Thursday, June 28, 2012

The tradition of exchanging gifts...

Hi Readers,

Today, one question struck me .. How the tradition of exchanging gifts came into existence? As we all know, western history is written with time and date but not the eastern history. According to western history it started when Jesus was born and the three Magi blessed the lord with the precious one. In eastern history, we have no exact record of time, according to history it started before the age of Ram.

According to Indian history, people used to gift agrarian products, which they cultivated. Even today, the rural people exchange household cultivated crops, milk products, homemade eatables as a form of gift. The urban culture has adopted more of western culture and have adopted new forms of gifts. Cakes, cards, dazzling gifts have taken place of handmade sweets and food grains. The gift market has expanded and comes up with customized gift for every occasion. Yet, the essence behind this all is the same.

The main motive behind exchange of gift is to spread happiness and love for each other. However, sometimes when I see people over the gift shop corners struggling to decide a gift on their budget, I feel these gift exchange custom is putting undue pressure on people. Exchanging gifts that is loaded with blessings  and love is lost, many a times people over budget their gifts just for the sake of reputation  and status.

 Huh... This status maintenance cost is really high...Is not it?

I feel gifts that are homemade, takes a person to think, indulge all the senses to create a gift that comes directly from heart. Making such a gift not only takes time and energy, but require lot of thinking and creativity. Is it not good to see someone's effort in creating a gift especially for you? Someone, who has spent few days thinking about you, about your liking and has tried to show you how much they think and care about you is much more important to me. Though, now a days personalized gifts are also available in market, in my opinion they can never be on top of handmade gifts.

After all money cannot buy what is called love....

Monday, June 18, 2012

As you Sow, so shall you reap.

There is famous folklore in Hindi "Jaisi Karni Waisi Bharni" describing the proverb as you sow,so shall you reap. To describe this proverb, let me describe a famous folklore below.

There was a king whose prime minister was a great devotee. He always used to provide solace for others and pacify persons who came to him for help with their worldly troubles. He used to say, “You should not be disturbed or disheartened. You do not know what you did in your past life. You do not know what you will do in the future. So by seeing this present loss you should not be disturbed. There should have been a greater loss but by the Grace of Sri Krishna it has been reduced. It is all for the best! It is all for the best! Don’t be disheartened”. 

Once, the king went to hunt in the forest along with his prime minister and other soldiers. In ancient times kshatriyas used to go to jungles for hunting. While roaming in the jungle the soldiers became separated from the king and the prime minister. While the king and his prime minister were moving separately through the jungle the king saw a beast. The king shot an arrow to kill the beast but by mistake the arrow went through his thumb. The finger was cut and there was profuse bleeding. Out of pain he was expressing his sorrow, “I am supposed to always fight. My thumb, which is vital for archery, is cut. It is a great loss.” The prime minister tried to pacify him, saying “You do not know what you did in your past life and you do not know what you will do in the future. There should have been a greater loss but by the Grace of Sri Krishna it is reduced. So you should not worry.” 

But the king was enraged and said “My finger is cut and it is bleeding profusely. It is a serious loss to me but you are saying whatever is done by the Supreme Lord is good for me. You can advise me but if suffering comes to you and I advise you in the same way, what will you think?” The Prime minister replied, “It is applicable to all. Krishna takes care of everybody. A greater loss has been saved.”

The king was furious and thought “I will teach you.” He continued walking with the prime minister through the jungle when he saw a well in the distance, covered with bushes and grass. Taking his prime minister the king went near the well and all of a sudden he pushed the prime minister into it. The king said “Whatever is done by the Lord is for your good.” The prime minister said, “Yes without His will you cannot push someone into the well. It is His desire that you push me. Trust me! Trust me! Since He is all good it is for the best.” The king challenged “Where is your God? I am here and you are there, where is your God? If I leave this place will He rescue you?” 

The prime minister replied from the well “If Hari protects someone then nobody can kill him and if Hari wants to kill someone then nobody can protect him. They have no power.” The king said “Oh! You haven’t given up your dog mentality. So, you can stay here and you can die here.” 

