Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Trees & Thoughts

Last weekend, while I was travelling by road, I saw some wonderful trees on the highway.
They were so full and glorious that the mere sight of each of them was so joyous. They were each a great sight to watch. Nature, I thought, is so wonderful!
It is then that a thought came across... Can mankind ever give the same feeling of warmth, joy and welcome to one another?
People go to the tree shade in Sun and Rain...
To have a meal, to have a cha(a)t or chai..
How come, we see few people who are so welcoming... we don't find affectionate, warm welcoming smiles on faces everywhere... forget wanting to go to them in times of trouble or joy! We have "strangers" in humans and not in trees! There are imperfections in people, not in Trees! Do we not find the smile or do we not smile... ?!
Has man(kind?) progressed?
This was a thought I thought worth sharing. So, next time we see a tree, lets think about it... and when we see a stranger, think about the tree!
Share your travel thoughts... I don't want to be a loner in this path :-)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

About inflation!... No!... Greece!

I just came across this article which was written in February about life in Greece. Ever since the situation has worsened more.
{I think the inflation rate currently in Greece is 30%!}
If you ever wanted to know how life would be when inflation is so high, read this... http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/the-way-greeks-live-now.html?pagewanted=all
For those that cannot take time, below are some snippets.

1) He explicated the insidious ways in which the upper echelons of Greek media were intertwined with the political structure, which prevented reporting of financial mismanagement and also clouded any hope for resolving the crisis.

2) I asked Hadjigeorgiou how the crisis was affecting him personally. Life was getting difficult, he acknowledged. Then, prodded a bit more, he mentioned that he had not been paid by his newspaper, the major left-leaning daily, in four months. Nor had any of his colleagues at the paper. Yet despite the lack of paychecks, few if any employees had left the paper (which has since filed for bankruptcy), for the good reason that there was nowhere else to go.

3) Which pretty much sums up Greece. Everyone talks incessantly about the economy — about Merkel and Sarkozy and the E.U., about the tightly knit elite that has run Greece for so long and about their neighbors’ troubles and their own — but somehow everyday life rumbles on, in a collective trance, shot through with gallows humor.

4) By many indicators, Greece is devolving into something unprecedented in modern Western experience.
• A quarter of all Greek companies have gone out of business since 2009, and half of all small businesses in the country say they are unable to meet payroll.
• The suicide rate increased by 40 percent in the first half of 2011.
• A barter economy has sprung up, as people try to work around a broken financial system.
• Nearly half the population under 25 is unemployed.
• Last September, organizers of a government-sponsored seminar on emigrating to Australia, an event that drew 42 people a year earlier, were overwhelmed when 12,000 people signed up.
• Greek bankers told me that people had taken about one-third of their money out of their accounts; many, it seems, were keeping what savings they had under their beds or buried in their backyards. One banker, part of whose job these days is persuading people to keep their money in the bank, said to me, “Who would trust a Greek bank?”

5) The situation at the macro level is, if anything, even more transformational.
• The Chinese have largely taken over Piraeus, Greece’s main port, with an eye to make it a conduit for shipping goods into Europe.
• Qatar is looking to invest $5 billion in various projects in Greece, including tourism infrastructure.
• Other, relatively flush Europeans are trying to make “Greece the Florida of Europe,” Theodore Pelagidis, a Greek economist at the University of Piraeus, told me, referring in particular to plans to turn islands into expensive retirement homes for wealthy people from other parts of the continent.
• Whether or not the country pays its debts, he went on, other nations and foreign companies “now understand the Greek government is powerless, so in the future they will take over viable assets and run parts of the country by themselves.”

6) It’s not uncommon to see decently dressed Greeks discreetly rummaging through garbage bins for food.

7) A new book about how the country survived the Nazi occupation — “Starvation Recipes” — has become a surprise hit. But there are also success stories that fly fully in the face of the turmoil.

8) I heard over and over from young Greeks that they are painfully aware of repeating the cycle that most recently occurred in the late 1940s, when a great diaspora of young Greeks left the country for work. The crucial difference is that now well-educated young people — future doctors, teachers and engineers — are leaving, suggesting that what is taking place is the hollowing-out not only of an economy but also of a whole social system.

9) Stelios Zacharias, the winemaker, insisted that as hard as it is, the crisis takes on a different character when put in local perspective. “For one thing, there isn’t a housing crisis,” he said. Economists echo this point: you don’t see homelessness in Athens the way you do in other hard-hit cities. That is because even as they were pursuing careers in Athens as stockbrokers or investment bankers, people maintained their ties to their villages. Astoundingly, about 80 percent of Greeks own a home.

