Archives for category: spirituality

It is not uncommon in ones sorrow and frustration to turn ones anger towards God blaming him for ones plight.  Others accept it as ones deserving fate for ones wrong doings and those who believe in Karma, on past and present life doings with their positive and negative effects in the present life. In many faiths ones challenges in life  are explianed as tests by the divine to help in the evolution of your soul and therefore to be borne with courage and fortitude rather than believing that it is simply the punishment for ones sins.

There is yet another explanation for ones circumstances,fortunes and misfortunes  particularly with New Age theologists and thinkers and those who have sought to explore the phenomenon of Near Death Experiences (NDE) thereby claiming to have briefly visited the spirit world and learnt some of its secrets.

In this version God does not figure. It is claimed that the eternal soul is forever seeking to evolve to a higher spiritual level in its craving to gain proximity to the creater and eventually to merge with that Supersoul.


In the process it seeks to impose challenges and corrections from one lifetime to another. While guidance is available from great spirit souls and beings in the spirit world, the task of self analysis is left to the individual soul to devise obstacles in a future life, to acquire positive and negative circumstances and attributes, to choose its parents its progeny its circumstances of birth even handicaps and extraordinary skills and abilities – the combination of positive and negative at birth and in the life to unfold, in order that together they shall enable it to prove itself and evolve spiritually. Here there would be situations where the father is a tyrant or a mother dies prematurely or there is abundant love from sibling or else abuse from members of ones own family. All manner of combinations to produce the right type of challenges to test the soul’s mettle and help it move forward in evolution. In this version there is no God to blame, no fate to explain ones circumstances. There is also abundant provision for positive support to enable the soul to face the difficult challenges like being in love compassion of near and dear,riches and luxuries, great achievements and honour, brilliance and success in certain fields the happiness provided by good progeny etc. But lingering behind these happy situations are the never ceasing challenges in one form or the other chosen by the soul itself, much like a dilligent student who wishes to choose a difficult subject despite failure being quite common. In all this at moments of extreme misery and difficulty, spirits and guides aware of the souls plight will assist and support it so that it is able to endure the difficult plan it has adopted for evolution.

Providence and the spirit world never impose a difficult trial of life in the material world but leave it entirely to the responsible soul to choose the path for its correction and evolution. Therefore there is no question of blaming God, fate or previous sins for ones present plight.  This view may be difficult for some to accept as it does not hold ones sins or omissions responsible for ones situation and plight, nor does it allow you to pass the blame on  to earlier omissions in past lives or again Gods fury to teach you a lesson through punishment. The soul becomes the supreme arbiter of the choice of a life whether of a Helen Keller, a mother Teresa, a beggar , a king, a male or female, the nature of ones family, friends, career and time and manner of death. Nothing fateful, everything chosen and imposed by your great soul.

But that is the New Age view based on its vision of the spiritual world and the souls freedom of choice. The Hindu view still relies on evolution of the human individual where the eternal soul is trapped. All the entrapped soul yearns for is freedom from its human entrapment and rejoining the Supersoul – Paramatma – i.e. God, of which it is an integral part – ansha – and from which it has got seperated at creation of the material world.

final liberation of the soul from rebirth in a human shell.

The soul being a part of Godhead is already perfect and needs no evolution. furthermore according to the Gita it is not the agent of action or the actor on the human plane accumulating Karmik debt. As it does not act it is beyond the law of karma. But the cage in which it is trapped is indeed subject to karma. The human being acts  driven by its insatiable ego and Karmik forces then determine the consequences of those actions in this life and the next. It also determines the circumstances of rebirth and the trials the human shell will have to undergo for the shells evolution. The soul plays no part in the karmik consequences of the gross and subtle body of the material entity. All it hopes is that the shell will evolve to the point of perfection when its rebirth will cease and with that evolution the soul will finally get released from bondage in a human body. Meanwhile though not responsible for any acts of the body it plays the role of councellor guiding the ego driven body on a path which will not attract karmik consequence of a negative sort, retarding its evolution and thereby enforcing rebirth for yet another trial in another lifetime.

The islamic view requires great reverence for god – Allah- who is the all merciful and compassionate. No question of any blame or aspersion being tolerated. All that he deals out to humans is trials and tests -Ajmaish- for their evolution which have to be borne with humility and dedicated effort to overcome weakness and faults or punishments for wrong doing to have the subject reap what he has sown. There are no Karmik laws and no rebirth. the soul or Rooh which in this case has been the actor and agent of action takes responsibility for all acts of commission and omission and faces the consequences in afterlife after judgement has been pronounced at the throne of the Almighty.

raaz e ulfat – secret of love

When i retired I had no idea what i would do with my leisure time. Ofcourse sports, watching TV plays, shows and films, walks in the park, writing books, poetry, writing on my blog about spirituality Hinduism, the after life, mysticism, music ,study of different religions, meditation, looking deeper on the meaning of life , establishing contact with lost friends and relatives having spent my life overseas in the Foreign Service and pursuing my interests like keeping pet fish and birds, studying nature and animal life ad infinitum.

I pursued all these interests now that retirement had given me the time to do so but kept on searching to find what could engage my free time more fully. And then i stumbled on a treasure trove to keep me fully engaged. Earlier in life we had come across some good Pakistani serials which we had enjoyed greatly rather than indian or American serials. I found that the Pak serials had gained great maturity in more ways than one. I couldnt believe how well they were produced, directed, story line,acting and actors and actresses, screen play, dialogue (in urdu) and issues explored from daily life in all classes from village, feudal, middle class, urban life and upper class life styles. The themes were also amazing in their diversity and authenticity. Yes I was totally hooked and it became my old age addiction and passion to spend several hours each day watching the Pak serials with total concentration and enjoyment. Life without these well produced, directed and acted serials would have become a source of depression in old age. And they are available on the internet free with hardly any ads on u tube and other sites. What a bonzana of good entertainment, drama, ethical and social issues and Islamic values of life and consequences of your actions. Neither in India or the west have these issues and relationships been tackled with so much finesse and admirable insight as the Pak serials which are often also subtitled to reach beyond the Urdu- Hindi lanuages to the west and elsewhere. All the themes have an amazing appreciation of spiritual values where the consequences of your actions provide in the end the right results in spiritual terms with tragedy or reward for commendable behaviour compassion and concern for others as against self centered pursuit of pleasure and hedonism depriving others of their rights imposing ones will on others and denying them their rights.


