Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Racist Poet in Peachester Cemetery

The small cemetery is tucked away in the hills beyond Peachester.
From Beerwah, the drive is through horse stud country to the range. Look for the Maleny road. Once on the Maleny Rd, as you negotiate the gullies before the climb to the range, look for the cemetery sign on Candle Mountain Road.

In Peachester Cemetery
Queensland lies an
Old grave of an
Australian racist poet
Who died depraved
Hurriedly laid
Beneath the soil
The worms are teaching
him how to behave
a file cut copy
but on earth
it did not save
this rotten man of a
not yet written 1000 poems
of a racist conclave
hated multi colored poet
this white skinned coward
who pretended to be brave
888 poems he did slave
The new hit number of Satan’s
Radio wave
On his grace engraved
No he won’t get black liberal pussy
With a lust he craved
Had he not with an Indian Poet
He would have been living
At poem hunter undeleted
Not prematurely erased


Its never to late to die...

photo courtesy

Its never to late to die

i'm on a mission of no real purpose except to create 1000 new poems before too long…. Australian racist poet

please do die
before your 1000 poem
you racist pig son of a syphilitic
sailing sea cook
a pretentious pompous poet on the sly
you whore monger through your
poems that lie in hell your
pedestrian pederast arse
St Peter will fry
Yes do die
Poem hunter Indian
Wishes you a Final Good Bye

firoze shakir

Happy Birthday Doc Wilde

photo courtesy

wish you a happy birthday Doc
as the bubbly we uncork
howlin trade ted martin jc and eagle hawk
the women poets well they
in the poem hunter gents toilet we lock
as we sing singed and rock..
and poetically die of a furure shock

Happy Birthday Doc Wilde

photo courtesy

wish you a happy birthday Doc
as the bubbly we uncork
howlin trade ted martin jc and eagle hawk
the women poets well they
in the poem hunter gents toilet we lock
as we sing singed and rock..
and poetically die of a furure shock

The Poem Hunter Forum Poetry Awards

The Poem Hunter Annual Poetry Awards well there is a tie
it is shared by Mr Trade Martin and Mr Jefferson Carter
The runners up tophy also a tie Miss Courtney and Miss Sherry
Miss Congenial goes to Elysabeth Faslund
New Poet on the Block Hubcap Shit Head
Veteran Thespian poets Award to Mr Howlin Ayn
Saving Poet Lifes Award to Dr Lawrence Beck
Poem Hunter Face Saving Award to Mr Allen James Saywell
Frank James Ryan Jr Poem Hunter Peace Poets Award..

some new awards after the break..
Amichai Poem Hunter Forum Award..Greg Collins
Black Pussy Award in absentia Rajah Oscar Wilde Armagetton
Poem Hunter Forum Radical Poet Award Abdullah Kasai
Poem Hunter Forum Barret Browning Award jointly shared by Angie and Tara
Poemhunter Forum Platinum trophy for Poetic Criticism shared by Micheal Shepherd and David Hazell
Years Best Poem at Poem Hunter Awards
Tade Martins I am not Schmuck
I am a smug liberal Pussy

firoze shakir

Liberal Pussy Poem Hunter Forum Awards

Liberal Pussy Poem Hunter Forum Awards
Chief Guest Hillary and Obama capital stock
Convener Bollinger of Columbia University
In California at 5 oclock
The best of poetry and discussion
As they unlock

Best poet award on the block
At Poem hunter forum
Goes to Eagle Hawk

Best poem as Commodity Stock
Trade Martins Liberal Pussy that wont Talk

Second best poem to rock and knock
Trade Martins I am not Schmuck check my Jock
You Jingle Jangle Jug head schlock

Best World heavy weight Poem Hunter Poet’s trophy
For the best knock
Miss Sherry and Miss Courtney
Mental Block

Best Poem Hunter Limerick Award
Posthumously awarded to
Allen James Saywell
Australian Racist Poet
Gangubai the Gonorrheal Whore
In much shock

Best Veterans Poem Hunter Award
Goes to Ted Sheridan
Bukowiski angst on the chopping block

Hubcap Shithead Synchrony Award
At Poem Hunter Form goes to Goldy Locks

Best Omar Khayam Rubaiyat Award
At Poem Hunter Forum
Goes To Howlin Dervesh
Now stranded in Iraq

firoze shakir

In a neigbouring country called pakistan

photo courtesy

words in the wind they wont hear
in their world muslims killing muslims
hate they rear..
the minorities god save them
before in ethnic cleansing the neighbors clear

The Last Journey of Lord Ganesha

Here people are still trying to come to terms with the mixed feeling of pain and nostalgia.
The feast of Lord Ganesha has come to an end culminating here at Girgaum Chowpatty the spiritual point of departure.
Tired the devotees will now head homewards, the euphoria gives way to a deafening silence.
The Police to give a sigh of relief no untoward incident, law and order prevails, peace of mutual co existence between communities maintained..

Breaking News Bomb Blast Poem Hunter Forum 2

photo google images

There was another massive bomb blast
The die was cast, flags at poem hunter half mast
But a blessing in disguise to eternally last..

The survivors were taken to Our Lady of Succor Hospital.
Commotion prevailed.. partially alive bodies taken for immediate surgery..
The end result is as follows
Courtney Kane accidentally has her head fixed on Sherrys body
Sherrys head sits majestically on Courtneys body

Trade Martin has the head of Jefferson Carter
Jefferson Carter they tried to fix Trades head but it was far too big headed they replaced it with Liberal Pussy.

Ted Sheridan has had a spleen and liver transplant taken from a tired Courtney.

David Hazell carrries the silver head of Micheal Shephered
And Micheal Shepherd is Micheal Hazell after a long 16 hour surgery.

Angie s head now sits on Morgan Stanley Junior..
Morgan Stanley Junior blood group was rare they have given
His head to the poem hunter pet Dingo dog..
Allen James Saywell Firoze Shakir, Abdullah Kasie suvived the bomb blast
Greg Collins well he looks as pretty as Goldy Locks..
Goldy Locks has gone surfing..
Howlin is Dr Lawrence Beck
Dr Lawrence Beck has become Ayn that right Whirrling dervish


Originally uploaded by flickr photographerno1
Iran - Isfahan: densely decorated Mosque entrance - Sheikh Loftollah mosque - Lotfollah - Unesco world heritage site - photo by J.Kaman

photo courtesy

Iran gave the world the Aryan Race
cultural identity from here some trace
Iran Gods very Special Place
Hospitality and living Grace
No Mask but a Unique Face
Khaile Khube a spirtual space
A garland of Love Iran
A brave nation that
gives other nations
breathing space
human love
within its embrace

posted as a comment at the blog of shehrazad of word press.

What belongs to the Lord cannot be Deleted

This is my last picture of the Visarjan.
This Ganpati was lying on the beach it had come back on shore, the hand damaged badly that I have cropped , only showing you his inner beauty, photography on the beach at Girgaum Chowpatty is banned because people love to show pictures of the aftermath of the Immersions, the let overs , the environmental damage, which is very important to all us huma beings , but gradually the devotees and the government will come up with solution, more ecological friendly materials in the making of the Ganeshas , I am sure we all love Ganesha and we all love Mumbai too..
With this I end my Ganesha series.. wishing you all well and to live to shoot this Feast next year too..
And Happy Ramzan too..
Today is my 17 fast of Ramzan.
You see these pictures that were formatted by a Mumbai Police Inspector but they survived to tell the tale of Lord Ganesha..The pictures were retrieved as they belong to the Lord ..only he can take what he gives..

Visarjan Arti Of Lord Ganesha

The day before the actual festival, a mud idol of the God is brought home ceremoniously for worship. Varieties of a sweet preparation called modaka or kadubu, which Ganesha is particularly fond of, is prepared.

After elaborate prayers in the morning, family members gather for a feast. After taking their bath, people go to the temple and do the prayers of Lord Ganesha. Ladoos are distributed and are eaten before the meal. Milk is offered to idols of lord Ganesh at home and at temples, and Ganesh puja is performed at all temples and in-house prayer rooms. In the evening, an elder reads out the story of Ganesha's birth and an arti is performed.

Fasting, feasting and distribution of sweets offered to Lord Ganesh are important aspects of Ganesh chaturthi rituals in India. Hindus pray to the images of Lord Ganesha,with faith and devotion so that he may remove all their obstacles. Offer Him Rice Kheer, Moodak, Besan ke ladoo or Boondi ladoo.

The idol is kept in the house for a period of one and a half, five, seven, or ten days, and is then immersed in water.


Jai Ganesh Jai Ganesh, Jai Ganesh deva
Mata jaki Parvati, Pita Mahadeva.
Ek dant dayavant, char bhuja dhari
Mathe sindur sohai, muse ki savari, Jai
Andhan ko ankh det, kodhin ko kaya
Banjhan ko putra det, nirdhan ko maya, Jai
Pan chadhe, phul chadhe, aur chadhe meva
Ladduan ka bhog lage, saht kare seva, ,Jai
Jai Ganesh, Jai Ganesh, Jai Ganesh deva,
Mata jaki Parvata, Pita Mahadeva


Ganpati Bappa Morya Purcha Varshi Laukar Ya..

Lord Ganesha the Cry of Freedom

So Lord Ganesha gave me back the pictures that the cops had deleted and I share it with all of you, nowhere in my pictures have I denigerated the splendour and glory of the quintessential celeberation of Ganesh Chaturthi,this festival was promoted by Bal Gangadhar Tilak to hit back at British Imperialism and hegemony, a single mans cry for Freedom that became a cry of the entire nation, this cry from Maharashtra under the shadow of Lord Ganesha..This Ganesha who removes all Obstacles gave back to us what belonged to us our Fredom from the British Vampire...
This is what the actual festival stands for it is not about just an aspect of Hinduism it is the aspect of our collective Nationalim and the secular credentials of our Indian Ethos..

Waiting for Lal Bagh Chya Raja

Waiting for Lal Bagh Chya Raja

Waiting for Lal Bagh Chya Raja

Waiting for Lal Bagh Chya Raja

Waiting for Lal Bagh Chya Raja

These and many more hundred thousands like this everywhere on the beach, under the bridge, at every available space waiting for Lal Bagh Chya Rajas last darshan, the Rajah took over 21 hours to reach his final destination Girgaum Chowpatty from Lal Bagh Pandal that he had left at 9 am.. on 25th Sept 2007.

Lal Bagh Chya Raja Final Call

Lal Bagh Chya Raja Final Call

Last Journey Lal Bagh Chya Raja

Last Journey Lal Bagh Chya Raja

all pictures of this journey at flickr

Last Journey Lal Bagh Chya Raja

all pictures of the last journey at flickr..

Last Journey

Last Journey
Originally uploaded by flickr photographerno1
all the pictures of this last journey at flickr..

Lal Bagh Chya Raja Tryst With Destiny

Lal Bagh Chya Raja Tryst With Destiny

Lal Bagh Chya Rajas Last Journey

The Mumbai Police Inspector had asked a professional videographer to format my pictures , the entire card went through complete deletion.
But anyway here you see Lal Bagh Chya Raja entering or rather cacading into a sea of heads and these were all tough shots, lacs of people the pushing the jostling and my wounded leg, my injured right hand and I had just begun my fast and had come here to shoot this mind boggling scene, people had not gone home slept on the roads just to get this one last glimpse of the Maharajah of Mumbai...

