Friday, December 31, 2021




( No, No stay over here. This visible world is a desolate space ) 

Many times many among  us have felt mild forms of Vairagya( detachment to the visible and material world )  . This could be like realising futility of money as one matures to old age  , a feeling of strange loneliness even being connected to family and friends or an understanding that stay in the material world has given them nothing except entanglement with Maya-Jaal. However, the grip of the visible world or the material world is so strong that this Vairagya  stays for a brief period. The best example of this could be the Shamshan Vairagya that visits some people at the cremation ground .

When a serious feeling like " Rehna Nahin Des Beerana( Veerana )  hai or No place  to live here, this world is nothing but a desolate space  " dawns upon any person in his spiritual journey, he has arrived. Arrived into the world of Vairagya cutting the Maya web that had entangled him. According to Kabir, to handle this spiritual Vairagya, one needs a true  Master or Satguru. All are not perfect and experienced to handle it.Before the onset of spiritual Vairagya, the mind feels as if the world is a field of thorny bushes only. Why get entangled and tear apart your apparel ( Chunri ) and die ?  It looks to a Vairagi, that his attachment to the world was false. This  attachment to the  world  is through a  piece of paper and even  a drop of water is sufficient to break  it. 

Kabir's Vairagya  is not the negative, indifferent state of non‑caring for anyone or anything. On the contrary, it  is a positive, love‑filled quality of caring for all without the attachment that brings bondage.This Vairagya is also related to letting go of feelings like pride, ego, aversion, inferiority and superiority complexes, false identities, and fear.It is a "dis-passionate" stance on life. Vairagya is of two kinds, viz., (i) Karana Vairagya (Vairagya on account of some miseries) and (ii) Viveka-Purvaka Vairagya (Vairagya on account of discrimination between real and unreal). The mind of a man who has got the former type of Vairagya is simply waiting for a chance to get back the things that were given up. 

The Vedas prescribe two different types of occupation for the human being. One is called the pravritti-marga, or the path of sense enjoyment, and the other is called the nivritti-marga, or the path of renunciation. The scriptures say that the  path of enjoyment is  inferior as it is for the body or senses and the path of sacrifice for the supreme cause is superior as it is for the soul.

"Vairagya is the state of supreme mastery, where there is no desire for experiences, that are either seen or heard.....". (Patanjala Yoga Darshan I:15)
In the Yoga Vasishtha, Maharishi Vashishta tells  this to Sri Rama:-

“You can uproot the Himalayas, you can drink the waters of the whole ocean, you can swallow balls of fire, but it is difficult to destroy trishna, cravings that cause incessant trouble. These cravings are the seeds of samsara that can be overcome only by vairagya”.

" In enjoyment there is fear of disease, in social position the fear of falling off, in wealth the fear of (hostile) kings, in honour the fear of humiliation, in power the fear of foe, in beauty the fear of old age, in scriptural erudition the fear of opponents, in virtue the fear of traducers and in the mortal body, the fear of death. All the things of this world pertaining to human beings are attended with fear; renunciation alone stands for fearlessness."
( Poet Bhartrihari in Vairagya Shatkam )

Now let us know what Kabir says in his Nirguna Bhajan, "Rehna Nahi Des Beerana ( Veerana ) Hai . Singers like Kumar Gandharva. Jagjit Singh and many more have sung this great Nirguna Bhajan but I prefer to listen its rendering by Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki. 

"Rahana nahin des biraana hai.
Yah Sansaar Kaagad Kee Pudiya,
Boond Pade Gali Jaana Hai.
Yah Sansaar Kaante Kee Baadee,
Ulajh Pulajh Mari Jaana Hai.
Yah Sansaar Jhaad Aur Jhaankhar
Aag Lage Bari Jaana Hai.
Kahat Kabeer Suno Bhaee Saadho,
Satugaru Naam Thikaana Hai."

