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Posts tagged ‘Rig Veda’

Splashes – 51/72 – Revealing Mohenjo-Daro Excavations

The Indian History Books prescribed during British period start with Mauryan Dynasty as the first historical fact. History prior to that is un-authenticated for want of historical evidence. Unless we were told by Sir John Marshall, even our own McCauley brand Indian intellectuals would not have accepted that Indus Valley Civilization dated to five centuries BC.

According to Western Historians

Writing found at Mohenjo-Daro is still un-deciphered. When archaeologists excavated Mohenjo-Daro during last century, they found skeletons just lying in the streets, some of them were holding hands, as if some great doom had suddenly overtaken them. Those skeletons were among the most radioactive ever found, at par with those found at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There is no logical explanation with them for the nitrification of stone forts and cities, except from an atomic blast.

Originally Mohenjo-Daro is more than 5000 years old. The hamlet lay on two islands in the Indus. Within a radius of 1.5 km three different degrees of devastation had been noticed, which appeared to have spread from the center outwards. Thousands of lumps, called ‘black stones’ by archaeologists, turned out to be fragments of clay vessels which had melted into each other in the extreme heat.

The possibility of a volcanic eruption is excluded, because there is no hardened lava or volcanic ash in or near Mohenjo-Daro. It is assumed that the brief intensive heat reached 2000 degree C and made the ceramic vessels melt.

References in Epic Histories

Ancient names of the present continents have been described in Hindu texts as Atal, Vitul, Talatala, Rsatal, Sutal, Mahatal, and Pataal. Since Atal continent had submerged into sea, the water body came to be known as Atal – Antak (destroyer of Atal continent). This legend corroborates the incident of Noah’s Arc and first two Avtars of Indian mythology also. References like this one are not isolated. Battles, using a fantastic array of weapons and aerial vehicles were common in the entire epic in India:-

  • An interesting example of a vimana is the flying machine which King Salva, had acquired from Maya Danav, an inhabitant of Talatala.
  • There is another description of an atomic like war in Mahabharata. One even described a Vimana-Vailix battle on the surface of Moon. The above section very accurately described what an atomic explosion could look like and the effects of the radioactivity on the population. Jumping into water was the only respite.
  • Also through Mahabharata, we learn that an individual named Asura Maya had a Viman measuring twelve cubits in circumference, with four strong wheels. The poem is a veritable gold mine of information relating to conflicts between gods who settled their differences apparently using weapons as lethal as the ones we are capable of deploying today.
  • Apart from blazing missiles, the poem records the use of other deadly weapons, such as Indra’s Dart – Vajra – operated via a circular reflector. When switched on, it produced a ‘shaft of light’ which, when focused on any target, immediately ‘consumed it with its power’.
  • In one particular exchange, the hero, Krishna, is pursuing his enemy, Salva, in the sky, when Salva’s Viman, the Saubha is made invisible in some way. Undeterred, Krishna immediately fired a special weapon: ‘quickly laid on an arrow, which killed by seeking out sound’.

UFO Enigma

Many researchers into the UFO enigma tend to overlook a very important fact. It is assumed that most flying saucers are either alien, or part of some clandestine Military operation. Another possible origin of UFOs could be ancient India and Atlantis. What we know about ancient Indian flying vehicles comes from ancient Indian sources; written texts that have come down to us through the centuries.

Facts wrapped in Fiction

Certainly the epic writers of Ramayana and Mahabharata were two different persons and were not professional soldiers of modern armies. The similarity of their description is a pointer to differentiate fact from fiction. There is no doubt that most of these texts are authentic; many are the well-known ancient Indian epics themselves.

The ancient Indians themselves wrote entire flight manuals on the care and control of various types of vimans. Would these texts exist (and they do) without there be something to actually write about? Surely this kind of literature is not out of the imagination of one ancient fiction writer.

Indian meteorological concepts date back to the age of the Rig Veda. A discussion regarding the existence of and the use of flying vehicles in ancient India naturally waits for an advanced state of knowledge in cosmogony. A close and careful study of the Vedic literature shows that it was not just a collection of primeval poetry but a varied literature of a powerful and dynamic society where the people had the knowledge of cloud and vapor, of the season and of the monsoon, of the different types of wind, of the expanse of the sky, of the strength of the wind blowing at high-speed and so on.

Conceptual Contribution of Rishies

Concept always precedes inventions. Concept is transformed into reality through technology. However technologies get outdated faster than concepts. At least we can conclusively say that ancient Hindu Rishies had conceptualized long ago that has been realized by the Western scientists in twentieth century. The ancient Indians, who manufactured these ships themselves, wrote entire flight manuals on the control of the various types of Vimans, many of which are still in existence, and some have even been translated in to English. If there were no airplanes why would they write such comprehensive manuals?

The manuscripts mention a planned trip to the Moon also. The Ramayana has a detailed account of a trip to the moon in a Viman. There is also an account of a battle on the moon with and Ashvin’ airship to suggest evidence of anti-gravity and aerospace technology thought of by Indians, when elsewhere the awakening was yet to dawn.

Till a year ago science made us believe that there was no water on Moon till India’s Chandrayaan belied that myth. There are more than billion galaxies discovered by NASA scientists. If ancient Indian sages had said through their scriptures that there were Koti Koti Brhamandas; then what is the difference between scriptures and modern Science? Truth is like Horizon, the closer we reach the farther it recedes. Today’s known truths could be replaced by new truths. This fundamental reality of Science was propounded long ago through Indian thought that except the Creator nothing is true in this universe. This is the strength of Hinduism.

With the passage of time the machines went out of use so that the secrets of its make-up and flying were equally lost. Methods for the large-scale production of metals like gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, lead and mercury and of alloys like brass, bronze, and those of gold and silver with baser materials were known to ancient Indians. Kautilya has described in detail the properties of mineral ores, gems, and precious stones.

With a highly developed state of civilization flourishing in art, culture, literature, history, medicine, alchemy, chemistry, physics, mathematics, astronomy, and astrology, geology, trade, commerce, shipbuilding, and agriculture it is natural to think that some sort of flying vehicles as attested by literary references were in all probability known.