Lal Bagh Chya Raja Recovers Deleted Pictures

The Mumbai Police Inspector had asked a professional videographer to format my pictures , the entire card went through complete deletion.
But anyway here you see Lal Bagh Chya Raja entering or rather cacading into a sea of heads and these were all tough shots, lacs of people the pushing the jostling and my wounded leg, my injured right hand and I had just begun my fast and had come here to shoot this mind boggling scene, people had not gone home slept on the roads just to get this one last glimpse of the Maharajah of Mumbai...

Lal Bagh Chya Raja Recovers Deleted Pictures

I shot the last day visarjan of the Ganeshas at Girgaum Chowpatty from 7pm till about 11.30 pm, I walked all the way from Girgaum Chowpatty to Chira Bazar shooting the various Ganeshas and I was in sheer pain as I had cut my feet walking barefoot a few days back to the pandal of Lal Bagh Chya Raja.
I was continuing with my Ramzan fast and in the morning I had wrapped my feet with cotton worn socks and shoes to shoot the Lal Bagh Chya Rajas journey out from his pandal, totally exhausted , dehyderated , but I wanted to share my pictures with all lovers of Lal Bagh Chya Raja.
When I left Chira Bazar for my parents home to stay the night over instead of going home to Bandra, I returned to Girgaum again at 4 am to shoot the last segment of Lal Bagh Chya Raja, but to my bad luck I was accosted by two Maharashtrian hooligans from Umerkhadi who caught me with my camera on the beach, and when they came to know I was a Muslim , it was hell, also I was wearing the Lal Bagh Chya Rajas cap.. that they objected took me to a Mumbai Police Inspector I showed him my Bandra Samachar card but he sided with the louts and had all my pictures deleted , and disheartened at this treatment I returned home in pain both of body and spirit.
Later I told Subash Solanki about the incident he advised me to send the sandisk card to him, and retrieved all my deleted pictures..
It hurts me with all my respect for the Mumbai police for their selfless work, long hours of duty, their selfless resolve to take care of law and order in terrorising times, not to be given a fair hearing because though I am a Muslim I am an Indian first and Ganesha is my cultural inheritance as much as a Hindus..
So I dedicate these pictures that had gone for good to Mee Mumbaikar spirit of Lal Bagh Chya Raja..I give back to him what I took from him.. his moments of glory and the lacs of people waiting for his darshan in the wee hours of the morning...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Amorphous Angst of the Hijda

Hijdas are human far more human because of their genetic vulnerability, because of this they are far sighted, gifted , talented, and born dancers.
They are both genders in one the strength of a man the frailty of a woman.
They defy society inspite of the treatment meted out to them, they are ostracized driven away from the mainstream of human life.
The lowest rung has a hard time surviving the onslaughts of oppression, they beg, they solicit, they sell their bodies to keep their intangible tragic souls alive.
They have a very special regard for me, that is God gifted bonding, I understand their amorphous angst their androgynous apathy, their cry, their degradation...because they dared to to be different from the rest of us...

Laxmi Hijda Of Turner Road Bandra

On the right is Laxmi, I think she is one of the finest, soft spoken Hijda, she begs at the Turner Road Traffic Signal. She greets me on my way to work,,sometimes I give her money and she takes it gladly blessing me intensely..
Today I caught them having their meals away from the signal and took these random shots..

Hijdas of Turner Road Signal

I did not want to carry my camera to work this afternoon, but I did , and as a street photographer I make do with what I get, and photography is a expensive passion, and I am manacled to my work , I still manage to play truant and skip work on feast days like the Ganesha Visarjan, and business is bad so wife gets very upset at my photographic adventurism, I dont sell pictures either , as a Blogger I keep nothing give it all , share my world according to Garp.

Hijdas of Turner Road Signal Bandra

These are Indian transgenders called Hijdas, they are the beggar variety the lowest in the order of eunuchdom, they have a Guru or leader under whose auspices they work, these Hijdas man the traffic signals , and make their living.The Turner Road Traffic Hijdas work under Laxmi..this is not the metrosexual Hijda guru Laxmi , but a simpler version, she is a very kind person, and wishes me well.The Hijda in this picture is her chela or disciple..
They work from morning till late evening, food they manage with the leftovers of restaurants close to the traffic signal.The Turner Road Hijdas are very polite disciplined, and not the rough shod braggart type you see at other the Hijdas a tough competetion are the Traffic signal kids some nude, some semi nude displaying their gender rawness and making good money..
Most of the kids are drugged ...

The Marching Monks of Mandalay

Photo courtesy
New York Times agency France Getty images
BANGKOK, Sept. 24 — Myanmar’s military junta issued its first warning on Monday after a month of widening antigovernment demonstrations, saying it was prepared to crack down on the Buddhist monks who are at the heart of the protests.
Published: September 25, 2007

45 years of military rule
Economic failure corruption
That won’t go away
A united front of clergy students activists
Struggle to finds a way
To get rid of the junta along with
The marching monks of Mandalay
A Japanese photographer Kenji Nagaji
Was shot down by army in Yangon
Bullets on protesters they spray
while others they mercilessly slay
Free Burma a cry
On a global display
Aung San Suu Kyi
Under house arrest
Has an important role to play
Gen Than Shwe and
His junta brutalizing
The tears of an enslaved nation
A collective will but no way

poem dedicated to the memory of photographer kenji nagaji..of japan

Kali Mata and Tantra

Kali Temple Lucknow Chowk..
Here on Kali Puja Day devotees cut theirtongues that come back miraculously in 16 hours..

Tantra (Sanskrit: loom), Tantric Yoga or Tantrism is any of several esoteric traditions rooted in Hindu and Buddhist philosophy. Extolled as a short-cut to self-realization and spiritual enlightenment by some, tantric rites are often rejected as dangerous by most orthodox Hindus. There are two "paths" in Tantra: dakshinachara (also known as samayachara), the "Right-Hand Path", and vamachara, the "Left-Hand Path". The latter is associated with many ritual practices that go against the grain of mainstream Hinduism, including sexual rituals, consumption of alcohol and other intoxicants, animal sacrifice and flesh-eating. The terms Left-Hand Path and Right-Hand Path have been adopted by Western occultists.

According to another popular view, Tantra is classified as either red (rajas or heat, fire, restlessness, anger), black (tamas or darkness, ignorance, stagnation) or white (sattwa pure, moderate, divine). These correspond to three Hindu conceptions of the qualities of existence first posited in Samkhya.

Some Tantric aspirants simply feel the union is accomplished internally and with spiritual entities of various kinds. For this reason, almost all Tantrik writing has a gross, higher and subtle meaning. This tripartite system of understanding readily obscures the true purport of many passages for those without the necessary background or deeper understandings so crucial to Tantra. Thus, a 'union' could mean the actual act of sexual intercourse, ritual uniting of concepts through chanting and sacrifice, or realization of one's true self in the cosmic joining of the divine principles of Shiva and Shakti in Para Shiva.

The Hindu Tantra Tradition

According to John Woodroffe, one of the foremost Western scholars on Tantra, and translator of its greatest works (including the Mahanirvana Tantra):

"The Indian Tantras, which are numerous, constitute the Scripture (Shastra) of the Kaliyuga, and as such are the voluminous source of present and practical orthodox "Hinduism." The Tantra Shastra is, in fact, and whatever be its historical origin, a development of the Vaidika Karmakanda, promulgated to meet the needs of that age. Shiva says: "For the benefit of men of the Kali age, men bereft of energy and dependent for existence on the food they eat, the Kaula doctrine, O auspicious one! is given" (Chap. IX., verse 12). To the Tantra we must therefore look if we would understand aright both ritual, yoga, and sadhana of all kinds, as also the general principles of which these practices are but the objective expression."

- Introduction to Sir John Woodroffe's translation of "Mahanirvana Tantra."
The word "tantra" means "treatise", and is applied to a variety of mystical, occult, medical and scientific works as well as to those which we would now regard as "tantric". Most tantras were written between the 10th and 14th centuries CE.

While Hinduism is typically viewed as being Vedic, the Tantras are not considered part of the orthodox Hindu/Vedic scriptures. They are said to run alongside each other, The Vedas of orthodox Hinduism on one side and the Agamas of Tantra on the other. However, the practices, mantras and ideas of the Atharva Veda are markedy different from those of the prior three and show signs of powerful non-Aryan influence. Indeed, the Atharva Veda is cited by many Tantra texts as a source of great knowledge. it is notable that throughout the Tantras, such as the Mahanirvana Tantra, they align themselves as being natural progressions of the Vedas. Tantra exists for spiritual seekers in the age of Kaliyuga, when Vedic practices no longer apply to the current state of morality and Tantra is the most direct means to realization. Thus, aside from Vajrayana Buddhism, much of Tantric thought is Hindu Tantra, most notably those that council worship of Lord Shiva and the Divine Mother, Kali.

A Tantra typically takes the form of a dialogue between the Hindu gods Shiva and Shakti/Parvati, being that Shiva is known in Hinduism as being 'Yogiraj' or 'Yogeshwara,' 'The King of Yoga' or 'God of Yoga' and that his consort is known to be his perfect feminine equal. Each explains to the other a particular group of techniques or philosophies for attaining moksha (liberation/ enlightenment), or for attaining a certain practical result. [Agamas are Shiva to Shakti, and Nigamas are Shakti to Shiva.]

This extract from the beginning of the Yoni Tantra (translated by Mike Magee) gives an idea of the style.

Seated upon the peak of Mount Kailasa the God of Gods, the Guru of all creation was questioned by Durga-of-the-smiling-face, Naganandini.

"Sixty-four tantras have been created O Lord, tell me, O Ocean of Compassion, about the chief of these."

Mahadeva said:

"Listen, Parvati, to this highly secret one, Dearest. Ten million times have you wanted to hear this. Beauteous One, it is from your feminine nature that you continually ask me. You should conceal this by every effort. Parvati, there is mantra-pitha, yantra-pitha and yoni-pitha. Of these, the chief is certainly the yoni-pitha, revealed to you from affection."

History of Tantra

Tantra as a post-Vedic Hindu Yogic movement began in North India and flourished in the middle ages before declining in the nineteenth century, partly as a result of persecution by the British and orthodox Hindus, and partly, perhaps, because of the increasing popularity of Bhakti yoga amongst the masses.

Legend ascribes the origin of Tantra to Dattatreya, a semi-mythological yogi and the assumed author of the Jivanmukta Gita ("Song of the liberated soul"). Others see Lord Adinath, or Shiva, as the first Guru of Tantra. Things become a little more clear with Matsyendranath ("Master of fish" - so-called either because he was a fisherman, or, less probably, because he discovered a tantra inside a fish). He is accredited with authorship of the Kaulajnana-nirnaya, a voluminous ninth-century tantra dealing with a host of mystical and magical subjects, and occupies an important position in the Hindu tantric lineage, as well as in Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism. His disciple, Gorakhnath, founded laya yoga. Hatha Yoga was penned by Swami Swatamarama as the secrets of Lord Adinath (another name for Shiva) in the 15th century.

Tantra evolved into a number of orders (sampradaya) and diverged into so-called "left-hand tantra" (varma marg), in which sexual yoga and other antinomian practices occurred, and "right-hand tantra", in which such practices were merely visualized. Both groups, but in particular the left-hand tantriks, opposed many features of orthodox Hindu culture, particularly the caste system and patriarchy. Despite this, Tantra was accepted by some high-caste Hindus, most notably the Rajput princes. Hindu tantra even briefly enabled a yogic/sufi synthesis among some Indian Muslims. Nowadays Tantra has a large, though not always well-informed, following worldwide.

