Archive for April, 2010

How Dumb Can Officialdom Get ??? …

Posted on April 29, 2010. Filed under: American Thinkers, Business |

Einstien is supposed to have observed that there are only two infinites – the Universe and human stupidity. And he said that he was not so sure about the Universe! Well, here is a piece sent by none other than  DeeeeeeeePeeeeeeee – one of the two dashing, debonair Jat Bhais that ever were.

A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. He was told the loan would be granted if he could prove satisfactory title to a parcel of property being offered as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the Lawyer three months to track down. After sending the information to the FHA, he received the following reply.

“Upon review of your letter adjoining your client’s loan application,
we note that the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While
we compliment the able manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point out that you have only cleared the title to the proposed collateral property back to 1803. Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back to its origin.

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows (actual letter).

“Your letter regarding title in Case No. 189156 has been received. I
note that you wish to have title extended further than the 194 years
covered by the present application. I was unaware that any educated
person in this country, particularly those working in the property
area, would not know that Louisiana was purchased, by the US from France in 1803, the year of origin identified in our application..

For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the
land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France, which had
acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain. The land came into the
possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made in the year 1492 by a
sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the
privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch,
Isabella.

The good queen, Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful
about titles as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing
of the Pope before she sold her jewels to finance Columbus’
expedition. Now the Pope, as I’m sure you may know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God also made that part of the world called Louisiana.

God, therefore, would be the owner of origin and His origins date back, to before the beginning of time, the world as we know AND the FHA. I hope you find God’s original claim to be satisfactory.

Now, may we have our damned loan?”

The loan was approved.

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Aurobindo’s Speech of Three words …

Posted on April 27, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Aurobindo Ghose (1872 – 1950), popularly known as Sri Aurobindo, was an Indian nationalist and freedom fighter from Bengal. His legacy lives on in Pondicherry. He was a major Indian English poet, philosopher, and yogi.

He joined the movement for India’s freedom from British rule and for five years from 1905 onward (much before Mohan Das Karam Chand Gandhi came on the scene) became one of its most important leaders.  He then turned to developing his own vision and philosophy of human progress and spiritual evolution.

In his words: “Man is a transitional being. He is not final. The step from man to superman is the next approaching achievement in the earth evolution. It is inevitable because it is at once the intention of the inner spirit and the logic of Nature’s process“.

Here is a speech of Sri Aurobindo which consists of three words. It could well be the shortest speech ever,

“LIFE IS YOG”

Very very Profound indeed — End of Story!!!

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Sikh Gurus after Guru Nanak …

Posted on April 23, 2010. Filed under: Indian Thought |

This is the third post on the Sikh Gurus or teachers. The World in general (including the Sikhs themselves), knows little about Sikhism. Probably because Sikhism itself has degenerated and fallen prey to the very practices, which it was the endeavour of its prophets or Guru’s to proscribe. Here are some facts about the Sikh Gurus after Nanak.

These are excerpts distilled from the work of Joseph Davey Cunningham, who must surely rank in Gibbon’s league as a historian – though the geographic area and time period he encompasses are minuscule in comparison with the Roman Empire. This Englishman was a Captain in the East India Company (the trading company which founded the British Empire in India) and served eight years as an aide to the Company’s envoys to the Sikh Empire prior to its annexation.  In this span he researched and produced his great work. His employers were displeased with his dispassionate appraisal of their conduct and he was dismissed from his service. He died a year later aged 39.

Nanak appointed Angad, his disciple rather than his son, to succeed him in 1539. Angad thus became the Second Guru and he committed to writing much of what he had heard about Nanak from Bala Sindhoo, Nanak’s faithful companion. This he named the ‘Granth’, adding in it some of his own devotional observations. Not seeing any of his own sons worthy, Angad followed his great Master’s example and bestowed his apostolic blessing in 1552 upon Amar Das, an assiduous follower.

Amar Das, the Third Guru, was active in preaching and successful in obtaining converts. He also found an attentive listener in the tolerant Moghul Emperor Akbar. Amar Das preserved the infant  church or state from disappearing as one of many sects by separation from the followers of Sri Chand, the son of Nanak. In the spirit of Nanak he likewise pronounced that “true Suttee was she whom grief and not flame consumed and the afflicted should seek consolation with the Lord”. He thus discountenanced a perverse custom leading the way to amendment by persuasion rather than by positive enactment. After his ministration of over 22 years, his delight with the uniform filial love and obedience of his daughter, led him to bestow his apostolic virtue on her husband, Ram Das in 1574. The fond mother, or ambitious woman, is further stated to have obtained an assurance from the Guru that the succession would remain with her posterity.

