The Looters and their Sone Ki Lanka

This morning I read in the Times of India a report that can delight you. or sadden you, depending on your observation-post, and what you are. But this has called up in my mind what I had written about Sone Ki Lanka in the Chapter 26 of my memoir, On the Loom of Time (2nd ed.) that you can read at my http://www.shivakantjha.org by visiting at http://www.shivakantjha.org/pdfdocs/on_the_loom_of_time_2nd_edition/39_loom_25.pdf. I wish my readers read this, and reflect on it with utmost good faith. We all stand before the bar of history at which all of us,  and all our institutions are on trial. It would be sad for the destiny of mankind if the cloud-minders dominate us through their  strategies and stratagems by subverting our democratic institutions.

                         The paper reports as under:
“India saw the fourth-big gest outflow of high net worth individuals globally in 2015 with 4,000 millionaires shifting overseas.According to a report by New World Wealth, some 4,000 wealthy Indians changed their domicile in 2015, while France saw the maximum outflow of millionaires with as many as 10,000 leaving.France was followed by China, with 9,000 leaving the country while Italy stood at third with 6,000 exits.The report said France is being heavily impacted by rising religious tension, especially in urban areas. “We ex pect that millionaire migration away from France will accelerate as these tensions escalate,“ it said. A report by New World Wealth says that Europe an countries where reli gious tensions are starting to emerge such as Belgium, Germany , Sweden and the UK are likely to see millionaires leaving in the near future.Other countries that saw significant millionaire outflows include Greece (3,000), while Russian Federation, Spain and Brazil saw 2,000 such outflows each.In terms of millionaire inflows, Australia topped the chart with 8,000 shifting base there, followed by the US (7,000) and Canada (5,000) in the second and third place respectively.Millionaires, otherwise known as “high net-worth indi viduals“ or “HNWIs“ refer to individuals with net assets of $1 million or more, excluding their primary residences.”

 

 SONE KI LANKA

     In ancient times, Ravana was a demonic person, and felt precisely as the demonic persons feel: “I am God myself. I am perfect and the mightiest. Every object exists only for my pleasure.”  He ruled the mighty imperium of Lanka where he had amassed wealth that he had looted from all the worlds. His capital was made of gold beautified with pearls and diamonds. Everything that could beautify it was there in plenty making it a thing of delight every moment it was seen. Its security was of the highest order, and the king was wholly invincible.

Tulsidas tells us in the Ramcharitmanasa that during His sojourn in the forest, Rama saw heaps of bones of the sages and saints. His kindness welled up, and he asked people around what had wrought their plight that way. He got a reply: “The demonic persons had eaten up the good residents of the forest (अस्थि  समूह देखि रघुराया, पूछी मुनिन्ह लागि अति दया “ ). Ravana had got Lanka made by the divine architect Vishwakarma. Hanumanji, contemplating to enter Lanka in search of Sita, felt that Ravana’s capital floated on the clouds. Ravana’s aircraft had on it white mansions, water tanks with lotuses in plenty. It was called the Puspakvimana.

But Ravana’s extractive imperialism did not last long. His city, with all its might and affluence, was destroyed by of Hanuman, a monkey who was working for Rama. Even the invincible Ravana was killed by Rama. None survived even to shed tears for the mighty demon.

David Korten, in his Where Corporations Rule the World tells us about a very suggestive episode: about the Cloud Minders in The Star Trek: The Original Series. It is an allegory with deep import.

“The Cloud Minders, episode 74 of the popular science fiction television series Star Trek, took place on the planet Ardana. First aired on Feb. 28, 1969, it depicted a planet whose rulers devoted their lives to the arts in a beautiful and peaceful city, Stratos, suspended high above the planet’s desolate surface. Down below, the inhabitants of the planet’s surface, the Troglytes, worked in misery and violence in the planet’s mines to earn the interplanetary exchange credits used to import from other planets the luxuries the rulers enjoyed on Stratos.”

