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India-Diaspora, Political, Diplomatic and Business Connectivity

Editor’s Desk


he Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. (IREDA) is playing a very positive role in sustainable clean energy growth in the country. In 2016-17, IREDA increased its financing of green energy projects considerably, crossing the commendable milestone of Rs 10,000 crore in a single year for the very first time. The Agency which works under the aegis of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy extended loans of Rs 10,200 crore to 112 clean energy projects across solar, wind, small hydro and biogas segments in 2016-17. While doing so, it almost doubled its support of solar projects from Rs 2,684.69 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 4,785.97 crore in 2016-2017. In the current financial year, IREDA has plans to finance similar clean technology projects to the tune of Rs 12,500-Rs 13,000 crore. In June 2015, the Indian Government bestowed the Mini Ratna Category I status to IREDA, thereby providing greater financial autonomy and delegation of powers in its operations. In the words of its dynamic CMD, Mr K.S. Popli, whom we have featured on our cover, “There is a huge market potential for renewables in India. Renewable energy is not only environment-friendly but it is also becoming cost competitive.” Under Mr Popli’s leadership, IREDA has gone from strength to strength. The Agency has initiated the process of converting from an NBFC to a green bank. “In effect, we are already a green bank, but some more formalities have to be gone through before our name can be changed appropriately,” says Mr Popli. Renewable energy is naturally replenished on a human timescale. It includes sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat. They provide energy in four critical areas such as electricity generation, air and water heating and cooling, transportation and rural (off-grid) energy services. We have a very strong country coverage in the magazine. Plus do take a look at the photographic coverage during what has been a hectic week or two in India’s political landscape. Happy reading.

Sayantan Chakravarty (


empire Volume 13 No. 3 August 2017 RNI No.: DELENG/2005/16693

GLOBAL ADVISORY BOARD Mr Inder Singh, Dr Rami Ranger, Dr Kamalanathan Sappani, Mr Mridul Pathak, Ms Priya Tandon Editor Sayantan Chakravarty Consulting Editor Yogesh Sood (Business and Commerce) Sipra Das (Photography) Kul Bhushan Jayant Borkar (Mumbai Affairs) Sanjay Sharma (BJP Affairs) Paras Ramoutar (Caribbean Affairs) Vishnu Bisram (New York) Premchand Ramlochun (Mauritius) Liladhar J. Bharadia (Kenya) Jay Banerjei (Toronto) Head—Art and Print Jaydev Bisht Additional Contributions From Ambassador Gonchig GANBOLD, Yogi Ashwini Registered Office: N-126, II Floor, Greater Kailash I, New Delhi - 110 048. Contact: +91.11.2923.3647, +91.11.2923.1515. Our Associate Offices: Hyderabad: Abhijit Bhattacharjee, Tel: +91.9848033874. Mauritius: 28, Cnr. Jasmins and Lataniers Avenue Résidence Sunsetville, La Caverne, Vacoas 73310 Republic of Mauritius Trinidad and Tobago: 61 Main Road, Caparo, Trinidad, W.I. Canada: Suite 209 885 Progess Ave, Toronto, ON M1H G3G Canada New York: 260, Madison Avenue, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10016 ADVERTISEMENT AND SUBSCRIPTIONS Email: M: +91.9899117477, +91.98116.27971, +91.9953824095 Printed, published, owned by Sayantan Chakravarty. Editor is Sayantan Chakravarty. Published from N -126, II Floor, Greater Kailash I, New Delhi 110 048, INDIA. Printed at Archana Advertising Pvt. Ltd., C-78, Okhla Industrial Area, Ph-1, New Delhi 110020. All rights reserved throughout the world. Any kind of reproduction in any media is prohibited. All disputes are subject to jurisdiction of courts in Delhi.