Buddhist and Hindu Tantra, though having many similarities from the outside, do have some clear distinctions. Scholars are unable to determine whether the Hindu or the Buddhist version of Tantra appeared first in history. Buddhist Tantra is always part of the Mahayana school of Buddhism, which has as main aim to help all sentient beings becoming free from problems (Dukkha), in order to achieve this aim, one should try to achieve Buddhahood oneself, in order to be the most profound teacher for others. Buddhist Tantra spread out from (North) India, chiefly to Tibet, where it became known as the Vajrayana school of Buddhism. It also had some influence on Chinese and Japanese Buddhism (notably Shingon)

Tantric practices

Because of the wide range of groups covered by the term "tantra", it is hard to describe tantric practices definitively. The basic practice, the Hindu image-worship known as "puja" may include any of the elements below.

Mantra and Yantra

As in all of Hindu and Buddhist yogas, mantras plays an important part in Tantra, not only for focusing the mind, often through the conduit of specific Hindu gods like Shiva, Ma Kali (mother Kali, another form of Shakti) and even Ganesh, the elephant-headed god of wisdom. Similarly, puja will often involve concentrating on a yantra or mandala.

Identification with Deities

Tantra, being a development of Atharva Vedic and pre-Brahmanical thought, embraced the Hindu gods and goddesses, especially Shiva and Shakti, along the Advaita (nondualist Vedic) philosophy that each represents an aspect of the ultimate Param Shiva, or Brahman. These deities may be worshipped externally (with flowers, incense etc.) but, more importantly, are used as objects of meditation, where the practitioner imagines him- or herself to be the deity in question. The ancient devadasi tradition of sacred temple-dance, seen in the contemporary Bharata Natyam is the example of such meditation in movement. The divine love is expressed in Sringara and Bhakti.

Concentration on the Body

Tantriks generally see the body as a microcosm; thus in the Kaulajnana-nirnaya, for example, the practitioner meditates on the head as the moon, the heart as the sun and the genitals as fire. Many groups hold that the body contains a series of energy centers (chakra - "wheel"), which may be associated with elements, planets or occult powers (siddhi). The phenomenon of Kundalini, a flow of energy through the chakras, is controversial; most writers see it as essential to Tantra, while others regard it as unimportant or as an abreaction. As it is, kundalini is nothing but the flow of the central sushumna nadi, a spiritual current, that, when moving, opens chakras, and is fundamental to the siddhi concept that forms a part of all tantra, including Hatha yoga.

Sexual intercourse is not at all a part of all tantric practice, but it is the definitive feature of left-hand Tantra. All tantra states that there were certain groups of personalities who were not fit for certain practices. Tantra was personality specific and insisted that those with pashu-bhava (animal disposition), which are people of dishonest, promiscuous, greedy or violent natures who ate meat and indulged in intoxication, would only incur bad Karma by following Tantrik paths without the aid of a Guru who could instruct them on the correct path.

There are three types of Tantric Sex: White, Gray, and Black. White Tantra never ejaculates nor reaches orgasm in order to awaken consciousness. Gray Tantra elongates the sexual act, and sometimes concludes with orgasm/ejaculation, but without any longing towards awakening consciousness. Black Tantra always concludes with orgasm/ejaculation in order to awaken consciousness. It is said that White Tantra awakens consciousness to the absence of desire, while Black Tantra awakens consciousness into desire. In Buddhist tantra, actual ejaculation is very much a taboo, as the main goal of the sexual practice is to use the sexual energy towards achieving full enlightenment, rather than ordinary pleasure.

Sexual intercourse, preferably with a low-caste partner, was one method by which traditional left-hand practice forced practitioners to confront their conditioned responses. Others include the eating of meat (particularly beef and pork) and drinking of alcohol. Fear has also been used as a method to break down conditioning; rites would often take place in a cremation ground amidst decomposing corpses. This, of course, also falls under the prerequisite of the practitioner's nature, in such cases demanding a vir- (heroic) or even devya- (godlike) -bhava (disposition of purity, self-control, suppression of pride, respect to parents and guru and often celibacy).

Tantra in the Modern World

Tantra is used in the West, as a general term which relates to sexual practice as a spiritual evolutionary scheme. There are in fact many different approaches as to how this manifests in American society. There have been many civilizations which have deified sexuality as the most approximate expression of cosmic love or God. Regardless, the point is that tantra is moldable. It changes with each moment and environment. It especially depends on the nature of the practitioner.

In traditional pockets of Tantric practice in India, such as in Assam near the venerated Hindu temple of Kali, Kammakha, in parts of West Bengal, in Siddhanta temples of South India, and in Kashmiri Shiva temples up north, Tantra has retained its true form. Its variance in practice is seen, where many tantriks are known to frequent cremation grounds in attempts to transcend their worldly attachment to life, and others are assuredly performing still more arcane acts. But what is common to them all is the intense secrecy in which their secrets are kept and the almost godlike reverence paid to the Guru, who is seen as a the pinnacle of Tantra. It would be safe to say that every single Hindu Tantra Yogin in India is a Shiva and/or Shakti worshipper, and the more wide-spread practices to which all Hindus commit themselves, like pooja and worship through devotion, are maintained while more occult yogic practices involving sacred rites continue. Tibet too has a very strong Buddhist Tantric background which continues, albeit many have been transplanted to monasteries in India, but can be said to widely cleave to the right-hand path, in contrast to the more varied Hindu counterparts.

Modern Tantra may be divided into practices based on Hinduism and Buddhism, Indian and Tibetan, traditions. In America, a mutilated and extremely narrow-minded, sensationalist approach encompassing only a misguided thinking about "sacred sexuality," with little reference to its true practice, has captured the Western mind. Real Tantra involves much more than mere wizardry or sexual titillation: like the rest of Yoga (Hindu and Buddhist), it requires self-analysis and conquering of material ignorance, often through the body, but always through a pure outlook of the mind. 'Real Tantra' is about transforming one's sexual energy into spiritual progress, and has nothing to do with 'sex just for fun'. Those without a guru or lacking in discipline of the mind and body are unfit. It is telling that a Tantrik in West Bengal, a devotee of the Hindu goddess Kali, once said that 'those most fit for Tantra almost never take it up, and those least fit pursue it with zeal.'

Nandi The Holy Bull

Bull Temple Bangalore

Bull Temple was constructed in 16th century and is dedicated to a sacred bull - Nandi carved out of a single granite block. The temple is a typical specimen of Dravidian architecture. Kallekai parse an annual festival is celebrated at the time of harvesting of peanuts during the month of Nov-Dec, thousands of visitors throng the city to participate in the festival from all over the state.

¤ About The Bull Temple

The "Bull Temple" is situated in Bangalore - the capital of Karnataka. The sculpture of bull is the holy deity in the temple, also known as "Nandi Temple". The gigantic bull measuring 4.57m in height and 6.10 m in length is carved out of a single rock. It is a sculptural magnum opus.
This Bull Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva's Vahana (vehicle), Nandi the bull. Large number of devotees visits the enormous monolithic statue of the sitting bull every day.

Nandi the bull of Shiva faces the temple of Lord Shiva haunch at the back with sculptures of God Surya and Goddess Candra on their chariots drawn by horses. There is a small Lingam shrine bedecked with the exquisite Gopuram. The underground "Sri-Gavi Gandadhareshwara Temple" holds its own charm, every year on 14th January known as Makara Sankranti festival, it is believed that a ray of light passes between the horn of a Nandi outside the temple and lights the idol kept inside. The Bull temple is full of liveliness during the Shivratri festival.

Non Hindus are not allowed in the temple. There are continuos festive celebrations throughout the year assisted by the musical programs held in the temple premises.

Timings: Entry to the temple is free and the daily timings are from 6a.m. to 8 p.m.

¤ Legend

The legend has it that the surrounding area of the temple, known as Sunkenahalli was cultivated for groundnut. A bull started grazing in the well-grown groundnut crop, at this, a farmer got furious and hit the bull with a club. Immediately the bull sat down becoming motionless and was transformed into a stone. Poor farmers were left stun and felt guilty. For their repentance they decided to build a temple for the bull, to their surprise the bull was growing in height. The worried farmer then prayed to Lord Shiva who advised them to redeem a trident buried a few feet away from the bull and place the trident on the forehead of the stone statue to stop it from growing. Farmers followed the Lord's advice and the bull stopped growing. Still one can see the trident place on bull's forehead.

Since then farmers offer their first crop of groundnut to the bull. The farmer's hold a Groundnut fair known as Kadalekayi Parishe, near the temple premises every year, to show their thankfulness. It is one of the worth visiting places in Bangalore.

¤ Architecture

The temple is a typical specimen of the Dravidian-style of temple architecture constructed by Kempe Gowda. The temple is nestling in Basavanagudi housing a scared bull of Lord Shiva, it is believed that the source of the river Vishwa Bharathi originates from the feet of the Nandi. There is a Ganesh temple inside the premises with a large deity all made of 110 kilos of butter. The deity of butter is distributed as a prashada (God's food) every four years.

Farmers offer the first groundnuts to the sacred bull. The Bhoganandiswara temple at the foothills of Nandi Hills goes back to the period of the Banas, Cholas, Hoysalas and the Vijayanagar Kings. The image has been carved out of single granite rock. The original color of Nandi bull was gray which has now turned black due to the application of coconut oil by the devotees.

¤ Festivity

Anually, Kadalekayi Parishe -the Groundnut Fair is held near the temple during the month of November- December when the groundnut crop is harvested. Farmers offer the first groundnuts harvest to the sacred bull. Thousand of visitors and devotees throng the temple site from all over the state.

¤ Accessibility To The Bull Temple

The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus regularly operates from the all over the state to the Park. Coaches of B.T.S., I.T.D.C., are also available. Tourist coaches and taxis are also available for the park.


Originally uploaded by flickr photographerno1
The Lingam (also, Linga, Shiva linga Sanskrit लिङ्गं liṅgaṃ, meaning "mark," or "sign,") is a symbol for the worship of the Hindu god Shiva. While its origins are debated, the use of this symbol for worship is an ancient tradition in India extending back to the early Indus Valley civilization.

The Sanskrit term लिङ्गं liṅgaṃ, transliterated as linga has many meanings, generally as a mark, sign, or characteristic.[1][2] It has a number of specific uses in Sanskrit that are derived from this general meaning. Vaman Shivram Apte's dictionary gives seventeen definitions of the term, including these examples:

The image of a god
A symptom or mark of disease
A spot or stain
A means of proof, a proof, evidence
The effect or product which evolves from a primary cause
The concept of grammatical gender
The phallus
An example of the use of the word linga in general Sanskrit usage to represent the concept of "sign" occurs in this passage from the Bhagavad Gita:

kair liṅgais trīn guṇān etān | atīto bhavati prabho || 14.21 ||

This is translated by Swami Gambhirananda as "O Lord, by what signs is one (known) who has gone beyond these three qualities?"[3] and by Winthrop Sargeant as "By what marks is he recognized, Who has transcended these three qualities, O Lord?".[4] In this quotation the word liṅgais is the instrumental plural form of liṅga, meaning "by what marks" or "by what signs".

