All posts by vijikumari

Funny story: The king and ministers with three bags!

 

Once a king ordered his three ministers to take a bag and go to the forest and fill up the bag with fruits.  The first minister thought that since the king has ordered for collection of fruits, he must collect the best of the fruits in the bag. The second minister thought that since the king is a very busy person, he may not look very thoroughly into the bag what has been collected and hence he collected whatever he could lay his hands. Thus his bag was filled up with a mixture of good and rotten fruits. The third minister thought that the king would see only externally how big the bag is and hence he just filled up the bag with all dried leaves and dust.

 

All the three ministers came back to the court with their respective bags, having executed the order of collecting the fruits.The King, without even seeing what their bags contained, just ordered that now the three ministers must be sent to separate jails for three months, where they will not be provided with any food and they were only allowed to carry the respective bags wherein they had collected the fruits.

The first minister could spend the three months in the jail by eating the very nice fruits he had collected.  The second one could survive for some time with the good fruits in the bag and later he developed diseases by eating the rotten fruits he had collected.  The Third minister had nothing to eat and hence could not survive.

 

Moral of the story:

From the above story we understand that we have to undergo the consequences of our own activities.  “You will be suffering your own reactions after your karmas, any single karma you perform, you have to suffer for it. Good and bad, everything, you have to have this reaction. No doubt about it.

In Mahabharata,

“Amongst thousands of cows, the calf finds its own mother cow. Similarly the results of our past karma (deeds) when fully ripened, will find us without fail.”

This is Vedic instruction.  If you go to the cow protection center, we see in India, there may be hundreds and thousands of cows there. They bring the calf there and the calf will find out its mother out of the crowd. It has the potency. So, yac ca krtam karma, whatever karma you do, sinful particularly, it will definitely catch you wherever you are.   You may be born in this planet or you may be a dog in another planet, but it will come to you definitely. Karmas can never be leaving you alone till you suffer for it or enjoy for it.So in between, while suffering, we should always devote your time to serve Krishna.

And then if we do that, jiveta, if you lead your life like this, we are waiting for mercy from the Lord, you are suffering in between, but we are completely devoted to Krishna’s service, then we are the heir-apparent (daaya-bhaak) to go back home without much endeavour. The whole life is dedicated to Krishna.

This is how we should do. And as soon as we follow these formulas, we can never go wrong.”Mahatma Vidura explains how one should perform activities in this world in the following sloka in Mahabharata Udyoga Parva.    Do those activities during the day, which will make you to pass the night in happiness;   Do those activities during eight months of the year, which will enable you to pass the rainy season happily. Do those activities during youth which will ensure a happy old age;  Do those activities during your life in this world, which will enable you to achieve eternal life after death.”  Let us purify our existence by taking up the Krishna conscious way of life and ultimately go back home, back to Godhead.

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Ducks Quack, Eagles Soar

 

I was waiting in line for a ride at the airport in Dubai. When a cab pulled up, the first thing I noticed was that the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, black tie, and freshly pressed black slacks, the cab driver jumped out and rounded the car to open the back passenger door for me.
He handed me a laminated card and said: ‘I’m Abdul, your driver. While I’m loading your bags in the trunk I’d like you to read my mission statement.’ Taken aback, I read the card. It said: Abdul’s Mission Statement:
To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment. This blew me away. Especially when I noticed that the inside of the cab matched the outside. Spotlessly clean!

As he slid behind the wheel, Abdul said, ‘Would you like a cup of coffee? I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf.’I said jokingly, ‘No, I’d prefer a soft drink.’ Abdul smiled and said, ‘No problem. I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, lassi, water and orange juice.’
Almost stuttering, I said, ‘I’ll take a Lassi.’
Handing me my drink, Abdul said, ‘If you’d like something to read, I have The NST , Star and Sun Today.’

As they were pulling away, Abdul handed me another laminated card, ‘These are the stations I get and the music they play, if you’d like to listen to the radio.’ And as if that weren’t enough, Abdul told me that he had the air conditioning on and asked if the temperature was comfortable for me. Then he advised me of the best route to my destination for that time of day. He also let me know that he’d be happy to chat and tell me about some of the sights or, if I preferred, to leave me with my own thoughts.  ‘Tell me, Abdul ,’ I was amazed and asked him, ‘have you always served customers like this?’

