The phone rings. It is Puttar on the long distance. ( By the way what is long distance these days) . ” Many happy returns, papa. ” ” My birth day falls in the last week of the month. “, I say blandly.
” The greetings are for your birth day as per the Telugu calendar. It is announced in the paper, you see. I will greet you again on your birth day as per the Gregorian later.”, he laughs and says. The bahu and the kids follow with their greetings.
The missus is sorry that she was not the first one to greet me. I console her that, she was yet to start her daily poojas ( prayers), so she could not have noticed which day it was as per the Telugu calendar. And the news-paper-bpy hasn’t delivered the news paper yet, for her to have learnt of my birth day therefrom.
Yes, you can know my birth day if you follow the Indian news papers, because ……
When I was young, my mom used to say that, I was born on a great and auspicious day. That was what the pundit told her when I was born..
I would brush it aside. ” Sathon din Bhagwan ka .Kya Mangal kya Pir.” The seven days belong to God, does it matter it is Mon day or Tues day, or something else to that effect.
The missus always insists that I get at least a set of new clothes for my birthday, I would invariably. reply that I possessed a lot of clothes. It is time we reduce our possessions.Another set would be redundant. I would rather wear the emperor’s new clothes. It was my day of birth after all,,I would joke grandiosely..
Some year’s ago. After a similar exchange, the missus herds me into a gift shop to buy a gift, if not a set of new clothes. The benign shopkeeper, on knowing of the event the gift was intended for, looks at me admiringly and says, ” You are very fortunate to have been born today.”. I am surprised at his words which echoed my deceased mother’s words. But I keep silent. He continues, ” This is the auspicious day on which a great saint, a messiah,Bhagawan Vardhaman Mahaveer was born. The thirteenth day of the brighter fortnight of the first month of the Indian calendar. “. I noticed that his shop was named, the Jain Gift Centre.
Some years later, I was on a visit to Macherla, a small but historical town in the State, to attend a function in the house of a distant relative. I took the opportunity to visit the ancient temple of Chenna Kesava, a version of Lord Krishna. I notice from a bulletin board there, that the Lord’s birth day and wedding is celebrated not on the Krishna’s traditional day of birth, that is Janmashtami, but on the day on which Mahaveer was born. I understand that Chenna Kesava being commonly revered by the Jains as well as the Hindus, the birth day as well as wedding day of Chenna Kesava is celebrated on the Birth day of the messiah.
Right faith , right knowledge , and right conduct are the essential qualities that Bhagawan Mahaveer preached. Right conduct can result only through a life long pursuit of nonviolence, truthfulness, non-stealing, chastity, non-attachment to material possession . Mahavira also taught that men and women are equals spiritually. There are many rigorous requirements one has to adhere, to be a true Jain.
My mother stands vindicated. It is for me to vindicate myself. Tall order. But no harm, giving it a sincere try at least starting from now, I think.