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Sayantan Chakravarty is in a select group of 12 writers chosen by Scholastic Education to promote advanced English literature for schools worldwide. Included in the group are Nobel Laureate William Butler Yeats, R K Narayan (Padma Vibushan and Sahitya Award winner), journalist and poet Walt Whitman, writer Saki (Hector Hugh Munro), poet Nissim Ezekiel (Sahitya Akademi Awardee), writer Jerome K Jerome (author of Three Men in a Boat), poet Edward Lear, Roald Dahl (16th on Time Magazine’s list of greatest British writers). Sayantan Chakravarty’s stories featured in Best of Indian Express of 25 years and among select stories in Best of India Today’s 25 years.


IntervIew: Mr K.S. PoPlI, ChaIrMan anD ManagIng DIreCtor InDIan renewaBle energy DeveloPMent agenCy ltD (IreDa)

“As a prime mover, IREDA has shown the way to peers” The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) is a non-banking financial institution headed by its CMD, Mr K S Popli. Overall, IREDA is under the administrative control of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy which is currently led Mr Piyush Goyal, the energetic and committed Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, Mines and New and Renewable Energy. IREDA is a Mini-Ratna-I public sector financial institution that is committed to maintain its pre-eminent position in innovative financing in renewable energy (RE), energy efficiency and conservation, and environmental technologies through efficient systems and processes. The CMD, IREDA, speaks with India Empire’s Consulting Editor (Business) Yogesh Sood on a range of subjects On the role of IREDA in promotion and development of India’s renewable energy renewable energy in the country. sector… Since its inception, IREDA has On the contribution of played a pioneering role in renewable energy in India’s supporting and facilitating the energy mix… policies and program of the Currently renewable energy Ministry of New & Renewable has reached to more than 17.5 % Energy (MNRE) that has nurtured in the Indian energy mix. The all the renewable energy industry in the India installed power generation country. IREDA has primarily capacity is more than 326 GW, out worked with the private sector of which, renewables accounts for enterprises operating in the power 57 GW. sector. For the last three decades, There is a huge market potential for renewables in India. India has an IREDA has been supporting estimated renewable energy establishment of renewable energy potential of about 1095 GW from projects and has greatly succeeded in commercially exploitable sources commercialization of sustainable with 750 GW solar power potential energy technologies in the country. assuming only 3% waste land is In a nutshell this is where we made available. Renewable energy is stand today: Mr K S Popli, CMD, IREDA not only environment-friendly but it ● Financing Renewable Energy is also becoming cost competitive. In a recent solar bidding projects since last 30 years. in Madhya Pradesh for 200 MW Projects, the lowest tariff of ● Largest share in RE Project Financing in India. Rs. 2.44 per unit has been discovered, which is a great signal ● Financed more than 2283 renewable energy (RE) that renewables, especially solar, is becoming cost competitive. projects. ● Loan Sanctioned to the tune of more than ₹50,569 Impact on the people of India… crore and disbursed ₹29,015 crore as on June 2017. India, home to 18% of the world’s population, uses only ● Introduced several innovative financing schemes for 6

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Mr K S Popli, CMD, IREDA, received the Golden Peacock Award for Sustainability on behalf of IREDA from The Rt. Hon. Oliver Letwin, Cabinet Minister of UK at a function in London. Also seen on the dais (From L to R), Lt. Gen. J S Ahluwalia, PVSM (Retd), President, Institute of Directors, India, Hon. Alok Sharma, MP, Member of Parliament for Reading West, UK

6% of the world’s primary energy. India’s per capita energy consumption is just 1010 units per year whereas the world average is about 3000 units. Renewable energy is critical for addressing climate change, creating new economic opportunities, and providing energy access to the billions of people still living without modern energy services. Setting up of projects in remote/ rural areas develops local infrastructure and creates employment opportunities, leading to inclusive growth – opportunities for start-ups. Solar Energy can provide electricity to 360 million people in India living off-grid (~50% of India’s rural population). Renewable power is environmentally sustainable and contributes towards ‘Energy Access’ under decentralized mode. The present Government is committed to provide 24 X 7 “power for all” by 2019 and to meet the challenges, RENEWABLE ENERGY is the best bet, keeping in view that “India lives in villages”. We are building for the future. The vision, going ahead… The Government has set ambitious targets of having 175 GW of installed capacity of renewable sources of power by 2022. This includes 100 GW of solar, 60GW of wind, 10 GW of biomass, and 5GW of small hydroelectric projects. The Government is working on mission mode and has been taking several policy and legislative initiatives to boost the sector. As a result of such initiatives, Solar power cumulative installed capacity has reached to 12.3 GW (As on March, 2017). The last year also witnessed biggest ever solar power capacity addition of 5.5GW. Solar parks have attracted huge interest from global investors and have been a success story in India. 34 solar parks in 22 states with