Destruction of Unguarded Treasures

From the time of Panini up to the time of King Bhoja we come across references to the great universities of Takshshila, Valabhi, Dhar, Ujjain and Vishala. The annals of history inform us that the depredations of the foreign tribes began as early as the 2nd century AD. From two centuries later came succeeding waves of attacks of other foreign hordes like the Arabs, Turks and Afghans. All the well-known universities and other centers of learning like the temples, the Viharas and the libraries containing books and other priceless treasures of the Indian heritage had to stand the fire and fury of the marauders.

It is interesting to note, that the Nazis developed the first practical pulse jet engines for their V-8 rocket buzz bombs. Hitler and the Nazi staff were exceptionally interested in ancient India and Tibet and sent expeditions to both these places yearly, starting in the 30’s, in order to gather esoteric evidence that they did so, and perhaps it was from those people who the Nazis gained some of their scientific information.

Wright brothers had jumped atop a building with the help of artificial wings attached to their body to experiment flying and were hurt badly in the process. No such experiment took place in India. In contrast to those crude attempts, our scriptures have described infrastructures relevant to scientific knowledge.

Not Mere fantasies

Unlike Arabian Nights and Fairy Tales, these accounts are by no way fantasies narrating someone crossing the ocean while sitting on Alladin’s magic carpet or Sindbad being carried across the mountains by an eagle. But all accounts in ancient Indian literature are backed by scientific possibilities that exist today. Many casual foreign tourists, who are accustomed to click their cameras on half-naked vagabonds displaying physical pranks at tourist sites to project India as a land of snake charmers, may not reconcile to the enigmatic military science possessed by Ancient Indians; but it cannot be denied that there has been continuous trivialization of Indian concepts and practices for centuries.

Recently newspapers carried the headline ‘Obama flies to India’, but after thousand years if that headline is interpreted that Obama flew to India like a bird, the technology cannot be doubted. Thus Indian intellectuals need to muster courage to assert themselves through investigative trials. It is now for the Hindus to take stock of their neglected treasures and retrieve whatever can be. If they also reject their treasures without glancing at them, they are similar to those half-naked being photographed by the tourists to degrade India.

Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes – 52/72 – Indian Achievements Under-rated)

Splashes– 48/72 – The Art of Warfare

Omnipresent, Omniscience and Omnipotent are the attributes of God. The Supreme Being is kind, merciful, and gracious but is most destructive as well. This aspect is pictorially well expressed through Hindu mythology.

Importance of Weapons

HE is always shown carrying flowers to indicate His power of blessing, conch shell to symbolize His warnings to the evil-doer, and weapons to destroy the evil. The Supreme Power is always portrayed in calm and composed disposition, without any signs of anger, revenge or hatred even when engaged in the destruction of evil. Every God and Goddess is also shown possessing weapons for the protection of Dharma – to restore natural law and order in the Universe.

Weapons were respected, ‘worshiped’ and sought after as blessings and boons from learned Rishies and superior deities through penance or other rituals. Though non-violence is regarded as supreme virtue, cowardice is considered as biggest sin. Heroic death is preferable over comfortable but inglorious life. Self-defense and protection of Dharma is a sacred duty for which sanction has been accorded in the scriptures as under:-

अहिंसा परमो धर्मः धर्म हिंसा त्थैवः चः

“Although nonviolence is ideal but violence for protection or restoration of Dharma is also the same”.

Scriptures cannot be defended without power and weapons. That is the reason the mother goddess Shakti is reverend in Hinduism. The Supreme Being has exemplified it on several occasions through His incarnations and has indicated His commitment to repeat the same from time to time.

The right of Self Defense 

Nature has equipped every living being with suitable tools for self-defense, such as teeth, claws, physical strength and evasive instincts to protect own life. Even the most docile animals and persons make use of the same. Since Dharma compressed in the concept of ‘live, and let live’, contemplation of planned and deliberate war is justified for the protection of ‘dharma’ in discharge of one’s duty.

Many often offensive action is the only and best form of defense. Hinduism justified and preferred war in protection of Dharma than submission to the evil forces of adharma. The great Mahabharata war was commended by Krishna for restoration of values in the society even against own kith and kin.

The Battlefield Environment

Ancient Hindu scriptures contain comprehensive instructions regarding the conduct of ‘Dharm yudh’ for protection and restoration of DharmaRamayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas make frequent mention of battlefield organizations, rank structure such as Rathi and Maha-rathies. Chaturangani Sena implied four elements under one field commander consisting of chariots (armored), horsemen, foot soldiers and services. Modern armies also have the same components.

Scripture mention about fortifications and there is exhaustive catalog of weaponry. A canon was called ‘Shataghni’. There were agni-astras, or weapons of fire, chemical astras (warheads) as well as biological warheads that could be shot or launched. The wars were fought on land, water, and air.

Principles of Warfare

Even if we assume for a moment those account to be fictional, yet the comprehension of all the principles of modern warfare and maneuvers have been depicted to present an advanced scenario of the battlefield. Unlike other epics of the globe, wars were not confined to one instance of cuddling few soldiers in a dummy horse to be dragged in to the rival camp, but Ramayana and Mahabharata battles were fought at the scale of world wars, simultaneously in different theaters spread over far off fronts for several days, but according to central command and control of the rival Commanders in Chief.

All the factors that influence modern war such as superiority of numerical strength and weaponry, aggressive action, tactics, personal chivalry, morale, planting of information, night attacks, raids, and suicidal missions have been amply illustrated to indicate the professionalism of Indian warriors and match all the standards of advanced armies of the present century also. By no stretch of imagination the Rishies could be equated to thriller writers or war correspondents of today.

Use of Battle insignia 

The origin and use of flags can be traced to the Rig Veda Samhita. The term dhvaja (flag) occurs in the Veda. Besides, dhvaja, there are good number of expressions for a banner in Vedic literature. These are Akra, Krtadhvaja, Ketu, Brhatketu, and Sahasraketu. Banners and drums were counted among the insignia of ancient Vedic kings. In the Mahabharata war, every commander had his own insignia to distinguish his army division from the other’s.

Missiles and Launchers 

Ancient Hindus knew the use of gunpowder. The Shukra Neeti is an ancient text that deals with the manufacture of arms such as rifles and guns. Its author Shukracharya was the Guru of demons and possessed equal capability to match the army of Devas.

Alexander mentioned in a letter to Aristotle that terrific flashes of flame were showered on his army in India. It was the fear of Military might of Emperor Ghana Nanda of the Magdha empire, that soldiers of Alexander did not dare to advance towards him and forced the world conqueror to return home.

