Thursday, 28 April 2016

Ramsethu: Ancient Bridge or Storehouse of Energy?

One of the endearing stories of the epic Ramayana is that of how a bridge was built that spanned between India and Lanka and the whole army of Lord Ram is supposed to have crossed over to fight the war with Ravan.

Upon being confronted with a massive ocean to cross over. Lord Ram is supposed to have prayed to the ocean gods for direction. The ocean gods suggested that a bridge be built. It is believed that Naia, a brilliant architect and engineer in the army of Lord Ram came up with the design and using locally available materials, the bridge was built over a span 5 days. Ramsethu stands as a symbol proving Lord Ram is a history and not just a mythology.

Apart from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata also refers to the continued protection of Nala Setu following Sri Rama's command. Kalidasa's Raghuvamsham also refers to the Setu. So does the Skanda Purana, the Vishnu Purana, the Agni Purana, the Brahma Purana.

The bridge was supposed to be operational till the 15th century when temple records mention that a massive storm broke the bridge and made Lanka into a true island. Numerous stones found in and around the area have been found to float in water. The bridge is considered sacred by Hindus and is a site of pilgrimage of many.

The main secret behind the Ramsethu is not just the religious significance but also its actual composition and the important role it can play in the future of India.

The bridge has unusual concentrations of the mineral Monazite which is an ore of thorium. Thorium is being touted as a panacea to the energy problems for India. Current nuclear reactors run either on Uranium or Plutonium. Both these minerals are heavily controlled for international trade and India does not have sufficient nuclear fuel to move ahead with the conventional nuclear energy reactors.

Thorium on the other hand is safer options and India is a pioneer in making non-conventional fast breeder nuclear reactors that run on thorium instead of Uranium. The advantage being that a fast breeder reactor is not only safer and more efficient but also produces waste that is significantly less in quantity and toxicity. It is being touted world over as a much better solution to generate power. But the key roadblocks that remain are availability of thorium and technology to build the reactors.

Now a fact that most people are not aware of!! India has almost 30% of the world’s thorium reserves in a form that they can be easily extracted and we are also the pioneers in the technology for fast breeder reactors.

The Ramsethu is the biggest source of Thorium. It is not only made up with a high concentration of the mineral ore for thorium. The bridge itself creates a barrier such that the ocean currents are arrested in the region. The changed ocean currents have ensured that the minerals deposits are in plentiful supply on the coasts of Tamilnadu and Kerala. Not only is it a source of energy in itself, it is also physically contributing to making Indian coasts minerals rich in Thorium.

Believers think that so many things going right cannot be a natural phenomenon but divine intervention by Lord Ram himself that has given this blessing to India. Through the bridge Lord Ram has ensured that plentiful source energy is conserved for India for generations to come.

For more on the secrets of the energy in Ramsethu emerging as a source for invoking Brahmastra and much more……..
Grab the forthcoming mythology thriller “The Indus Challenge” soon to hit the stands.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Rameshwar: Where Mythology meets History!!

Situated on an island off the coast of Tamil Nadu in southern India, the approach bridge over a wide expanse of the sea is enough to set the tone of a visit to Rameshwar. The temple, architecturally, is a majestic monument. The main temple gopuram or roof soars 53 Meters above the hustle and bustle of the town, an intricately carved masterpiece. Like most temples, this one has a huge wall that encloses the temple premises. The real miracles are the long corridors, the longest in the world. They run the entire length of the premises form a tunnel with over pillars holding up the roof. A gaze down the corridor is guaranteed to be jaw dropping.

What makes Rameshwar so important is the various legends and myths associated with the temple and the town. 

The temple is supposed to be the site where Lord Rama after killing Ravana wanted to atone for his sins of killing Ravana by worshipping Lord Shiva. Killing a human being even in a war is a sin, even for God’s avatar. He asked Hanuman to bring him a Shivaling from Mount Kailash in the Himalayas to pray to. Legend is that Hanuman was delayed and since the auspicious time for the rituals was passing, Sita created sand Shivling and the rituals were done on it. Hanuman was angry at his lateness tried to uproot the sand Shivling but was unsuccessful. Rama placated him and decreed that the Shivling brought by Hanuman be installed besides the sand Shivling. Devotees should pray to the Shivling brought by Hanuman and then to the Shivling made by Sita. The tradition continues till date, the main deity is the Shivling created by Sita called as Ramaling while the prayers are offered first to the shivling brought by Hanuman, now called as Vishwaling.

