Translating Ranadeb Mukherjee’s post
The one whom Thakur Sri Ramakrishna called ‘Ma’,the one for whom without giving water,he would not take anything in his mouth:That same image of Ma Bhavatarini was made by the sculptor Nabin Bhaskar of Dainhat at Katwa . At the wish of Rani Rashmoni in 1855 he made the image of Bhavatarini Kali. For the time of a month he went to Kolkata,subsisted on haviShyAnna,followed AchAra and when he finished the work(of sculpting),then the image was not proportionate to the garbhagriha. She then ordered him to make another mUrti of Ma Bhavatarini again and told him to make that mUrti larger than the previous one.
Nabin Bhaskar made two images of Bhavatarini Kali. One is in Dakshineshwar and another in some house in Goa Bagan at Kolkata. His family claims that Rani Rashmoni donated an image to someone she knew. Nabin Bhaskar’s fame was such that the Rajas in Bengal presidency came to to Dainhat. Nabin Bhaskar got his raw material from Bihar. For procuring ‘kosthi pathor'(black stone) he purchased a hill in Jamalpur. At Nabin’s good fame,apart from the Burdwan Royal family,he was also commisioned by the royal families of Cossimbazar,Natore,Puntia,Rangpur,Dinajpur,Jemo,Muktagacha,Mymensingh,Manipur,Lalgarh to sculpt their grihadevatas. It is said that the Maharani of Dinajpur was so spellbound at Nabin Bhaskar’s skill that she gifted him a golden chisel.
Bhaskar took his craft to new heights on his sculpting the image of Dakshineshwar. His best creation is the creation of the murti of Yogadya at Kshirgram. Even today in his house broken images can be found that are in a state of neglect. Still,a very beautiful 10 inch idol of Kali has been closely kept in his successor Nimai Bhaskar’s possession. Along with this Kali Murti he keeps a dazzling statue of ‘shwet pathor’. This is the last creation of Nabin. Today his workshop is broken and filled with weeds,and the naach-mahal is also dilapidated .His ancestral dwelling has but one room, even it is mired in household disputes. This generation has but forgetten such a fabulous sculptor.
Nabin Bhaskar’s house is now in a state of decay,swallowed up by time. His descendants no longer carry the illustrious legacy of his sculpting. His left over creations are also slowly going to ruin, due to lack of care. Due to the lack of anyone to look after that place,that family house at Dainhat is now like a dump. Some valuable works of that sculptor are still in that house.
Okay,this is going to be less a review and more of an outpouring of my personal feelings on my reading that book.
This book by Stephen Bourne is a book that deals with a sample of the materials available;gay men who served in the World Wars despite the difficulties faced by them due to a society prejudiced against them. I found the values of bravery,sacrifice,heroism and over all that,despite official bigotry from time to time;even the most outrageously camp/effeminate types were accomodated in roles as entertainers even if not directly in fighting. And the ones who were in the frontlines;their values of sacrifice,and the permanent relationships they could form(this was relatively successful over time,surprisingly) despite how formally society looked down upon them but unofficially tolerated them-because they were men of virtue beyond just liking men-IMO are ideals to look upto even after all these days and emaluate.
The 3rd rAtra of the Narada Pancharatra(of the Krishna centred stream) gives various Krishna mantras and their dhyAnas and kAmya usages
- 18 and 20 akShara:smR^iti medhA mati balam labdhvA sa kavi vAgbhavet+mukundacharaNa lAbha
- bAlagopAla(11 akShara)[seated on yashodA]:gaining one’s desireSh
- puntanA-nAshaka(30 akShara):Relief from afflictions like bhUtas,bAlagrahas,loss of memory
- shakaTAri dhyAna[as the one who upturned shakaTAsura’s cart]:For vighnanAshana
- bAlagopAla(another dhyAna):For AyuH and Arogya
- puruShottama(10 akShara):For long life
- Krishna(30 akShara):For long life
- Poison eradicating mantras and dhyAnas:As dancer on kAliya’s heads
- govardhananAtha dhyAna+gopIkrIDA in yamunA dhyAna: For controlling rain
- kR^iShNa as the saviour of sandIpani muni’s sons:apamR^ityu nAsha
- putralAbha is also referred to
- A dhyAna regarding the vanquishing of enemies [Him emitting fire from His mouth,mounted from Gaurda,and also being referred to as the vanquisher of Rukmi]
- Krishna as pulling Kamsa from his throne:Destruction of enemies(even those who have taken amR^ita)
- Krishna as pArthasArathi on ratha with hand in vyAkhyAna mudrA/vishvarUpa dhyAna:For dharmavR^iddhi/explaining all shAstras respectively.
