Category Archives: indianscriptures.com

Importance of positive people in life

We often take people around us for granted in many ways. While I was in school, I never used to judge anyone thinking it is not a right thing to do. Which never stopped me to associate with negative minded, very dull people and unambitious people.

Generally these kind of people give you a comfort zone which you don’t need or you don’t want. Because of that we don’t think of being innovative, progressive and go extra miles.

I strongly feel that having a comfortable life makes us too lazy and less aggressive. Very few can achieve something greater inspite of having this comfort zone. This is the biggest challenge for today’s generation as they have everything on their plate and don’t know what is required to achieve. But let me put some target to them as well as to myself.

– There are one billion people on this earth who sleep hungry for days.

– Mother Nature is bleeding due to thousands of unnecessary plastic products and new so-called innovations. We need to find solution on how to reduce this burden

– The oceans are filled with plastics and other wastes which is ruining the ecology and the species beneath that

– Youth is getting attracted towards all the unlawful activities. We are supporting terrorism by supporting such ideology, products, oil etc.

– all of a sudden we have started consuming meat a lot compare to last century. Which adds to animal cruelty

– The life threatening diseases have grown to ten time more than early last century. We think we have found solutions to many such issues. We have added new illnesses

Let’s accept this challenge and work towards it. Our next generation is going to be busy cleaning up the mess we and our parents have created in last hundred years on the name of progress and innovations

Journey of Bhagwad Gita as I understood

The Bhagwad Gita means song of divine. While I was in school, I was fascinated by the vastness of the knowledge of varied subjects. After going through various best sellers of the world, I switched to Bhagwad Gita thinking that it must be religious book. But when I got dipper inside it I realized that it is the best management book one can ever found in this world.  After I studied few chapters I found that it not only has religious benefits but it has all the practical and material benefits. Which was not expected from a so-called religious book.

Let me start sharing the concept of Gita chapter wise. As you know the Gita was spoken By Bhagwan Krushna addressing it to Arjun on the battlefield of Kururkshetra around five thousand years back.  When Arjun couldn’t fight against his own family, he wanted to give up on the war and his rights on the throne. That is when Krushna prepared Arjun to understand his duty, the world, universe and what we are here for.

Krishna prepares Arjun to gain this knowledge in first chapter. In second chapter he explains where we come from, what are we doing on this earth, how we are different from animals and why this life is precious. Further the journey of the soul from the divine to this earth and beyond, how we are beyond body and mind and also above this material and mundane world, how we can grow in spiritual path. This chapter has the glimpse of all eighteen chapters. If you understand this chapter, other chapters would be easier to understand.

The third chapter talks about karma yoga. We cant live without doing anything. Mostly our karma is produced through our desire and this desire comes from our inner unfulfilled askings. This chapter shows how we can go beyond our physical and emotional desire and start longing and asking the right thing in life. This is important aspect of life which we have been ignoring and than wonder certain things happened to us and not others. Because we have stopped observing what we do.

Chapter four is transcendental knowledge. It explains how to pursue the spiritual path living in this mundane world. The purpose of Krishna’s visit to this world is explained. Chapter five of Karma yoga explains the type of karma and its benefits.

How one can achieve an inner peace with the help of right karma. Chapter six is about how to control mind and its thought and be free from various types of desires in daily life.

Chapter seven explains the magnanimity of God and his omnipresenceness, how to follow his path in our lives and practice it fully. This continues in chapter eight while Krushna explains the reasons of our birth, what determines it and how we can change the cause of the same with the help of his presence through out our lives. Further Krishna explains the importance of this knowledge, how the world works according to his wish and why bhakti is the best way forward. He shows the path to get close to him and what is absolute truth in tenth chapter.

Chapter eleven is the universal form which enables Arjun to see the divine power of Krishna, wherein the world starts and the world ends, every species has got the place in him, gods, devtas, the past present and future. This opens the eyes of Arjun and also us.

Chapter twelve is the most important chapter in today’s time wherein Bhakti is explained in details. How to do it, how the mind can be engaged in it for the life time. Many institutes world wide recite the shloka of this chapter to get deeper in bhakti.

