Saturday, June 29, 2024




I scribbled these Kashmiri  lines today :- 

Vunendur dera traavith darad gaamas
Dapaan aeiss mooli pyath Zaamit chha saari
Prabhatan vol  apuz  atlaas  zakhman,
Ta  shaaman bar matchier gham koothirev aessi
Atsav  baagas ta poshav be-rukhi  kar
 Harud aessi saet roodh prath mausamas manz ,
Lagaan yeli sag chhu patran ,shraakh moolan,
Pyavaan paanai chhe theadh sanglaat hi kuel.
Bahaaras taam gatchh vaen graav vaatien
"Iya zaanh vaav ring bar gamityen kun" 

( Avtar Mota )

My English rendering would be like this :-

(The sleeplessness has come to reside 
in this city of pain, 
Perhaps, all of us were born
 at some inauspicious time ,
These mornings , camouflage our  wounds 
Throwing a false silken cloth over them,
While  the evenings open   storehouses of  sorrow for us 
As we step into the garden ,
 the  flowers turn indifferent , 
And the desolate  autumn, 
 never moves away from us  .
We know, when only leaves are watered 
And  daggers thrust in the  roots,
Even tall  and robust trees 
also dry up 
and fall to the ground of their own .

Now , we only wish our  complaint reaches the spring ,
"Shall a whiff of   your breeze pass by the exiles ?" )

( Avtar Mota )

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Wednesday, June 26, 2024




I add some lines from a Gazal of Firaq Gorakhpuri to this photo..

"Jee mein aata hai tujh Ko pukaara karein.. Rehguzar rehguzar aastaan aastaan..
Mere daar ul amaan aay hareem e nigaar 
Ham phirein kyaa yuun hi be-amaan be- amaan"

( Firaq Gorakhpuri.......From Gul e Nagma )

In English, I will put it like this :- 

("This heart feels like crying 
loud your name ,
 Crying it on every  pathway ,
Crying it at every shrine's entrance .
O refuge giver! 
O sanctuary of beauty !
Should we wander aimlessly ,
Without a refuge 
Without a shelter ?")

( Avtar Mota)

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THE THINKER by Auguste Rodin

Avtar Mota feels .....


Man is not made for observing other people . Once you indulge in this activity, you can't stop  commenting . Once  you comment , the rebound and recoil of your comment keeps you tied to this vicious circle. You start talking more than is needed. The aptitude to take up  fine things of existence remains too far from you. At a point in time, given  free choice,even those around you may also gradually move away as they are neither inspired  nor enthused. And  finally you are unproductively  aloof, alone and cut off. This loneliness is terrible . You start blaming others for a trouble that you invited yourself.

Observing others  may also create rancour and bitterness among  individuals. The observing person doesn't know how much unhapiness and unpleasantness he is passing on to others. And man hasn't come to this world for that.  That is why you find intellectuals generally silent . Silence opens doors towards the inner space that everyone among us needs to visit under all circumstances.The inner space talks to you with concern, empathy   and genuine feelings.To hear that inner voice , one  needs to stop observing others. That is why a genuine  intellectual only observes himself . The intellectual loneliness is different. It is creative and very close to solitude . 

( Avtar Mota)

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Sunday, June 23, 2024





Sandeep Mota and his wife took us to another grand temple today. Known as Venkateswara Bala Ji Temple, it is a new temple built in Dravidian style of Temple Architecture with two imposing white  Gopurams .The Gopuram refers to the pyramidal-shaped tower at the temple entrance ,an important feature in South Indian temples.A Gopuram is  not   seen in Nagara style Temple Architecture of North India . style? Nagara architecture originated in northern India and spread to other parts of the subcontinent. It is characterised
by its tall, pyramidal towers called Shikharas. These are topped by a bulbous finial called a Kalasha.Laxminarayan Temple of Delhi Is a perfect example of Nagara style of architecture .The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple,Khajuraho is perhaps the best example of Nagara style. We have mixed style temples also .Vesara is a hybrid form of Indian temple architecture that combines Dravidian Southern Indian site layouts with shape details characteristic of the Nagara style of North India. This fusion style likely originated in the historic architecture schools of the Dharwad region in Karnataka.The trend was started by the Chalukyas of Badami (500-753AD) who built temples in a style that was essentially a mixture of the Nagara and the Dravida styles.

