Marriage.

The idea for this title for our weekly 2 on 1 Friday post where Shackman and I write on the same subject came to me when I received the following piece of humour from a friend:

Today is ‘World Marriage Day.Let us keep 2 minutes’ silence and read some quotes of fellow – sufferers.

A few interesting
*GLOBAL OPINIONS ABOUT MARRIAGE* :

After marriage, husband and wife become two sides of a coin, they just can’t face each other, but still they stay together.
– Al Gore

By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll be happy. If you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.
– Socrates

Women inspire us to great things, and prevent us from achieving them.
– Mike Tyson

I had some words with my wife, and she had some paragraphs with me.
– Bill Clinton

“There’s a way of transferring funds that is even faster than electronic banking. It’s called marriage.”
– Michael Jordan

A good wife always forgives her husband when she’s wrong.
– Barack Obama

When you are in love,
Wonders happen.
But once you get married,
You wonder, what happened.

I was a married man for forty years and never once had to crack a joke on the institution. My late wife used to say that it was because I was hardly at home due to the travelling nature of my job and so, whenever I was at home, I just enjoyed the comforts and security of home and was not exposed to the other realities that other stay at home husbands did. By the time I retired or chose to retire due to her illness, the nature of the relationship changed and there was no scope for humour.

We got married according to Vedic rites the most important parts of which are the seven circumambulations that the couple take around a sacred fire.

After that ritual, this is the shloka from Vivaha Karmakandaa that every bridegroom is made to recite after taking the seven steps holding the hand of the bride around the fire. I too did.

धैरहम पृथ्वीवित्वं
रथोहं रेथोभूतत्वं
मनोहंसमिवाकतवम
सामहंसमि क्षुत्तृत्वं
सा माँ अनुव्रता भवा.

Dhairaham pruthviveethvam.
Rethoham rethobhuthathvam
Manohamsamivaakathvam
Saamahamsami kshuthruthvam
Saa maa anuvrthaa bhava.

“I am the sky and you are the earth. I am the giver of energy and you are the receiver. I am the mind and you are the word. I am music and you are the song. You and I follow each other.”

How beautiful! We did indeed follow each other for as long as her health lasted. When it failed, we got joined at the hips as it were and that lasted for another eight years till death did part us.

Like all relationships, we had our ups and downs but, mostly it was all ups. There was rare chemistry between us which I think was due to our having been friends for eight years before we decided to get married. I can honestly say that it was a successful marriage.

I despair at the frequency with which modern marriages break down but I understand that the world has changed and different value systems and pressures operate now than those that prevailed in our youth and middle ages.

Please do go over to Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say on the subject.

Intolerance.

Intolerance is defined as an unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one’s own; or an inability to eat a food or take a drug without adverse effects.

Having suggested this topic for this week’s Friday 2 on 1 blog post, I shall address both and perhaps something else as well. Please do visit Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say about the topic.

Unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one’s own.

Ever since India’s Rightist Hindu Nationalist party, the BJP came to power in 2014, this word became synonymous with the Leftist Intellectuals in India and all kinds of things happened. Minor incidents of law and order took on communal tones like Hindu vs Christian, Hindu vs Muslim and Upper castes vs Lower castes and so on. Some took to mass media to condemn the majoritarianism implied in the result of the elections, some returned awards given to them by the previous dispensation as a means of protest, without however, returning the cash elements that went with those awards and generally made, what in my opinion was fools of themselves.

These were the English speaking, reading, writing urban self appointed intellectuals and their tantrums, simply did not reach the people who were none ot the above. The BJP came back to power last month with an increased majority in our parliament and now one sees the same breed of Tolerant Intellectuals analysing the results and coming to the conclusion that they misread the public mood and orientation. Some of these elements wrote for foreign publications as well crying themselves hoarse that doomsday is about to descend on India. As my readers can see, nothing like that happened and some even changed their tones post analysis of the results.

Being a Rightist supporter of the BJP, I tolerated these elements while they were intolerant of me! Now I am enjoying watching them squirm and the Schadenfreude is entirely enjoyable.

That is the beauty of intolerance. The ones shouting loudest that the other is intolerant is entirely unaware that they are being intolerant of the other to start with! And being completely detached, I simply enjoy trumpeting my own intolerance of the intolerant.

Coming to other types of intolerance, I know some wealthy people, the not so wealthy simply cannot be so, who are intolerant of the elements. During the summer months, they disappear to cooler climes and during the winter months to warmer climes. During the wet months they refuse to get out of their homes lest they get wet and miss out on a lot of fun. These people are also usually intolerant of everything around them and totally insatiable be it about food, drink or relationships.

I also know the unfortunates who are lactose intolerant or gluten intolerant or some other intolerant and I feel sorry for them while being grateful that I am not any of those. On the other hand, I recently discovered that I was allergic to one particular type of new antibiotics and it was entirely providential that I had anti allergy medication at home as otherwise, I would have been dead with the reaction I had after consuming that medication. Now that my doctor, family and I know that I am intolerant to it, hopefully there won’t be a next time.

Intolerance can take other shpes too and one of the most common in India is the mother in law, daughter in law conundrum and / or the older generation, younger generation one. Here again, it is difficult to do anything about it when one comes across it but one can be grateful that one does not go through this in one’s own life.

I am sure that there will be other types that my readers have come across in their experiences and I look forward to receiving comments on them.

The Third Eye.

This photograph is of Swami Dandapani. No, I am not a Sales Agent for him but am posting this here to illustrate something else. If you were to ever meet me in the mornings when I am at Pune, you will see me with the same kind of Vibhuti horizontal stripes on my forehead as well as the tilak just above the nose and between the two eyebrows.

