Hindu armed resistance and Hindu resilience to invaders: inbuilt systems in Dharma

Hindu society has systems of armed resistance and resilience to invaders, inbuilt by Dharma, which overthrew many an invasion or long-standing occupation… There has also been eventual recovery of identity, independence and sovereignty. This endeavour is to identify these Dharmik systems, recognise threats to the continuity of these systems of resistance and discuss methods to uphold, practise and utilize them for India’s present crisis, to help Hindus recover from colonisation, exploitation and proselytising forces. In a series of three blogs, in this first blog, we shall be mainly covering the Hindu Akhada.

http://www.theindiansun.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/SAFFRON-TERRORISM.jpg

The three-part blog series…

Part One: Hindu reverence for weapons; inbuilt Dharmik systems of resilience, armed defence and counter-offence; study of one important system amongst these: the system of Hindu Akhadas…

Part Two: A study of two more Dharmik systems of Hindus resilience and armed defence: Weapon worship in some warrior jaatis of Hindus, and Traditional indigenous martial arts of Bharatvarsha…

Part Three: Himsa, ahimsa, Hindu disarmament, Hindu rearmament and solutions to overcome antagonism, indifference and threats to Hindu resurgence expressed the martial way…

HINDUS REVERE WEAPONS

Weapons have been an integral part of Hindu tradition. India’s armies saved India from occupation by foreign forces across her multi-millennial history. Hindus believe that evil exists in society and if forceful, needs to be countered with greater might of virtue. Hindu society thus works on this basic common sense, not some utopian belief of a mission of complete non-violence in society, or that non-violence even to violent aggressors can bring about a hrudayparivartan or change of heart.

Hindu Deities are described by their weapon, as Chakra-Dhar or Gada-Dhar (ShreeVishnu), Trishool-Dhar (Mahadev), DandaAyudhaPaani (One who wields a weapon –Aayudha – which is the staff or Danda in his hand or Paani, namely Karttikeya), etc.

Our Puranas mention how Veer Yodhdaas always acquired weapons through sages and the Gods and Goddesses; astras were special shields and missiles that were granted. Even Shivaji Maharaj got his weapon – his sword – from Maa Bhawani Herself. The AshwaMedha Yadnya was also a grand ritual wherein land was acquired by show of strength and weapons. Vaidik Aastik Hindus have always worshipped their weapons, on occasions like Vijayadashami, Vishwakarma Jayanti, Gudi Padwa / Ugadi, Parshuram Jayanti / Akshay Truteeya, etc.

So having weapons, using them righteously and respecting, even worshipping them was an attribute of Vaidik society. Every village had its own protection system, and even Buddhist and Jain kingdoms had armies.

WHILE FACING THE VIOLENT BRUTE: Righteous use of weapons Vs Unrighteous non-violence

Yet, since time immemorial, Hindus who culturally respected might, warrior and weapon, never admired brutes working against peace and harmony amongst nations; there are no legends glorifying brute kings who expanded kingdoms; they are looked upon with disdain as A-Dharmik, and their overthrow was Dharma. Weapon, might and warrior were respectable only when put to righteous use.

Thus Hindu tradition does not uphold the might of Ravan just because he was mighty, or the might of a Jarasandh or Kansa, but the human Pandavas and the human-born Rama or Bhagwan in a human form, Krishna.

Righteous use included protection of the innocent defenceless, gentle and vulnerable ones who could not fight; protection of the kingdom / king / subjects; upholding the symbols of pride and the holy scriptures of Dharma; priests (whether Brahman or not), sages (Rishis, Munis), philosophers or artists; fields and granaries; AND Nature, like forests and cows / cattle (protection of cows in particular and all cattle in general).

Weapon training as a living tradition of India through the ages and, absolute non-violence by potential victims before a rioting Jihadi mob, cannot go hand-in-hand and can never be reconciled with each other. Savarkar had said: relative Ahimsa is a virtue, absolute Ahimsa a crime.

