Excerpts From My Diary : Day 12 (2)

24th May’18

Agra Fort

When you stop your car in the front of the entrance, you can see the majesty of the Agra Fort. It is so symmetrical and is made of red/brownish-red stones. The style of carvings was very similar to the Taj. While entering, the grills were very pretty with a honeycomb like design. I can’t describe stuff well cause I don’t know the specific architectural terms.

When you stop your car right outside

Entering the Fort

As we walked inside, the colours within the arch-like rooms were painted a darker shade of orangish red. There were many beams as well.

Towards the uphill entrance

Reaching uphill

We proceeded towards the Jahangir Palace after entering and climbing a bit uphill. Wherever I look, either there is greenery or buildings related to the fort. It is so beautiful.. I can’t…no words. As I walk in the palace, I feel the historic vibes; a mere peasant like me, walking on the path where the kings passed from. The doors have protuding stuff to protect from intruders. Inside, the dome has amazing patterns and the symmetry is perfect. Arches face each other, stones are equidistant.

The Jahangir Palace

Walking ahead, we entered the courtyard. The king sat on a high podium. The ladies stood / sat in the little arches.

From the arches ahead in the open, one could see the Taj Mahal. It was far away, but clearly visible. The ‘jaali’ filtered sunlight and those shapes were reflected on the ground. We entered the marbled area, where the Diwan-i-Khas, Roshan Ara Pavilion, and Jahan Ara Pavilion were. The Roshan Ara Pavilion and Jahan Ara Pavilion had a good view of the Taj Mahal. They were like open balconies. Inside the Khas Mahal, the inner dome inlay work so intricate, it had geometric patterns and flowers. The Muthamman Burj was very, very beautiful, with intricate carvings of flowers and hollow designs. The beams were all full of designs. Several stones seemed chipped due to age but it was still a perfect fit. It all fits like a cog. Doesn’t look like they were fixed as a design. Looks like a single tile. The entire stretch has a royal feel.

View of the Taj Mahal

We saw the Diwan-i-Khas, which was meant for the VIP guests of the King. It had double arches and square like designs, like a chocolate bar. This area overlooked the entire floor and the greenery below. It was like a box.

View from the Diwan-i-Khas

The Diwan-i-Aam was on the ground floor. Unlike Diwan-i-Khas, the whole thing was not covered with designs. The king sat on a high podium and the people below. Only where the king sat were carvings. It was big, because it was for common people, unlike Diwan-Khas which was a small, royal place because the amount of VIP at one time is less. But seriously, I want to go back in time or project the past here… Where does the king sit? What was the reaction of the people?

We went to the Anguri Bagh. There were green and red plants/flowers there. The area looked like puzzle pieces. One could see a wide view of several buildings of the Fort from here. The alignment of the arches is what always takes my breath away.

After exiting, I had lemon soda which was very tasty. It is called as ‘Goti soda’. I’ve gotten a sort of addiction to it now.

5:20 p.m.

We left for home. The way is long, we stopped for tea and snacks and zoomed off. 6:17 p.m. was around sunset and we were still travelling. We reached the city area very late, around 9 o’clock. Before the city, we travelled extensively across the Yamuna Expressway with several toll booths. We reached our relatives place at around 10:00 p.m. After dinner, I watched my cousins play cricket and then slept like a log.

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Music used:

https://youtu.be/9JfpKg3aH5A

https://youtu.be/jnwlstRTkwU

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Did you all like the videos? Let me know in the comments!

Excerpts From My Diary : Day 13 – Day 15

Excerpts From My Diary : Day 12 (1)

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Excerpts From My Diary : Day 12 (1)

Day 12

24th May’18

Delhi➡️Vridavan➡️Agra➡️Delhi

6:50 a.m.

Left for Vrindavan. Everyone was talking about how the Delhi roads are so clean and green. There are many open fields and trees on both the sides, but they all line up behind the barricade. The roads are huge and the mountains peek through the far horizon. We can also see the Yamuna river.

10:07 a.m.

Reached Vrindavan. On the way, we were discussing about Mirabai, Krishna, his childhood, Radha etc. the ‘gallis’ (lanes) in Vrindavan are very small and almost everyone keeps on chanting ‘Radhe Radhe’. All the cars also have the same phrase written on them. Many shops lined up one after the other selling Petha and and clothes. There were many temples there. We just went to one temple, the Banke Bihari Temple. There was a lot of rush. In the midst of the crowd I could hardly get a glimpse of the idol.