Ram Das, the Fourth Guru, was worthy of his masters choice and his own wife’s devotion. He is even said to have been held in esteem by Akbar, who gave him a piece of land, within the limits of which he dug a resorvoir, since well known as Amritsar or the pool of immortality. Though Ram Das is among the most revered of Gurus, yet no precepts of wide application or rules of great practical value or force, are attributed to him.  His ministry lasted some seven years and the slow progress of the faith of Nanak is apparent from the fact that at the end of 42 years, his successor did not have more disciples than double that number.

Arjun beame the Fifth Guru when he succeeded his father in 1581 and the wishes of his mother were thus accomplished. Arjun was perhaps the first who clearly understood the wide import of the teachings of Nanak and percieved how applicable they were to every aspect of life and to every condition of society. He made Amritsar the proper seat of his followers, the center which should attract their worldly longing for a material bond of union. Arjun arranged the writings of his predecessors and added to them his own and the best known or most suitable compositons of other relegious reformers of the preceding centuries declaring, ala Angad, the compilation as the ‘Granth’.

Arjun also reduced to a systematic tax the customary offerings of his converts or adherents, who under his ascendancy were to be found in every place and province. The Sikhs were bound by social usage and disposed from reverential feelings to make such presents to their spiritual guide. The agents of Arjun were spread over the country to demand and receive the contributions of the faithful, which they proceeded to deliver to the Guru in person or at an annual assembly. Thus the Sikhs, says the almost contemporary, Mohsun Fanee became accustomed to a regular government. Nor was Arjun heedless of other ways of acquiring wealth and influence. He despatched his followers to foreign countries to be as keen in traffic as they were zealous in belief and it is probable that his transactions as a merchant were extensive, although confined to the purchase of horses in Turkestan.

Arjun became famous among pious devotees and his biographers dwell on the number of saints and holy men who were edified by his instructiion. Nor was he unheeded by those in high station for it is said he refused to betroth his son to the daughter of Chandu Shah, the financial administrator of the Lahore province. He further appears to have been sought as a political partisan and he offered prayers for Khusroo, who was in rebellion against his father, the Emperor Jehangir. The Guru was summoned by the Emperor, fined and imprisoned, it is said, at the instigation of Chandu Shah. Arjun’s death in 1606 seems to have been hastened by the rigors of his confinement.

During the ministry of Arjun, the principles of Nanak took a firm hold on the minds of his followers and a disciple named Gur Das gives a lofty and imaginative view of the mission of that teacher. Arjun is said to have refused to give the writings of his stern but fervid disciple a place in the Granth. Gurdas’s writings deserve attention as expounding Nanaks object of a gradual fusion of Mohammadens and Hindus into common observers of a newer and better creed. However the unprentious Nanak, the deplorer of human frailty and the lover of his fellow men, becomes in the mind of Gurdas and of the Sikh people, the first of heavenly powers and much more.

Hargovind was not perhaps eleven years of age at the time of his fathers death in 1606 when he became the Sixth Guru. He was moved by his followers to resent the enemity of Chandu Shah and he is represented to have obtained his condemnation by the Emperor or to have slain him by open force without referecne to authority. Thus in a short time Hargovind became both a military leader as well as a spiritual teacher and his temper and circumstances tempted him to innovation.

Hargovind grasped a sword and marched with his devoted followers among the troops of the empire or boldly led them to oppose and overcome provincial governors or personal enemies. Nanak had abstained from animal food but Hargovind became a hunter and eater of flesh and his disciples imitated him in these robust practices.

The genial disposition of the martial apostle led him to rejoice in the companionship of the camp, in the danger of war and in the excitement of the chase. Nor is it improbable that the policy of a temporal chief mingled with the feelings of an injured son and with the duties of a relegious guide, worked so as to shape his acts to the ends of his ambition. Hargovind seems to have admitted criminals and fugitives among his followers and they may have served him zealously without reforming the practice of their lives. He had a stable of eight hundred horses; three hundred mounted followers were in constant attendance and a guard of sixty match- lock men secured the safety of his person. The impulse which he gave to the Sikhs was such as to separate them a long way from all Hindus.