My understanding of this Nirguna Bhajan goes like this :

"(Not to this world I belong,
No way to stay in this sapless desert  .
To this world, I am tied by a knot of paper,
Even a drop is enough to dissolve this attachment.
This world is like a field of thorny bushes, 
Why get entangled and die aimlessly ?
This world is nothing but dry weeds and dry shrubs,
A little fire can turn all this to ash.
So says Kabir,
" Listen you seekers,
Only true master is your destination "

( Avtar Mota)

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( A water colour by Abdur Rehman Chugtai )

A R Chugtai was an admirer of Jayadeva’s Gita Govinda. Gita Govinda has influenced almost every miniature painter in the subcontinent . Let me say something about Gita Govinda ..

“Kesava dhruta-mina-sharira…….Jaya Jagadisa Hare….”

( This opening Sloka from Jayadeva’s Gita Govind was sung by Hemant Kumar for the 1952 film Anand Math )

The Gita Govinda remains the most popular and influential poem to emerge from medieval India. The text was added to temple inscriptions, set to music, choreographed for dance, painted on canvas and studied as a religious text. The poem narrates the loves of Radha and Sri Krishna but also celebrates nature's regeneration and the interplay of the human and divine. The Gita Govinda is the earliest-known poem dealing with the theme of the divine lovers, Radha and Sri Krishna. Its verses were popular with Chaitanya, the 14th–15th-century Bengali saint, and continue to be sung even today at Bhajans and Kirtans throughout India.

The poem can be dated to the twelfth century and many lines of evidence point to Jayadeva being born in Orissa, probably in Kenduli Sasan village, which lies in the Prachi valley of the Khurda district of Odisha, Jayadeva himself is reputed to have been a saintly ascetic induced to settle by marrying the temple dancer, Padmavati, and take up writing the Gita Govinda. Jayadeva was attached to the Bengali court of King Lakṣmaṇa Sena (late 12th century). Jayadeva was closely associated with the temple of Jagannatha ( Sri Krishna) at Puri, where the recitation of his Gita Govinda was regularly performed by the temple dancers.

The highly original form of the poem, which inspired many later imitations, intersperses the recitative stanzas with 24 eight-line songs. The Gita Govinda is set up into 12 chapters . The poem explains the love of Sri Krishna for Radha. It also touches upon moving away and subsequent return of Sri Krishna to Radha which is symbolic of the human soul's wandering away from its true commitment but returning ultimately to its creator . The poem presents, in dramatic form, the lovers’ attraction, estrangement, yearning, and final reconciliation through the help of Sakhi (female confidant). The admirers of Gita Govinda include Chaitanaya , Gurunanak Dev Ji , Guru Arjun Dev Ji , Goethe, German poet Friedrick Rukert, Edwin Arnod, Sir William Jones, Barbara Stoler Miller, Gurudev Tagore , Qazi Nazrul Islam, Birju Maharaj , A. R Chugtai ( artist). Sahir Ludhianavai ( poet ) and many more.

It is clearly evident from Gita Govind that its author , Jayadeva had profound knowledge of music as he has clearly mentioned various Ragas in which the Songs contained in the Gita Govinda are to be sung. The works of Jayadeva have had a profound influence on Indian culture. They form the basis of the east Indian classical dance form, Odissi as well as the traditional classical music of the state, Odissi music and have strongly influenced the Bharatanatyam classical dance as well as Carnatic music. Jayadeva's composition has also been incorporated in the Guru Granth Sahib. Jayadeva was instrumental in popularizing the Dasavatara, the ten incarnations of Sri Krishna in his compositions. The Gita Govinda begins with a Dasavatara stotra.
It appears that Jayadeva was also influenced by the skill of many ancient authors when he wrote and designed Gita Govinda’s structure. One gets a glimpse of Valmiki’s Ramayana ( in the structure of the melodrama and anguish in the separation of lead characters ) , Bharata Muni’s Natyashastra for dance drama, Vaastaayana’s skill for romance and Kalidasa’s style for word selection, brevity, small words with big meanings, alliterations etc. Jayadeva has his own individual style for language, grammar and poetic aesthetics .

Jayadeva’s Gita Govinda had emerged as a painter’s theme by the late 15th century. Its influence can be seen in the traditional Patachitra paintings of Odisha.