Gandhi broke the ancient weave of Dharma – about righteous use of weapons – when he asked all to shun weapons completely and asked for total disarmament and absolute non-violence. His advice of shunning weapons and armed resistance was indeed unrighteous because it only encouraged the brute and allowed the victims to die.

So let us first study how strong this Dharmic weave of self-protection was, then study disarmament of armed Hindus, followed by rearmament of disarmed Hindus.

TRADITIONAL SYSTEMS OF RESILIENCE TO INVASIONS AND OF ARMED RESISTANCE IN HINDU SOCIETY:

  1. Decentralised resistance units across the landscape, present in the traditional system- Every village, town, tribal hamlet or fort had its own arms, trained youth, an administrative order to check crime and invasions while maintaining law and order. Many a town worth of security had its own moat or fortification and weapons, with a chieftain. Hardy bulls and horses, ironsmiths to forge weapons and equipment, etc. kept people defence-conscious even when not aware of any impending invasions. Thus it was not easy for Abrahamic armies to penetrate too deep, so they had to contend with razing the main townships and cities on their path, leaving villages who then rebuilt defence. Tribal groupings also were robust about being armed; tribal Hindus have participated in key points of resistance to Abrahamic invasions, be they the Bhils who helped Maharana Pratap in Haldighati, the Gonds under Rani Durgavati, the Jaintia and Naga warriors who helped Lachhit bar Phukan, the leaders of North East India who fought the British, Vir Birsa Munda of North Central India, etc.
  2. Food security and water security: To keep the native defenders as well as the general population going during a siege, open battle or not, it was important to maintain sources of food, like food-grain granaries per house / per village (something abolished by market forces in urbanization leaving consumers prone to inflation), orchards, etc. as well as systems that ensured food production perpetuated itself (seed banks for preserving the best seeds for sowing the next few cultivation seasons). Water security was ensured by indigenous rainwater harvesting systems, check dam and canal management, forest protection to preserve catchments, sacred shrines, etc. and forests also were centres of temples and peethas. Till the British messed up India’s AgroEcology and until the Communists and Capitalists arrived, India was not a country of famine or hunger.
  3. Systems of Dharma that made sure fitness and exercise became part of tradition: Being able to resist an invasion requires arms, and to use arms one has to be fit; so when fitness becomes part of daily worship, society has a lot of able-bodied men available for battle. Worship of Hanuman, Yoga, Soorya Namaskar (as described by Samartha Ramdas Swami in medieval times) as compulsory daily sadhana are hence important. The Soorya Namaskar tradition is still preserved in parts of Maharashtra and MP, and is also practised with vigour in RSS shakhas as well as akharas / vyayamshalas, camps and yoga kendras.
  4. Warrior jaatis: Kshatriya Varna and others: We shall be mentioning some Hindu warrior jaatis. But while it is Dharma’s own system of sustenance to have a special Varna especially for protection, it is also Dharma’s system to have other varnas and non-warrior jaatis becoming capable of war themselves, and to move up a social ladder. Thus Kshaatra Teja is present even outside the Kshatriya Varna, the Shoodras, Vaishyas and Brahmans.
  5. Martial arts: Hindu martial arts will be discussed in some detail in further paragraphs, and with Akhanda Bharat (Sri Lanka included) in consideration, in some detail.
  6. Gurukuls with Dhanurveda as a subject: We had 14 vidyaas and 64 art forms, with martial arts being in the reckoning. DhanurVeda is one of the four sub-vedas (an ‘UpaVeda’), one of the fourteen vidyaas. Imparting the expertise of warfare along with teachings of economics, agroecology and politics was prevalent in Vedic times.

