Mark Twain was a unique American writer. One cannot find another writer who could laugh at the stark realities of life and who could succinctly identify the irony so very dominant in our lives.
He once said, “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ”
It is ironic that the man who has evolved so much, who is civilized and educated over the centuries when compared to a dog miserably falls short of the quality of loyalty, which is so clearly visible in the pet animal.
But, in the fast changing world concepts change. The big question is that for leading a happy, progressive life which are the principles that transcend the limits of time and space. What are the principles that we must stick to even today? What are the principles that need to be discarded or modified?
Thus, our story of the dog and the man brings us to the core question about ‘loyalty’ and its importance today. I seek your participation to review the virtue of ‘loyalty’ in the present environment.
Choose one of the four:
Nine days of Navratri are celebrated heartily in most states of India. This is too commemorating the triumph of Good over Evil. I have collected few pictures of gaiety, joy and devotion to Ma Durga. I hope you will enjoy viewing them.
Beautiful Image of Ma Durga
Durga Pooja Image of Durga Mata from Kolkata
Celebrations from Gujarat- Garba Dance
Navratri Celebrations in Simla
Congregation in Kolkata
Navratri celebrations in Maharashtra
Navratri celebrations in Tamilnadu
Navratri Festival in Jagannathpuri
Navratra celebrations in Kerala
Navratra celebrations in Arunachal Pradesh
Hope the above pictures have given sufficient reason to celebrate Navratri as our devotion to Ma Durga. Her victorious battle with the evil will continue to inspire us. And it is a good reson to celebrate the Navratri festival wholeheartedly.
Everyone in his/her life pursues various objectives and goals with the ultimate objective of achieving happiness. ‘Pursuit of the happiness’, these words initial used by US president Jeffereson Devis. Subsequently they were made popular by Martin Luther king in his famous speech ‘I have a dream’. No doubt, everyone has a right to pursue happiness in whichever way the person likes. However, very often we are so much involved in daily routine that we are carried away by the string of events. In the process, we lose focus on what we are trying to achieve. It will be a good exercise for each one of us to reflect on these words and work out and define what is how you plan to pursue your happiness.
Firstly, we must understand that happiness is not just momentary pleasures of life. I do not say that pleasures of life should not be there. But that these should be only a part of our larger plan, which should addresses some or all of the related features of happiness. The following aspects are of immense importance in an individual’s life. Your attitude to life. One must have a positive attitude. Life is full of ups and downs. There could be challenges, successes and failures. Positive attitude means just to accept these as a part of life. You become a witness or an observer of what is going. At the same time, use your discretion to take decisions. It’s only then that we understand that we can remain composed and maintain our poise in turbulent times. In fact, it is necessary to maintain our poise even in the happiest time. None of the two situations last forever. Like every night is followed by the day. Every day is followed by night. But in life it may not be in the same order and the durations may also vastly differ. Importance of your Goals: In order that you pursue happiness, you must define your goals: in all of the following aspects.
Health goals. Good mental and physical health is extremely important if you want to lead a happy life. Doing what is necessary to keep good health is everyone’s duty. Regular exercise, following proper food routine and maintaining positive attitude can ensure that you are moving towards your health goals from day to day. Yet, it is a continuous process to pursue throughout the life.
Career/ financial goals. If you are successful in your career it expected that you will also do your financial and remain comfortable but you have to find tune of your objectives and follow the plan as devised.
Your family is undoubtedly equally important and should feature in your pursuit of happiness, according to our own Indian tradition. The importance of finance and family are critical in your pursuit.
Then comes to your social goals. What do want to contribute to the society and what you actually do, determines how successful you are in following social goals. Here again, you need to define and then follow your plan of action. The amount of success you achieve in your social goals will add up in your happiness. It will also determine how the society perceives and respects you. In other words, it means your reputation is reflected by what and how you contribute to the society.
For leading a fuller, complete life you must pursue some hobbies. At least one. It could be music. It could be painting .It could be some sport. It could also be travelling, writing etc. But the important thing is that you have atlaest one hobby on which you able to spend some time. It must not only for name sake.
Last but not the least your spiritual goals are also important. We all know that no one has to stay here forever. Sooner or later we must depart. We don’t know where. This uncertainty needs your spiritual pursuit. Whichever religion you may follow, you must define your spiritual goals. These will eventually define how you are remembered after your departure.
