Archive for category Maharashtra
I recently read an excellent book and would like to post an extract from it – “India My Love, Fragments of a Golden Past”, written by Osho, a very popular mystic spiritual teacher who had and still has an international following. This book is so touching that it brings tears to the eyes of every single person who understands the real meaning of India.
“India is not just geography or history. It is not only a nation, a country, a mere piece of land. It is something more: it is a metaphor, poetry, something invisible but very tangible. It is vibrating with certain energy fields which no other country can claim.
Between 1200 – 1900, various aspects of socio-cutural life in India were on a progressive decline. One manifestation of this decline was the fall in standards of music in northern India. From being the vehicle for realizing divinity, hindustani classical music (hindustani being the classical music of northern India with the carnatic music being its southern counterpart) had deteriorated to being associated with prostitutes (the term naachne gaane vali in the Hindi language!). The survival of classical music was at the highest levels of threat. By the 1900s, people had completely forgotten that music can be used as a tool to realize the divine nature of the universe. Instead, they not only looked down upon musicians, but also prevented their community from listening to it. Additionally, scholars who learned music despite the prevalent societal apathy towards music, exhibited a deep sense of rivalry towards other contemporary schools of music. They tended to protect their songs and compositions within the four walls of their respective schools (gharanas). The lack of interaction between scholars further degenerated the standards of the art, because every gharana followed a different way of rendering the same raga (tune). These various classification schemes often tended to contradict one another, futher encouraging musicians of a gharana to keep their compositions secret, in order to avoid argument or challenge from a competing gharana. It was a vicious cycle that could potentially extinguish music completely from the society, destroying all the audience it had in the past. Read the rest of this entry »
Jnaneshwar was a great saint born in Alandi, near Pune, in Maharashtra in 1271. He was actually a realized soul even while he was a boy. The story of his life is described here briefly.
Jnaneshwar’s father Vithalpant was a grihasta Brahmin who was inclined towards adopting Sanyasa. One day, driven by the passionate urge to discover the Brahman, he went to his guru and took Sanyasa. However, the guru was unaware of the fact that Vithalpant had not taken permission from his wife before adopting Sanyasa – it is considered unacceptable for a man to take Sanyasa without first obtaining permission from his wife. A grihasta is expected to produce children and later on, if he were inclined to Sanyasa, he must leave his wife in the care of his son. It is a great sin for a man to leave his wife uncared for and take on the Sanyasa path. When the guru discovered that Jnaneshwar’s father had not obtained permission, he was reprimanded badly and sent back to his home to live with his wife. They lived together happily and produced four children, one of them being Jnaneshwar. All the four children went on to become great spiritual leaders, being born out of a realized father. But his community ostracized him for the grave sin of adopting family life after adopting Sanyasa. After a lot of struggle in raising the children, both the husband and the wife were so disgusted with being insulted that they left their mortal bodies. Read the rest of this entry »
We all have heard the valiant conquests of the great ruler of the Maratha Kingdom – Chatrapathi Shivaji. Sivaji’s father Shahaji was a very weak ruler who lost most of his forts to Mughal invaders who proceeded South from the Delhi Sultanate. At a very young age, he began ruling a small kingdom in Pune. Being a very intelligent boy and a prodigious strategic thinker, he quickly learnt from all the mistakes his father made. His mother taught him values and contributed greatly to his highly respectable character. Shivaji had exceptional military capabilities, combined with a deep knowledge of Sanskrit. He was a patron of arts, culture and music. He respected women. Most importantly, he was a truly secular leader, because he tolerated and respected all other religions, including Islam.