    Kshatriya student learning arms from Guru in Kshatriya Gurukul

    Image courtesy: www.i.pinimg.com/736x/30/33/81/30338104fc32eccc79a1875e293f32e9–april-challenge-hindu-art.jpg
    Gurukuls of classical times which had their on-campus Akhadas trained Kshatriya princes with necessary skills like horsemanship, swordsmanship, archery, mace combat, wrestling, spear combat, etc. to take on real-life competitions vide Swayamwars, Ashwamedha Yandya, expeditions, war, etc.
    [But in today’s Gurukul Pathshalas, only the four main Vedas are taught, none of the upavedas; only Brahmin boys attend Gurukuls, and the Dhanurveda is not taught anymore. Kshatriya boys do not follow the upanayan and its Gurukul attendance obligations today unlike Vaidik times, and end up studying neither the Veda nor the Upaveda nor the Vedaangas.
    Yet, the Kalari is an example of a traditional martial education centre that functions even today but without Vaidik classes.
    But a lot of warrior jaatis and many other classes of Indians do join the armed forces learning modern warfare with general education in military academies (as Savarkar extolled) which is practically like studying an updated Dhanurveda without it being called so. The blog writer is of the opinion that all jaatis and varnas must be taught weapons and fighting skills with a Dharmik base. India has to reclaim that heritage, of non-Brahmins – and at least Kshatriyas – also studying the Vedas, Upavedas and Vedaanga along with modern military science.]

  7. Akhara culture: An Akhara is an arena where bodybuilders hone their talent at wrestling with regular exercises. This too will be discussed in some detail ahead.
  8. Observances of festivals commemorating weapons and victories: Dharmik commemorations like Dushahra, Navratri, Vishwakarma Jayanti, etc. kept emphasizing the importance of weapons, being armed, being courageous and the importance of the righteous being strong year after year, festival after festival.
  9. Women in Hindu resistance to enemies: When it came to exercises, warfare and politics, Hindu women were not always discouraged, though they were kept out of akhadas to maintain the unigender Brahmachaarya atmosphere. Yet, women have always been trained by Gurus (women Gurus too), as was evident in the demonstration of continuous 1000-count 12-step Soorya-Namaskaars by a Marathi woman follower to none other than Netaji Bose (Netaji was so impressed, he took her into the Azad Hind Fouj) or in case of Kalari exponent Meenakshi Raghavan.
    Onakke Obawa and Kittur Rani Chenammma (Karnataka), Rani Gaidinliu (Nagaland), Rani Durgavati (Central India’s tribal hinterland), Rani Nayakidevi (Gujarat), Rani Tarabai, Jijabai and Lakshmibai (Maharashtra) are examples of brave women who followed the tradition of Kshaatrateja, fighting away Muslim and European invaders.Of these systems that protected Dharma and upheld Hindu resilience, we shall be discussing three of these indigenous resistance systems in some detail: (i) The Akhada; (ii) Hindu warrior jatis and weapon worship; and, (iii) Bharatvarsha’s indigenous martial arts…

HINDU AKHADA (AKHARA) CULTURE:
The word Akhada means many things: an arena, a gladiator-like club, a bodybuilder guild, a regiment or a warrior sect; but the Akhada has to be dedicated to Eeshwar , Rashtra and Samaaj. There were two types of Akhadas:
(i) Vyayamshala Akhadas open to the general public. Both types of Akhadas have provided defence to Hindu society, and
(ii) Sadhu Akhadas meant for celibate renunciates dedicated to their ishtadevata and saampradaay.

The Akhada network of Samartha Ramdas Swami was however, a special mix of both types: it was a sampraadaay, had a network with pilgrimage encouraged, followed a parampara of Ram Bhakti and Hanuman Bhakti, encouraged celibacy, had its own order, but was also open to the public with rules to practise Soorya Namskar and other exercises with weaponry , with political and Aadhyaatmik guidance to Shivaji Maharaj, by taking interest in pro-Hindu politics.
Shivaji Maharaj with his Aadhyaatmik Guru, Swami Samartha Raamdas, founder of the Samartha Math मठ network

The objective common to all types of the Akhara or Akhada was getting both shakti and bal, both of which are translated into strength / power in English. Shakti(physical strength, arms training and outward skills) and, Bal(virtual power, like Adhyaatmik spiritual strength, mental strength, purity, ethics, self-control) are different. In various Hindu disciplines like Yoga, Saankhya, BhaktiMaarga and Ayurveda, Bal meant something of the sookshma shareer; not merely of the gross body or sthoola sharer: with emphasis on celibacy, abstinence / continence, fidelity and concentration.