10) Family and community ties are certainly helping to hold Greece together thus far.

Concluding paragraph: Greece’s traditional infrastructure may not be the ultimate answer to its problems, given the global scale of things, but it may make difficult times less painful. The destination of my car trip with Evmorfidis was Volos, a vigorous port city in Thessaly and conduit for trade with Asia, where he had been asked to speak about the crisis to a group of business leaders. After the talk, as we walked out of the building, he was in the middle of telling me that what will save Greece is its still-vibrant sense of community when we saw a middle-aged woman coming down the steps. It was late, and we hadn’t eaten dinner. He asked the woman if she knew where we could get something to eat. “Come to my home, and I’ll cook for you,” she said. And so we did.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

First day, Last day, Today!

Here are some thoughts that came across my mind today. So thought i should share and hear from others about this...

Live as if today is the first day. With hope, with awe, with wonder, with curiosity, with love, with kindness, with innocence, no prejudices, no obligations, no limts. Always wanting to be and to do good. Do things that you want to see grow. Love, happiness, abundance. This is how we were when we were kids. That is the right way to live life to the fullest. Keep living with a positive mind.

Then why live as if today is the last day? It makes you rush to compensate. It gives out things that are missing in the world today. Compassion, responsibility, generosity. No relation whatsoever is free today from greed and hatred.

Get beyond!

Whether it is the first or the last, today is the seed in hand. Let it grow, blossom, fructify, embrace and shelter the lovely future for everybody.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Duty vs Vision?

Often, there are debates among people that think that this society has gone down in values and that all the youth should come together to protect it. And then there are thoughts about some of the organizations that do something in this direction. Many a time, people get carried away saying that this organization doesnt do much or that organization doesnt do much etc. It is easy for the organization itself to get carried away in trying to do many good things in the course of its life. It is here that the vision of the founding fathers that plays an important role and how well the successors can keep up to that vision that decides the sustenance of such great organizations.

Below is an article that i received today in an email forum called Uttishtatha.. and I thought it was worthwhile sharing it with many of you... Read on...

The devotee had said,"the whole country has been churned from top to bottom, should not we do anything? Will you consider that we have absolutely no relation with this movement? Don't you think that we too have a duty at this moment? Sir, don't you feel anything for this country? Can't we do something?

Swami Shivananda ( Mahapursuhji maharaj) sat quiet for some time after the devotee's talk and then in a grave tone said: "The questions you have been asking are all right. But there is a divine incarnation like Sri Ramakrishna, whose method of work, is beyound understanding of common person like us. How can we understand his action on the spiritual level? The work of incarnation is not restricted to a country or a society, it is for the whole mankind. Sri Ramakrishna was, after all an image of perfect purity. The best manifestation of purity is spiritual faith. In order to place this thought before the world, he brought with him a very powerful follower. Could not have Vivekananda understood that our aspiration could be fulfilled only by following the path of a political movement? And if he had thought in his mind, wouldn't he have shaken this entire country from top to bottom? Was not his feeling of patriotism very intense? The loud cry, which erupted from his heart for the crores of the poor and the oppressed in this country, in the hearts of how many more persons could we erupt the same intensity? Even then he did not choose the path of politicial movement. Had he felt that it was desirable in the end, then he would have certainly adopted it. We too, to the best of our ability, could do something like this, but our Master (Sri Ramakrishna) has not granted such permission to us. His incarnation was for the walefare of the whole world. Please keep your trust in this. In what words can i tell you what we feel for the people of our country? But Swamiji has put a restriction on our method of work. We can not cross it".

Friday, September 19, 2008

Out here own my own - Nikka Costa introduced by Frank Sinatra

Just saw this interesting on YouTube... "Out here on my own"..
Good one.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

One of my favourites..

Lyrics of Sri Venkatesa Stotram

1. Kamalakucha choochuka kunkumatho
Niyatharunitha thula neelathano
Kamalayatha lochana lokapathe
Vijayeebhava Venkata saila pathe

2. Sacha dhurmukha shanmukha panchamukha
Pramuka khila daivatha mouli mane
Saranagatha vathsala saranidhe
Paripalayamam vrisha saila pathe

3. Athivela thaya thava durvishahai
Ranuvela Kruthairaparada sathai
Paritham thvaritham vrisha saila pathe
Paraya krupaya paripahi Hare

4. Adhi venkata saila mudara mather
Janatha bimatha dhika danarathath
Paradeva thaya gathi than nigamai
Kamaladayithtan na param kalaye

