Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Shri Krishna - Our Beau Ideal

--By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM

When I relax and think of the most excellent man who walked on this earth, the profile of Shri Krishna flashes across my mind. He was indeed the most beautiful person that one can think of. He was and continues to be the Beau Ideal of millions of men and women in many a millennium. He lived and died for the fellow human beings. He shared the joys and sorrows of kings and commoners alike. He was born in Dwapar Yug, the mega unit of Time just preceding our Kaliyug. By and large we agree that it was 5,000 years ago that he was born in Mathura of pious parents who were put in prison by a close relative called Kansa, the then king. Thus Shri Krishna was born in captivity but he , by dint of merit, hard work and humane nature became a liberator of Mankind.

Shri Krishna was so sweet by nature, word and deed that not only humans but animals too loved him. All living beings longed to be near him. He embraced one and all as if they were his kith and kin.
This is what the Ved mantra enjoined on men and women :
Mitrasya Chakshusha sarvani bhutani samikshantam

Let us treat all living beings as our friends : that was the Vedic teaching and Shri Krishna followed it in letter and spirit. After all, he had received his education in the Gurukul Ashram of Rishi Sandipani and had graduated to worldly life therefrom. The legendary friendship with a poor Brahmin had a beginning there and Shri Krishna nourished it in later life too. As the King of Dwarka, in western India, he had accorded same honour and respect to poor Sudama as to a fellow king or a mighty warrior. Of course, the large hearted largesse was in evidence too. Indeed it was a fine example of life-long friendship, notwithstanding the colossal difference in social status. A friend in need was a friend in deed; so said Shri Krishna through his actions.

Among the animals the Cow was at the centre of attention throughout. He loved cows. He cared for cows. For cows he was just a cowherd. He played his flute for cows and they came flocking to him. It was a genuine love for cows; not for their milk but for their loving company. It was the same type of soul or Jeevatma that stood embodied for action or Karma. So, the companionship with cows was also philosophical. Shri Krishna showed the way as a leader of men in loving animals and his kith and kin followed suit. A fraternity of human beings and other living beings symbolized by the cow was born here. One has to know and experience the Vedic ethos to appreciate this bond of love. Indeed the strife-torn world needs this philosophy of life more today than ever before. Shri Krishna is , inter alia, known as Gopal, that is the preserver and protector of cows. Let us emulate him and enlist ourselves as neo-gopals to protect and preserve the progeny of Cow. The world economy and environment will improve and love, instead of hatred, will prevail, It will indeed be a precursor of Peace on Earth.
Among numerous biographies of Shri Krishna there are refrences to folklore portraying wrongly his amorous nature. Suffice it to say that the so-called playful love of Radha Ji and Shri Krishna is philosophised by some scholars as the affinity of Atman or soul with Parmatman or God. In the present script we are portraying Shri Krishna as a Maha-Purush or a great man. No man is or should be equated with the Almighty. Therefore, the philosophy of love referred to above is fallacious and fails the litmus test of the Vedas. At best, one can say that when Shri Krishna left Vrindavan for Mathura to do away with the diabolical influence of demons he was just at the threshold of becoming a teenager. Radha was a full-fledged housewife. There was no chance of even an infatuation, what to say of a calf-love. The umpteen number of love-lores are pure figments of poetic imagination that have done more harm than good to the otherwise unblemished character of the great man. Let us leave it at that.
Let us quote Maharishi Swami Dayanand Saraswati on Shri Krishna :

“ Shri Krishna’s story (history) as told in the Mahabharat is indeed par excellence.His qualities,thought and action, character and totality of personality rank in the class of the Enlightened Ones. There is no reference therein to show that he deviated from the Dharm Path from birth to death. “