(i) The Vyayamshala Akhada for the general public was a celibate all-male place where a Guru taught students not just bodybuilding and unarmed and armed combat (particularly the art of wrestling), but also developed character, comrade spirit, aadhyaatmik self-restraint, social involvement and abstinence, under the aegis of Hindu deities like Hanuman, Shiva or Vishnu.

Hanuman mandir and photos of Maruti stotra and senior pehelwaans are an identity of a Hindu Vyayamshala

Image credit: Chinchechi Talim, Pune, Siddharthaa Joshi: ‘The moorti of hanuman is the most sacred element at the Akhara’ (A Vyayamshalaa Akhaada is called a Talim in Maharashtra due to Urduisation) http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-mIRuYd-pBKI/VdmFWbq2JBI/AAAAAAAAW3k/YGsgg5vxci8/s1600/chinchi%2Btalim%2Bpune%2B10.jpeg

Two wrestlers wrestle while a third prays in the Akhada mandir

Image credit: Ashit Desai https://www.flickr.com/photos/ashitdesai/27713558246/lightbox/

Traditional Hindu exercise was quite different from the modern gymming we see today. Public Akhadas catered to cultivating Brahmacharis of good character who could later enter Gruhasthaashram.

Two images of traditional Vyayamshala Akhadas functioning today:

Wrestling or Kushti on Akhada soil with Guru supervising in front of mandir https://www.flickr.com/photos/maciejdakowicz/7172674496/in/photostream/

Rope climbing practice as exercise in Akhada
http://www.hindustantimes.com/rf/image_size_640x362/HT/p1/2015/08/09/Incoming/Pictures/1378142_Wallpaper2.jpg

Such Akhadas were the centres for preserving traditional martial arts and sports alike. Traditional exercises like Mallakhamb and Kabaddi were part of Akhada training too (we need to protect these traditional skills). The Akhada sport of Kusti or wrestling was the ultimate in physical endurance and skill!

Use of the traditional mace: the Gada गदा
Image courtesy: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/8-OQk_DHEjQ/maxresdefault.jpg

A lot of such Hindu akhadas were filled with powerful vegetarians who consumed fully organic saatvik food (desi cow milk and with lots of nuts / dry-fruits). Hindu exercise was always with invocation to Hanuman. Instruments and the chief (Guru) of the “Akhada” were worshipped on Vishwakarma Jayanti, Guru Pournima, Hanuman Jayanti, Paadwa and Vijayadashami. The Hanuman Chalisa and such stotras were used in Akhadas.

Image credit: Anurag Yadava – Two Akhada wrestlers praying before a match http://www.flickriver.com/photos/84786753@N00/2291186126/

Brotherhood amongst members was encouraged. Seniors took care of juniors. Members ate together a communally cooked meal. A lot of Hindu households had the same Akhada exercises endorsed into a “sanskaar status”, ritually, as a necessary sanskaar to be passed on to sons from fathers, or to be practised by all brothers together. A love for organic farming, village life and welfare of livestock, jeeva-dayaa and use for suppressing the evil in society were all off-shoots of a village which had managed its Akhada culture correctly, with the concomitant sportsmanship and competitiveness spirit if handled by a good Akhada Guru, helping make the ‘graam’ (village) a self-protective unit.

The vyaayamshala akhada channelised libido into bodybuilding, merged Shakti with Bhakti, developed immunity in members with its microclimate, naturally took care of the human body’s need to have pliability maintained or key muscle groups toned (example: rotator cuff muscles by regular use of the shoulder club or gadaa which could be useful in swordsmanship) by correct exercise techniques, cultivated toughness of body and spirit, etc. with forms of exercise which were useful both in day-to-day work and in peacetime. Today, Haryana, UP, Punjab and Maharashtra have preserved this traditional culture the most.