5. Kalavenu rava vasa gopa vadhu
Sathakoti vrithath smara koti samath
Prathi valla vikabhimathath sukhadhath
Vasudeva suthanna paramkalaye

6. Abhi rama gunakara dasarathe
Jagadeka danurdhara dheeramathe
Raghunayaka Rama Ramesa vibho
Varadho bhava deva daya jaladhe

7. Avaneethanaya kamaneeyakaram
Rajaneechara charu mukhamburuham
Rajaneechara raja thamo mihiram
Mahaneeyamaham Raghuramamaye

8. Sumukham Suhrudam Sulabham sukhadam
Swanujam cha Sukhayamamogh Saram

Apahaya Raghudwaha manyamaham
Na kathnchana kanchana jathu bhaje

9. Vinaa Venkatesham nanatho nanatha
Sadaa Venkatesham smarami smarami
Hare Venkatesha Praseeda Praseeda
Priyam Venkatesha Prayachha Prayachha

10. Aham doorathasthe padamboja yugma
Pranamechaya gathya sevam karomi
Sakruthsevaya nithyasevapalam thvam
Prayachha prayachha prabho Venkatesha

11. Agnanina maya doshaana seshan vihithan Hare
Kshamasvathm kshamasvathvam Seshasailasikhamane

Last speech of Sri Raghavendra Swami

The day that Raghavendra Swami had chosen to enter Brindavan (Virodhikruth Samvatsara, Shravana Masa, krishna paksha, Dvitiya : 1671 A.D.) had come. Thousands of people had congregated there, hearing that Raghavendra Swami would enter Brindavan.

The crowd contained devotees as well as doubters. Some people had come just to make fun of what was going on. The devotees were filled with anxiety; they didn’t want their revered Guru to leave them. There were also people who were merely curious, just to see what would happen-although Sri Vadiraja Tirtha had entered the brindavan in the same manner, alive, in the year 1600 A.D, there were few who had witnessed that. Those who had only heard about it were greatly curious to see such a miracle with their own eyes.

Sri Raghavendra, as was his daily practice, got up before dawn meditating on Sri Hari and finished his bath during the early hours itself. After his japa and dhyana he conducted the morning discourse. His disciples were in deep sorrow at the thought that this was going to be their master’s last discourse. Their master was filled with an overwhelming desire to teach as much as possible and the disciples were anxious and eager to absorb everything. The subject matter was as usual Srimadacharya’s Bhashya and Sri Jayatirtha’s commentary for it.
That day’s discourse was the culmination of his life’s mission. For the thousands that had gathered there the realization that such a treasure-house of knowledge would leave them forever filled them with pain and agony. The discourse came to an end. After bathing once again, he started the puja of Sri Rama and other icons of the samsthan. After going through all the details of the puja he blessed the entire gathering with tirtha, prasad and phalamantrakshata. As the appointed time was nearing he went to the spot that was already chosen and sat in padmasan. He had his japa mala in his right hand and in front of him were all the moola granthas, sarva moola, tikas and tippanis on the vyasa peetha. For a while he was lost in contemplation; then Sri Raghavendra started his soul-stirring speech.

“Hereafter I will disappear from your sight. The Lord who sent me to you has Himself ordered me to return to Him today. I have completed His task. Everyone has to obey His orders - coming here and returning when He calls us back. You need not feel sad that I am leaving you. The moola granthas, sarva moola and their commentaries will be your guiding light. Never give up their study under a worthy master. The Lord has blessed us with this priceless life just to study them. The shastras have an answer for all our mundane problems. Follow the shastras and listen to the words of the enlightened. Put into practice as much as you can whatever you learn. The shastraic way of life is the royal road to peace, prosperity and happiness.

The search for knowledge is never easy. As the Upanishads say it is like walking on the razor’s edge. But for those who have strong faith and put in sustained effort and have the blessings of Sri Hari and Sri Madhvacharya, this is not difficult. Always keep away from people who merely perform miracles without following the shastras and yet call themselves God or guru. I have performed miracles, and so have great persons like Srimadacharya. These are based on yoga siddhi and the shastras. There is no fraud or trickery at all. These miracles were performed only to show the greatness of God and the wonderful powers that one can attain with His grace. Right knowledge (jnana) is greater than any miracle. Without this no real miracle can take place. Any miracle performed without this right knowledge is only witchcraft. No good will come to those who perform such miracles and also those who believe in them.