An example of use of the word linga as a technical term in philosophy is given in this passage from the Sāṃkhya-Kārikā which describes the role of attributes in recognition of objects perceived by the senses:

Perception is the ascertainment of objects [which are in contact with sense-organs]; inference, which follows on the knowledge of the characteristic mark (liṅga) [i.e., the middle term] and that which bears the mark...."[5]

The term lingam is sometimes used synonymously for shivalingam, a specific type of icon or altar representing the god Shiva

A. L. Basham says that linga have been found in the Harappan remains, and provides these comments relating to the antiquity of the symbol:

"... Śiva was and still is chiefly worshipped in the form of the liṅga, usually a short cylindrical pillar with rounded top, which is the survival of a cult older than Indian civilization itself.... The cult of the liṅga, at all times followed by some of the non-Āryan peoples, was incorporated into Hinduism around the beginning of the Christian era, though at first it was not very important."[7]

Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami explains in the lexicon section of his book, Dancing with Siva, that "Sivalinga is the most prevalent icon of Siva, found in virtually all Siva temples. It is a rounded, elliptical, aniconic image, usually set on a circular base, or peetham. The Sivalinga is the simplest and most ancient symbol of Siva, especially of Parasiva, God beyond all forms and qualities. The Peetham represents Parashakti, the manifesting power of God. Lingas are usually of stone (either carved or naturally existing, swayambhu, such as shaped by a swift-flowing river), but may also be of metal, precious gems, crystal, wood, earth or transitory materials such as ice. According to the Karana Agama (6), a transitory Sivalinga may be made of 12 different materials: sand, rice, cooked food, river clay, cow dung, butter, rudraksha beads, ashes, sandalwood, darbha grass, a flower garland, or molasses."

Furthermore, there are instances in Hindu lore where a rock or pile of sand has been used by heroic personages as a Lingam or symbol of Shiva. For example, Arjuna fashioned a lingam of clay when worshipping Shiva. Thus, it is argued, too much should not be made of the usual shape of the Lingam. This view is also consonant with philosophies that hold that God may be conceptualized and worshipped in any convenient form; the form itself is irrelevant, the divine power that it represents is all that matters.

Hindu interpreters often use the underlying meaning of "sign" or "mark" for the Sanskrit word linga as the basis for their commentaries. For example:

The name Lingam appears as a name of Shiva in the Shiva Sahasranama where it is translated by Ram Karan Sharma as "(Identifiable as) a symbol of the origin of the Universe."[8]
Bansi Pandit, in his book, Hindu Dharma said, that "Shivalinga means "Shiva symbol."
Swami Sivananda, said that "Linga means a mark, in Sanskrit. It is a symbol which points to an inference. When you see a big flood in a river, you infer that there had been heavy rains the previous day. When you see smoke, you infer that there is fire. This vast world of countless forms is a Linga of the omnipotent Lord. The Siva-Linga is a symbol of Lord Siva. When you look at the Linga, your mind is at once elevated and you begin to think of the Lord." [1]
Western interpreters often use the concept of "male generative organ" as the basis for their interpretations. For example:

Monier-Williams provides one defition for lingam as: "The male organ... esp. that of Siva worshipped in the form of a stone or marble column..."[9].
Gavin Flood's An Introduction to Hindusim refers to the worship of Shiva "in his form as the Śiva liṅga or 'icon' found in most Hindu temples. The linga represents a phallus..."[10]

Various interpretations on the origin and symbolism of the Shiva lingam obtain. While the Tantras deem the Shiva lingam a symbol representing the regenerative aspect of the material universe, the Agamas and Shastras do not elaborate on this interpretation, and the Vedas fail altogether to mention the Lingam. But acccording to Vivekananda, the worship of Shivalinga originated from the famous Lingam in the Atharva Veda Sanhita sung in praise of Yupasthambha, the sacrificial post.[citation needed]

In Hindu Dharma, Bansi Pandit explains that "Shivalinga consists of three parts. The bottom part which is four-sided remains under ground, the middle part which is eight-sided remains on a pedestal and the top part which is actually worshipped is round. The height of the round part is one-third of its circumference. The three parts symbolize Brahma at the bottom, Vishnu in the middle and Shiva on the top. The pedestal is provided with a passage for draining away the water that is poured on top by devotees. The linga symbolizes both the creative and destructive power of the Lord and great sanctity is attached to it by the devotees."

In Veerashaivism, Siva divides from His Absolute state into Linga (Supreme Lord) and anga, individual soul, the two eventually reuniting in undifferentiated oneness. There are three aspects of Sivalinga.[citation needed]

Ishtalinga, personal form of Siva, in which He fulfills desires and removes afflictions -- God as bliss or joy;
Bhavalinga, Siva beyond space and time, the highest divine principle, knowable through intuition;
Pranalinga, the reality of God which can be apprehended by the mind.
The soul(anga) merges with Siva(Linga) by a progressive, six-stage path called shatsthala and this is called Shunyasampadane- earning eternal nothingness.

According to Swami Dharmananda[11] who is a master of Yoga there is a mysterious power in the Linga, its shape has been designed to induce concentration of the mind. Just as the mind is focused easily in crystal-gazing, so also the mind attains one-pointedness, when it looks at the Linga. That is the reason why the ancient Rishis and the seers of India have prescribed Linga for being installed in the temples of Lord Shiva.[12]

The great warrior Arjuna in epic Mahabharatha worshipped Linga for acquiring Pashupatasthra, great vedic scholar Ravana in epic Ramayana worshipped Shiva to present his mother Atmalinga, legendary rishi Markandeya and numerous rishis spread across timezones have worshipped the simplest looking Linga. Rishis used to leave all materialism to attain spirituality and a lump of soil in forest was what was required to worship and meditate. Scientifically from Lingayatism or Veerashaivism it helps one relate to cosmic energy through meditation of Istalinga worshipped by keeping it on palm.[13]

[edit] Naturally occurring lingams
Some of the information in this article or section may not be verified by reliable sources. It should be checked for inaccuracies and modified to cite reliable sources.
A lingam at Amarnath in the western Himalayas forms every winter from ice dripping on the floor of a cave and freezing like a stalagmite. It is very popular with pilgrims.

There is a great connection in marking the forces of nature to be worshipped. The following description has various forms of nature being worshipped as Linga.

The Vedas speak of the Ashta Murthys’ (forms) of Lord Shiva. Sarva, Bhava, Rudra, Ugra, Bheema, Pasupathi, Mahadeva, Eashana are the eight Murthys of Shiva. Puranas explain the Adhistanas for these eight forms, which are Sarva for earth, Bhava for water, Rudra for fire, Ugra for wind, Bheema for space, Pasupathi for yajamana, Mahadeva for moon and Eashana for Sun. Shiva is also called Pasupathi i.e. Lord Shiva with his enormous grace on the Jeeva means pasu, cuts the Pasa or the string and makes it move free to join him with devotion. In this way, his name Pasupathi is more meaningful. Each of the following Kshethras (places) in India & Nepal connected to the Lord ’s eight forms, so that the devotee can know clearly how the ancient puranas took care to locate these places both geographically and spiritually. Shiva, Brahma puranas are the main sources .

The following forms or forces of nature are worshipped in their primal form only without any special idols representing them.

Sarva :- Bhoomi Linga, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu. It is in Shiva Kanchi Kshetra, where the Lord is in the form of Kshiti Linga in the Ekamra tree ( Aamra ( Mango in Sankrit) tree, which yield only one fruit per year). Parvathi worshipped this form first. There is no Abhisheka done with water at this shrine, jasmine oil is used instead. The Devi’s name here is Kamakshi. All the desires of the devotees are fulfilled with her gracious eyes.
Bhava :- Jala Linga, Tiruvanaikoil, (Jambukeswaram), Tamil Nadu. This temple is located on the outskirts of Trichy, where Lord Jambukeswara is seated and showers all his blessings to his devotees. This Kshethra is called Jambhukeswara Kshetra, also known as Jala Linga. The devotees can see from the outside of Garbha Gruha the water bubbles coming out from Panipetham. There is a Jambu tree, which is very old and very big. The legends say Lord Shiva wanted to stay here along with the Jambu tree. So the devotees treat this tree as sacred as the Lord.
Rudra:- Agni or Thejo (Divine Light) Linga, Tiruvannamalai, Tamilnadu – Arunachaleswara. In Tiruvannamalai, Lord Shiva is seated in the form of Thejolinga. The whole mountain appears to be a Linga. As a result of Parvathi’s great penance, a sharp spark of fire came from Arunachala and took shape as Arunalinga.
Ugra:- Vayu Linga, Sri Kalahasti, Andhra Pradesh. The Sri Kalahasteeswara temple is situated on the banks of Swarna Mukhi River in Sri Kalahasti. Spiritually elevated souls only can see that there is a strong wind blowing around the Linga. Bhakta Kannappa story is connected to this temple. Even animals got salvation by worshipping this Lord. Three animals – Cobweb (Sree), Kala (snake), Hasthi (elephant) prayed to God with utmost faith and devotion and attained Moksha. One can see the symbols there on the Shiva Linga even today
Bheema:- Akasha Linga, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu. This Kshetra is on the banks of Cauvery. We don’t see any Murthy in the temple Garbha Gruha. The puranas speak of this Kshetra very highly. No one can see the Lord’s Murthy, except the highest spiritual souls. There is a space in the Garbha Gruha and many Abharanas are decorated and the devotees assume the God is seated there. A very beautiful Nataraja murthy is in outer Garbha Gruha for worship and for the satisfaction of the devotees.
Pasupathi:- Yajamana(Lord) Linga, Kathmandu, Nepal. In Nepal, Pasupathinadha Kshetra is famous and the Lord here is in human form. The devotee can see the God up to his waist only. The Murthy is decorated with Gold Kavacha always. Nobody can enter into the Garbha Gruha except the Archaka (not even the King of Nepal). Many devotees from all over the globe pray to this Lord with highest devotion and get their wishes fulfilled.
Mahadeva:- Chandra Linga, West Bengal. Chandra natha Linga is situated in West Bengal 34 miles away from Chatagav City. Many sacred thirthas surround this Kshetra. Devi purana lauded this Kshethra greatly.
Eashana:- Surya Linga, Konark Temple, Orissa. This Kshetra is in Orissa state near Puri Jagannath Kshetra. Konark is now in ruins and the temple is in fragments and now, devotees can’t see any God or Goddess here. The legend says that Sri Krishna’s son Samba suffered once from leprosy and was cured by worshipping the Sun God and the Linga here and since then this Kshetra became a remedy center for all diseases. Even in these days the worship is going on with same faith and devotion.
The Bijileshwar Mahadev[14](incidence of Vasishta in Rigveda) absorbs lightening and breaks into pieces, is then restored by butter every 12 years.

Shivling (6543m) is also a mountain in Uttarakhand (the Garwhal region of Himalayas). It arises as a sheer pyramid above the snout of the Gangotri Glacier. The mountain resembles a shivling when viewed from certain angles, especially when travelling or trekking from Gangotri to Gomukh as a part of a traditional Hindu pilgrimage.


