Rain havoc in Western Ghats… Scientific and unscientific or non-scientific reasoning….

This article is purely based on my perception and understanding of the Nature and Indian culture.

Huyo.. huyo.. maleraya huvina totake neerilla (pour, pour rain king there is no water for the flower garden..) a song we all sang and played in the rain while growing up. Now the situation in Kerala and Karnataka is such that one has to sing nillo.. nillo.. maleraya kudiyoke neerilla (stop, stop rain king there is no water to drink). Sadly after four years of draught, rain god has unleashed his fury with a bang like the minor version of big-bang. Ativrushti and anavrushti (too much or too little falling from heaven), both are purely under the control of nature and no matter what one cannot control it.

Both Kerala (nick named God’s own country) and Karnataka are part of Western Ghats. The Western Ghats or Sahyadri (benevolent) Mountain range along the Western side of India, which was formed more 150 million years ago during Gondwana split-up and is older than the mighty Himalayas. The range starts near the Gujarat and Maharashtra border and runs approximately 1,600 KMS through Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Kerala till Kanyakumari.

Irrigated by healthy monsoons, Western Ghats was a dense tropical forest and the canopy was always wet. These ancient well balanced hills form a catchment area for complex riverine drainage system and were filled with tall remarkable trees, giant bamboo clusters, medicinal plants, flora and fauna. The area had over 5,000 species of flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species and 179 amphibian species recorded. The UNESCO world heritage site is one of the eight hotspots of biological diversity in the world.

But nothing has stopped man from meddling in Mother Nature’s affair. Due to ignorance and greed, destruction and death on the Western Ghats, which Mother Nature nursed and nurtured so very carefully over thousands of years has been going on over a period of time. But now it is slipped into fast forward motion which I have witnessed in my life time. Flora and fauna is pushed into extinction faster than the food is being digested in the stomach! Even the insects including the major pollinator the honey bee population is practically wiped out. Sight of sands on the river banks has become a luxurious sight! Karnataka and Kerala are strange bed mates and are poles apart in ideology but vested interests are common. After all they are human.. For some personal gains of few people, it’s been massacred and continued to do so.

In 1947, the onslaught of endless invaders from Middle East to Mongolia who brought their looting, killing and messing up the religious beliefs finally ended. Unfortunately seven decades of independence we are still held hostage by few powerful ruthless politicians and dynasties. Regrettably there are few individuals, in the name of religion and politics doesn’t lag behind too. Innocent people become victims of party wars and religious propaganda.

Aiding and abating is equally sinful as committing a crime. Like how both the states seems to be competing on who gets more rain, they competed in victimizing the people too. When politicians makes Kodagu a battle ground for votes, men armed with whatever they can afford comes to do dadagiri from Kerala too…. For example when an innocent man was hunted down and killed in broad day light in front of thousands of people within the hospital premises, even before his body was cooled down completely the verdict on killing was passed sitting in a faraway place, perhaps the fasted verdict on record. This is the fate of our beloved country… murder, rape, corruption has reached almost to the point of no return. At times, even a demon king shines dim in front of some deeds.

Now the scientific reason… over the years Mother Nature has been used, misused and abused by man, continuing to do so. Even when I was growing up the situation was not that bad. Even the Kasturirangan committee report sought to balance the development and environment protection of Western Ghats never saw the day light.

Unfortunately Man has short memory and he never learns from history. There is a limit to the tolerance of the most tolerant, the beloved Mother Nature. Unless the children/children are reformed from time to time, they will surely go wayward. How much of an imbalance is being created in recent years can be compared with the picture of Kodagu and its forest using the following report as benchmark even with habitation after establishing Madikeri.

When Tippu Sultan came to Kodagu in summer, he was also accompanied by officers and Munshi, who were shocked to experience the climatic conditions, forest, cold and rains in Kodagu. The weather was such that Tipu Sultan’s soldiers imprisoned themselves inside the fort to keep warm. A historian who accompanied him writes about Kodagu in his words. Since they were in a new place and new atmosphere, he could give a better picture than a local who was bred there.

What can I say about the amazingly wild land? Just uttering or spelling the words, the pen shivers. The bamboo bushes like the Abyssinian sheep fur, curled and impossible to penetrate. Both the large paths (cart-ways) and small paths (footways) are like passing through the stars in the sky. This country’s hills and valleys are impossible to pass through. On the taggu bhoomi (flat land), paddy crops are as tall as the chest level. Sun, even though hotter-than-hot thyself always covers himself with clouds being afraid of the cold in Kodagu, hurries along and departs early from here. Every night the fast traveling moon seeks cover under the blue sky. If summer is like this, then God only have to save us in rainy season.

