Monday, November 28, 2016

904. Gangs the purifier.....!


While on a casual stroll Maharudradeva and Parvathidevi came across the banks of Ganga at Varanasi. Parvathidevi was astonished to see numerous people vying with each other to have a dip in Ganga. It was Karthika Somvara and every devotee wanted to take a dip at Ganga before having the glimpse of Kasi Vishwanatha and Maa Vishalakshi. 

Looking at the huge rush Parvathidevi asked Maharudradeva, “I can see so many of them having a dip at Ganga. The scriptures have made them believe that a dip in Ganga wipes off their sins. My Beloved, is it true??? If so, then will not people deliberately sin and then take a dip at Ganga in free themselves from the consequences of their misdeeds?” 

Maharudradeva replied, “I too have a doubt in regard to this. Let us assume the form of an old man and his wife. In the guise of the old man I will take a dip in Ganga and get drowned you have to stand at the banks and shout for help.”

Maharudradeva gave her some further instructions before they came to the banks of Ganga. Thereafter, Parvathidevi in the guise of an old woman stood near Ganga. Pointing to the drowning old man she wailed, “Will somebody save my husband?” 

Within a few seconds a large number of people gathered there and many volunteered to jump into the water to save the old man. As instructed by Maharudradeva, Parvathidevi warned them, “Only a sinless person shall touch my husband. My husband is a pious man only those who are sinless can touch him. Therefore, sinful ones need go to save him.” 

Many of them who had volunteered to go and save the old man retreated. One young man jumped into the Ganga and pulled out the old man. The old woman thanked him profusely but hastened to ask, “I had said that only a sinless one can touch my husband. How did you touch him? Are you sinless?” 

The man replied, “Yes, I am. I jumped into the Ganga and only then saved your husband. Once I came into contact with Ganga, all my sins were wiped off.” 

If a person has such intense faith, Ganga will certainly wash away his sins. Ganga does purify people of their sceptical and dubious mind. When the faith of the person who resorts to take a dip in her is intense, he is greatly benefitted by her. This, however, does not mean that one will be redeemed if one commits sins deliberately and then goes for a dip in Ganga. There is a saying that mistake happens only once and if it happens the second time it is choice. The choice is backed by deliberation. All those sins committed without knowledge or without conscious get wiped out by Ganga. The remorse is such a feel that it brings in tears and those drops of water which drip from eyes on to the cheeks is no less than Ganga. 



Saturday, November 26, 2016

903. Disrobing of Draupadi.....!!!



Rolling the twin dice in the hand and a mischievous grin on his lips Gandharanaresh Shakuni raised his left eyebrow to glance at Yudhishthira, the eldest of the Pandavas brothers. The stake that was pledge after losing his entire kingdom, his brothers and himself was Draupadi, the wife of all the five brothers. 

“Five” said Yudhishthira with a shaky voice. The dice rolled down on to the mat settling to show the single dots on each of them. “Its Two, Draupadi is our daasi (Slave) now” shouted Dushyasana, the brother of Duryodhana. At that period of time tradition and customs gave the master the right to do whatever he liked with the slave. He could sell them or gift them to someone else, make them do whatever he wished and do with them whatever he desired. 

“Bring her to this courtyard and disrobe her.” was the order Duryodhana gave to Dushyasana. She is pulled by hair and dragged to the courtyard. Draupadi, the women of substance wanted the elders present in the court to answer her. She wanted to know if her husbands had lost themselves first or was she placed as stake first. Bhishma the eldest of the lot looked at the whole situation from the perspective of Duryodhana’s ownership rights. He did not see the woman in distress being humiliated. Drona and Krupa too could look beyond Dharma. Pandavas brothers too were bound to Dharma. While Yudhishthira saw Draupadi as mere stake in the game of dice, his brothers felt Dharma does not allow them to act against their elder brother. 

We all know Dushyasana made the horrible decision to start disrobing the bride and the pride of Kuru Vamsha. Knowing that none of them present in the assembly including her husbands could rescue her, Draupadi finally calls out to Sri Krishna.     

Sri Krishna has no hesitations to come to her rescue. He sees the whole situation clearly from His higher moral standpoint. Here is a woman in distress want of help, He is capable of rendering that help and so He helps her. Whether Yudhishthira was right in using her as stake, whether she was rightfully lost in the game of dice, was she now the slave and other such questions related to Dharma became immaterial to Him. He rose above such petty questions and viewed with absolute clarity the human situation there. He intervened decisively showing how He can effortlessly rise to levels of higher morality when the occasion demands. 

Rising above conventional morality to levels of higher morality depending on the situation is the quality of a transformational leader. A transformational leader has wisdom to acquire a vision which is beyond Dharma. He has the ability to communicate that vision and also has courage to act according to that vision. Sri Krishna preaches Arjuna in Bhagavad-Gita to develop such a vision and the prerequisite qualities required to obtain that vision. Superficially that vision could mean that the end justifies the means. It is disastrous if a malevolent uses that vision as a smoke shield. We are witnessing such incidents in the society. As what is supposed to be a great vision for one who is immersed in selfish and avaricious motives spell devastation to others. 

The only perspective from which the end can justify the means is when our goals are set by a truly noble heart. A heart that wishes good to all.  An individual with such a heart loves the world as much as he loves himself and is willing to sacrifice anything and everything for the good of other. It is only then that one rises to the level of higher morality – which surpasses the dictum of Dharma.


Friday, November 25, 2016

902. Bandh cannot be Civil Disturbance Movement.....!



Strikes, demonstrations, boycotts are the common forms of protest used to bring in the change across the globe. We in India have Bandh (Strike), Dharna (Peaceful protest), Satyagraha (Urge for truth), Annashan (Hunger Strike), Gherao (Encirclement) as means to display the dissatisfaction. The protests have brought about drastic changes in the social structure while in few occasions it has also been the birth of a new political party or an organization. 

Earlier such protest was undertaken to ensure civil liberation, equality and justice. In recent times bandh has become a joker’s ploy. Bandh had its legacy in Civil Disobedience Movement, now it is transformed into Civil Disturbance Movement by those jokers.