The most important amongst Akhada exercises were the Soorya Namaskaar and the Chandra Namaskaar, which were Adhyaatmik Saadhanaa, not just physical exercises. The first mention of suryanamaskar is found in the text of Shri Tatwanidhi. Soorya Namaskars were optional but recommended exercise in households but obligatory in Akhada routine; they developed the flexors and extensors of the body axis in tandem, forging strength with flexibility, stamina with continence. In case of the upper caste Hindus who practised the thread ceremony, Soorya Namaskar was even recommended by the family priest (Brahman) himself, to the batu boy for a lifetime, THAT TOO DURING THE THREAD-CEREMONY ITSELF, as a mode of worship of Soorya Narayan.

Samartha Ramdas Swami (adhyaatmik Guru of Shivaji Maharaj) is the one credited for preserving the ancient method of exercise – the Soorya Namaskar – in its extant style; he used to practice 108 to 1200 Soorya Namaskars every day. He spread it all over Maharashtra. Soorya Namaskar formed an important part in Samartha Vyayamshala training. This practice was also continued in the Peshwa regime. http://srisuryadevalayam.org/Suryanamaskar_mantras.html

In the 19th century, Yogi T. Krishnamacharya of Mysore and the Pant Pratinidhi to the Raja of Aundh in Aundh (Pune), made Soorya Namaskar popular as a simple, easy, short and effective way of health practice. Other styles of Soorya Namaskar have probably gone extinct due to cultural amnesia under colonisation. A very contemporary Guru figure of modern times is Maharashtra’s Sambhaji Bhide Guruji, an extremely fit octogenarian and a devotee and namesake of Sambhaji Maharaj, the royal martyr of Hindu Dharma, who has infused Akhada and Sooya Namaskar culture as well as Hindu pride into popular devotion to Shivaji and Sambhaji Maharaj. For more information on the history of Soorya Namaskar, read http://silambam.asia/surya-namaskara.html

Weapons were also taught in many Akhadas, and these were available during Dharma-Suraksha requirements. Weapons and other Akhada instruments were locally made with organically and locally acquired material like timber trees, locally smelted iron instruments, etc.

Today, a lot of Indian Muslims also enter wrestling centres and become Pehelwans; this tradition is upheld by Sikhs in Punjab; kusti in Akhadas tradition is also practised in Pakistan. But to look at the Vyamashala Akhadas as just exercise centres and to forget their Dharmik base is a wrong interpretation. The combination of traditional patronage, respect for Dharma, Samaaj and rashtra, good diet and lifestyle  causing good health, fitness and power training, mind training, martial training including weapon training as a decentralised network guaranteed Hindus had a system whereby they could deal with criminal and invader alike. The tradition of Hanuman Pooja, Guru Pooja (and aalso a  Guru Paramparaa), Shastra Pooja, Soorya Namaskar, bowing to the soil and instrument before picking it up for exercise would classify it as shirk or polytheism in Islam; also, a respect for vegetarianism and its association with Indian soil make it clear that it is a Hindu parampara. If it  is upheld by Muslim participants in the Hindu tradition, and even if Muslim film stars like  Salman Khan portray Muslim wrestlers in roles in films (like Khan’s Sultan) and are loved by masses, the Akhada system cannot  be deHinduised.

(ii) Sadhu Akhadas specific to sanyasi sects were either decentralised networks or headquarters of renunciate monasteries, occasionally with occult practices, where the general public was not allowed, but which formed a less acknowledged network that wove Hindu society, Hindu patriotism and Hindu sacred geography together, while preserving yoga, sampradaay and tantra. (Unfortunately, Akhadas of two sampradaayas also used to fight each other.)