Poet of Oz

Poet of Oz
Originally uploaded by flickr photographerno1
Poetry is a traitorous mask
What you read is not what
You think it’s a mind game
By the devious shaman
Of a poet taking your naiveté
To task bubbly heady words
Overflowing from his hip flask
Pretentious palatable palliative
New wine fermented bootlegged
From a country hooch cask
Layers and layers of meaningless
Menagerie of rotten human emotions
That as a reader you try to unmask
Life living like feet trodden lichen
Trampled by karmic convolutions
Beneath a death mask


doomed heritage bandra hill road

first they give you an award
next they grab
your ancestors bones
your playgrounds
your religious heirlooms
yes blood suckers
want your walls
your porticos
your heritage
to build a
road widening tomb
while kutchi
gardens bloom
untouched by the
municipal broom
more newer malls
branded showrooms
more cars
more hawkers
no more room
hell road
once hill road
is now doomed
political apathy
municipal machinations
that cause gloom
water logging floods
malaria dengue chikungunya
a new threat looms

dedicated to legal land grabbers

we do care

we do care
Originally uploaded by flickr photographerno1
in the deathly throes of living
savagery of a snare
pocketless paupery
no money
a blank wall stare
before he left for mumbai
they told him beware
keep hidden your
return fare
try your luck
the worst calamities prepare
pitfalls bear
if you return empty handed
we do care
this thought
to strengthen your
fight against despair
hold on to it
you wish
our prayer

you and me and the origin of the flame

photo courtesy

for flying like moth to the origin of the flame
yes love hide and hate seeks a game
you and me
me and you...
fires of hell could not tame
you became you i became me
what a shame

lady lambeth


Bollywood Struggler

grass is green on the other side
the bollywood struggler no place to hide
sleeps on the carter road parapet
his time running from one studio to the other
from one film office to the other divide
the gulf between his hope and his reality
is inreasingly wide ..
he awaits a break..
but waves of remorse
dont subside
tattered clothes
shattered shoes
is what remains of his pride
lady luck hidden away
he clutching an empty fist
the life of earlier
successful strugglers
as his guide..
to make it big
on the silver screen
waiting for a ride..
as joggers walkers
pass him by
a shore far away from
sea side

i am confused

i am confused
Originally uploaded by flickr photographerno1
sometimes your thoughts
add to my ensuing pain..
a dry region on the
plateau of my heart
where like drops of tears
secreted on my soul
wet and undrying
on a hanky you stain
stormy winds from
your hearts region
my inner being enchain
that you dont love me
is a thought you feign
if you see in the crystal bowl
of your pain
you will find me floating
clear and plain
with one stroke
a part of you
a part of me
both lie slain
words bleeding
wounds cant explain


Originally uploaded by flickr photographerno1
photo courtesy

The most disgusting
The most abusive
Sanitary sensitive
Most nauseating
Most polluted
Most diluted
Most refuted word
Ever heard
A four letter bad word
Corrupt weakens flesh
Interrupts cavernous hopes
Disrupts volcanic volatile
Venom erupts hate transferred
An exclamation mark abrupt
End result both giver and recipient
Prematurely interred

An Open Letter to Firoze Shakir from Ray Lucero

As you’ve made yourself inaccessible on Poemhunter
I offer the following open letter of apology herein:

Few in the U.S.A. know the great suffering,
pain and death perpetrated on the Shia.
The American crusade prosecuted by Bush,
Cheney and their ilk is beyond criminal, indeed
it’s pure evil. No human being in their right mind
could do the things these vile men have done.

U.S. will soon approach a trillion dollars spent on
two wars that cannot be won. God help us all when
they launch a third war against Iran. With the military
stretched beyond endurance, it’s likely that tactical nuclear
weapons will be used in hopes of a quick victory.

Let me be clear in expressing that the media and politicians
have failed to tell the American public the real reason for invasion of the
Middle East is oil, natural gas and pipelines…nothing more, nothing less.

The majority of Americans do not want war nor do I.

We must use non-violence displayed so valiantly by the
Burmese Monks, being eradicated as I write this message.
I wept while watching the news reports this morning and realized
that I do not remotely have the courage of my robed brothers.

Dialogue, diplomacy and universal brotherhood between all nations is what will bring a lasting peace.

I offer my profound apology to you and all Muslims for
the suffering and personal losses heaped upon you.
We must all recognize that we are citizens of the Earth,
without man-made boundaries that separate us.

I bid you peace,


Ray Lucero
Poet Poem Hunter

Firoze Shakir (9/28/2007 12:35:00 AM) | Delete this message
Thank You Ray
I reciprocate your good intentions and good wishes, Muslims come in various denominations, I am a human much before I was baptised Muslim, I am an Indian Muslim who adheres to Shiasm..
I think this planet was made not just for community, or ethnicity, it was meant for all living creatures, I know it sounds utopian, and foolish, but most of the people want to live in PEACE..but it is the political warlords warmomgers who have robbed and raped PEACE on this planet.. it is all muscle power under the pretext of spirtuality and religiosity..
I wish you well.
Thank you once again..
Firoze Shakir

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal
Originally uploaded by flickr photographerno1
I shot theTaj Mahal two years back, barefeet , the burnig marble it was like walking on fire during Moharam, wife and mother in law Wassim Qazilbash, were with me.We had come to spend a day at the Holy Shia Shrine of Shaheed e Saalis also in Agra.I shot the Taj from the banks, but did not get the desired effect.
The Taj has to be seen once in a lifetime.
It is a wordless feeling poetry.
Connecting man with supreme love of God.

June 8th, 2007

The Life Of Hazrat Ali

The Life Of Hazrat Ali

His birth

Hadrat Ali was the son of Abu Talib, a prominent Quraish chief and custodian of the Holy Ka'bah. Abu Talib was so-called because he was the father of "Talib," the eldest brother of Hadrat Ali. The real name of Abu Talib was 'Abd Manaf.' However, he was more popularly known by his surname than by his real name. Abu Talib was the son of Abdul Muttalib. Abdul Muttalib was also a surname, his real name being Shaybah. Abdul Muttalib was the son of Hashim. Hashim was a great man of his line, and his descendants came to be known as Hashimites.

The mother of Hadrat Ali was Fatima. She was the daughter of Asad who was a son of Hashim. Fatima was a cousin of Abu Talib. Thus, both the father and mother of Hadrat Ali were Hashimites, and that was a great honour.

Ancestry of Hadrat Ali and the holy Prophet

The holy Prophet was the son of Abdullah who was the son of Abdul Muttalib. Abdullah and Abu Talib were real brothers. Abu Talib was thus the real paternal uncle of the holy Prophet of Islam. Hadrat Ali was the first cousin of the holy Prophet. The holy Prophet and Hadrat Ali had a common grandfather who was Abdul Muttalib.

Abdul Muttalib was the son of Hashim, who was the son of Abd Manaf, who was the son of Qusay, who was the son of Murrah, who was the son a Kaab, who was the son of Luayy, who was the son of Ghalib, who was the son of Fihr, who was the son of Malik, who was the son of Nadr, who was the son of Kannah. Beyond Kannah, the ancestry extended to Hadrat Ismail, and Hadrat Ibrahim, who flourished some 2,500 years earlier.

Date of birth

The exact date of birth of Hadrat Ali is not known with any degree of certainty. According to Traditions, Hadrat Ali was born on the 13th of Rajab in the 28th year of the Elephant era. The Elephant era, according to the annals of Arabia commenced when Abraha, the Christian Viceroy of Yemen, invaded Mecca with the intention of destroying the Ka'bah, and shifting the centre of pilgrimage to Yemen. The invasion failed, the Christian army had to beat a retreat without achieving its object. That marked the retreat of Christianity from the heartland of Arabia and paved the way for the rise of Islam.

The holy Prophet of Islam was born in the 'Year of the Elephant'. According to scholars, 'The Year of the Elephant' corresponds to the year 571 of the Christian Era [CE]. On this basis, the year of the birth of Hadrat Ali would have to be placed around 599 or 600 CE. In any case, Hadrat Ali was at the junction of two centuries, the sixth and the seventh.

Birth of Hadrat Ali

Hadrat Ali was born in unusual circumstances. On the 13th day of the holy month of Rajab, Fatima, the mother of Hadrat Ali, visited the Ka'bah to perform the pilgrimage. During the course of the pilgrimage and while circumambulating the Ka'bah, Fatima felt the pangs of childbirth. She retired to a secluded place in the precincts of the holy Ka'bah, and there Hadrat Ali was born. Hadrat Ali has thus had the unique honour to be born in the House of God. This unparalleled honour had endowed Hadrat Ali with a halo of sanctity that has become the subject of many legends. A hundred years later, Zain-ul-Abidin, a grandson of Ali (son of Hadrat Hussein), met an Arab woman at Najaf who told him that her grandmother had helped Fatima on the occasion of Hadrat Ali's birth. She narrated that according to the account of her grandmother, the child was beautiful; a smile played on his lips; he did not cry like other children; and his birth did not cause any pain to his mother.

His name

Fatima wanted to name her child "Asad" after her father and Abu Talib wanted to name him Zaid. When both mother and the child returned home, the holy Prophet, and Hadrat Khadijah came to see her newborn child. Since his birth, he had not opened his eyes, and that worried both Fatima and Abu Talib. However, when the holy Prophet took the child in his lap, then he opened his eyes. So the first person that Hadrat Ali saw after his birth was the holy Prophet. When the holy Prophet was asked whether he approved of the child being named either Asad or Zaid, he said that since the child was born in the House of God, he should be named Ali (the word Ali being a derivative of Allah). Hadrat Ali had thus had the distinction of being named after Allah. No one before him had ever been so named. Furthermore, the name acquired more sanctity because it was suggested by the holy Prophet.


His Life

The biographer and his hero

A biographer can be considered the alter-ego of the hero, whose biography is written. There is a common bond between the biographer and the hero which transcends the considerations of time and space. In writing this biography of Hadrat Ali, I have had some communion with the soul of Hadrat Ali, and in some mysterious way, I had the necessary guidance in appreciating such events in the life of Hadrat Ali which were otherwise obscure. Just as a lover locks the image of his beloved in his heart, thus the biographer locks the image of his hero in his heart, and he can enter into a dialogue with such image.

Biography and history

There are differences in the approach between a biographer and a historian. A biography is usually an exercise in hero worship and the biographer is prone to paint the picture of his hero in bright colours. On the other hand, the approach of a historian is for the most part objective and constructively critical. Every hero of a biographer may not necessarily be a great men from the viewpoint history. Where the hero is a great man in history, his biography has to be projected in the context of history. Hadrat Ali is indeed a great man in the history of mankind in general and the history of Islam in particular. In undertaking this study in the life of Hadrat Ali, I have had to act not only as a biographer, but as a historian as well. This means that besides narrating the main events in the Hadrat Ali's life, I must examine the impact of such events on history. As such, I must critically examine the main events in Hadrat Ali's life in order to ascertain their causes and effects. Of course such criticism has to be constructive.

Greatness of Hadrat Ali

Greatness is a phenomenon in which specially gifted persons who are endowed with extraordinary qualities appear on the world stage from time to time. History is the science which studies this phenomenon of greatness. Usually every person who scales the heights of greatness and acquires a place in history is a success from the worldly point of view. Here there is a peculiarity in the greatness of Hadrat Ali. He was great, indeed very great, but he was not a success from the worldly point of view in the conventional sense that the word 'success' is understood. We have thus to undertake a study to probe into the causes that militated against the success of Hadrat Ali from the worldly point of view in spite of his greatness. We will also have to consider how he is great when he did not succeed in the worldly sense.

Periods in the life of Hadrat Ali

The life of Hadrat Ali can be divided into three distinct periods. The first period comprises the first 32 years of his life and extends from 600 to 632 CE. I call this period the period of the education and action. It was during this period that he received his education under the loving care of the holy Prophet; imbibed with values of Islam; and acquired all the attributes that contribute to greatness. In the post-Hijri years, he emerged as the greatest warrior of the age. He distinguished himself as a great warrior in the battles of Badr, Uhud and the Ditch. His crowning success was his conquest of the Khyber. In battle he killed more men [through hand-to-hand combat] than any other single man in history. All those who fought in the duels against him were invariably killed. He came to be known as the "Lion of God."

