Temple Visit across world

It is such a pleasure to visit temples in any part of the world. There is something magical about the ambience and you feel connected to the divine when you are there. Maybe it is because of all the rituals and pujas that are conducted inside which creates vibrations that rub onto us when we visit them. The silence also helps us to connect with god easily, no wonder they say it is only in the depths of silence you can hear the voice of god.

Also our scriptures talk about shilpa shastras and vastu shastras which deal with design, architecture and the science of building temples, forts, houses etc. The vast spaces in the temples have a deeply significant purpose for energy flows in these spaces and we can carry the positivity with us when we return from there. I truly felt these when I visited the Sanatan Hindu temple at Wembley. It is extremely beautiful and the well-carved walls are exquisite. The entire temple is very well maintained. When significant incidents from the epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata and our Puranas are put up on the walls they also serve as a link for the visitors with our glorious culture and traditions. These walls speak so well that visitors are engrossed in absorbing the message conveyed by these walls. By putting up images of popular men and women who have inspired others the temple also seeks to be inclusive and is seen as promoting values which are common for all like compassion, love and service.

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At peace with oneself

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The United Nations has marked 21st of September as the International Day of Peace. It is observed in all the nations all over the world and the practice began in 1981 with the sole aim of promoting peace in the world. The UN Secretary General strikes the Peace Bell to signal the commencement of the celebrations. The Bell was cast using coins donated by delegates from 60 countries and collected by children and presented by Japan to the UN in 1954.

But we often wonder if all this is mere tokenism or is there a higher purpose to observing an exclusive day dedicated to peace. We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves is what the Dalai Lama says. We need to be at peace with ourselves only then we can reflect that in our actions. Today in the world we find people who are ready to retort and react at the drop of the hat. There is so much of anger within each one that it manifests in acts of violence against all those who are vulnerable. Peace does not mean absence of war alone. There should be no violence even in the minds of people only then can we say that there is real peace.

How do we attain the state of being at peace? We need to practice it meticulously. Thích Nhất Hạnh, the Vietnamese monk speaks of mindfulness as the key to finding peace. Every act should be done with a mindful consciousness. Even something as mundane as drinking tea. We need to concentrate on the act and not gulp it down as a chore. This mindfulness becomes a habit if we extend it to all our actions. Then we will think and speak only if there is an absolute need and that too after analyzing whether it will hurt other’s feelings or not.  This is one way of developing the state of being at peace.

 

 

 

The spirit of Jugaad

Most innovations have come out of cheap alternatives when people worked under great resource constraints but had to innovate to come out of trying situations. This is known as jugaad and is now accepted as a promising alternative which is also cost effective and works well in Indian situations. In the West, scientists sit in expensive labs carrying out their R and D flush with funds to support them. In India or in other third world countries the students, or the farmer or the housewife innovates due to extreme necessity. Management gurus are now recognizing and even applauding these out of the box solutions and call it frugal innovation. How I wish I had such simple machines to make my daily tasks easier.

Jugaad in Punjabi or Hindi literally means a difficult task made easier with cheap innovation. I am quite amazed by some of these innovations. Some are very useful while some are downright hilarious.

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The nut sheller which is a simple innovation capable of shelling 50 kg of raw, sundried peanuts per hour.

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A simple water lifting device. Image Rediff.com

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The bullock operated sprayer is pulled by a pair of bullocks and gets the drive from the ground through a gear box and belt pulley system.Image rediff.com

These innovations especially in farming and agriculture will b e very useful for farmers anywhere in the world.

Salute the spirit of Jugaad.

 

 

 

Tree planting at various schools in Kibigori

My team went to plant 450 trees in various schools in Kibigori area. We donated 450 trees to Oroba Primary school, Wook Primary school, Minyange Primary school and Waware primary schools. We also donated some trees to Miranga Dispensary in Milani. These indigenous trees

A lot of thanks to donor of these trees. My team delivered the trees to the school early this week. The school authorities confirmed planting them into the schools with the help of kids of the school.