The Lord is full of auspicious qualities and absolutely faultless. There is no virtue that does not exist in Him. He is the Lord of Ramaa, Brahma and all other devathas at all times and in all ways. His form is beyond prakrithi (nature). His body is made up of jnana and ananda. He is omnipresent and omniscient. All the jivas are subservient to Him. Mahalaksmi who is ever liberated is His consort. All jivas (souls) are not equal. There is gradation amongst them and they are of three types. Whatever state they attain finally is in keeping with their intrinsic nature. The sattvik souls attain moksha which is a state of eternal bliss. The tamasic souls attain eternal hell where there is all pervading darkness. This is a state of eternal sorrow. The rajasic souls keep rotating in samsara always, experiencing both happiness and sorrow. The shastras declare such a three fold classification and gradation of souls. It can be seen everywhere in this world. There are several schools of philosophy which go against these tenets and declare that there is no God, no dharma, this world is false; there is nothing but void; the jivas and Brahma are the same; there is no three fold classification or gradation, all the jivas are equal to Brahma, the Vedas are not true, Brahman is nirguna (attribute less), nirakara (formless). None of these philosophies are correct. The world that we see is real; this world has a master; he is neither nirguna nornirakara. The shastras declare Him to be nirguna and nirakara because He is devoid of the three qualities of sattva, rajas, and tamas (unlike us). For the suffering soul. His grace is the only means to attain salvation which is eternal bliss. Those who forsake Him will never be truly happy.

Without right living, right thinking will never come. Right living is performing one’s ordained duties according to one’s station in life without hankering after the fruits of the actions and on the other hand offeringall one’s activities to the Lord. This is real sadachara (right living). This is real karma yoga. Another facet of right living is performing right rituals and observing fasts. Fasting on ekadashi and krishnashtami is compulsory for everyone. Both men and women belonging to all walks of life have to observe this. Those who give up this will always have the doors of the Lord’s home closed. This is what the shastras declare. Observance of chaturmasya vrata is another compulsory mode of worship. Along with this, vishnupanchaka and other vaishnava vratas can be performed according to one’s capacity. The main goal of all such vratas is to earn His grace and love.

One should always be careful never to harm or hurt another. Philosophical thought is very necessary for the soul’s growth. Without philosophical thought we can not arrive at the right conclusions. But let there be no personal enmity. Social work done for the good of worthy people should also be considered as the Lord’s worship. In short our life itself is a worship.Every action is a puja. This life is precious. Every second of our life is precious. Not even a second that has gone will come back. Listening to the right shastras and always remembering Him is the highest duty. Without this life becomes meaningless. Have devotion to the Lord. This devotion should never be blind faith. Accepting the Lord’s supremacy wholeheartedly is true devotion. Blind faith is not devotion. It is only stupidity. We should have devotion, not only for the Lord, but also for all other deities and preceptors in keeping with their status. In short having devotion to those above us, goodwill amongst those who are our equals and having affection for those who are below us are the excellent values of life. Anybody who approaches you should not go heavy at heart or empty handed. Spirituality can never exist without social grace. And social life without spirituality is no life at all. Spirituality never denies any virtue. But always remember that the Lord is the home of all values. The world does not exist for our sole pleasure and enjoyment. The thought that we are here for the good of the world is real spirituality. While incorporating right thinking and right values in our life we should also make it a habit to give up wrong values and wrong thinking. If we do not fight against them it amounts to approving them. But such disapproval should never turn to cruelty. It should be within the limits of justice. The outstanding feature of this should be love for truth and not personal hatred.

This is our philosophy. This is Srimadacharya’a philosophy. This is the philosophy all the shastras proclaim. This is the philosophy that kings and sages like Janaka and Sanaka believed and followed. The Lord’s devotees like Dhruva and Prahlada incorporated this philosophy in their lives. Those who believe and live by this philosophy will never come to any harm is the assurance of the Lord.Being God’s devotees you should honour and respect His devotees. Help as much as you can those who seek your aid. But always remember your duties. Offer all your actions to the Lord and never hanker after temporal gains. All actions performed with a selfish motive is like milk turned sour. There can be no higher motive than the motive to please God and the motive of earning jnana (right knowledge). But giving up all actions and following unworthy methods is like taking poison which will destroy us completely. It was Srimadacharya who preached this wonderful philosophy. The same Vayu who manifested as Hanumantha to serve Lord Sri Rama and as Bhimasena to serve Lord Sri Krishna also manifested as Srimadacharya and preached this philosophy. This was his service to Lord Sri Vedavyasa. His life, like his works was philosophy itself.