aggregate capacity of 2 GW have been approved till date. During FY 2016-17, wind power capacity addition was 5.5 GW, which is highest ever wind power capacity addition in the country during a single year. In a recent solar bidding in Madhya Pradesh for 200 MW Projects, the lowest tariff ofRs. 2.44 per unit has been discovered, which is a great signal that renewables, especially solar is becoming cost competitive. New initiatives under CMD’s leadership… IREDA has always been the prime mover and showing the way to its peers. As part of its business operations to meet growth aspirations, IREDA has been constantly developing new instruments / innovative products for the renewable energy sector. IREDA has been successfully offering most attractive terms for financing renewable energy projects and acting as a trend setter for other FIs and banks to follow suit. IREDA has grown from strength to strength and is on an exponential growth trajectory. ● The loan sanction has grown from Rs. 826 crore in 2007-08 to Rs. 10199 crore in 2016-17. ● Loan disbursement, has also followed lead with loan sanction and has grown from Rs. 553 crore in 2007-08 to Rs. 6593 crore in 2016-17. On June 7, 2017, the Government approved Initial Public Offer of IREDA to issue 13.9 crore fresh equity shares of Rs.10 each to the public on book-building process. The proposed IPO issue of 13.9 crore fresh equity shares to the public would increase IREDA’s equity base, which will help in raising more debt resources for financing RE projects. This will also august 2017 | india empire



President of India, Mr Pranab Mukherjee presenting the SCOPE Award to Mr K S Popli, CMD, IREDA. Mr Anant G. Geete, Union Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, and Mr Babul Supriyo, Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises also seen in picture

increase IREDA’s visibility in domestic and international financial markets. On innovating in IREDA’s financing strategy… IREDA has been constantly developing new and innovative products for the renewable energy sector. In the recent past, IREDA has launched several new schemes for catering to RE market, for instance: ● Scheme for Solar Roof Top through Aggregator (RESCO) to promote rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) power projects, ● Scheme for discounting of Energy Bills to address the issue of delay of payments by DISCOMs, ● “Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme” for Renewable Energy Projects to enhance the credit rating of the proposed bonds by way of unconditional and irrevocable partial credit guarantee, etc. ● Loan scheme for “Access to Energy” projects under KfW Line of Credit. On changes in India’s renewable market… The landscape for renewables in India has been changing fast. Some of the notable changes are: ● Renewable energy market has become mature. ● Government’s ambitious target and favourable policies have brought about a tremendous change. ● Entry of International players to the RE in India. ● The cost of Solar PV has reduced very fast. 8

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The cost of setting up solar power project has come down from INR 8 Crore to INR 4 -5 Crore now. ● The tariffs have come down below the cost of conventional power. RE Project financing has come a long way from conventional balance sheet financing to stand alone financing on non-recourse mode in last few years. Growth of IPPs has also played an important role for scale up in RE investments. Large scale Renewable energy projects are being funded in consortium/co-financing mode with multiple Banks/FIs. ●

On his own journey… After graduating from Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, I started my career with National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), where I was associated with design, engineering and supervision of hydro-electric projects. In 1993, I joined Power Finance Corporation (PFC), where I was involved in appraisal and financing of Thermal, Hydro, Transmission and Distribution projects. Since 2007, I have been working with IREDA as Director (Technical) and as Chairman and Managing Director from March 2014. It has been a very stimulating and satisfying journey with new goals and challenges set by the Government, some self-imposed. I am sure with the demand for power in India continuing to grow, IREDA is looking forward to seeing itself at the forefront of India’s renewable energy story. ❐