The great Rishi has really summed up well what the personality of Shri Krishna was. Indeed it was the epic battle of Mahabharat and epoch-making events preceding it that bring out the best of Shri Krishna. He emerges as a Yogeshwar, one who had mastered the art and science of Yoga, the physical, mental and spiritual meeting points – convergence of diverse forces for greater good of the greater numbers. Leaving folklore of boyhood days aside, we proceed to events that bring out sterling qualities of character of Shri Krishna.
Yogeshwar Shri Krishna emerges as a great man who put society before self. Whatever he did was for the good of the common man. No selfishness at all. Going chronologically, King Kansa was his first major kill. After removing that tyrant and eliminating him from the scene, he did not usurp kingdom of the deceased. He, in his charitable style, put Kansa’s father, Ugrasen, on the throne. The common man was happy as a benevolent ruler was once again at the helm of affairs. Peace prevailed.

Shri Krishna made it a point to punish the wrong-doer. It did not matter if the man to be punished was a king or a commoner. It was immaterial if the sinner was his close relative. An example was made of his first cousin, Shishupal. Notwithstanding his royal status, Shishupal was killed by Shri Krishna in public for his acts and omissions amounting to crime against humanity.

Shri Krishna was a Peacenik. Never was he a war-monger. When Duryodhan, the leader of evil forces refused to give to the Pandavas what was their due, Shri Krishna volunteered to present himself at the Kaurav Court as a Messenger of Peace. He played well the role of a peace maker. He offered to convince the Pandavas of the futility of war provided the Kauravas gave them just five villages, instead of a kingdom, and let them live with honour and dignity. It was the evil-doer Duryodhan who threw a red herring and refused to give the Pandavas even land covered by a needle-point. The blind King Dhritrashtra, remained blind to national interest and promoted his son blindly. Thus the peace mission failed. The war was inevitable. Mahabharat was the answer to oppression of the forces of the Good by the forces of Evil.

Of course, before going into battle Shri Krishna tried the path of diplomacy too. He knew that once Maharathi Karna abandoned Kauravas and joined the Pandavas where he belonged, the battle would be over before it began. He persuaded Kunti to go to Karna and make a clean breast of the past that the latter was indeed her son conceived and begotten before marriage and had to be abandoned. Shri Krishna made a sincere effort to convince Karna to save the society by eschewing the path of violence paved by the Kauravas. However, it was just too little and too late. Karna chose to stick to the Kauravas, come rain come shine. Now, the writing was on the wall. War, war and war.

Kurukshetra is the chosen battleground for an epic battle that lasted eighteen days. It was Mahabharat. It left an indelible mark on the history of Bharat. Before the battle began , Arjun, the commander-in-chief of the Pandava army lost heart. The will to do battle was missing. He did not want to kill his kith and kin and the acharyas for a mundane kingdom. In fact, he was so non-plussed that he abandoned his bow and arrow and was not in a fit state of mind to command his army. Here Yogeshwar Shri Krishna played a major role as a motivator of men who were in a state of bewilderment. His teaching and psychological approach made Arjun sit up, take stock of the situation and resume the operational command. Not doing so would have made Arjun go down in history as a coward and as a shammer who shunned his duty. “ Do thy duty, reward is not thy concern, “ said Shri Krishna. He emphasized that it was the laid down duty of a Kshattriya(the man of the warrior class) to protect the Dharma or righteousness and eliminate the forces of evil. So, one has to fight with Determination and win- so said Shri Krishna. The message is as relevant to men and women to-day as it was to Arjun in the Mahabharat. At the end of the war, the Pandavas were victorious and the Kauravas were vanquished. Shri Krishna was the guiding spirit through it all.

Shri Krishna is addressed as a Yogeshwar because he preached and practiced Yoga. He advocated complete balance in life, be it in food or behaviour in society or in our Karma, that is action in pursuance of duty to self and society. The same balance is to be maintained in our meditation and God-realisation. Shri Krishna himself summed it beautifully in this seventeenth sloka of the sixth chapter of the Shrimadbhagwat Gita :
" Yuktaharviharasya yukta cheshtasya karmasu
Yukta swapnavabodhasya yogo bhavati dukhha."