In  the temples of South India,  a  Gopuram serves as the entrance to the temple compound through the surrounding walls.  From tall, intricately carved gopurams to majestic pillars , the beautiful temples in South India are rich in legend and stunning in their grandeur.In south India, Hindu temples share common architectural elements, including a main entrance (Gopuram), a central shrine (Garbhagriha), an outer hall (Mandapa), and often a circumambulatory path around the sanctum. Temples are adorned with intricate carvings, sculptures, and religious symbolism.The Gopuram of a   temple is   often decorated with brightly coloured tiles and sculptures. The temples are also typically built on a large platform, with a series of smaller shrines surrounding the main temple.
Spread over an area of 11000 square feet, this Ventateswara Bala Ji  Temple is just one hour's car drive from Jersey city in Waterbridge. The Waterbridge town has a good population of Indians. Many Pakistanis also reside over here . We also visited an Indian grocery store that had spices and grocery products from India and Pakistan.

Entering through the Gopuram, we went up by  a speeding lift . The Temple had two lifts each with a capacity of 10 to 12 persons .It was  8.30 am and the Abhishekam of the deity was being performed . We  joined the ceremony and had Prasada. Inside the Mandapam, I saw  small shrines with statues of Sri Ganesha, Radha Krishna, Shivlingam with Nandi,Sri Rama Darbaar, goddess Durga, goddess Lakshmi, goddess Saraswati , Bhidevi, Sridevi, Garuda, Satyanarayana, Anjaneya  and  some  more Hindu deities . We were told that there are sixteen shrines with one dedicated to Navagrahas.

It was a pleasure to see another grand temple built by  Hindus from  Andhra Pradesh ,India in Jersey state . The main idol inside the sanctum sanctorum  is of Venkateswara Swami . Venkateswara is a form of the Hindu deity Vishnu. He is also known as Venkatachalapati, Balaji, or Srinivasa, and is considered one of Vishnu's ten incarnations. Venkateswara is the preserver of the universe and represents the function of sustenance in creation. 

On weekends lot of devotees and visitors  come to this place. There is enough  parking place within the temple' premises. Tasty South Indian snacks are available at the temple's canteen. The Temple  was built  by a group of Indians who have settled in the US  over a period of time. The temple also provides a spacious  hall for Indian weddings.

This temple is being managed by polite and helpful volunteers coming  from Telugu speaking Hindu residents  some of whom are highly qualified professional  living in the US. 
While waiting for snacks in the Temple canteen,  I met Vinayaka Reddy , 7 year old boy  born and brought up in the US.This is my conversation with him.

" Do you know any Mantra , Vinayaka ? "
" I know Gayatri Mantra.  Mom taught me  Shivyajur Mantra . Papa,Mama and grandpa recite  it everyday ."
" Can you recite  Shivyajur  Mantra ?"
"Please do it  for me "
" Karpura-gauraṁ karuṇa-avataaraṁ
sansaar-saram bhujagendra-haaram ..
sada-vasantam hṛdayaaravinde
Bhavam bhavani-sahitam namaami "

I could only bless  Vinayaka. Great for little Vinayaka and  his parents to remain grounded and connected to  India and its civilisation .

( Avtar Mota )


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Wednesday, June 19, 2024


SIX VIEWS NEAR BOW BRIDGE  INSIDE CENTRAL PARK, NEW YORK..( Morning, Daytime. Afternoon, Sunset, Evening and Night )

A forest in the heart of the city, a huge breathing space in the crowded concrete structures , arguably one of the most famous parks in the world, Central Park is a manmade wonder in New York City.  Not only is it the first public park built in America, but it is also one of the most frequently visited, with over 30  million guests per year.