To describe an example: We mention the Juna Akhada:
To quote a website on the history of the Juna Akhada: According to Oral Tradition and its derived texts, such as Vidyaranya’s “Sankaradigvijaya,” Adi Shankara, organized the Brahmanical lineages of sadhus, yogis and shamans into India’s first monastic order, the Order of the Sannyasis of the Ten Names (Dashnami Sannyasi Sampradaya) which exists until this day… In the 7th century A.D., 52 lineages within the Order of Sannyasis formalized their age-old network into an elite brotherhood, a society, that was known originally as Dattatreya Akhara, then Bhairon Akhara, and after other new akharas were formed, it simply became known as Juna Akhara, the “old” akhara (as junameans “old” in Gujarati Language), or the “Ancient Circle”. With more than 400,000 sannyasi members, Juna Akhara is by far the largest order of sadhus in India, today, the vast majority are Naga Babas.https://rampuri.com/about-baba-rampuri/juna-akhara/
Quoting said Ashtkaushal Mahant Hareramgiriji Maharaj: “Both the dharma-dhwaja (high-mast flag) and the weapons are symbols of peace and security. It means first we will try to win over our enemies with love and knowledge, but if they become violent, we will take up weapons to conquer them”.

Weapons of the Juna Akhada
http://www.hindustantimes.com/rf/image_size_640x362/HT/p1/2013/01/10/Incoming/Pictures/988069_Wallpaper2.jpg

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/warrior-ascetics-bring-out-weapons-of-peace/story-mMMb8Zwyagzcw5RKGIDvcN.html

Juna Akhada Sadhu worshipping his weapons. Image credit: Leonid Plotkin http://www.leonidfotos.com/pictures/essays/crossings/

Sadhu Sanyasi Akhadas, though outwardly a system of tantra or yoga or sadhanaa, have helped in Hindu resilience in ways besides just preserving a tradition of fitness.
Sometimes, Akhadas have also served a covert, almost revolutionary function… Samarth Ramdas Swami, during the regime of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, built a network of ‘Samartha Matha’s, which were ostensibly Maruti / Hanuman Temples-cum-vyayamshalas; they were actually meant to build a generation of youth, with excellent physical fitness, high character and love for the Hindu Nation(Maruti is the God of Physical and Moral Strength). These ‘Samartha Matha’s which worked ostensibly as Akhadas with Hanuman-Bhakti and Raam-Bhakti, but they doubled up in training peasant youth in arms in celibacy, establishing a subtle espionage network against Islamic forces and by providing Shivaji Maharaj with new semi-trained recruits (the ‘maavlaa’s of Shivaji) for a growing Hindavai Swarajya army. It also showed that regardless of jaati, there was inclusiveness in Dharma!
[It was common for Hindu saintly figures, whether or not in Akhadas, to help Indian armed revolutionaries even during British occupation. Tembe Maharaj or Swami Nrusimha Saraswati (monastic order of Avadhoot Dattatreya) of Sindhudurg in Maharashtra, was known to provide espionage to Indian armed revolutionaries. Vasudev Balwant Phadke had also consulted Swami Samartha of Akkalkot, Maharashtra.]
Akhadas have also directly participated in emergency battle. Quote: “…In the mid seventeenth century the bands of sadhus and assorted holy men coalesced into larger groups often numbering more than 10,000 strong – they provided protection to the temples, the travel routes and even towns and rival armies. For many centuries the monks and disciples began to take up arms amidst the upheavals of northern India and during the fall of the Mughal Empire they emerged as a serious force to reckon with. When Ahmed Shah Abdali defeated the Maratha Forces in Panipat in 1761, he had ordered his generals to advance towards Mathura and bring down every temple till Agra. Mathura (basically Vrindavan) was populated by the Vaishnav sect sadhus who were non-violent. The Afghan generals launched their attack on the Vrindavan, but they were startled to see ash smeared warrior-saints blocking their siege. Battle ensued and Vrindavan was saved from the Afghans. The Afghans fought for loot, plunder and rape whilst the Naga Sadhus had already given up their worldly and material attachments and in a long tradition of warfare fought solely for dharma and faith. The Naga Sadhus saved the shrines of their faith and the thousands of refugees behind them. They exemplified the age old tradition of valour mixed with dharma – the concept of rising in arms each time they were required. They went on to fight bitter decade’s long struggles with the British expansion in India to be so famously celebrated in the late nineteenth century novel Ananda Math. Their exploits became the inspiration for the freedom fighters of the 20th Century and the living image of the warrior saints can be found in India today…” http://www.hinduhistory.info/gokul-1757-war-of-the-nagas-shivas-sacred-warriors/

