Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Chinese and Me

At Thoughtworks, we have a 6 week training session where employees from all over the world land up at Bangalore, called ThoughtWorks University. I have been here for a week now, and this time round we have around 10 Chinese grads too. I am really having a whale of a time with them :) They are all really simple hearted folks, with a lot of  'wide-eyed' innocence and all of them are really intelligent. And I just love their features. Atleast the girls' in my batch are exotic beauties, all petite and full of charm. And the guys? Totally cute ;)
The first day, I barely got their names- and it was seriously impossible to communicate. Apparently, the Chinese find it very difficult to understand the Indian accent. Besides, all the current grads are from Tenzing and other Chinese small towns, so they dont really know English that well. So most of the time, no matter what we said, they just laughed and nodded. All the Chinese have such smiley faces, and they are so thrilled to simply be in India that you feel happy just being around them. Anyways, on day 1 I actually had to resort to writing some sentences down. I could understand what they were saying, but not vice versa :(. But then eventually, I got the hang of it. All you gotta do is talk slowly, and throw in a few guestures, and you really have to simplify your sentences. Oh and repeat words a few times. And one or two of them are better at English so they rapidly translate to the others.
                Anyways I discovered that Chinese say their last names first. So Sha Biyen( a girl) her name is Biyen and family name is Sha. So I figured out why we have three Yangs' in our batch! And their names have beautiful meanings. Like One of my friends' name means 'Green Jade'- How cool is that!
               Then on saturday, They all gathered in a friend's apartment to cook and have lunch. So they go and come back with all kinds of vegetables( Without evening knowing their english names) and slice them very thinly, and stir fry them in batches, and dish up a yummy meal for 15! Oh and the best part was that they have no pressure cookers in China- so I kinda told them to trying making rice in one. The first time the cooker whistled-you should have seen their faces. Once done, one guy removed the cooker and kept it on the floor- He said he was feeling as if he was around a Bomb :)
                  The Chinese Language is very complex. The word and the tone, both convey different meanings. Besides all the sounds are removed from deep within the throat. So there I was, surrounded by 10 Chinese all talking rapidly in various sing-song tones- and I wasnt in India any more.
                   I have learnt some words too. "Chao Shama mitz"- What is your name? I had to struggle for days to get the tone though.'Toi' means yes and 'Poo'-is no. How apt is that?!
                  Three cheers to the Chinese!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Contract of Immortality - The Conclusion

continued from here


From the ruins of the pillar, out stepped a gigantic being. His upper body was that of a lion while the lower portion was of a man. Extremely fearsome, with angry eyes  the colour of molten gold,motionless ears that stood erect and a shiny mane, the being towered over Hiranyakashipu. His jaw was parted fiercely,like a mountain cave, revealing rows of deadly teeth and a razor sharp tongue that moved like a dueling sword. His neck was short and thick, his chest broad and his waist narrow.  In his numerous hands he held the conchshell, the disc, the club and other weapons. This was Lord Narsimhadev, neither man nor lion.
              Just to keep the word of his devotee, Lord Vishnu had appeared  from a palace pillar, in this wonderful form. Such is the power of  faith. Neither Hiranyakashipu's heinous crimes, nor his foolish plan to achieve immortality, nor even the destruction of the sacrifices had bothered Lord Vishnu. It was only the faith of the little boy Prahlad, that had caused the Supreme Lord Himself, to descend into this mortal realm.
               Hiranyakashipu was terrified. But he consoled himself, "This is only Vishnu's trickery! After all who can defeat me in battle?" Fool-hardily, he charged towards the Lord, like a moth to the flame. So bright was Narsimhadev's effulgence, that the demon simply dissappeared from sight. He attacked the Lord with powerful blows from his club. But Narsimhadev just laughed and captured Hiranyakashipu in his powerful arms.
               All the homeless denizens of heaven, were gathered in the skies, watching the divine battle. Seeing their nemesis captured, they applauded wildly. But  the wily demon just turned and very swiftly slid out of the Lord's grasp. Seeing this all the demigods were disturbed. But Narsimhadev was just playing with His prey, as the divine eagle, Garuda would play with a snake.
                Hiranyakashipu now took his sword and shield. He moved skillfully around the Lord, sometimes flying into the air and sometimes landing on earth. He tried using all his battle experience to save himself. But his eyes were closed in terror as the terrible laughter of death echoed in his ears.
                Lord Narsimhadev grew tired of the sport. Finally the time was right. It was neither morning nor night, but twilight- the sun had set, yet it was not dark  He grasped Hiranyakashipu in his hands and sat on the doorway of the palace. They were neither inside his house, nor outside. The Lord laid Hiranyakashipu across His lap. The demon was now neither in sky nor on land. The Lord flexed his long nails, as sharp as swords, as strong as thunderbolts. These nails were neither weapons to be wielded nor weapons to be thrown. They were neither living, nor dead- For nails are made of dead cells but yet they grow like living organisms.  The Lord was neither man, nor beast, nor demon, nor heavenly God. He had not been created by Brahma.
                 The contract of immortality had not been breached. Lord Narsimhadev plunged his nails into the demon's stomach and tore him apart. Blood sprayed all over. So angry was the Lord, that He pulled out the demon's intestines and garlanded Himself. The Gods in heaven cheered loudly and started showering flowers. Drums and trumpets were played and divine hymns were sung, glorifying Him. But the Lord's anger could not be appeased. He roared wildly and even Laxmidevi, His eternal consort, was afraid to approach Him.
                 Finally, Brahma turned to little Prahlad. Unafraid, the little boy went towards the Lord, carrying a garland of flowers. He offered them to the Lord and glorified Him with many prayers. At last, Lord Narsimhadev was pacified. He asked Prahlad, "Dear child, I am ready to give you anything you desire. Simply ask."
           But what did Prahlad care for material prosperity? He had his Lord Vishnu and he wanted nothing else. Humbly he said, " Grant me, my Lord the benediction to always remain the servant of Your servants."
Narsimhadev was even more pleased. "So be it." He said and dissappeared.
The appearance of Lord Narsimhadev is celebrated even today, in the month of May. Devotees all over the globe, fast till sunset, and pray to the Lord for protection from the 'Hiranyakashipus' of the heart- lust, greed, pride,envy, anger and attachment. In ISKCON centers, Lord Narsimhadev is worshiped daily, and in the main Mayapur ISKCON we have a beautiful deity of Lord Narsimhadev stepping out of the pillar.(Picture below) Many miraculous events have taken place in relation to this deity. You can read some here.
  Thank-you for reading this far and giving me a chance to glorify the Supreme Lord and His devotee.
In Ahobilam, in Andhra Pradesh(south India), the remains of Hiranyakashipu's palace, the nail marks of Lord Narsimhadev and many other evidences are found, proving this story to be true. For you, this may be mythology, but for me this is history. I shall keep my faith. :) 

Sri Narsimhadev(Mayapur ISKCON)