Chapter thirteen talks about the importance of the body to fulfill the desire of Bhakti and spiritual path. The soul residing in the body is our real identity and not the body.  Next chapter explains the type of nature we have and how we are controlled by three modes of nature, sattva, rajas and tamas. How these three decides the journey of life and also life after death. Chapter fifteen explains the power of yoga and how the realized soul would engage in yoga. Chapter sixteen explains the negative energy around us, how it affects and derail us from the path of bhakti and self realization. Seventeen chapter explains the type of faith exist in the world, based on desire, need, ego etc.  The last and the most important chapter helps us to grow in spiritual path, practice detachment, concentrate on pure form of worshipping and attain Krishna after the end of life.

The issue of Padmavati

Padmavati is already being discussed too far and also too much in depth. But I am still waiting for one argument which is not coming out strongly as why these directors want to exploit the names and characters from the history. They are always free to make movies out of fictional characters and stories in different era, genre, time and names. Few reporters have mentioned the same but it seems the general audience is not able to understand that we all are the victim of the politics of religion getting played all across the world.

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I think Bollywood is over-confident and thought that they will be able to play with the sentiments of the people, history and the hindu belief system for a long time. Padmavati has taught a lesson to the Indian film makers to rethink the politics behind religious belief system. It is time that we sensitise any issues related to the image of India, Indian culture and also knowledge. We have been a soft target for thousands of years purely because of our ignorance and so called humbleness.  As an Indian we own too much to this land as our identity, religion, belief system, our complete personality is based on the this motherland. So we should atleast do something to maintain the dignity of the land.

If we don’t start questioning the show biz people now it will be too late as we will keep hurting our heritage on the name of freedom of speech. I want to appeal to my readers who have been comfortably enjoying movies tarnishing the image of India and Indians.

 

Why theory of non-violence is questionable

The moment we utter word non-violence, we bow down to it as if it is god himself. But have we ever thought how this theory is destroying India. I am sure you haven’t. We live in the fool’s paradise where we think that if we don’t raise the hands people will do the same with us. No, India has never invaded any country ever in last ten thousand years. India was spread till Afghanistan and Iran in one side and till Burma and many Far East countries were following the same culture. But India was attacked brutally by many invaders. They did all the possible massacre but taught us to remain non-violent so that we don’t kill them back. Gandhiji added another fuel to it by calling freedom movement non- violent. Very conveniently we forgot that many other freedom fighters had given their lives to make India free. Our textbook made heroes out of so called non-violence brigade. We preach this theory to our kids and make them coward against any extreme acts against them. Why?

At the time of Chanakya, we could manage to defeat Alexander the great and he had to go back empty handed from India. Chanakya could manage to collect the army of various dynasty across India to defeat the invader. But many things changed after that when the many Kshatriyas started following the theory of non-violence, they gave up killing in early age, started becoming monk, which lead to many internal issues with the law and order.

We lost many important wars against invaders in last one thousand years as the whole generation of warriors were not ready to learn warfare tactics. It has made us slave of these invaders mentally and physically.  We forgot the lessons of our scriptures that when a family is attacked, man of the family has to raise the weapon, when village is attacked all the men in the village have to raise the weapons and when nation is under attack the whole generation of the nation has to raise weapons.

Have you noticed that non of our Gods are without weapons. Why? They never killed any innocent souls but always raised weapons against the devil and extreme forces. If you think men have created Gods than Indians never accepted anyone as God who didn’t rescue his believers from wrong forces. We believed that it is God’s job to protect us and always expected him to come as Avatara to save the world. He came also, but before that we ensured that we call him for the right reason.

Unfortunately, in recent times, we have created lame gods who has made no significant change in our lives but only blind followings and blind theories. IMG_1240

A day spent at IIT Mumbai

I am sure many of you know what is IIT. It is the producer of many CEOs across the world for mostly MNCs. It is the producer of the best technocrates, engineers and researchers.

