Diary Entry

A Diary Meets a Secret at Mohenjo-Daro’s ‘Great Bath’

Next stop – Mohenjo-Daro!
[Source – Wikipedia]

Along the great rivers – Tigris, Euphrates, Nile, Indus, Yellow, Yangtze, coastal Peru rivers, Coatzacoalcos – rose the world’s oldest great civilisations – Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Indus Valley, Chinese, Caral-Supe, Mesoamerican. Rivers sustained these agricultural civilisations, providing food, fertile soil and better access to build trade relations with the rest of the world.

Archaeological findings provide us with a map that take us closer to these ancient civilisations, yet mysteries remain, as in the case of the Indus Valley civilisation, also known as the Harappan civilisation.

Major sites and extent of the Indus Valley Civilisation.
[Source – Wikipedia]

Although bigger than Egyptian or Mesopotamian (spread across northwest India, Pakistan and northeast Afghanistan, more than 1500 sites being found), the Harappan society boasts no monumental marvels like the pyramids or a deciphered writing like the cuneiform, nor even a ruling class, a military, weapons of war and not even distinctive burial sites.

The historians found no evidence of violence either and therefore, a tectonic shift that dried up the river or a terribly great flood is seen as the main reason behind the Indus Valley civilisation’s final collapse.

Nevertheless, what was discovered makes Mohenjo-Daro and Dholavira – the main Indus Valley cities amongst others – world heritage sites of immense importance. Indus Valley people lived in a very well-planned city that was most likely cosmopolitan-natured.

With its naturally ventilated and uniformly baked clay brick houses, well connected grid-patterned streets, an elaborate drainage system (some of these 4,500-year-old drains still perfectly operational), public washrooms, dustbins, around 700 freshwater wells, a massive granary, a citadel, uniformly made artefacts, seals and weights – Mohenjo-Daro was one of the twin capital towns, along with Harappa, of the Indus Valley civilisation.

The most important structure excavated here is not a palace or a temple, but a public bath – known as the Great Bath – also called the “earliest public water tank of the ancient world”.

Tightly fitted bricks and a layer of bitumen (waterproof tar) made the floor of the bath watertight; it was a large building with several rooms, one of which also had a freshwater well.

The ruins of what was once a large multi-storied building – now termed as the House of Priests – right across the street of the Great Bath, reinforces the idea that the bath had a sacred purpose.

Most scholars agree that this tank would have been used for special religious functions where water was used to purify and renew the well-being of the bathers. This indicates the importance attached to ceremonial bathing in sacred tanks, pools and rivers since time immemorial.

J. M. Kenoyer
“The Priest-King”, a seated stone sculpture at the National Museum, Karachi. [Source – Wikipedia]

A single soapstone seated structure termed as “Priest-King” by the archaeologists does not suggest that a monarchy or a priest ruled the city of Mohenjo-Daro, yet the remarkable urban planning and meticulous construction focusing on public welfare hints at probably a council of elders and a community that worked together.


A Mohenjo-Daro’s citizen’s Diary

Seal with two-horned bull and inscription; 2010 BC; steatite; overall: 3.2 x 3.2 cm; Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland, Ohio, US).
[Source – Wikipedia]

Day – Sunny

Got up. Slipped from broken stairs. Mended. Water’s fresh, took bath, drank plenty.

Seals made – water buffaloes, elephants, bulls, rhinoceros. Ha!

Day – Sunny, Clouds Playing

At The Great Bath. Slipped from slippery stairs. Cleaned. Cleaned more. Got fresh water from the well. Poured. Poured more. Thanked noble Indus.

Day – Too Rainy

Group work. Mending limestone slabs. Mended. Dry granary functions. Ate well. Didn’t slip. Healed.

Day – Raining

At The Great Bath. Mending roof. Unfinished. Slipped. Fell into the Bath. Resurrected. Ha!


Reclining mouflon; 2600–1900 BC; marble; length: 28 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City).
[Source – Wikipedia]

Blogger’s Note –

Only ten percent of Mohenjo-Daro has been excavated so far and yet it shows how grand the city must have been, its citizens living a simple life, nurturing good daily-living-practices; either celebrating special occasions at the Great Bath or just storing water, humbly accepting what the Indus River brought.

