Category Archives: Articles

The blunders of International Yoga Day.

The international Yoga Day is truly a boon to most of us. But it has also given platform to many roadside junky fake yoga teachers who want to encash on yoga day for personal gains.
Recently I came across few such stories in five different countries who claimed to be yoga teachers and went to jail for misleading the people.
Unfortunately, there is no authorised body who can certify anyone as yoga teacher. There are few private universities and organisations in India who teach Yoga for many decades. Many renowned modern yoga gurus hail from these universities and genuinely contributing to the society. But there is another junk of people who learn as a student and start their classes in any corner of the city and start calling themselves as yoga teachers without degree, without teachers’ training and any theoretical knowledge of the subjects.
how to combat these fake yoga professionals who are cheating people for money, fame and personal gain.

Please check with your Indian Embassy if they keep a track of such people who claim to be yoga teachers are genuinely aware of the techniques. Few officials in some of the countries have been tracking such people and discouraging them to mislead others. But it is not happening in most of the countries as the embassies don’t have any official authority to check the genuineness of such fake teachers.

The ministry of Ayush hasn’t come up with any certification process for existing yoga teachers. It is truly required. In case of Kenya, there is only one lady called Komal Shah in Nairobi who I found to be genuine in her work and degrees too.

#ayush #MinistryofHealth #indianembassyinNairobi
#ministryofhealthinindia

New learnings from South Indian movies

The journey of exploring the south made movies started with Bahubali. I thought it was one of its kind and may be the only one. But my trip to india this time opened my eyes. Most of movie channels were going ga ga over dubbed movies from south.

Any time of the day, they were running south block busters. Initially I thought it is just the recent trend. But I saw few movies made in last fifteen years and I realised that the content wise they are too well researched, quite serious in subjects, addressing current issues, thought provoking, well made, technically sound and always give social messages for the masses.

Most of the movies would have some sequences on cultural aspects of life, religious ceremonies, celebrate relationships with love and affection. Though hero worshipping is too prominent in these movies but it is still bearable as that is done for a purpose. Many subjects like scams on educational institutes, medical waste, generic medicines, illegal construction,

Environmental issues, saving villages and saving animals too. They are not suffering from the sickness of secularism and not afraid to discuss these issues.

It’s a wake up call to Bollywood as they are still stuck on lame stories, pseudo topics, quite shallow love stories, so called brotherhood with Pakistan, appeasement of Stars, international Locations and absolutely no social or emotional message. A complete waste of time, money and resources as they don’t even entertain enough.

It’s time we get over of this hang over of stars and look for real heroes who are ready to break the rules and bring forth something new and more thoughtful. I also figured that Shahrukh has changed trend completely to lame love stories in last twenty years.

Meeting Kajal Vaidya

I think the time has arrived than single mother or a single women is able to conquer the world, travel alone, enjoy life and at the same time build career. This is what I felt when I met Kajal Vaidya, a famous writer from Gujarat in Kenya.

She is quite independent, knows her job well, quite efficient in controlling people around her. I liked her for that. Though many women find her dominating and too independent. But this is the future which has already arrived for women who are ready to go out and about.

Her talk on You and Me was quite interesting and encouraging as well. She tried her best to bring the most relevant issues to the front, connect with the audience and give the best motivational talk.

Fourth anniversary of Kamleshwar Shiv Temple In Kenya

We celebrated fourth patotsav of Kamleshwar Mahadev Shiv Temple last Sunday. This temple has proved the presence of Shiva in weirdest possible places and mostly difficult to reach. The roads to this temple is difficult but getting better day by day.  We performed Yagna, Dhvaja Rohan, Ganesh Puja, Rudrabhishek and homa to the yagna.

The devotees of the Iskon temple performed Bhajan during the occasion. Devotees of various communities also joined us to this auspicious occasion. I must say that the time flys. Its been four years this temple came into existence in the middle of no where.

The beauty of the temple is growing each year pass by. We see new faces every time we hold any function there. The locals have been very supportive and we think they are part of our Shiva family.

Met revered saint Babaji Labh Singh ji from Anandpur Sahib India.

I some how always manage to get the blessings of saints wherever I am. We at Kisumu are fortunate to welcome Shree Babaji Labh Singh Ji from Anandpur Sahib in Punjab.

He is 94 yrs old serving the community for a long time. It was a perfect day and occasion to have a small chat with him and share my books with him. 

He was accompanied by Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh Ji from Birmingham. 