All the above are to be learned by sadguru to be effective,and I apologize if I have been misleading or anything wrong has been done.
Description of Ganesha when the devas praised Him(the core essential points)[in the 12th chapter]
koTisUrya pratIkAshaM tejorAshi puro mune|
raktAmbaraprabhAvAttu jirA sandhyArkamaNDalam|
kaTisutra prabhA jAlai jeta hemAdrishekharam||
kha~Nga kheTa dhanuH shakti shobhichAru chaturbhujam|
sunAsaM purNimAchandra jita kAnti mukhAmbujam|
aharnishA prabhAyuktaM padmachAru sulochanam|
anekasUrya shobhAjit mukuTa bhrAji mastakam||
The actual hymn
ajaM nirvikalpaM nirAkAramekaM nirAlaMbamadvaitamAnandapUrNaM|
paraM nirguNaM nirvisheShaM nirIhaM paraMbrahma rUpaM gaNeshaM bhajem||
guNAtUtanAdyaM chidAnanda rUpaM|chidAbhAsakaM sarvagaM j~nAnagamyam|
munidhyeyamAkAsharUpam pareshaM| parabrahmarUpa gaNeshaM bhajem||
jagatkAraNam kAraNAj~nAnahInaM surAdiM sukhAdiM yugAdiM gaNesham|
jagadvyApinaM vishvavandyam sureshaM|parambrahmarUpaM gaNeshaM bhajem||
rajo yogato brahmarUpaM shrutij~na|sadAkArya saktaM(?)hadAchintyarUpaM|
jagatkArakaM sarvaM vidyAnidhAnaM| sadA “brahma” rUpaM gaNeshaM nataH smaH||
sadAsatvayogaM mudA krIDamAnaM|surArIn harantaM jagatpAlayantaM|
anekAvatAraM nijAj~nAnahAraM| sadA “viShNu” rUpaM gaNeshaM nataH smaH||
tamoyoginaM rudrarUpaM trinetraM |jagaddhArakaM tArakaM j~nAnahetuM|
anekAgamaiH svaMjanaM bodhayantam| sadA “shiva” rUpaM gaNeshaM natAH smaH||
namastoma hAraM janAj~nAna hAraM|trayovedasAraM parabhrahmapAraM|
munij~nAnakAraM vidUre vikAraM sadA “braghna” rUpaM gaNeshaM natAH smaH||
nijairauShadhai starpayaMtaM karaudhaiH|suraudhAn kalAbhiH sudhAstraviNAbhiH|dineshAMshu santApahAraM dvijeshaM|
shashA~NkaM svarUpaM gaNeshaM natAH smaH||
prakAsha svarUpaM namo vAyurUpaM vikArAdihetu kalAkAla bhUtam| aneka kriyAneka “shakti” svarUpam sadA “shakti” rUpaM gaNeshaM natAH smaH||
pradhAna svarUpaM mahattattvarUpaM dharAvArirUpaM digIshAdirUpaM|
asat sat svarUpaM jagad hetu bhUtam| sadA “vishva” rUpaM gaNeshaM natAH smaH||
tvadIye manaHsthApye daMdhriyugme|jano vighnasaMghAnna pIDAM labhet| lasat sUrya biMbe vishAle sthite’yaM| janodvAMtabAMdhA kathaMvAlabhet||
vayaM bhrAmitaH sarvathA’j~nAnayogA|dalabdhvA tavAMghri(dhri)? bahun varSha pugAn| idAnImavAptAstavaiva prasAdAt| prapannAn sadA pAhi vishvaMbharAdya||
evaM stuto gaNeshastu saMstuShTobhun mahAnune|kR^ipayA parayo peto’bhi dhAtuM tAn prachakrame||
shrImad gaNesha uvAcha||
uadarthaM kleshitA yUyaM yadartha yadarthamiha chAgatAH|| prIto’ha manayA stutyA varaM matto vR^iNIta tam||kR^itaM cha mama yat stotra bhavadbhirbhAvitAtmabhiH|stotrarAjamiti khyAta bhaviShyati madAj~nayA||idaM yaH paThet praTarutthAya dhImAN|trisandhyaM sadA bhati yokto vishuddhaH saputrAM shriyaM sarvaM kAmAn labhet|parabrahmharUpo bhavedantakAle|