Rockets were also Indian inventions and were used by native armies when Europeans first came into contact with them. Eliot tells us that the Arabs learnt the manufacture of gunpowder from India, and that before Indian connection they had used arrows of naphtha.

Codes of Military Honor

The ancient Hindus had evolved precepts on fair fighting which formed a chivalrous code of military honor. Wars were characterized by less violence and savagery than wars fought elsewhere. The indiscriminate slaughter of all men of adult age or the enslavement of women and children of the conquered state were hardly known. Nowhere in the history of ancient India would one trace even a single incident of rape or arson before or after the war.

It goes to the credit of Indian culture that ethical codes were also part of military tactics, Warriors were to refrain from attacking the unarmed and unaware opponents, females, non-participants, places of worship, hospitals, and residential complexes and the battle camps at night. These codes were the precursors of Geneva conventions today, that are violated by our adversaries.

Shipbuilding and Navigation

The Rig Veda makes several references to ships used to cross the Samudra (Ocean). India was a peninsula cut off from the Northern world by the Himalayas, and by vast expanses of water on the Eastern and Western side. India had to take to shipping, if she wanted to export her immense surplus goods.

The art of Navigation was born in the River Sindhu 6000 years ago. The very word Navigation is derived from the Sanskrit word Nav Gatih. The word navy is also derived from Sanskrit `Nou‘. The Rig Veda not only refer to River Saraswati as Hiranyavartani, (path of gold), and the Sindhu as Hiranmayi (possessing gold), it also makes a direct reference to panned-gold from the Saraswati riverbed.

Trade was also a big part of this civilization. Indians traded with the Egyptians, with the Sumerians acting as intermediaries using ships. In the third century, horses were exported from India to the Malay Peninsula and Indochina, by means of ships of considerable size.

History of Indian Navy

In Indian mythology, Varuna is the God of Seas and Rivers. The Devas and Danavas, who were the sons of Rishi Kashyapa by queens Aditi and Diti, churned the ocean, in order to obtain Amrut, the nectar of immortality and other treasures. Even today the invocation at the launching ceremony of a war-ship is addressed to ‘Aditi’.

The Rig Veda credits Varuna with knowledge of the ocean routes commonly used by ships, and describes naval expeditions using hundred-oared ships to subdue other kingdoms. There is a reference to Plava, the side wings of a vessel that give stability under storm conditions: perhaps the precursor of modern stabilizers. Similarly, the Atharva Veda mentions boats, which were spacious, well-constructed and comfortable.

The Rig Veda mentions the two oceans to the east and the west, (Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea) just as they mention ships and maritime trade. The picture of the Vedic people as sea-faring merchants meshes perfectly with the archaeological evidence of the Indus-Saraswati civilization. India’s maritime history predates the birth of western civilization. The world’s first tidal dock was built at Lothal around 2300 BC during the Harappan civilization, near the present day Mangrol harbor on the Gujarat coast.

The Sanskrit text, Yuktikalpataru, explains how to build ships, such as the one depicted in the Ajanta caves. It gives minute details about ship types, sizes and materials, including suitability of different types of wood. The treatise also elaborately explains how to decorate and furnish ships so they are comfortable for passengers. Yuktikalpataru gives a detailed classification of ships.

Two Indian astronomers of repute, Aryabhatta and Varahamihira, having accurately mapped the positions of celestial bodies, developed a method of computing a ship’s position from the stars. A forerunner of the modern magnetic compass called Matsya Yantra was used. It comprised an iron fish that floated in a vessel of oil and pointed towards North.

Emperor Chandragupta Maurya established an Admiralty Division under a Superintendent of Ships as part of his war office.  Charter of his responsibility included navigation on the seas, oceans, lakes and rivers. Indian ships traded with Java and Sumatra, and with countries in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Trade linkages also existed between Philippines and with the powerful Hindu empires in Java and Sumatra.

To the east, Indian mariners had gone as far as Borneo and flourishing Indian colonies had existed for over 1,200 years in Malaya, the islands of Indonesia, in Cambodia, Champa and other areas of the coast. Indian ships from Quilon, made regular journeys to the South China coast.

The Indian Ocean, including the entire coast of Africa, had been explored centuries ago by Indian navigators. Indian ships frequented the East African ports and certainly knew of Madagascar.

To the awakened Western world, conquest of India was virtually the conquest over the world. Dream of World conquest remained unfulfilled for Alexander and he had to retreat without fighting the Indian Emperor. His successor Seleucus attacked India but he also had to beg peace from Chandragupta Maurya by offering his daughter in marriage. Such was the military might of India at the very beginning of our history.

Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes – 49/72 – Martial Arts of India)

Splashes– 46/72 Origin of Political Thought

For the western world, the origin of political theory began with Greek philosophers, but Vedas show that the principle of representative government was in practice in India at least 1000 before the Greek philosophers were born. Political thinking had already been matured in India when Europeans started regrouping their tribes, and races in to tribal areas, societies and countries. Our Rishies had suggested idea for the ‘Government for the Universe’ even much earlier.

Written Form of Governance

The Vedas and Manusumriti were the foundation, upon which not only Indian, but the Egyptian, Persians, Grecians and the Roman codes of law were built later. The ancient Hindu works on law are a marvel of simplicity and wisdom. The articles of Hindu code are composed and arranged in natural and luminous order. They are numerous, comprehensive and had been investigated with minute attention.

Whoever examined the whole texts cannot deny the efficacy of ancient jurisprudence, and the fact that the same was creation of an enlightened, logical and far-sighted society. Whoever looked into any particular title will be surprised by its minuteness of detail that goes beyond the attention of European legislation even today. There were charters of duties for the rulers, ministers, other officials and subjects as well. Rules of succession were clear and there is no instance where untimely death of a ruler caused a war for succession to go on for decades as it often took place on other parts of the globe.

Raj Guru to oversee Kingship

Dharma was the essence of governance. As a true welfare state, the Prajapati (King) was responsible for providing protection, justice, education, and health care to all the subjects. King was also obliged to adhere to Dharma. The Raj Gurus (Spiritual Mentors) acted as Ombudsmen to pronounce violations of Dharma and no one could be out of their jurisdiction. There was no escape route even for people in high position.

