Where there is a will, there is a way… we’ve all heard this adage many times, but how many of us really follow it. An avid Bhagwad Gita reader and proponent of its philosophy, advocate Madan Mohan Vats, has found a novel way of making the scripture easy to read for himself by using VHS cassettes, earlier used in VCRs, which had been lying waste in his store room for over 30 years.
Imagine a charkha in your mind, the kind that Mahatma Gandhi used to spin cotton on. A similar apparatus has been set up by Vats in which a 15mm wide ribbon passes through a specially designed double acrylic sheet 2″ x 12″ which joins two cassettes of 10″ diameter each mounted on two vertical stands. The speed of the ribbon can be controlled by two 12 Volts motors and a battery. 700 Sanskrit shalokas, with meaning in Hindi, of all the 18 chapters of Bhagwad Gita have been written with white acrylic paint on the 1,365 mt long E126/T-90 casset ribbon.
Hailing from Panipat in Haryana and leading a retired life in Zirakpur, he finished the task of writing the entire matter in about a year in 2021 spending about 905 hours. “ Whenever I used to sit down to write, I used to note down the timings when I started and when I put my brush down. My intention is to create a world record,” says 72-yr-old Madan Mohan Vats. CityWoofer spoke with him to know more:
Where did the idea of using disused VHS cassettes come from?
I was a great fan of Hindi cinema and I used to watch them on my VCR ( video cassette recorder) which was a huge rage back then. As time passed, VCR went out of fashion but I did not feel like throwing the cassettes. I had about 100 of them lying in my store room for the last 30-35 years. So when I thought of writing the Bhagwad Gita, I realized a big paper roll would be required which would be too bulky and the paper would have to be of the same width, so I explored this idea. I used 10 VHS cassettes to complete the job.
What were the challenges you faced while making this self-created invention?
I wandered around a lot of electrical shops in Sector 19, Chandigarh, electrical engineers refused to work on it, so I researched on the Internet. I needed a motor which would help in moving the ribbon but the RPM of the motor was either too slow or too fast. Then, a young boy introduced me to a speed controller with which I could control the speed of the ribbon according to my reading speed.
What inspired you to write the Bhagwad Gita?
The world’s heaviest Bhagwad Gita (800 kg, 9 feet high) which has been placed in the ISCON temple, Delhi, was prepared in Milan in Italy at a cost of Rs 2 crore. Another fascimile was prepared for a temple in Kurukshetra, the inauguration of which I saw on television. So I wondered why can’t we do something similar in India, where the Gita has originated. Gita has been translated in 578 languages across the world.
Do you read the Gita from your self-prepared apparatus? How often do you read it?
I am a disciple of Lord Krishna and I love him truly and deeply. Six adhyayas of the Gita, I remember ad verbatum and read aloud daily. Now that I have a problem with my eyesight, I am not able to see and read on this apparatus, but most of it I know by heart.
How did your family help you in your project?
There only help was that they did not object to what I was doing.
Vats has a passion to present the Bhagwad Geeta in different ways. Earlier, he has presented the Geeta in Sanskrit on 44″ x 29″ single paper sheet and then on a sheet of 29″ x 14″ in verse form.
Another presentation of the Gita by him is a print of all the shaloka on artificial peepal tree leaves tucked on artificial tree. These presentations can be seen in the museum of Geeta Gyan Sansthanam, Kurukshetra.
Now, he is working on how to present Bhagwad Gita on real peepal tree leaves in the form of 3 feet high book and then tuck them on a 9-10 feet high tree, having 18 branches made out of sawdust.
For more you can visit his house at 38, Skynet Enclave (behind Buddha girls school), Lohgarh, Zirakpur.