IREDA—GREEN POWERHOUSE In 2015, the Government of India ramped up its target RE TwEETs for solar energy five-fold – from 20 GW to 100 GW. Of this, 40 GW is to be added under the solar park scheme. To help India establish large scale solar parks, the World Bank is providing the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Piyush Goyal (IREDA) with US$100 million @PiyushGoyal in financing under the ‘Shared Minister of State with Independent Infrastructure for Solar Parks Charge for Power, Coal, New & Project’. The project, being Renewable Energy and Mines in Government of India implemented under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s Solar Park Scheme, is currently helping Govt. signs PPAs for the first wind Govt’s initiatives in New & Renewable establish the Rewa Ultra Mega auction totalling 1050 MW, Energy sector have helped the net Solar Park and the Mandsaur ensuring 24x7 Affordable capacity addition of renewable energy Clean Power for All. exceed conventiona energy. Solar Park, which will have a cumulative capacity of 1,000 MW. Funds will be invested in the parks’ common (or shared) facilities such as the transmission evacuation system, etc. Other potential solar parks are to follow. The World Bank Group has also deepened its engagement in the Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Park through the role played by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as the park’s FINANCING GREEN PROJECTS IREDA increased its financing of green energy projects transaction advisor. The IFC has helped the solar park developer (Rewa Solar Ultra Mega Limited (RUMSL) to develop considerably in 2016-17, crossing the milestone of Rs an innovative business model that offers a “plug-and play” 10,000 crore in a single year for the first time. IREDA facility to investors. This has instilled confidence in private provided loans of Rs 10,200 crore through 2016-17 for 112 developers and helped reduce costs, which was reflected in the clean energy projects across solar, wind, small hydro and landmark low tariffs that were bid for the facility. RUMSL is a biogas. In the coming year, IREDA has plans to finance joint venture between Solar Energy Corporation of India similar projects to the tune of Rs 12,500-13,000 crore. Limited (SECI) and Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikas Nigam Limited IREDA nearly doubled its support for solar projects to Rs 4,785.87 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 2,684.68 crore in 2015(MPUVNL), the state nodal agency of Madhya Pradesh. Since the availability of clear land is one of the major 16, but its financing of wind projects dropped slightly to factors in attracting international players to a country and a Rs 2,511.69 crore from Rs 2,735.51crore. The company, currently an NBFC under the Ministry project, the World Bank is also helping make such investments more robust. In the Rewa solar park, for of New and Renewable Energy, with Mini Ravnatna instance, the World Bank’s presence during the planning status also hopes to come out with an initial public phase enabled RUMSL in adhering to environmental and offering later this year for which cabinet approval has social norms at international standards. Since the due been sought. “We plan to issue fresh 13.9 crore shares which will be diligence on the safeguards was very deep, developers were able to mitigate the risks around land and attract 15% of our total subscribed capital,” said IREDA CMD, Mr K S Popli. ❐ international investors, bringing down tariffs. august 2017 | india empire


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Peerless Stalwart I always wanted to be a dentist…I was accepted to dental school in the spring of 1972. —Mark Spitz, Swimming hero at Munich Olympics