Bandh not only hampers productivity but also causes huge damage to public and private properties. Further it adds to the mental agony, uncertainty, insecurity and puts public in a helpless situation. Not all are against bandh, a few anti-social elements just love them. The high sales of liquor on the eve of the bandh stand as proof. Some are happy that it will be a paid holiday and they can idle away time watching the horrific incidences of the day beamed on news channels. 

Recently in my state Karnataka there was a huge protest on the Kaveri river water dispute. Many government buses and private transport vehicles were set on fire during bandh causing enormous loss to the exchequer and as well as individuals. I felt with the advancement of communication technology there are better ways to reach out to the authorities concerned through well formulated representation. Several institutions are in place to ensure that justice is done to the affected. Sadly the organisers of the protest think that to draw the attention of both the public and the concern authorities the intensity of the damage to public and private properties is the criteria. The more the public property is damaged the more aggravated the protest is and more successful the bandh becomes. This kind of thinking is sickening to the society.     

Now after our P.M announced the demonetization drive to curb Black Money the opposition parties have got together and announced BANDH. No, I am not saying they should not protest, but it is more important for them to assess the public opinion so that the civil rights of public is not disturbed and the state administrative machinery is not sabotaged. It would be sensible to question the demonetization drive through the institutional structures in the society. If there are no favorable institutional structures, it is still possible to present their views directly to the high authority or reach the public whom they represent through the widely present electronic and social media. These are the facilities a responsible person or a group can exercise in a democratic platform. It is sheer foolishness to adopt hypocritical tactic of civil disturbance to achieve their objectives.  

As it is this Bandh that is called for is against the wishes of the majority of the public in my country. As per the voice of the general public that is heard on the social media as well as electronic media the demonetisation drive has the support of the large section of the public. Ironically it is those who hoarded the ill-gotten money who are feeling crabby the common man welcome the decision of the Prime Minister.

I do not support the Bandh and request my every brother and sister of this country not to support the bandh. This is in view of the “acche din” which our P.M had assured us all. 

“Na Khaunga, Na Khane Dunga”...... our P.M had said..... Let us strengthen his ideology by opposing this bandh.

Jai Hind......Jai Bharat.        

Thursday, November 24, 2016

901. Why I am a Sanatani???


When I start to think why I am a Sanatani? I need to make clear about the word “I” which is used in the question. That “I” does not point to the Deha, the body which is identified by others as Sreeram Manoj Kumar, since it is ephemeral. That “I” does not refer to the Atma, the substratum of the all pervading Absolute Consciousness, since it is eternal.  
Then who is that “I”???

That “I” is my Mind and Intellect index which the scripture refer to as “Jeevatma” (Individual Consciousness), it is neither ephemeral nor eternal.

Now what makes me a Sanatani???

I believe that we are all “Amritasya Putra” (Progeny of Immortality). Hence to me the whole world is a family. I am related to everyone in this universe as I share the same source. The source from which I come make me perfect. I am perfect with all the knowledge and instinct that I need. When I want answers I look within! From there I can comprehend the truth, the wisdom. External medium like books, encyclopedias or for the matter Google can only show the path to that truth.

Being a Sanatani I rely on myself. I find perfection within myself. There is nothing for me to strive for. There is no effort to become something or be anything other than what I already am. Effortlessness lies at the crux of Sanatana Dharma.

If I am not perfect it is only due to the veil of ignorance. Ignorance due to the Vasanas (Tendencies) and Samskaras (Impressions) accumulated from past numerous births. To know the true identity all that is needed to be done is undo the effects of the years, civilization, society, education, degrees, ambitions and everything else. The true identity is the source that is pure and perfect.

As a Sanatani I experience the energy of God in every bit of nature. Be it a cow, tree, stone, sun, moon anything and everything in nature is energy. Just as nature accepts everything, so does a Sanatani.

Sanatana Dharma does not endorse violence of any kind. This includes the subtle forms of violence such as discipline, disapproval, conformance to rigid rules, coercions. Being a Sanatani I have a complete freedom. Freedom to choose my own path there is no rules and restrictions. Nobody compels me to read any scriptures or force me to go on pilgrimage. Whatever I do it is voluntary.

As a Sanatani I emphasize more on Being and less on Doing. The path I follow has made me understand that excessive doing is the result of a restless mind. The action that results when the mind is still and the heart is open and receptive is what is called Being.

Sanatani is just Being.......!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

900. Why is it so hard to bring change in the System???


There are many large system flaws that we would collectively like to change. In the first place we need to understand that the “System” we are talking about include me, you and all. 

The larger change in the system is very difficult to happen in a short period of time. The recent example is the Demonetization Drive to curb Black Money. On the one hand this move demonstrated that a determined political leadership with the support of general public attempted to check a big menace called “Black Money. On the other hand detailed reviews on the move shows that there are a few who feel it was a failure. 

As a citizen with social responsibility I like to discus about the current affairs and since the day my P.M announced the demonetization drive I have been posting my thoughts. The change can happen when we talk about what need to happen instead of just cribbing on what is happening. I am astonished to hear from a few who want to talk only about what is happening without even thinking about what should happen. Some messaged me saying “you are talking about what should happen, but look at what is happening.”     

In general it is not the voice of few even the younger generation distance themselves from discussing about what should happen. The change in system that is happening in other countries is because the public talk about what should happen. They do not waste their energy thinking on what is happening or what has happened. 

Let’s think about the change from a right perspective. What needs to happen in order to change the system??? Change of law and policy alone will never help there has to be change in social values, pattern of behavior and disposition. It is easy to criticise a decision intended to change system while it is very difficult to find an alternative.

It so happened that a young artist just out of his painting course wanted to assess his skills. He painted beautiful scenery and displayed it on a busy street. He wanted the opinion from the art lovers about his painting skills. Hence he placed a board just below the painting which read, “Ladies and Gentlemen, this is my first piece of painting after completion of my course. There could be some mistakes in my strokes etc. Please put a cross wherever you see a mistake.”