When I got a chance to visit the campus, I was almost sure what to expect out of it. I revisited the topics of sciences learned in school. The professors were excited to share the the modern applicability of knowledge, the advance innovations and impact on the economy, how these engineers have changed the world.

I truly admire these campuses across india as they have surely made an impact on global economy.

Eventually I revealed the purpose of my visit. As I have moved on from collecting the content of various lighter topics to religious topics and now landed on all types of sciences found in Vedic scriptures.

I wanted to find out if any the modern innovations were found in scriptures. To my surprise, there are more innovative products mentioned in scriptures than what is available today.

Many professors have done an independent research on various topics of Vedic sciences and presented their papers on many conferences and platforms.

But the most required thing is to have a dedicated department catering to the subjects of vedic sciences. This team should dedicated work on the various topics of sciences found in scriptures. As projected by the modern scientists, science is not the sole territory of American scientists.

A request to the Indian government and HRD to support this thought.

Experiencing Sudarshan Kriya at Art of Living

It was one more blessings that I got an opportunity to learn Sudarshan Kriya from Pujya Guruji over the weekend. 

It is sometime difficult to find anything new when you have gone through many such processes. But I still managed to learn quite a few new things like the breathing excercise as directed by him which is called Sudarshan Kriya. 

I have been using Sri Sri products also for sometime which are actually worth trying. 

I managed to share something about my book series to the class mates. Also presented one to my coach who was quite helpful. 

I am making the best use of my time in india. 

Looking Beyond one’s self

Paropakaaram idam shariram– this is what our scriptures advise us. This body has been given to us only for serving others. In this busy world, it is very difficult to look beyond I-me-mine kind of life that we all live. Still, if we can set aside some time, even a teeny weeny little time to do something for others then it is definitely a good thing. It is in this context that I felt so happy to hear about the initiative of the Asian Foundation to bring together under its umbrella all the organizations that are working for one cause or the other in Kenya. Very often the intention to do something good is always there, but people do not know whom to approach or what to do. Also with so many bogus calls coming everyday asking us to contribute to one cause or the other, it is really difficult to check whether these or genuine or not. So if there is a genuine community outreach program then it helps and motivates people to come together and serve wholeheartedly.

Giving need not be only giving money. People can give time, knowledge or their talents for a cause. The aim is to Transform lives and Communities which was the theme of the Stawisha Maisha Exhibition organized by the Asian Foundation (Kenya). Individuals and organizations serve communities where the poor and downtrodden are the beneficiaries or they can do some work in preserving nature and protecting the environment. So there are different avenues for us to serve depending upon our convenience and aptitude. The selfless and outstanding work done by so many diverse individuals and organisations towards transforming lives and communities was recognised, acknowledged, and showcased in this Exhibition which was held at the Oshwal Centre opposite Nakumatt Ukay.

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Such programs inspire others especially young adults as they are initiated into service initiatives quite early in life. The Rainbow Fish is an award-winning children’s book drawn and written by Marcus Pfister, a Swiss author and translated into English by J. Alison James.

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It tells the story of a beautiful fish which lives in the deep part of the ocean and is very proud of his colourful scales. His scales sparkle and shine as he swims through the ocean – alone. The other fish attempt to befriend him, but he ignores them until one day when a small blue fish approaches him. The small blue fish tells the Rainbow Fish how beautiful his scales are, and asks for one of them. Horrified, the Rainbow Fish refuses and swims on, but feels miserable as he has no friends and is always lonely. A crab directs him to a wise octopus, whose advice is simple:  “give, give and give- give away your scales to the other fish and you will be happy.” After some thought, and a second request from the small blue fish, the Rainbow Fish takes the octopus’s advice and finds friendship and happiness. He now realises the joy of giving. It is only in giving that we can get true happiness. This is the message that is echoed in the Upanishads, dana– give, give and give without restraint.

