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On Prarthana: A Review

Review for Prarthana: A Book of Hindu Psalms

What is Prarthana? and details on how to get your copy, see ArunsPrarthana.com

Quote from Professor G Madhav Prabhu
"Grateful for your Translation * * * * *

For those who practice it everyday, the hope is that the ritual of prayer releases love energy and uplifts the entire human race. Arun Shanbhag has reinforced this hope in his book, Prarthana, in which he has done a superb job of transliterating and translating many prayers from their Sanskrit version into English. I was particularly impressed by his mastery in translating the Suprabhatam – a prayer that most of us awake to in South India and is actually intended to awake the divine presence within each of us. ..."

Read More: On Prarthana: A review
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Portuguese Inquisition and Revisionism

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Please leave comments here.

Due to my interest in Konkani Temples in Goa, I have been researching books on the Portuguese occupation in Goa. During the Portuguese Inquisition lasting more than 150 years (1560 - 1812), the Jesuits made a systematic attempt at wiping out the Konkani heritage in Goa. Konkanis were either tortured and killed, forced to convert, or give up their lands and migrate. And all our temples in the older Goa were destroyed. It was many other men-of-the-cloth, particularly Anglicans who spread the horrors of the Inquisition, and put political pressure on the Portuguese forcing it to end the Inquisition.

I have tracked scores of such books from the 18th and 19th century which shed a grim light on the atrocities of the Portuguese. In the midst of an enormous amount of historical literature, there are always the revisionists, trying to cast a softer glow on the Portuguese Inquisition. This one by an ordained priest takes the cake.

A few lines from his work and my related comments.
An Historical Sketch of Goa, Rev. Denis L. Cottineau de Kloguen (DK)
Gazette Press, Madras (1831), Reprinted pp 44-45
Also available digitized from the Library at Harvard College, Cambridge, MA; Pg 69 – 70.
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x-posted konkanis
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Konkani Bibliography

I post primarily at: http://ArunShanbhag.com You can consider signing up for Email updates.

I thank all delegates who attended the recent Konkani Sammelan in Toronto, Canada, and made it a phenomenal success. On a personal note, your enthusiastic response to my talk Konkani Temples in Goa was heartening.

In responding to the innumerable requests for the bibliography, I have listed them below. Over the next week, I will also upload all photographs as well. So please check back. The talk itself followed the outline I followed in two articles I had previously written. Please check my posts on the Ramnathi Devasthan, and the Mangeshi Devasthan. You may recognize many of the pictures, and see some new ones too.

On pg 57 of the Sammelan Souvenir is my article "Travels in Kumta." You can read the original article posted on my blog, along with photographs in color. Don't miss the three follow-up articles on Kumta as well. And then, a photo-essay on the processing of Cashew Nuts in Kumta. (Click through for articles).

Bibliography for Konkani Temples of Goa
  • VN Kudva, History of the Dakshinatya Saraswats, Samyukta Gowda Saraswata Sabha, Madras, India (1991)
  • MA Couto, Goa: A Daughter's Story, (2001)
  • Feuerstein, Kak & Frawley, In Search of the Cradle of Civilization
  • C Keni, Saraswats in Goa and Beyond, (1998)
  • BB Lal, The Sarasvati Lives on, (2002)

Related websites:

If you know of other related websites, please mention it in the comments below and I will include them here.
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Kumta 3: Field of Dreams

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Road leading from my cousins house to the Kumta market. It's a 10 minute walk. Bicycles are family vehicles here. Mom and infant are calmly enjoying the ride on the rack. Note: open drains to carry heavy rain water run-off; cows resting ahead on road side.
And across is this spectacular rice field. Despite having seen this hazaar times, I am ever in awe. Depending on the time of day, or year, its a different scene. These pics are from an evening in September; the light has a golden tinge and shadows are getting long. Monsoon rains have just ended, and the crop is starting to mature.

In this God-fearing country, the parting greeting is: Dev Bare Karo! literally, May God do you good!

x-posted from my journal and on indiaphotoalbum
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Kumta 2: Main Street

The Vegetable market sits on one end of Main Street Kumta. Always a treat to walk the remaining few blocks and watch people. The stores are tiny and carry whatever you would need. Nothing fancy here, just life's essentials. Several temples are on this street, and thus flower sellers everywhere.

Notice the reddish tinged road. That comes from the red Laterite rock this entire Konkan region sits atop. In the konkan, everything is made from laterite: buildings, fence walls, bus-stop shelters, stores and even gutters draining road sides. Crushed laterite gravel is used on the shoulders of all roads. Even the dust has a reddish tinge, and so does the normally black asphalt road. After a few days in the konkan, my sense of white clothes now account for a trace of red in it :-)
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x-posted from my journal and on indiaphotoalbum
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Is Steve Jobs a Konkani?

He certainly sounds like a Konkani in this article in The Economist.

Mr Jobs, a pescatarian (ie, a vegetarian who eats fish) ... . (you want more?)

... he proclaims his belief in karma and in love. ... love of one's ideals. Always do only what you love, and never settle, he advised ... . His brush with cancer, in particular, seems to have focused his mind. “Death is very likely the single best invention in life,” Mr Jobs told his young audience. “All external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”

Overall, an excellent article!
x-posted from my journal


In the month of Shravan which comes in the hindu calender (usually in August/September) the lady of the house make mini flower bouquets on Fridays and Sundays of the entire month. These are made in the morning, and distributed among other ladies starting with the mother, mother-in-law, sisters, and friends.

Typically a large number and variety of flowers , grass called dibrankor in konkani are a minimum requirement, and leaves for wrapping the flowers in are collected. Each of the flowers are picked and set along with the dibrakor, and the ensemble is wrapped in a leaf, and tied up. In the first image below the chudis have been arranged in a stainless steel platter for pooja. After pooja they can then be distributed, usually in the evening when we get out of the house.

This custom seems to be unique to konkani brahmins so far as I have seen, if any others also do it, do let me know. Also these chudis made by Suchitra are particularly attractive and rich looking. She says that she copied from my mother, who she says makes the best looking chudis she has seen so far. According to her most ladies just have a couple of flowers and a dibrankor wrapped in it and nothing else. Whereas the chudis that Suchitra and my mom make are having atleast 4 to 5 flowers each in each chudi.

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