They are chairman of Guru Nanak Nishkam sewak Jatha,  a religious and charitable organization dedicated to selfless service to humanity in the name of Guru Nanak Devji. The organization headquarter is based in UK with charitable branches in India, Kericho and Kenya.

A journey from Dwarka to Oxford 

It is very rare that one gets blessed to find knowledge from two extreme worlds. Sixteen years back I started from mokshpuri Dwarka to find myself, where I come from and what am I doing here? Why we don’t choose our parents, community, region and religion. All those things are decided by a super natural force which we can’t see and feel in our world.

While I met the team of Turors at Oxford Center of Religious Studies in Oxford, my bug of questioning came alive. 

It is true that everyone around the world has a right to learn our scriptures and practice also at the same time. Oxford Center for Hindu Studies is one of them. They have tried their best to bring the right point of view of scriptures and presented in the manner one can understand.

But my question is what about our own indian system? When are they going to start school, colleges and universities to teach scriptures and give degrees too. There is none at present which can claim of teaching scriptures in its original way apart from Ved Shala and few gurukuls. 

One more question is who should be teaching them? Everyone claims to be the authority but I think it’s only traditional gurukul system should take initiative and modernize and present them. 

It’s going to be a big battle ahead about taking a lead, delivering it and implementing the knowledge at the grass root level. Let’s see who does it successfully? 

Indian Sitar by westerners 

It is always very amusing to enjoy indian musical instruments by westerners who really try to put efforts to play those difficult strings together. Recently I attended such event in Nehru Center in London where three Europeans played very good sitar, ghunghru, Arabic drums etc. 
They ​​did a good justice to the instruments, taal, Soor and tempo of the melodies they created on stage. It is very difficult for me to appreciate any westerner attempting to play indian instruments as for us it is an attempt to connect with god and not just create random music. 

I still appreciate their efforts and music they created and entertained relatively a good audience. 

International Day of the Family

Every year 15th may is observed as the International Day of the Family. Every country has understood the importance of the family in a person’s life. In fact, a family is a place where everyone unwinds, feels natural and also learns to give and give in. Many companies ask details of a candidate’s family before calling them for interviews. This is because sociologists feel a person with a family is more mature and can handle trying situations with calmness. It is a place for emotional and spiritual growth. We learn to adjust and understand other’s needs and also learn to put other’s feelings and needs before ours. An extended family which includes pets is good for our health and growth. I feel sad when I see people sitting at homes or travelling as families they may be together but not really together. Everybody seems to be lost in a world of gadgets. When we were young we used to chat, joke, tease, play simple games but nowadays the only thing that is a constant companion in everyone’s hand is the mobile.  Maybe that’s why the United Nations decided to observe an exclusive day as day of the family as we need to be reminded of basic things in life.

It recognizes the importance and the role played by families in shaping an individual’s life and has been observing May 15th as the International Day of the Family with a specific theme for each year. This year it is Families, education and well-being. Education is not limited only to school and college. Life teaches us many experiences and what better place than a family to learn? We need to raise awareness among families about the important role they play in promoting early childhood education. The gift of education is a distant dream for many as many impoverished families see their children as potential income generators and send them away for doing menial tasks when in reality they should be enjoying their carefree childhood by going to schools and studying. This whole year the focus will be on making disadvantaged parents around the world understand the importance of education and the need to educate their children.

So I think wherever we can, we can influence and encourage parents to send their children to study and also help them in getting all the information they require. That’s a nice way to see that education for all becomes a reality one day in this world.

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Why female foeticide

It is again very disheartening to write about this issue as I am still not convinced by the people who give reasons why they want to kill girl child. I started my research on this topic three years back when I was traveling to North India. After visiting couple of cities and speaking to few people, I just realized that no media or NGO is ready to work on the actual reasons. Everyone is in the race of criticizing the Indian government, society, culture and the legal system.

But what I found is that there are two countries living in India, one is old Bharat – with extremely old value system and completely unaware that times have moved on. Another one is modern Bharat, which is very indian by nature but modern lifestyle, latest gazettes and freedom of doing anything we want on the name of liberal, free and independent.

The old Bharat thinks that women specially daughters are the pride of the family and shouldn’t allow her to ruin the name of the family by getting married outside the community or religion since marriage is the only way to throw weight in the neighborhood and family. I respect this old Bharat too which thinks a lot about daughters but they get fanatics when it comes to finding the life partner for her.

I almost had tears in my eyes while studying the cases of honor killing, specially girls, because if they have run away with boys, they have ruined their names, lost opportunity to find suitable boys through family, parents are not ready to keep them back, they are not educated so can’t work, society has mostly disowned the family so less chances of livelihood for parents too, often the boys back out after having all the fun with her, hence death is the only choice.