कोटिसूर्य प्रतीकाशं तेजोराशि पुरो मुने।
रक्ताम्बरप्रभावात्तु जिरा सन्ध्यार्कमण्डलम्।
कटिसुत्र प्रभा जालै जेत हेमाद्रिशेखरम्॥
खङ्ग खेट धनुः शक्ति शोभिचारु चतुर्भुजम्।
सुनासं पुर्णिमाचन्द्र जित कान्ति मुखाम्बुजम्।
अहर्निशा प्रभायुक्तं पद्मचारु सुलोचनम्।
अनेकसूर्य शोभाजित् मुकुट भ्राजि मस्तकम्॥
अजं निर्विकल्पं निराकारमेकं निरालंबमद्वैतमानन्दपूर्णं।
परं निर्गुणं निर्विशेषं निरीहं परंब्रह्म रूपं गणेशं भजेम्॥
गुणातूतनाद्यं चिदानन्द रूपं।चिदाभासकं सर्वगं ज्ञानगम्यम्।
मुनिध्येयमाकाशरूपम् परेशं। परब्रह्मरूप गणेशं भजेम्॥
जगत्कारणम् कारणाज्ञानहीनं सुरादिं सुखादिं युगादिं गणेशम्।
जगद्व्यापिनं विश्ववन्द्यम् सुरेशं।परम्ब्रह्मरूपं गणेशं भजेम्॥
रजो योगतो ब्रह्मरूपं श्रुतिज्ञ।सदाकार्य सक्तं(?)हदाचिन्त्यरूपं।
जगत्कारकं सर्वं विद्यानिधानं। सदा “ब्रह्म” रूपं गणेशं नतः स्मः॥
सदासत्वयोगं मुदा क्रीडमानं।सुरारीन् हरन्तं जगत्पालयन्तं।
अनेकावतारं निजाज्ञानहारं। सदा “विष्णु” रूपं गणेशं नतः स्मः॥
तमोयोगिनं रुद्ररूपं त्रिनेत्रं ।जगद्धारकं तारकं ज्ञानहेतुं।
अनेकागमैः स्वंजनं बोधयन्तम्। सदा “शिव” रूपं गणेशं नताः स्मः॥
नमस्तोम हारं जनाज्ञान हारं।त्रयोवेदसारं परभ्रह्मपारं।
मुनिज्ञानकारं विदूरे विकारं सदा “ब्रघ्न” रूपं गणेशं नताः स्मः॥
निजैरौषधै स्तर्पयंतं करौधैः।सुरौधान् कलाभिः सुधास्त्रविणाभिः।दिनेशांशु सन्तापहारं द्विजेशं।
शशाङ्कं स्वरूपं गणेशं नताः स्मः॥
प्रकाश स्वरूपं नमो वायुरूपं विकारादिहेतु कलाकाल भूतम्। अनेक क्रियानेक “शक्ति” स्वरूपम् सदा “शक्ति” रूपं गणेशं नताः स्मः॥
प्रधान स्वरूपं महत्तत्त्वरूपं धरावारिरूपं दिगीशादिरूपं।
असत् सत् स्वरूपं जगद् हेतु भूतम्। सदा “विश्व” रूपं गणेशं नताः स्मः॥
त्वदीये मनःस्थाप्ये दंध्रियुग्मे।जनो विघ्नसंघान्न पीडां लभेत्। लसत् सूर्य बिंबे विशाले स्थिते’यं। जनोद्वांतबांधा कथंवालभेत्॥
वयं भ्रामितः सर्वथा’ज्ञानयोगा।दलब्ध्वा तवांघ्रि(ध्रि)? बहुन् वर्ष पुगान्। इदानीमवाप्तास्तवैव प्रसादात्। प्रपन्नान् सदा पाहि विश्वंभराद्य॥
एवं स्तुतो गणेशस्तु संस्तुष्टोभुन् महानुने।कृपया परयो पेतो’भि धातुं तान् प्रचक्रमे॥
श्रीमद् गणेश उवाच॥
उअदर्थं क्लेशिता यूयं यदर्थ यदर्थमिह चागताः॥ प्रीतो’ह मनया स्तुत्या वरं मत्तो वृणीत तम्॥कृतं च मम यत् स्तोत्र भवद्भिर्भावितात्मभिः।स्तोत्रराजमिति ख्यात भविष्यति मदाज्ञया॥इदं यः पठेत् प्रटरुत्थाय धीमाण्।त्रिसन्ध्यं सदा भति योक्तो विशुद्धः सपुत्रां श्रियं सर्वं कामान् लभेत्।परब्रह्म्हरूपो भवेदन्तकाले।
The edition used here was the Nag Publishers edition.
Book title: Samanya Dharma
This book gives a good introduction to dharma,and what dharmas are common to all humans,but specifically to those who are Hindus(since devotion to devas and gurus is definitely a part of some of its definitions,which are more expanded versions of the more concise definitions that don’t explicitly state it). It notes the seeds of these ideas in various shrutivAkyas and then nicely,in various places puts them as elucidated in various smR^itis and purANas,and notes their social benefit and usefulness/importance in yoga of all forms(pAta~njala,bhaktimArga,etc) and sAdhanA.
