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Wednesday, September 24, 2003


One of my favorite serials when I was a kid was Bharat Ek Khoj (Hindi: भारत एक खोज, translation: Discovery of India)
It was a series of explorations into the different periods of Indian history and was made in 1988 by the writer, director and producer Shyam Benegal.
The serial was based on a book written by the great historian and the first Prime Minister of independent India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, titled The Discovery of India.
The 53 episode television series was telecast on Doordarshan and dramatically unfolded the 5000 year history of India from its beginnings to the coming of independence in 1947. The starcast included Om Puri and others. Om Puri was also a narrator of the stories. Roshan Seth looked very much like Nehru and was also the narrator of the series.
Lyrics Of The Title Track
The lyrics of the track were so meaningful and the music was excellent. I can’t seem to forget the lyrics after so many years.
“Srishti se pehle sat nahin thaa, asat bhi nahin Antariksh bhi nahin, aakaash bhi nahin thaa. Chhipaa thaa kyaa, kahaan, kisne dhaka thaa? Us pal to agam, atal jal bhi kahaan thaa.
Shrishti kaa kaun hain kartaa? Kartaa hain yeh vaa akartaa? Oonche aakash mein rahtaa. Sadaaa adhyaksh banaa rahtaa. Wohee sach much mein jaantaa..Yaa nahin bhi jaanataa Hain kisi ko nahin pataa, Nahin pataa, Nahin hai pataa, nahin hai pataa.
Voh tha hiranya garbh srishti se pehle vidyamaan. Vohi to saare bhoot jaatee ka swami mahaan. jo hai astitvamaana dharti aasmaan dhaaran kar. Aise kis devta ki upasana kare hum havi dekar?
Jis ke bal par tejomay hai ambar. Prithvi hari bhari sthapit sthir. Swarg aur sooraj bhi sthir. Aise kis devta ki upasana kare hum havi dekar?
Garbh mein apne agni dhaaran kar paida kar, Vyapa tha jal idhar udhar neeche upar, Jagaa jo devon ka ekameva pran bankar, Aise kis devta ki upasana kare hum havi dekar?
Om ! Srishti nirmata swarg rachaiyta purvaj rakhsa kar. Satya dharma palak atul jal niyamak raksha kar. Phaili hain dishayen bahu jaisi uski sab mein sab par, Aise hi devta ki upasana kare hum havi dekar, Aise hi devta ki upasana kare hum havi dekar.”
Here's a translation from Sanskrit (by Prof: Raimundo Panikkar, courtesy Google)At first was neither Being nor Nonbeing.
There was not air nor yet sky beyond.
What was wrapping? Where? In whose protection?
Was Water there, unfathomable deep?
There was no death then, nor yet deathlessness;
of night or day there was not any sign.
The One breathed without breath by its own impulse
Other than that was nothing at all.
Darkness was there, all wrapped around by darkness,
and all was Water indiscriminate, Then
that which was hidden by Void, that One, emerging,
stirring, through power of Ardor, came to be.
In the beginning Love arose,
which was primal germ cell of mind.
The Seers, searching in their hearts with wisdom,
discovered the connection of Being in Nonbeing.
A crosswise line cut Being from Nonbeing.
What was described above it, what below?
Bearers of seed there were and mighty forces,
thrust from below and forward move above.
Who really knows? Who can presume to tell it?
Whence was it born? Whence issued this creation?
Even the Gods came after its emergence.
Then who can tell from whence it came to be?
That out of which creation has arisen,
whether it held it firm or it did not,
He who surveys it in the highest heaven,
He surely knows - or maybe He does not!
I discovered later that it was an extract from the Rigveda. In the Rig Veda, there is a sukta or a great hymn called Nasadiya Sukta.

The NASADIYA SUKTA also of Rig Veda gives another account which says " In the beginning there was neither existence nor non- existence, no realm, no sky, no air, no earth. There was neither mortality nor immortality, neither any form nor name, neither day nor night.; Darkness concealed darkness. There was, however, only one thing: 'Breath which breathed breathlessly.' This breath desired to create and there was creation. The Gods themselves were not there. How was it formed or was it not formed at all? God only knows; Maybe he knows; Maybe he knows not"2
Thus desire- Kama ( desire or lust ) is found to be the cause of creation. Whose desire was that? No one knows. From 'ASAT' -( Non-being) arose 'SAT'- (being). The opposites that are yet complementary entities whose interaction produced and maintained everything.
Does this not sound like the saying " The Lord said 'let there be light ' and there was light"?
The music for the the title track was done by the famous composer Vanraj Bhatia. The track was a mixture of Sanskrit Slokas from Rigveda, and their translations in Hindi.
One of the singers of the Vedas was Mr. Gauri Shankar, I was an active Chinamayite then. Mr Gauri Shankar had attended the Chinmaya Balavihar Camp at the Sandeepany Sadhnalaya Ashram at Powai and taught us some shlokas. He also told us that he is one of the singers of the title track of Bharat Ek Khoj, that made me watch the serial. I was so proud to know that I know one of the persons in the credits of the track.
List of Episodes
1. Bharat Mata Ki Jai
2. The Beginnings
3. The Vedic People and the Rigveda
4. Caste Formation
5. Mahabharatha Part 1
6. # Mahabharatha Part 2
1. Republics and Kingdoms
2. Acceptance and Negation of Life
3. Chankya and Chandragupta Part 1
4. Chankya and Chandragupta Part 2
5. Ashoka Part 1
6. Ashoka Part 2
7. Sangam Period and Sillapadirakam Part 1
8. Sangam Period and Sillapadirakam Part 2
9. The Classical Age
10. Kalidasa Part 1
11. Kalidasa Part 2
12. Bhakti
13. Chola Empire Part 1
14. Chola Empire Part 2
15. Delhi Sultanate Part 1 (Arrival of Turk-Afgan)
16. Delhi Sultanate Part 2 (Prithvi Raj Raso)
17. Delhi Sultanate Part 2 (Padmavat)
18. Synthesis
19. Vijaynagar Empire
20. Fall of Vijaynagar
21. Akbar Part 1 (Deem-E-Ilahi)
22. Akbar Part 2
23. Golden India
24. Aurangzeb Part 2
25. Aurangzeb Part 2
26. Shivaji Part 1
27. Shivaji Part 2
28. Company Bahadur
29. Tipu Sultan
30. Bengal Renaissance and Raja Ram Mohan Roy
31. 1857 - Part 1
32. 1857 - Part 2
33. East India Company -Indigo Revolt
34. Mahatma Phule
35. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan

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