Mahashivratri

Mahashivratri is an extremely important celebration for all Hindus who believe in the power of lord Shiva. Shiva and Shakti together mark the convergence of power, devotion and renunciation. The festival according to Hindu calendar is celebrated on Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi in the month of Maagha.
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People all over the country go to Shiva temples. They chant Om Namah Shivay and offer Bell Patra and white flowers to the Shiva Ling. Thousands of devotees gather together at important Shiva’s temple all over the Indian Sub-continent. Pashupati temple in Nepal is revered by Hindus from all over the world.
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According to another legend, Shiva saved the world from the disastrous effects of the poison that emerged as a by-product of the churning of the Milky Ocean (Samudra Manthan), by consuming the whole of the poison. Shiva could arrest the poison in his throat by his Yogic powers and it didn’t go down his throat. His neck turned blue due to the effect of the poison on his throat and henceforth he is also known as Neela Kantha or The Blue Throated.
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Swami Dayananda Saraswati

Swami Dayananda Saraswati was born in a village Tankara near Morbi in Rajkot district of Gujarat on 12th February 1824. He is known as the first leader to give the call for Swarajya. He propounded India for Indians. Later on Lokmanya Tilak continued the movement. Swami Dayananda is also the founder of Arya Samaj. Even though in the beginning he was an ardent worshiper of Lord Shiva, yet later he advocated ancient Vedic traditions of Hinduism. He expressed that ideal that idol worship had brought many ills in the Hindu society. In Vedic tradition chanting mantras and performing havans are prominent.
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Dr. S. Radhakrishnan who was a great philosopher and also the President of India called Swamiji as one of the ‘makers of modern India’. Shri Aurobindo Ghosh also gave great importance to the contribution of Swami Dayananda in modernizing the Hindu society. There were many others who were deeply influence by Swami Dayananda. These included Madam Cama, Pandit Guru Dutt Vidyarthi, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Lala Hardayal, Madan Lal Dhingra, Ram Prasad Bismil, Mahadev Govind Ranade, Swami Shraddhananda, Mahatma Hansraj, Lala Lajpat Rai and others.
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Maharshi Dayanda believed in the philosophy of Karma. Further, he was a first to call Dalits, Harijans long before Mahatma Gandhi, though it is attributed to the latter. The D. A. V organization was started by Swami Dayananda. Even today many schools and colleges are run by the organization not only in Gujarat but also in Rajasthan, Punjab, U.P and various other states.
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We pay our heartfelt tribute to the great Swami who devoted all his life for reforming Hinduism and for propagating education.
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Wani Yoga & Throat Chakra

Study and practice of Yoga is incomplete without understanding the importance of the 7 Chakras. These chakras are the real energy centers. Wani Yoga particularly impressive the practices involved in balancing Throat Chakra and the Third Eye Chakra. Today I will talk about the importance of Throat Chakra in Wani Yoga.
It may be necessary to give a brief introduction of these 7 Chakras in order to appreciate their importance in the life. The 7 Chakras are described as under.
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  1. Root Chakra is concerned about the safety of the human being.
  2. Sacral Chakra refers to the relationships and creativity of the person concerned.
  3. Navel Solar Plexus Chakra describes the personality and will power of the person concerned.
  4. Heart Chakra Heart Chakra indicates the love and compassion that the person practices in his/her life.
  5. Throat Chakra is responsible for expression and communication of the individual.
  6. Third Eye Chakra shows the development of the individual to have good gut feeling or intuition
  7. Crown Chakra is the ultimate destination of the individual. This chakra concerned his/her spiritual development.

Talking about the Throat Chakra if there is any imbalance the person will be effective with lack of expression. He/she will suffer from the inability to express himself/herself. A feeling of stagnation will be the next problem suffered by the individual. The person might become habituated to holding on to unexpressed angle in tern the attitude will turn negative.
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The imbalance of Throat Chakra will also bring a feeling of despondency in the individual – helplessness to make them heard. Further the person made be afraid of speaking. Speaking to a group of person effectively is not at all possible for a person who’s Throat Chakra is not balanced. Besides, the person will suffer from failure to find the right words while speaking.
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Wani Yoga ensures that regular simple speech exercises along with breathing techniques are helpful in bringing back the balance of the Throat Chakra. The exercise prescribed in this module are simple to understand and easy to practice. Speech is an extremely important aspect of the human personality. It is therefore necessary that whenever any individual suffers from the blemishes described above, the effects of same may be mitigated by practicing Wani Yoga.
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In my next posting I’ll talk about the problems suffered due to imbalance of the Third Eye Chakra. I’ll also describe how the Wani Yoga can help in bringing back the balance.
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Wani Yoga is gradually being recognized as one of the most important facet of Yoga.
The posting is repeat of one appeared on 18/10/2015.