Indeed i have seen in these plays so much of what actually happens in life between people, families friends and siblings and the power of love, hate ,envy and selfishness equally of evil intentions and purposes, the life of poverty, riches and class, truely portrayed, that I am left entralled by the ability of these story writers, producers, directors and actors for the works of art they have created which leaves us totally engaged and driven off our feet for their insights and abilities. How have these Pak serials managed to achieve with absolute distinction what others have not been able to do!? And my happiness knows no bounds in finding that there are over 500 such priceless dramas never failing to impress, available on the internet at no cost and with minimal advertisements to feed ones addiction.

yes my friends these serials are jewels to treaure just right length with about 30 episodes or less succinct rarely trailing and never lasting longer than you want. The drama story line and emotions in relationships are superb and portrayed without any exaggeration. In particular i love the presence of parental figures showing the intimate affections and guidance provided by Mother for daughter , son the Fathers discipiline and guidance both loving and dictatorial in turns, the beautifully portrayed relationships of siblings, and of course the nature of love affairs involving sacrifice committment defiance of custom and tradition, leading to a lifetime of regret and tragedy or managing to overcome outdated norms and constraints which are only meant to shackle freedom happiness and free will. Ihe power of evil intentions is also wonderfully shoown where friends betray one another out of petty jealosies or seek to ruin the lives of gullible innocent souls by subterfuge deceit and cunning to win over trust and exploit it for ones selfish desires.Every type of relationship has the attributes to show all these characteristics good or bad superbly portrayed. and that is no wonder because many of the stories are written on by hired script writers whose only purpose is to win the box office with flimsy shallow themes but by eminent pak writers not aping the west but producing and showing the best in Pak and Islamic character. Finally every drama serial has attached to it a priceless message of what Allah or god is like in his guidance compassion and measuring out fate and anguish and trials of life to test the mettle of those He loves. Tests are the basic themes of these stories where every trial is there for a purpose, that being to improve the quality of humaness, test the mettle of mankind to raise it to ethereal levels. The concept which really won my admiration was that of ‘AJMAISH; which in urdu means supreme test through adversity. Like all religious messages Islam’s message of AJMAISH is beautiful because it seeks to show you that all adversity is not a punishmebt rather a test of the strength of your soul;s ability to endure and evolve which alone makes you what in the Gita is mentioned as the person who is dearest to Him.Whether in Islam hinduism or christianity the message is basically the same – christ on a cross, we bearing our own crosses all finally leading to evolution and enlightenment here and later elsewhere. These pakistani serials have managed to capture and beautifully portray that concept in their themes of love betrayal family relationships, human intereactions and life in totality. I congratulate them for not merely entertaining but leaving behind a message which goes way beyond that.Bravo and congratulations to these special people for what they have done and continue to do with unbelievable ability and skill.

let me introduce you to some of the serials i enjoyed most:


A moving story of partition faithfully rendered without bias and stereotypes. Outstanding cast and individual portrayals.














Medicine Buddha and Apsaras -Antiques from Bangkok

Pleasures come in strange ways. Some can be arranged others come unexpected. They give meaning to life and doubtless help in lengthening your life span if they happen often enough. They are quite subtle and differ from merely feeling happiness. They are more specific than happiness. More focused. My pleasures come from relating to nature, viewing works of art at a museum, growth, devotional music which elevates you to sublime heights, seeing and loving antiques and owning them, keeping pets and seeing them multiply, learning about mysticism through philosophy, religion, spiritualism, yoga, meditation, discovering spread of Hinduism in alien cultures, New Age views of afterlife, different views of the meaning of soul, secrets of astrology,  scientific riddles, the universe and planetary systems, space and time dimensions. and a lot more that i cannot think about.

That is a lot said about pleasure. but for the immediate context lets narrow it down to recent experiences. I went to a park and a cat came up to me. Normally cats run away when you approach them. but this cat came and caressed my legs as a stood surprised. so i bent and petted her. then i went and sat on a bench. she followed me and jumped up and came into my lap. I fondled her and she remained there while i cuddled her chin. she purred. I fell in love with her and wanted to take her home. Then i saw the collar on her neck and knew she belonged to someone else. sad but true. So much love from nature overwhelmed me. I responded in kind. we remained like this together for half an hour. O what pleasure. why did she come to me. did we have a relationship in the past.

The friendly cat


I bought a cactus, the type that is round like a ball. sitting pretty in a small bowl. never wanting too much water or care, only the sunlight and an occasional spraying. i left it alone for a month. It just sat still doing nothing to know that it existed. Then i went on a vacation. when i returned it had grown. more pines coming out of its centre. Greener and more voluptuous. what a pleasure to see it slowly grow larger, if you know what i mean.


I acquired four rare snails for my aquarium, called Apple or mystery snails. Very beautiful with golden shells and about two inches in width. They cleaned my tank then started mating. see my post on them. their sexuality was quite unique and very sensuous. the result in a month to my surprise were egg pods planted on the surface of my aquarium. then i went on my vacation. On return i was amazed to see 200 small snails all over the aquarium to my utter pleasure. I cannot explain the extent of my pleasure. They were very small and black not golden but crawling all over. One day They will all turn into giant Mystery snails . that is the wonder that caused my pleasure, though you may think such pleasure as silly.

Mystery snails mating

My Budgies, i have some 30 in a cage of all colours,  which gives me pleasure to see, I have a book which explains the colours, which in nature in Australia are only green, also bred. I saw some eggs in some of the bowls i put in the cage. then they produced little buddies which the mother and father took turns to feed into adulthood. each process gave me pleasure beyond measure. Again you may say that this is a stupid source of pleasure but for me it is not.



I have a post on the pleasure of loving an object. One in the museum or one acquired by you to keep. On a visit to Bangkok I acquired some more. and they too give me no end of pleasure.

Emerald buddha, bejewelled

On my recent visit to Bangkok i was amazed by the influence of Hinduism and India on this alien land. whenever i saw a Hindu influence on the roadside or at a shrine I was again amazed by the cultural spread of Hinduism with no effort of proselytising, rather a unique embracing of culture from another land. I have two recent posts emphasising this phenomenon in Thailand as doubtless it is also true in Indonesia. Cambodia, China and Japan. Well this also gave me great pleasure to see my culture so well regarded in the Far East.

Brahma shrine Bangkok

Well, these are some of the sources of pleasure that I experience. sure many people have different sources. Bit these are mine and i wanted to share them. though they may feel strange to many.




Shiva at the temple


Though there is ample evidence of Hindu influences in Thailand which I covered in my previous post, there were still some surprises in this regard. I heard that there was a grand Shiva temple on the outskirts of Bangkok and made my way there. i was amazed at what i saw – nothing like this compared to any Shiva temple in India. The scale was magnificent with every care taken to produce the best in artistry of tableaus, sculptures in plated gold, bronze and clay. The aesthetic ambience was superb and only possible because of the faith and love of the Thai people for Indian gods and myths. i was unable to find out who had created this monument to Shiva though judging from the numerous alters to the royal family I had the feeling that it was sponsored by the Thai king and his government. When i left I was in a state of ecstasy and overwhelmed by the cultural, religious and artistic  efforts that must have gone into creating such a shrine in a land not very familiar with Shiva.  Even the Birla temples in india though quite grand, could not compare with the artistry and dedication that must have produced this monument to Shiva.

