Friday, June 7, 2019

1267. Finance and Economics.

Financial independence is the most sought trait in recent times. It is not wrong to be financially capable, but the means to achieve that has to be right. In the mundane world the yardstick to measure the status of an individual is the amount of wealth he has. The more wealth one has the eminent figure he is. While a few earn wealth without breaching the line of illegality, some have the knack of doing illegal things legally. Both may be good at finance and can flourish with their wealth, but they are causing a dent in economics. Amassing wealth by ignoring economics can bring temporary flaunt and pleasure, but in the long run, one has to pay price of ignoring the economics.

Now is finance and economics different???

They say Indians are rich but India is a poor country.  My country is financially strong, but economically weak. Economics is embodied with certain rules, regulations, policies, vision, to check on the fraudulent flow of the money. Finance is an individual matter while economics is that which focuses on holistic progress. Economics is designed to provide financial stability to the society as a whole. Finance cares only for the self and economics cares for everyone.

We have seen many who earn in crores financially but evade tax. Financially they are strong but economically they are sick. Firstly we need to understand that in any society the payment for occupation is not appropriate. A movie star is remunerated more than what a farmer who toils in his farm gets, not to talk about corrupt bureaucrats, politicians and crony capitalists. Economics is modelled to support the weaker section and eliminate the domination of the financial giants ensuring the stream of money flow towards everyone. It is the finance oriented people who smartly bend the economics and amass money. They may be termed smart, but not as wise as economists, who have the vision of stability. Amazingly the people who ignore the economics and focus on the finance are the ones who do not enjoy their money. They either get caught for breaching the regulation or end up stressed trying to safeguard their unethical collection of finance. Hoarding of money gives more stress than they can provide comfort and pleasure. Wealth is supposed to take care of us, not we taking care of it, stressed out. Mallya and Modis can boast of their wealth but live as fugitives fearing arrest anytime. Are they in joy and happiness???

Financial fraud is the effect of ignoring economics. By overlooking economics we are directly responsible for the financial crisis in the country and high rate of inflation. The nation’s financial strength depends on the implementation of economic policies and its sincere compliance. The rise and fall of Indian Rupee depend on the per capita and circulation of money in the market, not by the net income of the few financial frauds or the black money they have amassed.

There is no evidence in the history where a person who has amassed money fraudulently has benefited from it at his eleventh hour. Money may buy medicine but not health. Astonishingly the generations of those who have amassed money continue to pile garbage. It is invariably a wrong result in the wrong and unethical deeds. 

A nation can be financially robust if the economics is valued by every single individual. The onus is on us not just on the elected government. Normally an ache in the stomach is either due to hunger or indigestion. Economics is an antidote to both, it lets everyone eat their share and burp in satisfaction, avoiding starvation as well as overeating.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

1266. Body Shaming...!

We as a society are obsessed with appearance. We get caught with looks and forget the human behind that muscle, fat and skin mask. We fail to look beyond the face and peep into the heart. There is a set of artificial standards of beauty designed by the marketing agencies working for body care products and we follow them, those who do not fit those standards are subjected to “Body Shaming”    It is a psychological abuse which is widely prevalent.

It is irony that our society beauty and ugliness is viewed based on the colour, shape and size of the body. A boy is expected to be tall and muscular with a physique which makes him appear strong. While a girl has to be thin, fair with zero acnes. If someone falls out of this criteria which most of us are, we are constantly advised to improve our looks.

Media which caters to body care companies play a significant role in stimulating the culture of body shaming, considering the fake and near impossible beauty standards set over the years. The cosmetic industry advertises as to how essential it is to have a fair skin to get a job or a life partner. Added to it we have portals which recommend gels and pills to lose fat within a few days.

By giving importance to these crackpots we have increased body shaming that leads to inferiority complex and lowering confidence. A mature person would look beyond skin and body. Agreed that we need to adopt healthy lifestyle obesity is a problem, it is a risk to health and it is essential to have a flexible body. A heavy built person can have a flexible body. I have seen many who are fit but do not have enough stamina. Stamina is the strength and energy that allows sustaining physical or mental effort for long periods of time. Body Shaming is not new and the first ever revolt on it happened at the court of Raja Janaka.