Abdul smiled into the rear view mirror. “No, not always. In fact, it’s only been in the last two years. My first five years driving, I spent most of my time complaining like all the rest of the cabbies do. Then I heard about POWER OF CHOICE one day.” Power of choice is that you can be a duck or an eagle.

‘If you get up in the morning expecting to have a bad day, you’ll rarely disappoint yourself. Stop complaining!’ ‘Don’t be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.’ ‘That hit me. really hard’ said Abdul.  ‘It is about me. I was always quacking and complaining, so I decided to change my attitude and become an eagle. I looked around at the other cabs and their drivers. The cabs were dirty, the drivers were unfriendly, and the customers were unhappy. So I decided to make some changes, slowly … a few at a time. When my customers responded well, I did more.’

‘I take it that it has paid off for you,’ I said.
‘It sure has,’ Abdul replied. ‘My first year as an eagle, I doubled my income from the previous year. This year I’ll probably quadruple it. My customers call me for appointments on my cell phone or leave a message on it.’  Abdul made a different choice. He decided to stop quacking like a duck and start soaring like an eagle. Start becoming an eagle today … one small step every week..next week… And next…And….
A great Thought.. “You don’t die if you fall in water, you die only if you don’t swim.
Thats the Real Meaning of Life.Improve yourself and your skills in a different way.
Be an eagle. .not a Duck.

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R_A_M_A_Y_A_N_A*

‘ *Ra* ’ means *light*, ‘ *Ma* ’ means *within me*, *in my heart*.
So,
*Rama* means the *Light Within Me*..

*Rama* was born to *Dasharath & Kousalya*.

*Dasharath* means ‘ *10 Chariots* ’..
The ten chariots symbolize the *5 sense organs*( *Gnanendriya* ) & *5 organs of action*( *Karmendriya* ) ..

*Kousalya* means ‘ *Skill* ’..

*The skillful rider of the 10 chariots can give birth to Ram*..

When the 10 chariots are used skillfully,
*Radiance* is born within..

*Rama* was born in *Ayodhya*.
*Ayodhya* means ‘ *a place where no war can happen* ’..

When There Is No Conflict In Our Mind, Then The Radiance Can Dawn..

The *Ramayana* is not just a story which happened long ago..
It has a *philosophical*, *spiritual significance* and a *deep truth* in it..

It is said that the *Ramayana is happening in our Own Body*.

Our *Soul* is *Rama*,
Our *Mind* is *Sita*,
Our *Breath* or *Life-Force* ( *Prana*) is *Hanuman*,
Our *Awareness* is *Laxmana* and
Our *Ego* is *Ravana*..

When the *Mind* (Sita),is stolen by the *Ego* (Ravana), then the *Soul* (Rama) gets *Restless*..

Now the *SOUL* (Rama) cannot reach the *Mind* (Sita) on its own..
It has to take the help of the *Breath – the Prana* (Hanuman) by Being In *Awareness*(Laxmana)

With the help of the *Prana* (Hanuman), & *Awareness*(Laxmana),
The *Mind* (Sita) got reunited with The *Soul* (Rama) and The *Ego* (Ravana) *died/ vanished*..

*In reality Ramayana is an eternal phenomenon happening all the time*..​

 

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WHY CHILDREN NEED TO PLAY

 

Making sense of internal and external worlds is at the root of all the free-style activity

Nowadays, we are all obsessed with our children developing motor and cognitive abilities through play, but my pitch here is different. Children need to play to make sense of their internal and external worlds. For children, play is not just recreation or leisure, which implies that it is an indulgence, but important and serious work. It is pleasurable and engrossing precisely because it is emotional. Otherwise, it would merely be the handling of objects.

If you wish to understand your child you need to understand his/her play, because it is through play that children express themselves, conveying what they cannot express in words. What a child chooses to play at betrays ‘his inner processes, desires, problems and anxieties’.

It is how children make sense of difficult feelings — jealously, anger, guilt and hatred are enacted between dolls and monsters — which makes it easier to handle it in real relationships. In play, the little child can escape from the impact of a situation that is too painful for him to accept as it stands. He can escape for a little while by pretending that he is someone else.

In her real life, eight-year-old Tina was at the receiving end of many instructions from many teachers — for sport, music, art, theatre, schoolwork, dance — all of which she (at least partially) strongly resented. In her play with me, she made herself the teacher who gave the children endless instructions. She talked non-stop for 40 minutes, entirely disinterested in the other.