The temple has 22 tanks or teerthas that make this temple unique. The Teerthas are supposed to symbolize both the 22 ancient rivers of India as well as the number of arrows in Lord Ramas quiver.  Lord Ram is believed to have used his bows to create these tanks for water during the construction phase of the bridge to Lanka. These tanks are believed to have medicinal properties that cleanse your body as well as spiritual properties that cleanse your destiny and soul. 

Ramseshwaram is also supposed to be location of Gandhamadhan Parvat, the mountain top from which Hanuman started his giant leap in search for Sita across the ocean to Lanka. This is also the place from where the bridge to Lanka was started to be constructed by Lord Ram. The sea is surprisingly mild and calm year round and the area is a rich fishing ground. The seas calmness is attributed to the sea god who made the sea calm as a mark of respect to Lord Ram’s bridge.
In recent times, the temple found a surprising mention in the hit Bollywood movie Chennai Express where Shah Rukh Khan is on a journey to the temple for immersion of his grandfather’s ashes. 
The temple town is also justly famous for giving India one of its most illustrious sons. The Missile Man of India and one the most beloved presidents Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Perhaps it was something in the sands of Rameshwaram itself that propelled him to greatness!!

This may be concise history of Rameshwar, but what is the connection of the place with Chanakya, Chandragupta and Alexander? For that you will have to wait for the upcoming mythological thriller “Indus Challenge”.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Alexander and Chandragupta Maurya : Did the Titans Clash?

For Illustrative Purpose Only

ALEXANDER was a Macedonian conqueror who wanted to build the largest empire in the world. His juggernaut of conquests was brought to a halt in India.

Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the Maurya dynasty who unified a greater part of India into a single nation state. The man, who is credited with annexing the remnants of Alexander’s conquests into the Mauryan Empire.

Alexander started his India campaign in about 327 BC and was dead 3 years later in June of 323BC. Chandragupta was born in 340 BC and at the age of 16 founded the Mauryan Empire in 324 BC, just a year after the death of Alexander.  Historians have agonized over the possibility that Alexander may have met Chandragupta Maurya who then would have been a teenager of 13 years. The answers are not easy to come by.

Inherently, the idea of a 13 year boy making any dent or impression in the life and times of Alexander seems laughable but we should never forget that backing this boy was the mastermind of the Chanakya. There are sources that paint a picture as though this meeting never happened. The focus of Alexander and the training of Chandragupta was going on in different areas of India. Like many stories, the meeting is the figment of imagination of many later historians who wanted to paint either of the two parties in a favorable light.

Plutarch, the eminent Greek historian on the other hand mentions that the two did meet. They saw each other in the modern day Punjab region. It was not a meeting of any consequence but it does seem that the sight of the majestic Alexander must have had an effect on Chandragupta. He is reported to have said that with the corrupt Nandas ruling at the time, Alexander would have had the backing of local population for ruling. That Alexander may have retreated from a war he could have won.

Another famed story is that a desperate Chandragupta against the advice of Chanakya went to meet Alexander in the Kingdom of Porous. Chandragupta himself was from a lineage of Nanda kings but his family was cheated out of the kingdom. He wanted to explore if Alexander who had just turned back his armies could be persuaded to assist him in exchange of gold. Alexander wanted suzerainty over Nanda Empire and Chandragupta to be a vassal. Chandragupta offered to bear all expenses and give gold in exchange for assistance but wanted to keep independence. Alexander who called himself Supreme Lord of Asia was furious at being asked to do the job a petty mercenary. He ordered the imprisonment of Chandragupta for later sentencing for the offence committed.

How Chandragupta escaped is not fully known. A version goes that Porous who was the host was horrified by this treatment meted out to his guest. “Atithi Devo Bhava” - guest is god. How to ensure that this travesty does not occur while ensuring that Alexander whose vassal he was is not enraged. He used some family members to ensure that Chandragupta escapes from prison in secret. Perhaps this interaction with Alexander steeled Chandraguptas resolve in conquering Alexanders territories. Also, this disastrous outing would have further cemented his trust in Chanakyas judgment.