ark Spitz may have scorched the swimming pool at the Munich Olympics with seven gold medals, but he probably missed out on being a dentist. Dentists may occasionally forget, but their patients, celebrity or otherwise, always remember. Would you forget the time you had a root-canal treatment? Or a gaping cavity fixed? Or a tooth reimplant done? Meet Dr A S Marwah, intellectual nonagenarian and a towering figure in the Indian American community in Los Angeles, who became a dentist first, and then many things after. Indeed, it would require a magnum opus to chronicle his life’s journey. Abridging his story is a bit like a layman who tries to become a dentist in a week’s time. He’s worn so many hats, we’d require an entire cabinet to store them. He’s a beacon for the Indian community in Los Angeles, an absolute guiding light for many. He’s been in the USA for over well over 66 years, and there is little that he does not know or hasn’t seen about the evolution of the Indian American community. As a dentist, his patients have included a galaxy of celebrities, and he’s rubbed shoulders with the Who’s Who of USA all the time. Even today, at age 90, there is more than just a spring in his step. There is more to accomplish, and miles to go, a la Fauja Singh of Ilford, England, who ran his first marathon at 88, and continued doing so till 101, before “retiring”. Dr Marwah came to the USA soon after the Guggenheim Foundation offered its very first Dental

Fellowship in India. It was the year 1950, and the 24-yearold Amarjit appeared for an interview in Bombay. There were 40-odd dentists in contention. But given his convincing skills and fine articulation, Amarjit stole the show, and with it pulled the fellowship rug from under the feet of other candidates. His maiden voyage overseas followed, and he landed in New York to pursue higher studies through the Pediatric Dentistry fellowship. It was rare to find an Indian in the USA those days (perhaps there were no more than 50 across the country), and rarer still to see a turbaned Sikh walking the streets. Amarjit was codenamed Young Santa Claus. The two well-known Indian names that he frequently heard about on arrival were J.J. Singh

From the book Indian Americans in Greater Los Angeles Area by India Empire Publications 42 india empire | august 2017

Walia and Bhagat Singh Thind, youngsters who were at the forefront of a movement to seek better rights and prospects for Asians and Indians. Even as his year-long fellowship at the Guggenheim Foundation in New York was drawing to an end, he had secured an admission and another fellowship at the College of Dentistry at the University of Illinois, Chicago where he pursued an MS in Pathology. After two years of graduate study, he received another fellowship from the Howard University in Washington DC to pursue a two-year program in Doctor in Dental Surgery. This too was completed on time. In 1954 he became the very first Indian doctor in the USA to obtain a license to practice dentistry. The same year he returned to the University of Illinois in Chicago and became a full-time teaching faculty at the College of Dentistry. In 1956, young Amarjit had a real experience of how an election campaign was run in the USA. The legendary Dalip Singh Saund was trying to add steam to his campaign as he was trying to get elected to the Congress. Saund’s younger brother had worked with Amarjit’s uncle in the Railways in Lahore. And so Amarjit, excited at the prospect of an Indian contesting and likely to do very well, took two months off from his job at the University of Illinois. Saund was contesting as a Democrat—his official name during the campaign was D S Saund. The man who had done his Doctorate in Math from the University of California at Berkeley in 1924, and then become a farmer in California, was quite a hit with Americans. Partly it had to do with his fair complexion because of which he had a wider acceptability in the America of the 1950s. The other reason was that his wife, Marian, was American. Whatever the reasons, he simply blazed the campaign trail. Saund revealed his full name only after he won the elections, and then went on to serve three full terms. Amarjit Singh Marwah who had a role to play in the background in this significant and trend-setting moment for Indian politicians in the USA was, of course, over the moon.

It was 50 summers ago that Dr Marwah became a citizen of the USA in 1957, one of the earliest modern-day Indian immigrants to do so. Two years into his new citizenship, he took a sabbatical. In 1959, he returned to India, where for 18 months he remained an exchange professor to the Bombay University, a position sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health Sciences. When his tenure got over, he was back in Chicago, a city he was to remain in for eight years. In 1962, by which time quite likely Chicago’s icy drafts and wind chill had become too much for him, he decided on moving to the sunnier climes of California. He joined the University of Southern California as a fulltime professor, and also began part-time dentistry practice. But it wouldn’t be long before he opted for dentistry practice full-time. LIFE IN CALIFORNIA It was also in 1962 that Dr Marwah, his wife, Kuljit Kaur Sodhi, and three daughters—Anilam, Harpreet and Jaspreet—moved into their home at Baldwin Hill. It was the first Indian home to come up in the Los Angeles area. He was also the first practicing Indian doctor in California. There were only a handful of Indians in California those days, and the few that were there would regularly drop by to the Marwah home in Baldwin Hill. His enormous reputation preceded him. Not just Indians in California, but those coming from India, would regularly come knocking at his door. Indians knew that Marwah was the big ticket guy who could guide them to their dreams in the USA. And he did help out many. Amarjit’s reputation of having skillful hands in dentistry catapulted him to the big league in no time, and fame began to follow him like an ever-present shadow. Not too many can claim to leave Roman Holiday hero Gregory Peck openmouthed for one reason or the other. Dr Marwah, the dentist did, for Peck was his client, as was the charming Elizabeth Taylor of Cleopatra fame. Both lived in Los