She would ask ‘Is that okay?’ of the children (i.e., me) but never wait for the response. It was just lip service to democracy or consensus. It was clear to both of us that this was a totalitarian regime with one person in charge. Keeping in mind that in our fantasy lives we tend to be excessive. I wondered whether she was communicating that she wanted to have her voice heard, to be negotiated with rather than be infantalised. She wanted to be taken seriously, not just indulged.

Left to themselves, children will play with anything: empty cardboard boxes become houses, curtains become tents, dolls and stuffed animals talk to each other; kitchen odds and ends become a drum-set or an imaginary playing house. It is not the objects, therefore, that are as important as the fantasies that accompany it. Children have ideas about what they are doing; a kind of storytelling, sometimes consciously expressed and easy to understand if we are paying attention, but also with unconscious undertones, less obvious to see.

Watch a young child playing (where they are free from instruction, anxiety or targets of outcome); for example, jumping off the sofa again and again: this is one kind of play — to achieve mastery over something, build skill and lose the fear of being hurt. Then there is acting out active destruction: building towers with blocks only to enjoy toppling them over, or displaying complex emotions in imaginary play — death and destruction, anger, loss, magical strength and resurrections as well as persecution, care and affection.

Every evening in the garden of her home, four-year-old Anya would play at being jailed by the evil policeman, dragged to the tree and tied up. What was being played out is difficult to know exactly, since no one really paid much attention, though her mother recalls that they were going through a difficult phase together, where Anya was frequently angry and defiant with her. Clearly something was going on for Anya that, according to her internal justice system, deserved punishment.

Eventually the theme ran out of steam. The same theme is repeated over and over with little variation (or children want to hear the same story day after day, in exactly the same way) because it means something to the child. Repetition does many things — it makes things feel bearable, less frightening, more consolidated. It is like leaving feelings to marinate so they truly sink in or pushing down on them so they sediment and become more substantial.

Games where there are emergencies, rescues, doctors, blood, thunderstorms, evil jailors, robbers or death are a child’s way of destroying and repairing relationships in fantasy. When a three-year-old pretends to be Chhota Bheem ,beating up Mangal Singh , who has captured his friend Raju, there is a lot going on beyond depicting what the child may have watched on television.

Power, anger and making things better are some of the processes at play here. Being small yet powerful, is an important part of why Chhota Bheem and his friends appeal to children.

Most parents/carers/child workers are aware of the importance of the make-believe world, because when invited to join in and play a role, many do so willingly. One can see parents pretending to hide from the rain, or be shot at by bullets and be grievously injured or fall dead, only to be magically revived by the doctor/child. By playing the role well, parents are doing something significant. They are making the experience emotionally real for the child and not ruining it by bringing in reality.

Something similar happens when a child is ‘helping’ in the kitchen or home.

Parents may know that the child’s presence actually creates more work for them, that it takes more effort and creativity to keep the child engaged in mixing the batter, more serenity in overlooking the mess they make by spilling water, yet they allow their child to feel that the cake would not have been so tasty had it not been for the raisins he put in or that his assistance in the garage was crucial to getting the car clean. After all, external facts are not the only truth.

Excerpted from Love and Rage: The Inner Worlds of Children by Nupur D Paiva, published by Yoda Press

 

ALWAYS SEE THE BRIGHTER SIDE OF THE LIFE

 

Ashla Rani, a paraplegic, lives a productive, fulfilled life, with a job, friends and family

Ashla Rani welcomes me with a smile that reaches her eyes. At the office of Pallium India in Thiruvananthapuram, she has her hands full as executive assistant to Dr M R Rajagopal, chairman of the palliative care centre. Sitting on her wheelchair, with the partial control that she has over her upper limbs, she coordinates his appointments and travel itinerary. She has been here for three years now, and is one among the six recipients of the Kerala Government’s Youth Icon Awards for 2016.

The mishap

It was a near-fatal train accident in 2010, when she was 28, that left her a quadriplegic. And it was at the age of 32, that she had to start her life afresh. She makes it sound simple: “There were so many loving and caring people around me. My mother, Janaki, has been with me since that accident. Then there are my doctors who were very kind to me. None of them told me that I would never walk again. They always said, ‘Let that happen when it has to. Until then, make the best of what you have now’. So it was about taking small steps, learning to do things as the need arose. I realised that I should never stop trying,” she says.

A native of Kannur, she fell off the train on her way to Chennai, where she was working as an IT professional. She was standing near the door trying to throw out the food waste after dinner. But the door banged shut behind her, throwing her out of the train. “I have not gone back to my home after that. My life has revolved around hospitals since then. It was at the rehabilitation centre of Christian Medial College at Vellore that I started learning how to deal with it,” she says, almost matter-of-factly.