Next day when he came back to collect his painting he was completely shattered to see that whole canvass was filled with X marks. He was completely disheartened he told his girl friend about it.  

His girl friend said, “My dear, you are a great artist and your paintings are flawless. I request you to paint a similar painting once again for me and give it to me?”

Young man reluctantly agreed and two days later early morning he presented a replica of his earlier painting to her. She took the painting to the same street early morning and displayed the same painting exactly at the same place. She took out another board and wrote, “Ladies and Gentlemen, this is my first piece of painting after completion of my course. There could be some mistakes in my strokes etc. I have put a box with colors and brushes. Please do me a favour, if you find a mistake kindly pick up the brush and correct it.”

Next day when they came back the painting remained untouched. 

It is easier to criticize, but difficult to provide an alternative......do you agree???

Change in system can only happen when we stop talking about what has happened or happening and discus about what should happen and volunteer to that change.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

899. The Half Knowledge..... I!


Mahabharata by C. Rajagopalachari was the book recommended by my father to read when I was in high school. I was fortunate enough to read that great epic in simple language at that age. Later on it became easy for me to read the epic from other authors and listen to the discourse from various personalities. 

For a seeker Mahabharata is filled with metaphors. The battle of Kurukshetra is not only that which took place in a battlefield but is a battle happening daily within us. There is a continuous tussle between the positivity and the negative emotions. The hundred negative attitudes we harness are like Duryodhana and his brothers while our five senses represent the sons of Pandu. It should be our constant quest to enrich the Pandavas and subdue the Kauravas with the help of Antaryami Sri Krishna, the Inner Voice.

One incidence in the Great War that has a positive impact on me since my younger days was the “Chakravyuha” episode. I also played the role of Abhimanyu in a play when I was in a summer camp.  

Chakravyuha is a two word amalgamation in Sanskrit vocabulary. Chakra is wheel and Vyuha is formation. This is a most complex circular defensive pattern that keeps on moving in a spherical order. The formation is unseen from the ground but when one views it from above he can decipher the movement.    

The making and breaking of Chakravyuha was a closely guarded secret by military elites. Arjuna once in his flamboyant moods revealed its secret to his pregnant wife Subhadra. This narration was overheard by Abhimanyu from within his mother’s womb. Midway during narration Subhadra fell asleep. Abhimanyu who was listening could only grasp the knowledge of entering the Chakravyuha, not the exit strategies. 

We all know that Abhimanyu volunteered to enter the wheel formation but lost his life for the lack of knowledge to break away. I regard this episode with great relevance. Subhadra signifies the state of my mind that yonder and go to sleep when it was necessary to pay attention. Abhimanyu is the zeal in me ready to accept challenges without complete knowledge of task and risk involved. Abhimanyu is the son of Subhadra, zeal is the by product of my mindset. The blame is not on the zeal but on my mind which was unprepared. 

My sleeping mind lacks concentration and commitment. Whether it is my personal or professional life, the impact is irreversible. So the question now is how do I keep my mind active and avoid detrimental situations???

Bhagavad-Gita talks about Yagna which vaguely translate to in English as Sacrifice. Yagna is an act done with complete knowledge and selfless dedication. Any work done by me with limited resources but with full knowledge, devotion and detachment will produce better results than when done with more resources but with half knowledge and lack of dedication.

This half knowledge has put me in a sticky situation in few occasions at my factory. The zeal to start the work has made me unprepared for the unfurling events causing a little hardship. Whether it was in my factory or in my personal life, the half knowledge is dangerous. I learnt that it is important to wake-up the Subhadra in me so that the Abhimanyu in me is well equipped with sufficient knowledge so that it will be like a cake walk to enter and exit the Chakravyuhas in my life. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

898. The amazing process of creativity.....!



When I look at the  ancient monuments or the modern skyscrapers I wonder how could we humans create such marvels???  

I could find the answer for it in Purusha Suktam. 

I understand a lot from those verses coming from Rig Veda on how everything has just emanated out of Purusha (Cosmic Being). I know that many who are scientifically incline may differ but my request to them is to find time to explore the great truths that are hidden compressed in Purusha Suktam. The Vedic verses comprises of compression of great thoughts into a few crypt verses called the Sukta (Su meaning Well & Ukta meaning Said) so Sukta is “Well Said.” 

For anything to be created there has to be two major requirements. The first is the Perception which becomes a concept for the creation that is the blueprint and that comes as a “Thought.” Secondly the resources that converts the tiny dimensionless thought into the seed of reality. This seed of reality then sprouts over time into a huge tree with the branches of time and space. 

From the Kailasa Temple at Ellora to the Kempegowda International Airport in Devanahalli in Bengaluru every single monument could not have been a reality if it had not been conceived by someone at some point of time. The Purusha which the Vedas talk dwells in that thought. Even more so that concept is refined, improved and extended and constantly upgraded. Our houses became a reality because there was first a perception of a need to have a protective environment that has to safe guard us as well as our family. 

Further without the resources it would not have been possible to convert the perceived image of a new creation into reality. Resources could be in the form of human effort, multiplying such effort, guiding such efforts in the right direction, eliminating chaos and conflicts in the utilization and synchronization of those efforts, addition of physical aids to such efforts, etc.
This is called the process of creativity which is very well highlighted in the Purusha Suktam, the great set of verses in Rig Veda. This verse is found in the Tenth Mandala (Part 10), of the Fourth Adhyaya (Section-4). 

Essentially Purusha is the perception that extends into a concept and the recourses is the energy called Shakti. According to Vedas Shakti is that which enables growth. 

Purusha Sukta points out at whatever has ever been created, whatever is likely to be created in future (Yadbutam, Yaccha Bhavyam) is nothing but Purusha which is the perception of the reality (Purusha eva idam Sarvam). And all that is created is strengthened and grows into enormously large beings or systems through constant nourishing – nourishing of Shakti in the name of resource into it (Yat Annena Atirohati). 
However, nothing can evolve unless it is rooted in something that has already been created before (Paadosya Vishwa Bhootani). Amazingly if something has to sustain without perishing then it has to have its foot in three levels (Tripaada). The first foot at the past creation that has existed before the new comes into existence. The second one is the present, into which the concept has to be firmly rooted. From there it has to take off to the third level by setting its feet into the future by putting its feet firmly into that which is yet to materialize (Tripaadasya Amrutam Divi).