Gita Govinda had profound influence on the Pahari school during the 17th-19th centuries,. It was quite popular throughout northern India bordering the Himalayas and Rajasthan . It served as the most popular themes for Kangra , Guler and Basohli paintings. Apart from various museums in India, miniature painting done on Sri Krishna and Radha themes based on Gita Govinda can be seen in many museums of Europe and the US. I quote some as under:-
1 Honolulu Museum of Art
2 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
3 Rietberg Museum, Germany
4 Guimet Museum, Paris

I quote some beautiful verses from the Gita Govinda :-

'Daravi-dalita-malli, valli-chamchat-paräga
prakatitha-pata-väsai:, väsayan käna…näni |
iha hi, dahati ceta:, ketaki-gandha-bandhu:…
prasarad asama-bäna pränavad-gandhaväha'

(Wind perfumes the forest with fine pollen shaken loose from newly blossomed Jasmine’s it blows love’s fragrant breath, it tortures every heart it touches.)
( Chapter 3 Sloka 9 Gita Govinda by Jayadeva )

'Madhavika-parimala-lalite nava-malati-jati-sugandhau |
muni-manasam api mohana-karii taruakarana-bandhau, Radhe viharati haririha '

(The nectar of spring flowers and the aroma of jasmine blossoms are enthralling. Even the minds of great sages are agitated in springtime and they suddenly become bewildered. Spring is the selfless friend of the young)
( Chapter 3 Sloka 6 Gita Govinda by Jayadeva )

'Kshamyatam aparam kadapi, tavedrusham na karomi |
dehi sundari darsanam mama manmathena dunomi hari hari (hata’darataya'

(O beautiful one, please forgive me. I will never offend you again. Allow me to see you at once. I am reeling from the pain inflicted by Mammatha.)
( Chapter 7 Sloka 7 Gita Govinda by Jayadeva )

'Dhyana-layena pura parikalpya bhavantam ativa durapam, Krishna vilapati hasati vishidati roditi chañcati muñchati tapam (Krishna, sa virahe tava dina'

(O Madhava, Radha pleads again and again ‘Hey Sri Krishna! I am falling at your feet. As soon as you become indifferent to me, even the moon-god Chandrama nectar, feels like a shower of fire upon my body’.)
( Chapter 8 Sloka 6 Gita Govinda by Jayadeva )

'Haririti haririti japati sakamam |
viraha-vihita-maraneva nikamam |
radhika krishna radhika – tava virahe kesava (radhika krishna radhika'

(It seems that Radha has decided to give up her life. In separation from you, she continuously chants passionately your name, ‘Sri Hari, Sri Hari’, with the desire to attain you.)
( Chapter 9 Sloka 7 Gita Govinda by Jayadeva )

( Avtar Mota)

Tuesday, December 28, 2021




Trans World Airlines ( TWA ) advertised Kashmir for many years since 1950..
One of America's most recognized airlines, TWA was famous for its cutting-edge aircraft, international presence and famous owners. India was a big destination for this American airline company. In the years that followed India's independence, through the 1950s and 60s, destinations as diverse as Kashmir and Udaipur, all emblematic of India, were used to sell South Asian vacations to American and European travellers by TWA. 
On July 17, 1996, a Paris-bound TWA plane exploded off Long Island, killing all 230 passengers. Already facing a liquidity crunch, TWA was shattered by this tragedy, but it picked itself up and tried to turn things around but had to close finally due to mounting losses and entry of new players and many other issues. The airline, which was founded in 1930, finally went bust in 2001.
( Avtar Mota)



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Dr Annie Besant ( 1847-1933) and Jiddu Krishnamurti ( 1895-1986)

In December 1933, after Dr. Besant had passed away and at the end of the Theosophical Convention, Jiddu Krishnamurti was invited to speak at the Theosophical Society in Adyar. At the end of one of his talks someone asked him this question :- 

“ The one regret of Dr. Annie Besant is said to have been the fact that you failed to rise to her expectations of you as the World Teacher. Some of us frankly share that regret and that sense of disappointment, and feel that it is not altogether without some justification. Have you anything to say?"