As i entered the temple complex i saw two great elephants with the god Indra astride them with domes housing a Shiva Linga (phallus) and a statue of goddess laxmi on either side of a a great Linga in the middle with dragons inscribed along the shaft.

Entrance to Shiva’s shrine

As i proceeded further i witnessed the great myth of the churning of the mythical cosmic ocean with gods on one side pulling a serpent and demons on the other in the hope of gaining the treasures which the ocean could bring up. What came out was the nectar of immortality which both gods and demons coveted, the vicious poison which could end creation, and the goddess of wealth and well being prosperity and happiness, Laxmi. Vishnu the god of sustaining creation immediately claimed Laxmi as his consort, the nectar of immortality went to the gods as Vishnu disguised as a beautiful damsel held the cup for the gods to savour,  and the poison threatening to extinguish creation, but the great lord Shiva took up the challenge and drank it to save the world, his throat turning blue in the process, but leading to the preservation of the universe. This act made Lord Shiva a saviour of mankind.

The churning of the cosmic ocean

I then proceeded to one of two temple structures where Lord Shiva was enshrined to make my offerings.

Lord Shiva in the first temple

Behind the black stone statue of lord Shiv in contemplation on the creation of the universe were further images of Shiva and his family of Ganesha and the goddess  Parvarti his consort in her furious aspect of Kali decimating the demons, the root of worldly evil.

Mahakali the furious aspect of his consort Paarvati

Exploring further i came across the divine embodiment of Rama, Laxman, Sita and Lord Hanuman. Their blessed presence added a new nuance to the temple considering that all royal kings of Thailand are styled as Rama.

Rama Sita Laxman and Hanuman

Apart from the Hindu gods with Shiva as the centre piece there were  Chinese gods and goddesses and the great Buddha all in one enclosure, inviting devotees of  Hinduism,Buddhism and Taoism all in one place which was quite remarkable.

The Buddha at the shrine

Chinese gods and goddesses

There was a stall neatly installed as is the Thai way, for offerings by devotees which was quite impressive.

our personal offering

offerings for devotees






I thI then then went to the second temple at the complex. on the ground floor there was a marriage hall with many seats and tables and altars to the royal family along with numerous pictures of lord Hanuman and Krishna. Ascending the steps i proceeded to the first floor which was equally magnificent. As one entered there was a beautiful statue of Shiva riding his bull, Nandi.

Shiva on Nandi

As i entered the sanctum sectorum i was amazed to find the entire galaxy of Shiva and family. On a throne were seated Shiva and Parvati and on two other thrones beside them Lord Ganesha and Kartike his sons. On the steps leading up to the altar were numerous Ganeshas in different ‘mudras’ and on the other side Parvatis in dancing poses. What exquisite artistry must have gone in creating these bronzes I cannot imagine.


The alter to Shiva and Parvati

As if this were not enough of spiritual grandeur next to pillars were installed gold plated statues of Sarasvati goddess of learning and culture and consort of Brahma and Brahma who is greatly revered for having helped the Buddha in gaining enlightenment.



On the side of the altar were once again Chinese gods and goddesses and behind the alter a row of Chinese sages and gods.

Chinese gods and sages

On the other side was a shrine to the Buddha in black marble

Budhhist shrine

The goddesses Durga and Amba were also not ignored and figured at the temple.

Durga and Amba

At the gate as we left we saw the two guardians of Shiva holding tridents in their hands.

guardians of Shiva

Then there was also Shiva at the gate doing his cosmic dance of creation and destruction, the Nataraja.


And finally to our  eternal delight on an adjoining hillock a giant gold plated statue of Shiva in supreme meditation.

Shiva on a hillock at the temple

Hats off to the Thais for their artistry, faith, spirituality and dedication.

Brahma image from Bangkok Thailand


On a visit to Bangkok there were many surprises.The city was spotless clean with no litter whatsoever, the traffic was orderly, if busy,no terrible honking of cars, no evidence of road rage as in India, quiet and peaceful with the swirling of tyres progress and modernization, stately high rise buildings, shopping malls and hotels. This city could compete with any western metropolis. And finally the people. Charming, polite, gentle and graceful from the greeting with folded hands and a bow by Air hostesses in the aircraft extending to further welcoming with folded hands at shops and commercial establishments and restaurants – the epitome of etiquette and courtesy. It spoke of an excellent administration, law and order with an innate natural calmness in demeanour arising doubtless from a unique and effective culture.

If you delved deeper you discovered the reason for this. Piety was the  hallmark of the Thai people. At street corners, apartment complexes, shopping centres, markets and commercial establishments, one was struck by the universal presence of altars and domed pavilions dedicated to Hindu gods and other spiritual presences called Spirit Houses.

These small temples standing on pedestals with no deities inside, fall into a category of their own, neither Buddhist nor Hindu. They have their origin in antiquity before the arrival of Hinduism and Buddhism and are essentially animist, relying on beliefs in spirits, ghostly beings and the like. They inhabit the physical world rather than that of the spirit. They enjoin people to respect nature and its mystical influences. The belief in spirits is strong and people leaving their homes for work go first to the Spirit House to worship and make offerings for good luck and to avoid misfortune. The offerings of garlands, fruit, sweets incense and candles, even Coke and Fanta and occasionally alcoholic drinks are meant to appease the spirits and obtain their blessings. People travelling around town also make it a point to pause at spirit houses to make offerings.


Spirit house with offerings

The nature of the faith in them is different from worship at Hindu altars and Buddhist temples. Buddhism tolerates this worship and does not oppose it. This may be due to Buddhisms deep respect for nature.Many of the spirit Houses are consecrated by Brahmin  priests or Buddhist monks.

On the other hand the Hindu alters have exquisite sculptures particularly of Brahma the Hindu god of creation all over the city in stone bronze and clay and Lord Ganesha with daily offerings of marigolds garlands incense fruit and sweets.

roadside Ganesha

roadside Brahmas

roadside Brahma

I therefore went to visit the shrine dedicated to Brahma in the heart of the city, The shrine was actually created by the Thai government. When developers sought to build a hotel at the site there were so many mishaps that labourers refused to continue, believing the project to be cursed. The government shifted the hotel construction to a neighboring plot and instead dedicated the spot for a shrine to Brahma. It then became a place of pilgrimage for Thais. The beauty of the canopy inlaid with glass and stone and the golden image of Brahma took my breath away.