From there emerges the enormous and multi facetted creation that spans several Desha (Countries), Loka (Worlds) and then the entire Vishwa (Universe) (Tasmaat Virat Ajaayata). It is like looking at the unending vortex in the GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) image.  

Friday, November 18, 2016

897. God is not a Praise Junkie.....!



A young man working in a corporate office was disturbed when he did not get promoted. To add salt to his injury his colleague got the laurels. He started to grumble, “I had been to Tirupati last week and climbed the hill bare foot, yet the Lord of Seven Hills did not bestow grace on me.”   

“God is very biased it is His injustice towards me. I get up early in the morning and worship Him. He has put me to deal with this nagging mother-in-law. My friend does not even go to temple or pray Him; her mother-in-law is so cordial with her. God is hardhearted” says a middle aged mother of two kids. 

There are many such grievances where we find people bring in God unnecessarily.  Can God be so??? In the first place what will God gain by doing all these??? Also why is it that all the great things that happen are labelled as “Self Effort” while for anything that goes wrong God becomes the culprit???

Further going by the philosophical point of view we have enough quotes to shield God like for example: “He has something better for you” or “He might give you a greater responsibility” or “He knows whom to give, what to give, when to give & how to give” or “He upsets our plan to execute His plan” And finally 
“His ways are unique, how will we mortals know.” These solace words are far better; we have also heard few asking us to “Praise the Lord” so that he will be favourable to us. Will it work so???

Listening to all these statement I have started to think if in reality is Man the creation of God or is God a creation of Man. We want God to act as we want; we want Him to be favourable to us. In this melee we worship and pray Him without understanding that He is not a praise junkie who gets high when someone adores, prays or worships Him. In the mad race to obtain His grace we have even disowned humanity, the stampedes that have occurred at the place of worship stands as a testimony to this. How can we expect Him be graceful if we behave inhuman??? 

There lived a Guru with lots of disciples learning about God, Nature and Life. Guru taught the disciple the Glory of God as well as the importance of love, affection, integrity and virtue. He would say helping hands are better than the praying hands.  There was one disciple who preferred to serve the masses instead of attending the rituals in worship of God in the ashram. 

One day a Sadhu from Himalayas came to the ashram. He had a book in his hand. Guru asked him about the book. “This is the book which contains the names of those people who love God” replied the Sadhu. He started to read out the names from it. The names included that of the Guru and almost many of the disciples in the ashram. 

Out of curiosity, the disciple who loves to help others asked the Sadhu, “Could you please check for my name too.” The Sadhu said, “Sorry, your name does not figure in it.” Hearing this disciple got depressed. Seeing him, Sadhu said, “There is another book with me which I shall bring tomorrow, may be your name figures in that.” 

The next day Sadhu came with the other book and as he opened it, the name of the disciple topped the list. Again out of curiosity the disciple asked, “Now what is this book?” Sadhu replied, “The book which I brought yesterday contained the names of those people who love God. This book, which I have brought now, contains the names of those people whom God loves.”
By praying and worshiping one may love God, but by doing what He wants us to do, we will be loved by Him.   

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

896. Bribe, the menace.....!


This is a real incidence that occurred a few years back in north Karnataka. One morning at around 5 A.M on N H 218 a middle aged person riding a bike collapse and fell on the road side. It happened near a sugarcane field and a person who had been in the field to switch on the pump set rushed to the bikers’ aid. But by the time he reached there the person on the bike was no more. He had a massive heart attack. 

At about 9 A.M he was identified as R.T.O inspector who was on night duty. He was returning back home. The family of the officer was informed. While his bike was checked by the police for any foul play, in the stud box of the vehicle was Rs. 19,850=00 in cash with denomination from ranging from 10 to 500. That was the bribe amount he had collected throughout the night and was taking it home. No one knew since when he had been doing it but it was unfortunate that on that fateful day he could not even buy himself a single cup of tea in the morning with that money. 

As an irony the sugarcane grower who had rushed to help the person had lost his father only a week back. The farmer had committed suicide unable to repay the loan of Rs. 2,00,000=00 which he had taken from a co-operative bank to grow sugarcane. The amount the officer had collected overnight if aggregated for 10 to 12 nights would have been enough for the farmer to repay his loan. Unable to arrange the loan amount the farmer decided to end his life.  

The R.T.O inspector could have never thought that he will have to end his life journey so he was busy collecting lots of money. The thought that a person will live long and he has to amass lots of money to live a comfortable life is the wonder of wonders. We greet every sunrise with happiness, excited at the possibilities each fresh day brings. And at sunset too, we are happy at the opportunities for revelry in the pleasures of the night. Little do we realize that each sunrise and sunset gets us closer to the inevitable death. Only if we are aware of this simple fact, do we realize that there is no charm in amassing money and living a corrupt life? The lack of such knowledge has made the bureaucrats to suck money from the public in the name of rules. The politicians too milk money out of treasury in the name of development and the business companies loot the customer in the name of brand. Even so if the intentions are to make money, is there no limit? What would a family do with thousands of crores of rupees when it cannot save any one of their family members from the jaws of death???

For the last few days we have been noticing a few who have made money misappropriate to their earnings are discarding them. Fear of being caught has gripped them now. Were they not caught by their conscience when they amassed it??? Do they need moral policing??? Do they not revere their inner voice???

I always say this “You may get more than you desire, but you never get less than you deserve..... So just do your work sincerely without much worry about the gains”

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

895. Take up your Responsibility...... It is the trait of Adulthood.



“Go and exchange the old notes for new ones in the bank you have holiday today and bank is working on Sunday too to provide new currency for us.” told the mother to her son. 

“I get a day to take rest and you spoil even that. Moreover I cannot stand in the queue and waste the day.” screamed the son. The mother finished her daily chores at home and ran to the bank to exchange the notes. The difference in the approach that can be observed in the mother and son is the will to take up the responsibility. 