To the end of his life, the conduct of Hargovind partook as much of the military adventurer as of the entusiastic zealot. He accompanied the Imperial Camp to Kashmir and at one time is said to have been in holy colloquy with the relegious guide of the Moghul Emperor. However his independent conduct did not find favour in the Moghul Court and for a pecuniary reason he was placed in confinement in Gwalior, only to be released after a while.

After the death of Jehangir, a dispute over the Emperor’s horses together with the stinging abduction of the Lahore Governors daughter or favourite concubine (depending on the source one accepts), made the Imperial troops under Mookhlis Khan march against the Guru. He defeated them near Amritsar but after another victory, Hargovind thought it prudent to remove himself to the wastes of Bhatinda, from where seeing another opportunity he soon returned.

Hargovind’s presence ever caused commotion and the next time the dispute was over a hawk and Payenda Khan, the son of the Guru’s nurse, was made to march against him. The warlike apostle slew the friend of his youth and when another soldier rushed upon him, the Guru warded the blow and then slew the man, exclaiming, “Not so, but thus is the sword used!”. The  author of the Dabistan says that Hargovind struck not in anger but deliberately and to give instruction- for the function of the Guru is to teach.

Hargovind seems to have had other similar adventures and difficulties and at times was reduced to severe straits. The Sikhs always rallied around him and his reputation, military and relegious increased. Just before his death, he was visited by a famous Saint of the ancient Persian faith.

During his ministry the Sikhs increased greatly in numbers and the fiscal policy of Arjun together with the armed system of his son, formed the Sikhs into a sort of armed state within the empire. During his busy and martial life, Hargovind never forgot his geniune character and always styled himself as Nanak,

Gurduta was the eldest and probably most worthy son of Hargovind but he predeceased his father. Thus Har Rai, another son, became the Seventh Guru in 1645.  His ministry was mild and won general respect. He was however caught in the succession struggle between Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb and died soon afterward in 1661. He had chosen his younger son, Harkishen aged six years as the Eighth Guru. This according to legend seems to have been countenanced by none other than Aurangzeb himself, who is reported to have been pleased when the child pointed out the Empress among a group of ladies. However Harkishen died of small pox in 1664.

The Nineth Guru, Tegh Bahadur,was also a son of Hargovind. He was annointed first at Patna and then again at Baba Bakala when Makhan Shah hailed him as having saved his ship when it was about to sink. However  the machinations of his enemies, particularly the Ram Raees and perhaps his own suspicious proceedings caused him to be summoned to Delhi as a pretender to power and disturber of the peace.  It was only the intervention of the Raja of Jaipur which warded off the wrath of Aurangzeb. As a result Tegh Bahadur had to accompany the Raja to Bengal where the Guru helped win success against the Rajas of Assam.

Tegh Bahadur was a pious and innocent instructor of men, but the hostility of Ram Raees ever pursued him and once again he was summoned to Delhi.

There is, however, truth that Tegh Bahadur followed the example of his father in unequal footsteps. Choosing for his haunts the wastes between Hansee and the Sutlej, he subsisted himself and his followers by plunder in a way that rendered him not unpopular with the peasantry. He is said to have leagued with one Adam Hafiz and they both levied contributions from rich Hindus and Muslims respectively. They gave asylum to all fugitives and their power interfered with the prosperity of the country. The imperial troops marched against them and they were defeated and made prisoner. The Mahommedan saint was banished but Aurangzeb determined that the Sikh be put to death.

When Tegh Bahadur was being led to Delhi, he sent for his youthful son, Govind,  and girding on him the sword of Hargovind, he hailed him as the Tenth Guru. At Delhi he was summoned by the Emperor and half insultingly and half credulously, asked to exhibit miracles in proof of the alleged divinity of his mission. Tegh Bahadur said that the duty of man was to pray to the Lord and he wrote a charm and placed it around his neck before inclining his head to the executioner. On the paper was found written “Sheesh diya, Sar na diya”. Meaning his life was gone but his  inspiration and apostolic virtue remained untarnished. It was the year 1675.

Tegh Bahadur seems to have been of a character hard and moody and lacked the genial temper of his father or the lofty mind of his son. Yet his own example powerfully aided in making the disciples of Nanak into a martial as well as a devotional people.

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Govind … Tenth Sikh Guru …

Posted on April 11, 2010. Filed under: Indian Thought |

This is the second post on the Sikh Gurus or teachers. The World in general, including the Sikhs themselves, knows little about Sikhism. Probably because Sikhism itself has degenerated and fallen prey to the very practices, which it was the endeavour of its prophets or Guru’s to proscribe. Here are some facts about the Tenth Sikh Guru which appear relevant. 