Today, I shall talk to you about what are the indications, according to our scriptures, when malefic influence of Shani Dev appears. How does it affect you and your life? The same are briefly stated as below:
You are leading your life in a normal way. You face usual difficult and you also achieve accomplishment to your hard work and in application of mind. But suddenly you fight some strength negative thoughts of confusion keep on troubling you. You start getting angry with your near and near once often with little or no reason. Unnecessarily you start arguing on small issues which does not happen to be your normal nature. In some circumstances you need to become alert these comprise symbol Shani Dev malefic influence.
In a family, the lady of the house shows similar symptoms and you are unable to understand what has gone wrong. Why this sudden change? The lady is not to be blamed. Again, this is another symptom of ‘Shani Disha’. Whether it is man or a lady, the negative emotions like too much envy, jealousy, anger to unbelievable extent, inability to concentrate on any important task- these are also symptoms of Shani Dev’s malefic influence.
At times, the problem manifests itself in some long drown disease. Hurts from sudden fall, accident and the like and consequent suffering are other indications.
If the spouses find that suddenly their behavior with one another has undergone a drastic change for the worse. It could yet be another indication.
Continuous financial losses which are surprising and unexplained also show Shani’s bad influence.
Sometimes, along with various problems lines on your hands become darkish and so do your nails. This is another indication.
Yet another Symptom comes in the form- someone in the extended family is attacked by disease or even sudden death. The loss affects you very badly in your personality, conduct and work.
These are indications as explained in our scriptures. As I said in the preceding post, Shani Dev delivers justice to the humanity. He rewards the human beings for their good deeds. Likewise the wrong doing are reprimanded. Often suffers are advised to conduct special Pooja to reduce the malefic influence of Lord Shani Dev.
In Hindu tradition, Lord Shani is considered as chief of all planets. He is considered extremely hostile and full of anger. Those who believe in astrology are afraid of ‘Shani Saad Sati’ or seven and a half years of malefic influence of Shani Dev.
Once Mata Laxmi ( Godess of Wealth) asked Shani Dev, “I grant fortune and wealth to my devotees. But you destroy it. More than wealth you destroy the ‘Peace of Mind’ of the human beings. They are mortally afraid of you. Why do you do that?”
Lord Shani respectfully answered,’ Mateshwari ( Mother), I have been appointed as the ‘Chief Justice’ of Humanity. Just as Yama grants ‘Death’ to human beings, I grant justice to these individuals according to their ‘Karma’ (wrong doings or good deeds). The lord Almighty Bhagwan Shankar has given me the task of evaluating the good and bad deeds of human beings and grant them reward or punishment according to what they deserve. Therefore, I humbly submit to you Mata Laxmi that it is only the lack of understanding on the part of human beings that I am blamed. People are afraid of even my name. I am just performing the duty accorded to me by Lord Shanker ( Mahadev). Further, said Lord Shani, “Some people out of their personal greed and desire to live a luxurious life carry out misdeeds, cause harm to their fellow human beings and engage in other nefarious activities. It is my duty that they are punished accordingly.” Shani dev continued, “but Mata, I also bestow great rewards on those who are engaged in welfare activities of mankind, who reach out to those in difficulties and help them. These great souls receive health, wealth, happy family and all other great pleasures not only in this life but many others that follow. Mata, it is only as per my judgment they are punished or rewarded.” Shani Shinganapur Temple. It is locatedin thevillage Shani Singanapur. The village is in Ahmadnagar district of Maharashtra. Devotees from all over the country visit the temple to receive the blessings of Shani Dev. Shingnapur is also famous for the fact that no house in the village has doors. There are only door frames. No theft is ever reported in the village. In my nest posting, I shall talk about how to identify when lord Shani’s malefic influence starts and also what needs to be done to mitigate the malefic influence of Lord Shani.
I had written a poem on time some time back. I repeat some of the lines of the poems to my students to find the message deserving careful consideration. The same lines are repeated:
Value of time is often little known:
For time’s inherent wealth scanty respect is shown.
Any other possession if you happen to lose
you can hope to get it back If you choose.
Wealth of time will never return
Simple lesson though many of us don’t ever learn.
Every moment of time you must use
to achieve anything, you may choose.
In the changing environment I think Time and its proper use have become critical. Fat salaries for corporate CEO’s require harsher targets for the team to achieve. Undoubtedly, this creates great pressure on him. He tends to lose the simple joys of life like quiet reflection in the morning besides yoga or exercise, spending quality time with his family and pursuing at least one hobby seriously that he loves the most.