Culture Curious

Culture is always a fascinating subject. There is something within each of us that yearns to know about history, culture, mythology of a particular region or people. That is why perhaps we see a revival of works of art based on these themes. There is always something new and fresh to add to old themes. Sometimes facts are intertwined with fiction or the writer’s imagination and what comes out is a totally different perspective of what people already know. Amish Tripathi’s Shiva trilogy or the Scion of Ikshvaku, for example, deals with characters we are all familiar with right from our childhood. But what makes these books compelling reading is the way the writer has approached existing themes and given them a fresh twist. They make you want to read every book as soon as it is released. Amish has created that eagerness which was associated with the Harry Potter series. Devdutt Patnaik’s works are also of the same mould. As a mythologist, he uncovers existing stories for a new audience. I feel so happy that through their works our people are rediscovering stories which were lost for some time due to the invasion of He-man, superman, StarWars series. If people in the creative field, like artists, dancers, storytellers, cinema directors delve into such themes associated with culture and heritage, the common man can easily understand these things. But individual sensibilities should be carefully handled. If a positive message comes out through the creative medium, then it is definitely a great effort.

For the sake of the movie Baahubali, the director created new kingdoms, new language also. A set of 750 words with its own grammar rules for this new language kiliki was created. How creative can that be! Coming to think of the effort, the research, the time that has gone into the making of this movie or the research that goes into making of a book with mythology themes- really our country is going ahead in all these areas and there is an audience waiting to lap this up. Which actually is the greatest reward for any creative person!!!!!!

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The Holy Cow

The poor humble cow seems to be in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. The cow is worshipped by millions of devout Hindus in India. The very sight of a cow first thing in the morning is supposed to confer good fortune.

The mere thought of slaughtering cows or feeding on it is repugnant and alien to Indian culture. But we have to look at the issue calmly from all angles. At a time when planet earth is fighting the grave danger of global warming, consuming meat is not just a religious taboo but also a monumental environmental hazard as innumerable studies have shown. So it is better to pause and think from an environmental angle rather than just focus on religious taboos.

As land is being taken away for cultivating fodder for cattle which will be sold as meat, there are problems that are cropping up in many ways for the rest of the world. There is a huge land crunch and small farms are disappearing in many parts of the world. Fresh water supplies which are already dwindling are going dry as both man and beast compete for the limited supply. In Africa, the cost of maize which is used as livestock feed keeps increasing and it is also the staple diet of many Africans.

Animal carcasses and remains are further polluting the environment and causing environmental degradation. Many diseases are jumping from animals to humans in the modern world, Bird flu, Mad cow disease being a few. Another problem is that these cattle are fed with large doses of antibiotics to keep them disease free and all these end up in the consumer’s stomach. In the US alone 55% of antibiotics manufactured by pharmaceuticals are fed to animals. Just imagine the harm it can do to the health of those who consume the meat produced from these treated animals.

So in the interest of our health, it is best to focus on the practical implications rather than getting carried away by xenophobic hysteria.

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Of Temples Old and New

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This year on the holy day of Mahashivaratri, I participated in the opening of a new temple in the town of Kericho. The Kamleshwar Mahadev Temple built by our Foundation came up in 2013 in Kibigori near Kisumu. Ever since, atleast four other temples have come up in Kenya and I feel very happy that many temples are now dotting the landscape. Even in other parts of the world, many temples are coming up periodically thus offering residents of nearby places a place of worship to call their own.

Temples help in connecting us to our culture especially when we are far away from India. It gives a sense of community feeling and we can organize and participate in many programs that reflect our culture. These temples also help in the locals’ understanding the spirit of Hinduism which is vasudaiva kutumbakam that is the whole universe is our family. There are many things people may feel they cannot undertake as individuals especially service initiatives but a temple brings people together and they can participate in many community programs and feel happy that everyone has contributed towards them.

In the Agni Purana, Lord Agni says that he who attempts to erect temples for gods is freed from the sins of a thousand births. Also, there is a belief that a place without any temple is not fit for people to live. This is now being set right as we find many temples coming up all over the world wherever the Indian diaspora is present.