Concept of welfare state

During the epic age the concept of welfare state was visualized with Ram Rajya, a perfect Utopian concept of state governance.  Reference exists in Ramayana regarding voluntary abdication of power by the kings to enable younger generation to succeed. Rama sent his brother Lakshmana to Ravana to learn the art of state-craft as soon as the latter fell on the battlefield. To set an example that of an ideal king, Rama banished even his beloved wife when public suspicion was caused against her. Although Caesar’s wife is now quoted to be above suspicion, but how many rulers have dared to emulate that example?

Democratic Form of Governance

India, and certainly NOT England, is the mother of democracy. In fact, there was a democratic deity called Samajnana to whom the last hymn of the Rig Veda makes salutation. Republics existed in India at least as early as the days of the Buddha (6th century before Christ); and continued for at least a thousand years thereafter.

Each Hindu township was, a ‘community-republic’ by itself. The whole of India was one vast federal congeries of such republics – like United States of America. Though evidence for non-monarchical government goes back to the Vedas, republican states were most common during the Buddhist period. There was a complex vocabulary in Pali, Sanskrit, Buddhist and Brahmanical literature to describe the different types of groups that ran their own affairs.

Local self-government

India had developed a style of local self-government that endured up to modern times. It had developed an amazingly modern system of town and village planning, and almost fool-proof economic and social structure. It kept the country and its culture stable through disturbances and invasions.

There is no other country, ancient or modern, where republics existed and continued for so long a period. That was possible due to the spirit of freedom and democracy, which manifested in many forms among the Indian people from the earliest ages. The benevolent nature of Hindu civilization is proved by the fact that the Hindu settlements colonies and dependencies also enjoyed their own Constitution. India never invaded any country in her last 10000 years of history.

There were many sovereign republics in India. It is pertinent from the Greek evidence, since the Greek writers spoke in a political language that is universally more familiar to the European world. Greek accounts of Alexander’s campaigns portray ‘free and independent’ Indian communities at every turn.

Nysa, a city on the border of modern Afghanistan and Pakistan was ruled by a president named Aculphis aided by a council of 300 persons.  Similar development is mentioned by Kautilya also, according to whom there were two kinds of Jana-padas (Republics), called Ayudhiya-praya; (Cantonments) made up mostly of soldiers; and shreni-praya, consisting of guilds of craftsmen, traders, and agriculturalists.  Furthermore, power in some republics was vested in a large number of individuals. In a well-known Jataka tale we are told that in Lichavi capital of Vaishali, there were 7707 kings, 7707 viceroys, 7707 generals, and 7707 treasurers!

Diplomacy and Espionage

The history of diplomacy in ancient India commences with the Rig Veda Samhita where the use of spies is sanctioned while pursuing some mission in general interest for the protection of Dharma.  There is also an interesting account of a successful espionage mission undertaken and executed by Brahspati’s son Kucha, on behalf of Indra to Demon kingdom in disguise to learn the science of Sanjeevani from Demon Guru Shukracharya. The love triangle between Kutch, Guru Shukracharya’s daughter Devyani and host princess Sharmishtha is the first recorded thrilling instance of knowledge espionage.

Apart from Vedas and Manusumriti, we also come across ‘Vidur Neeti’ during Mahabharata and Kautillya’s ‘Arathshastra’ that contain additional detail about the statecraft, diplomacy, spies, and related aspects of contemporary governance and administration.

The following corner stones of ancient diplomacy are very much relevant to our modern times also: –

  • Sama– according reciprocal treatment,
  • Dama – implying appeasement as tool to accomplish desired objectives.
  • Danda-coercion as tool to enforce own dictates.
  • Bheda– with-holding or revealing own intentions to serve own purpose.

Control over Corruption

Rig Veda contains comprehensive instructions for eradication of corruption. Spies (Spasah or Varuna) filled an important role in civil as well as military affairs of ancient India. In addition to their external duties, they were engaged to look after the home officials and those of the royal household.

Only men of wisdom and purity were employed on this errand. They were to be persons above the temptation of corruption. During Mauryan age, young females were brought up on snake poison and employed in assassination of rival chieftains through means of seduction.

Internal Secret Service

In the Ramayana, spies have been described as the ‘eyes of the king’. It may be surprising that In Valmiki Ramayana, when Sarupnakha went to Ravana with her bleeding nose, she chided him for being careless on his spy network, and asked him several questions, the substance of which would form a check list to conduct security audit of even our military installations.

Manusamriti also contains a full chapter on security and diplomacy during military campaigns. Kautilya’s Arthashastra is another comprehensive text-book on matters concerning diplomacy, internal security and intelligence network. The destruction of mighty Nanda Empire by Chankya and Chandragupta Maurya was a remarkable feat in history of sabotage, valor and wisdom.

In Mahabharata, it is stated that cows see by smell, priests by knowledge, kings by spies and others through eyes. Bhishama has listed seven essential qualifications in persons to be sent as ambassadors. They should come from noble heredity, belong to a high family, be skillful, eloquent in speech, true in delivering the mission, and have excellent memory. Mahabharata had galaxy of diplomats and statesmen out of whom Vidura, Krishna, Shalya and Shakuni were prominent.

Apart from Scriptures, it was the famous Indian strategist of the fourth-century BC, Kautilya, who gave the dictum: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” The Arthashastra predates Sun-Tzu and Christ by centuries. It dwelled at length on the importance of espionage and the creation of an effective spy network. Such details may indicate the high development of the science of diplomacy in ancient India.

Greek Ambassador Megasthenes has stated that Indians were neither engaged in wars with outsiders nor invaded by any foreign power”. There were friendly relations between Chandragupta Maurya and Seleucus Nikator. Their successors Bindusara and Antiochus also followed the same. Ashoka and Samadragupta also maintained diplomatic relations with Lanka.  Pulaski with Persians, and Harshavardhana established and maintained diplomatic friendly relations with Nepal and China. Certainly, that all had happened well before political awakening came elsewhere.

Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes – 47/72 – Hindus are a Nation)

Splashes – 36/72 – Astrology Palmistry and Gemology

Astrology is part of Vedanga, the study of which required constant practice. It is scientific that Planets of our solar system affect the body and mind of all living beings. Our thoughts and actions reflect the state of our body and mind. Our actions and consequent reactions sum up our life. All are inter-related.