 And this was the reply of Jiddu Krishnamurti :- 

“ Nothing, Sirs. When I say Nothing,, I mean nothing to relieve your disappointment or Dr Besant’s disappointment- if she was disappointed, for she often expressed to me the contrary. I am not here to justify myself; I am not interested in justifying myself. The question is, why are you disappointed if you are? You had thought to put me in a certain cage and since I did not fit into that cage, naturally you are disappointed. You had a preconceived idea of what I should do, what I should say, what I should think………… Your disappointment is based not on thought, not on intelligence, not on deep affection, but on some image of your own making, however false it may be. You will find a body of people who will tell you that I have disappointed them, and they will create a body of opinions holding that I have failed. But in a hundred years’ time, I don’t think it will matter much whether you are disappointed or not. Truth, of which I speak, will remain- not your fantasies or your disappointments.” 

( Avtar Mota )

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Ustad Wasifudin Dagar, the well known exponent  of Dhrupad writes this :-

"I am not sure if my writing, or words can describe the role and the essence of Shiva. My introduction to Shiva happened through His Bhairav.When I was four, or a bit older, I used to enjoy a fast composition, which is set in 10 beats cycle in faster tempo. My father and uncle, the Dagar Brothers, Ustad N Faiyazuddin and Ustad N Zahiruddin used to sing with the fabulous Pakhawaj player of his era, Pandit Gopal Das Panseji, who accompanied them. Their presentation of the composition was powerful. It used to shake the world for me. Things around me would vibrate. At that time, I was not aware of the word “Taandav”. I used to love this composition:-

"Shankar, Girijapati, Parvati, Pitieswar, Galey Mundh Mala, Mahamaheshwar

Jata mein Ganga, Trilochan, Trishul, Dhar nano Kailashpati, Satiwar, Bhuvaneshwar"

This composition depicts Shiva, the Lord of Mountains, husband of Parvati, around his neck is the garland of skulls, he is the highest Lord, the world or universe, the highest Lord.In his hairlocks is Goddess Ganga, he is the keeper of the trident, the three-eyed god, we bow to the Lord of Mount Kailash, Satiwar, Bhuvaneshwar, the Lord of Bhuva, the land and forests, the Lord of rarth.
My uncle taught me this composition. Guests would ask me to sing it. Like any other child who wants to become the centre of attraction, I would enjoy getting the attention while singing this composition. The journey and music, I can say, began, with this composition.

Shiva is the true representation of the Indian arts. It is said that Bharat Muni got the intuition from Shiva to create the Natyashastra, the treatise on Indian performing arts, music, dance and drama. Who does not know about his double-headed drum, the Damaru, the Taandav and his perfect composed posture of Natraj, depicted by so many dancers to explain the aesthetics, movement and the centre of the body? There is some kind of a format in the Raga system. One of them is called Shiv Matt.

Shiva, the ultimate, the Dev, Mahadev, the God, the most powerful of all the gods, who is behind everything, the Lord of Ganga, the sacred river of India, whose route is itself a mystery and who goes along the life of living beings; the mentor of Ravana. Ravana, the King of Lanka, who got the blessings from  Lord Shiva to live as long as he wanted; husband of Goddess Parvati, and father of Lord Ganesh, without whom every ritual is incomplete. Shiva is Aadi, the beginning, He is Madd, in the middle, the sustainer, and he is Annt, the end. This composition in Raga Bhairav on Shiva has been with our family:-

"Shiv Aadi Madd Annt Jo Gaat Jogi Jogi, Kanak Vish Ami Adi Bhogi.

(Shiva the Beginning, Middle and End, who sings, who is a jogi, recluse, He can eat metal, be it Gold, Poison intoxicating elements …)

Navike Kamal Te Teen Moorat Bhaee Bhin Jaani So Hi Narak Bhogi.

(From the Navel, the Lotus Flower has emerged, the Idol, Brahma Vishnu Mahesh, who does not know the mystery about them will get Narak, the Hell)"

Here, the poet sees everything in Shiva.

So, we are taught about the importance of Shiva who is the most powerful God. His existence is everywhere, the universe co-exists with him. Where is He not present? The manifestation and the depictions ask. His restlessness can shake the universe in his Taandav. His composed posture is as calm and as relaxed a position as Mount Kailash. He is everywhere.

I pray his powerful blessings remain with the Dagar family until the doomsday, the Pralaya, the Qayamat, the End."