Now I take leave of you. Though I will not be with you in person my presence will be in my works and in my brindavan. You can serve me best by propagating, studying, preserving and listening to my works. My blessings to you.”

The message of the master gave new light to all the people gathered there. He had revealed to them the secret of his philosophy which he believed in, the philosophy which he preached and the philosophy by which he lived all his life. But the pain of separation made them forget the happiness that his message gave them. As they were hearing his sermon, they realized that he was a true jnani, a yogi, a scholar and a radiant monk possessing a soft and compassionate heart. Fear of displeasing him was the only reason why they held back their tears.

After this Sri Raghavendra began reciting the pranava mantra. In a very short time he was lost in meditation. He reached the highest point in mediation. His face was serene. He was shining with a rare brilliance. All the learned people who had gathered there were reminded of the sloka from the Bhagavad Gita :

omityekaksharaM brahma vyaaharan.h maamanusmaran.h
yaha prayaathi tyajan.h dehaM sa yaathi paramaaM gathim.h

At one stage the japamala in the master’s hand became still. Venkanna and other disciples who understood this sign started arranging the slabs around him. They arranged the slabs up to his head and then, as per his earlier instructions, they placed a copper box containing 1200 Lakshminarayana saligramas that had been specially brought from Gandaki river. Then they placed the covering slab over it and filled it with earth. They poured twelve thousand varahas (abhisheka) over the brindavan that they had built.

Appanacharya was very close to Raghavendra Swami. At the time that Raghavendra Swami entered Brindavan, he was on the other side of the river Tungabhadra. Appanacharya wanted to be with his revered guru, but the river was flooding. He jumped into the Tungabhadra, singing Sri Poornabhodha stotra, realizing that if Raghavendra Swami could lead him across the ocean of samsara, a mere river could not hold him back. And he did cross the river safely, only to see that Raghavendra Swami had already entered Brindavan. Appanacharya was in such a profound state of grief, that he could not finish the stotra he had started to compose-it was missing 7 aksharas. These final 7 aksharas came from inside the Brindavan. Not only did this show that Appanacharya’s Sri Poornabhodha had Raghavendra Swami’s approval, but it also showed that Raghavendra Swami was still with them. This was the first miracle he showed after entering Brindavan, and even today miracles happen to people who go to Mantralaya Brindavan to seek his blessings.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Anna daataa sukhee bhava!

What a statement... how profound is the experience when we give food to someone that is yearning for it... starving the whole day... imagine it being a kid... starving the whole day and working for food in the same way as an adult does... WHY SHOULD IT HAPPEN...

Some good souls have started doing something good about this. They are the Akshayapatra Foundation. I happened to stumble upon it when someone from the foundation sent an email to a group that I was a member too... I feel good to have come across this and shared it with some friends. The footer which is suggested in their website caught my attention very well.. Here it is...

If you are thinking a year ahead, sow seed.
If you are thinking ten years ahead, plant a tree.
If you are thinking one hundred years ahead, educate the people.
- Anonymous

Do visit their website to know more...

Monday, August 25, 2008


What should we ask God ?
I was told by someone that there is a doctor in a hospital who is doing a lot of Knee Replacement surgeries. Around 800 or so in a year to give a picture of the magnitude. You might think what is wrong with it, it must be good infact. But the point of contention lies with the fact that those who are undergoing treatment under him are returning back with problems within 2 years. The normal norm it seems is that it should not be a problem for about 10 years or so. By now, you must be thinking what has it got to do with GOD and what is this from a person who is not a doctor either. Therein lies the point. I was struck with this question when I heard this and asked the person the questions that I am going to put forward to you too. What do you ask GOD for in all your prayers? What should we ask GOD for in all our prayers? If a person is in great need of money asks the GOD for more money is that right? If a business man wants more money, should he ask GOD for more business and thereby earn more money? It so happened that I got the next two questions which I asked the person. Please put your thoughts on this.
1) What should doctors ask GOD?
2) What should a caretaker in a burial ground ask GOD for?

They are also family people, have the same needs and wants as any others. Just that these are easy to highlight the importance of how what we ask GOD should be.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Getting AdSense

Google now has entered my life more than just as a mode of free communication! I dont know if I would be called greedy or not, but I thought I will give a serious try to see how the google AdSense works. I have applied for it today. May be in the next several days I should be getting some details from Google.Lets see where it lands...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Get mobile!

Life is cool… as long as you get anything, anywhere!

Air, Water, internet!...




Tuesday, June 05, 2007