The rainy season, for six months in all of this country it rains so much that the entire land is filled with water in such a way like a sad person’s eyes filled with water all the time. From evening till after the sun rise, the valley is filled with heavy mist. Lots of tall, well built, active young men, losing their body heat with bone biting cold, sleeps like an arched bow pulling their body close to their chest.  For six months, farmers cover with thick cloth or old blanket from head to toe and work nine to ten hours. During this season, the leeches from the trees and branches suck enough blood from them and their cattle before letting them go. While describing the condition of Kodagu, the hand that holds the pen is frozen like the hand dipped in the frozen icy sea. When the weather is being explained, the tongue safe within the lips feels like the ice berg with fear and astonishment!

Let us look at it in the non-scientific angle. Kerala is said to be created by the axe carrying warrior sage Parsurama, the Sixth Avatara of Lord Vishnu. He is supposed have thrown his axe and the sea receded covering the distance it covered. No wonder there are thousands of temples for the size of Kerala. In short the legend goes that:

His birth claimed to be to quell the oppression of the then ruling Kshatriyas. When he finished the blood filled five lakes! Burdened by the sins of killing, he approached an assembly of learned men to find a way for penitence. He was advised that, to save his soul from damnation, he must hand over the war gains to noble and pious people and meditate at Gokaranam. Doing so in Gokaranam, Varuna, the god of ocean/rain and Bhudevi, Goddess of Earth blessed him.

Once free of his sins, from Gokaranam he walked upto Kanyakumari and threw his axe northward across the ocean. The place where the axe landed is Kerala. According to the old measures it was 160 Katam. Earlier Kerala was known as Parasurama Kshetram or in Sanskrit Aitareya Aranyaka. Later when King Keralian Thamboran ruled it got its name Kerala. There are some people who also say, when desert dwelling Arabs landed on the shores of Kerala they were mesmerized by the beauty and said Kair-alla (gift of God) and hence the name.

Then there is the world famous harvest festival Onam, in the honour of benevolent Asura (demon) utopian King Mahabali, the great grandson of Hiranyakshipu, the grandson of Prahlada and son of Virochana who was wise, judicious and extremely generous. But that legend is from Lord Vishnu’s Vamana (dwarf) avatara. However, both the legends are related to the arrival of Lord Vishnu.

Santana dharma, the oldest philosophical school of thoughts has given us not just a book but a library to learn. It teaches us to respect Mother Nature and live in harmony with every living being in the universe.

Indian culture believes that every element in the universe created by the creator has sagacity. That’s why the philosophy says God in me is God everywhere. God is not an individual entity sitting in a far off place probably known as heaven but we are all inside him, he is part of us. Mother Nature is the manifested form of the God. Like a fish in the ocean we dwell within him in his unmanifested form. The very spark of life which makes us alive, the very breath we take which when stops we die, is the very presence God. (Sorry these explanations come from my limited knowledge and I cannot explain more).

Based on that Indian culture says water carries memory. Now scientists say that under certain circumstances water can retain a memory of solute particles after arbitrarily large dilution. Water memory is the purported ability of water to retain a memory of substance previously dissolved in it even after an arbitrary number of serial dilutions. So if we think in that term then is the water claiming its property which was taken forcibly?

Scientists gave up searching for the God particles even though they claimed finding it and spent billions and billions of something to be scraped! So is there a force beyond our understanding capacity? What our forefathers found and tried to explain has some essence in it? Is there a secret buried or hidden in Western Ghats which cannot be disturbed? Is it time to learn to respect the privacy of Mother Nature?

Then there is Naga, the serpent people who is supposed to live underground. There is no logical explanation as no one has seen them in the living memory but it appears in Indian scriptures. A remnant of it still lives in Indian culture as Naga Panchami (it was on August 15th). While building the new airport, yet to be commissioned, the once sacred grove of serpents was claimed by man forcing them to seek shelters in people’s home. Deeming homeless over night after thousands of years, Mother Nature wants people to taste the same?