Responsibility is not to be accepted it is to be volunteered. A worker accepts responsibility while a leader volunteers it. Leader takes the initiative and steps forward. He announces his availability and makes his presence felt by taking up the responsibility. We not only have the power to take responsibility of our own life, but within us is the enormous loads of energy to take the responsibility of others too. Just the will to take up the responsibility will trigger the volcano of the energy needed from within. 

Responsibility assumed has to be unconditional, as what is not unconditional can never be done. When conditions succeed the responsibility fails and if the conditions are redundant then responsibility has a real meaning.   
Every individual alone must discharge his responsibility. Even Sri Krishna did not take up the weapons when Arjuna discarded them at the start of the Great War. Sri Krishna gave the sermon on the responsibilities of a warrior. Arjuna was thus motivated. Only when one feels responsible for his life, he can skilfully respond to all that life throws at him. The first step towards adulthood is to assume complete responsibility. There is no better way for a man to create himself than to assume responsibilities. By taking responsibility there is a power to change and thus it is like taking charge of life. 

There could be a beautiful canvas, various vibrant colour paints and a very flexible paintbrush, the quality of the portrait is the responsibility of the painter. This shows that the quality of life lies in the responsibility taken. Of all the creatures man alone can assume the responsibility to make this world a little better than what it was. Any task in life if perceived as Kashta (hard) will only appear to be even harder. While the same task is perceived as Ishta (fond) then it can be done with effortless ease. It is better to stop viewing responsibilities as a burden and start seeing them as opportunities. Every individual has the opportunity to be the architect of a new better world. One should never miss the responsibility of being the co-designer of the new world. 

Responsibility is in ensuring not to let a moment pass by without making the presence felt. Adding value to every moment and transforming every feat by adding value to it. 

Let everything transform in our presence so that we too get transformed as well. In helping others to find themselves we can find ourselves. This is the responsibility which can make us all the reformers of the modern society..... What say??? 

Monday, November 14, 2016

894. The Story of Currency Notes......



Long Long ago there were no money and there was no trade, they only exchanged. Everyone exchanged what they had with what they want. It was later termed “Barter System.”After civilisation advanced metals like gold, silver, copper and lead were treated as means to exchange. 

Chanakya, the prime minister of Chandra Gupta Maurya (340-290 BC) mentions in his work Arthashastra the use of Gold (Suvarnarupa), Silver (Rupyarupa), Copper (Tamrarupa) and Lead (Sisarupa). For trading purpose they had gold, silver, copper and lead coins with the emblem of the kingdom which minted them. It became very difficult for the traders to carry the precious metals overseas for trading. Then promissory notes came into existence. 

Promissory notes were a certificate given to people who deposit gold or silver with someone whom they had trust. The promissory note had the details of how much gold worth was deposited. That promissory note could be exchanged for gold in the other place from another person. Those people who exchanged the promissory notes to gold came to be known as trustees. The trustees would charge a small amount to safe guard gold. 

People felt carrying few papers were much more safe than gold. While everything was going on well there cropped up a problem. The people who exchanged gold to promissory notes did not come back for gold instead circulated the promissory notes among themselves. Trustees felt why not issue more promissory notes than the amount of the gold reserves they had? From there started the beginning of modern currencies and the banking system. 

Trustees simply issued more promissory notes thinking that no one will come back to claim the gold. If all the people came back there was no enough gold to give them all but it never happened as none were worried about gold as long as the promissory notes were serving their purpose. And those promissory notes were given on loan to earn interest and people kept the promissory notes with the trustees to get the interest benefit. Those trustees sat fat on the gold reserves. Now promissory notes became the reserves to the bank and it was used to lend and earn interest. This is how the banking systems as we know today came into existence.

The early paper currency was introduced by Bank of Hindostan in 1770, General Bank of Bengal and Bihar 1773 by warren Hastings, Bengal Bank 1784. Indian rupee was based on silver reserve. For many years in the early and mid-20th century, the Indian rupee was the official currency in several areas that were controlled by the British and governed from India. The new one rupee note was designed in 1949 after independence. The portrait of King George VI was replaced by portrait of Mahatma Gandhi.

 In January 2012 Indian Rupee got a new sign “₹”. Many earned it by hard work and enjoyed by spending it, a few started to hoard making it stink. Indian Rupee began to rot in the vault of the rich and some even slashed it in the banks outside my country. They made enough money to take care of many generations. The need to curb Black Money became very crucial and hence the government led by Shri Narendra Damodardas Modi, our Prime Minister took a decision to demonetise the higher currency notes. 

Demonetization is a process of stripping the currency unit of its status as a legal tender.    

The main reason to demonetise is to tackle black money. To lower the cash circulation so that it puts a break to corruption in my country. To eliminate fake currency and dodgy funds which have been used by terror groups to fund terrorism in my country.

A welcome move I suppose..... Do you agree???   


Sunday, November 13, 2016

893. MIND, MATTER & ENERGY.....!


Philosophy in Sanskrit is Tattvajnana it is a theory which acts as a guiding principle for behaviour. Tattva is the Truth about the relationship between the Tattvatraya namely Jada (Matter), Jeeva (Mind) and Iswara (Energy).

This word “Philosophy” is been misused and misinterpreted. 
If any subject is deeply analysed we hear people say, “don’t start your philosophy now” or “no philosophy please.” It is a convenient way of distancing ourselves from the real solution to a problem and veiling it with our ignorance to reel in misery. This is the real irony of life.

One may find neat bound copies of Bhagavad-Gita, quotes from Swamy Vivekananda or series of books published by Divine Life Society stacked on the top self of book cabinet. There is no point in keep them there unless the knowledge got from them is incorporated in our daily life.

Tattvajnana appears to be a very difficult and complex subject if it is linked to religion. Rtam (Reality) and Sathyam (Truth) is the prevailing thought and is indebted to King Ajatashatru of Kashi, King Janaka of Vaidehi, Pravahana Jaivali of Panchala and King Ashwapathi of Kaikeya who contributed a lot in analysing the relationship between the Mind, Matter and Energy.