From time immemorial humans have been trying to study the effect of planetary positions on life.  Our sages analyzed the positions and effect of planets and related the same to occurrences in real life. Their experimentation led to the development of Astrology to the extent that they could forecast future events like weather forecasts. With passage of time the predictive use of Astrology was professionalized by Brahmans.

Like people carry rain coats and umbrellas to prepare for anticipated showers, astrological rituals were devised to minimize sufferings and enhancing happiness in life. The popularity of this science can be gauged from the fact that even today our daily routines start with TV channels and news-papers giving tip for the day to avoid misfortunes. Every country has beliefs in one or more branches of Astrology ranging from mathematical calculations, Palmistry, Gemology, Occult, Witch craft, Black magic and whatever else one could imagine.

The Science of Astrology

Indian Astrology, called Jyotish Vigyana, is universal and timeless. It originated from Vedic Scriptures. The Rig Veda lists a number of stars and mentions twelve divisions of the Sun’s yearly circular path. A circle can be divided into 360 degrees from the center. Thus, the path of 360 degrees has been divided into twelve sectors. Each sector is called a Rashi.  A name and identification sign is allotted to every Rashi matching to the shape of the cluster of stars identified on the path of Sun. Using mythology as a training aid, the Sun’s annual course was artistically explained as a wheel with twelve spokes that correspond to the twelve signs of the zodiac.

Planetary Effect

According to Indian Astrologers, the planetary effect is not similar on all living beings at any one time. It is dynamic according to the time and place of birth and position of different planets in the sky. Every planet has its distinct positive or negative effect on body and mind, but it is the accumulated effect of all planets that is finally considered for making forecast. Negative effects can be minimized by enhancing positive effects and vice versa, like changing diet of a person having unstable blood pressure.

In the Vedic system Moon rules the emotional nature of a person. It is well-known that the planets with their large magnetic fields and gravitational interaction with the Earth, affect it physically. The Indian astrology defines the actual traits of an individual, marital compatibility, and the future based on the position of planets at the time and place of birth.

Indian astrology is the study of the subtle energies, which make up our world. While evaluating a horoscope under Indian astrology, nothing more is looked beyond the blending of energies, which can combine in an infinite variety of ways. As energetic beings, each one of us is composed of a combination of energies, which makes up the sum total of our being. Each individual is created by a particular combination of planetary gravitational pulls exerted in different degrees, from different angles, and in different quantities. The multitude of possible combinations accounts for the variety of personalities, mentalities, physiques, as well as emotional and intellectual constitutions.

Bhrigu Samhita

On the basis of all possible planetary combinations, Sage Bhrigu made several calculations to cover astrological effect on humans born during that period.  Those birth charts (Kundalies) were compiled in Bhrigu Samhita, and interpretations of each birth chart could reveal the traits of persons born at the specific time and place.  Over the period, the original treatise disappeared.  However few pages of the same are reported to be in the possession of certain families. If the birth chart of any person matches with Kundali held by the family, his life can be predicted accurately. The practicing families claim that even previous and future births of the person can also be predicted on the basis of Kundali. However the possibility of fake birth charts and fake forecasters cannot be ruled out in this business.

Applied Astrology

There is an interesting instance.  Once, Emperor Shahjahan wanted to test a Hindu astrologer who had come to visit him from Kashi.  As directed, the astrologer made his calculations and wrote his prediction. On orders from the Emperor, without reading, the written prediction was locked in a box, with keys securely held by the Emperor himself. Thereafter Shahjahan moved around in Delhi, the capital city for some time as he used to do. He pretended to enter the outer city wall through one after another several gates but every time he changed his plans. Finally, he ordered the outer wall to be demolished at one place and made his entry to the city. On his return the sealed box was opened and the prediction was read out. To Shahjahan’s surprise it had been predicted that the Emperor would re-enter the city through a new passage!

Importance of Activism

However, Hinduism does not breed fatalistic approach, but emphasizes activism. Hinduism lays more stress on doctrine of Karma.

It is to be remembered that Astrology predicts traits inherited by a person, but the traits can be altered with effort, will power, and through the effect of environment. Traits create mental make-up of a person to initiates action resulting that produce conducive effects in life. Thus, Astrological predictions are to be taken as a cautionary warning before the catastrophe surprised the individual. A fore warned person can prepare in advance and minimize the impending damage by counter actions. One is required neither to be over optimistic, nor to be sullied by future predictions.

Science of Palmistry

Parallel to Astrology, another science in predictions is Palmistry that also had its origin in India. Devarishi Narda is attributed to have founded this art. Many other Rishies were also contributors to the development of Palmistry, such as Sages Gautama, Bhrigu, Kashyapa, Atreya and Garga. Maharishi Valmiki also composed 567 verses on the art of Palmistry. Astronomer Varahmihir has also elaborated on Palmistry in his treatise on Astronomy.

From the ancient texts on Palmistry, Samudrik Shastra, Ravna Samihta and Hasta Sanjivini are available today. During third century BC, the knowledge of Palmistry was exported to China, Tibet, Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Iran. It spread further to Greece and further to other European countries. In all the countries, the identification of lines on human palms is matching to the original Indian interpretations. Expectantly, there are minor differences in predictions however.

Arun Samhita

This original ancient text in Sanskrit is also known as Lal Kitab (Red Book) and it has been translated in to many languages. It is believed that knowledge of Palmistry was given to Demon King Ravana by Aruna, the mythological charioteer of Sun God. This combined the practical aspects of Birth Chart (Kundali), Palm reading and Samudrik Shastra. Those who disbelieve birth charts could rely on Arun samhita to solve their problems in life. Obviously this book has been more popular in the countries that did not follow the system of birth charts.

Rationale behind Palmistry

The rationale behind Palmistry is that marking of lines on each human palm is different to the palm of the other according to the time and place of every person. This fact has now been accepted by the modern science that no two persons on globe have identical finger prints. This knowledge is being used in forensic science not only for crime detection but for establishing conviction also. Bio-metric identity cards are being relied as sure sign to establish identification of persons. Same way predictions made on the basis of Palmistry are not of general nature but case specific. Nature imprints the feelings and traits on the hands of every person at the time of his birth in accordance with planetary effect of stars. Based on traits, capabilities and achievements are formed, but in accordance to the efforts of the individual.