In the home front, whatever is happening in Vidhanasoudha, the New Chief is not sleeping during the session but has been knocking on the doors of every Gods within reach! In 80 days of power ONLY 42 temples are visited.. so more begging in front of God than….. Its noteworthy that sadly the movement of Indian politicians disrupts the normal life as if a green corridor is made for a organ carriage, including in holy places.

Scientific or unscientific of nonscientific, it’s a wakeup call for all the citizens of Mother India, to wake up and live in harmony with all the living beings, with utmost priority to the welfare of the nation and fellow living beings. To use the God given commonsense instead of being influenced by propaganda of imaginary differences, outside forces, social media, etc. Come out of the Religious intolerance in the name of unseen God, no one can ever show God to anyone or give ticket to heaven. If they could do it then what are they still doing here provoking others to act bad to fulfill their own personal ego than going to their favourite destination? All-pervading God is an not object to see or hold, no one can see the God one can only feel or sense the presence of God. Unless this is done we will be dragging the rock on our own feet.

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Ghee & the Modern Man

 

Known as Ghrit or ghrta in Sanskrit, ghee is considered is a staple in Indian cooking and has been a host of good health for thousands of years. I love both butter & ghee, & growing up have eaten loads of it. After she was done churning, my mother kept the butter floating in a dish of water on the dining table & every time we passed by a portion of it went into mouth!! Both Butter & Ghee are usually solid in cooler conditions & melts as it warms. The smooth texture, melting in the mouth gives that classy feeling like the melting chocolate. Butter, Sri Krishna’s favourite dish, has a limited shelf life but a simple process turns the same butter into ghee (Clarified butter, we call it “Nei” & Kannada “tuppa”). Ghee’s own shelf life is almost one hundred years if stored properly!!! That’s makes it survive longer than us.

Boiling the butter on low fire yields the ghee. My mother added few betel leaves for flavor towards the end. The butterfat is bottled after cooling, leaving the proteins (casein, way & other milk solids such as lactose, etc.) collected at the bottom. We kids waited for the chance to collect the bottom solids & ate with banana or simply dhal which is prepared in the same vessel and smelt so good.. became so tasty… my mouth is watering. We fought for the lion share of the betel leaves cooked crisp.

Food for the Mind & Spirit

Unfortunately, modern science came up with the idea that ghee is bad, corrupting every mind & until recently not realizing the value of it. So ghee became a No… No in the modern meals…. In a way they might be right too because their study came from the cows eating all sorts of manmade concoction including plastic & ground bones (powder) of other dead animals. On the other hand, in Aryurveda, our Rishis spoke of the cows which ate grass straight from Mother Nature’s lap. I think that when the cows eat the fresh grass roaming freely in the meadows, the grass smells so good – like how the mowing brings out the unusual smell, enhancing good feeling in ourselves – making the cow happy & calm. That pleasantness (of the mind – which makes us believe either we are happy or sad) is then radiated into the entire body of the cow like the sweet fragrance, including the udder (perhaps mainly udder because cow produces milk for its baby, the calf not for us the thieves).

Everyone knows that Body & Mind of the beings works in unison when the conditions are pleasant, communicating through chemical signals creating harmony with each other. Even though we cannot see, we can experience it! Also it is noteworthy that when we are happy, small little problems just does not get any attention from us which shows that positive thinking & healthy mind condition could also reduce negativity in us. The milk in the udder comes to man, then it is converted into many different forms such as curd, buttermilk, butter, cheese, etc., etc.

Now the scientists are turning around & says its goooodddd…. Mr. Ghee is trust worthy… after Mr. Ghee, Mr. Coconut also got a praise… Lol… wonder whether Indians & Ayurveda really need certificate from the Modern Science & their chameleonic theories.

Mrs. Cows graze mainly on grass & other greens, fruits & vegetables or rice, etc. So all the vitamins & medicinal properties of the food consumed is absorbed & transported to milk. So we get the nourishment like taking a supplement in modern terms!! It’s an antioxidant & has antiviral properties too. It contains Omega 3 (so called good cholesterol) & 6, which are boosters for brain & nervous system for smooth functioning. Let’s see some of the qualifications of Mr. GHEE.