What is known is just after Alexander’s death, a series of events started the downfall of Alexander’s holdings in India. The areas were administered by Satraps of Alexander who governed in the emperor’s name. Chanakya’s subterfuge and tactical prowess came to the fore. Under his guidance, Chandragupta eliminated some of the lesser Satraps and annexed the territories. The key Satrap was Selecus, who’s iron fist extended from Bactria and Central Asia to the Indus river Basin. Chandragupta slowly and steadily built his army and gave a surprise defeat to Selecus. Territories won and with Selecus daughter wedded, Chandragupta went on to found a prosperous dynasty. This time using charm and magnanimity instead of ruthless warfare to cement peace with Selecus.

Did Alexander and Chandragupta meet or not may be a question none can authoritatively answer. But no one can deny that in this clash of two titans, Chandragupta came out victorious. His name ever cemented in the annals of history of one who rebuffed a foreign invasion.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Mount Kailash: A Riddle wrapped in a Mystery inside an Enigma

Mount Kailash evokes images of unconquered peaks, stark but pristine snows and towering heights. This Mountain in Tibet is a geological wonder. It has four sides that exactly face towards the four cardinal directions, has perennial snow on its upper reaches, has sides that are sheer smooth having almost chiseled quality and is in an area of the range whereby its beauty is not marred by any other comparable peak. It stands solitary in its own majesty with two lakes the Mansarovar and Rakshastal washing its foothills.

The mountain range also has the distinction of being the source of four key rivers, the Bramhaputra, Karnali which washes into the Ganges, Sutlej and Indus. These rivers have sustained more than a quarter of all humanity since millennia. The face of the mountain has a horizontal gash and the top of the pyramid is a giant perfectly formed pyramid.

But geology apart, the spiritual significance of the mountain is deeper still. Kailash is a key place of worship for four religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Bonn and Jainism. For the Hindus it is the abode of Shiva, the first Yogi and the destroyer of the universe who resides on the icy heights with Parvati the female form of pure energy or Shakti. For the Buddhists, the mountain is the abode for the Buddha Demchok who represents supreme bliss. Jains believe that the first Tirthankara attained moksha or salvation from the world near Mount Kailash while the Bonn religion believes that the entire mountain range and the lakes are the supreme center for all spiritual power in the universe.

The location of the mountain is supposed to be Axis Mundi, the center and the birthplace of the entire world. The mountain also has quite a few legends and perhaps forgotten knowledge and facts associated with it.
- Research has shown that the mountain has a chain of voids in its structure almost like a complex of caves; this cave complex finds mention in Tibetan ancient texts. They are supposed to be linked underground via continuous chambers and caves to other places of such mystical significance.
- The caves have a reverberation in Hindu texts whereby Amarnath, the holy site linked to Lord Shiva is fabled to have an underground tunnel to Mount Kailash.
- One of the enduring mysteries is the relativity of time and its effect on the body when in the presence of mount Kailash. Pilgrims report that just twelve hours on the foothills of Kailash give the effect of two weeks on the body. The nails and hair grow at astonishing speed pointing to a mysterious power in the mountain.
- Russian scientists have proposed that the top of the mountain is a manmade pyramid and not a natural formation. If true this will rewrite the history of human civilization, as this would then be the biggest pyramid on earth by a huge margin.
- The Mountain and its characteristic shape also has mention in Hindu Texts as the mountain that was used by gods and demons to churn the cosmic ocean to get both the nectar of life, the Amrit and the strongest of poisons the  Halahal.
- The mountain supposed to be the gateway of Shangri La or Sambhala. An ancient underground kingdom that was the originator of the human race in the world. It is supposed to be the abode of super human’s that have vast stores of knowledge and belong to a higher civilization.
- It is also believed that the Nazis were fascinated with Mount Kailash and Tibet. It is known that Nazi leaders such as Heinrich Himmler believed that Tibet might harbor the last of the original Aryan tribes, the legendary forefathers of what was considered the German race whose Aryan leaders were supposed to possess supernatural powers that the Nazis thought they could use to conquer the world. Ideas about an Aryan or master race began to appear in the popular media in the late nineteenth century.

Mount Kailash is surely a heady mix of mystery and legend. Its summit remains unconquered in recorded history and it is said that all who have attempted it have either not returned or have found themselves on the opposite side without a clue or recollection of how they landed there. The best answer to the question of whether the summit can be conquered came from one of the Garpons of Ngari, the Garpon replied, "Only a man entirely free of sin could climb Kailash. And he wouldn't have to actually scale the sheer walls of ice to do it – he'd just turn himself into a bird and fly to the summit."