When a person becomes enraged their mind becomes disturbed and at this time the king’s mind was disturbed. In that jungle there were many robbers. They used to worship goddess Kali to bring about the fulfilment of their robbery. They had just been successful in a robbery and wanted to sacrifice a man to goddess Kali for her satisfaction. They brought a pujari and asked him to perform puja and they went out to find a man for offering. They soon found the king and they thought, “Goddess Kali is so gracious! She has sent man to us and we did not even have to go to the village or the town.” 

The dacoits surrounded the king, arrested him and tied him up. Then they they took him to the pandit for sacrifice. According to the religious rules the king needed to be bathed before being sacrificed. So the king was first taken to a tank and bathed and then he was taken to the pandit. Just as the pandit was about to sacrifice the king he saw that the king’s thumb was seriously injured and bleeding. If an injured person is sacrificed the result will be reversed. So, the pandit told the robbers “If this man is sacrificed the result will be bad because he is injured.” The robbers exclaimed “Oh no! This spoils all our efforts and money. Release this person. ” 

When the King finally made his way back to his own capital he started to realise that what the prime minister had said was correct. “If my thumb had not been injured my life would have been finished. So I have committed a great offense to my prime minister. Now I don’t know if he is alive or not! I did a terrible thing out of anger!” So he immediately ordered his army of soldiers to go and rescue the prime minister. When they arrived near the well they found the prime minister sitting on the grass chanting Harinam. By the Lord’s Grace he had not suffered much. When he was brought back to the kingdom the king bowed down, explained what had happened to him and said. “I have committed a great offense, please excuse me.” “No! No! It's OK. You have acted according to God’s desire and because of that I have benefited. By pushing me in the well you actually saved my life. If I had been with you the dacoits would have sacrificed me instead. We did not know what we did in the past and what we will do in the future. So we cannot see the adjustment.” Whatever is done, is done by the will of the Supreme Lord and it is for the good of all. 

If you can see His Grace in every circumstance then you can attain Him. If you are disturbed then you cannot. ‘tat te ‘nukampa sushamiksa mano’. If you can see things as they are then you will see God's Grace in every circumstance. We are reaping the fruits of our own actions, so we should not blame others for our misfortune. We are all reaping the fruits of our own actions. 

The Shroud of Turin

Hi Readers,

Today, I dedicate this post to the unsolved mystery of Shroud of Turin. The Shroud is a linen cloth used while crucifixion of Jesus. This linen has blood stain in a form that shows faint image of a human being who suffered physical trauma similar to crucifixion. This Shroud is kept on display at Cathedral of Saint John Baptist, Turin.

The image is clearly visible in its negative image of black and white. This was first observed 1898 when it was allowed to be photographed. Since, then many research have been conducted to prove the fact that the human figure visible is Jesus. There have been extensive study to find out if this is forged by any great artist. However, till today there is no such fact which could prove the real fact.

In yesterday's paper I came across this article where the author is a historian, who have researched extensively on the shroud. His research and findings support the accountability of the fact that this is the linen used during the period of Jesus's crucifixion. However, he also recommends to perform another carbon dating and to study the limestone particles  that are present in the shroud. The Shroud of Turin remains the most studied artifacts of Human history and the most controversial.

Very few scientist have had the chance to have direct access to the shroud. Most of the research is on the analysis of image and historical sources. The most puzzling fact about the Shroud is the nature of image and how it was fixed on the cloth. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Why we worship Peepal Tree/ Sacred Fig?

The Sacred fig or Peepal tree is worshiped in Hinduism and Buddhism. It is known as the king of trees and is believed to be the abode of Gods. In Hinduism, The Tridev's Bhramha, Vishnu and Maheswar are believed to be residing in this tree. The Roots being Bhramha(the creator), trunk being Vishnu(the preserver) and leafs being Maheswar/Shiva( the destroyer or transformer). In Buddhism, Peepal tree or Bodhi tree,is the one under which Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment (or Bodhi). Thus, in both this religion the tree is worshiped.    