After that we left for Taj Mahal soon, because we had a long day ahead.

12:27 p.m.

We reached the Taj Mahal area. There is a certain radius where our car drops us. It is to prevent the polluted air from destroying the Taj Mahal, which is an International Heritage. After that, battery operated buses take the podium. As we went closer we could see several Petha shops, shops selling hats, books, idols and stuff. We went to purchase tickets. (For those planning to go, don’t forget to take an ID proof along with you.) It was scorching hot.

We hired a guide who told us various interesting stories regarding the Taj Mahal. There there are four Gates around for entry. We entered from the West Gate. We started walking to the North gate and as I was walking, I could see the Taj Mahal right in the front. I was far but it seemed so close.

The North Gate/Main Gate/Great Gate

Inside the North Gate, there were paintings/carvings of flowers on the marble part and symmetrical lines on the half sized domes. It’s like, if you would put them together, they’d fit perfectly. People kept on going in and out. But my eyes were fixated on the Taj Mahal. We took some pictures there. There are well maintained trees on both the sides of the pool. The Taj Mahal is beautiful, it stands in all glory, a telling of a love gone by which is eternal in our hearts. The Yamuna river lies behind. And far off, you can see the Agra Fort.

Taj Mahal from the North Gate

View after you reach the other side of the North Gate

Then we went through the outer arches of the ‘Mehman Khana’. The carvings of flowers outside were still intact and beautiful. The Mehman Khana looks very regal. We walk inside and the inner part of the Dome again has many patterns, some of which seem worn out. When we came out, we could see the layout of the Dome of the Taj Mahal on the ground.

Images of the Mehman Khana (guest house)

Layout of the Dome

The Taj Mahal from the Mehman Khana

Across the other bank of Yamuna, lies the Mehtab Bagh, which was actually a site for Shah Jahan to create the black Taj Mahal.

View from the back side of the Taj Mahal

There are two tombs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz; real and fake. The fake ones are on the top and the real ones are underground. The ones above are the replicas of the real tomb. We reached the entrance. Photography and videography were not allowed inside. So I took a few pictures of the entrance. We had to either take out our footwear or put a cover on the footwear. (There are footwear covers one can buy for a good price before buying the tickets.)

The entrance again has a very beautiful design. There were many things written in Persian (or Arabic) I am not sure about the language, but it seems very important. From the Taj Mahal podium one could see the entire complex.

View from the Taj Mahal podium

Entrance of the Taj Mahal

We went inside, it was like a roundabout. The main mausoleum was so beautiful. There were 9 corners 5 fully covered and 4 with a ‘jaali’ (# – something like this) design, maybe for sunlight to filter in. And while walking, I saw the stairs to the real tombs underground. They were covered with a net. I walked out and saw similar calligraphic carvings. There were floral designs and several repetitive motifs. The minaret also had a way to go in but they were locked. I heard they tilt a little outside so that they don’t fall on the main monument during earthquakes.

It was so hot, my cheeks were burning. I could hardly keep my eyes open. Walking out, I saw arches again. I actually love them and through them, I clicked the pictures of the Taj Mahal.

Once outside, I didn’t have lunch. I was surviving on ice cream and soft drinks. I couldn’t eat in all this sunlight. Then, we purchased various kinds of ‘Petha’ for ourselves and our relatives. The ‘paan’ flavoured Petha especially was really good. The battery operated buses were full so we walked all the way back to the car.

4:10 p.m.

We left the Taj. The experience was really good. I love architecture and would want to know more about these things.

*Next we proceed to the Agra Fort

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Music used : https://youtu.be/jnwlstRTkwU

Hello everyone! I know I’ve been on a very long break but I’m back! There is a lot of stuff for both Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, so I’ve divided Day 12 into two posts.

Thank you for checking out this blog!

Excerpts From My Diary : Day 12 (2)

Excerpts From My Diary : Day 9 – Day 11

Instinctual Intellect.

      Tokugawa Ieyasu was the first Shōgun of the Tokugawa shogunate. The above is one of my favourite quotes by him and is appropriate even in the 21st century; though it was spoken more than 400 years ago.

