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Showing posts from 2013

47 Yama and Yami

Yama and Yami

Yama is the Hindu God of Death - Mrityu. But unlike other cultures, religions etc. it is interesting that he has precious little in the overall mind-scape of a religious Hindu. The apathy is intriguing. He is not worshiped, which may be understood at some level. But he is not even feared or dreaded - unlike other cultures where Death has a great deal to do with the doctrine of fear or retribution. Yama is not an object of terror. Now how is that?

There are hardly any temples of Yama - except a few in South India. At least you don't find one in the famous teerthas or clusters of temples. There are no specific rituals, or pujas assigned to him. Apart from Vata-Savitri that is usually followed in Maharashtra and South India, Yama does not come in the top-of-mind recall in terms of deities.

And all this, in spite of his prominent role in the epic Mahabharata. Not only is the main protagonist - Yudhishthira Dharmaraja - Yama's son, there is also the…

46 Samanta-panchaka

Recently, I was studying about the Third War of Panipat (1761) for some reason, in which the Maratha forces led by Sadashiv Bhau - Balaji Bajirao 'Nanasahab' Peshwa's cousin brother - and the Rohilla Afghan forces of Ahmed Shah Abdali fought a decisive battle to the worse of Marathas. This battle is considered to be one of the largest fought in the 18th century, and also perhaps had the largest number of casualties in a single (half) day of the battle - leading to a loss of almost 100,000 human lives.

Personally, the battle has a lot of historical interest to me, as the course of Maratha history as well as the history of my country took a different turn on that fateful day. Among various reasons that historians attribute to the loss of Maratha side in this war - a much smaller force compared to the enemy and yet not following the Guerrilla tactics but meeting the enemy head-on, slow-moving camps carrying not only soldiers but also civilians, lack of a proper strategy thro…