Anil Dave, MP PDF Print E-mail

Aditya: So sir, you have traveled by land, river and air and you have said which was your best experience, and it is said that it is a very spiritual experience and it is a very inter-personal experience so has there ever been such an incidence for u?

Dave: I would like to say; It is not only a spiritual experience but also an materialistic experience. Materialistic means it improves your thought process, it improves your concentration and eventually it leads you to spirituality, but not before interacting to the materialistic world. By meditating you will not become a saint, but your family will run well, you body will be healthy, you mind will be healthy, you won’t get angry. So you should mediate not to become a saint, but to run your family well. That’s why it is said “arth dharm kaam moksha”. First in a student life, then in the household life and then vanakastu and then as a saint or a sanyasi life. So whenever you interact with Narmada there is a lot of materialistic advantage. People say Narmada gives both khan and dhyan. It is the only river. No other river gives this. Even if you don’t believe these things you should once walk along the river because it is the most beautiful river in the world. It’s so beautiful that you will just keep looking at it and wondering about its vastness and immensity.

Student: As an occupation why is that the tribal’s depend on the river?

Dave: They don’t. They have agriculture, they raise cattle, but only the fisherman is financially dependent on it. The people who farm on the banks grow watermelon etc, otherwise no.

Student: Along the coast of the river there are lots of stories that one hears, so what is the most interesting story that you have heard along Narmada?

Dave: There are so many stories. Some are related to Narmada some are related to the society. I have written one story, there is one specific bird which is called saras, it always lives as a couple and it is said if one dies the other one also dies within 24 hours. So girls when they are going to get married they go to the bank of the river Narmada and they try to collect feathers of that bird, eventually they get because there are so many Saras, they bring feathers and sew it into their pillow which they are going to give in the dowry with the hope and wish that as these two birds live together, walk together, eat together so the same in your life when you live together. That is one story. There are these types of many stories.

Student: Sir, there are also lots of stories about the origin of Narmada. How was Narmada born?

Dave: it is a beautiful story. Narmada was born from the feet of Shiv while doing tandav , but she was born and brought up in the family, in the house of Maikal range, which is a mountain range in Amarkantak and is an origin of 3 rivers, Som, Narmada and Zubida. So the story is that she grew and was ready for marriage with Som and she sent her message through Zubida so Som feel in love with Zubida only, Narmada kept waiting and one fine day she went in the morning and saw both of them sitting together and talking and she blasted and said now I am not going to marry and she turned back and started moving towards west, Som went in the direction of east and Zubida started from Amarkantak and had a journey of 40 kilometers or something like that and eventually that merged to Som because of these incidents she said that I am not going to get married for the rest of my life so it is the only river that we call as a kanya / avivahit. That is why people living on both sides do not go to take bath in the river because they say – that she is unmarried (kanga) we cannot go there with a dirty body, they won’t go into the river with shoes, like if you are getting into a boat at least 2 steps are taken in the water but how can you go with shoes?

Dave: That is why when we work on river Narmada, we work on river conservation. We have 2 slogans- increase the water levels in the river and better the quality of the water. Quantity & quality of the river ; because people don’t ask / realize that it is not a perennial river like the Himalaya in which the snow melts and makes the river, from where does the water come from? That nobody wants to know, everybody says that Bhopal needs water, Indore needs water, Gujarat needs water, Maharashtra needs water, everyone takes water from the river but no one talks about from where the water comes. Our institute (Narmada Samagra) talks and looks at the mechanism on how water is generated in the rivers.

Student: What is the mechanism?

Dave: The mechanism is very simple. The rain water goes into the mountains through trees, therefore do no cut trees, don’t do unnecessary mining & blasting, because by doing extra blasting the natural inner structure gets destroyed and don’t pollute.

Student: So is this river festival annual?

Dave: No, every 3 years, now it will be in 2012.

Student: What happens in the river festival?

Dave: In the river festival those who are working on the conservation of river Narmada or any other river, they come together, this time we had the representation of more than 30 rivers out of that 4 were from abroad and we had a representation of 19 foreign citizens from almost 8 countries and from India we had a representation of almost 700 and something. They have a cultural program, whole day we have a seminar. We live on the bank of the river Narmada near Hoshangabaad. So this we do there, this was the 2nd one, and you are invited for the 3rd one.

Student: So you actually stay on the banks of the river?

Dave: Not only we stay there but we also make the conference hall in such a way that whole day one can see Narmada, it is transparent from 3 sides because it is said that is it of great important to have a look a Narmada. To see Narmada, that is enough, like in Ganga it is important to take a bath, the same way just to look at Narmada is of importance.

Student: They say that once they have had the parikrama it has quite a big impact on their life, like their lives suddenly become positive, is it psychological or is it actual, because a lot of people have said that once the parikrama is over they feel a positive impact.

Dave: I think it is very common with not only parikrama but also with the rest of the world also. If you go to the mountains, if you go to the forest go near the sea shore, if you go and remain close to nature you automatically become positive. It is the natural way of happening. So, when you keep on walking along the banks of the river for months together naturally it is going to bring a change to your life because it is the way of life in society which makes your negative thinking.

Student: Sir, have you seen a ritual with is very different? Way of worship.

Dave: During Narmada jayanti, they worship ‘Aarti’ her. This is a very unique. There are thousands who live in the mountains so the entire river gets filled with diya’s but this is a part of their worshipping. If I have 10 rotis and I give someone 3 out of it, that I understand but if I have only 2 roti and I give both away , that I don’t understand, that means he is a very great man. So I went back and touched his feet and said that ‘you are a great man’. He will be great. You will meet a lot of these kinds of people.

Dave: A ‘Samadhi’ of a very important person from Pune is there on the banks of Narmada. That person’s name is Bajirao Peshwa. So that is Bajirao Peshwa and Mastani`s place. The pundits of Pune did not allow Bajirao and Mastani to meet each other for their entire life. It has been said about Bajirao that he has never lost any battle if he was alive for long we would have forgotten Shivaji. He was that brave a General, extraordinary planner, executer, someone who got results and it is said in history that he was the most beautiful person from India- that is the caption given to him in history. Bajirao from Delhi while going or coming, stopped at a place called Raved, where on April 17, which is during summer season, he would have taken bath in the Narmada, so when he got our because of the sudden change in hot and cold he got sick and on the 4th day died. He was cremated there and there is a story that Mastani also came there and jumped. So there a ‘Samadhi’ over there of a person from Pune and we are reviving this there by planning to open a military school there. Because if you have to remember Bajirao then you will have to do it that way, you remember Savarkar through what he used to do, Gandhi through his style, Tilak like his style. If you have to remember Bajirao then open a military school.

Student: Sir in Bhopal, what else can we do in relation to Narmada? What can we see?Basically our topic is influence of Narmada on people around it, including the parikrama, including the local people, the tribes, those live in the villages and city that come to see. That is our basic topic, so can you add anything to this?


“When a person ignores the base instinct of hunger and offers you his last morsel of food; you are in the presence of the Narmada.”