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010


By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
Cloud bursts, flash floods, towns and villages inundated with gushing waters of rivers bursting banks; men, women and children do not know where to go for shelter. Humans and animals, peacocks and snakes, tigers and lambs learn to coexist in rare dry patches of land for survival. The mighty Indus river had not known this fury before since when Alexander the Great had sailed downstream heading for home. Pakistan stands ruined but its feudal rulers care not. Wine and dining matter more for the elite unaffected by unprecedented floods.
“Water water everywhere but not a drop to drink, because it was contaminated with carcass of dead animals and human waste. Hundreds of humans and animals perished. The living and the dead received no help from the non-existent administration and both men and women spent their residual energy in cursing President Asif Ali Zardari who was tasting the choicest wine in France and enjoying the British hospitality in London. The Army led by General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani mustered men for relief work by taking them off the duty of training Taliban, their brothers-in-arms for a future attack on India, after securing a defence in depth in Afghanistan when the last American soldier left for home under orders of Obama the Muslim. One wonders whether Obama the President and Osama the terrorist were brothers in their previous birth.
The common man’s perception all over the world is: God has punished Pakistanis for their Satanic acts and omissions. Osama bin-Laden is based in Pakistan and keeps on criss-crossing the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Many men who matter in the government of Pakistan are in the know of whereabouts of Osama the terrorist but they do not apprehend him, what to say of delivering him to America to face trial. It is the same man-cum-devil who had planned and executed the attack on twin towers of New York. His co-conspirators had planned and executed attacks on Mumbai in India, not forgetting bomb blasts on the Mumbai suburban trains where many hundred precious lives were lost. The blood of thousands of men, women and children killed in terrorist violence all over the world, is on their hands. Divine justice has been done and wicked Pakistanis punished. Let no man interfere with the Divine justice – that is the common perception.
Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations made an appeal to the international community to come forward and render aid on humanitarian grounds. Not many hands of human beings lifted to donate to the devils. Frankly speaking, Pakistan does not enjoy a good reputation in the comity of nations. Pakistan is seen as a factory producing Islamist terrorists who destroy the existing culture and civilisation to build mosques on the rubble. No wonder, students of history recall the barbarous acts of Islamic invaders in India, Central Asia, Europe and elsewhere. Temples, churches and synagogues were demolished, libraries were burnt, precious manuscripts were destroyed by these Islamist barbarians. The latest destruction was that of images of Buddha in Bamian in Afghanistan. Pakistan is seen as an inheritor of the philosophy of loot, rape, plunder and destruction of everything that is beautiful. Art to an Islamist terrorist is like the red rag to the bull in the Rodeo enclosure. If that be the case, and indeed it is so, then why donate your hard-earned money to nourish and nurture sons of Satan?
Pakistan is a failed state. Pakistan is a terrorist state. The floods that ravaged Pakistan came in the form of punishment for devilish deeds of Pakistanis. God has punished Pakistanis for their sins – this is the statement made by Mullahs and Maulvis of Pakistan who are well versed in the Islamic scriptures. I have not contributed anything to this kind of FATWA, an Islamic religious decree, except to arrange it at an appropriate place in this article. Whatever has been stated heretofore is a part of history that was recorded truthfully. Aren’t we all committed to the divine concept of telling the TRUTH. Let no man shy away from what the Lord has ordained.
India is Pakistan’s bĂȘte noir. Pakistan has been acting on its cardinal principle and policy “Hate Hindu Hate India”. The rogue state forgets that there are more Muslims living and enjoying citizenship rights in India than in Pakistan. There was no reason for India to offer economic aid to flood-ravaged Pakistan. Giving aid to Pakistan is like supping with the Devil. Anyway, the Indian Prime Minister who was born in a village that is now in Pakistan, felt moved and offered five million US dollars as a humanitarian aid. But Pakistan, in its arrogance, just kept mum and neither accepted it nor rejected it. Thus Pakistan insulted India once again. It was not until the United States of America goaded Pakistan to accept the Indian aid that it did so willy-nilly.
The Indian citizens must urge the government of India strongly not to render anymore assistance to Pakistan after it showed its atrocious behaviour in just shelving the Indian aid offer for days. The Indian tax -payers money will be going down the drain if the weak Indian Prime Minister offers more aid to Pakistan. In fact his weakness is touted as his strong point and the main reason for his survival in the present office. Therefore, he continues this weak-kneed policy of begging Pakistan to accept the aid despite being rebuffed time and again. What a shame! The old man sees light at the end of the tunnel in the form of the Nobel Peace Prize. If Obama got it for doing nothing and just for being in the Oval office for merely eighteen days when the award was announced, our Man on Pakistan peace mission deserves a better deal as he has been in the chair for six years now and has been supplicating Pakistan all along out of turn. Is someone in Sweden listening?