These two applications indicate that I follow Shaivism. The horizontal lines are symbolic of inevitable destruction of the body as the material used is ash from our sacred fires. Ash is symbolic of the human body becoming ash after cremation. When one applies the ash on his body, one remembers that he is subject to becoming ashes.

The tilak is more important for this post. The spot where it is applied is called the Ajna Chakra in yoga. The material used is either sandalwood paste or kumkum powder or both. I use both. Applying this on one’s forehead during morning prayers is to invoke the earnest request to open the third eye of the individual, which would enable him to differentiate between the real and the unreal, or the permanent and the impermanent.

I am delighted that my favourite Comics character wants to become a Shaivite!

Which Mythical Lost Treasure Do You Think Is Real? Why?


My fellow 2 on 1 blogger Shackman has suggested this intriguing topic for this Friday post. I bet that he will come up with some great myth but I have to simply share with my readers this article in the Forbes Magazine to say that I don’t think that it is real. I know that it is real.  It was not lost either.  It was just hidden away and faith kept it that way for centuries safe from marauding invaders and colonists.

From childhood, I had been hearing stories about the treasures in the temple and it has taken over seven decades for all that to be proved right.

There are any number of stories like this in indeed but, I doubt that anything can come close to this one for the sheer wealth kept away in vaults. You simply have to google for Indian lost treasures and you will see what I mean.

Another not quite lost treasure but a very interesting clip on one of India’s greatest kingdoms.  Not much known outside a small community of Sikhs and their admirers like me.

And, before you see the clip, please remember to go over to Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say on the topic.

History – An Unintended Consequence Of Migration.

As I wrote in my last Friday post, I am deeply into reading about history and here is something fascinating that I found which I am sure will be of interest to my readers too.

In the late 13th Century BC, a military elite called The Mitanni migrated from the East (India) into Northern Iraq and there are many war stories about them in that region’s history. A treaty that they entered into with the Hittites was solemnized in the name of Vedic Gods Indra, Varuna, Mitra and Nasatya. The Mitanni also took with them technology of Indian origin – Iron. Noteworthy is the fact that this was five centuries after mass production of iron took place in South India.

Interestingly, the Mitanni God Mitra would remain a popular deity in the Middle East and, centuries later, would witness a major revival in the Roman empire (where he would be known as the solar god Mithras). The cult of Mithras would become very widespread in the late Roman period, and would produce serious competition with Christianity. The pagan Romans used to celebrate a big festival called Saturnalia that went on for a week from December 17. At the end of the festival on 25th December, the Mithras cult would celebrate the feast of Sol Invictus or Unconquered Sun. Many scholars believe that when the Christians came to power they simply took over the popular pagan festival. (After all, the exactly date of birth of Jesus Christ is not known.)

Mind you,not every one agreed with this choice and the Orthodox Church still celebrated Christmas on 7th January. The Puritans would later disapprove of the unseemly heathen celebrations that clung to the festival and would try to ban Christmas in North America and Britain in the 17th and 18th Centuries. 25th December survived nevertheless as official Christmas day and a festival celebrated by Christians and non Christians alike. Thus one of the unintended consequences of early iron age migration seems to be that the world has come to celebrate the birthday of an ancient god from Haryana in India!

PS. Even today, the phrase Indo Aryan is used in many communications, like the Wikipedia article on Mitanni though the Aryan invasion / migration of India has been thoroughly disproved by archeological and genetic findings. This is a topic by itself for another post in the future.

PPS: My source – The Ocean Of Churn by Sanjeev Sanyal.

Schmaltz.

This is a communication from a friend, a hard boiled banker / successful entrepreneur who recently lost his pet dog, unexpectedly and suddenly.

“Is it true that pets can take on their caretakers illnesses and sacrifice their lives in order to save their caretakers? Three months ago, when I was declared diabetes free after a struggle of 15 years, I was ecstatic. Little did I know that XXXXX was the price I would have to pay for this freedom. She passed away because of Diabetes.”

schmaltz
ʃmɔːlts,ʃmalts
noun informal
excessive sentimentality, especially in music or films.
“at the end of the film the audience are drowned in a sea of schmaltz”

Earlier this week, many stories were published all over the world about families reuniting after decades. And, while I was looking for material for this post, I came across another story. I leave it to my readers to decide whether it is a true one or created out of some fertile imagination.


There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things in order, she contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.

Everything was in order and the pastor was preparing to leave when the young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

“There’s one more thing,” she said excitedly.

“What’s that?” came the pastor’s reply.

“I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand,” she told him.

The pastor stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say.

“That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the young woman asked.

“Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,” said the pastor.

The young woman explained. “My grandmother once told me a story that I never forgot and I have tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement. Here’s her story:

“In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’ It was my favourite part because I knew something better was coming . . . like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful and with substance!’

So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder, “What’s with the fork? Then I want you to tell them, “Keep your fork . . . the best is yet to come.”

The pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young woman good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the young woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice her age, with twice as much experience and knowledge. She KNEW that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the young woman’s casket and they saw the pretty dress she was wearing and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the pastor heard the question, “What’s with the fork?” And over and over he smiled.

During his message, the pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the young woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolised to her. The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right.

So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you ever so gently, that the best is yet to come.

This topic is my idea for this week’s Friday 2 on 1 blog posts. I suspect that the other blogger is likely to come up with a totally different idea. Please do go over to see what Shackman has to say at his blog.