I remember a story of Sage Ashtavakra who acquired his name when he was in his mother’s womb and overheard his father reciting the Vedas which was wrongly pronounced and could not resist the temptation to correct his father, Sage Kahoda. Enraged, his father cursed him to be born bent in eight places (ashta vakra).

Nevertheless, he grew into a wise and enlightened being. When he was 12 years old, Raja Janaka of Mitila hosted a huge debating conference which Ashtavakra decided to attend. Because of his deformed body, Ashtavakra attracted ridicule everywhere. It was no different at the court of Raja Janaka, filled to the brim with learned scholars and revered sages.

As soon as he entered the court’s portals, he was greeted with a loud peal of mocking laughter. The scholars and sages could not help laughing at the sight of this young boy, so twisted and malformed. Ashtavakra joined in the merriment and laughed along. Raja Janaka was astonished. Beckoning him, he said, “I can understand why the others are laughing, but why are you?”

With a look of immeasurable composure, Ashtavakra said, “I laugh because I expected to see enlightened souls in your court, but I see that they are nothing more than Chamars (Cobblers). They are not able to see beyond the skin. All they see is my bent body and the skin covering it. In the curve of this temple the Consciousness is not curved? When a pot is destroyed, is the clay also destroyed? The Consciousness is beyond change. My body is twisted, but Consciousness that lighten this curved body is not.”

A perfect slap on Body Shaming….!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

1265. Onions and Vaishnavas

Akshaya Patra Foundation run by ISKCON provides freshly cooked meal to over 18 lakh children across 12 states in our country. The food served is Sattvic and does not contain Onion or Garlic. One section of media alleges that food served minus Onion and Garlic doesn't meet the nutritional standards required for growing children. 

Nowhere in any Hindu scriptures have they mentioned to shun them but have advised to avoid excess consumption. Onion and Garlic are classified as Rajasic and Tamasic, which means that they increase passion and ignorance. While explaining to Arjuna in Chapter 17 verse 8,9,10 Sri Krishna prefers Sattvic food for an individual to excel spiritually. 

Onion and Garlic come under alliaceous plants and they are supposed to induce aggravation, agitation, anxiety and aggression if consumed in immoderate amounts. They could harm physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Understandably they are avoided by spiritual adherents because they stimulate the central nervous system, and Garlic is a natural aphrodisiac. Onion and Garlic are categorised as “Kamagra” (inducer of Sensual craving) 

Back in the 1980’s, Dr Robert C Beck made a research on the effects of Garlic on human brain functioning. He concluded that garlic reduced reaction time by two to three times when consumed regularly. A school going kid should not have a slow function brain, as far as the nutrients it can be got from any alternative source.

I understand that consumption of Onion and Garlic in limitation works as medicine but regular intake is to be avoided. Our orthodox society avoids it, why??? Maybe they are worried about its origin.

Our Puranas have a story of its origin. Ayodhya King Trishanku desired to reach Heaven with his mortal body. He sought the help of his Raja Guru Sage Vashista, who promptly refused to fulfil his wish as no one could enter with human body. As there was on going tussle between Sage Vishwamitra and Sage Vashista, and to obtain oneupmanship Sage Vishwamitra agreed to send King Trisanku to Heaven with his mortal body. 

After an ensuing Yagna, Trishanku was launched up to Heaven by the penance prowess of Vishwamitra. However Indra, the Lord of the Heavens refused to let Trishanku in with his mortal body and sent him packing back to Earth. Trishanku fell headlong towards Earth, calling out to Sage Vishwamitra. 

Enraged, Vishwamitra again used his prowess and uttered Stay Trishanku! And the King stayed hung mid-way between Heaven and Earth, upside down. Vishwamitra proceeded to create a separate Heaven around Trishanku, known as the Trishanku Swarga. 

Among all the items created for Trishanku, there were Onion and Garlic. I do not concur with those who reject Onion and Garlic because it was Vishwamitra's creation because it was the same Sage who gave us Gayatri Maha Mantra.