Makar Sankranti

According to the Gregorian Calendar Makar Sankranti is celebrated every year on 14th January. There are only rare exceptions when the festival is celebrated on 13th or 15th January. Most of the other Hindu festivals fall on different dates.
Tilgul_kha_god_god_bola                                                                             Til Gul Ladu
gul poli                                                                          Gul Poli
It is a festival to celebrate harvest. In many parts of the country this harvest festival is celebrated with lot of activities. The great thing about Hindu festivals is that they promote social interaction. Makar Sankranti is no exception. In Maharashtra the festival is celebrated by exchanging sweets. Halwa and Til Gul Ladu are particularly prepared on this day. Gulachi Poli which is a delicacy a served during lunch. Gulachi Poli is a traditional Indian bread-chapati/paratha with a difference that there is filling of ground till, besan(gram flour) and lot of pure ghee. People greet each other with ‘Til Gul Ghya, Ani Goad Goad Bola’- promoting better interpersonal relationship. Haldi Kunku is distributed among married women. The gifts of utensils, clothes and sweets are exchanged.
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Makar Sankranti is also an auspicious occasion on which Sun God is revered. Millions of people take bath in Holi Rivers. Ganga Sagar where river Ganges flow into the Bay of Bengal is particularly popular.
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In Tamil Nadu the festival is known as Pongal and is celebrated by preparing lots of sweets and Tamilian dishes. These are served on planten leaves. Another marked feature of this festival is that people fly kites in open spaces. Very decorative and colorful kites are made for the occasion. It is a wonderful festival where people participate with the enthusiasm and gusto.
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Patriotic Saint

12th January is a very important day in India. This is celebrated as National Youth Day. Swami Vivekananda who is also known as Patriotic Saint was born on 12th January 1863. He was the Chief Disciple of Ramakrishna who was a well known saint in Bengal during 19th century. Swami Vivekananda is credited with founding of Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission. The latter has spread throughout the country and is engaged in learning many educational institutions.
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Narendranath Datta (the real name of Swami Vivekananda) was born in an aristocratic Bengali family of Calcutta. His father Vishwanath Datta was an Attorney at the Calcutta High Court. His mother Bhuvaneshwari Devi was a devout house wife. The progressive rational thinking of Narendra’s father, and the religious temperament of his mother helped shake his thinking and personality.
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Swami Vivekananda was instrumental in the introduction of The Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the western world. He was a great public speaker. His confident participation in the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893 brought him laurels. The beginning of his speech by addressing Sisters and Brothers of America… is remembered by religious leaders of various countries even today. He was considered the most effective and influential speaker at that meeting.
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Swami Vivekanada’s teachings emphasize human development. According to him each individual has a soul potentially divine. The goal to manifest this divinity should be prime for everyone. This is possible through devotion to one’s duty. This is possible by mental discipline or prayers. Contemplation on human soul is also very relevant. This is the very essence of any religion. Rituals, dogmas, books or temples or forms are just secondary details.
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Swami Vivekanada’s influence on Hinduism is paramount. According to him, Love and respect towards the Motherland was the solemn duty of every citizen. He is respectfully known as the Patriotic Saint.
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Film Actress Nanda

One of the most expressive faces in Hindi Films was that of Nanda. Her face had a remarkable child like expression. In fact, she started to work in films as a child artist. Her father had died at the young age of 41 so she started working in films as a child artist to support her family.
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In 1956 her uncle V. Santaram one of the famous producer of his time gave her a big break by casting her in Toofan Aur Diya in the year 1956. The film was a big hit. Thereafter Nanda featured in films like Bhabhi, Kala Bazar and Dhool Ka Phool.
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In the year 1959 she played the title role in L. V. Prasada’s Choti Behen the movie was a big hit. It made her a star. Thereafter she got lead roles in Hum Dono and Teen Deviyaan against popular star Dev Anand. She also got an opportunity to play the lead role in B. R. Chopra’s Kanoon in 1960. A good human being at heart, she is said to have signed as many as 8 films with Shashi Kapoor when he was not a successful actor in Hindi Films. However their film together ‘Jab Jab Phool Khile’ was a big hit. This film played a significant role in shaping and bringing success to Shashi Kapoor as a star in Hindi Films.
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We remember her on her birthday that is January 8th. Appreciating all the good work that she had done for Hindi Films.
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Indo Pakistan War of 1971.