He acted as a Justice, and acquired fame for his wise and well-reasoned judgments. He acted as the Governor of Yemen, and acquired a good deal of experience as administrator. He had the honour of announcing the verses of the Holy Qur'an about the "Declaration of Immunity" to the people on behalf of the Holy Prophet on the location of the Hajj. When the holy Prophet died, Hadrat Ali was in the prime of his youth and he was enlightened, experienced, wise, valiant -- the embodiment of virtue. He had expected that because of his outstanding qualities and his relationship to the holy Prophet, he would be chosen as the Caliph. He was however, passed over, and this state of affairs continued for 24 years when the office of the caliphate was held by Hadrat Abu Bakr, Hadrat Umar and Hadrat Othman.

This period constitutes the second period of the life of Hadrat Ali. During this time, although Hadrat Ali acted as the Counsellor to Caliphs, he generally kept aloof from active politics. I call this period as the period of inaction and contemplation. It was a period of inaction from the political point of view, because he kept aloof from politics. It was the period of contemplation from the spiritual point of view, for this period was spent by Hadrat Ali mostly in prayer, religious exercises and dialogue with God. The further he went from the world, the nearer he got to God.

The third period began when Hadrat Ali was elected as Caliph. This period only lasted for five years. I call this period the period of frustration. Hadrat Ali found the caliphate to be a bed of thorns. During those five years, he fought three battles: (i) the Battle of the Camel, (ii) the Battle of Siffin, and (iii) the Battle of Nahrawan. All three battles were fought against the Muslims and led to considerable bloodshed. It was a matter of the great shock for him, that instead of fighting against non-Muslims, he had to fight against Muslims. During this period, Hadrat Ali had to suffer from frustration because of repeated and continuous betrayals, even by men close to him. At the outset of his caliphate, he was betrayed by Banu Umayya when Muawiyah defied him and accused him of involvement in the murder of Hadrat Othman. He was betrayed by the people of Medina who did not respond to his call to undertake 'jihad' against Muawiyah. He was betrayed by Talha and Zubair, who took the oath of allegiance [from] him and later defected. He was betrayed by Hadrat A'isha his mother-in-law, who took top arms against him. He was betrayed by the people of Basra who had taken the oath of allegiance [from] him but later defected. At Siffin he was betrayed by his own army who would not fight when the victory was in sight. In the matter of arbitration, he was betrayed by his umpire Abu Musa Ashari, who instead of defending his cause, deposed him. He had to face the succession of the Kharijites who had originally fought on his side at the battle of Siffin. He was betrayed by Khurrity b. Raashid who had been his ally, but later revolted against him, and created trouble in Basra. He was betrayed by his own brother Aquil who was not satisfied with the allowance that Hadrat Ali gave him, and joined Muawiyah who rewarded him handsomely. He was betrayed by his cousin Abdullah b. Abbas when he had appointed as the Governor of Basra, and who left his post after misappropriated heavy fines from the Bait-ul-Mal. The final active betrayal came when Hadrat Ali was married, by a fanatic Kharijite.

Causes for the failure of Hadrat Ali from the worldly point of view

The usual phenomenon of greatness is that men succeed in life, and because of such success may acquire greatness. The usual law is that greatness is the consequence of success. Nothing succeeds like success and nothing fails like failure. This means that if you succeed, you become great, but if you fail, you are pushed aside and are forgotten. In Hadrat Ali's case we come across an extraordinary exception to this law of success and greatness. Hadrat Ali's greatness was of a different species. His greatness did not flow from success in life. Such greatness was inherent in him. It preceded his encounter with the world and it outlived his death, although he did not succeed in his worldly life as the word 'success' is usually understood. Instead Hadrat Ali became more famous after death than when he was alive.

We will now consider the causes which militated against Hadrat Ali's success in spite of his greatness. His greatness was of such a dimension that he towered extremely high above the people around him. It was a case of Gulliver in the land of dwarfs. He was so high that he could not bend to meet the people, and that people were so low that they could not rise to meet him. As such, a proper equation could not be established between Hadrat Ali and the people around him, and this was the main cause as to why he was frequently betrayed, and why he did not succeed in the worldly affairs like ordinary people. Hadrat Ali [was] very much ahead of his time and the people in that era simply could not keep up with him.

By the time Hadrat Ali came to office, a generation had passed since the death of the holy Prophet. During this period, the Muslims had made large conquests. Th[is] had brought great wealth, and wealth had changed people's lives. A capitalist class sprang up among the Muslims. Hadrat Ali, a great Muslim of the old type, wanted to enforce the austere discipline of the original Islam. He himself lead a very simple life, and aimed to follow in the steps of Hadrat Umar. Hadrat Ali, however, lacked the harshness of Hadrat Umar, and could not enforce the reforms he had in mind. There was a gulf between Hadrat Ali and the capitalist class who wielded considerable influence. Hadrat Ali was very parsimonious in the spending of public funds; while Muawiyah, who himself had lead a luxurious life, was quite liberal in the spending of public funds. The capitalist class among the Muslims preferred Muawiyah to Hadrat Ali as they were given to the worldly way of life. While Hadrat Ali was more concerned with the Hereafter than this world, people around him were more concerned with the world than the Hereafter. This difference in outlook could not be bridged, and that is why there were many betrayals in the camp of Hadrat Ali. These betrayals weakened his position of considerably for he was a man of strong principles and would not compromise with those principles. The people who were opposed to him were masters in propaganda and they didn't hesitate to adopt any means, whether fair or foul, to gain their ends. Hadrat Ali lost the game because he would not abandon his principles at any cost.

Opposition of the Quraish

The Quraish had played the leading role in the extension of the Muslim dominion. Although Hadrat Ali was a Quraish, he could not win their support. In his book Ali, the Superman, Dr. Mohyuddin observed the following about the Quraish's opposition to Hadrat Ali:

"Hadrat Ali hoped to establish a world-Islamic Empire, a kingdom of God on earth, where peace was to reign supreme and mankind could move steadily towards perfection. That he failed so completely, is one of the and enigmas of Islamic history. The student is perplexed, and indeed despondent, when he discovers that the entire tribe of the Quraish gave wholehearted support to the first two Caliphs, Abu Bakr (who belonged to the tribe of Banu Adi, but not to their two successors, who also belonged to the Quraish tribe). It is baffling indeed that they obeyed Abu Bakr and Umar blindly, but deserted Othman and Ali, whom they bitterly opposed and finally murdered. From the moment that Ali came to power, he was resisted and obstructed by the Quraish in spite of the fact that the aristocratic Quraish knew that Ali had noble blood in his veins, blood which had flowed in the veins of the holy Prophet, and that in addition he had those personal traits of character, which made him unique amongst all the people of his age. Ali's knowledge, piety, bravery, generalship, services for the propagation of Islam, and his achievements on the battlefield for the defence of Islam, made him superior to the first two Caliphs. He was superbly equipped to fill the office of the Caliph, yet the entire race seems to have taken up arms against him. In spite of his qualities of mind and spirit, he seems to have been sacrificed to the prevailing tribal spirit of his countrymen. Perhaps it was his superiority more than anything else which led to his downfall. He knew himself to be superior to his contemporaries and he hated the petty tribal chiefs of the Quraish who were interested only in their self aggrandizement. What is more, he let them know his contempt for them, and frequently acted independently of them in defiance of established custom."

Hadrat Ali, The Man

Physical appearance

Hadrat Ali was of medium-high height. He had a superb head with a face as noble as the man himself. His nose was straight, and his mouth was beautifully formed. His eyes were most commanding, being full of light and luster. There was an note of music in his voice. There was an aura of spirituality and a strong personal magnetism about him. In his youth he was handsome and full of fiery vigour. When he was older he became corpulent and bulky. His gray hair gave way to baldness. His beard, however, remained thick and luxuriant, and he often dyed it red. He was stout, genial, charitable, meditative, reserved, and he was a man who towered high above the people around him because of his intellectual and spiritual attainments.

Hadrat Ali, the man

Hadrat Ali was endowed with all the qualities that make a man great. He was not only great, he was regarded as a superman, an ideal man. He was the paragon of virtue. He enjoyed fame for his piety and religious devotions. He was the embodiment of Islamic values. In his love of God and His Messenger, he was second to none. When praying to God, his absorption was so intense that he often lost consciousness. His mind was so sure that he could hold communion with God. He had learned the Holy Qur'an by heart, and he could quote appropriate verses to suit every occasion. He was most truthful and honest. He was most humble. He was simple in his habits. He avoided display and luxury. He lived the life of an ascetic. Even when he was Caliph he lived in an ordinary house. The door of his house remained open to everyone at all times. He was most generous. He was most liberal in giving charity. He always came to the help of those who were distressed and involved in any difficulty. He looked after widows and orphans as if they were members of his own household. He was a warrior, a general, and a man conspicuous for his bravery and valour. Indeed he was braver than any other man in history. He fought hundreds of duels in his lifetime, and in all such encounters his rivals were worsted. In the various battles, he killed a record number of enemies. He was skilful swordsman and his sword never missed its mark. In the various battles that he fought, he never turned his back. In the battle of Uhud, he received so many wounds that the nurses were unable to dress them. He bore the pain with great patience. The people around him misunderstood him, yet he did not lose patience. He was most chivalrous, and forgiving. He would forgive even his worst enemies. He was a great scholar. His book Nahj ul-Balagha is a living proof of his scholarship and erudition. There was a sense of humour about him, and sometimes he said things in a lighter vein to bring home the point he had in mind. He was a master of the simile and metaphor, and when bringing home a point he always illustrated it with appropriate metaphors and similes. He was a great philosopher, and there was great depth in his thoughts which were expressed in his writing. He was known for his wisdom. He was indeed wiser than Solomon. Most of his wise sayings have attained the dimensions of proverbs. He was a great orator. His sermons were most impressive. He was a master of rhetoric. He is regarded as the father of Islamic learning. He has left a deep mark on Islamic theology. He was the founder of Arabic grammar. He was a great poet. He was the father of Sufism. He was the father of Islamic jurisprudence. He was in impartial judge and his famous judgments are the most valuable assets of Islamic jurisprudence. He was a skilful administrator. He introduced numerous reforms. He was an eminent political thinker for his political thought had an air of modernity about it. The greatness of Hadrat Ali as a man is multi-dimensional in character, and after the holy Prophet, he was the greatest Muslim whose memory is honoured by Muslims all over the world.

Wives and children of Hadrat Ali

The principal wife of Hadrat Ali was Hadrat Fatima, the favourite daughter of the holy Prophet. During the lifetime of Hadrat Fatima, Hadrat Ali at one stage proposed to marry a daughter of Abu Jahl. When the holy Prophet came to know of this proposal, he became annoyed and declared that if Hadrat Ali wanted to marry another wife, he should divorce Hadrat Fatima first. Thereupon Hadrat Ali abandoned the idea of marrying another wife. Hadrat Fatima was the mother of three sons and two daughters. The sons were Hasan, Hussain, and Mohsin. Mohsin died during childhood. The daughters were Zainab and Umm Kulthum.

After the death of Hadrat Fatima, Hadrat Ali married a number of wives. They were:

(1) Umm-ul-Bunian who was the daughter of Hazam b. Khalid. Hadrat Ali had five sons from her, namely: Abdullah, Jafar, Abbas, Othman, and Umar. All of them except Abbas were martyred in the battle of Karbala along with Hadrat Hussain.

(2) Khaula was the daughter of Jafar Hanfiyah. She was the mother of the son known as Muhammad b. Hanfiyah.

(3) Umm Habib who was the daughter of Rabiah. She gave birth to a son Umar, in the daughter Ruqiya.