Brahma’s shrine in Bangkok

Thai worshipers had gathered in large numbers on a week day making offerings of elephants and horses made of clay. The profusion of marigold garlands and incense showed the deep faith and reverence in which he is held. The devotees included the young ,even teenagers in ardent prayer. If a wish is granted the devotee pays for a classical dance in Brahmas honour. Dancers wait ready in an enclosure.


Young worshipers

Crowds at Brahma shrine bowing and praying

Wish granted worshiper pays for a classical dance to honour Brahma

I then drove to other parts of town to explore further the extent of Hindu influences in Thai culture. I came across two more shrines dedicated to Ganesh the elephant headed god and a Thai invention , the amalgamation in one gold statue 10 feet high of the Hindu trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, one head for each deity. The crowds here were no thinner, with worshipers at the Ganesh statue seeking wisdom and removal of obstacles ( students generally come here before exams) and those at the Trimurti for love wealth and a list of other benefits. A nearby stall provided garlands and other offerings while a board proclaimed the benefits of prayer in English and Thai. Grand canopied domes adorned the shrines which were in the commercial centre.

Ganesh shrine in Bangkok

Trimurti of Brahma Vishnu and Shiv

Lord Indra

Indra beauty of sculpture

I proceeded further and came across yet another shrine dedicated to lord Indra exquisitely carved from green stone in another quarter, with worshipers. What superb artistry and craftsmanship the Thais possess – I haven’t come across such mastery in sculpture  even in India except in ancient temples. Indra, the chief of all Vedic sub deities associated with the elements, is popular in Thailand for granting boons and has a large following. I was surprised to find that every bench in parks in Bangkok had a golden emblem fixed on the back seat showing Indra riding his mythical elephant.

Near a 5 star hotel i was amazed to see a pavilion with a deity in it half Shiva as a male and Vishnu the other half as a female a unique conjoining of two deities which only the Thais could conceive of. In India the cosmic hermaphrodite is depicted as Shiva and his consort in one body.

Shiva as male Vishnu as female in one body

As if this were not enough I found a shrine for the goddess of wealth and prosperity, Laxmi in the heart of the popular Gaysome Mall in Bangkok. The story went that when a number of bankruptcies occurred in the neighborhood , Thai merchants decided to seek her protection and blessings and installed the shrine.

Laxmi at the roof of a mall

Outside the Intercontinental hotel another shrine was dedicated to Narayan, showing a bronze statue of Vishnu astride the Garuda.

Narayan, Vishnu astride a Garuda


However apart from the shrines and altars at public places there are only a few Hindu temples in Thailand, one in particular is dedicated to the goddess, in Bangkok which has become a centre of pilgrimage for Thais. Hardly any Hindus or Indians are seen there compared to the numerous Thais who seek blessings from the priests, bow and pray intently and make offerings. On Navratra the great Hindu festival celebrated throughout India ushering in the new Hindu year,and invoking the presence of the goddess during the nine nights, the Hindu temple in Bangkok becomes a centre of activity. Thais devoutly carry images of the goddess through the streets in palanquins and road side vendors assist the procession for several kilometers. There is no conflict with other faiths and the Thai authorities enable the procession providing police protection and arrangements to keep the crowds orderly. It is amazing that worship of the goddess has taken root in Buddhist Thailand.


imagesharadha-sharada-navratri-hindu-festival-sathorn-road-bangkok-thailand-D15TKBimage (1)

Many  Thais believe that it is easier to win favour of and access a Hindu god for mundane purposes of daily life, than the Buddha who is more concerned with teaching right behaviour and helping with attainment of Nirvana or enlightenment.

While Brahma is universally revered in Thailand, in India there is only one temple dedicated to him. His role in helping the Buddha gain enlightenment is the reason for Thai devotion. He is also believed to grant all wishes.

I didn’t see many Buddhas at road side shrines though 98 % of Thais are Theravada Buddhists. The grand golden Buddha, 50 tons of solid gold and other gold plated Buddhas found in numerous ornate temples where worshipers flock in large numbers from the youth to older generations indicates a strong and universal faith and spirituality. Youth are enjoined to assume monkhood for a couple of months before seeking employment to discipline them and familiarize them with Buddhist teachings. The benign presence of the Buddhas is aesthetically pleasing and the ultimate in art and sculpture.

The Golden Buddha


Rclining Buddha, Parinirvana

Buddha at the Royal Temple, a Vihara for monks

Mahathat temple Bangkok for training and housing monks

Hindu God’s again make an appearance outside Buddhist temples called Wats, such as a bronze Vishnu pulling a bow outside a Buddhist chapel at the national museum, a real work of art at which I kept gazing for long.

Vishnu with bow

full size


Again at the royal Vihara where relics of the Buddha are enshrined, outside stand guard two giant statues of Shiva and Vishnu.

Vishnu outside the shrine of Buddha relics

Shiva at the shrine of relics

The corridors at the royal palace complex are replete with murals depicting scenes from the Hindu epic the Ramayana with good reason. The national dance the Ramakein is derived from the Ramayana.

The Hindu influence is strong at the royal palace where the chief priest called Rajguru is a Thai Brahmin assisted by a group of Brahmins from India for performing rituals associated with the monarchs coronation, birth and funeral. By tradition this takes precedence over Buddhist prayers and rituals, inherited from royal practices in ancient India like bathing the monarch with holy waters from the rivers and chanting prayers in Sanskrit. Then follow the Buddhist monks with their chants and prayers in keeping with the Buddhist Theravada rites. There is total tolerance for the Hindu customs and gods and it is difficult to separate Buddhism and Hinduism. Thais feel that Hinduism is not a separate religion  but an offshoot of Buddhism. Here there is amalgamation of the two creating an ambrosial mix of two great traditions both having their origins in India. The Buddha was after all an Indian prince several hundred years before Christ, whose teachings spread far and wide  to South East Asia, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan,Mongolia, China and Japan. In India the Brahmin priesthood sought to divorce Buddhism from India. In Thailand there is no such divorce. The two coexist in total harmony as one.

Not therefore surprising that the monarch is considered  as an incarnation of Vishnu and assumes the title of Rama his avatar. Thus we have monarchs for generations styling themselves as Rama I to Rama XI. Thus numerous streets are named Rama I to XI. The Thai national emblem is the Garuda, Vishnu’s steed, half man and half eagle. On the walls of Buddhist temples the Garuda is shown as holding up the sky. Banks have the Garuda as their logo as too the official stationary of the Thai government. Alters dedicated to the king have a Garuda at his feet.

Altar to the king at a shopping mall

Shops are full of Buddhas and Hindu gods. One popular theme is Lord Rama in Thai royal attire pulling his bow.