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DR AMARjIT SINgh MARWAh Angeles. Dr Marwah had singer-actor Barbara Streisand as his neighbor at his 14-acre Malibu Ranch, while Hollywood star Martin Sheen was his tenant. The list of the wealthy, illustrious and powerful that he knew well, and those that knew him well, runs long, among them presidents and prime ministers. Both President Zail Singh and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi visited him in California. When President Gerald Ford’s son got married, the venue was the Marwah family ranch overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean. In many ways, Dr Marwah was a pioneer that arrived much before the “Indian invasion” of the West Coast. Even legendary figures began to arrive in Los Angeles only in the 1960s, such as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, made famous in the West by the Beatles. Soon he was to become Dr Marwah’s patient. Also over time arrived the likes of sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar and Harbhajan Yogi. At the dawn of the 1970s, Dr Marwah struck a deep friendship with Tom Bradley, the first black Mayor of Los Angeles, and after whom a terminal is named at the city’s international airport. Bradley was a police lieutenant who contested for the City Council, and Dr Marwah was involved in the campaign. Bradley remained five-time mayor of Los Angeles. When his dear friend passed away, Dr Marwah was one of the pall bearers alongside Al Gore, America’s Vice President. It was Bradley who had appointed the famous dentist a City Commissioner in 1974, a position he was to hold for 18 years, a record for any Indian American. He also chaired the Cultural Heritage Commission and the Hollywood Art Commission during this period. Nearly 300 sites, including the Walk of Fame and the Roosevelt Hotel, were declared protected monuments. In 1968, he founded the Los Angeles chapter of Sister City International, leading a delegation of established Americans in an effort to form a relationship with prominent citizens of Bombay. The group set up an American wing at a school in Mahim run by the Bombay Municipal Corporation. Appropriately, it was called the Los Angeles High School. The society has been sending USD 10,000 every year for the betterment of the school. In 1969, on the 500th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, Dr Marwaha was instrumental in opening and establishing the third Sikh Temple in the USA at Hollywood, California. He funded a major portion of the investment. The Gurdwara building in the beginning was registered in Dr Marwah’s name but in 1974, he transferred to the Sikh Study Circle. For years, he played active role in the management of

the Gurdwara and even now financially supports projects undertaken by the management. He along with the late Inderjit Singh, founder of Punjab and Sind Bank, launched the Bank of Punjab in the 1990s. EARLY LIFE Young Amarjit Singh Marwah was born in the village of Bhera in Shahpur district now in Pakistan. His grandfather Dr Sucha Singh was the Chief of Medical Services in the princely Faridkot State in 1880. In 1910, his father, Dr Chanda Singh, held the same position. He grew up being pampered, and somewhat spoilt by his doting grandmother. Even his mother was always effusive in her affection for Amarjit. His father, though, had the tough job of disciplining the bright young man. He completed high school at Kothkapura and in 1941 was sent to Lahore to attend the Sikh National College. His classmates included Prakash Singh Badal, the current Punjab Chief Minister, among others. Despite the pulls of the nationalist movement, Amarjit completed his college and following family tradition decided to study medicine. He chose the four-year dentistry course at King Edward Medical College, the only one offering dental studies. He was in Lahore when the violence in the aftermath of India’s partition in 1947 broke out in all its fury and ugly frenzy. He was only 21, and some of the carnage and pillage that he witnessed are forever emblazoned in his psyche. In spite of the traumatic experience, he was able to collect himself, and ride into the future with a song in his heart, and confidence in his steps. The wise dentist is a peerless stalwart that has added teeth to the reputation of the Indian community in more ways than one. ❐