This is a book that is useful in educating Hindus about the basic dharma-s that they need to follow,especially in an era where certain classes of middle-class people do not have anything substantial to explain dharma beyond ‘way of life’ platitudes,and claiming ‘anything goes’ in Hinduism. All in all,a very good,neat little book that I would recommend to any Hindu(and in whatever language they know/speak).
dharmaviduttamAbhyAm hariharAbhyAm namaH|
(Obeisances to Hari and Hara,the best of knowers of dharma)
Karmayoga is a much abused concept these days,nowadays people think that it is doing whatever job one’s bosses or political superiors assign to them perfectly and chores)pleasingly(or even daily. Or sometimes school students are told that their studying hard and getting good grades means they are good karmayogis, but no,it means nothing like that. This idea had its origins amongst(specifically) shuklayajurvaidika circles(as noted in the 2nd mantra of the ishopanishad). Karmayoga means doing one’s nitya and naimittika karmas and yAgas as laid down in the smArta systems as appropriate to one’s varNa while dedicating all its puNyas and other results to the supreme deity of whatever system your ideal is:vAsudeva,shiva,etc. In fact,this was probably the ideology of an old set of ritualists who later became the one of the groups that went into the formation of pA~NcharAtra:The mantrasiddhAntins are a group of brAhmaNas belonging to the kANva and mAdhyadina shAkhAs of the shuklayajurveda,who are supposed to meditate on vAsudeva as they are doing somayAga and dedicate their fruits to him. It is this strain of ritualist thought that found its expression in the karmayoga idea of the Gita(which,textually speaking is belonging to an old sAtavata esque strain of thought in ancient India). And of course,the other tendency of ancient Hindu thought to homologize all actions as ritual:even sex,would mean ending up in an Aurobindo-esque ‘All life is yoga.’ conclusion.
Above are verses from the charyapAda of the pAdmasaMhitA which note that the followers of mantrasiddhAnta do contemplation of vAsudeva with trayimantras(vedamantras),associated with the kANva and mAdhyadina shAkhAs,and thee brAhmaNas worship vAsudeva while performing somayAga. This was the original ideal of karmayoga,historically speaking.
An end (semi) rant: The vyAdha gItA has been completely hopelessly ripped out of its original context to a society which is scarcely little like anything that would have supported the historical-cum-mythical vyAdha.