Many think that Onion and Garlic is kept away from a Vaishnava household. ISKCON which follow the Dvaita Philosophy of Sriman Madhva are strictly against use of Onion and Garlic, yet they serve most delicious food as prasadam. Madhva community is very particular about what to eat. They feel the food we eat controls the mind but it is paradox, is it the food we eat that controls our mind or does the mind have control on what we eat. Seeing the life style of a typical Madhva I am convinced that it is the mind which should control what we eat. Look at how the Chinese eat, they eat anything that walks, runs, flies, crawls and also those which slither. 

I personally feel that there is nothing bad in adding Onion and Garlic occasionally in our recipe but if addicted to it, it is a concern.

The cross-section of an Onion looks like Shanka and Chakra to me…… do you also feel so???   

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

1264. Jai Shri Ram

There is this small incidence recorded by the Dasavarenyaru of Karnataka. 

The battle between Shri Rama and Ravana was fierce. Every day many of the Vanaras from Shri Rama army and the Rakshasas from Ravana army were injured and exhausted. The Rakshasas observed that the very next day all the injured Vanaras were revivified to fight against them again. Some of the Rakshasas wanted to know the secret behind it and enquired the Vanaras. The answer the Vanaras gave was that the chanting of “Jai Shri Rama” which rejuvenated them.
Rakshasas too wanted to chant but they could not pronounce the word “Rama”, so one of the Vanara came up with an idea, he pointed out to a tree nearby and asked the Rakshasas as to what it was. They all shouted “Mara” (Mara in Kannada is tree). The Vanara asked the Rakshasas to continuously utter the word “Mara”, eventually they ended up chanting “Rama Rama Rama”.

There is no need to be agitated or annoyed at the chanting of “Jai Shri Ram” it is the chant that pumps in the vital energy into the system. If one is a Hindu and has not even once uttered the name of Shri Rama, his pall-bearers will chant “Ram Naam Satya Hai” (Rama’s Name is Truth). “Ram Naam” holds the meaning “the name, Rama”, which carries devotion to Shri Rama, who is Maha Vishnu. The continuous chanting in a loop implies that the dead body is no longer the truth, as the Chaitanya (Consciousness) is no longer in it. Chaitanya is referred to as Rama and Pranayavu is Hanuma. When the Mukyaprana (Vital Breath) leaves the body, the Chaitanya also departs. Anything devoid of Rama is Asat (Unreal).
Chanting of Rama Naam, would redeem of all the bad thoughts flourishing from the interaction with the external world and help look within into one’s own reality. 

The two letters RA and MA in the Hindu manthra Shastra are called the Beeja Aksharas which have the power to drive away the ominous thoughts that would pile up in the mind while interacting with this mundane world. Utterance of RA MA will keep one away from attachments. RAMA is the embodiment and personification of Dharma, the righteousness which is the ultimate TRUTH or Satya. 

Chanting the word “Rama” at the eleventh hour by the individual or his associates will ease the Pranavayu to leave the body. When the Pranavayu leaves the Manas (Mind) which is the cluster of thoughts too will detach from all the attachments it had including the body.

Also when Uma asked Maharudradeva, “O, my beloved, what is the short method to recite Vishnu Sahasranaama (if I am not able). What is to be chanted instead? Maharudradeva is said to have told, “O beautiful one! Chant Rama Rama Rama which rejoices the mind. It is equal to thousand name of Vishnu.” Even Shri Rama was unaware of the significance of chanting His name.

In Ramayan while the bridge was built to reach Lanka, the monkey troupe hurled the boulders chanting “Jai Shri Ram”, the name of Shri Rama and the rock floated and they could form a bridge. Watching this Shri Rama took a pebble near His feet and dropped it in the ocean it sunk. Shri Rama was amazed at it, Hanuman who was watching Shri Rama from behind told, “We are more powerful than You, We have the backing of Rama Nama to do the impossible possible.” Such is the power of chanting “Jai Shri Ram”.         

Jai Shri Ram
Jai Shri Ram
Jai Shri Ram.