     No matter what the era, illusions and delusions about fellow mortals have always led to individual ruin. 

Let us discuss the quote in parts:

Persuade thyself that

     These three words are a message within itself. You are the only one who can pacify yourself. You are the only one who can ruin yourself with toxic thoughts. It’s your decision. You are the only one who has the authority to persuade yourself and change your own opinion. Don’t get influenced by others. At the end, it all boils down to what you want to perceive about yourself and your surroundings. 

     In this context, Tokugawa Ieyasu san wants us to coax ourselves by understanding the truth of human nature.

imperfection and inconvenience are the natural lot of mortals,

     Human beings are the epitome of disharmony in terms of emotions. We are guided by the flow of our thoughts, impulsive to the core, and we succumb. That we act on instincts makes us different from each other. We set different standards of reality and act according to it. At the end, it all boils down to ‘Me’, ‘Myself’ and ‘I’. 

     Thus, everyone acts according to their own motivations. And when things don’t go our way, they are just an eyesore. When we expect something from someone, we impose our view of reality on them. This, of course, is our flaw. And when the person is not able to fulfill them, we get disheartened. But in actuality, they were just acting according to their version of reality, which unfortunately turned out to be different from ours.

     In this sense, none of us are perfect in each other’s eyes. And when things do not match our reality, they cause discomfort. Distortion of thoughts. And as an intellectual species, the haywire of thoughts and emotions is an inconvenience

     The quote wants us to realise that every single mortal will act according to self instinct. And instincts are meant to come naturally. Just as sheeps follow the shepherd, humans follow the trail of individual desire.

and there will be no room for discontent, neither for despair.

     After you acquaint yourself with the fact that every human being will surely differ from your expectations, emotional resolution will arise.

     As I said previously, things that don’t go according to our will are a hindrance. When we free ourselves from the false thought that people will keep up to our criteria, we save ourselves from the trauma. There is no discontent in thought and everything is clear like a summer day. Discontent causes turmoil. It obstructs day to day activities and prevents us from thinking straight. And as intellectual beings, a loophole in the thought process can cause severe decisive consequences. 

     And this in turn leads to despair. We survive in a vicious circle of thoughts. Despair makes us question our lives and affinities. And that is detrimental. It makes us question and generalize humanity. 

“Why does this only happen with me?” 

“Why is this world so cruel to me?”

are thoughts that bother us. 
     Actually, it’s all in the mind. If we convince and immune ourselves to human thought and behavioural process, we can have a peaceful mental status.

Persuade thyself that imperfection and inconvenience are the natural lot of mortals, and there will be no room for discontent, neither for despair.

-Tokugawa Ieyasu

     Always keep in mind that no one can ever be at the exact pedestal that your thoughts lead you to. There are discrepancies. The fact that we can’t actually understand each other’s reality is a human flaw; an imperfection. This has caused inconvenience since time immemorial. But do not let this sway you. Do not let this disrupt your spirit. If you accept this fact, you will be free from disappointments and disarray.

(Symbol of the Tokugawa clan. Image source- Google)
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Do comment your views and suggestions about this format of quote interpretation.

Interpretation of a quote by Date Masamune. (Of Rectitude and Benevolence)

Click here for the previous post. (Gazing Into the Memory of a Lens.)

Of Rectitude and Benevolence.

     Date Masamune. The name itself is the echelon of power. He is one of my most favourite historic figure and I absolutely adore this valiant being. He is the One Eyed Dragon of Oshu and a single eye is enough to instill fear in the hearts of not only humans, but demons as well.

     Well keeping my admiration aside (I could talk about it the whole day), I would like to talk about the quote in the above image. 

Rectitude carried to excess hardens into stiffness; 

benevolence indulged beyond measure sinks into weakness


First, let us decode the meaning of a few words:


Rectitude –


1. Straightness; the state or quality of having a constant direction and not being crooked or bent. [from 15th c.]


2. (now) The fact or quality of being right or correct; correctness of opinion or judgement. [from 15th c.]


3. Conformity to the rules prescribed for moral conduct; (moral) uprightness, virtue [from 16th c.]


(via wikitionary)

 


From the above meanings, we can interpret the following,


1 talks about the physical aspect of rectitude. 


2 talks about the idealistic aspect. 


Whereas 3 is the amalgamation of both.