These are excerpts distilled from the work of Joseph Davey Cunningham, who must surely rank in Gibbon’s league as a historian – though the geographic area and time period he encompasses are minuscule in comparison with the Roman Empire. This Englishman was a Captain in the East India Company (the trading company which founded the British Empire in India) and served eight years as an aide to the Company’s envoys to the Sikh Empire prior to its annexation.  In this span he researched and produced his great work. His employers were displeased with his dispassionate appraisal of their conduct and he was dismissed from his service. He died a year later aged 39.

When the Nineth Sikh Guru, Tegh Bahadur, was put to death, his only son, Govind was in his fifteenth year. The violent end and the last injunction of his martyred father made a deep impression on the mind of Govind. In brooding over his own loss and the fallen condition of his countrymen, he became the irreconcible foe of the Mohammedan Emperor and conceived the noble idea of moulding the vanquished Hindus into a new and aspiring people.

But Govind was young, the government was suspicious of his followers and among the Sikhs themselves, there were parties inimical to the son of Guru Tegh Bahadur and he was placed in retirement amid the lower hills on either side of the Jumna. For a series of years he occupied himself in hunting the tiger and the boar, in acquiring a knowledge of the Persian language and storing in his mind those ancient legends which describe the mythic glories of his race.

In this obscurity Govind remained, perhaps, twenty years but his youthful spirit gathered round him the disciples of Nanak and he was acknowledged as the head of the Sikhs. The neighbouring chiefs became impressed with the high sense of the Guru’s superiority and a vague dread of his ambition. Govind ever dwelt on the fate of his father and the oppressive bigotry of Aurangzeb.

Study and reflection had enlarged his mind, experience of the world had matured his judgement and under the mixed impulse of avenging his own and his country’s wrongs, he resolved upon awakening his followers to a new life; and upon giving precision and aim to the broad and general institutions of Nanak. In the heart of a powerful empire, he set himself to the task of subverting it. From the midst of social degradation and relegious corruption, he called up simplicity of manners, singleness of purpose and enthusiasm of desire.

Govind was equally bold, systematic and sanguine. He thought that the minds of men might be wrought upon to great purposes. He deplored the corruption of the world. He resented the tyranny which endangered his own life and he believed that the time had come for another teacher to arouse the latent energies of the human will. His memory was filled with primaeval seers and heroes. His imagination dwelt on successive dispensations for the instruction of the world and his mind was not, perhaps, untinged with a superstitious belief in his own earthly destiny.

In an extant and authentic composition (Bachitar Natak), he traces his mortal descent to ancient kings and extols the piety of his immediate parents. But his own unembodied soul reposed in bliss, wrapt in meditation and it murmurred that it should appear as the chosen messenger of God, the inheritor of the spirit of Nanak, and come to declare a perfect faith  The Hindu Devtas on one hand and Mahmud on the other, had required men to repeat their own name while beseeching God. Whereas he himself was only as other men and a humble servant of God, a beholder of the wonders of creation and whosoever worshipped him as the Lord, would assuredly burn in everlasting flame. God, he said, was to be found only in humility and sincerity. He said that the low were to be raised and those held in contempt would sit by his side.

Govind thus abolished social distinction and took away from his followers each ancient solace of superstition. To fill the void, he felt that he must engage the heart as well as satisfy the reason and give the Sikhs some common bond of union. which would remind the weak of their new life and add fervour to the devotion of the sincere. Having assembled his followers, he founded the Khalsa, (the pure) and bonded it by sacrifice and similarity in outward form based on the five ‘K’s of the local script (unshorn hair, a comb, knife, undergarment and an iron bangle). He thus made himself master of the imagination of his followers and established the theocracy of Sikhs..

The destruction of the empire of the oppressors of his race remained. The Moghul empire had been established only by a few loyal clansmen of Babur. Akbar became the master of India by political sagacity and by the generous sympathy of his nature. His commanding genius enabled him to reconcile the conflicting interests and prejudices of Hindus and Mahommedans. Thereafter the constant wars for succession undermined it and Aurangzeb ever feared the influence of his own example. His temper was cold, his policy was one of suspicion for Mahommedans and his bigotry and oppression made him hateful to the Hindus. It was only his vigorous intellect which kept him emperor to the last.