King Ajatasatru of Kashi propounded the theory that Consciousness pervades the body and ensures that the senses remain alert. However, Consciousness absorbs the functions of the organs and withdraws into the space within the heart when one goes to sleep. 

King Pratardana, the son of Divodasa of Kasi, asserted that Consciousness is what controls all other faculties and senses such as sight, sound, speech, breath, limbs and even mind. He spoke about employing the symbolism of the Yajna and self-control (samyama) as an inner sacrifice (antaram agnihotra). He argued that breathing is essential for a living being but, breathing is only a symbol of prana (vital breath). One can hold his breath for some time and still be alive, but one cannot be alive even for an instant without prana. He said, “When Prana departs Death occurs and when it resumes, Life begins.”
Pratardana also observed that one cannot breathe and speak simultaneously. When a man speaks he cannot breathe and when he breaths he cannot speak.

King Janaka of Mithila was more known as a philosopher than as a king. Sage Yagnavalkya his Guru convened philosophical discourse where women philosophers like Gargi and Maitrei also gave discourses. They even challenged Yajnavalkya on the issue of Atma (Soul) and Parmatma (God). The principle of Karma and rebirth was first debated during this period. 

King Pravahana Jaivali of Panchala, was extremely well versed in Udgitha. Many of his theories are about the path taken by the dead and how the departed soul fares on its way to rebirth. He was of the view that rebirth is only after the merits of earlier birth. It was also during this period that the orthodox and heterodox forms of philosophy emerged. This classification depended on whether the Vedas were regarded as an infallible source of knowledge. 

King Ashwapathi of Kaikeya put forward his own theory of Vaisvanara vidya or super soul which pervades all existence as Atma. Many scholars learnt this doctrine of Atma from Ashwapathi. The Vaisvanara concept is explained as a higher form of meditation. 

There are many philosophers who have polished our thought process...... I bow to them all!!! 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

892. Gratitude is the way to Bliss.


Love takes birth from the womb of gratitude. Gratitude is an attitude that takes us to the threshold of Bliss. I need not question what I might get from developing such an attitude, as having the sense of gratitude is for what I have already got. I have to be grateful in every breath of my life for the rest of my life.

Honestly if I look back, the best of everything that I have has been provided even without me having to ask for it. This very life, as a human being, is a blessed bestowed upon me. It seems there is a force that understands what is good for me, much more than I understand it myself. And it is through gratitude alone that I evoke that force to work for me and with me.

Guru and his Shishya had been on a pilgrimage. They return back to their hermitage after a few months. As they were approaching, Shishya was disturbed to notice that half the roof had been blown away by the winds. He thought, “What is the use of going on a pilgrimage? God is so harsh on us. It is after so many months we return to the home to take rest and here we find half the roof missing. There is no proper shelter now.”

While he was busy cribbing mentally he noticed his Guru smiling. All of a sudden Guru went down on his knees and with his hand up in the air he said, “O Lord, your ways are unique. Knowing that we were sleeping under the sky during our pilgrimage, you have made our transition smooth by removing half of the roof.”

Shishya did not know how to react to the way the Guru was behaving. They settled in the hermitage and by the end of the day they spread their mat to sleep. Like it happens to any cribbing mind Shishya was feeling restless he could not sleep. Like it happens to any grateful mind the Guru effortlessly slipped into sleep. His face blossomed with peace even in sleep. The winds had built clouds and the clouds had turned into a downpour. Completely drenched and furious Shishya stormed out of the hermitage screaming, “It doesn’t make any difference whether inside or outside.”

Guru woke up and came out of the hermitage raised his hands above his shoulders gesturing gratitude, and started dancing in the rains.  He prayed aloud again, “O Lord, your ways are unique. You knew we needed to take bath and to cleanse us you sent this divine shower.

Shishya approached his Guru and said, “Gurudeva, there is a limit to everything. You are thanking God for everything going wrong. I feel that it not right, why are you doing this?”

Guru stopped dancing and said, “Do you know something? I don’t even know if God is doing all this! I don’t even know if He knows what I am saying! All I know is my approach is keeping me happy and hence it is the right approach. Your approach is making you miserable and hence it is the wrong approach.  The proof of right approach is in the happiness it delivers. Gratitude, for the known and the unknown factors of life, sustains happiness. Complaining and cribbing only create misery.”

Guru resumed his dance. Shishya contemplated on the words of his
Guru and understood that Gratitude is the way to Bliss. He joined his Guru in his dance. He lifted his hands and prayed aloud, “O Lord, your ways are unique. You have sent me a Guru to help me understand the subtle ways of life. I am grateful to you.”
     

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

891. About the Spiritual Journey.....!


This is what I understand about spiritual journey which Sri Krishna had told to Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita. The Spiritual Journey is the combination of Karma Yoga (Action) and Karma Sanyasa Yoga (Renunciation of Action). Any action is classified as Dharmic (uphold Cosmic Laws) and Adharmic (Evade
Cosmic Laws).

Whichever action that benefits not only me but also others around me is Dharmic Action. Similarly any action which benefits only me and is detriment to others is Adharmic Action. Also any Karma (action) or Pratikarma (reaction) which becomes Pratibandha (obstacle) for me to excel has to be avoided by me. I should never do to others what I don’t wish them doing it to me. The best way to avoid Adharmic action is by undertaking Dharmic action. 

There are prescribed Dharmic actions which are grouped as five and are called Pancha Maha Yagnas.

1. Deva Yagna is my adorable approach towards the five elements namely Space, Fire, Air Water and Earth. I need to honour the five elements that constitute my physical body.

2. Bhuta Yagna is reverential attitude towards all plants and animals and my contribution to protect nature and my involvement to maintain the ecological balance. This yagna caution me about the importance of preserving the nature which is the loan taken from the future generation.  

3. Manushya Yagna is my social responsibility to involve myself into activities that make the society which I live a place worth living in. This yagna pushes me to thrive for those civilized thoughts which can bring in wellness in society.  

