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Articles from Pre-1998 Issues 

The Letter "K"

by T. N. Dhar 'Kundan'

The letter 'K' fascinates me. May be it is because I am proud of belonging Kashmir, the land founded by the great Kashyapa. Perhaps this is why I have adopted the pen name Kundan beginning with K. Is it is not a fact that the Indians have never been historyminded and the first great historian who wrote Rajatarangini, was none other than Kalhana of Kashmir ?

Kashmir is known for its Kong (Saffron) which is unique in the world. Our lakes are full of Kamal (Lotus) which traditionally has been a symbol of life. The ladies' headgear in Kashmir is called Kalavalyun, the essential component of which is Kalpush. Then we have our famous Kangri-that sustains us during the Kathyush (freezing cold) of the winter and the Kantopa, the cap that protects us from the biting cold. All these items begin with the letter 'K'.

Now if we turn to our religion, we find that we basically believe in the Bhakti. Be it unto Krishna (Vaishnava), upto Kailashapati (Shaiva) or unto Kaali (Shakhta). All these Deities whom we adore, worship and pray to have the names begining with the letter 'K'. On the Yogic side also there is an important school of thought in Kashmir which advocates practising of Kundalini Yoga. Interestingly enough, here again we come across the same letter 'K'.

Then as the believers of the Bhagawad Geeta and devotees of Lord Krishna we cannot but refer to Kanna Yoga. We know that a major portion of the Geeta is devoted to the discussion on Kanna-the Nishkama Karma at that. We are reminded that to act only is within our competence and that the fruit lies in the hands of the Lord. So unmindful of the fruits we must act and perform our duties. Kirma with capital K has, therefore, to be the cornerstone of our life. We must turn our lives into a Kalpavrikhsha and go on giving without expecting anything in return.

There are innumerable birds in our land, some of them singing birds. We have Kaw (Crow). Kotur (Pigeon) and many others, but I personally love Kukil (Koil) and Katij (Dove, incidentally the name of my mother). May be because of this fascination for the letter K, I am very fond of Kahwa and Kulcha-served of course in the traditional Khose.

I have nostalgic memory of Kadal, (the bridge) Kocha (the lane) and Kwal (the River) where I lived my childhood. I love my mother tongue, Koshur and its literature, enriched by saints, sufis and savants. It is colourful and fragrent with the scent of the multihued flowers of the gardens of Kashmir. It has the flow of the running brooks and the piety and the serenity of the lakes and springs of the valley.

This rich tradition, this pious heritage and this glorious past has not only made us a Godfearing and religious community but has also filled our hearts with Karuna, the compassion. We can't see any one suffer. We cannot tolerate tears on any cheek. We can't bear anyone in pain and agony. That we must have care, concern and compassion for the mankind, the flora and the fauna is the lesson taught to us by the great Sufis, Saints and Rishis like Bhagwan Shree Gopinath Ji. They are the Kamadhars and Kevats (the boatmen) Who Will ferry our Jeevan Kishti (life boat) safe to the other side and they are the ones who have taken Avatar for the Kalyan (Well being) of the human kind. Karuna no doubt is the K-word (The keyword) for the Kalyana of us all. Of course, Kripa of Krishna (Divine grace) is paramount and vital. Kedar to Kanya Kumari, Kamaroop to Kashmir this letter K is seen everywhere. In our spiritual quest we have to ask questions which again start with K, e. g.
 
Kus Who am I ?
Kati  Whither have I come from ?
Kar When has this creation started ?
Kem Who has created this universe ?
Kot Where am I heading to ?

So the letter K and my fascination for it.

[The author is a poet and a versatile writer, he is proficient in a number of languages. He edits the English section of KOSHUR SAMACHAR]
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