The good thing for the CEO is that today he/she cannot be fooled by just sweet words or clever flattery. Performance appraisal is based on the real time strategic figures which are computed instantly.
Therefore it is necessary for each one of us to do the following:
Prepare the time log
Work out our priorities each day
Use time planners
Think positively and always put our plan into action.
Each day the tasks can be categorized as under:
Group 1: Routine tasks
Group 2: Ongoing projects
Group 3: Planning and development
Ideally, the maximum time of about 50-60% should be allocated to Group 3 activities. Group 2 activities deserve 25% and Group 1 just 15 %. However in practice we find there we consume 60% of our time in routine jobs, 25% on ongoing projects and just 15% on group 3 i.e. planning and development.
Just give it a serious thought and try to make best use of your time which never comes back. You must spend some quality time with your family.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with festivities lasting ten to twelve days every year. The occasion for the celebration of the birth of Lord Ganesh, son of Lord Shiva and Parvati.
Ganesh symbolizes intelligence and application of mind. There are many incidents in Lord Ganesha’s life which symbolize his sharp wit and presence of mind. Among them the most famous of them is his competition with his elder brother Karthikeya.
As the story goes Lord Shiva called both his sons and told them that whomsoever circles the world three times will be given the prize of a magical Mango which was presented to him by Sage Narad. Ganesha realized that his vehicle the mouse, would be of no match against the swift flying peacock of his elder brother. He thought for a moment, smiled and took three circles of his parents. When they asked him why they were circling him, he replied that they were his world, and taking three circles of them was equivalent to circling the world three times. Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati were very pleased and they gave the fruit to Ganesha.
The festival falls in the fourth day of the waxing moon in the Hindu lunar calendar month of Bhadrapad which mostly falls in September according to the English Calendar. While the festival is celebrated all over the country, it is in the Indian State of Maharashtra that the celebrations are specially famous.
In medieval history, the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi can be traced back to the times of the great Maratha King Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. However following the decline of the Maratha empire, the festival lost its state patronage. It was the famous freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak who revived this festival as a community celebration and to gather people in his fight against British Rule.
Indeed he has left behind a lasting legacy. Every year the festival gets bigger and more and more people revel in the worship of the Lord and seek his blessings.
In the history of American politics,yesterday, the 28th August was a memorable day. It was on 28th August 1963 that Martin Luther king delivered his famous speech – “I have a Dream.” It was a great speech that will be remembered by all progressive societies for many decades. Not only did it motivate the black American to rise and demand their citizenship, but it is also regarded as one of the greatest speeches ever written and delivered to very large audience with unmatched enthusiasm and great alacrity.
The contribution of Martin Luther king for securing equal rights for African Americans is greater than anyone else. But for him it would have been impossible for Barrack Obama to become the 44th president of the most powerful nation on the earth.
The greatness of a leader is seen and recognized from the high degree of passion with which he/she is devoted to the cause. That becomes the force which is difficult to be faced and fought with by the opponents. Great leaders with great passion and total selflessness can bring about sweeping changes every society needs from time to time.
If we were to select main qualities of great leaders, I would list the following in order of importance.
Passion for a cause
Excellent Public Speaking abilities
How I wish that today we may also have some leaders with some semblance of what a great leader Dr Martin Lither King was.
What is religion? If the devil and the angel are both residing in one’s mind – why is religion so necessary? The devil is strong and grows at an immense pace. But the angel is initially weak and needs constant support of the individual concerned. Religion is a set of rules which one follows to tame the devil, and to nurture the angel.
Each religion teaches the same. There could be a difference in methodology. There could be a differences in some of the rituals. There could be differences in the ways in which each religion is taught; but the objective is the same. The common objective therefore, should be a uniting force. So said the playwright, poet and thinker – T.S. Elliot. “Religion must be a uniting force, but unfortunately some selfish, self-styled religious leaders connive it to divide humanity.
Swami Vivekanand delineated the same idea in his famous speech at the world Parliament of Religions in Chicago. The same is reproduced below:
It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us. l thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions; and I thank you in the name of the millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects. My thanks, also, to some of the speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates from the Orient, have told you that these men from far-off nations may well claim the honor of bearing to different lands the idea of toleration.I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to the southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation. I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings:
As the different streams having there sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to thee.
The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world, of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita:
Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me.
Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization, and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honor of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.