Meeting with Umesh Shukla

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Who would have not enjoyed seeing the movie Oh my god? It portrays pseudo-religious beliefs and questions the meaninglessness of various rituals. The movie is actually based on a Gujarati play Kanjee viruddha Kanjee which was directed by Umesh Shukla who also directed the Hindi movie version. So when I got a chance to meet Umesh Shukla, I wanted to understand why he directed such a movie. He has also written a number of stories which have been adapted to the screen, My area of research and interest is to understand the reasons behind customs about which I have written extensively, so I geared up to meet him.

He told me that being born into a Brahmin family, the Audichya Brahmin Shukla family, he used to perform all the rituals while he was a young man. But somewhere he began questioning the rationale behind such rituals and wanted to know the meaning of everything that we normally do. He was not very convinced with the answers he usually received. That is when he began researching for the content which later shaped up as the movie. It has received wonderful support from the audience especially the common people and youngsters. It has been translated into Telugu and Kannada staring popular regional heroes. He also spoke of the support he received from Paresh Rawal whose acting as the main character became a huge hit as he convincingly portrayed the role of Kanjee Bhai.

He also revealed that with the success of this movie behind him, he is working on another thought provoking concept of a 102 year old man sending his son to an old age home. I am sure as all his other movies this one too will be enormously successful. Simple themes which actually bring out a slice of life, the daily struggles of the aam janta make the movies thought provoking. As always there are various angles to the same issue and it is best to respect each one’s viewpoint.

The Holy Tulsi

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Today is the twelfth day of the waxing moon (Shukla Paksha Dwadashi) of the month of Kartika. According to the Skanda Purana, the wedding of Tulsi with the Shaligram (sacred stone, symbolising Lord Vishnu) is celebrated today. The holy basil or tulsi is a symbol of purity and by wearing a garland of fresh tulsi leaves the Lord affirms that he will bless such devotees who are pure in their heart, in their word and deed and keep them close to him. Puja to Vishnu is considered incomplete without an offering of tulsi leaves. Tulsi vivah takes place on the next day of Karthik Ekadashi in all Vaishnavite temples. The festival also marks the end of Chaturya masa and the beginning of the marriage season.

Tulsi in Sanskrit means “unmatched” or “incomparable”. There are so many legends associated with the birth of  Tulsi. During the Samudra Manthan or the churning of the Ocean, Dhanvantri, the divine Physician appeared from the ocean with Amrit or nectar in his hands. Dhanvantri shed tears of joy and when the first drop of his tear fell in the Amrita, it formed the Tulsi. It is believed that Tulsi emerged during Samudra Manthan. Another Puranic reference is that Goddess Mahalakshmi pleased with the devotion of King Dharmadhwaja and Queen Madhavi was born to them as their daughter and she was named Tulsi. When it was time for her to depart from the world, she left a part of herself as the holy plant.

The plant has medicinal properties too. Hindus revere the plant and have it in their homes as it wards of negativity and ensures positive vibrations always.

 

 

 

Of Homas and Yagnas

It has been a memorable dassera for me as I got to perform the Chandi Yagna at the Sanatan Hindu Union temple on Vijayadasami day. As I was participating my mind went back to how our religion has so many wonderful events like these to purify our body and uplift our soul. These are meant to help us especially householders and professionals who lead busy lives to pause and think of the divine. The word Ritual itself is from the Latin word ritualis meaning doing something. Since the Vedic times, our religion has stressed the importance of doing rituals as they help in binding the community and giving each one, a sense of belonging. Those days there were no get-togethers and social dos, instead events like these conducted in temples and common places helped people to meet, greet and connect with one another. Rituals appeal to tradition and we have well-defined practices which are passed on to generations. Some rituals have a deeply symbolic significance woven around it. We have family rituals, social rituals and those that are common for an entire group or race or religion.

Homas are those that are performed at home periodically in a small scale like the ganapathy homa, sudarshana homa, ayush homa etc  which are conducted on birthdays and anniversaries for the immediate well-being of the family.