Science of Phrenology

Related to this is the science of Phrenology. Nature has designed several variations in facial features and every person has a different personality from the other. Thus face is regarded as index of a person. Through experimentation (Anaga Vishleshna) several deductions were made by ancient Rishies. We can see the practical application of this science in films, TV productions and Theaters. Some prominent examples can be found in the make-up given to a proud person. Person shall have a very prominent nose. Small fore head is used to depict a person slow on up-take, while broad fore head is sign of intellect. Villainous characters and corrupt have crookedness written on their face.

The effect of this science is so powerful that people can judge the inner make-up of theatrical characters from watching them outwardly without having them perform any action or dialogue. All body parts have been assigned specific characteristics. Body Language and Hand Writing analysis are forward extensions of the same science.

Gemology

Indian astrology and Gemology came to be studied and applied together in India. Diamonds were first mined in India. Maharshi Shounaka had classified diamonds into four classes, such as – Khanija, Kulaja, Shilaja and Kritaka. This is a subject of Physics.

Ratna Pradeepika dealt with diamonds, precious stones and pearls. It also mentioned the manufacturing of artificial diamonds with the help of borax, salts of alum, and Oshawa.

Kautiliya described diamond in Arthashastra as a big and heavy object that is capable of scratching, bearing blows with symmetrical points, and revolving like a spindle with brilliantly excellent shine. Today this kind of knowledge is being used in computerized satellites.

Besides diamonds, Indians were well conversant with the properties of other precious stones that were used in ornaments, medicine and as cures for certain psychological disorders. Gems and Precious Stones were worn on different body parts to attract effect of heavenly bodies for various purposes. In Mahabharata there is reference that Pandvas extracted a blue sapphire from the fore head of Ashwathama, who had slaughtered siblings of Pandavas in cold blood.

Prior to the advent of scientific knowledge, different gems were associated with gods and goddesses to cure disorders and at the same time for enhancing the suitable effect. The properties of gems and other precious stone are a subject matter of science as well as faith. Hinduism has blended Science and Faith, and has supported both side by side.

Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes – 37/ 72 – Founders of Medicine and Longevity)

 

Splashes – 32/72 – Cosmic Time in Hindu Scriptures

Hindu scriptures tell us that Universe is without a beginning (Anadi) or an end (Ananta). Cosmos undergoes infinite number of deaths and rebirths. Every moment old stars are dying and new being formed. This truth stands ratified by the modern scientists also. Santana Dharma and modern science are not in conflict. Search for truth was the pursuit of Hindu Sages, and modern scientists have also kept up the same tradition.

Calculation of Time

The time scales worked out by Hindu sages also correspond to those of modern scientific cosmology. One cosmic day and night of Brahma equals 8.64 billion years on our planet Earth. It is therefore longer than the age of Earth as well as the Sun at the center of our solar system.

The Rig Veda lists a number of stars and mentions twelve divisions of the sun’s yearly path (rashis) and 360 divisions of the circle. Thus, the year of 360 days is divided into twelve months. Using mythology as a training aid, the Sun’s annual course was artistically explained as a wheel with twelve spokes that correspond to the twelve signs of the zodiac. Time taken in twinkling of eye is called Nimish. This unit of measure is more or less like a micro second.

The time calculation table for day and night on Earth in Manusamruti is given as under:-

  • 18 Nimish = 1 Kastha
  • 30 Kastha = 1 Kala
  • 30 Kala = 1 Mahurata
  • 30 Mahurata = 1 Ahoratra
  • 30 Ahoratras = 1 Masa (Month)

Due to rotation of Earth one Ahoratra is divided in two parts called day and night (Divas and Ratri). Day is meant for work and night is for rest.

Every month has two fortnights (Paksha) of fifteen days each. Moonlit nights are called Shukal Paksha, while dark nights are called Krishna Paksha.

The above division is perfectly natural, tangible, and scientific. The day starts with Sun rise. At the day break all living beings wake up. There is freshness in breeze and streams. Flowers bloom. Nature signals every living being to start activity.

Similarly at Sun set, all living beings start returning to their resting place, flowers close, streams also indicate feeling of slowing down, and Nature ushers everyone to sleep and rest except those species that are assigned and designed by the Creator to work at night.

If we compare Natural division of Day – Night with the division followed vide Roman calendar, the date is upgraded at midnight when everyone is sleeping in bed. There is no perceivable change around and everything is artificial, stale and unscientific!

Cosmic Time and Yugas

As per Hindu scriptures, process of creation and destruction of Universe continues in cyclic order. The creation goes on for 4.32 billion years (Srishti Kalpa – Brahma’s day) followed by an equal period of destruction (Praleya Kalpa – Brahma’s night). Srishti and Praleyas Kalpas follow each other like our day and night. Together they sum up to, 8.64 billion years to make one Brahma day – called a Brahma Ahoratra. Such 360 Braahma Ahoratras, or 3110.4 billion years make one year of Brahma.

Chaturyuga is the time taken by our solar system to circle bigger solar system in the Universe. It is also called Mahayuga or great year. The Indian concept of the great year (Mahayuga) was developed from the idea of a lunisolar period of five years, combined with four ages of the world (Yugas) which were thought to be of unequal perfection and duration, succeeding one another and lasting in the ratio of 4:3:2:1.

This figure was calculated not only from rough estimates of planetary and stellar cycles, but also from the 10,800 stanzas of the Rig Veda, consisting of 432,000 syllables. The enlightened Hindu Sages calculated the great period as one of 4,320,000 years, the basic element of which was a number of sidereal solar years, 1,080,000 a multiple of 10,800.

Hindu texts have further divided a Kalpa in to 14 Manvantaras. Every Manvantra has 308448000 years or 308.448 million years.

Manvantras are divided in to Chaturyugas.  One Chaturyuga consists of 43 lakhs & 20 thousand years.  Chaturyuga is further subdivided as under:-

  • Satyug = 17 lakhs 28 thousand years
  • Treta = 12 lakhs 96 thousand years
  • Dwapar = 8 lakhs 64 thousand years
  • Kaliyug = 4 lakhs 32 thousand years

71 Chaturyugi make for one Manvanter. (30 crore, 67 lakhs, & 20 thousand years). This is the time bigger solar system takes to circle around further solar system and there is no end to more solar systems.

According to the Hindu scriptures the present phase of creation began with the beginning of the current Shwetavaraha Kalpa about 1.972 billion years ago. Since then, 6 Manvanters have passed and the 7th Vaibasvat Manwantara is in currency. There names of previous six Manvanters are Swayambhar, Swarochish, Ottmi, Tamas, Ryivat and Chakshash.