(Avtar Mota)

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Friday, December 24, 2021



                                                     ( Avtar Mota with Khalid Hussain )

Khalid Hussain( born 1945) 
Khalid Hussain is one amongst some writers from Jammu region whom I read and respect .He is a well known Punjabi writer of the subcontinent whose stories have wide readership. He books are read in Lahore,Faisalabad, Rawalpindi Amritsar Ludhiana and Jalandhar with equal interest and liking He writes Punjabi in both the scripts; Gurumukhi and Shahmukhi. A Dogra by birth, Khalid Hussain was born in Sailan Talab locality of Udhampur town. He remained a bureaucrat who worked as DC Poonch, additional DC Jammu, Director, Employment J&K Government, Managing Director, SC/ST & Backward Classes, Development Corporation and retired from the post of Special Secretary to Government of J&K.
After retirement, he is devoting his time totally to writing. Visited him yesterday at his Dalpatian residence where he lives with the family of his son. As a gift of love, received some books from him. My favourite Noon Chai with coconut cookies and butter laced Telvor( Tchochivor) was a bonus. What a humble person ? What a cultured family ? 
Shall start reading his autobiographical work ' Mein Zinda Aadmi Hoon' sometime in first week of January 2022 as I am held up with some other work demanding my time and focussed attention. Khalid Hussain has also written in Urdu and published some books that are quite popular.He is the only writer in Punjabi whose books have come in repeated editions and who is being paid royalty.He doesn't spend a penny to get his books published , a practice that is generally followed by authors these days.
A recipient of 'Shrimoni Punjabi Sahityakar Award (2014) with a cash prize of rupees 5 lakh  by Punjab Government, Khalid Hussain has bagged several other awards for his writings.
I have read some of his short stories and I find that as writer he is free from the baggage of partition gloom and suffering narrative although he and his family were directly affected by it. On the contrary, there is a human cheerfulness in his work. This cheerfulness is visible in his personality ,communication and behaviour. You are infected with his disarming smile that comes somewhere from the deep recesses of his heart. That makes an instant connect even with strangers .
His books are a part of the curriculum in many universities. Many students have obtained M Phil degrees on his work . Some persons have been awarded doctorate degrees after they chose his writings for it. His Punjabi short stories have been translated into Hindi, English, Urdu, Telugu and Malayalam languages.With more than 150 short stories and about 15 published books , Khalid Hussain intends to add more . More power to his pen .
Na takht o taaj mein
na lashkar o sipaah mein hai
Jo baat mard e qalandhar
ki baargaah mein hai...
( Avtar Mota)


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Monday, December 13, 2021




To this photo I add some lines from my poem “ Duniya do-dhaari talwaar “.
( Duniya do -dhaari talwaar )
Yeh Chehre hain nikhari dhoop
Phool ki daali inn ka roop
Inn logon ka iss duniya ka
Dukh se hoga kya kuchh naata
Lekin jab khojo to inkaa
Dard chhupa hai dukh hai liptaa
Dukh ka rehtaa aana jaana
Har thaali mein iss ka daana
Aaj nahin to kal hai paana
Rang birangi kaaya bheetar
Dukh ka hai darbaar
….Duniya do-dhaari talwaar
( Avtar Mota )

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Sunday, December 5, 2021




( Photo Avtar Mota )

The great river has been the only surviving  witness to the trials and tribulations faced by the ancient city known as Shri- nagara . Well known artist,  GR Santosh believed that the city was planned to appear like a Shri -Yantra. He would say  that if one joins the ancient pilgrimage centres of Kashmir , the geometric pattern so created is a Shri Yantra. Again the layout of Srinagar city was based on Shri Yantra. He also identified the natural Shri Yantra  visible on the sacred Shila at Hari Parbat ,the temple dedicated to Goddess Sharika . According to him, one can  count the  deities residing in the nine levels of  Shri -Nagara .

For the gloominess  ,sorrow and loneliness of this great  river , I add lines from  'Soonapan '  a poem written by my favourite  Mahadevi Verma ....