The Troglytes, the suffering beasts of burden, worked extracting zenite. This mineral was valuable for the cloud-minders for augmentation of wealth, though the unprocessed zenite emitted gas which made the beasts of burden lose their mental capacity. But their capitalist exploiters had good time in their world built in the sky. How unfair it is to deprive the poor of essential entitlements, and then cast them off in the ashcan because they are deficient!

To suffer unjust sufferings, tongue-tied, is itself the worst of all sins.

 

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Good Work done never perishes (by Shiva Kant Jha)

I would end this Part telling you what Krishna had told  Arjuna when he had asked Krishna, in the battlefield of Kurukshetra: of what worth is the entire endeavour if it turns out futile in the end. A ‘movement’, or a ‘revolution’ is a march with a mission towards the future. We are scripting our deeds only on the passing moments of the living present. What the Lord told Arjuna  is  valid in  all times as what He said is the very existential truth:

पार्थ एव इह अमुत्र विनाशः तस्य विद्यते

हि कल्याण कृत कः चित् दुर्गतिं तात गच्छति

(‘O, Partha (Arjuna), neither in this life nor hereafter is there destruction for him; for never does anyone who does good, dear friend, tread the path of woe.’ Chapter VI.40)

 It should be read recalling the oft-seen but seldom understood quote from one of the the inscriptions on our Parliament:

 “अन्त में लिफ्ट संख्या 5 के निकटवर्ती गुम्बद पर फारसी का यह भित्ति लेख है:-

बरी रूवाके जेबर्जद नविश्ता अन्द बेर्ज,
जुज निकोईअहले करम नख्वाहद् मान्द।।”

“This lofty emerald like building bears the inscription in gold, Nothing shall last except the good deeds of the bountiful.”

 

 

Recalling my visit to Kangchenjunga in 1997

                My mind went back to the days when as the Chief Commissioner of Income-tax for the North-East, I visited several places in the North-East of our country. Then I eas the Chief Commissioner of Income-tax for Bihar, Orissa, Assam and the North-East. I visited a place wherefrom I  could get a good view of the snow-clad Himalyan Range. I stood facing the majestic  Kangchenjunga.  This morning my mind went to recall  how the Kangchenjunga had appeared to me  in the early  morning , and  then again in the evening. I  had felt that from those  imageries some message was being communicated to me.  This third highest mountain in our world spoke through the shifting patterns of light and shade. If it was charming in the morning, it was no less delighting in the evening because of its epic grandeur with differing contents I had read that in similar experience,   the great physicist  Bohr had   found in it  rich poetry  of    complementarity. I  had read with great delight what his distinguished  disciple,  L.Rosenfeld,  has   written about  Bhor’s experience in witnessing the sunset  at the  top  of  Fujiyama: 

               “At  sunset  the  top  of  Fujiyama  disappeared  behind  a  curtain of  gold-fringed  clouds: the  black  mass of  the mountain,  surmounted  by  this  fulgent   crown, conveyed  an  impression of  awe  and  majesty. On  the  next  morning, it  offered  an  entirely  different  spectacle: the  pointed  summit  alone, covered  with shinning  snow, emerged  from  the   dense  mist  filling  the  valley;  the  landscape  was  radiating   gladness  and  joy.  So, Bohr  mused, the  two  half-mountains   together are not  simply  equal  to  a  mountain: to  each belongs  a  peculiar, individual  impression, and  the  two  are  complementary.”   [Selected Papers of Léon Rosenfeld, p. 322]

 

Recalling my lecture on Tagore’s Geetanjali at the Nagpur University in 1991

On  December  2, 1991,  I  had  the  distinction  of  delivering  a  key-note  address  on  Rabindranath  Tagore’s  Nobel  Prize  winning  book  Geetanjali  at  the  function  organised  by  the  Centre  for  Literary  Interaction  and  Creativity  to  mark  the  Tagore  Day  Function  at   the  University   Convocation  Hall.