Govind added relegious fervour to warlike temper and his design of founding a kingdomm of jats, upon the waning glories of the Mughals, does not appear to have been idly conceived or rashly undertaken. Yet it is not easy to understand his designs and actions. His own pictures of the actions he has described are animated and authoritative. His successes caused anxiety and his designs alarmed the hill chiefs.

After numerous successes and some severe reversals, Govind proceeded to the Deccan where the Mughal Emperor was ensconced. Here he was fatally  stabbed after he had retired, by the sons of a pathan he himself had slain (or his his Grandfather had slain, as per a differenct authority). Govind directed that no harm come to his assassins as they had only done their duty in avenging their father’s death. Then he ordained that hence forth the everlasting Guru of the Sikhs was to be the Guru Granth or the Book of the compiled writings of Nanak and others. It was 1708 and Govind was in his 48th year .

Govind did not live to see his own ends accomplished but he effectually aroused the dormant energies of a vanquished people and filled them with a lofty though fitful longing for social freedom and national ascendancy – the proper adjuncts of that purity of worship which had been preached by Nanak.

Govind saw what was yet vital and filled it with Promethian fire. A living spirit possesses the whole Sikh people. The impress of Govind has not only elevated and altered the constitution of their minds but has operated materially and given amplitude to their physical frames. The features and external form of a whole people have been modified. A Sikh chief is not more distinguishable by his stately person and free and manly bearing than a minister of his faith is by a lofty thoughtfulness of look which marks the fervour of his soul and his persuasion of the near presence of the divinity.

In relegious faith and worldly aspirations the Sikhs are wholly different from other Indians. They are bound together by a community of inward sentiment and of outward object unknown elsewhere.

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Nanak … First Sikh Guru…

Posted on April 7, 2010. Filed under: Indian Thought |

This is the first of three posts on the founding of the Sikh faith. The World in general (including the Sikhs themselves), knows little about Sikhism. Probably because Sikhism itself  has degenerated and fallen prey to the very practices, which it was the endeavour of its prophets or Guru’s to proscribe. Here are some facts about Nanak, its first Guru and Founder of Sikhism.

These are excerpts distilled from the work of Joseph Davey Cunningham, who must surely rank in Gibbon’s league as a historian – though the geographic area and time period he encompassed, are minuscule in comparison with the Roman Empire. This Englishman was a Captain in the East India Company and served eight years as an aide to the Company’s envoys to the Sikh Empire prior to its annexation.  In this span he researched and produced his great work. His employers were displeased with his dispassionate appraisal of their conduct and he was dismissed from his service. He died a year later aged 39.

The Sikhs were converts to a new relegion, which came from the dispensation of both Brahma and Mahmud. Their enthusiam is still fresh and their faith is an active and living principle. They are persuaded that God himself is present with them and that He supports them in all their endeavours and will, sooner or later, confound their enemies for His own Glory. Their strength lies in the unity and energy of relegious fervour and warlike temperament. They will dare much and endure much for the mystic ‘Khalsa’ or commonwealth. They are not discouraged by defeat and they ardently look forward to the day when Indians and Arabs, Persians and Turks shall all acknowledge the double mission of Nanak and Govind.

Nanak perceived the true principles of reform and laid the broad foundations which enabled his tenth succesor, Govind, to fire the minds of his countrymen with a new nationality and to give practical effect to the doctrine that the lowest is equal with the highest, in race as in creed, in political rights as in relegious hopes.

Nanak was born near Lahore in 1469 in the Behdee subcaste of  the Kshatriyas. His father, Kalu, was a petty village trader. Nanak was by nature of a pious disposition and had a reflective mind. He made himself familiar with the creeds of Islam and of the Hindus and gained knowledge of the Koran and Brahminical Shastras. His good sense and fervid temper left him displeased with the corruptions of vulgar faith and dissatisfied with the indifference of the learned or the refuge they sought in the specious abstractions of philosophy. The homilies of Kabir and Gorukh fell upon his mind with a powerful and enduring effect.

In a moment of enthusiasm, the ardent inquirer abandoned his home and strove to attain wisdom by penitent meditation, by study and by an enlarged intercourse with mankind. He traveled beyond the limits of India, he prayed in solitude, he reflected on the Vedas and the mission of Mahmud and he questioned with equal anxiety the learned priest and the simple devotee – about the will of God and the path to happiness.