One of the other popular belief in Hinduism connects Peepal tree with Lord Shani or Saturn. The mythological story goes like this, once two demons Ashwasth and Peepala after obtaining boon destroyed the Yajna performed by saints. Ashwasth took the form of tree and Peepala took the form of Bharmin. When any Yajna was performed , Peepala would join the Bhramins and would ask them to touch Ashwasth tree. When they would touch Ashwasth, they would fall sick and get killed. And Peepala would kill the Bhramins performing Hawan or Yajna. Thus, this two demons created terror. Rishi Agastha wanted to perform Yajna, so he prayed to Shani dev to do justice. Shani dev killed both the demons and resided in Ashwasth tree or Peepal tree.

The trunk of Peepal tree is considered as lord Vishnu. When Vishnu resided in Peepal tree, Lakshmi his wife also followed him and is believed to live in Peepal tree. There is another story of Lakshmi and Alakshmi. Lakshmi and Alakshmi are sisters, Lakshmi brings in Prosperity, wealth and peace whereas Alakshmi is opposite to Lakshmi and brings in calamity, sorrow and poverty. It is believed that Alakshmi had persuaded Shani dev to allow her to stay with Vishnu at night in Peepal tree, as Lakshmi stays only in day time. So, worshiping Peepal tree in day time and in evening is considered auspicious, however worshiping at night is considered inauspicious.

Whatever may the mythological story behind the popular belief to worship Peepal tree, there is a scientific side to it. Peepal tree or Ashwasth tree has heart shaped leafs and does not produce any eatable fruit. The Neem tree however has many medicinal value still we do not worship Neem. The reason behind this is Peepal or Ashwasth tree is the only tree which produces oxygen at night time. Though the oxygen production is less compared to day time, still this is the only tree apart from the ones found in desert which has ability to take in carbon dioxide and give oxygen even at night. Somehow, our ancestors had some concept that is beneficial to mankind so they had enforced this by religion and made this rule that anyone who uproots Ashwasth tree will be punished, as uprooting this auspicious tree is considered a great sin.

There are many other popular beliefs which we now consider as superstition but contributes towards a scientific cause. Take for example, cutting nails at night time is considered inauspicious, however if we give a think to this simple one, in ancient days when there was no electricity, cutting nails in dim light of a small lamp could have been dangerous, might be this is why they had a rule in the name of religion so that general mass would obey them.

Though, still I believe there are many things which are superstition in our religion, which were made to satisfy one particular caste or to have a male dominated society. However, I am still in for of those rules which were made in favor of  everyone irrespective of caste, creed or gender.

Thank you, for giving me your valuable time to read this post.

Friday, June 8, 2012


Hi Readers,

Today, I am going write about basic human emotion "Anger". There are many articles published on anger management, however very few individual have full control on anger.

The first question is "Why we get angry?" This happens mostly when our need be it emotional, physical or economical does not get satisfied. There is also another factor situation, some situation irritates us so much that we eventually vent out our emotion in form of anger. Though we cannot change the circumstances which makes us angry, we definitely can control our emotion. History of this world has changed many a times by the human being who channelized anger in an effective and constructive way.

Anger is a form of fire inside us. If we can use it to light a candle then it will fill in light and remove the darkness from our life. However, if we are unable to control our anger, it could cause a huge fire which can burn down our beautiful life ahead. Take for example Mahatma Gandhi, we all know his anger when he was thrown out of train. He channelized his anger in such a beautiful way that it spread light in two continents. He managed his anger to not only light a lamp for him self but for a huge mass of people.

In every holy scriptures be it Bible, Kuran or Gita, Patience, tolerance and courage has been valued above all other emotions. When we pray, we should ask our almighty to give us patience, tolerance and courage to over come the miseries of this world. We need to manage anger in such an effective way that we do not vent out in slightest agitation. When pressure builds on us, slow down and count form 1 to 10 before you show your emotions. Meditation and immense faith on God also helps in controlling anger.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Who will cry when you die?