Ayothia the ancient capital of Thailand is a tourist’s delight. Here there is a reclining Buddha of stone some 200 feet long in an open field. A giant Buddha statue adorns one of the ancient temples.

Buddha at Ayothia

The very name Ayothia is derived from the Indian town Ayodhia considered the birthplace of lord Rama in mythology.

Finally I visited the magnificent museum near the Royal Palace complex in the old city. Apart from numerous Buddhas in various Mudras there were the Hindu gods from antiquity.

Shiva at the museum

Vishnu at the museum

One final surprise awaited us as we departed. The Thai airport is named Swarnbhumi, which in Sanskrit means land of gold, indeed so appropriate. As we entered the lobby we witnessed a grand tableau depicting the Hindu myth of the churning of the cosmic seas by gods and demons holding a serpent with Vishnu astride a tortoise round which the churning was taking place. This produced the nectar of immortality, a vicious poison and the goddess of wealth. Here too the Thais had embraced a Hindu myth for all visitors to see on arrival and departure. As we departed, these memories of Thailand’s Hindu connections and the extraordinary piety and spirituality of the Thai people left us overwhelmed. We fell in love with Thailand and its gracious people.

The holy churning of the cosmic ocean

Vishnu on a turtle at the churning


There is total tolerance for the Hindu customs and gods and it is difficult to separate and Hinduism. Thais feel that Hinduism is not a separate religion but an offshoot of Buddhism and there is amalgamation of the two creating an ambrosial mix of two great traditions both having their origins in India.

Kesri Singh Mandawa

Suddenly someone who you loved and knew intimately all your life leaves your radar screen and disappears like a fallen aircraft does from the screen of Air Traffic Controllers.  My dear cousin Kesri is one such, who after a month in the ICU at hospital had a heart seizure.  He had stopped smoking for the past twenty years and took care of his kidneys which a month ago were no worse than mine. But after his youngest brother passed away, ten years younger, he was quite inconsolable, though he didn’t show it. He arranged a grand funeral for him at his village fortress, but after the cremation, for the first time, he began neglecting himself and went out canvassing for the General Elections in India in the open 48 degree midday sun, and suffered a heat stroke and kidney failure. He was rushed to Jaipur three hours away and admitted to hospital where they placed him in an ICU. There when I visited him, he joyously greeted me, waving both arms and was also chatty with the nurses. But he did not survive beyond a month.

Kesri’s Funeral at Mandawa


Sure, he must then have joined his parents’ souls waiting for him. So dear Kesri then left this world and joined the spirit world meeting his mother, father and 95 year old grandfather. 

Dear Kesri is therefore, alas, no more. What a maverick personality he was and an achiever. He had a finger in every pie and a concern and compassion for his family, extended family and people at large. He was always there for anyone who approached him with a kind word, providing help they needed. He looked after his brothers, their families, his own family, wife, daughters and a son, and even the grandchildren. He was always on the lookout to meet his uncles and their kids, arranging parties and get-togethers so that no connection was ever lost, like a grandsire.

In that respect, he was much like his parents whose home was always open to relatives and all and sundry with the warmest hospitality and affection you can imagine. From childhood my siblings and I were always there. He inherited those qualities.

He was also a great entrepreneur, full of initiative, and built his fortress in the village into a grand four-star hotel where tourists from overseas and home visited, feasted and were provided every conceivable comfort. It is today on the map of the world, “ Mandawa Castle”, and in Jaipur he turned their villa into another hotel called Mandawa Haveli. Places to be a must-visit for foreigners. He also set up a Desert Camp with 50 rooms and tents, replete with the latest luxuries for tourists in the village. Indians and foreigners came in flocks to this renowned but remote tourist site promoted meticulously in foreign capitals and on the website.

He discharged all his responsibilities with equal vigour and concern, marrying his daughters and son with great fanfare at the fortress in Mandawa where governors, maharajas, ministers, relatives and the social elite all congregated to enjoy the festivities. These events were spectacular and full of traditional hospitality which few can equal. Dance, folk music, torch bearers, puppet shows, and the finest cuisine and drinks to fulfil all expectations were all there. What fun we had at these events with Kesri the magnificent host.

He cared for the aged older generation with the same fervour ensuring their presence at all these events like his 90 year old mother’s sister, who circumambulating his coffin, said, “I have lived too long. Now it’s my time to go.”

I knew him first as a kid of 7 joining the ETON of India, Mayo College. We remained in touch over decades a close and warm relationship, as he grew from being an energetic kid into a great entrepreneur, full of compassion for family concerns and the desire to develop his fortress.

He also joined as governing member of Mayo College at Ajmer, Rajasthan, and developed it with fervour, always present at its events. He then spawned an extension of the college for resident girl students and a Mayo Girls came up where people from faraway places like Nepal sent their daughters to receive boarding education which was hardly available elsewhere.  At Mayo College he developed sports like polo and golf which facilities didn’t exist in other public schools.

Kesri was always a dynamic personality, full of energy and spirit, despite his health, and managed to survive to the age of 73. I called on him a year ago and requested a peculiar favour. I said, “When I die, I would like you to take care of my funeral.” He smiled and said, as was his wont, “Sure, I will, but who knows who will go first“- Prophetic words for he has preceded me.

I miss him terribly and I am sorry being overseas could not be there for his funeral.

He came thrice to see me when I fell and broke my hip and had surgery. Each time, he was so full of love and concern. May his great soul rest in eternal peace with his dear parents.

I remember, vividly, just two months ago at the funeral at the fortress he sat beside me as the cremation proceeded and chatted for half an hour as if he had a premonition that this would be our last meeting. He was always full of humour and in parting said that I should spend another night there considering that when his mother had wed the Mandawa barat had spent three nights at our village.

It is going to be a challenge for his only surviving brother, Randhir, some seven years younger, to bear the loss, guide the family affairs, and carry the Mandawa flag, having lost three brothers in as many years. Our sympathies go out to him. May God give him the courage, strength and discretion to carry on.

Randhir Mandawa

And Kesri’s dear wife, Bindu, who cared for him all his life, as a doctor would have, must be quite inconsolable. Whenever I asked him about his health, he would say, “I don’t have a clue. Ask Bindu, she knows it all.” May God give her the strength to bear this irreparable loss to be able to guide her children and grandchildren in the times ahead. May his spirit be constantly with her at her elbow to provide the same strength love and compassion as he did when he was alive.

Kesri and Bindu with their children: Geetanjali, Priyanjali and Shivarjun.

His two daughters Gitanjali and Priyanjali are now mature, with children almost out of their teens. He had the pleasure of being a grandfather many times over. They and his son, Shivarjun, are sure to miss his guiding hand, but he taught them about life and they should fare well.