Set in the middle of bustling Manhattan, its grounds serve as a safe haven, not only for athletes, daydreamers, musicians, and strollers, but also for teems of migratory birds each year.  One can spend an entire peaceful day roaming its grounds, gazing upon nearly 50 fountains, monuments, and sculptures or admiring its 36 bridges and arches.

With recreational facilities abounding, the more energetic won’t have a problem finding a spot to skate, pedal, row, dribble, or climb to his or her heart’s delight.  Although Central Park has 21 official playgrounds, we like to think of it as one gigantic jungle gym in its peak season.


Bow Bridge is one of the most iconic and photographed features of Central Park. Built in 1862, this Victorian-era bridge spans 60 feet across the Central Park Lake and connects Cherry Hill and the Ramble.The bridge's elegant arches, intricate ironwork, and sweeping views of the lake and surrounding parkland have made it one of the most recognizable and beloved landmarks in the city. 

This cast iron bridge was featured in films such as Autumn in New York, Kal Ho Na Ho ( Hindi ) ,Keeping the Faith, Little Manhattan, Spiderman -3, Uptown Girls, The Way We Were, Enchanted (2007)  and Manhattan. The bridge stretches over the lake and leads you right to Cherry Hill.

Further , Bollywood movies such as Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, My Name is Khan, New York, Jaan-e-Mann, Ta Ra Rum Pum, Anjaana Anjaani, etc have also been filmed in New York with Pier 17, Manhattan Bridge, Grand Central Station, Central Park, Times Square and other famous landmarks in New York city .

"Teray  ḳhanuman-ḳharabon ka chaman koyi  na sahra,
Ye jahaan bhi baith jaayien vaheen in ki baargaahein.."

(Those rendered homeless and wanderers ,
belong neither to the garden nor to the  desert,
Wherever they sit , they make their noble presence known.) 

( Avtar Mota )

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                ( At Martand Sun Temple ruins )
               ( River Godavari )
   ( A Harwan tile in a museum in Germany )
                       ( Ranakpur Jain Temple )
            ( On the bank of River Seine )
           ( On the bank of River Hudson (
                ( The Jhelum River )
                              ( The Pyramids )
                           ( The Indian Ocean ) 
                      ( The Jaisalmer Desert )
                           ( The Himalayas)
       ( The confluence of Ganga and Yamuna ) 

                    ( Eiffel Tower at night )

To these photographs , I am adding my poem, " Hamaara Dil" or "My Heart " ...

( Hamaara Dil)

Hamaara dil 
samajh lo ek sahra hai,
Samandar hai 
Ye bahar e hind tak aayi
Himalay ki hawa samjho,
Kabhi Ganga,
Kabhi Yamuna,
Kabhi  sangam
 Prayaag e Hind 
Tehzeeb e wattan jaisa ..

Issi raste se Hudson,
 Seine aur  Jhelum  guzarti hai  ,
Yahaan Godavari bhi ,Narmada bhi ,  Chandrabhaga  bhi,
Ajanta bhi Elora bhi 
Eiffel tower ,  Ranakpur Jain Mandir 
aur Pyramid bhi .

Yaheen Kashi bhi,
 Vrindavan  bhi,
 Puri aur Ayodhya bhi
Yaheen Trimbkeshwar
Kanchi bhi aur hai  Tirupati teerath  ,
Kahin Jao  ,
Jahaan jaao, 
 Yahi raahein,
Yahi rasta ..

Yaheen  dekhoge khandahar  Martand ke 
Surya Mandir ke,
Yaheen tau Harwan hai ghar jahaan tha Nagarjuna ka , 
Jahaan ki eint tilein  bik gayi Europe ke Museum ko .
Kabhi aabad dekhoge isse 
Ki jaise  bagh Mughalon ke
Kabhi veeran  jaise Shada Devi ka mandir ho,

Yaheen aasan hai Abhinavgupt ,  Vasugupta Rishiyon ka  
 Jatashanker yaheen bole  thhay Devi Shakti Mata se
" Maha mantra hai yeh
Japa kar japa kar
 Hari om tat sat ....Hari om tat sat"