4. Brahma Yagna is my respectful contribution in practicing and propagating the scriptural knowledge got from various Maharshis, Acharyas and Gurus. This yagna lets me share that which I know and assimilate what I don’t know.  

5. Pitru Yagna is the grateful feelings I develop towards my ancestors in particular and senior citizens in general. There is no point in performing vast rituals after the death of the parents it is wise to take care of them when they are alive. One need not spend money on them just interacting with them can bring make them happy.
   
These Pancha Maha Yagnas which are prescribed actions for mankind bring in resultant fruits in the future. Hence I need to dedicate all those fruits of actions to the Absolute. In short I am neither the doer nor the enjoyer. After completion of every prescribed action I need to mentally channelize the reward of the work towards the one who has chosen me to do it.  

Finally, the most important thing is for me to experience everything as grace of the
Absolute. Whatever I am going through now is a just experience. I should never challenge Him by raising the question – why me? I need to accept everything calmly and coolly. I need to look for hidden message in and through all the experience especially the hidden messages in painful experiences that I might have. Every experience has a past history.

Monday, November 7, 2016

890. Living a life of Detachment......!


The shell crack opened the tiny chick peeped out. The shell casing fell apart and the chicken walked out. This is how the egg hatches and the chicken is born. Did the chick develop detachment towards the shell to emerge out??? No, the zeal to live made the chick to transcend from lower growth to higher growth.
Detachment is not a decision it is a part of my growth. It is not a listless non-involvement in life, but is a living sacrifice. Just like the chicken which did not give up the shell, I give up nothing. In fact I have nothing to give up. The immature mind thinks detachment is giving up something. Some feel that detachment is achieved by shunning attachment, but the astonishing thing is attachment is there always. If my attachment for the lower grows into an attachment for the higher then the lower falls on its own.
An analogy will provide a better view. If I need to climb a ladder I take off my leg from the lower rung since I intend to go up the ladder. I am not detaching myself from the lower rung in fact I am just leaving off the lower rung so that I step further up the ladder. Detachment too is so; I need to get attached to the higher thoughts (Spiritual) so that I leave behind the lower thoughts (Mundane).

A King asked his minister; “What is detachment? Is there anyone in my kingdom who is living a life of detachment?”

“Detachment is non-attachment.” said the minister with no intent other than to impress the King. He continued, “There are many in our kingdom living such life, my Lord.”

“I wish to meet one of them.” said the King
The minister was now in a soup he knew none who was living such a life, but he could not go back on his words. He had to take the King to a person who was living the life of detachment. The minister was an expert in using his cunning mind which had saved him innumerable times. He came up with a fraudulent idea.

He approached an unemployed youth and stuck a deal with him. The deal was that the young man should sit under a Banyan tree with his eyes closed. He has to refuse whatever the King offers him by saying “I am detached from it.” For the favour the minister would give him one thousand gold coins.

Escorted by the minister and his bodyguards, the King along with his queen, the prince and the princess marched in the direction of the tree under which the man pretended to be sitting in the seat of silence. The King bowed down to the young man and offered him a tray full of precious stones. Though the young man’s eyes lit up helplessly he said, “I am detached from it.”  The queen offered a tray filled tasty of sweets. He was drooling, yet he replied, “I am detached from it.”  

The King was moved he nodded his head in the direction of the queen and prostrated at young man’s feet. The queen followed suit and the prince and the princess too fell at his feet. When the royal family prostrated before the young man, others around including the minister; had no choice but to do the same. Then, they all marched back to the palace.

Hours later, a triumphant minister returned with the bag of gold coins. The young man said, “I am detached from it.  If just acting as a person who live the life of detachment made the entire royal family and you to fall at my feet, I am just beginning to wonder what will happen if I actually live my life in such a way. So, I have decided to live the life of detachment. I mean it.”

Saturday, November 5, 2016

889. Which way to go???


Vibheeshana tried a lot to convince his elder brother to set Sitadevi free. When Ravana was adamant to let go Sitadevi, he felt he had no other way but to disown his brother and join hands with Shri Rama. He felt being correct is more important than being loyal. He crossed over the sea to join the camp of Shri Rama. 

Bhishmacharya knew very well that the sons of Dritharastra were not on the path of righteousness. He had promised his step-mother Sathyavati that he would safe guard the clan. He felt that loyalty is more important than being correct. Hence he remained loyal to the blind king and tolerated all the atrocities committed by Kauravas. 

Now what made Vibheeshana join Shri Rama and Bhishmacharya fight for Duryodhana?

There are many such incidents in puranas where it is so complicated to choose between Nistha (loyal) and Nyayya (correct). The situation is no better today and will remain the same in future too. There is too much confusion among us to choose and there are many superficial factors like nepotism, attachment and ignorance too which cause hindrance to choose the better. When I read the incidences from the past, it makes me realise that the turn of events could have been different if the characters had at different times made a different choice. Like for example, if Sitadevi had just enjoyed the sight of the Mayamruga (Golden Deer) and had she not requested Shri Rama to get it for her, maybe the Rama-Ravana clash might have not happened. It is never easy to determine what correct move is at that particular time. 

Astonishingly what I might feel correct and pursue for, could well turn out to be a boomerang after sometime and hit me hard. I could be bound to the word of commitment, decrees, customs and personal interest that may force me to do what I do. Also sometimes what I do which I think is correct according to me could be labelled by others as wrong. There can be more than one dimension to this tussle as everyone has their own point of view.

So what has to be done???

Maharshi Valmiki writes very well on this issue. When Vibheeshana joined Shri Rama camp, Shri Rama asked Lakshmana, “What would you have done in a similar situation? Would you have been loyal to your brother or ditched him?”  

Lakshmana answers, “I know my brother is always correct, I stand by him.”     

Was Lakshmana displaying just loyalty here? No, he was using his “Viveka” which is the by-product of Buddhi, the discriminating faculty that is available only to humans. 

Bhishmacharya too could have consulted his intellect and decided on the fate of Kuruvamsha...... What say???   