16th December happens to be an important day for our Nation. It was on 16th December 1971 that the instrument of surrender was signed by the Unified Commander of Pakistan Armed Force’s Eastern Military High Command. The then Prime Minister of India Shrimati Indira Gandhi asked the Chief of the army staff General Manekshaw to go to Dhaka and sign the instrument. However the General said that the honor should go to his Army commander in the east, Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora.
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The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was the direct military confrontation between India and Pakistan during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. Indian, Bangladeshi and international sources consider the beginning of the war to have been Operation Chengiz Khan, when Pakistan launched pre-emptive air strikes on 11 Indian airbases on 3 December 1971, leading to India’s entry into the war of independence in East Pakistan on the side of Bangladeshi nationalist forces, and the commencement of hostilities with West Pakistan. (Source Wikipedia)
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It was one of the shortest wars between two countries. it lasted only 13 days. Indian Bangladeshi and international sources consider that Lt. General Jagjit Singh Aurora had meticulously planned the operation.
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At the outbreak of the war on 3 December 1971, as the GOC-in-C of the Eastern Command, Aurora oversaw the Indian ground forces into battle in East Pakistan. In a meticulously planned operation, forces under Aurora’s command formed numerous small combat teams and launched a four-front attack with the strategy of confronting and defeating the Pakistani forces on selected fronts, while bypassing Pakistani forces on others. In under two weeks, his forces advanced from the Indian border to capture Dhaka, the capital of East Pakistan. (Source Wikipedia)
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The Unified Commander of Pakistan Armed Forces’s Eastern Military High Command, Lieutenant General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi was forced to sign an unconditional Instrument of Surrender. The photograph of Niazi and Aurora at the signing of the Instruments of Surrender became an iconic image of the wa,[7] with The Guardian describing the scene as “the glum Pakistani officer bowed over his signature. The turbaned figure beside him, showing not a scrap of elation”.[8] The 90,000 Pakistani troops under Niazi’s command surrendered to General Aurora as prisoners of war.[2] Pakistan lost almost 57,000 square miles (150,000 km2) of its territory and 70 million of its people to the newly formed nation of Bangladesh. (Source Wikipedia)
Many of our officers and soldiers lost their lives. On this day we pay our tribute to all of them.
JagjitSinghArora              Sam Manekshaw                                                          Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora          General Sam Manekshaw
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Walter Elias “Walt” Disney.

Walter Elias Disney was an American Business Magnate and a filmmaker. But he was one of the greatest Cartoonists this world has ever seen. It is particularly true when we are thinking of one cartoon. When we are thinking of one character created by a cartoonist which has survived more than a century. The character is. Mickey Mouse.
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Of and on Mickey Mouse makes fashion statements on t-shirts, sweat shirts and children pajamas. It appears that the character is going to live another century. Walter also created Donald duck and Goofy. These are also good but nothing to beat Mickey Mouse. He won 22 academy awards including a record of four in just one year. It gave him the honor of being one with maximum nominations (59) and 22 awards.
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Disney Land theme parks in US, Japan, France and Hong Kong are the places which attract tourists from all over the world. If the family travels with children there is no way that they could miss the Disney lands if they are visiting that particular country.
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He died on December 15 1996 from longue cancer in California. He had created a large number of animated shorts and future films. The company created these parks and animation studio which bears his name. At times we think how could a cartoonist create a cartoon that transcends the limits of time and space. What Shakespeare is to drama and literature, Walt Disney is to entertainment particularly for the children.
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Guru Shishya Parampara 2

Today, I will talk to you about the qualities of a great Guru in the context of present day teaching. While in our country, our Education System seems to have drifted away from the traditions, some of the teachers in the US are following our traditions.
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The Guru-shishya parampara always emphasized that the Guru should also be a mentor. It meant that he/she does not just give lectures. But the classroom sessions are made interactive and participative. Here in India, we see that most college students have to rely on private classes. It is not only unnecessary, but also wasteful. Students lose the time spent in the college. At the same time College Lecturers are also unhappy because they don’t find devoted students.
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Now I will describe how a good and passionate teacher is rated in a typical US school or college. The teacher ensures that the class is interesting. He/she does not stick only to the text, but gives examples from life to ensure a clear understanding of the subject. The teacher is always willing, and in fact wanting to help. The teacher displays deeper understanding and carefully listens to the students. Polite and human, the teacher ensures that everyone in the class understands the material before he/she is subjected to any kind of tests. The message is given repeatedly that Teacher should never bring personal problems to school. The teacher should have great respect for the students.
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At the same time, the teacher motivates the students to come to the class on time. They are mentally prepared to learn, in fact eager to learn, and to respect each other. Students must listen when another student is talking. Of course there should be no cross talking during the class. The teacher repeats to the students, never say I can’t. Further, the teacher reassures them not to be afraid to say “I don’t understand”.
I hope that the new government and the HRD Minister will take suitable steps to ensure that we go back to our tradition.
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Guru Shishya Parampara

The Education System in our country was based on Guru-Shishya Parampara (tradition). Each individual who was educated in this tradition was able to think for himself/herself. However, The British did not want this system to continue. They only wanted followers who blindly obeyed their diktat. They needed manpower in administration. So they disbanded this system. The present education system is based on recommendations of Lord Macaulay who felt it necessary to tame the citizens into becoming unthinking followers. This system continues till today.
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The biggest problem of our current education system is that even though students have great imagination, extensive knowledge, they have difficulty to express themselves. They lack courage and confidence. In complete contrast, the Guru Shishya Parampara creates a bond between the teacher and the disciple which transcends the traditional teacher student relationship. The Guru acts as a mentor ensuring that each of his Shishya feels free to ask any questions which he considers duty bound to explain.
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As a mentor, the Guru considers it his duty to ensure that the future of Shishya is well protected. The Guru ensures that Shishyas develop the capacity to think for themselves. Further, they inculcate the necessary skills to deal with each other and conduct themselves elegantly among people.
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Great knowledge of our scriptures can be disseminated properly by bringing back the system even though in a new modern avtar.
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The biggest challenge for the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry is to give proper orientation to the teachers. Besides, the number of students in a class should be between 10 to 15 but never more than 20.
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