Bassi hai dhadkanon mein iss ke 
 Abh bhi  goonj Lal Ded ki
 Rishi Nund ki Sadakat bhi  
Muravat bhi
Rafaqat bhi
Sakhaawat bhi
Mohabbat bhi

Yahaan nagma bhi ,naala bhi
Andhera bhi ,ujaala bhi ,
hansee  bhi hai yaheen pe
Aur yaheen hai ashqbaari bhi..
Kabhi  barhanghi bhi hai
Kabhi   hai pardadaari bhi..
Kabhi hai chain bhi  iss se 
Kabhi  hai bekaraari bhi 
Yeh duniya kuchh nahin maana
Yehi duniya hai   pyaari bhi ...

( Avtar Mota)

In Simple English , i would say this :-

( My Heart )

(This heart of mine 
 A desert ,
An ocean as well, 
Like the Himalayan breeze
that comes down to
to embrace the  Indian Ocean.

One moment like River Ganga 
Another moment  River Yamuna
Sometimes like the grand confluence at  Prayag ,
A symbol of the civilisation of my land  ,
A passage for Hudson,  Seine and  Jhelum rivers.
The Godavari, Narmada and Chenab too flow through this passage,
Here you may see marvels of  Ajanta 
and Elora caves ,
The Eiffel Tower,
The Ranakpur Jain Temple and the great Pyramids too  .

Here lies Varanasi ,
Jaganath Puri and Ayodhya as well.
The Trimbkeshwar ,
Kanchi and the Tirupati Teertha too.
Wherever you go,
Anywhere you go ,
This is the path,
This is the way ...

Here only you  see  the ruins of the Grand Sun Temple of Martand ,
Here only lies  Harwan ,
the abode of the Buddhist sage Nagarjuna ,
The  tiles and brick of who's house were sold to the museum's of Europe.
Sometimes , you may find this heart 
blooming like a Mughal Garden 
And sometimes you find it
desolate and ruined like the Temple of Sharda goddess.

This heart , the  seat of
 Rishi Vasugupta and Abhinavgupta.
Here only Shiva spoke to goddess  Parvati,
" Keep reciting the great Mantra,
Hari Om Tat Sat
Hari Om Tat Sat" 

Even today,
this heart resonates with the 
sacred sound of Lal-Vaks,
It echoes the truthful message of Nund Rishi,
His compassion,
His generosity 
And his love.

You come across  songs of joy here,
The wails too emerge from this chamber,
The darkness and the bright light,
The smiles and the tear drops too.
Sometimes you notice  its sheer nakedness,
And sometimes the camouflage as well .
May be ,a meaningless world ,
Yet, this world alone is our darling .)

( Avtar Mota)

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Monday, June 17, 2024




Sandeep Mota and his wife drove us on a   cultural tour cum  pilgrimage to   BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in Robbinsville, New Jersey yesterday. It was a ninety minutes car drive from Jersey City. The well-known Princeton University is about 12 miles from Robbinsville . Lake Mercer is also very close to Robbinsville .

BAPS stands for Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha. BAPS is a socio-spiritual organisation  with its roots in the Vedas.

The  Robbinsville Temple is  open to all visitors irrespective of  caste , creed or religious faith. It was formally inaugurated in October 2023. For visitors, the temple  opens at 9 am and closes at7.30 pm . It remains  closed on all Tuesdays  .The wonderful and spacious vegetarian restaurant inside the temple complex opens at 11a m for delicious Gujrati  food .The Dokla and Puran Poli  that we had in this restaurant ,  were simply  mouthwatering. We  also bought some snacks from the temple store.

It is the largest Hindu Temple in the United States and the second-largest Hindu Temple in the world . The temple rises  more than 200 ft above ground.The entree is absolutely free. Photography is not allowed inside sanctum sanctorum . Elevators and wheel-chairs are also available  free for elderly and physically challenged.