Why girls run away from the house? The major influence is Bollywood, its movies, its portrayal of heroine getting into the hands of true lover and life partner, modern lifestyle, freedom of doing anything they want, city culture, flashy phones, TV, Camera, glamorous life shown on the TV.

The second major influence is education centers. The colleges and university hardly teach anything related to value based education. It takes five years to teach degree which actually can take two years as the content is only that much. In such cases, what would young minds want to do? what they would think? why students have got all the time except studies during that age? where are they going to go to seek any advice related to life, relationship, health etc.

Why female foeticide increased in last twenty years? The major reason is definitely technology of ultra sound which was suppose to use to find the health and wellbeing of the child while in the womb. But the millions of people used it for all the wrong reasons. It didn’t stop in villages and towns, but it has increased in all the mega cities because of other various reasons.

It is very unfortunate to know that the modern India is indirectly responsible for the female foeticide in the small villages and towns. The flashy lifestyle we boost in cities are killing the women and culture of small villages and its people slowly.  Its time we build the bridge of old and new and improve the city and village in its own way.

I am not going to discuss other reasons like fetish to have baby boys, social and financial responsibility, gender inequality, security, dowry, insecurity etc. We all know they exist.

Bahubali – a world class piece- made in India 

Very rarely I get compelled to write about any movies. But after watching Bahubali I am mesmerized and thrilled to see how indian (actually South Indian) cinema has come off age. Bahubali is far superior than Troy, 300, crouching tiger hidden dragon or even Mughal e Azam for that matter.

Every piece used in the movie was authentic and looked far convincing. The expression of the artists- even the general public was just right. The cinamatography of every scene was done meticulously. It is a perfect larger than life saga produced by completely indian minds and portraying the indian value system. A perfect example of how women were treated with dignity and a complete rights given to her to find her soul-mate.

I am sure Rajamauli has studied the ancient indian war techniques and also must have studied the book called The art of war. I could find many such scenes which were adapted from these books which I had studied while writing about them for my website.

Many important subjects of agriculture, water harvesting, archeology, Niti shastra, astronomy, war tactics, value based education, indian food science etc. are depicted in the movie just appropriately. Most importantly the the orders to attack were given in Sanskrit which is so true as many armies of various riyasat used to use sanskrit language for daily use. Before British era, it was common to use but after British employed the Indians in British army English got introduced to the army. I remember Gandhi ji had criticised the same openly.

It is time Bollywood takes some lessons from south studios and directors and start making movies with more Indianness. Rather copying it from the west in theme, stories, music, values, lifestyle and even the locations.

The movie has correctly portrayed the pre eslamic era when India was truly prosperous and rich in knowledge and arabs used to come to india only to trade but not to capture the land and loot.

When I used to watch dubbed South Indian movies, I always thought them to be quite emotional, dramatic, just too focused on indian values and better than any regular Hindi movies. This movie has conquered that thought again in my mind.

After movie got over, I was frantically looking for names of any big international studios involved in any part of the production. But I could find only one column with international names. Which makes this movie a perfect example of make in India .

Cross the negativity

I remember having read an old Native American tale where a grandpa explained to his little grandson about the two great beings within each one of us. One is the angel and the other is the beast constantly waging a war between themselves. The little boy curious wanted to know which one usually wins. The wise old man replied whichever we choose to feed!

Nowadays the internet is teeming with so much negativity that I feel suddenly people simply wake up online and start pouring out abuse which becomes so toxic over time. These are usually quiet people who will hesitate to harm even a fly but why do they become so daring and vicious online, I am not able to figure out.

It is not wrong to voice an opinion. Healthy discussion and debate are necessary for every democracy. But let us be polite even when disagreeing, that way the real issue will not get lost and we can see various opinions emerge.

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At the Akshar Dham, New Delhi

January 2017 continues to be a lucky month for me as my run with temples continues. I visited the Akshar Dham on 26th January, the Republic Day of India. The weather was cold and foggy and the slight drizzle made the winter nip frosty. Thanks to Yami ben Patel who arranged for a special guide to take me through all sections of the temple quickly.

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The temple is so magnificent, a cultural wonder and I must mention here that it has made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest Hindu temple in the world. We started the temple tour with the mantaps and these are an amazing display of the glorious heritage of Vedic religion, culture and our deities. The entire structure is constructed with pink Rajasthani sandstone and Italian Carra marble. No steel has been used anywhere in the construction.