Pic:utsavamUrti of Agneeshwarar of Kanjanur. This link mentioned Haradatta who was born as a Srivaishnava undergoing tribaulations to prove his shivabhakti but does not give the details. I have decided to fill in the details.
haradatta was born in a SV family in kanjanUr as sudarshana. As he grew up he showed his love for shiva, shivabhaktas & shivAcAryas.From the age of two, he would run to the nearby shiva temple & receive ash & shout hara hara with the devotees. His father thought that this was just a childish sport & ignored it. He thought it will be fixed after his upanayana. His upanayana was done at 5; his father told him, “From now on, you cannot act as you please. You must not go to shivAlaya. That will be a sin. You must not even see those who wear ash. You must take a bath at their very sight”. As soon as his father left, he wiped off his vaiShNava marks & replaced them with tripundra bhasma and he returned home like that in that very form. His father, vAsudeva was enraged. The other vaiShNavas in the agrahAra cursed him as a disgrace & a ruiner of the shrIvaiShNavas. His father, feeling humiliated, tied him to a pillar & whipped him hard. But after his father got tired & left, he would untie those ropes & run to agnIshvara. His father could bear no more,told him not to enter the house and told his wife not to feed the son. He would ask from outside the house, “mother, I’m hungry, serve me food”. His mother was in a dilemma: “How will I disobey your father, oh dear child? And how will I bear your cry for food? Why don’t you obey your father? You should act as per father’s desire only. I will go to the father & mother of the world for refuge. They will take care of me.”
Then he proceeded to agnIshvara and at there in front of the dakShiNAmUrti there in meditation. Knowing his habit to meditate for long periods, the shivabrAhmaNas left him there & locked up the temple. He said: “agnIshvara, I have left my parents; you are my father; shakti my mother; Skanda & gaNesha my brothers & the gaNas my friends. This is my family now; accept me as yours oh god! Are you angry that I have done pUjA as an ignorant child, contrary to vidhi? Even brahmA & viShNu cannot see your feet; who can truly do pUjA to them? Will you not accept me?! Curse me to become a work & get trampled by shivabhaktas; I will accept that fate gladly & reach you. Will you not show mercy to the low ones like me even now?”. Hearing all this, kalpakAmbikA could not bear it any more. She instigated bhagavAn to show mercy to the child, sudarshana, and then the great God smiled. Skanda & gaNesha came there to accept they’re new brother & the gaNas their new comrade. The munis & devas came there to shower flowers with vedaghoSa everywhere. And the parents of the world were there & gave him a divine vision of them. shiva granted him knowledge of all shAstras & made him omniscient. That very night,his father who came there (hearing his overnight stay at the temple) & other vaiShNavas all asked him questions. He was only 5 and answered all of them with shrutipramANas. So the vaiShNavas told him, “sit on a red hot iron bed & preach your shivaparatvam, if you do that, we will accept your doctrine”. He did it. They set up the iron seat at the local temple of varadarAja (as the vaiShNavas would obviously not enter a shiva temple). His father & others fell at his feet & asked him for prAyashcitta for their abuse of shiva & shaivas,and he married a vaidika shivabhakta’s daughter from the vAdhUlagotra & led an exemplary life.
One of his miracles was when a pANDya chieftain sent him an expensive yellow cloth via a brAhmaNa, he was doing a homa & thinking agnIshvara to be the lord of that agni, offered that cloth into the homAgni. The king heard about it & became stunned at the svAmI’s display of his lIlAvaibhavam. In the evening he went to have shrI haradatta’s darshana and asked him if the cloth he sent had safely reached him. “It reached us at an excellent time & has been offered to agnIshvara” replied haradatta. Later when the king went to the temple, that very cloth was on the mUlali~Nga-That cloth which was observed by the brAhmaNa to have been burnt into ashes.
Credit for the narration of this tale goes to @Ghorangirasa.
