji Maharaj was not related only to Maharashtra, if it was so then he would not have gone to Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh and submitted a suicide note and would not have written a warning letter to Aurangzeb against demolishing the Kashi Vishweshwar temple in Varanasi. Shivaji Maharaj's favorite goddess Maa Tulja Bhavani was not only in the temple of Tuljapur, but he found her in every goddess temple. In fact, he considered Bharatmata to be the geographical and cultural form of Mother Tulja Bhavani. It is not right to call such a man of this era merely ‘King of Marathas. He never called his kingdom Maratha Rajya, but called it 'Hindavi Swarajya'. That is, a state of Hindus which is established on its 'self'. A man of the era has to be born at some place, but his vision is for the welfare of the entire nation and the world and that is why Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was truly the 'King of India'.


His actions and thoughts reflected his determination for complete victory. This campaign of complete victory continued even after his death as he became an eternal inspiration. That is why poet Bhushan had written,


‘कासी हू की कला जाती मथुरा मसीत होती,

सिवाजी न होतो तौ सुनति होत सबकी॥‘

That is, if Shivaji Maharaj had not been there, Kashi-Mathura would have become mosques and all Hindus would have been converted to Muslims.


The need of the hour is that on this auspicious occasion of the 350th anniversary of Shiva's coronation, in the present context, we should reiterate our resolve for his complete victory and move forward unitedly. Instead of just offering garlands or praises to a great man like Shivaji Maharaj, we should try to make Mother India great through our actions.


Nivedita Bhide

Vice President,