FURTHER READING:
On women warriors
http://businessachivers.blogspot.in/2013/08/women-warriors.html
Chaulukya Queen Naikidevi- The Defender of Gujarat From Muhammad Ghori

On Sadhu warriors

Gokul 1757 : War of the Nagas ~ Shiva’s Sacred Warriors

On Soorya Namaskar
http://silambam.asia/surya-namaskara.html
http://srisuryadevalayam.org/Suryanamaskar_mantras.html

Post-Script:
COMPARING THE AKHADA EXPERIENCE AND YOGA, WITH GYM WORKOUTS:

The blog writer does not intend belittling the gym but pointing out obvious differences.

  1. Traditional Hindu exercise knew the importance of both cardiovascular and stillness. The endurance achieved in akhadas allows an Akhada member to have a strong heart, and he is also encouraged to do Praanaayaam…
    In cardio-vascular exercise, the aspirant has to keep his / her heart rate above normal for a period long enough to help his heart muscle get fit; there is a concomitant increase in respiratory rate. This is necessary.
    But in Yoga, the focus is on reducing the respiratory rate,which requires reduction is heart rate, which requires reduction in mental activity and curbing of thoughts and impulsiveness too.
    There is a return to fashionable Hatha-Yoga, disconnected from Hinduism, in modern gyms today, where Yoga is a milch cow giving money.
  2. Hindu exercise was always with invocation to Hanuman. Instruments and the chief of the “Akhada” were worshipped on festive days; SooryaNamaskaarand ChandraNamaskaar were spiritual exercises, not just physical exercises. Instruments were locally made with organically and locally acquired material like timber trees, locally smelted iron instruments, etc. The Hanuman Chalisa was used in Akhadas. Traditional exercises like Mallakhab and Kabaddi were part of Akhada training too. Brotherhood amongst members was encouraged. Seniors took care of juniors. The members wore nothing other than a langot, which also suppressed libido while protecting the vitals. The dust of an akhada had over time acquired a culture of human-friendly bacteria that helped heal wounds by competing with unfriendly bacteria; the akhada member developed a better immunity system too. Swami Samartha Ramdas used this as a base to set up a Hanuman-Bhakt Raam-Bhakt Math network which helped Shivaji.
    But in modern gyms, there is reliance on technology. Nothing wrong, but it means a higher investment for the proprietor and more fees for the gymmer member. Everyone has to wear shoes and, dress / gear have sky-rocketing prices. There is no connection with what a nation needs.
  3. The Akhada person cultivates both Shakti and Bal. He is expected to practise Brahmachaarya or Abstinence / celibacy, with abstinence from addictions too.
    In contrast, modern gymming focuses on only will-power and physicality. There is no restriction of what the gymmer does outside, whether he smokes or drinks or not, even whether he is a womaniser or gay or harlot or not as long as he attends the gym (no bias intended). The gym atmosphere encourages sexual feelings. Gyms have no connection with the outside.
    Gymmers listen to songs via their headphones as they work out at cardio. They teach no duty and no gymmer would accept his paid instructor as a Guru either.
  4. Traditional Indian exercise was done semi-outdoors; slightly semi-indoors for modesty of the men; slightly outdoors to avoid heat and odours.
    Modern gymming focuses on indoor workouts in an airconditioned environment with lights, with high-decibel senseless filmy or Western music (based on your downtownness or upcountryness) wasting electricity, has sleazy massage sections, need for deodorants, etc.

 

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