On seeing that French movie,as a young closeted Indian gay man,I felt very much in his skin. His attempts for finding love from every john he finds are eerily reminiscient of my attempts to desparately search for someone permanent in the dating apps that are ever open. At this point,as someone who is not attractive,to be repeatedly objectified and treated like a sex toy to be used for other men’s pleasure while I desperately search for someone to settle and be permanently with:That pretty much mirrors the experience of the protagonist who grows ever haggard till his final experience with the pianist,and who then finally finds a stable man…I hope I can be like that some day at least. And sleep peacefully in someone’s arms. I’m just sick of people sloganeering about love on one hand and on the other hand treating my ilk as bodies to be used for one night and then dumped for the next fad of…whatever. No,no matter how much desi people meme about Grindr on Instagram,hoeing around is simply not conducive to ideal flourishing of me as a gay man,and the apps wear me out. I go here and do all this because I am desperate for someone and lonely for a stable companion. I don’t know,all that I can do is accept what that supreme dice player mahAkAla gives as my lot.
Before I begin,may my speech be blessed by Dakṣīṇāmūrti,that noble fount of wisdom,who wears ornaments of both the sexes in His ears,signifying His eternal union with Śaktī.
While the author of this article appreciates the good work done by Srishti in Madurai and Gopi Shankar Madurai,there are a number of points in their(or their organization’s article) which he feels is not accurate,and which he feels the need to set right.
- The author shall refrain from commenting about some of the sculptural evidence that the blog author there has noted,due to his not having seen them/not having examined them by an expert in iconography,notably
- Neutrois theme in Kala Samhara deity. The deity, typically with a male like body, and represented with lack of any sexual organ typically represents a MTN (Male to Neutrois) person.
- The Sanishwara deity which is the well known Transgendered deity can be seen in the temple
- The author does not discount the possibility of erotic carvings in temples which depict homosexual acts.
- Mīnākṣī being three breasted is not a sign of gender variance. It is one of those sort of tales in which a being loses his/her unique features when they meet a special person(example is Shishupala who was born with three eyes and four arms). Similarly She lost Her third breast when She met Śiva(whom She would marry).
- Also Ardhanārīśvara is not really a gynandromorph condition….it is more of an ‘consciousness as impartial observer'(Puruṣa)-‘everything as the power inherent in that consciousness'(Prakṛti) represented in one mūrti. Gynandromorphs don’t exist in humans.
- Harihara as a deity does not fit in the Procrustean bed of gender ideology in any way. The deity merely represents the concept that ‘śivāya viṣṇurupāya śivarūpāya viṣṇave'(Śiva is a form of Viṣṇu and Viṣṇu is a form of Śiva) along with injunctions that they must never be thought of in any manner except as equal and always both very respectful of each other.
- Sri Pitchandavar=A Tamil name of Bhīkṣaṭana Rudra. As far as I know,there is nothing in His iconography that indicates any third gendered status. The main feature of His form is supreme attractiveness,and which is used in certain tantric rites of vaśikaraṇa(causing attraction of a girl to a boy or vice versa).
- Bhagavān Vīrabhadra=The author would be very interested in knowing about any upāsana krama of this deity that involves being third gendered,and until one can provide that reliably,one fails to note what is third-gender about Vīrabhadra. He is a guru figure(cited from the Raurava Āgama) and greater than a hundred rudras(Mṛgendra Āgama). He is the personified wrath of Rudra,who taught the Gods through his violent actions through the greatness and centrality and glory of Rudra. In this author’s limited experience He was worshipped by mostly wandering Jangama ascetics and Lingadhari brahmins in Andhra. All that is required to approach Him is initiation in His mantras,which,to the best knowledge of the author do not have any bearing on the sex of the person who is being initiated.
- Also,Arjuna ended up in that condition of Brihannala due to a curse by the apsara Uruvashi(which was reduced by Indra to just the duration of one year),which implied that that condition in the times that story was told would be less than a normative/ideal/good one.
- People who weren’t straight or non-trans,etc were generally kept at a distance in society,though not explicitly harmed:The author is right in this one aspect,definitely.
People who are Gender and Sexual Minorities should make their case using well supported evidence,not evidence that is flimsy(at best) on closer examination to earn the good will of Hindus who know and internalize the understanding of śāstra,and can hope for the best for their dignity in the larger society.