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Vedic Literature–16


As seen earlier, the main texts of Vedic literature are the Vedic Samhitas, followed by the Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads. But there are numerous other texts, used to memorize or explain aspects of these texts. Among these are the Padapathas or ‘word texts’. Those who know Sanskrit are aware that words are joined together in the  language [sandhi], according to certain rules. This joining is often done by adding a consonant or changing a vowel. Vedic texts use sandhi, but Padapatha texts break up, join, and repeat the words in different ways. If words are represented by a b c d, some Padapathas have ab, bc, cd, etc. Others have ab, ba, ab, bc, cb, bc etc, or even ab, ba, abc, cba, and different variations. These texts were thus used to memorise and preserve the texts exactly.

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Chess, writing, and the unconditioned mind

This was written three years ago–but chess is still an important part of my life as a writer.

Roshen Dalal

How does a writer begin each day? Some start writing as soon as they wake. Some write at night. Some start with emails, twitter, facebook– I start my writing day with chess.

As soon as I get to my table, I look at my online chess games and make one move in each of them. During the day, if I am stuck in my writing, I make a few more moves. Most of these are somewhat routine, though they help to focus the mind. Once in a way, I suddenly see a brilliant combination. And that is when the mind makes a leap from its normal level, and becomes different–fresh and sharp.

I have heard the same thing happens to mountaineers, and perhaps to people playing  other  sports. I think that is the ‘unconditioned mind’, the ‘freedom from the known’, that J Krishnamurti talks about. Applying this to writing, it…

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Posted in Dehradun, Uncategorized

Where do you live?

Does where you live influence your writing?  I have been living in Dehradun, in the northern state of Uttarakhand, India, for the last three years, moving here from Delhi, and have been wondering if a change of place affects one’s writing.

Dehradun has around 600,000 people compared with Delhi’s 16 million. Everyone is somewhat laid-back. People drop in unannounced, and stay for hours. There are steep slopes to climb, tall trees, and in the background, the Middle Himalayas, glittering with lights in the dark, very occasionally covered with snow. In the monsoon there is incessant rain.

The city is rapidly changing, the trees being cut, high-rise buildings being constructed.

But there are beautiful buildings too, such as this Buddhist temple.

A little distance behind the house, the Johri forest still survives. With increasing encroachment, monkeys descend from there in hordes, one hears about leopards prowling, and yesterday I saw a jackal.

Rather than traffic, I hear donkeys, pigs, chickens, dogs, and the sound of rain.

Does where one lives affect one’s writing? I don’t really know, but the circumstances in which one lives, has an effect.

Posted in Dehradun, Uncategorized

A song on Dehradun—The Beatles

On 8 December 2015, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in Rishikesh, where the Beatles stayed in 1968, was finally opened to the public. This day was chosen as it is the anniversary of John Lennon’s death who was shot dead  in 1980. As it is part of Rajaji National Park, the Chaurasi Kutia ashram, had been closed to tourists, though they used to sneak in whenever they could. Now it is officially opened, though a bit expensive to visit, Rs 600 for foreigners and Rs 150 for Indians.
The Beatles spent some time here in 1968. They composed a number of songs while they were here, even one on Dehradun, which never formed part of an album, but now is available on youtube. The lyrics are ‘Dehra Dehra Dun, Dehra Dun Dun/ Dehra Dehra Dun/Dehra Dun Dun/ Many Roads can take you there /Many different ways/one direction takes you weeks/ another takes you days/ many people on the roads /looking at the sights/ Many others with their troubles/looking for their rights/see them move along the roads/in search of a life divine /beggars in a gold mine …Dehra Dehra Dun /Dehra Dun Dun”.

The list of other songs composed at this time can be found at: