This is for you, Suren….

Suren Anna, your 7th “death” anniversary has just come and gone. Even if it is your 70th death anniversary, consolation cannot come for the simple reason that your killers are still at large. Your killers are still at large somewhere. On that fateful day in March 2006, when you were riding your tiny Bajaj Sunny Scooter, two racing rascals on two motorbikes whizzed past you on either side, without hitting you, but close enough for you to have a heart attack. Shopkeepers saw you struggling to maintain balance after the bikes whizzed past you, and helped you lie down on the road, where you instantly died. No blood. No wounds. But what a deep gash those two vagabonds, those two racing rascals inflicted on your heart that it never recovered? Because this is a common platform I am limiting the use of expletives, because those two racing rascals cannot be called otherwise. Without knowing who those racing rascals were, how could we even lodge a complaint? They had come so fast, none of the people around could even note their numbers, except for the fact that they came in two separate bikes – the witnesses to the event were unsure even of the make of the bikes since those racing rascals were so fast. No one knew who they were – those two racing rascals – but they are still at large somewhere. Those killers.

Those two racing rascals perhaps did not know that they would be snuffing out a life from a 56 year old man by their act of dare devilry. They perhaps will never know the pain that they caused to a family, to so many people, by their act of dare devilry. They might have impressed their girl friends or themselves or their friends, but they have left their bloodied hands on you – your death is a result of their dare devilry – nothing more, nothing less. Those two racing rascals would perhaps never know that you had gone for getting food and medicines for Ma, since Ma was not well that day. Those two racing rascals would probably be congratulating each other that they whizzed past a middle aged man on a slow scooter and outwitted him, little knowing that their act of dare devilry had caused a death. Those two racing rascals might never know how they have hurt and killed an innocent man like you.

When your younger brother who is a doctor, was at the casualty ward that day, and when they wheeled in your body and said, “road accident case” – little did he know that he would be looking at the face of his dead brother……

When the news of your death was reported by the local press, I hope to God that those racing rascals saw it and repented. Since no one knows who they were, we can only hope.

Suren, most of the bike manufacturers advertise speed as their bike’s USP. There are many movies promoting this fast speed bike USP for many years now – In the movies, no one really gets hurt – but in reality, hundreds, nay, thousands get hurt everyday on Indian roads. Statistics say that India witnessed one road accident every minute in 2011 which claimed one life every 3.7 minutes, one of the highest in the world.  Among the states, Maharashtra topped the list with the highest number of road accidents at 68,438 followed by Tamil Nadu with  65,873 accidents in 2011.

There are various kinds of bikes that showcase their speed and their agility on poor Indian roads. Most of these two wheeler riders who race in city roads to show off their skills not only get into trouble, but unnecessarily cause accidents such as yours.

Road rage has become a very common feature today on Indian roads. The slow riders/drivers are often shouted at, and teased. As if the speed matters. If one were to check these rash drivers, one would hardly find any justification in their speeding. Most of them would be going to do some mundane chore. Very rarely would you find a person rushing for a real emergency. It may be a movie, it may be to meet a friend, or worse still, it may be to buy some provisions. But the speed will be the same. These drivers and two wheeler riders who cause the deaths of others can never be at peace throughout their lives, knowing that they have killed someone. There are “weavers” today on city roads – they “weave” into the traffic in and out – Just a few days back I saw a motorcycle rider crushed under a lorry near our house in the evening around 7 p.m. It was really really sad to see the parents of the dead youth who were inconsolable. But how many parents indulge in their children’s two wheelers? In the city, in the town, and even in the villages, you can often see UNDER AGED children driving motor bikes – How can the limited police force control all this? But the parents, surely can – the parents, surely can curb these tendencies of their children. But unfortunately, it is parents who buy their children motor bikes most of the time, simply because the child wants the toy after seeing a movie or his/her friends.

Suren, most of the bikes that are there in today’s market have racing features. The bikes are sold for these features. The karma of the deaths of the people either on the bikes or caused by these bikes will surely be on the manufacturers of these kind of bikes. These bikes may be good for some foreign country or for some country roads, but for an Indian urban road, speed cannot be the only criteria….Safety is a much more important criteria.

The blood and karma of each of these deaths can only be on the manufacturers of such killer bikes. Why manufacture bikes that can go at 140 kmph? Is there any road on any city in India that can cater to such speed except at test tracks and racing tracks? These manufacturers can never understand the pain of losing a loved one in such accidents because they themselves would be going only in cars… These bike manufacturers can never be sympathetic to the thousands losing their lives because it is the USP of speed that sells their bikes….ably assisted by movie makers who market speed….