A very close relative of mine settled in Germany told me on phone that German citizens are rather reluctant to donate money for the needy men and women in Pakistan. The image of Pakistan in Germany takes a beating for the rampant corruption in the rank and file of its government, be it local, provincial or central. Of course, the overriding factor of reluctance to donate is the picture of Pakistan as a terrorist state in the minds of average German citizens. Perhaps the scenario is not much different in other countries of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the Americas and elsewhere. Indeed Pakistan has itself to blame for difficulty in finding donors to extend humanitarian aid to it. The media, both print and electronic is doing its bit in rousing the conscience of donors-to-be by showing images of destitute children and hungry expectant mothers in tatters. Nevertheless, it is the bearded, armed to teeth Islamist terrorists hell bent on destroying our cultures and civilizations who walk away with the cake in this competition of projecting the present picture of Pakistan. David is left far behind as Goliath rules the roost in Pakistan of today.
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010


By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
The Vedic world knows him as Pundit Lekh Ram, Arya Musafir. Once he made up his mind that the Vedic Dharm was the first and the last word to guide human behaviour from A to Z, there was no going back on it. He was a man of determination and possessed perseverance. Once the goal was set, he left no stone unturned to reach there. He was a clear headed man who knew how to determine what the aim was and once the aim was set, maintenance of aim was no problem to him. There was no deviation from the aim and it had to be achieved, come what may. Of course, he had to tread on the toes of others but he did not mind it. If others did, he would say – I don’t care. Pt Lekh Ram had a many-faceted personality but the overriding element was principles, precepts and preaching of the Vedas based Dharma as propounded by Maharishi Swami Dayanand Saraswati, the great religious and social reformer of the 19th century India.
Born in 1858 in Saidpur in district Jhelum, now in Pakistan, he inherited knowledge of languages and the unparalleled spirit of “Giving” and not Grabbing from the soil and tradition of the village. Just to quote one example, Lala Dewan Chand, the great Arya philanthropist and martyred freedom fighter, Khushiram Ji were also born and brought up in Saidpur. Pt Lekh ram was initially named as Lekh Raj but later in his writings he preferred the name Lekh Ram.
Pt Lekh Ram had had a taste of various sects of Hinduism and teachings of Guru Nanak Dev until he found his moorings in the teachings of the Vedic Dharm after he have had a number of meetings with Swami Dayanand Saraswati at Ajmer on 17 May 1881. Under a false notion, Lekh Ram Ji used to consider himself as Brahm but after a meaningful exchange of views with Swami Dayanand Saraswati, he became a votary of the Vedic Trinity. Now he knew that he was a Jeevatma and Parmatma as well as prakriti were separate and different entities.
This meeting between Rishivar and Punditji was of great significance to the Arya Samaj. The Arya Samaj got a committed writer of Life of Dayanand Saraswati, his life and thought based on interviews with people who had met the great reformer. Pundit Lekh Ram had started his mission of collection of authentic material to write the biography of Rishivar on 11 December 1888, five years after the Rishi’s untimely and sad demise. Pt Lekh Ram took great care that fact and fiction did not intermingle and finally gave the Arya Samaj a biography of its founder that is par excellence. It was a biography based on interviews recorded at the spot where events had taken place. Obviously, Pt Lekh Ram travelled a lot all over the place where Swami Dayanand had gone, lectured, written his memorable treatises and faced worldly problems generated by jealousy, superstitions and miscalculations.