Plato and Descartes and Alghazuli, examined the current philosophic systems of the world, without finding a sure basis of truth for the operations of the intellect. Similarly the heart of the pious Nanak sought hopelessly for a resting place amid the conflicting creeds and practices of men. He said all was error. He had read the Puranas and the Koran but God was nowhere to be found.

He returned to his native land, threw aside the habit of an ascetic and became again the father of his family. He then passed his years calling upon men to worship the One Invisible God, to live virtuously and to be tolerant of the failings of others. The mild demeanor, the earnest piety and the persuasive eloquence of Nanak are ever the themes of praise. Nanak combined the excellence of preceding reformers but avoided the more grave errors into which they had fallen.

Instead of the circumscribed Divinity, the anthropomorphous God of Ramanand and Kabir, Nanak loftily invokes the Lord as the One, the Sole, the Timeless Being, the Creator, the Self Existent, the Incomprehensible, and the Ever Lasting. He likens the Deity to Truth, which was before the world began, which is and which shall endure for ever as the ultimate idea or cause of all that we know or behold.

He addresses equally the Mullah and the Pandit, the Dervish and the Sannaysi and tells them to remember that Lord of Lords, who had seen come and go, numberless Mahmuds. Vishnus and Shivas. He tells them that virtues and charities, heroic acts and gathered wisdom, are naught of themselves. That the only knowledge that availeth is the knowledge of God. To rebuke men who saw eternal life in their own act of faith, he declares that they only can find the Lord, on whom the Lord looks with favor. Yet the extension of grace is linked with the exercise of our will and the beneficent use of our faculties.

God, said Nanak, places salvation in good works and uprightness of conduct. The Lord will ask of man, “What has he done?” And the teacher further requires timely repentance, saying “If not until the day of reckoning, the sinner abaseth himself, punishment shall overtake him”.

Nanak adopted the philosophical system of his countrymen and regarded bliss as the dwelling of the soul with God after its punitory transmigrations should have ceased. Life, he says, is like the shadow of the passing bird. The soul of man is like the potters wheel, ever circling on its pivot. Nanak says that he, who remains bright amid darkness, unmoved amid deceit (maya) and perfect amid temptation, shall attain happiness.

Nanak referred to the Arabian Prophet and the Hindu Incarnations, not as imposters and diffusers of evil but having been truly sent by God to instruct mankind and he truly lamented that sin should never the less prevail. He asserted no special divinity, though he may have possibly considered himself, as he was considered by others, as an inspired teacher sent to reclaim fallen mortals of all creeds and countries.

He rendered his mission applicable to all times and all places yet he declared himself to be a slave, a humble messenger of the Almighty making use of the Universal Truth. “Fight with no weapon but with the word of God, as a holy man has no means other than the purity of his doctrine”, said Nanak.

He taught that asceticism or abandonment of the world was unnecessary – the pious hermit and the devout householder were equal in the eyes of the Almighty.

Nanak extricated his followers from the accumulated errors of ages and enjoined upon them devotion of thought and excellence of conduct as the first of duties. He left them erect and free, unbiased in mind and unfettered by rules to become an increasing body of truthful worshippers. His reform was religious and moral and believers were regarded as Sikhs or disciples.

His care was to prevent his followers from contracting into a sect and his comprehensive principles narrowing into monastic distinctions. This he effected by excluding his son, Sri Chand, a meditative and perhaps bigoted ascetic, from the Ministry, when he should himself be no more and preferred the simple and sincere Lehna, who he named as Angad. Nanak died in 1539 at the age of 70, leaving behind many zealous and admiring disciples.

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Dee Pee … Dharam Pal … a rare Breed …

Posted on April 4, 2010. Filed under: From a Services Career |

After the ’65 War, lying badly battered on a hospital bed in the Naval Hospital in Bombay, the Nurse reads this telegram, “The Lord be Praised! The Crown Jewels are Saved!” Even before being told who it came from, I knew  it could only be dear old Dee Pee —  that rare and outstanding personification of the suave sophisticated JAAT Bhai! Specially so with his rakish good looks and endearing, mischievous smile.

On the Night of Mon/Tue, Feb 8/9, that Twinkling Smile vanished for ever and the Gallant Heart throbbed its last. He had been battling the dread disease these last couple years and dear Som J would invariably look him up every week or two and keep me in the loop. Sadly even Som J was surprized by the suddeness. Now he is in the Happy Hunting Grounds with the likes of Jack Dias, Abdul Rafey Khan, Sultan Mal Charupa and the other gallants gone by, who formed part of the EIGHTH of the YOL Days.