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Mudras YoGi ashwini


he body is essentially the five elements – earth, water, fire, air and ether combined with the ego and certain other gross senses. These elements form the basis of the major chakras that govern the body - earth for Mooladhar, water for Swadhisthan, fire for Manipoorak, air for Anahad and ether for Vishuddhi. The controls for the various elements in our body lie at the fingertips – the little, ring, middle and index fingers representing earth, water, ether and air respectively while the thumb represents fire. We know that things expand on heating and contract on cooling. The thumb represents fire. If you touch any element to the tip of the thumb, it expands and when you touch it to the base of the thumb it reduces. In this way, we can very easily increase or decrease the various elements in our body, depending on the need of the situation, using our fingers through the science of mudras. For example, in situations of extreme tension and anxiety, like in the case of appearing for an interview, or an exam, or an important meeting, the vayu tattva increases in the body leading to a feeling of uneasiness in the chest. If at that time, you place your index finger at the base of the thumb (where you will feel a pulsation), the air element will normalise and you will feel better. The Gyan mudra, which involves touching the index finger to the tip of the thumb, has a diametrically opposite effect. If the one increases the vayu tattva but the body is not prepared for the increase, tension in the body increases and one develops problems of the nerves. That is why it is not advisable to sit in Gyan mudra in the initial stages of dhyan. The mudra is introduced by one’s Guru at a later stage, after the body has attained a specific balance. The science of mudras is a perfect and precise science, however it is not taught en-mass. It is given by the Guru to the shishya, individually, as per his/her individual needs and capacity. The science if used incorrectly can do more harm than good. The purpose ofmudras is to bring the body in a state of balance but if you perform an incorrect mudra, the element which is not supposed to increase might increase, resulting in an imbal-

By Yogi Ashwini

ance, instead. As one moves up the elements, lower elements merge with the higher elements. That is, element above holds the capacity to include the elements below. Ether contains within it air, fire, water and earth, air contains fire, water and earth elements, fire contains water and earth elements, and water contains the earth element. To effect a change in any of the elements, one need not go to the level of the individual element. The elements can be easily controlled and modified by accessing the element that lies above the five elements, the par-tattva or Shiv governed by the agya chakra, under the sanidhya of Guru. That is why it is said ‘Omkar bindu samyuktam…’ which means everything is there in omkar bindu. This is the point of the bindu in which everything is present. That is, the entire creation is in Shiv or par-tattva. ‘….Nityam dhayanti yoginam’, which means the yogi’s dhyan is always on that partattva and not on the elements below. A yogi has an association with the lower elements also but he controls them from the Agya. We just discussed how one can experience the five basic elements in the body through the science of mudras. But how does one get the experience of the Shiv tattva, which is the basis of all these elements? The Shiv tattva is not experienced by an ordinary person because he does not need it. A basic person spends his life in the pursuit of the five senses which pertain to the five basic elements and the five basic chakras. Sense of smell is controlled by Mooladhar, sense of taste by Swadhishthan, sense of sight by Manipoorak, sense of touch by Anahad and sense of sound by Vidhuddhi. When there is no need, then there is little incentive to look further, and so, an ordinary person remains unaware of the Shiv tattva. Shiv is beyond the five tattvas, the partattva, in which all the tattvas reside. Experience of Shiv requires the awakening of Agya through Yog and Sanatan Kriya under a Guru, and the pleasure associated with the experience. ❐ —Yogi Ashwini is the Guiding Light of Dhyan Foundation and can be reached at

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India empire august 2017