In the scheme of collection of facts and holding interviews, Pt Lekh Ram did not ignore his mission of teaching and preaching tenets of the Vedic Dharm. He did a fine balancing act between writing of biography and delivering of Vedic sermons. The latter was done at his own cost lest the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Lahore took it as an infringement of its financial guidelines. Pandit Ji chose to forego the Dakshina for the period he was not collecting facts for the biography and delivering sermons instead.
Another facet of Pandit Ji’s personality emerged during these extensive travels. He became a consummate writer of Travelogues in the Urdu language, possibly the first one. The essays on travel were published under the caption “Safarnama”. Sadly, not much has survived of that unique piece of literature. Here I am reminded of Lord Francis Bacon, the famous essayist of the English language, who wrote a line “Travel makes a man perfect”, and this perfection could be discerned in the travels and writings of Pt Lekh Ram.
Pt Lekh Ram had a close relationship with Peshawar, the capital city of the North-Western Frontier Province NWFP). He was posted there as a sergeant in the Police Dept but did not let his profession interfere with his Vedic Dharm. When things came to a pass, he preferred to resign from the government service rather than let the profession have better of him. As an Arya Samajist he did not let low cast men be looked down upon. Once when he was posted in a police station where the Station House Officer was a Muslim Pathan and an orderly was a Mazahabi Sikh (of low caste), he made it a point to shake hands with him to obliterate casteism. This used to happen much to the chagrin of the Thanedar Saheb who was a great believer in his high caste. Pandit Ji used to do Namaste to others as he believed in the Aryan way of greetings. However, soon the dept and the Vedic missionary parted ways when he hung up his police uniform for good. It may, however, be mentioned that while in the police service he published and edited a weekly named, Dharmopadesh. Later he was the editor of Arya Gazette that carved a niche in the world of journalism. While collecting material for Swami Ji’s biography, he published a timely weekly called Arya Vijay.
Pt Lekh Ram was always available to the new generation for advice and guidance. ‘TEHRIR AND TAQREER’, THAT IS WRITING AND DELIVERING SERMONS MUST NEVER CEASE – that was his counselling to all Arya Samajists. Indeed writing new articles or books meant an intensive study of the subject and thus the preachers who deliver the sermon will be knowledgeable. It should be an ongoing process in this Arya Samaj movement so that the mission of Swami Dayanand Saraswati touches new heights day after day.
Pt Lekh Ram Ji used to do self study and also some writing whenever he got time off the work as a Vedic missionary. One late evening as he was busy writing, oil in the lamp was exhausted. Shops were closed. So he walked along the railway line to the Kothi of Mahatma Munshi Ram as enough light was available in his Dewankhana. Thus he achieved the intended target of writing for that evening. Man with a mission knew how to achieve the aim surmounting problems, both major and minor.
Pt Lekh Ram was the moving spirit behind the Arya Samaj, Peshawar, now in Pakistan. He collected funds to have an impressive building erected as the epicentre of the Ved prachar activities. The impressive Arya Samaj bhawan had a pride of place among religious institutions of Peshawar.
The city of Pathans, both Hindus and Muslims, had influenced the dress code of Pundit Lekh Ram. He would wear a tight pyjama, a shirt, a waist coat and a turban tied in the typical frontier style. While talking of dress code, I must make a mention of an incident in Jullundur. Pt Lekh Ram was staying with Mahatma Munshi Ram and the latter had started wearing a Dhoti by then as a pracharak. One day Pt Lekh Ram told him “Lalaji, you are an energetic man and a tireless worker of the Arya Samaj. It is a loose-fitting wear of the slovenly easterners and does not befit us”. Mahatma Munshi Ram just laughed it away. The writer of these lines is fond of tying a Dhoti as a pracharak, be it a visit to the Rashtrapati Bhawan, a travel to Tibet or addressing a gathering of cadets. My Indian dress earned me a new name, “Dhoti Wale Brigadier Saheb”. I am with Mahatma Munshi Ram on this point and not with Pundit lekh Ram. No disrespect meant to him; I revere him.