When  Prof..R.N.Roy,   the retired   Head  of  the  Department  of  English  of  Nagpur  University,   requested me to  deliver  a   speech  on  Geetanjali  I  was  elated  at  my  good  luck  to be  considered  of  that  worth  by  a  person  whose  credentials  as  an  outstanding  judge  were  well  established,  but  I was  terribly  depressed  by the  awareness  of  my  own  limitations in  undertaking  such  an august  assignment.  I  had  read  Geetanjali  decades  back.  I  obtained  its text   from  someone,   and   I  read  the  whole  of  it  loudly  so  that  in  the  rhythm  of  the  sound  my  whole  physical  and  spiritual  selves  could get saturated..  Whatever  ideas  got conserved in my mind,   I  expressed  in  my  key-note  address.  The  Hitavada  gave   a  comprehensive  account  of  what  I  said. It reported:

“Geetanjali’ portrays  every  aspect  of  life  –  political, economic  and  scientific –  and  Gurudev  Tagore’s   influence  on  the  West  proved  that  even  in  the  post-First  World  War  period, spiritual  values  did  exist,  opined  Mr.S.K.Jha, Commissioner  of  Income  Tax  here  this  evening……..Quoting  relevant  examples, Mr.Jha  said  ‘Geetanjali’  gives  ‘supreme  delight’  which  could  be  experienced and  comprehended on  its  own  logic. Tagore  was  never  interested  in   geometrical  forms,  he  said  adding  that  the  great  poet  “comprehended  in  profound  flash”…….’Geetanjali  radiates  light. However,  not  all  Westerners  could  enjoy  ‘Geetanjali’…….Referring  to the  songs  in  Geetanjali, Mr.Jha  said  that  the  force of  terror  is  also  to  be  loved  in  case  of  sorrow  and  greatest  ever  tragedies.  He  also  gave  an  example   from  ‘Geeta’   in  which  Lord  Krishna  taught  to  get   over  the  fear  of mind  and  added   that the  35th  song  in  ‘Geetanjali’.  ‘Where  the  mind  is  without  fear’ is  the  finest  preamble  to  this fact……”Tagore  laid  great  emphasis  on  mind  which  is  free  from  fear  and  where  the  head   is  held  high”, he  said   and  added  even  the   Constitution  of  India   reflects   the  same  thing…..Mr.Jha  further  said that  Tagore  strove  throughout   his  life  to  promote   a  feeling  of  International  brotherhood. He  (Tagore)  wanted  modern  scientific  approach  to  human  management. Mr.Jha   said adding that  ‘Geetanjali’  was  not  a  mere  collection  of  devotional   poems  but  explores   his  self.”

 

Shri .B.L.Majumdar  commented  the  following  in  his  letter  addressed  to the  Editor  of  the  Hitavada published on  December  18, 1992:

“Sir, –Inaugurated  by  Dr.P.L.Bhandarkar, the  VC, the  ‘Centre  for  Literary  Interaction  and  Creativity’  took  off  to  a  flying  start  when on its  Tagore  Day  function  in  the  Convocation  Hall, Mr.S.K.Jha, the  chief  guest   gave  a  brilliant  talk  on  the  universal  appeal  of  the  cosmic  views  of  the   Upanishads, so  effortlessly   blended  by  Tagore  in  the  timeless   poems  of  “Geetanjali”.  As  one  goes   through these  poems  again  and  again, Tagore  appears  like  a  mystic  bard  unfolding  his  soul   in search  of  perfection, truth  and  ultimate  spiritual  emancipation  with  total  submission  to  that  eternal  source  of  cosmic  energy. Mr.Jha  certainly  illuminated  the  audience   on  this  aspect with  a  candid, refreshing  approach.”

In my considered view, for   appreciating  Tagore   one  must  have  certain  spiritual  attainments.  Unless  someone  has  right  sensibility  the  beauty  of  Tagore’s  works  is  bound  to be  missed.

[Written at Nagpur while posted as the Commissioner of Income-tax in 1991]