(Uss ki khoyi si chaahon mein
Ghut kar mook huyi aahon mein
Uss ki sirhaayi kampan mein
Kirnon ke pyaase chumban mein

Jaane kis beete jeevan ka 
sandesha de mandh sameeran
Chhoo deta apne pankhon se
murjhaaye phoolon ka lochan
Unke pheeke muskaane mein 
Phir alsaakar gir jaane mein 

Aankhon ki neerav biksha mein
Aansoo ke mit-tey daagon mein
Honthon ki hansti peeda mein
Aahon ke bikhre tyagon mein

Kan kan mein bikhra hai nirmam !
Meray maanas ka soonapan.....)

 Mahadevi ji ( 1907-1987 ) was born in Farrukhabad ( U P ) in a family of lawyers. Her father , Shri Govind Prasad was a leading lawyer . At a tender age of 9 ,she was married to Dr Swrup Narain Verma of Indore . She did her BA and MA ( Sanskrit ) and joined as headmistress of girl’s school in Allahabad . She rose to become Vice Chancellor, Prayag Mahilla Vidya-Peeth,  Allahabad . She fought for the education of the girl child and justice to poor and helpless women till her death. As mutually agreed ,Mahadevi Ji and her husband lived separately pursuing their respective interests and used to meet occasionally . Along with her maid , she also lived and moved in Himalayas in her spiritual quest. She was deeply influenced  by Buddhism and had profound knowledge of Sikh and Jain scriptures and practices. A stern teacher , a profound thinker totally devoted to the cause of emancipation of poor women and girls all along her life, Mahadevi Ji was a freedom fighter as well. She was awarded Padam Bhushan, Sahitya Akademi Award as well as the prestigious Jnanpith Award  in her lifetime.  She was the first woman to be made a fellow of the Sahitya Akademi.

Mahadevi Ji was a distinguished painter and the illustrations in her book Deepshikha ,  have been drawn by her only. The principal theme of the poetry of Mahadevi Ji is pain of separation from the supreme being . In this regard she is comparable to saint poetess Meera Bai of the  16th century . She is also regarded as one amongst the four strong pillars of Chhayavad movement of Hindi poetry , others being Suryakant Tripathi Nirala , Jai Shanker Prasad and Sumitra Nandan Pant .Her literature is a treasure house of deepest truths unfolded by Indian philosophy. Mysticism is also her forte also her forte.

I end with some beautiful lines from a poem of Mahadevi Verma..

"Kitanee karuna kitnay sandesh
Path mein bichh jaatay ban paraag
Gaata Praanon ka taar taar
Anuraag bharaa unmaad raag
Aansoo leitay ve pag pakhaar
.........Jo tum aa jaate ek baar

Hans uthatay  munn ke aadr nain
Dhuul jaata honthon ka vishaad
Chha jaata jeevan mein vasant
Lutt jaata chir sanchit viraag
Aankhein detee sarvasv vaar .
......Jo tum aa jaate ek baar
( Mahadevi Verma )

(Plentiful of compassion and abundance of  communications
Would spread  in the pathway as  pollen.
These heartbeats of mine would
resonate with music  ,
A music of   carefree  passion
 and love filled tunes .
The tears  would clear the corridor for you ,
If only you could  visit me  once …..

Ful of tears, these eyes would blush with  delight, 
And the lips would wash away  their woefulness,
The spring  season would visit  my  life with all its spree
to put this long stored up pain to end .
And these  eyes would shower all love that they hold within, 
If only you could  visit me  once ….)

( Avtar Mota)

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Avtar Mota feels this:-

"Anger deprives a person of many things.Unfortunately , one amongst these deprivations is the  truth. Truth rarely comes closer  to an angry man. As a matter of fact,quite often,  the angry man remains surrounded  by falsehood. The plant of truth grows and flourishes in the soil of humility alone . And the  fragrant  breeze of truth keeps visiting the areas where it finds humility."

(Avtar Mota)

The lines appear in my essay titled'  Anger, truth and humility' .

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Thursday, December 2, 2021



REH JAAYE TO DAANA  HAI...,,,.........

Tears  go waste if  they don't  find a place in human compassion. Human tears have no intrinsic  value .The value addition happens only  if these get noticed with empathy, compassion and love.