Pt Lekh Ram was always there where he was needed most. Whenever he heard that a Hindu or a group of Hindus were about to convert to Islam or Christianity, he would rush to that spot to convince them not to cross over. More often than not he was successful in his mission. It is said that once he was going on a similar mission to a mofussil town but entrained in an express train that did not stop there, so Punditji just leaped out of the train as it slowed a little at the platform. Although he was hurt but he reached his destination on time and his mission of retaining a group of Hindus in the family fold was a great success. The veracity of this story stands confirmed by independent sources of the time.
A major part of Pt Lekh Ram’s time and energy was spent in countering the Ahmedias and their Head, Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadiani, who were always out to attack the Hindus in general and the Arya Samajists in particular. In retrospect one may say that the Ahmedias who clashed with the Hindus on behalf of the Muslims, were not considered to be true Muslims. In Pakistan the Ahmediyas are listed as non-Muslims. What a shame for the Mirza, who deputed a man to assassinate Pt lekh Ram, to be called a non-Muslim. The Ahmedias are hounded out by Sunnis all over the place. And it was one of them who lived with Pt Lekh Ram and dined with him expressing a wish to be converted a Vedic Dharmi. The drama was staged by that wretched fellow for a few days and one night he surreptitiously plunged his long knife into his abdomen. Pt Lekh Ram became a martyr in the cause of the Vedic Dharm on 6 March1897 at a young age of 39 years. The Mirza unashamedly owned having plotted this heinous crime of murder in cold blood.
Lahore was shocked. The Hindus and Sikha mourned Pt Lekh Ram’s assassination in thousands. The Arya Samajists of all shades displayed a rare sense of unity at the cremation ground in Lahore. Lakshmi Devi Ji, the widow of Pt lekh Ram who had the bliss of marital life for just four years, took a pledge to continue working for the cause that her husband had died for. She donated the entire money of his life insurance to the cause of the Vedic Dharm. She made this sacrifice notwithstanding the advice of many well wishers like Mahatma Munshi Ram to save some money for a rainy day. She was so inspired by the martyrdom and Vedic ideals of her late husband that she wished to donate every paisa that she had and did so. Later, at one of the convocation ceremonies of the Gurukul Kangri, Haridwar , venerable Lakshmi Devi Ji donated all her gold and jewellery for the flagship of the Vedic Shiksha. Her sacrifice and the martyrdom of her husband bore fruits in various activities of the Arya Samaj and the Gurukul. Of the money donated by her, a Foundation for education of brilliant but poor students was established. We are proud to narrate that the first beneficiary of this munificence was a young boy from Saharanpur who was transformed into an illustrious Vedic scholar. The world knows him as Pt Budh Dev Ji Vedalankar, later known as Swami Samarpananand Ji.
Swami Shraddhanand Ji, among others, had paid glowing tribute to the martyred Pt Lekh Ram thus: He was a DHARMVIR AND A KARMVIR. Indeed a fearless fighter for the cause of the Vedic Dharm. He was a true believer in Param Pita Parmatma and the Lord loved him.
Pundit Lekh Ram is a torch bearer removing darkness for others. His martyrdom inspired other Aryas to follow into his footsteps. Swami Shraddhanand, Mahashay Rajpal and many others of the Hyderabad satyagrah attained martyrdom for the cause of the Vedic Dharm. Indeed they walked fearlessly on the path of martyrdom for the Vedic Dharm paved by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati himself.
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