She had to relearn how to use cutlery, write and type on a laptop. Since she can’t use her fingers, she now uses the knuckles of the little fingers on both hands to type on the laptop. She can write with a pen with soft nibs, like gel pens. “But don’t ask me how I hold the pen. I place it in a particular angle between my fingers. However, the way I hold it one day may not be the same the next!” she says.

She can now hold a spoon, thanks to the training she received at the rehabilitation centre at Vellore. “They have different types of spoons to train patients and it took me nearly eight months of practice. Now I use a regular steel spoon, which is not too heavy,” she says.

Guiding light

There was inspiration in the form of late M P Anil Kumar, a fighter pilot who was paralysed neck down, but went on to become a writer, typing on the keyboard with a mouth-held stick. “I came to know about him only after his death. He couldn’t move his hands, but he never gave up and I realised how lucky I was, compared to him. I got in touch with the Facebook platform that kept his memories alive. Interactions with them gave me a lot of positivity and hope. They have been a constant source of encouragement and support,” Ashla adds.

While undergoing intense physiotherapy sessions at a hospital in Kochi, she heard about Pallium India from a friend. It is a charitable trust that provides palliative care and pain relief for patients across India. “I didn’t want to go back home because I knew it would be very difficult to continue my physiotherapy. I sent a mail to ‘Rajagopal sir’ explaining my medical condition and expressing my desire to work for the organisation. He replied within hours, and a few days later, I was there to meet him,” she says.

Today, she is actively involved with the half-way home, a rehabilitation project of Ministry of Social Justice, for those who are paraplegic, confined to their wheelchairs. “Their grief stems from their helplessness. We encourage them to stay positive, sometimes taking them out for a ‘walk’ along the footpath. They also attend vocational training classes. I can relate to them and perhaps that’s why they tell me that I inspire them. Since I am also on a wheelchair, they are motivated to come out of their shell,” she says.

 

COURTESY     THE HINDU

 

Swayambhu saga: Panchamukhi temple – Where ‘power’ reigns

Hyderabad: The Panchamukhi Hanuman temple is next to the Secunderabad railway station, at Ghasmandi Road. You can hear the trains honk as they pass by. The narrow road leads to the ever-crowded Monda Market. Names are lost in the hoary past and the family that still has a presence here, but is not in control of the temple, does not remember too much about the past.

“This was a place where sadhus would congregate and meditate,” says Bhavani Mahant, son of late Sham Das, the younger brother of late Gulab Das, who really brought this 500-600-year-old temple to life. Gulab Das died a decade ago and till then actively looked after it. The Panchamukhi Hanuman here is swayambhu and is supposed to have given darshan to Pancham Das, who was the first priest to come here from Varanasi. “Hanumanji unko darshan diye aur prakat hue,” Bhavan Mahant says.

When and why Pancham Das came here is not known to anyone. It could have been because someone told him to travel to Secunderabad for prayers and blessings at the feet of the sadhus. After Pancham Das, his son Baldev Das took over. He was a contractor for the British who were here to build the roads, raise an army, and run the railways. The station being next door to the temple helped Baldev Das. 

“He was very much into development,” says Sheela Mahant, widow of Pancham Das, son of Gulab Das. She has three sons and a daughter and while one has gone abroad, the other two sons visit the temple once in a while even though they hold high-tech jobs. Baldev Das added two mandapams to the basic temple. The swayambhu Hanuman is emergent on a humongous rock, which is suitably painted a vivid orange, symbolic of Lord Hanuman, and as you perambulate, you see the painting of Lord Hanuman right behind where the main icon is. The paint has practically peeled off with all the devotees worshipping the painted icon.

Since Baldev Das had two daughters, it was his grandson Gulab Das who took over. He brought about a lot of changes within this small temple. There were small icons of Shiva, Ganesha, Naga Devata and Navagraha and he built tiny temples for these icons too, allowing people to do their own puja. In fact thanks to Gulab Das, the temple doors are also well endowed with silver frames.

“While I am not aware of any miracles, I can say that people come here with a wish and when it is fulfilled they come back and contribute a lot to the temple. That is how I know that the Panchamukhi Hanuman is very powerful. Then they become devotees who come regularly,” says Sheela Mahant. Most of the development of the temple has been done through the resources and because of the interest of the family.