Spiritually awakened or not, religiously enlightened or not, fiercely ambitious or not, the Indus Valley folks definitely, without any doubt, slept well. And that’s their secret, if there is any. They rested and digested fantastically and so they functioned wonderfully. Maybe they slept for 12-14 hours, working from dawn, with a calming break around noon time, to early evening. Not rushing or worrying when at work.

And so, well rested, they loved water – fresh, salty, rainy (and were also aware about floods; they constantly rebuilt their buildings in cities like Mohenjo-Daro), and fire – for they loved baking bricks, and music and art – for ahm…The Dancing Girl, the ornaments and toys. They loved to work.

Every task was a joint venture, everything done together with nothing but the Sunny/Rainy/Cloudy day in front of them. And then the starry and peaceful night, when the wind played a lullaby and one with nature, they slept.

Good sleep made them bright and happy.

The Pashupati seal, showing a seated figure surrounded by animals.
[Source – Wikipedia]

Read further –

Rediscovering the magic of Mohenjo-Daro

Indus Valley Civilisation, Mohenjo-Daro and the Cradle of Civilisation

Watch to learn –
At the Great Bath, Bollywood style… enjoy –

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View from the window…
[Source – Pixabay]

Sitting by the window and watching the wind do its customary dance, Kent wrote a line in his diary and stopped. The line said, ‘I failed again.’ Dry leaves and twigs joined the wind hesitatingly…a bit shy but tending. Kent took a sip of his hot coffee. He flailed the pen in his hand and then began to write-

Again. I try and then I fail. I wonder how I have reached so far when all I can do is to fail. I sink low every time and it becomes difficult to make a comeback. The sympathy, the taking my side, the hiding my faults…I hate when people do this to me. It hurts me more. But I am the reason of the burden I am carrying.

After another sip, Kent again checked the rendition. He couldn’t hear it clearly but was sure about the charming song that the wind played. Huge trees rhymed along, they were so great yet so modest; nature knows some marvellous secrets that make it awe-inspiring.

I have nothing to say anymore. I wish I could visit Mrs Graceland’s house, the backyard and the trail that led to the jungle and the brook with leaves and twigs wafting in it.

If only I could sit there for some time alone. My heart would pour itself in the brook and I am positive that I could then breathe without feeling the knots. The jungle, the brook they don’t know that I have failed. They will not demand any answers nor will they console me. I will be with them and they’ll welcome me.

But with time things start eluding and you feel silent, empty and helpless; a mere bystander.

Kent’s sigh sounded heavy and blue. He searched for something in his room and finding it his eyes rested upon it; a wall clock that made him conscious and humble. He lost himself for some time. Coming back he looked at his diary and wrote-

I think I have failed in putting my thoughts in words. I am sorry dear diary. I think I should just stop writing and….

A green leaf in autumn.
[Image by Jagriti Rumi]

At this moment he found a leaf knocking on his window. He stared for few minutes waiting for it to fly away but it didn’t. He stretched his hand reluctantly and opened the window.

Taking the leaf in his hand Kent watched the scene and without waiting for his permission the wind touched his face and made his hair dance. A smile came on his face naturally.

The power of the wind amazed him, the music enthralled him; he could feel the spirit, the liveliness that was abundant in nature. Peeking through his window Kent stood for long in that position unaware of the clock, the pen, the diary, the leaf and himself.

It was getting dark. He forced himself to shut the window. With nature you don’t know when the time passes and if you happen to know you wish it to go slow.

Sitting back on his chair and before he could finish his diary entry, he examined the leaf in his hand. It was green. It was autumn. It was a message. Life loves to live. Who loves life lives…happily.

Kent finished his diary entry.

I can’t believe myself but I am going to try again, maybe I’ll fail again. It doesn’t matter. I’ll never stop walking because I never know what is there for me on the next turn. I am going to die one day, I don’t want to die before that.

Cheers to the green leaf!

Kent  


And now, listen to Vashti Bunyan’s album Just Another Diamond Day, this is one of Kent’s favourite tracks, one that he listened to after finishing his diary entry –


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