(4) Asma who was the daughter of Umais. She was in the first instance married to Hadrat Jafar, an elder brother of Hadrat Ali. On the death of Hadrat Jafar, Hadrat Abu Bakr married her. After the death of Hadrat Abu Bakr she married Hadrat Ali. She had to sons from Hadrat Ali, namely: Yahya and Muhammad Asghar.

(5) Laila who was the daughter of Masud. She was the mother of two sons, namely Ubaidullah and Abu Bakr.

(6) Umama who was a daughter of Abi Al Aa's and Hadrat Zainab and elder sister of Hadrat Fatima. Her son from Hadrat Ali bore the name of Muhammad Awsat.

(7) Umm Saeed who was a daughter of Urwa. She bore Hadrat Ali two daughters, namely: Umm-ul-Hasan and Rumia.

(8) Muhyat was a daughter of the famous Arab poet Imra-ul-Qais. She gave birth to a daughter who expired in infancy.

Hadrat Ali married nine wives in all including Hadrat Fatima. The number of wives at a time however did not exceed four. He had a few slave girls of whom Humia and Umm Shuaib bore him 12 daughters, Nafisa, Zainab, Ruqiya, Umm-ul-Karaam, Humaira, Umm Salma, Sughra, Khadija, Umm Hani, Umm Kulthum Jamana and Maimuna. Hadrat Ali was, in all, the father of 15 sons and 18 daughters. [total = 33 children

Man of many distinctions

Hadrat Ali was a man of many distinctions. He owed his distinctions to his relationship with the holy Prophet, his valour, his knowledge and his spiritual attainments.

His birth

He had the distinction of being a Hashimite both on the side of his father as well as his mother.
He had the distinction of having a name which was derivative of the name of Allah. No other person before him bore the name of Ali.
His relationship with the holy Prophet
On opening his eyes after his birth, the first person who he saw was the holy Prophet.
The holy Prophet gave him his name.
As an infant he had the honour of sucking the tongue of the holy Prophet.
He was the first cousin of the holy Prophet. He became a ward of the holy Prophet, and was brought up as a family member of the household of the holy Prophet.
He received his training under the loving care and guidance of the holy Prophet.
When the holy Prophet declared his mission, he was the first teenager to be converted to Islam.
Hadrat Khadijah and Hadrat Ali were the first two persons to pray behind the holy Prophet.
When the holy Prophet invited the Hashimites to a dinner, and aked them to aid him in his mission, Hadrat Ali was the only person to respond to the call of the holy Prophet.
He risked his life for the sake of the holy Prophet and slept on his bed when the holy Prophet left for Medina and the Quraish youth besieged the house with a view to killing the holy Prophet.
When the holy Prophet left for Medina, he entrusted to Hadrat Ali the task of returning the belongings of the people. They had placed their belongings in the custody of the holy Prophet for safekeeping.
When the holy Prophet joined the Muhajirs and the Ansars in fraternity in Medina, he allied himself in fraternity with Hadrat Ali.
The holy Prophet married his beloved daughter Fatima Zahra to Hadrat Ali.
He was commissioned by the holy Prophet to write the agreement which came to be known as the Hudaybia Pact.
After the conquest of Mecca, he had the unique distinction of standing on the shoulders of the holy Prophet and destroying the idols in the Ka'bah.
He was entrusted by the holy Prophet with the special mission of announcing the Quraish Sura "Al Bara'at" (Immunity) to the people on the occasion of the pilgrimage.
He was the only person to whom the holy Prophet referred to as the "Maula" [Master] of the Ummah
When the holy Prophet proposed "Mubahala" [a special kind of debate] with the Christians and the Najran, he chose Hadrat Ali as his "second man."
The progeny of the holy Prophet descends through Hadrat Ali.
He was the only person to whom the holy Prophet imparted "inward knowledge."
The holy Prophet conferred many appellations on Hadrat Ali such as Hidar-iKarrar, Abu Turab, Asad-ullah, Syedul Arab, etc.
The holy Prophet declared his relationship to Hadrat Ali as that of Moses and Aaron.
When the holy Prophet died, Hadrat Ali washed him and prepared his dead body for burial.
His valour
He participated in all the wars of early Islam which were fought under the command of the holy Prophet.
In all the battles, Hadrat Ali was the flag-bearer for the forces of the Muslims.
He was the greatest man among the Muslims. For his unusual bravery, he won such titles as "Asad Allah," (the Lion of God) or "Haidar-e-Karrar" (the warrior who nobody could match.)
During his lifetime, he killed over 1000 enemies. In the Battle of Badr alone killed two dozen people.
He fought over a hundred duels and in all the duels, his adversaries, however strong, were killed.
He was the conqueror of the Khyber.
His knowledge
He was the most learned man of his age. He was a living encyclopaedia of knowledge and learning.
After the holy Prophet, he was the most eloquent person of the age.
Because of his knowledge and wisdom he is known as the "Second Solomon."
His wise sayings and aphorisms have attained the status of classical proverbs.
He was the first person to write a grammar of the Arabic language.
Among the early Muslims, he was the only person whose collections of writings have come down to us and this collection [is] preserved under the title of Nahj-ul-Balagha.
He was a distinguished poet.
He enjoys fame as the "father of rhetoric."
He was an authority on Mathematics.
He was a master of the science of Physics.
He had a deep medical knowledge.
After the holy Prophet, he is regarded as the greatest philosopher of Islam.
He was a calligrapher and wrote in a beautiful hand.
His spiritual attainments
He was the first person to learn the Qur'an by heart.
According to the commentators, there are at least 300 verses in the holy Qur'an which have an implied reference to Hadrat Ali
After the holy Prophet, he was the Chief Judge among the early Muslims. He is regarded as the "father of fiqh." [jurisprudence]
He is the first revivalist among the Muslims. He interpreted the doctrines of Islam and systematized them.
He is regarded as the "father of Sufism." All schools of Tasawwuf [authentic Sufism] trace their origin to him.
His Appellations
Because of his multidimensional greatness and outstanding qualities, Hadrat Ali is known by many appellations, and each appellation illuminates one particular aspect of his excellence.

Some of these appellations are as follows:

(1) Murtada - he with whom God is pleased
(2) Maula - the master
(3) Haidar-i-Karrar- the brave warrior against whom no one could stand
(4) Asad Allah - the lion of God
(5) Al-Ghalib - the victorious
(6) Sher-i-Yazdan - the bravest man of the age
(7) Mushkil Kusha - wine whom resolves the difficulties of the people
(8) Shah-i-Awlia - the king of saints
(9) Shah-i-Mominin - the king of the pious
(10) Abu Turab - father of the earth
(11) Amir-ul-Momineen - leader of the faithful
(12) Amin-ul-Momineen - the trustee of the faithful
(13) Imam-ul-Muttaqeen - the leader of the God-fearing
(14) Sayyid-ul-Arab - the chief of the Arabs
(15) Al Wasi - the beneficiary under the Prophet's 'testamentary statement'
(16) Al Hadi - the guide
(17) Al Zahid - the chaste
(18) Al Abi - the pious
(19) Al Salah - the reformer

Hadrat Ali in the Holy Qur'an

References to Hadrat Ali in the Qur'an

According to the commentators of the Holy Qur'an, there are numerous verses in the Holy Qur'an which have implied references to Hadrat Ali. According to the Shi'ah commentators there are as many as 300 verses in the Holy Qur'an which have an implied reference to Hadrat Ali. According to the Sunni commentators this number is much smaller. According to the consensus of commentators, some of the verses which refer to Hadrat Ali are as follows:

Verse 33, Sura 33

"Allah's wish is but to remove uncleanness far from you, O Folk of the Household, and cleanse you with a thorough cleansing."
Hadrat Ali is obviously included in the expression "Folk of the Household."
Verse 61, Sura 3

"And whoso disputeth with thee concerning him, after the knowledge which hath come unto thee, say (unto him): Come! We will summon our sons and your sons, and our women and your women, and ourselves and yourselves, then we will pray humbly (to our Lord) and (solemnly) invoke the curse of Allah upon those who lie."
This verse alludes the deputation of the Christians of Najran who came to Medina to hold a discussion with the holy Prophet about the truth of Islam. In this verse, the reference to "our sons, and our women" includes references to Hadrat Ali, Hadrat Fatima, Hasan and Hussain.
Verse 3, Sura 9

"And a proclamation from Allah and His messenger to all men on the day of the Greater Pilgrimage that Allah is free from obligation to the idolaters, and (so is) His messenger. So, if ye repent, it will be better for you; but if ye are averse, then know that ye cannot escape Allah. Give tidings (O Muhammad) of a painful doom to those who disbelieve."
In pursuance of this verse, the holy Prophet commissioned Hadrat Ali to go to the 'Greater Pilgrimage' to announce the verses of the Sura "Immunity" wherein God absolved the Muslims from all obligations under treaties previously concluded with the idolators.
Verse 23, Sura 42

"Say O Muhammad to mankind: 'No reward do I ask of you for this except the love of those near of kin.' "
According to Traditions, when the holy Prophet was asked as to who were the relatives alluded to in the verse, the holy Prophet said, "Verily, the reference is to Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Hussain."
Verse 21, Sura 45

"Do those who commit evil deeds suppose that We shall treat them like those who believe and do good deeds - that their lives and their deaths shall be equal.No, bad is their judgment."
According to Ibn Abbas, "the doers of good" cited to in this verse, refer to to to Hadrat Ali, Hadrat Hamza and Hadrat Ubaydah b. Harith.
Verse 17, Sura 11

"Is he to be counted equal with those who rely on a clear proof from his Lord and the witness from Him recites it, and before it was the Book of Moses, and example and a mercy? Such believe therein. Whoso disbelieves therein, the Fire is his appointed place. So be not you in doubt concerning it. Lo, it is the truth from your Lord, but most of mankind believe it not."
One day, in one of his sermons, Hadrat Ali said that there was hardly a man from among to the Quraish who had not been referred to in the Holy Qur'an. Hadrat Ali was asked to recite some verse which alluded to him. Thereupon he recited the above verse.
Verse 4, Sura 66

"Now if both of you turn to Allah repentant, it will be better for you as your hearts are already so inclined. But if you backup each other against him, surely Allah is his helper, and Gabriel and the righteous among the believers, and furthermore, all other angels too are his helpers."
According to Ibn Abbas, the holy Prophet said that the "righteous men" alluded to as "helper" in this verse, refers to Hadrat Ali.
Verse 18, Sura 32

"Is he who is a believer like him who is an evil doer? Verily they are not equal."
According to Ibn Abbas, "believer" in this verse refers to Hadrat Ali, and "evil doer" refers to Walid b. Utba.