Friday, November 4, 2016

888. Architectural & Astronomical wonder at Konark....!


It was indeed a great amalgamation of Architectural Design and Astronomical Science at Konark Sun Temple. As I entered into the massive temple complex my mind was filled with unbounded amaze and at the same time felt disappointed to see the dilapidated state of that heavenly architecture. The reasons may be many, some say it was due to the Mughul invasion some say it was because of the removal of the huge 52 ton magnet placed above the temple while a few felt that the construction of the temple was done in haste. But whatever might be the reason at the end of the day we are very unfortunate to let this happen to the colossal temple.

Our guide who was explaining to us about the temple mentioned that a huge magnet was placed at the top of the inside of the temple. Heavy iron beams were used in such a way that the main idol of Suryanarayana at the sanctum was floating in air due to the magnetic field and induction effect. But many do not agree with this as no one knows where that 52 ton magnetic is now.  However the construction of this temple was planed after a vast research on astronomy, metallurgy, architecture, and complex mathematics which can be observed by the superior craftsmanship. This 13th century masterpiece was designed in the shape of a huge chariot with 7 horses and 24 wheels to carry Suryanarayana across the horizon. Looking at the wheels of the chariot of Sun which is used as Sun Dial to know the time was more like visiting to an open air astronomical laboratory and witnessing a living celestial calendar. It is a marvellous blend of art and science.


It was indeed amazing to know that the sanctum sanctorum was so positioned that the sun’s rays would fall on the deity inside at a precisely determined angle based on astronomical computation. The architects then were well aware that the earth wobbles at 22.5 degree and accordingly had place three doors for the sun’s rays to enter.




I listened to the stories, constructional aspects, the significance of lion crushing the elephant at the entrance, the importance of the spirited horses to pull the chariot of the Sun, the massive wheels, and got perplexed by the expressive pictures of history and enliven visualization of culture in flawless artefacts. There is no dearth for the amorous couple murals depicting the exotic union. The lady waiting for her husband with an anxious as well as disappointed look on her face is amazing. The carving of giraffe in the top frieze on the southern side says a lot about the trade relationship the king had with Africans. A fashion obsessed lady with high heeled shoe, one applying bindi on her forehead and other mundane matters like the quarrel between mother in law and her daughter in law are very well carved. It was like visiting to a modern time more than eight hundred years ago. Konark Sun temple has made me wonder if we can ever build a similar temple with all of the modern equipments we have. It is hard for me to find any edifice or monument of this era which will create history tomorrow....... 



Thursday, November 3, 2016

887. In the abode of the Lord of Universe....!


It was a long wait in my life to have the darshan of Jagannatha, Balabadra and Subadra. He decided to permit me have His darshan on the Naraka Chaturdashi day this year. 

By the time we reached the temple it was evening and there was enormous crowd. It was the first darshan for me of the Lord of Universe. The temple doors had been open and the crowds had already gathered. Although near the sanctum, I felt like there is no one intruding in the silent communion that I was having with the triad deities mounted on the pedestal.  The crowds jostled and shoved but I had my eyes only for the larger than life deities of Jagannatha and Balabhadra flanking Subadra. The wooden deities carved out of logs of Neem tree stood there, dressed in white and red hues. 

There is an air of mysticism surrounding the temples. I was there for just a few minutes but felt like an eternity. It is not just the religious zeal alone that lures me to temples. The architecture, the history, the legends, the traditions and the quintessential nativeness of the sacred shrines fascinate me. It was indeed extraordinary experience to learn about the legend surrounding this 11th century massive temple while going around the sanctum.  

This temple which is spread over 4 lakh sq feet was built by King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva of Ganga Dynasty who was contemporary to King Vishnuvardhana of Hoysala Dynasty. Just as Vishnuvardhana was influenced by Srimad Ramanuja to build Pancha Narayana kshetras, Ananataverman too was influenced by the great Acharya and built this massive temple. After all, these deities are believed to be chiselled by none other than Maha Vishnu himself. 

The legend says that Maha Vishnu in the guise of a carpenter had laid a condition that no one should open the door until he completes the task, but the impatient queen opened it, only to find the deities ready without their hands. The Lord vanished and the deities are worshipped without hands till date.


There are several legends around the temple each one makes one have goosebumps while listening. The most interesting one was about the kitchen which is the largest and biggest in the world measuring 150X100 feet. The "Maha Prasad" is prepared with deep devotion here and the spiritual impact of which can be felt while relishing it. The unique feature is that the food is prepared in earthen pots place over a special earthen oven. Seven earthen pots are place one over the other and amazingly the pot on the top gets cooked first. Water for preparing the dishes is drawn from the two wells, Yamuna and Ganges in the temple premises. 600 cooks work daily in the kitchen to boil 24 quintal of rice and make chappan bhog (56 food items). Maha Lakshmi personally supervises the kitchen. We were glad that He let us be a few among the lakhs of His devotees who relish the Maha Prasad. We got the Maha Prasad from Anada Bazaar at the northern gate near Tapasvi Hanuman temple. This Maha Prasad consolidates the human bond and satisfies sacrament at the same time. 



Another enthralling event to happen daily at this temple is the “Dwaja Parivartan” (Flag Changing).  Standing at an imposing height of about 214 ft atop an elevated platform of stone measuring about 10 feet is the Neel Chakra. It is made of Aasta dhatu (alloy of eight metals) giving it a blue tinge hence it is called Neel Chakra. The circumference of the wheel is about 36 ft and it weighs 2 tons. 

Changing of flags on the top is adventurous and is considered as a pious event. This is done every day at sunset. Two persons belonging to a particular family climb the 214 feet shikar without the help of any rope or climbing equipments. They climb with their back to the wall of the shikar swiftly hearing the echoing chant of Jai Jagannath. This exclusive privilege to hoist the flag was given by the king who built the temple 800 years ago and this ritual is followed even today.  


With all those rituals I saw and the legends that still rumbling in my ears I sit here in the seat of silence, imbibing the spiritual experience I had there. I can only say that my body, mind and soul were completely drenched with fulfilment after the journey to the abode of the Lord of Universe....Jai Jagannath, Jai Jagannath, Jai Jagannath.