Out of currently running seventh Manvantra 28 Chaturyugas have also passed. Of the running 29 th Chaturyuga, we are passing through present Kaliyuga. That has also passed its time of 5002 years. According to Bhagavat Purana, King Uttanapaada, the father of Dhruva, ruled during the period of first Swayambhuva Manu. That was nearly 1.97 billion years ago.

Slavery to Western mindset 

Western scientists as usual, continued to reject these mind-boggling calculations, till Michael A. Cremo, an American researcher, propounded that human beings existed 2 billion years ago on Earth. Mr Cremo’s findings substantiated the narration of the Bhagavat Purana. The neat question is that do we need to overlook own achievements till certified by others?

Indian Calendar

Unfortunately, our present generations are totally ignorant about the names of the months in Indian Calendar and its base. India’s Vikrami calendar is based on the movement of planets and is more scientific whereas Gregorian (Roman) calendar is conventional and unscientific.

Our ancestors had named the days of week after the planets of our solar system.  Starting the week with Sun (Ravivar) the following days have been named according to the proximity of planets in relation to Earth. They are moon (Somvar), Mars (Mangalvar), Mercury (Budhvar), Jupiter (Brahaspativar), Venus (Shukravar) and Saturn (Shanivar).

The word calendar is pronounced kalandar in Portuguese and resounds with Sanskrit word kal-antra meaning time differentials. Other time units in Sanskrit are Yug-antra, Manv-antra, and Kalp-antra. The months of September, October, November and December also have their source in Sanskrit words Sapt-ambar, Ashta-ambar, Nov-ambar, and Dash-ambar implying seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth in order.

Gregorian (Roman) Calendar

Gregorian calendar was introduced in Rome by Julius Caesar after his victory. Although Christians claim to believe in one God, but for no reason they named the days and months of their calendar after pagan gods, whom they denounce otherwise.

It will be interesting to trace the induction of Gregorian calendar in India through East India Company. The British did not have any of their own calendar, and like other European Countries they also had been using Julian calendar. Their year started with the month of March, and counting further September was seventh month followed by October, November and December as eighth, ninth and tenth months respectively. Months of July and August was added much later and like December and January both have 31 days one after another.

The Gregorian calendar was adopted in England as official calendar in 1750 and till 1772 England also begun her new year on 1st of March every year. Later by an act of British Parliament New Year was made to start on 1 st January, the month following Christmas.

Basis of Rashi Chakras

Our sages knew that Earth took 365-1/3 days to circle the Sun. Rig-Veda has described several constellations in the sky. Our sages identified the route of Earth around the Sun and prepared a chart. The spread of constellations in the sky were imagined to resemble out lines of animal figures and given names that came to be known as Zodiac signs (Rashi chitras). Those were used as reference points in the sky along the route of Earth while circling the Sun.

The sages arrived at the conclusion through repeated observations of the sky that Earth took 30 days’ time to pass through one constellation (Rashi). Thus they worked out 30 X 12 = 360 days of the year and twelve month. But little extra time was also to be adjusted.

For the sake of simple calculations, sages standardized every month to have thirty days each. The left-over period was allowed to accumulate for twelve years after which an extra month was added to the year. That year was supposed to have 13 months that was called ‘Malmas’. It is relevant that the rotational festival of Kumbha is held after 12 years at the same place.

The Sun entered new constellation on the first of every Indian month and made exit after thirty days accordingly. Indian system is not a matter of blind faith, but purely based on calculations that are perceivable. The same 12 zodiac signs have been adopted all over the world with slight local variations but each Zodiac sign begins somewhere on 20 th or 21 st of Calendar month for ‘unknown’ reasons and relevance.

Compared to that Roman calendar months had 30 or 31 days, but the last month of the year February held ‘left-over days’ in its kitty. Sometimes it contained 29 days and sometimes 28 days. Thus extra days are adjusted by having a leap year after every four years and varied numbers of days during months. It is all conventional and arbitrary.

Reminiscent of Slavery

East India Company officials had no clue to the scientific making of Indian calendar. Along with other British colonies, British calendar was heaped upon us in India, and we as slaves had no choice or resources to resist. Indian standard time is five and half hours ahead of British time. When there is Sunrise in India to start fresh date, there is mid night in England. But as they happened to be the masters, they ordered Indians and other colonial slaves to change date at midnight to suit British. Other colonies readily obliged as they did not have any calendars of their own.

We do appreciate that cosmic time schedule cannot be taken into use to establish our historic events. The weighing bridge used for heavy-duty trucks are not used for weighing ornaments. The age of a person can neither be expressed in Light years nor in micro seconds.

But why India has been still following Roman calendar for the sake of standardization? What is the necessity for us to match our dates with Roman calendar? Even today our Government and its functionaries have made no use of ‘Saka Calendar’ that was adopted in the Constitution as Official Calendar. If we want to trace our history we shall have to rely upon our own Calendar.

Chand K Sharma

Next: Splashes – 33/ 72 – Indian Contributions to Mathematics

Splashes – 30/72 – Exploration for Knowledge

Hindu religion has always encouraged individuals to pursue knowledge. Inquisitiveness has always been appreciated as opposed to blind faith. It is for this mindset that India has enriched every art and science known to man from the earliest times.

System of Learning

The initial stage of learning started at home with Yama and Niyamas to inculcate values and inquisitiveness for absorbing knowledge. The methodology at Gurukul was aimed not to convert the student to a data bank, but to develop an intelligent and action oriented personality. The three-fold process of teaching included attentively listening (Shravan) the discourse, followed by assimilation (Manana), and lastly practical application (Nidyasana). Practicing for perfection (Sadhna) thereafter was to be a continuous and life-long process till the salient aspects of learning reflected through reflex actions.

Classification of Grades

Besides the literature of Vedas, Upanishdas, Darshan Shastras, Puranas and the epics; India had established a formal system of education from the earliest times. The syllabus for the next stage included study of Mathematics, Algebra, Physics, Astronomy, and Fine Arts. Graduate Students (Sanatkas) were expected to excel in Vedic knowledge. Those who could not cope for want of aptitude or hard-work were advised to switch over to professional training in the field of commerce or skills.