Sheela Mahant is extremely unhappy with the endowments department. “Thanks to some mischief makers in the temple, the department officials one day walked in without any notice and sealed off the hundis,” she says. “Since there was no elderly male figure at that time, they could do it, but it is of no help them taking over, for they do not contribute anything towards the development of the temple,” she says, a tad angrily. And this is in spite of the Supreme Court ruling that the hereditary founder family can run a temple.

“Our livelihoods have been affected by this single act of the Endowments Department,” says Sheela Mahant. She herself comes from a religious family, with her father being the head priest of yet another Hanuman temple in Mumbai, called the Picket Road Maruthi Temple. Each year during Hanuman Jayanti, the main icon gets a treatment and the Sindhoor, which is the main colour of Lord Hanuman, is slowly removed. Several layers get formed over the year and for the safekeeping of the original icon, this is done. The day after Hanuman Jayanti is annadanam or ‘annakoot’ as they call it.

Sheela Mahant lives in a house which is more than 100 years old, sharing the wall of the temple. A narrow staircase leads to small rooms, with flowers and small trees growing cheerfully out of the crevices of the old building and a huge terrace, making it a charming place. The temple as a structure came into existence close to 300 years ago. Since this is a Panchamukhi Hanuman, each and every face of Sri Panchamukha Hanuman has great significance. There are five faces – Hanuman, Narasimha, Garuda, Varaha and Hayagriva. Sri Hanuman faces towards the East, granting purity of mind and success.

The Narasimha faces South granting victory and fearlessness. The West facing Garuda removes black magic and poisons in any given situation, and the North facing Varaha showers prosperity and wealth. Hayagriva Mukhi faces towards the sky, and gives knowledge and good children. The puja is conducted accordingly and the devotee is asked to look in all the directions for the best effect.

According to the local legends, the Lord promises special security to all his devotees. The entrance arch and the gopuram have been retained in their original form and both are dust-ridden with old flowers still dotting the place; two-wheelers parked haphazardly make the road narrower. The smell of spices wafting in from the shop next door adds to the ancient feel of the temple. The aroma permeates the air as the bells cling in unison every time an aarti is shown.

COURTESY      DECCAN CHRONICLE

Location: IndiaTelanganaHyderabad

Are you a fenugreek fan?

Use it in aloo methi, parathas or even your favourite mutton dish, for methi is an essential commodity in every Indian household

Ever wondered how to make a simple dish of yellow lentil with ridge gourd taste and smell heavenly? Leave the spices alone, and add a bunch of fresh, chopped fenugreek leaves instead.

Going by the bitterness which one tastes while chewing methi seeds, the ignorant me had taken it for granted that methi leaves will be utterly bitter. This also made me wonder why aloo methi is a main side dish in the vegetarian section of a menu. The same goes when I am offered methi paratha, because according to my wrong notion on methi leaves, I thought I was being offered bitter parathas.

Then one day, I noticed that a friend’s mother who was visiting, while preparing mutton, had kept aside a bunch of methi leaves. I was devastated.

I nervously asked about the ‘funda’ behind making the mutton curry bitter with methi leaves. Now, it was her turn to give me a look. She said, “This will enhance the taste.” I wasn’t convinced, but waited anxiously to taste.

My doubts were baseless, I soon realised. The mutton dish was indeed superlative in taste, to say the least.

After that, I always remember to pick a few bunches of fenugreek leaves when I go to the market to pick up my vegetables. Though methi leaves are used as a herb, its use to enhance the taste in food is most common in India.

Methi leaves are also eaten as a side dish by itself, slightly sautéed on a pan.

While aloo methi is commonly cooked in many kitchens, the reason methi is added to non-vegetarian dishes is possibly because of fenugreek’s natural tendency to maintain body temperature.

Also known as a rich source of nutrition, these leaves are easy to grow and last long in the refrigerator when stored properly. As fenugreek is rich in fibre and antioxidants, it helps flush out harmful toxins from the body, and thus, aids digestion.

Fenugreek is a good source of iron, which is why both seeds and leaves are considered medicinal and a good cure, for anaemia.

In many home remedies, I am told, crushing and consuming fresh leaves of fenugreek helps control the level of insulin in blood. Health advocates say it could give competition to spinach as a rich source of Vitamin K.

Surprisingly, fenugreek is also a great source of protein and nicotinic acid. These nutrients make it good for the hair as well.

courtesy     THE HINDU