A pearl has value only if it gets threaded into a necklace . A pearl  that can not find its place in a necklace  or ornament is nothing more than a grain of crystal or rock or hard mass.

Aansoo to bahut se hain
aankhon mein 'Jigar' lekin,
Bindh jaaye to moti hai
Reh jaaye to daana hai.......

( Avtar Mota)

Wednesday, December 1, 2021





"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." 
( Albert Camus)

Meri samt se usse aey saba
Ye payaam e akhir e gham suna,
Abhī dekhnā hai to dekh jā
Ke khizaan hai apni bahaar par.....
( Jigar MoradaBadi)

I believe autumn is a journey and not a destination.It is about changing colours and falling leaves that unfold the mysteries of the nature. The landscape comes to its skeletal minimum . Every tall and shady tree looks like a cloth-less saint or ,Darvesh or Faquir. The naked trees and the falling leaves teach lessons about ups and downs of life . I call it a time of two seasons.At daytime, you have the summer while winter is knocking at the gate at night. Isn't autumn the year's last yet profoundly loveliest smile.

(Avtar Mota)

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Wednesday, November 24, 2021



                                  ( Portrait of Devika  Rani drawn by her husband Svetoslav Roerich )
                                       ( Spring in Kulu by Nicholas Roerich )
                                           ( Bhagwan Ramakrishna by Nicholas Roerich )
                                            ( Himalayas by Nicholas Roerich )
                                                ( Self sketch by Nicholas Roerich )
                                                     ( A painting by Nicholas Roerich )
                                                 ( Nicholas Roerich with his sons )
                                                     ( The Roerich family )
                                                 ( A painting by Nicholas Roerich )

    (  Pandit Jawahar Lal  Nehru and Indira Gandhi with Roerich family . On extreme right is Mohammad Yunus )

" Among the monotony of everyday life, only a few can feel the reality of the Cosmos. Only a few know how to defeat the gray dragon of routine. The consciousness of humanity is so rich with the dust of routine things that one has to break through this wall."
( Nicholas Roerich )
Nocholas Roerich was a Russian artist , writer , poet , philosopher, archaeologist, theosophist, and scholar . He was a lover of Himalayas and brought the Himalayan beauty  to his paintings . Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on October 9, 1874, the first-born son of lawyer and notary, Konstantin Roerich and his wife Maria, Nicholas was raised in an upper middle-class  family that had close contacts with the writers, artists, and scientists who often visited the  Roerichs.
His wife , Helena Roerich was an unusually gifted woman, a  pianist, and the  author of many books, including ‘The Foundations of Buddhism’ and a Russian translation of Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine. Their marriage was a lifetime collaboration in many fields  of many  common interests. Her philosophy, comprising a living ethic, was shared by Nicholas and motivated him in his work and his life. At some time in their late years an anniversary approached and he wrote this  in his diary:-
 “Forty years—no less than forty. On such a long voyage, meeting many storms and dangers from without, together we overcame all obstacles. And obstacles turned into possibilities. I dedicated my books to Helena, my wife, friend, traveling companion, inspirer! Each of these concepts was tested in the fire of life. And in Petersburg, Scandinavia, England, America, and in all Asia we worked, we studied, we broadened our consciousness. Together we created, and not without reason is it said that the work should bear two names—a feminine and a masculine.” 
Nicholas and Helena Roerich, brought up in the Russian Orthodox Christian tradition, expanded their horizons by studying both the contemporary Hindu teachings of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda as well as Buddhism and Theosophy. This knowledge provided the foundation for Helena Roerich's  work on Agni Yoga, which emphasized the feminine principle in modern spirituality.
Apart from Himalayas , Eastern religious figures and concepts appear in the paintings, important among these being the images of the Lord Maitreya—the Buddhist Messiah, the Kalki-Avatar of the Puranas, Rigden Jyepo of Mongolia, or the White Burkhan of Altai—all of whom are described in legends that link them with the Ruler of ‘Shambhala’, destined to appear on earth for the final destruction of the wicked, the renovation of creation and the restoration of purity.”(quoted from The Theosophical Glossary, by H. P. Blavatsky).
The Roerichs landed in Bombay in December, 1923, and began a tour of cultural centers and historic sites, meeting Indian scientists, scholars, artists, and writers along the way. Thereafter their four-year expedition (1925-29) began in Sikkim, and the family travelled from there to Kashmir via eastern India and Punjab. British intelligence officers in India felt the mystical family could be spies and suspected their motives. This led to bureaucratic obstacles when it came to obtaining travel permits, as well as the use of covert British intelligence tactics to hinder their travel. 
Nicholas, his wife Helena and their elder son Yuri also known as George, travelled across the Himalayas into Turkestan, and China and onwards to Mongolia and Russia’s Altai region and Siberia before going back to Mongolia, the Gobi Desert, China, Tibet and India.
The Roerichs arrived in Kashmir in the spring of 1925. They were were enamoured by the beauty of the Kashmir valley . Nicholas Roerich wrote this :-
“Everything went through Kashmir. Here are the ancient routes of Asia. And each caravan flashes like a link of combinations of the great body of the East. There are blue peaks of Sonamarg; and the white slopes of Zoji-la. And in the flight of eagles the same tireless spirit; and in the fast horses the same inexorable movement. And the world of Kashmiri roses and shawls is not like the forgotten and hidden world of Kashmiri blades.”