Never failing to discharge his duties to the very end, he went campaigning for the General Elections in the midday sun which proved fatal. As they say the brave conscientious warrior was brought home dead to find eternal peace and rest.

Here, I am in conclusion, reminded of Rajput warriors who became the legendary “ Jhunjhars” who kept on fighting and remained in the saddle even when their heads were severed, like dear Kesri at the Election Campaign and later battling life in the ICU. This was a true Jhunjhar if ever there was one. 

Kesri: The Jhunjhar



The Gita allows  a soul precisely 8.4 million reincarnations on the difficult path of evolution. Early Christianity also had a concept of reincarnation which was later discarded. New Age thinkers and philosophers with the evidence produced by Near Death Experiences (NDE), hypnotic regression leading to past life recall by psychologists, and the activity of Mediums in allowing possession by spirits for those wishing to contact departed loved ones, are now universally inclined to accept reincarnation as a cardinal truth.

On the basis of my readings of the subject from philosophy, religion, New Age insights, NDEs, books by famous mediums and the occasional reported cases of people who recall their previous reincarnation and visit their former families, I have arrived at one conclusion with growing faith in it.

Not only we on the earthly plane know little about the intricate complexities and reality of the spiritual world which is as vast as our material one if not more so, but the spiritual world also knows little about our material world and is keen to know more. Therefore there appear to be two purposes of reincarnation.

One being to help the soul evolve. Its metal cannot be fully tested till it goes through the harrowing experiences of life on the material plane, time and again down from its home at the sublime heights of the spiritual life and world. It is basically a necessary but unwelcome option which is always challenging for souls who would rather enjoy the eternal beatitude of the spiritual life, where they are more aware through extra sensory perceptions, more loved and loving in divine grace and in a state of bliss. But they are not permitted to tarry there for eternity and must enter earth school to be tested and to evolve into greater souls, even if reluctantly. 

Gods creation is made in a way where spirit is attracted to matter even as matter is attracted to spirit and so they merge and mix as often as possible  in a union that matches the mind of the Universal spirit we call God the creator of both, though for mysterious reasons known to him alone he keeps them apart as two coexistent realities produced by his supreme imagination and pensive introspection about his own reality.

The other reason for reincarnation is the absence of knowledge of the material world by the spiritual one. This is my gut feeling and strong impression. Angels spirits souls and their mentors have little clue of the goings on here. The reincarnation of souls apart from testing their metal also reveals the truth of material life and the way matter acts in different situations which do not exist in the eternal spiritual world in a state of total harmony and beatitude. The impulses of the material world are totally different from the spiritual one. While God knows all the answers his spiritual world does not. And its intense curiosity impels reincarnations of its souls.

I think God is equidistant from both of his worlds, he leaves his creation alone till there is a crisis when through his infinite grace and concern he assumes the form of a soul, WHICH MUST BE A SUPREME TRIAL OF HIS ESSENCE and reincarnates himself as Avatar or prophet to restore equilibrium,and experience all the trials and tribulations of material earthly life as did Rama, Krishna, the Buddha and Christ. 

Whether he does the same for the spiritual half i naturally have no clue. In the spiritual world there are masters and great souls  that is his way of producing a presence there. Quite possibly the spiritual world also requires guidance as we do here. In Hinduism both are aspects of Maya or illusion, the supreme imagination of God in contemplation.

So, two God induced mysteries apart, the spiritual and the material, both surely dear to his heart and mind. his divinity is in both.

This divinity is present not merely at the spiritual plane but equally on the material and physical levels. Matter and Spirit are integrally conjoined and inseparable. The divine is thus universally present both as matter and spirit. Matter and Spirit, two facets of the Universal Essence or God, are not only inseparable and united but also exhibit attraction for one another by being in a state of perpetual interaction. While the material aspect is manifest, finite and perishable and recycled from creation to creation, the spiritual aspect is infinite, imperishable, constant and eternal.

Matter is passionately attracted to the presence of spirit and spirit never leaves matter alone either, probing, infiltrating and combining with it.

He allows the two aspects to come together, being part of his unity,  through the process of reincarnation of souls which provides some insight to each about the other without merging them totally as is his scheme and purpose. Unity in diversity. i would even venture to conjecture that Gods way of acquainting himself fully with his creation and being an indivisible part of it is through the reincarnation of souls which after all as said in the Gita are his own reincarnated essence that neither acts nor is responsible for any karma but acting in the human body run by the ego as a counsellor and guide the conscience in man.

This concept of the soul is quite different from the Judaic Christian or Islamic ones. There it is not the material ego but the spiritual entity they call the ‘soul’ which is active not inactive and certainly not a divine essence but one that is responsible for all good and bad deeds in material life and therefore subject to judgement at the end of a life and a place either in heaven hell or purgatory. In their concept the only difference between the human persona and the soul is that in the one case it is material and alive and in the other  matter transformed into spirit the same entity just with change in form but liable equally to judgement. The soul is no godly essence merely a spiritual aspect of the persona of a being assuming such a form after life.

In Hinduism the soul is God incarnate incapable of no  sin or karma a guiding light within, a beacon to god. The Gita calls it inconceivable, a marvel, a wonder, and none know it. The Gita says that it is easier to visualise God through meditation than access the soul within. The spirit of god is in every being and atom of creation whether spiritual or material.

The Buddhist concept does not speak of the soul as an essence of god within man as it does not talk about any super being like god at all. Neither do the Jains.

So we have the Hindu concept of the soul, the Judaic and the Buddhist/Jain concepts apart from the the New age mystical one which is close to the Hindu concept. My point is that they are inseparable because god is omnipresent in every aspect of both, being his divine dream. I wish to emphasise that the spirit world is not conversant with the material aspect of god and wishes to be through incarnation. the physical world equally is ignorant of the spiritual creation of God and seeks to access it through mysticism religion prayer and meditation.  The souls evolution is quite another matter and requires reincarnation, if you take the Hindu point of view of the soul.

In summary, God is ubiquitous, the soul is his essence, separated from him in the illusion of creation – he has diffused himself to understand his dream of creation. When the souls fully evolve they will join the ocean of godhead and become one with him again giving him full insight of his dream of creation.Till then they will reincarnate and evolve understanding matter and spirit and communicate that to godhead. Meanwhile his spiritual and material worlds will remain separate and seek to intensely communicate with one another the eternal dance of spirit with matter to get to know each other and finally conjoin as one to gods final satisfaction and understanding of his glorious dream.


