Hi Readers,

Today, I am going to write something about how it happened to me to start this blog. Two years back there was time in my life when I was too depressed, I had no clue as to where my life was heading, I just kept on flowing with the time. I lost many of my good friends because I had no zeal to keep in touch. I did not wanted to share my feelings and make someone sad with my depressed mood.

Years back in my college days, I had same kind of feeling.  After recovering from typhoid I went to college after 3 long months. Girls in my hostel did not wanted to include me in there group as they had already formed a great bonding. It was first year of engineering and just after one month of our classes commenced, I fell sick of typhoid. I was admitted in one of the major hospitals and was under treatment for 10 long days. My sickness was caused majorly because of wrong diagnosis. At first when I got fever, the doctor identified it as mere throat infection and I was under medication for 1 week, when there was no apparent change in my health, he again had me go for another blood test. Then the doctor identified it as Malaria. I took the heavy doses of Malaria for 2 days and my health deteriorated further, on the third day morning unable to bear the pain, I fainted. At that time, my father was out of station and my Mom and younger brother along with our neighbors rushed to near by nursing home. The doctors there identified my sickness as brain malaria and advised my parents to immediately admit me in the top most hospital SCB Medical hospital. Doctor's at SCB medical refused to admit me as they were unable to identify. From morning my family struggled to get me admitted, and finally I was admitted by 4 PM. The doctors along with there entire team visited me twice daily. This was my first time visit to SCB medical as I had never been so sick before. They questioned me but I was unable to answer, I had lost my voice, I knew all answers but I had no energy to speak up. On sixth day they identified it as typhoid and paratyphoid. Then my recovery process started. My Mom and my Aunt never left me alone. My father could only come on the 4th day of me being admitted in hospital. They discharged me from hospital on 11th day and I was on bed rest for next two months.

When I finally recovered completely, the doctor could not recognize me, my parents had taken me to his private clinic and he was happy and excited to see me. He showed me to all his patients. However, the actual pain in my life started when I went to college. I stood first in my first Semester, and due to this my own friends had turned foe. I was constantly attacked by their rude remarks. At that time, my Aunt motivated me. Her words, her letters kept me going. She always said one thing, read books as much as you can do.Books are the only friend which will never betray you.

Two years back when it was again a very low phase for me, I did the same thing kept on reading books, specially the one's which most will not prefer. I read management books, sometimes novels and some self help books. At that time I got a chance to read the book, "Who will cry when you die?" by Robin Sharma and my mind had only one feeling, its true I came from the dust and one day I have to go in the dust. I came alone and I will go alone, but can I really help someone? I questioned myself, what is the meaning of my existence? How best I could utilize this to help anyone?

I found my blog in this tough days. I wrote on motivational topics and spiritual topics. So, that someday when I am not there, someone would find it motivating. I could be remembered somewhere in someone's heart. I do not know if it will really be helpful , however, I am in my own attempt to help. I have written many things from my personal experience. I believe real life experience is the best thing to motivate anyone. I am not a great composer nor I am a great author, so I can not write books but I can surely write my views in my blog.

I have understood one thing, Life is to help, support and love. Life is to spread happiness and be honest. Life is to work hard, selflessly in service of God. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Calumny:- What is in our mind is uttered by our tongue for good or for evil.

Hi Readers,

Today I am going to post about Calumny or Slander. In Web I came across a story called Calumny of Apelles. It talked about how Calumny hampers someone's social image and the effect of this. Apelles after being accused by a fellow artist Antiphilos of conspiracy and false charges in front of King of Egypt was accused in Public. After Apelles had been proven innocent, he dealt with the rage for desire to revenge by painting this picture back in 15th century.

The picture depicts, an innocent man being dragged by the personification of Calumny, Malice, Fraud and Envy. They are followed to one side as Remorse as an old woman turning to face the naked truth, who is pointing towards Heaven. The nakedness of truth places her with an relationship with the youth,whose folded hands are an appeal to higher power.