At the entrance to the temple, there is a water pond that was initially created by adding water from River Ganga. Yamuna and Sarayu. Stone images of Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati and Sarayu have been sculpted around this pond . These divine figures are shown pouring water into the pond.The complex has spacious gardens around it and the parking can accommodate more than 2000 cars .Water-proof / rain-proof music speakers have been installed in the flowerbeds of the gardens to play sacred music and Mantras from the scriptures  for the visitors. 

The temple management expects the  visitors to cover their shoulders, back, chest, navel, and upper arms. Leg-wear must be at least below knee-length. Visitors not having appropriate dress are requested by the volunteers  to wear wraps provided at the temple .

The architects and the planners  of the temple have drawn  the  designs and patterns  extensively from ancient texts like  Natyashastra, Shilpa Shastras, Ramayana, Mahabharata , Vastu shastra ,  and many more texts .Each stone that gives a magnificent look to the marble temple complex comes alive, narrating the story of Ramayana and Mahabharata. One can witness over 150 Indian musical instruments and all the major dance postures carved on its pillars and walls. The temple’s stones have been imported from various countries, including India, Italy, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey and Myanmar.The intricately carved stone sculptures and figurines artistically portray the enduring heritage of Indian music, dance, and performing arts. Additionally, they serve as a homage to the esteemed sages, saints, and spiritual luminaries who have made significant contributions to Indian culture  and Hinduism.

The construction of the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple started in 2011 and was named after its founding Hindu spiritual organisation, BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (trust). Spread over a vast area of nearly 185 acres in Robbinsville City, New Jersey, the grand temple is an outstanding result of the countless efforts of 12,500 workers from across the globe. The employment period of the employees ranged from 10 days of service to over three years, five years and more. Many Indian professionals ( mostly from Gujrat ) have  volunteered to join construction taking taking unpaid leaves   or breaks from their jobs .Among the volunteers were students, business executives, physicians and architects who put their lives on hold to volunteer .This is something amazing that I came to know.The construction was completed at a  cost of  about $96 million .The temple sits on 180 acres of land and includes 10,000 statues and 200 feet tall spire. The  construction was funded by donations pouring in from across the world.The 12500 volunteers did amazing work to create 78 statues of saints,30 murals of great significance, 10,000 statues and statuettes depicting Hindu Culture, 151 Indian musical instruments carved on marble, 235 Mandapams , 548 carved pillars and 9 domes  .

The awe-inspiring temple complex has several parts, including Nilkanth Plaza, Shayona Cafe. Shayona Snacks And Sweets Shop, Orientation Theatre, Brahma Kund, Welcome Center, Akshardham Mahamandir, Traditional Stepwell, Exit Lobby,Traditional Hindu Mandir, Parikrama Colonnade, and Museum. Each part of the campus has its own story to narrate to visitors. Every part of the campus takes visitors on a magnificent journey, enlightening them with the joy . The auditorium inside the complex  shows  a  small film to the visitors about the Swaminarayan sect,their aims and objectives and the story of the  Robbinsville Temple .


At the entrance one can see a huge  metallic statue of  Sri  Swaminarayana in perfect Yogic Mudra .Born on April 3, 1781, in Chhapaiya village near Ayodhya in northern India, Swaminarayan was a yogi and ascetic whom his followers believed to be a manifestation of Lord Krishna. In his childhood, Swaminarayan was also known as ‘Ghanshyam’. He is believed to have won a debate in Kashi at the age of ten  revealing his divine glory to the scholars. At the age of 11, he left home to enlighten people and elevate mankind. There are some more Swaminarayan Temples in the US and Canada.I am told about places like ,Los Angeles, Toronto, Houston, Chicago, and Atlanta.  I am I formed that  BAPS has  about  1400 Akshardham  temples around the world, including two  in India.Take my word ,this temple is going to attain the status of a pilgrimage site in next decade the way I say people from all corners of  US, Canada, Latin America , Trinidad, Guyana Suriname, Jamaica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Grenada, St. Lucia ,St Vincent and Europe  visiting  the place with devotion and faith  .  There is a quote engraved on a plate inside this  temple that reads this:-

" In the joy of others , lies our own happiness."

( Avtar Mota )

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