I performed the puja of nilvarni maharaj with the sankalp of remaining happy forever. The place is known as a devotional Disneyland due to the amazing light and sound show that is screened in the temple. There was an interesting show on how Swami Narayan helped people from different walks of life. The temple welcomes all visitors irrespective of caste, creed, race, nationality and belief. We could also see a theatre which was running a movie on his life on a large screen.

Our last stop was the Sanskruthi Vihar, for which we took a boat ride to reach this powerhouse of knowledge. I became speechless as I saw the vision and thoughtfulness that has gone into creating this architectural marvel. It is truly one of its kind in the whole world.

Pramukh Swami Maharaj has given new life to the long lost art of sculpture making and the disappearing community of artisans. More than seven thousand workers worked on the temple in a span of five years.

A great visit and a great start to the New Year!

 

In the land of Mahaprabhuji

Champaran has become historically famous for the first ever satyagraha march led by Mahatma Gandhiji which put the place firmly in the independence struggle of India. Champaran is also a spiritual hotspot. It is famous as the birthplace of Shri Vallabhacharya known as Shree Mahaprabhuji. Mahaprabhuji lived in the fifteenth century in Champaranya near Raipur in present day Chattisgarh. He is the founder of the Vallabh sect known as Pushti marg. His birth was itself a miracle. You can read the interesting account of his life in my website if you follow this link   http://www.indianscriptures.com/gurus/acharyas/shri-vallabhacharya

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On the holy Makar Sankranti day this year I was fortunate to be at the haveli of Mahaprabhuji. The journey to Champaranya was so refreshing and beautiful.The Mahanadi flows near the temple and it is believed to be flowing from River Yamuna. It makes the place even more beautiful. The entire experience was truly divine.

Tuning in to Krishna Consciousness

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The holy Vaikunta Ekadashi day on 8th January 2017 was a memorable one for me. I happened to visit the magnificent ISKCON temple in Bengaluru and felt I was literally going through the Vaikunt dwar. This holy day is dedicated to the worship of Lord Vishnu. The Vaikunt dwar or the special north side entrance of the temple is opened on just this particular day in a year. The belief is that anyone who goes through this entrance reaches the abode of Vishnu. Being a special day, the temple was crowded but I enjoyed being in the midst of so much spiritual vibration.

The ISKCON temple which is on top of a hill in the heart of the city was opened in 1997 and there are so many deities as we ascend the steps of the temple. You can also have a wonderful view of the city from atop the hill.  There is a shrine for Lord Balaji. It is so beautiful that I was transported to Tirupati straightaway. There is another shrine dedicated to Nitai and Gauranga. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is known as Gauranga because of the beautiful golden complexion he had. He is believed to have been an avatar of Lord Krishna himself. The Kirtan tradition began with Chaitanya and this became an important hallmark of the Bhakti movement in India. Nitai is Nityananda Prabhu who appeared at the same time as Gauranga and it is believed that he is an incarnation of Balarama. Together these two great men helped in the spread of Vaishnava Sampradaya in this country.

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And of course, as in all ISKCON temples, there is the main shrine with Radharani and Krishnachandra decked in all finery as befits the lord of the universe and his consort. Then there are idols of Krishna and Balarama and this reminded me of their childhood days in Brindavan. A shrine dedicated to Prahlada and Narasimha is also there in the temple. Lord Vishnu took this ferocious avatar to save his child devotee Prahlad. You can read in detail about these legends in my website www.indianscriptures.com

http://www.indianscriptures.com/gurus/devotees/bhakta-prahalad

http://www.indianscriptures.com/gods/avatars/vishnu-avatar/narsimhavtar

After worshipping at the altar of Hanuman and Garuda, I completed my visit to this holy shrine and returned full of memories.

 

 

Factual error in hindi movie  Dangal

First and formost, the movie is very well made. The concept, storyline and characters are really upto the expectations.

My reason to write about Dangal is, a scene wherein father asks daughters to eat meat for more protien so that they can perform better in wresting. It is again a propoganda of requirement of high protien and encouragement to meat eating.

The reality of Bhogal family is they have been vegetarian all their lives and even girls never had to eat meat to get strength. Because it is an Amir khan movie, nobody is bothered to find out the real fact of such small issues. I found out about it from one of their interviews wherein the girls Geeta and Babita have confirmed that they never had to eat meat to improve their performance.

Friends, please stop the propoganda of protien requirements in our body. The whole concept of protien started by wrestlers in the USA as they have not discovered the strength of pulses.

If you are an office goer and into sitting jobs, you need only two spoons of daal every day which can be adjusted only weekly basis with little larger portion.