     If rectitude implies ‘straightness’, it suggests a constant state of mind in a human context. The inability to accept change and move on. The firmness of the mind in its self indulgence.


     If rectitude is ‘the quality of being correct’, then rectitude is a self perceived virtue. What is right for one man, is evil to another. It is subjective.


     If rectitude is ‘conformity to the rules of morals’, then it is obedience to norms. Self prescribed or socially prescribed.


     If we look closely, rectitude is almost the same as stiffness. But Date sama has used both these words. Maybe he is trying to tell us something different. Let us try to interpret.


 When he says,  

“Rectitude carried to excess hardens into stiffness”,

he seems to imply rectitude in an idealistic sense and stiffness in a physical sense, like face value, something tangible


***

Let us take an example appropriate to Date Masamune samas time to understand this better:


There are two warring states. One is equipped with western styled rifles and cannons and the other chooses to fight with katana (swords). The state using traditional weapons justifies its morals by the usage of non-western goods and thereby retaining the cultural pride. 

On the contrary, the state using western weapons justifies its morals of triumph by using any means possible. The virtues for culture lie within the heart, no matter what means used.


In most of the cases, it is obvious that the state with advanced weapons will emerge victorious. They’ll reign over all. If the state using traditional weapons had changed their strategy to suit the changing times and not fallen victim to the stiffness of their rectitude, they would have a fair chance of winning too.


     So this stiffness of the reluctance to use new weapons was a tangible quality. We could visually gauge the rectitude of this state; carried to excess in the time of war. 

***

So now let us interpret the following :

Rectitude carried to excess hardens into stiffness,

The constancy of morals is an appropriate thing, but don’t carry it to more than what’s desired. The quality of being excessively virtuous will make you resistant and reluctant to change. This will hinder your growth as an individual. You will no longer be able to adapt to change. And that will be your end in this game of survival of the fittest. 

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Benevolence

1. (uncountable) Disposition to do good

2. (uncountable) Charitable kindness

3. (countable) An altruistic gift or act


(via wikitionary)



     It is very clear that benevolence is the epitome of humanity. Compassion is one of the seven virtues of a samurai. Benevolence is the instinctual desire to do well for the society. 

じん-Jin (One of the virtues of the ‘Bushidō’)


    Benevolence is not only kindness in terms of service or financial or physical help; you can even be benevolent with your trust. Giving people the benefit of your trust is a kindness of your heart. But benevolence should be confined to certain limits.

    That’s what Date sama is trying to explain. Anything in excess is lethal. Be it rectitude or benevolence.

     Benevolence is like sand. You can hold a few of the grains in your palm but a fistful would just repel away. 


Benevolence indulged beyond measure sinks into weakness.”


     Excessive benevolence is deceptive like quicksand. If you try too hard, you will sink faster. But this quicksand is your inevitable downfall. Be kind, but be shrewd.

     In Date samas time, one had to be sly to protect the fiefdom. Armies were massacred ruthlessly and people went to war at a very young age. There were betrayals. So I can understand where his words come from.

     Turning a blind eye to reality under the pretext of ‘trust’ is the greatest mistake. Many civilizations have thus fallen down. 



     Benevolence is a virtue. Being kind and helping people physically, emotionally and financially is totally alright. But we must keep this habit in check. 


Are you providing your shoulder for others to cry on to such an extent that it hurts?


Are you being so emotionally kind that you are incapable of defending yourself by protecting your own sanity?


Are you being so financially kind at the expense of not being able to feed your own self?


If any of the above is true, then it’s time to change. So in this regard, we can interpret the next two lines,

Benevolence indulged beyond measure sinks into weakness,


Be kind. But not so kind that you bet your self identity over it. Judge people. Analyse their motives. Everyone doesn’t require an equal amount of kindness. If you cross the limits of benevolence, you will be taken advantage of your foolish behaviour. You will become gullible. You will become vulnerable beyond help. Do good to those who need it aka do good to yourself and be just towards yourself.


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Date Masamune

(Image source – Wikipedia)


Rectitude carried to excess hardens into stiffness; 

benevolence indulged beyond measure sinks into weakness.




Thank you for checking out this blog! 

Do comment and let me know your suggestions if you want me to interpret other quotes from anime / manga or by Japanese warlords.

Click here for the previous post. (Connected.)