Asttrophytum Myriostigma – Star Plant

Since childhood Ive always had a fascination for the cactus. why I’m not clear but whenever i saw a cactus i would gaze at it for long observe its special architecture different from plants and wonder at how it survived. i always treated it as some kind of pet animal that had presence but didn’t move or make a fuss. As i grew older I examined this strange fascination. The cactus never asked for much, no daily water and strong in all weathers. It knew the art of survival. Nightly it would quietly absorb carbon di oxide, then as day dawned it would use it to photosynthesise with its fat succulent stems which stored water to produce its food. It hardly grew and had spines to ward off predators and catch the first morning dew drops in a desert with no water or rainfall, which would then trickle to its roots and quickly be absorbed in the fat succulent stems. What a wonder of a creature i would think. So self sufficient and self reliant sitting still like a yogi in meditation. It did grow imperceptibly thickening its water filled stems protected by a waxy coat to prevent water loss, always looking plump and happy never withering like other plants with neglect. Its architectural contours were perfect round with pretty shapely stems and the spines. In many cases these spines looked purely ornamental than to ward off people. I loved my little cactus and daily gazed at it trying to communicate to its desert soul. If you water a cactus daily it will die. Its that kind of strong hardy plant that does not like pampering. So I would give it sunlight not keeping it on my desk table and water  once a week. It thrived and grew. Like a fat pumpkin. Im sure it was aware of my loving presence. Then one surprising day i noticed a protuberance at the top, a kind of boil. As i watched daily it grew into a thick bud quite out of keeping with its general make up of stems and spines. It assumed a brighter green colour and finally the bud grown real big burst into flower, my happiest moment. no small flower but a lotus like big single flower red and yellow and bigger than the cactus. a miracle of nature. It said to me I’m happy and sexy. The flower remained for a month before it had done its purpose and fertilised its ovum, then it dried and fell away. The happy cactus then grew fast and became double its usual size. It was for me always like a dear pet.

Then I began my crazy pursuit of other cacti. I went to distant nurseries to collect all species and brought them home. My family thought i had gone crazy. Opuntias with yellow and white thorns, with a character of their own, succulents of all kinds and my favourites the globular spineless ornamental type. My favourite was the Astropfytum Miriostigma translated as starplant with several dots. It was a grey blue smooth stemmed plant with few spines and a myriad pretty dots on its sexy fleshy stems which were parted in four. Then one of the Opuntias taught me a lesson. my vision suddenly blurred. The eye doctor said you have a ‘thief’ in your eye. One of the hairlike spines had travelled and implanted itself in my cornea. He surgically removed it and said i had better get rid of the Opuntias. so i did.

Then decades later in my retirement i saw some globular cacti in a nursery and brought two as pets. They give me no end of pleasure. A mystic astrologer remarked, these are not just plants but souls so you better look out. Its not considered auspicious to keep them. I didn’t care, if they are souls they must be the friendly type.

Some of my favourites:

A poem inspired by my unusual fascination for these plants:

                                          THE  CACTUS

Halls of ochre butcher as they chase

One drop.

Not one insect spared but splits

In parching,

Sound of dry grass crackling,

Eyes thaw in ochre dust.

Like a dwarf sits the cactus.

Awkward limbs but affection in the interior,

Soft pulpy green-walled translucency

Where the moisture drips.

But without,

Its challenged thorn-lusty prurience grapples

With the desert’s grip.

Hate is an outer armour,

Love’s moisture is in the stem

And there is proof for when

The desert awakens in the rain,

Bulbs of chlorophyll

Explode in monsoon blooms

The milk pulp making fissures on the ragged skin;

Blood red hues, hibiscus violet

Flowers fed on milk. Then

How large the hidden heart

Bandaged in bristling brutality

For survival.

And now is the time of seed’s revival;

Another need brings the dwarf’s art.


Goddess Chandi

In Hinduism the goddess represents universal energy, Shakti, the power of creation from say the big bang, to its development into intricate creation, Galaxies, suns planets black holes and glorious creations of planetary systems, foremost the energies that make our planet so full of life. the goddesses all  symbolise the power and energy of the Gods. each has a consort representing his energy and ability. Shakti, the epitome of the Goddess is what makes the world active and meaningful. Energy in Hinduism has a female form. And worship of that form of energy is central to the inclinations in prayer. Energy then becomes Mother, the creator, Mother the sustainer and Mother that dissolves creation as well as protects it. for these reasons Shakti worship during the nine nights of her empowerment are sacred in worship. It is called Navratra or nine nights. and occurs twice an year in April and September. In April it concludes with the birth of Lord Rama the avatar, it is the power of the goddess as shakti that produces this miracle for mankind. In September it concludes with the empowerment of Lord Rama to slay the evil demon Ravana of Lanka who dared to abduct Sita his consort the embodiment of Shakti on the temporal plane, laxmi incarnated as Sita. Both events are the products of Shakti the goddesses energy which brings relief from evil or  the failure of equilibrium in the universe.

In Hinduism for this reason the Goddess as Shakti or divine energy is worshipped  to energise positively ones life and ward off calamities obstacles and misfortune which occur when ones equilibrium is disturbed either by physical forces or the effects of Karma. We all face such circumstances in temporal life and seek protection from their adverse effects. they could arise from simply the weather like storms earthquakes, intense heat or cold threatening life, or then the effects of Karma during this or past lifes, our good and bad deeds. So, during this period of the Shakti;s empowerment we seek protection. the nine nights provide just that. Prayer for protection from calamity, obstacles and misfortune.Hinduism provides a recipe through prayer to the goddess

The Markandeya Purana in which the Saptsati  and Devi Kavach are to be found dates back to the second or third  BC and are the oldest of the Puranas.

In scriptures she is the product of the combined powers of the great Gods, each contributing its strength to produce an entity that has super powers to rid the world of evil and demonic forces that have gravely disturbed the equilibrium of creation. Thus arises the figure of Durga. and from Durga arise her various forms innumerable and varied, an army of goddesses with different attributes and qualities. Chandi, Vaishnavi, Brahmini, Saraswati, Laxmi, Parvati, and so on. each form with special qualities weapons and vehicles on which they ride, each dedicated to protecting some aspect of a persons body, soul and life.

Thus we come to what is called in Navratri prayer the Durga or Chandi Kavach, the armour and shield. the Chandi kavach is recited daily morning and evening during the nine nights to ward off evil and provide protection to the devotee.

The chant begins by describing the nine goddesses, the first Shailputri, daughter of the mountains who married Lord Shiva,, the second is Brahmacharini, the celebate goddess of penance,  the third the goddess of strength  Chandraghanta who glows like the moon, fourth is Khushmanda the goddess of  creativity who dispels negativity, the fifth is Skandamata, mother of shiv;s son Kartikeya who became the commander in chief of the gods,  the sixth is Katyayeni who defeats hostile intensions, the seventh is Kalratri who overcomes enemies,  the eighth is Maha Gauri, the epitome of tranquillity, the last is Siddhidhatri who creates perfection, these are the nine goddesses worshipped.