Entry to further higher training was open only to those who qualified prescribed levels of second stage and earned the status of Ribhu.  The tradesmen (Ribhus) were skilled persons who could be assisting scientists and engineers (Ashvins) in the designing and manufacturing of chariots, vehicles, ships and similar projects.

The next higher category was of specialists (Daksha) in specific fields such as Astronomy, Philosophy and so on. The faculties were known as Acharyas.

Recognition of Intellectuals

Those days Educational Institutes did not award degrees and diplomas, but classification was there. First class Graduates were required to pursue studies up to the age of 24 years and stay unmarried till completion. They were given the title of Brahmcharya. Those who studied further up to the age of 36 years were entitled Rudrai, and those who attained further distinctions up to the age between 44 to 48 years were recognized as Adityas.

Roughly we can co-relate the same to Graduation, post-Graduation and Doctorate classifications of today. Subsequently, those who specialized in the knowledge of Vedas came to be identified and progressively graded as Vedi, Duvedi, Triedi and Chaturvedi.  Later with passage of time such qualifications got stuck as hereditary sur-names irrespective of the real potential of the bearer.

Authenticity of Knowledge

While nomadic civilizations in other part of the world were emerging out of forest dwellings, ancient Indians had measured the land, divided the year, mapped out the heavens, traced the course of Sun and other planets through the zodiacal belt, analyzed the constitution of matter, and studied the nature of birds, beasts, plants and seeds. India’s contribution to the sciences of Mathematics and Medicine has been unique. In linguistics, Metallurgy, and Chemistry, Indians have made trail-blazing discoveries. Greek philosophers such as Aristotle, Socrates, Pluto and others who are claimed to be the ‘founding-fathers’ of Western education were not born by then.

Just three centuries ago, there was no science like Allopathic, but Ayurveda had system of curing chronic diseases. Europeans did not know the existence of Pacific Ocean on globe till 1510 AD, but ancient Indians had already established the following astronomical facts:

  • The Sun never rises, nor sets; it is due to rotation of Earth that days and nights are formed – Sam Veda 121
  • The Earth remains stabilized due to mutual gravitation of planets of our solar system. – Rig-Veda 1-103-2,1-115-4, 5-81-2)
  • The axle of Earth never gets rusted around which Earth continues to revolve. – Rig-Veda 1-164 – 29)

Institutes of Higher Learning

Educational institutions, known as Gurukuls, Ashramas, Viharas, and Parishads existed all over the country. Students were given free tuition and boarding. For higher learning universities were located at Takshashila, Kashi, Vidarbha, Ajanta, Nalanda,Ujjain and Magdha. Sanskrit was the medium of instruction. Many learned personalities were associated with universities who contributed in their respective fields earlier than European classical exponents arrived on the scene. Brief account of the prominent universities in ancient India is as follows:-

  • Takshashila: World’s first international university was established at Takshashila seven hundred years ago before Christ was born. Takshashila was known to the world as the leading seat of Hindu scholarship. It was renowned above all for its medical school, even before the time of Alexander’s invasion. The campus at Takshashila accommodated 10,500 students and offered over sixty different courses in various fields, such as Religion, Philosophy, Science Medicine, Mathematics, Astronomy, Astrology, Warfare, Politics and Music. Students, as far as Babylonia, Greece, Syria, Arabia, Persia, Mesopotamia and China came to study.
  • Vikramasila: The University of Vikramasila accommodated 8,000 students. It was situated on a hill in Magdha on the banks of the River Ganga, and flourished for four centuries. Kalidasa has mentioned multiple disciplines of knowledge taught and learnt under the guidance of Rishi Kanva, who was once Kulapati (Vice-Chancellor) there.
  • Ajanta: The Ajanta institute was known for studies in the field of Fine Arts and Architecture (Vastu Kala). The existing remains of Ajanta are still there to testify the glory of the institute.
  • Nalanda: The University of Nalanda built-in the 4th century BC was another landmark of ancient India in the field of education. It was the first University on globe. Buddha visited Nalanda several times during his lifetime. The Chinese scholar and traveler Hiuen Tsang stayed there in the 7th century, and has left an elaborate description of the excellence, and purity of monastic life practiced there. About 2,000 teachers and 10,000 students from all over the Buddhist world lived and studied in that international university. The University counted on its staff great thinkers like Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Vasubhandu, Asanga, Sthiramati, Dharmapala, Silaphadra, Santideva and
  • Odantapuri: The University at Odantapuri was established by King Gopal near Nalanda. About 12000 students resided there.  The complex was surrounded by a high wall that Muslim invaders mistook as fort. They ransacked the institution and killed all the teachers and students.
  • Jagddala: The University at Jagddala was founded by King Devapala during the period 810-850 AD. This institute was dedicated to Tantrik studies and Buddhism. In 1027 AD Muslim invaders destroyed this institution of learning.
  • Vallabhi: This Buddhist institute at Vallabhi was known for the study of Hiyansung school of thought in Buddhism. It was founded and funded by rulers of Maitrika Besides that the subjects offered for study included Rajaniti, Krishi, Arthashastra, and Niyaya Shastra, meaning Political Science, Agriculture, Economics, and Jurisprudence respectively.

Contribution to Global Knowledge

Today we are over awed by the repute of Oxford and Cambridge Universities and cannot reconcile to the fact that India also had greater Universities to impart higher education. Emperor Ashoka and emperors of Gupta dynasty and Emperor Harshavardhana patronized many monasteries and institutes to promote knowledge.

Ancient intellectuals from India have enriched every branch of learning with original creative works that contain authentic and scientific knowledge that is still being used abroad. More stimuli contained therein is lying untapped. In the field of fine arts and literature, the contribution of writers and artists in the form of treatises is of pioneering nature. 

Unfortunately, many institutions of knowledge along with the intellectual treasures stored there in were burnt down by barbarous Islamic invaders. Nalanda Univerty was destroyed by Bakhtiyar Khilji during 1193 and all the intellectuals were massacred. Other Universities also met similar fate.

The Mughals ignored learning and devoted time and resources in building harems and mausoleums throughout in the length and breadth of India. With their biased mindset they opposed knowledge on the excuse of ‘Kufer’. Their major interests were in developing gardens, dishes, dance and music. Schools (Maktab and Madrassas) imparting elementary education of Islam was considered enough.

Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes – 31/72 – Blend of Science and Faith)

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