The dumb, “I want to catch up with the Jones next door” type of boys and girls queue up to buy the bikes that speeds and thrills, forgetting that if ever they lose control, they are going to pay heavily, with their own life, or with someone else’s…..It is a different thing that bikes are an essential part of city life today. We need transportation, and bikes are the best form of transportation – easy, fast and convenient. But how safe it is, is a different question altogether. The danger for bike riders come mostly from other bike riders…..

Suren, some day, I hope you meet your killers in the next world. And when that happens, I hope you are able to ask them why they did what they did, speed racing, and ask them whether it was worth it. No matter what anyone does is not going to bring you back from the dead. But if I too am around in the other world by then, Suren, those two racing rascals would surely be going around with broken jaws, for I know you are a forgiving man……

Towards Understanding Hindu Culture, Rituals and Traditions….Part Fourteen (THE CONTRIBUTION OF SAINTS AND SIDDHARS)

(We go to the Museum and see the remains of ancient human civilizations dating back to thousands of years. We get overawed by these artifacts. These modern museums serve as channels for the present day humans to go back in time, mentally, to those times when civilization was primitive. But what about those times when there were no museum? Also, we are able to pre-date human history for thousands of years. What if we are wrong, and that our human history dates back to much more than a few thousand years? Difficult questions…..)

Modern man buries space capsules containing material that can be dug up in the future. In 1939, a time capsule was buried in the ground as part of the New York World Fair as part of their exhibit. It weighed about 400 kgs and was made from an alloy of silver, chromium and copper to withstand the eroding qualities of soil over time. It contained many things like a newsreel, a microscope, a dictionary, a calendar, and other texts, including some crop seeds and even a doll with a book detailing the creation and the purpose of the time capsule. It is supposed to be opened by the year 6939 A.D. Many countries, including India, have buried time capsules at many places. At present, four time capsules are floating in deep outer space, lest some alien or our own mankind discover it in some distant future. Debate has been raging on regarding the exact use of time capsule, mainly due to the challenge of preserving the articfacts or data contained in the time capsule.

The Ancient Siddhars of India have long transcended these problems of preserving data and culture. They never had any time capsules. They have done a remarkable job of preserving data, culture and practices of yoga and other key knowledge resources THROUGH THE PASSAGE OF KALI YUGA. It is said that just before Kali Yuga started, the 18 siddhars convened astrally on a mountain in South India to determine how to guide mankind during the dark ages of Kali Yuga. The works that they have left, are testimony to the high thinking of the siddhars. If Hinduism is still able to retain many of its ancient culture and traditions, due credit must be given to the invisible Siddhars who have influenced Indian culture subtly and silently.

Many of their messages were left in their works of literature, or monuments. The Chidambaram temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is supposed to be built according to various measurements like the number of breaths a human being breathes on an average in a day, and the number of nadis in the body, (72,000) etc. In the Palani Temple dedicated to Lord Muruga, the Nava bhashana idol of Lord Muruga, made by the great Saint and Guru of Maha avatar Babaji, Boganathar, has mystified even scientists. Bogar had made the idol using 9 different secret herbal mixtures that has defied the test of time and has withstood the passage of Kali Yuga admirably well. It was Sri Bogar who advised the architects during the building of the Great Temple at Thanjavur.

Sri Bogar, who went to China, became the great Lao Tsu when he took on the dead body of a Chinese youth. Such incredible stories abound about all the 18 Siddhars – but all the siddhars had only the welfare of mankind at heart and were greatly concerned about where exactly mankind was going.

There is a debate on the exact number of siddhars. Some books suggest 18 as the number. Others suggest much more, as even today, many siddhars live in obscure privacy, away from public knowledge. However, Agasthyar, Bogar, Thirumoolar, Ramadevar, Konkanvar, Karuvurar, Pambaati, Macha muni, Nadi devar, Goraknath, are some of the siddhars who have kept the destruction of culture at bay. The present living siddhar is Maha Avatar Sri Babaji, made famous by Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda’s “Autobiography of a Yogi”. Books by Sri Marshall Govindan and Yogi Sri S.A.A.Ramiah offer one a closer view of the great siddhar, Sri Sri Babaji Nagaraj and the siddha tradition.

The culture, traditions and rituals of Sanatana Dharma are not there in any one book, they are interwoven in the everyday ordinary lives of millions of Indians, and also helped by enlightened beings such as Siddhars from time to time…..

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(This is a picture of one of the saints who lived in Vasanthapuram, Vellore – near the Railway cantonment. I do not know his name. But I often saw him as a child. He is not there anymore. Sometime during the 1970s, we were told that he went into an underground chamber to attain Maha Samadhi and asked the entrance to the underground room to be closed. The temple is still there, and the entrance, still closed……No one knows whether he is alive or not. But people in and around the locality often get guidance from him in the form of dreams……)