Nav durga – the nine goddesses of Navratri


The prayer calls on the devotee to meditate on these forms of the goddess when in the midst of difficulties and trials.

The goddesses assume numerous forms to ward off evil and obstacles. each is armed with weapons, and seated on vehicles and are particular to the area of protection you ask for. thus Chamunda sitting on corpses, and  Varahi on the demon Mahishasur, Aindri on an elephant, and Vaishnavi on the eagle with Vishnu,  Maheshwari on a bull and Kaumari on a peacock, Laxmi on a lotus, Brahmi on a swan, all these goddesses derived from the primal energy of Durga are resplendent on their mounts fully armed and furious to do battle with evil forces. It is an overwhelming vision of Goddesses fair as the snows and dark as rain clouds having varied natures from the sublime to the terrible, each with a special acumen and ability.  The chanter of the hymn appeals to the array of goddesses  to protect him from evil and misfortune hailing their glory, radiance and yogic powers.

It may seem tedious for the uninitiated to go through this compendium of goddesses at work to provide protection but I feel impelled to provide all their names, the diverse and glorious aspecrs of Shakti, energy or Durga to illustrate the ancient hymn of complete protection recited on the nine nights of her empowerment so that one has a glimpse of what detailed protection it is  created for in the ancient Vedas which become the substance of prayer to relieve the trails and tribu;llations of temporal life. There is great faith and devotion during these nights to seek solace from the source of universal energy symbolised by the goddess which may even have sub atomic relevance. I am aware that naming so many goddesses may be  unnecessary for a reader who is not a practising Hindu but there is no other way one can present the armour hymn so highly regarded here as a panacea for all afflictions and misfortunes. Names resound with vibrations and meaning helping to picture the particular form the Goddess has assumed to carry out a specific task. I trust the power of the Goddess her energy and symbolism so i will be mentioning all the names against specific needs.

 The armour and shield prayer proceeds first to provide protection from the various directions and  next to every part of ones body. Each part has a particular goddess incarnated from the supreme energy Durga in various forms and shapes dedicated to protect that part.

Aindri, daughter of fire protects  from the east, from the south Varahi, from the south west Khadgadharini, holder of the sword, from the west Varuni, , from the northwest Mrigvahini riding a deer, from the north Kaumari, from the northeast Shooldharini, one who wields a spear,  from above Brahmani from below by Vaishnavi, from all directions the great goddess Chamunda slayer of demons Chand and Munda, from the front Jaya (victory) and Vijaya( who cannot be defeated) from behind. To the left is Ajita (invincible) to the south Aparajita (undefeated). Having completed directional protection the hymn goes on to provide protection for all bodily parts.

Hair on the head is protected  by Dyotini (unchanging), the head by Uma (wife of shiva) , the tongue by Maladhari (who wears garlands),the eyebrows by Yashwini (successful), the space between the eye brows by Trinetri (three eyed), the nose by Yamaghanta, and Sugandha (the sweet smelling),  the space between  the eyes Shankini (holder of the conch shell), Dwarvasini (the one who dwells deep within) the ears, the cheeks by Kalika., the ear lobes by Shankri, the lips by Chandrakala (who wears the crescent moon), the teeth by Sarasvati (godess of wisdom and speech), the teeth by Kaumari, the throat by Chandika (who is immeasurable), the voicebox by Chitragandha, the palate by Mahamaya (the enchantress), the chin by Kamakshi, the neck by Bhadrakali, the backbone by Dhanurdhari, the nape of the neck by Nilagriva, the windpipe by Nalakuberi, shoulders by Khangini, arms by Vajradharini, hands by Dandhini (the punisher). fingers by Ambika (mother of the world), the nails by Sooleshwari (bearer of the spear), the belly by Kuleshwari, the breasts by Mahadevi,, mind by by Shoknashini (dispellar of sorrow), the heart by Lalita (easy to please_)), the stomach by Shuldharini (wielder of the trident),naval by Kamini (the lovable), Guheshwari (the secret one) protects the private parts, the reproductive organs by Kamika, the organs of excretion by Mahishavahini, the waist by Bhagwati, the knees by Vindhyvasini, the hips by Mahabala, the ankles by Narasinhi, soles of the feet by Vasini, nails by Damshatrakarili, hair by Urdhvakeshini, hair pores by Kauberi,, skin by Vagheshwari, blood marrow flesh and bones by Parvati, the intestines by Kalaratri, the bile and liver by Mukuteshwari, the Chakras by Padmavati, the phlegm by Chudamani, the lustre of nails by Jvalamukhi, the joints by Abhedia,, the semen by Brahmini, the shadow of the body by Chateshwari (one like an umbrella), the ego mind and intellect by Gharmdharini, the life breath by Vajrahasta, sense organs of taste sight smell hearing by Yogini, the three attributes of Satva, truth Rajas passsion and Tamas inertia by Narayani, life by Varahi, Dharma righteousness by Vaishnavi, success and fame by Laxmi, wealth and knowledge by Chakrini, ones lineage by Indrani, cattle by Chanika, spirituality by Supatha, protection for  being in any place not mentioned here by Jayanti and Apnashini.

The extent and minute detail of protection from all quarters and for bodily parts which the armour is to provide is mind boggling and amazing, each part protected by  a different aspect of the universal energy Durga or Chandi, when the devotee invokes her. The life force itself  spirituality wealth fame success knowledge the Chakras and the attributes of a soul’s nature on the temporal plane, truth passion and inertia are also not left out. One can imagine what a powerful hymn and mantra armour this is, recited daily during the nine nights of the goddesses empowerment. seeking protection in prayer. It doubtless also has an occult significance to harness that power as ones saviour providing protection for the physical, mental, spiritual directional and planetary afflictions if any.

The hymn , in chaste sanskrit with precise meters, millennia old concludes with sage advice-

Do not take a single step in the journey of your life without this armour which fulfils all desires and goals in life. The supreme mother is always by your side making you fearless victorious and long lived for a hundred years, in good health unaffected by poisons (from snakes scorpions and enemies) and accidents and possession by evil spirits and aliens from outer space!

The hymn will also empower the mind and light an inner radiance conferring fame and everlasting progeny and enlightenment in afterlife to be in the divine company of lord Shiva (freed from reincarnation Karma and the trials and tribulations of temporal life

Durga image made of clay in their thousands worshipped on Navratri and consigned to the ocean after nine nights with devotion celebrations hoping she will return again.


Mahagauri worshipped on the most auspicious eighth night of Navratra and my favourite goddess aspect

The prayer claims to be the only one of its kind superior to all others which even the gods would like to provide them protection and is sung and chanted daily by devotees throughout India.

For those who wish to hear the original in Sanskrit a video courtesy u tube












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