 

Nurture Nature

Ancient Aryans worshipped nature and that included trees, plants and other elements. They preserved water bodies and held every aspect of nature in great reverence. In India there is a tradition of creating figures of gods and goddesses with mud and clay especially from that which is got from the river bank. These idols are then worshipped and after a certain period say 3 or 5 or 7 or 9 or 10 days, these idols are immersed in water bodies after an appropriate send-off This is how Ganesh Festival or Durga Puja is observed. Lord Ganesh is worshipped with leaves from various trees, plants and also with wild flowers. When the idol is immersed with all these the water also gets rejuvenated with the medicinal properties that is there in the leaves and gets purified. This is how our ancients followed nature and its cycle. More importantly they would never abuse nature for they were well aware of the price they would have to pay if nature decides to strike back at them.

Unfortunately as with all else, we have forgotten our ancient customs and their significance and these festivals have also become an occasion to show people’s status and money power. How else can we explain the use of colorful Plaster of Paris idols gaudily decorated with artificial festoons and buntings? These images after immersion poison the water with the harmful chemicals and this in turn is going to affect the living forms in the water as also those who may eat them. The air also gets polluted and there is destruction everywhere. This is surely not what the gods want. We need to spread this awareness and let us take a pledge on the occasion of every festival that we will think carefully of the repercussion of our action and never do anything to destroy air, water or any other element and do all that we can to protect them always.

All native tribes whether they are Native Americans, Africans, Aboriginals wherever they are, respect nature and its forms. It is only the so called educated and cultured man who has thrown all established customs to the wind and lives without following any good sense. It is time we reverse this trend and as a first step start with ourselves by taking a pledge to nourish and nurture nature.

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KVC designs Course Material

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Kenya Vegclub contributed to the course material launched by Lake Basin College today at Ketitu center near Kisumu. The course is called Vegetable Nutrition Science. It is designed to educate farmers on how to grow vegetables organically and scientifically. The material is jointly written by Vaishali Shah and Prof Jack Kamiruka of Lake Basin College. The duration of the course is six months in two semesters each of three months.

The topics are Production of vegetables organically, Effects of meat production, Importance of vegetable farming etc.

We also donated muringa seeds to the farmers presented there.

Seed Donation at Kosogo

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The team of volunteers from Kenya Vegetarian Club moved to yet another village, this time to Kosogo, which is situated close to Ketito in Kisumu County. It was heartening to see over 170 farmers come forward to support this unique initiative of planting trees out of the seeds donated by our club. This mission meets twin objectives, of providing livelihood to farmers by encouraging them to cultivate the crops and also steering ahead in our tree planting program.

Use and do not throw please

I love ice creams. Rich, creamy, heavenly, delicious –oh well I could go on and on just thinking of the dollops of ice cream that come in all kinds of flavors, colors and textures in the market. I know all of you are already creating mental images of the last time you had an ice cream. It fills our heart with pleasure, there is something feel good about it. Sitting on a warm pleasant day in our favorite joint whether with friends, family or alone, licking our favorite ice cream is definitely a great pastime. But the messiest thing is to catch the dripping cream after you bite into your favorite cone and it starts falling onto your wrist. Sure you agree with me recalling your last experience of biting into your cone.

But did you know the harmless pastime of eating ice cream is actually causing a great harm to our earth? Difficult to see what connection there is between eating an ice cream and harming environment? About one million trees are cut each year to provide you with the paper napkins that are used to wipe the cream off our hands even as we indulge in such a mundane activity as eating an ice cream. Two high school boys in Denver were passing by a neighborhood ice cream shop when they noticed two little kids with drippy hands and messy clothes as they were licking their ice cream. But what startled them was how their mom reached out for a handful of paper napkins to clean the toddlers. The boys did not forget this scene, they went back and after a few years of experiment have now come up with their  version of a drip drop edible saucer which can catch the dripping ice cream and can be eaten too.

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Image: internet source

Well may be all of us may not be inspired to invent something but one thing we can do is think how we can avoid using paper napkins all the time and switch over to handkerchiefs, cloth towels and dish towels like the good old days.