Then there are yagas which are conducted on a large scale in a grand manner in a public place like a temple for the wellbeing of the community. And then there are yagnas like the Athirudra mahayagna which are conducted on an even larger scale for the sake of peace and well-being of the entire world. The Vishnu Sahasranama says that the lord is the yagna, he is the receiver of oblations, he is the one who conducts, he is the one who blesses, thus he is everything. So with this spirit if a yagna is conducted, then the blessings of the lord will definitely be there on all those who are conducting and witnessing these noble events.

Tung, tung, tung, the ringing of the bell for the arathi brought me back to the temple and I looked on enchanted.

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The Bhakthi of the Gopis

Recently there was a discourse series at Pushti Marg Haveli in Nairobi. I was very fortunate to attend these lectures. The theme was the love of the gopis for Krushn in Gopi Geet. Pujya Jejeshree conducted the discourses and in his usual style explained so beautifully all the verses and dwelt at length on the pure love of these gopis for the lord.

Gopi Geet is part of Srimad Bhagavat Puran more specifically it is in the first half of the Tenth Book in Chapter 31. The nineteen verses are sung when Krushn suddenly disappears after leading the gopis to perform the Raas in Vrindavan. Each gopi had a form of the lord for herself and there were so many Krushns at the same time.

The beautiful verses of gopi geet start with Jayati te dhikam janmanaa vrajah, that is vraj is always the winner because it was here the lord conducted all his leelas. The gopis bound him with their pure love and totally surrendered their body, mind and soul. There was no ego in them. So Krushn could fill in their hearts completely. The power of love is so strong and it binds the lord as we can see from the lives of the gopis. They were simple, unlettered cowherdesses, still the lord decided to leave all other important matters and spend time with them.

For a brief time, the fact that Krushn was with them made them a little haughty and that was when the lord decided to take off from there. He simply disappeared suddenly. Overcome with terrible sadness they pour out their viraha or sadness through these verses. We can call it the Gopis’ song of separation. They describe all his leelas and recall the good times they had with him and also praise him hoping to win him back.

I had a nice time hearing the discourses and I was transported back to the golden age and could visualize the wonderful Raas dance and the eternal love of the gopis who were willing to give up everything for their beloved.

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Welcoming Shraavan

I look forward to this month each year because it is very special and has a special place in my heart. This month Shraavan is also known as Shivmaas, the holy month of Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati. As per the scriptures Lord Shiva tells his beloved wife Parvati that out of all the twelve months, Shraavan Maas (month) is the most special and glorious to him. It is believed that fasting on any day during this whole month reaps fruitful results. Many Hindus fast for the entire month living on a diet of fruits and milk breaking their fast after sunset with a light vegetarian meal. People refrain from habits like smoking and drinking during this month. Most switch over to a vegetarian meal adhering to a strict diet throughout the month.

It is believed that lord Shiva saved humanity from the deadly halahala poison by swallowing it during the samudra manthan. The entire episode of the churning of the ocean, manifestation of various objects and beings from the ocean like fourteen rubies, conch, kaustubh gem, deities like Lakshmi, apsaras like rambha, supernatural animals like kamadhenu the divine cow, airavata the white elephant and finally the pot of nectar -all these they say took place in the month of Shraavan. There are so many festivals to celebrate in Shraavan.

Shraavan somvars are extremely holy and Shivlings are bathed with milk and honey, people observe fasts and holy chants fill the air in and around temples. Kaavad yatras are common in some parts of the country as devotees collect holy water from sacred rivers in kavads or wooden pots which are tied to the end of a stick. These are carried by saffron clad kavadias who go from the tirtha sthaan to a sacred Shiva temple to perform abhisheks to shivalingas.

This year the first day of Shraavan is on 3 August and the month ends on 1 Sep 2016.  But in some states like Rajasthan, UP etc Shravan has started already on 20th July. This is because of the difference in the calendars as some states begin the month on the full moon.

Like every year, we will have special puja on all four Sundays during the month which will be followed by lunch. We extend a warm welcome to all devotees to join us on all four Sundays to Kamleshwar Mahadev temple in Kibigori.

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