Devi Saraswati

Course of Sarasvati river through Thar desert
Course of Sarasvati river through Thar desert (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She is the wife of Brahma and considered as the patron of arts, music and letters. As often in Indian mythology, She is also associated with the river of the same name which once flowed through modern Haryana of North India and is mentioned repeatedly in Vedic literature. The river is now non-existent of thought of as flowing invisibly. It meets the two other great rivers Ganges and Yamuna at Prayag or Allahabad.

According to PTI news of May 9, 2006, ONGC the largest of Petroleum Exploration and Production Company of India decided to launch the digging of wells for producing water from the underground source of river Saraswati in Rajasthan and help solve the water scarcity problems and also to discover the route of the river.

Under the project, ONGC in collaboration with government agency Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS) would dig many wells in Jaisalmar, Barmer and Bikaner districts that will aid its search for water of the river, believed to have originated in the Thar desert and disappeared into present day Pakistan.

The Goddess is depicted as a beautiful fair young woman, often with a Veena or Indian lute and book in her hand and attended by a Swan.Traditionally considered as the inventor of Sanskrit language. She is much revered by students, musicians and writers.

Visnu-Numero Uno of Hindu Trinity

English: Vishnu and Lakshmi on Shesha Nāga, c....
English: Vishnu and Lakshmi on Shesha Nāga, c. 1870. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the Hindu mythology, at the top sits an trinity consisting of Brahama, Visnu and Siva or Mahesh. They are responsible for running the whole universe. Visnu is the source of universe and of all things. He sleeps in the primeval ocean on the thousand headed snake Shesha. In his sleep a lotus grows from his navel and in this lotus the demiurge Brahma is born who creates the world. Once the creation of the world is over, Visnu awakes to reign in the highest heaven called Vaikuntha.

Visnu has the dark blue color and four arms and in his four hands he bears his emblems namely conch, discus, mace and lotus. His mount is a great eagle Garuda which is generally shown as half human face. His spouse is Lakshmi who is also a paramount Goddess in her own right.

He is always smiling and benevolent in contrast to Siva who has some fierce traits. He incarnates himself wholly or partially from time to time. We already know about his incarnations or Avatars as :

1.The Fish : Matsya

2. The Tortoise: Kurma

3. The Boar : Varaha

4. The Man-lion: Narasimha

5. The Dwarf : Vamana

6. Parasurama : Rama with Axe

7. Rama

8. Krishna

9. Buddha

10. Kalkin

The role has been played in all 9 avatars already. Now in Kaliyuga, to set the things right, to put the people on the path of righteousness and destroy the corrupt, Kalkin is awaited. It is said that in this Avatar he will appear as a man riding a white horse with a flaming sword in his hand and by eliminated all the vices, he will restore the age of Gold.

Incidentally, a Bollywood movie with the name Shahenshah featuring Amitabh Bachchan was based loosely on the theme of coming of Kalkin. With this film, Amitabh made a comeback after recovering from the fatal injury and the hype created by Tinnu Anand, the maker of the movie, helped the movie to become hit a the box office.

Boat Makers of Assam

In the modern world everywhere, the industrial revolution is ushering automation in every field: be it a automobile, telephone, airplane, home gadgets and traditional hand makers are in trouble if they don’t adapt themselves to these changes. Because automation means mass production of items. Mass production or assembly line production of the articles or gadgets is like asexual reproduction where the product items are almost identical to each other and there is very small degree of error usually in parts per million. Thus mass production through assembly produces monotonous items whereas when it is hand crafted, the personality of the creator is reflected in the product and each creation becomes unique. Only problem is the limited number of the product.

boat

Something like this is happening in the field of boat making in the North East state of India called Assam. Mighty Brahmaputra and many other rivers pass through this land making it fertile be depositing the rich alluvial soil. These rivers also provide the inhabitants with fresh fish which is the staple diet along with the rice. Rivers are also used from transportation. Thus boats play an important role in the life of people of the state. In Assam, tradition boat makers are finding it difficult to compete with the mechanized production. But still here are people who would rather cling to their generations old profession of making the boats by hands. One such person is Baler Das who is aged 70 years and hails from Kukurmara near Guwahati the capital city of Assam. He learned this art from Panewar Kalita. Sal is the wood used traditionally to make boats but now pama gach, gameri, sama and ajar are also used. An 80 feet Khel boat requires about 60 cubic feet of wood and fetches only about 12000 rupees.