                                            ( Kashmir ..A painting by Nicholas Roerich )
Srinagar was the last major stop for the family . The family toured Kashmir valley extensively . Nicholas Roerich visited Martand and Avantipora and he wrote in detail about the monuments that he saw in ruins . .The family also visited Gulmarg. However , the British Resident engineered an attack on the family at Tangmarg .In this attack, seven members of the Roerich team were injured. The British resident’s Chauffer was seen amongst the attackers. The British Resident in Kashmir suspected that the family was on some spying mission in Central Asia where Russia had been expanding its empire.. Their Exit Permit from Kashmir towards Central Asia was accordingly delayed. About Kashmir’s monuments ,Nocholas Roerich wrote this :-
“Here are both Martand and Avantipur associated with the flourishing of Avantiswami’s activities. There are many ruins of temples of the sixth, seventh, eighth centuries, in which parts of the architecture are striking in their resemblance to the details of Romanesque. Of the Buddhist monuments, almost nothing has survived in Kashmir, although such pillars of old Buddhism as Nagarjuna, Asvagosha, Rakhshita and many others lived here … Here is the throne of Solomon, and on the same summit the temple, the foundation of which was laid by the son of King Ashoka.”
In Srinagar, the family did all their preparations and brought provisions for a difficult and long journey along the mountain paths of the Himalayas and through the deserts of the heart of Asia. From Srinagar , the family moved to Ladakh to a grand reception .
A visionary and idealist, Nicholas Roerich promoted peace and the protection of the world's cultural heritage, the unity of religions, and the notion that the creative people of the world bear the responsibility to save the world. During the nineteen-twenties, he composed a treaty for protection of the historic monuments, museums, scientific, artistic, educational and cultural institutions in time of peace as well as in war. Nowadays the Roerich Pact movement is especially popular in Latin America.
Admired by Gandhi Ji, Einstein, Jawahar Lal Nehru , Franklin D Roosevelt and many leaders of the world , Nicholas Roerich was nominated for the Nobel prize many times .At the end of their major expedition, in 1928, the family settled in the Kullu valley in the Himalayan foothills. The family built a house at a spot that gave them a magnificent view of the valley and the surrounding mountains. 
Nicholas Roerich died in Kullu on December 13, 1947. His body was cremated and its ashes buried on a slope facing the mountains he loved and portrayed in many of his nearly seven thousand paintings.
After Nicholas Roerich died, the family moved to Kalimpong. However, after the death of Helena Roerich, her younger son moved back to Russia while Svetoslav Roerich, the elder son married Devika Rani, the well-known actress of Hindi cinema and owner of Bombay Talkies. 
Called the ‘Indian Greta Garbo’, Devika Rani was the leading lady in many films like Achhut Kanya (1936), Janmabhoomi (1936) and Savitri (1937). The couple remained a presence at the Bangaluru’s cultural scene until they passed away in the early ’90s.
( Avtar Mota )

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