Verse 54, Sura 25

"And He it is Who created man from water, and has appointed for him kindred by blood, and kindred by marriage, and your Lord is all powerful."
According to the Traditions, "kindred by blood and kindred by marriage" refers to Hadrat Ali.
Verse 36, Sura 24

"The lamp of light is lit in houses which Allah has allowed to be exalted so that His name be remembered in them. Therein He is glorified in the mornings and evenings."
According to the Traditions, the holy Prophet said that be "houses" referred to in this verse include the house of Hadrat Ali and Hadrat Fatima.
Verse 55, Sura 5

"Your friend is only Allah and His Messenger, and the believers who observed prayer and pay the poor rate."
According to the Traditions, "the believers" referred to in this verse includes a reference to Hadrat Ali.
Verse 12, Sura 58

"O ye who believe! When you consult the Messenger in private, give alms before your consultation. That is better and purer for you. But when you do not find the wherewithal, Lo! Allah is Forgiving and Merciful."
According to the Traditions, when this verse was revealed the holy Prophet wanted to fix an amount which every person who consulted the holy Prophet should pay. Hadrat Ali contended that since the people were generally poor no amount should be fixed and the option should rest with the person concerned, to pay whatever alms he could.
Verse 181, Sura 7

"And of those We have created, there are people that guide men in the truth, and do justice therewith."
According to the Traditions, the reference to "people that guide men with truth" includes a reference to Hadrat Ali.
Verse 57, Sura 43

"And when the son of Mary is cited as an example, lo, the people jeer thereat."
According to the Traditions, the holy Prophet is said to have told Hadrat Ali that one day his example would be like that of Jesus Christ. A section of the people would love him so much that they would willingly die for him, whereas there would also be other people who would fight against him.
Verse 29, Sura 48

"Muhammad is the Apostle off God. And those with Him are firm against the disbelievers, and Merciful amongst themselves. Thus see them bowing down, and prostrating themselves in prayer, seeking grace from Allah and His pleasure. Their mark is upon their faces, being the traces of prostrations. Such is their description in the Torah. And their description in the gospel is like a seed that sends forth its sprout, then makes its strong; it then becomes thick, and stands on its stem, delighting the sowers, and causing the disbelievers to burn with rage at the sight of them. Allah has promised to those of them who believe and do good works, forgiveness and a great We reward."
According to the commentary of Imam Abu Musa, this verse was revealed in favour of Hadrat Ali
Verse 43, Sura 13
Assessment of Hadrat Ali by Western Scholars

Philip Hitti In his book History of the Arabs, Professor Hitti assessed the character of Hadrat Ali as follows: "Valiant in battle, wise in council, eloquent in speech, true to his friends, magnanimous to his foes, Ali became both the paragon of Muslim nobility and chivalry, and the Solomon of Arabic tradition around whose name, poems, proverbs, sermonettes and anecdotes innumerable have clustered. He had swarthy complexion, large black eyes, bald head, a thick and long white beard, and was opulent and of medium stature. His sabre Dhul Fiqar, which was wielded by the Prophet on the battlefield of Badr, has been immortalized in the words of this verse found engraved in many medieval Arab records, "no sword can match Dhul Fiqar, and no young warrior can compare with Hadrat Ali." A later Fidayan movement which developed ceremonies and insignia savouring of medieval European chivalry and the modern scouts movement, took Ali for its father and model. Regarded as wise and brave by all the Islamic world, as the idealistic and exemplary by many Fidayan and dervish fraternities, as sinless and infallible by his partisans, and even held to be the incarnation of the deity by the Ghulah (extremists) among them, he whose worldly posthumous influence was second only to that of the holy Prophet himself. The throngs of pilgrims that still stream to his Mashhad at Najaf and to that of his son Husain, the Shi'iah arch-saint and martyr at nearby Karbala, and the passion-play enacted annually on the tenth of Muharram through the Shi'iah world, testify to the possibility that death may avail a Messiah more than life."

Sir William Muir In his book, The Caliphate, its Rise, Decline and Fall, Sir William Muir paid his tribute to Hadrat Ali in the following words: "In the character of Ali, there are many things to commend him for. Mild and beneficent, he treated Basra when prostrate at his feet with a generous forbearance. Towards theocratic fanatics, who wearied his patience by incessant intrigues and senseless rebellion, he showed no vindictiveness. Excepting Muawiyah, the man of all others whom he ought not to have estranged, he carried the policy of conciliating his enemies to a dangerous extreme. In compromise indeed and in procrastination lay the future of his caliphate. With greater vigour, spirit, and determination, he might have averted the schism which for a time threatened the existence of Islam, and which has never ceased to weaken it. Ali was wise in counsel and many an adage and astute proverb have been attributed to him. But like Solomon, his weakness was for others more than himself.

Charles Mills In his book A History of Muhammadanism, Charles Mills assessed Hadrat Ali as follows: "As the chief of the family of Hashim, and as the cousin and son-in-law of him whom the Arabians respected almost to idolatry it is apparently incredible that Ali was not raised to the caliphate immediately after the death of Muhammad p.b.u.h. In the advantage of his birth and marriage was added the friendship of the Prophet. The son of Abu Talib was one of the first converts to Islam, and was Muhammad's favourite appellation of him, the Aaron of a second Moses. His talents as an orator, and his intrepidity as the warrior commanded to a nation in whose judgment courage was virtue and eloquence was wisdom. But the pride and loftiness of his spirit endured not to caution inseparable from the schemes of policy, and continually precipitated him into rashness. His opposition to Abu Bakr would not have ceased if Fatima had lived. But upon her death, six months after that of her father, the Companions of Muhammad relaxed in their friendship to his family. In the reign of Abu Bakr, Umar and Othman, a dignified independence was preserved by Ali. On the invitation of the Caliphs, he assisted in the councils of Medina, but he was principally occupied in the tranquil pursuits of domestic life and the various duties of his religion. On the murder of Othman the Egyptians who were at Medina offered him the caliphate. Indignant that the power of nomination should be usurped by the strangers, Ali declared that the suffrages of the inhabitants of Mecca and Medina alone could be available. The public voice soon echoed the opinion of the murderers, and the scruples of Ali were soon removed. In apprehension of the enmity of A'isha, his relentless fall, and of the whole family out of Muawiyah, he declined to receive in private the proffered allegiance of the chiefs. With his accustomed simplicity, he proceeded to the mosque clad in a cotton gown, a coarse turban on his head, his slippers were in one hand, and a bow instead of a staff, occupied the other."

Professor Nicholson In his book A Literary History of the Arabs, Nicholson remarked: "Ali was a gallant warrior, a wise counsellor, a true friend and generous foe. He excelled in poetry and in eloquence. His verses and sayings are famous throughout the Muhammadan East, though few of them can be considered authentic. He can be compared with Montrose and Bayard in the fineness of spirit. He had no talent for the stern realities of statecraft and was overmatched by unscrupulous rivals who knew that war is the game of deceit. Thus his career was in one sense a failure - his authority as Caliph was never admitted while he lived, by the whole community. On the other hand he has exerted down to the present-day a posthumous influence only second to that of Muhammad himself. Within a century of his death, he came to be regarded as the Prophet's successor jure divine; as a blessed martyr, sinless and infallible, and even by some as an incarnation of God. The Ali of the Shi'ite legend is not a historical figure glorified, rather he symbolizes in a purely ethical fashion, the religious aspirations and political aims of a large section of the Muslim world."

John J. Pool In his book Studies in Muhammadanism, John J. Pool observed: "The fact is that Ali was too mild a man for the stirring times in which he lived. He was too slow to resolve and too undecided in action. At any time he preferred compromise and delay to energy and promptness, and with fatal results. The death of Ali was an epoch-making event. We come now to the parting of ways. Henceforward the Commanders of the Faithful ceased to be elected by the votes of the people of Medina and Mecca. Arabia was no longer to be the seat of temporal power. For the future, in Islam, might was to take the place of right."

Edward Gibbon In his book Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon observed the following about the assassination of Hadrat Othman and the succession of Hadrat Ali: "A tumultuous anarchy of five days after the martyrdom of Othman was appeased by the inauguration of Ali. His refusal would have provoked a general massacre. In this painful situation, he supported the becoming pride of the chief of the Hashimites; declared that he would rather serve than reign; rebuked the presumption of the strangers and required the formal, if not the voluntary, assent of the chiefs of the nation. He has never been accused of promoting the assassination of Othman, though Persia indirectly and secretly celebrates the festivals of that holy martyr. The quarrel between Othman and his subjects was assuaged by the early mediation of Ali, and Hasan, the eldest of his sons, was insulted and wounded in the defence of the Caliph."

While commenting on the failure of Hadrat Ali and matters pertaining to statecraft, Gibbon observes as follows: "A life of prayer and contemplation had not chilled the martial activity of Ali, but in a mature age, after a long experience of mankind, he still betrayed in his conduct the rashness and indiscretion of youth."

Thomas Carlyle In his book On Heroes and Hero Worship, Thomas Carlyle observed: "As for this young Ali, one cannot but like him. A noble minded creature, as he shows himself, now and always afterwards, full of affection, of fiery daring something chivalrous in him, brave as a lion, yet with a grace, truth and affection worthy of Christian knighthood. He died by assassination in the mosque at Kufa, death occasioned by his own generous fairness, confidence in the fairness of others. He said: if the wound proved not unto death, they must pardon the assassin, but if it did, they must slay him straightaway, so that the two of them in the same our might appear before God, and see which side of that quarrel was the just one."

Dr. Henry Stubbe In his book An Account of the Rise and Progress of Muhammadanism, Dr. Henry Stubbe observed: "Ali was of a brown complexion, a little man with a somewhat large belly, he had a contempt of the world, its glory and pomp. He feared God much, gave many alms, was just in all his actions, humble and affable, of an exceedingly quick wit, and of an ingenuity that was not common. He was exceedingly learned, not only in those sciences that terminate in speculation, but those which extend to practice."

Major Price In his book Memoirs of the Principal Events of Muhammadan History, Major Price observed: "His virtues and extraordinary qualities have been the subject of voluminous panegyrics, and his war-like exploits from his youth upwards have been particularly celebrated in the "Khawer Nama," a poem well-known in the East and which may perhaps contend in extravagance with the wildest effusions of European romance. With his acknowledged talents and magnanimity, it is however, difficult to account for the train of civil mischief and perpetual discontent which continued to disturb him for the whole of his reign. His gallant spirit was probably incapable of bonding to the ordinary shifts of political craft, and it is perhaps true that the Arabian chiefs were not yet sufficiently disciplined to see the sovereign authority quietly monopolized by any particular family."

J.J. Saunders In his book A History of Medieval Islam, J.J. Saunders observed:"His moral qualities were respectively recognized. He was a brave fighter and an eloquent orator and a loyal friend. Many things of his are quoted to prove his mastery of proverbial wisdom, a gift highly honoured among the Semites. He displayed towards his foes a patience and magnanimity expressive of a humane and generous disposition. His religion was founded on genuine piety. He was shocked by the growing luxury and corruption of the age, and to his many doubts whether Othman was an upholder or a violator of the law may be attributed to the hesitating and ambiguous attitude he adopted towards the regicides, which proved so fatal to his rule and reputation. As his temper was indolent, he drifted rather than led. He was easily outmatched by the astute and the forceful, and he lacked the commanding personality to impose his will on a turbulent society. His authority was challenged by the political shrewdness of Muawiyah, and the furious zealotry of the Kharajites, his inability to overcome either delivered Islam to schism and grave believers were driven to see in a reunion of the Empire under the Umayyads the only escape from tribal and sectarian anarchy. Yet he has been raised by a powerful sect little below that of Muhammad himself, the Shi'ah or party of Ali laid down as an article of faith that he was designated by God and the Prophet to be the lawful Caliph and Imam of the Islam, his three predecessors being treated as usurpers, and that Divine Revelation continued to be interpreted by his descendants, and his supposed grave at Najaf, a sandhill on the edge of the desert six miles west of Kufa, is annually visited by thousands of devout pilgrims who curse his supplanters and revere him as the friend of God and the first of Imams."

"And those who disbelieve say 'you are not a Messenger' say to them, 'sufficient is Allah as the witness between me and you, and so is he who possesses knowledge of the Book."
According to commentators, the phrase "whosoever has the knowledge of the Book" alludes to Hadrat Ali.
Verse 64, Sura 8

"O Prophet! Allah is sufficient for you and for such of the followers as follow you."
According to commentators, the phrase "such of the followers as follow you" alludes to Hadrat Ali.