On the right side of the picture, the King is sitting on the throne with large ears resembling the Donkey's ears. Two woman namely Ignorance and Suspicion are constantly whispering on to his Donkey's ears. Thus, the King here symbolizes a person of rash and foolish nature. His eyes are lowered, so as he is unable to see what is happening and thus is unable to provide justice.

This picture and its symbolic meaning is so true. Since man is a social being he absolutely needs human society in order to grow to full maturity as a man. Consequently, whatever militates against human community is contrary to man's nature, contrary to the will of God and therefore forbidden by God.

 "Lies of convenience", that is, lies told in order to extricate oneself from an embarrassing situation, normally do not damage the reputation of another. If successful, they are known only in the depths of the conscience of the one who told them. There are different kinds of statements that injure the reputation of another.

It is possible to injure another's good name either by telling lies about that person or by revealing hidden faults which should not be revealed. To tell lies about another person is called calumny or slander. To reveal the hidden faults or sins of another without sufficient cause, in such wise that the person's reputation or good name is seriously damaged, is called the sin of detraction.

A good name is something that we earn by reason or our good deeds. It concerns the public estimation of a person's intellectual and moral excellence. In a very read sense, a person's good name is his or her property — it belongs to the person concerned as a strict right. Hence the violation of a person's good name is a sin against the virtue of justice.

The good name or reputation of another can be damaged, or even totally destroyed, in a number of ways. To calumniate another is certainly to ruin his good name and so to do him an injustice.In the case of both calumny and detraction, depends upon the gravity of the injury done to the other party. The sin can be either venial or mortal, depending on the circumstances.

 A person who has lied about another can often right the wrong he has done by retracting the lie and stating the truth. In the case of detraction the situation is more difficult, since it is not a matter of lying but of revealing the hidden sins or faults of another that should not be revealed in these circumstances. Frequently little can be done in the practical order. One cannot deny the statements since they actually are true; to deny them would be to add a lie to the previous detraction. Some moralists recommend, in this situation, apologies and praise of the person's good points.

Do you know what a rash judgment is? It is an internal act of the mind by which one person attributes evil actions or motives to another without any kind of evidence for such a judgment. A rash judgment is a kind of lie to oneself. Such judgments damage another person in our own eyes, when there is no really objective reason for doing so. Because of our fallen human nature we all tend to make rash judgments about others — often without even reflecting on what we are doing. It is especially easy to judge rashly people we do not like, people who have offended us, people who differ from us in one way or another. It is unreasonable to make rash judgments. Such judgments involve a misuse of our interior faculties, especially our mind and our will.

What is in our minds is eventually uttered by our tongues. The tongue is a small member of the body, but it possesses great power — either for good or for evil.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Devasnana Purnima

Hi Readers,

Today is the auspicious day of "Devasnana Purnima" , the birthday of Lord Sri Jagannath. This festival is celebrated as the beginning of Jagannath festivals at Puri. According to the ancient scriptures, after king Indradymna installed the images of Lord Sri Jagannath along with his brother  Sri Balabhadra and Sister Devi Subhdra, he immediately arranged for the bathing ceremony. This bathing ceremony is famously known as Deva Snana Purnima meaning, God's bathing full moon day. It is celebrated on the Full moon day of Odia month Jeystha.

The occasions begins in early morning. The (Chalanti Bigraha) Idols of Lord Sri Jagannath, Sri Balabhadra , Devi Subhdra and Sudarsana Chakra are brought outside the main temple and are installed upon the Pendal called Suna Vedi (Golden Pandal). First time, God views the world outside the main temple and comes in contact with his devotees directly. On this day, any devotee can directly touch him without the need of any Pujari Panda. The idols of Lord are brought with Lord Sri Balabhdra followed by Devi Subhdra and then Lord Sri Jagannath. The procession by which Lord is carried from the main temple is called Pahandi Bijay. He comes like a child, in a playfull mood and turns to his right then to his left. It is believed that Lord listens to his devotees directly through their eyes. He does not have any ears to listen, but he directly looks through the eyes of devotees and listens to their prayers and their sorrows. His eyes tells the devotees only one thing, "Do not fear, I am always there with you."