In end 59, Som J was on his MT Course and it was DP who took charge of my formulative year. Short but so very solid, he conveyed confidence and strength, physical as well as mental. His casual laid back liassez faire attitude concealed a razor sharp mind. His twinkling eyes, puckish humor and quick tongue, always made it a delight just to be in his company. His walk had a jaunty, arrogant swagger as if he owned the World. His massive chest encased a heart of Gold. And who best to vouch that than the likes of Som J, Bull Negi, Self with all the rest.

He left us to help raise the Fourth and was with them when he was captured by the Chinese in ’62. He made at least three escape attempts since the Chinese never bothered to fence the camp. Each time he was so miserable and famished, he was much relieved to be recaptured. His solitary confinement was above a room which housed a young officers wife and infant and he was such a soul that whatever sweets or such came his way, he would slip them through chinks in the wooden floor, to the baby below. As was his wont, he befriended a Chinese officer who had taken part in the Korean War.and he told DP how they had lived for weeks in  tunnels on nothing but stuff like toothpaste, when they were being bombarded by the Seventh Fleet.

His room first in Central Vista and then in Kota House was my permanent transit camp in Delhi. I would sleep in his bed when he was not there much against his Bearers admonitions. There were some great times we had together — like going to see ‘The Great Escape”, only to walk out when ‘Kinare Kinare’ began to unfold!

Once while returning from a prestaff thing in Jabalpore, what with my propensity for missing planes, trains and even buses, I missed the train at Bina Station where the bogie from Jabalpore is detached/attached. I had gone for bath and breakfast and was in kurta pyjama. Next day, tired, dishevelled and in the same garb, I landed up in the Camp where DP was boss. He saw me coming but enjoyed himself as he watched his jokers dragging me over the coals on his orders as if I was a terrorist or something. He had the time of his life. He asked what forever made me such a lost clown?

His incaseration by the Chinese had damaged the casing around his heart and he was in the Hospital at Aundh outside Pune while I was now in the one at Kirkee. Imagine, I cannot recall the exact distance, but every day, alternately either he or I would walk over to spend the evening together. We must have been pretty fit!!!

It was around then that I aroused his ire. One day, when asked, I replied in the negative re his marrying such and such a person. He fumed saying I was a poor pathetic, crass, crawling clown who had no honor and lacked all patrician virtues. I held my ground and my peace and they were married.

Couple years later when I dropped in to stay with him in Delhi, rather awkwardly he said that he wished I would rather not. Surprized, I asked, “Why in hell, not?” Sheepishly he says I had been right and in a burst of anger, he had told his wife that ‘even that idiot told me not to marry you’. And now he was afraid that she might poison me!!!   I laughed and responded, “Like Hell!

Towards the end of my first stint with the Center, his Fourth came to Lansdowne. What luck! There used to be nonstop day/night sessions of Bridge running right thru weekends and more. Indeed those were the Days. I was trying my own luck at getting married and he was one solid support. Indeed when the marriage did take place, he led over a dozen bachelors loaded with crates of Scotch whiskey to help make it an occasion to remember.

The guy was lovable but just had no plain luck. His second attempt at tying the knot was a bigger disaster than the first. It left him a mental wreck. I felt very, very sorry.

His last day in service was spent with me. He had led a convoy of Mercedes cars loaded with Osho types to the Center where I was boss man. He told me, “I take care of their spiritual needs and they take care of my economic needs”. It was my proud privilege to go full throtle and lay on things real thick  – Wreath Laying, Regimental Dinner Night, the complete works. Nothing could be  too much  for this truly great soul – and that too on the last day of his life in uniform.

A few years back, my wife and I stayed with him when he was in Mumbai. He made us drive him to Pune, just so that he could buy and present me a book which was only available there. It is by an illiterate coolie. Some gent  studied the guy and put questions to the man. These together with the enlightened answers translated into english make the book. Deep down DP had this spiritual thing.

The title of the book, “I am That”. Dear DP was ‘That’ and a whole lot more. Indeed.

“Large was his bounty and his soul sincere. Heaven did a recompense as largely send. He gave to misery, all he had, a tear. He gained from Heaven all he wished, a friend. No further seek his merits to disclose or draw his frailties from their dread abode. There they alike in trembling hope repose on the bosom of his Father and God”.

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