After, the Idols are placed upon the Suna Vedi, water from a well inside temple premises called Suna Kua is brought in 108 copper pitchers. The water of Suna Kua or Golden Well is used only once in year on the day of Devasnana Purnima. These water is carried in a single row and is then poured upon the idols. After, the bathing  ceremony, the Idols are dressed with new clothes in Public. The entire process is carried in Public, which symbolizes that Lord himself has left all his shame, ego and has come to public as a small child would do. He has no shame of getting undressed or taking bath. He is just in love with the love that is being poured upon him by his devotees. Immediately, after Bathing ceremony, he is dressed in Gajanana Vesha ( Genasha Vesha). This is done because, in Hindu mythology, we begin any worship with Lord Ganesha. Since, Devasnana Purnima is the mark of Jagannatha Yatra or Rath Yatra, he himself comes in Ganesha Vesha and is worshipped by his devotees.He clears all the obstacles and barriers of his devotees who worship him on this day.

The Suna Vedi or Suna Mandapa the bathing Pandal in Sri Jagannath Temple Puri is at such a height that the devotees outside the temple premises can also view it. After the day long process, the Idols of God are kept away from Public view for a fortnight. This 15 days are called Anasara or Anabasara meaning inappropriate time to worship Lord. It is believed that Lord falls sick of cold and flu after such a big bath. He then takes rest and takes medicines to get well. Since, due to the heavy bath, the colors of the wooden Idols of lord fades, it is kept away from Public view. In Gajanana Vesha, almost all parts of Lord is kept covered. In this 15 days, new color is applied to the images of Lord and on 16th day his idol is ready for Public view. This Public appearance of Lord is known as Netrotasaba or Nava Yaubana meaning new youth. It is believed that devotees who get a glance of the image on this day, gets rid of all their sins.

After Nava Yaubana or Netrotasaba , the idols of Lord are taken to his Aunt Gundicha on the 2nd day of waxing Moon, Shukla Paksha Dutiya, this festival is called Rath Yatra.

Snana Purnima or Devasnana Purnima is the marked beginning and inseparable part of Rath Yatra.

I wish all a very happy Devasnana Purnima. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Inner Happiness

Hi Readers,

After a long gap I have finally come up with a topic to write my views. I have read many books, articles which talk about this topic that is Inner Happiness. However, I could not realize this until I was finally put to test.

Life does not treat everyone equally. It varies to many extent how life will treat someone. For some it is like a trap always. However, our inner self is the one which remains with us through out our struggle for existence. It guides us, shows us what could be the bigger picture behind all the drama that Life unfolds. Sometimes, we follow our instinct generously, and sometimes we trust other's and put down our own instinct. 

From our childhood, we have this sixth sense which guides us towards the motive of people whom we come in contact. Our mind and soul knows very well how we get treated. Even if we come in contact with someone who is really very good to us, we still do not build the trust immediately, somehow our inner self warns us about their behavior and motive. This Inner self is our true friend, who knows before us that we are reaching something beyond our imagination. When we follow our inner self we know how to overcome problems and obstacles in life. This Inner self has immense potential and it not only guides us, but also keeps us intact. It helps us in judging and choosing our life path. It shows us the extreme limit our life can be put to test and thus helps us to be brave and encourages us to fight for the struggle of existence. 

This Inner self never tells us to be very happy nor it tells us to be too sad when life reaches its two extreme points of happiness and sorrow. It helps us to be hard to our self. When we are hard to our self,  things automatically fall in place.  This inner self guides us to increase the circle of Influence and reduce the circle of concern. When we finally, build our life with a bigger circle of influence and a smaller circle of concern, we achieve the maximum out of our own potential and we limit our hurdles. Thus, it gives us true satisfaction and motivates us to be happy when time is not going good.

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