In Ayurveda it is considered as a Satvic food & like all the Satvic foods, it promotes positivity, growth & expansion of the consciousness. Even though it is a diary product, coming from another body, like mother’s milk it is accepted by everyone including pure vegetarian Brahmins. That’s one of the main reason Cow is respected & regarded highly in India. Sadly, people think it is related to religion & kill them… losing long term benefits for less than an hour’s craving…

Ghee has a high smoking point (about 250 Degree C) so it will not break down into so called free radicals like other oils. It is rich in oil soluble Vitamin A & E, K2 & CLA as well as medium chain fatty acids, which are absorbed directly by the liver like carbs & burned as energy, which does not result in fat storage. It is rich in butyric acid (so named because it was first discovered in butter & it increases its concentration in ghee), which is considered beneficial to the digestive & immune systems in many ways.

It protects the body, aids digestion & strengthens immune system. In Ayurveda, ghee is used as a carrier for the nutrients in herbs & to lubricate the intestinal tract & all the tissues inside the body. Bowl movement & Digestion related problem, is a big problem for many people in the modern world. Our body is designed to digest. However, many suffer from digestive stress & it is said that an estimated one in four Americans suffers from gastrointestinal (GI) track & digestive maladies! (no study is done in India…)

Ghee preventing onset of body ache, joint pain, alzimers, cancer, etc., etc. So don’t feel bad if you want to consume gheeeeee….. However, people suffering from heart ailments & diabetics should be little careful & if doctor says no then please don’t eat it!!

Finally, the ghee enhances the taste & flavor of the food. Cook dhal, chicken or biryani with ghee & see how great it tastes & smells!! My mother used to narrate this fable: Kai guna Mavayya or nei guna Mavayya (is it merit of the cook’s hand or the ghee). A wife had been cooking for her husband all her married life. He never really appreciated or perhaps did not show openly. Time passed, her son grew up to be nice young man & got married, & the daughter-in-law, let’s call her Asha came home. Once wife was away for few days & the Asha cooked the food. The food was so tasty… Mava (father-in-law) could not believe his tongue. When his wife returned, all that she heard was that how good was Asha’s food… all her dishes. Suddenly/sadly the old man felt wife’s cooking was not good, nothing in front of Asha!! Poor Mavi (mother-in-law), a good cook herself could not understand how come her food is not tasty to her husband any more. So one day she hid herself & watched Asha cooking everything with ghee. So next day the smart lady hid the ghee container. Asha could not find the ghee & unable to ask anyone, finished cooking with oil. After tasting Mava said why Asha did not cook today.. the food is not tasty…. Wife was waiting for this & told her husband to ask Asha “Kai guna or nei guna”? Asha shyly answered “Nei guna Mavayya”, ending Mava’s nagging of his wife for good!

Story of King Ravana from Ramayana – Part 2

Brahma’s promises:

Both Ravana & his brother Kumbhakarana, performed severe penance for thousands of years, seeking power & immortality from Lord Brahma. But Brahma (incidentally their great grandfather) declined to grant the immortality saying only BrahmaN is immortal & whoever is born, has to die & I cannot change that law of nature, for anyone! However, as requested by Ravana, in lieu he gave the alternate boon that no Devas/Devis-heavenly beings-ganas-yakshas-rakshas-snakes-all wild animals cannot kill him & his life would be concentrated at his naabhi (navel) aided by the nectar of Immortality. Also obtained some divine magical weapons too & Brahma exited in a hurry… before the list could go any further!! On the other hand, Kumbakarna made the spelling mistake while asking for boon  as the Devas fearing for their survival, with the help of Godess Sarasvathi (Godess of learning), managed to trick him into saying “Nidrasana instead of Indrasana” (throne of sleep instead of Indra’s throne) ending up sleeping all his life instead of ruling as king of heaven!!

Armed with loads of boons (now a day’s wealth/power plays the role of boon at least in India), Ravana started flexing his muscles in all directions & in all the 3-worlds as he was almost invincible & there was absolutely nothing or no one could stop him. Ravana failed to add humans as he never thought that any human would be capable of killing him. On the tenth day of the battle, Vibhishana advised Sri Rama to strike the arrow on his naval to kill him. Armed with the boon he managed to drive out Kubera & usurped the kingdom of Lanka along with it the prized Pushpaka-vimana too. The celestial architect,  Vishwakarma is supposed to have redesigned the beautiful, idyllic city & built the palace in gold.

The catch 22 weapons: Yama

Ravana is also known as the conqueror of Yama, the Lord of death.. Boons could back fire too… when standing in front of the bhaktas (Devotees), sometimes the Devas & Devis loses their balance & like how a parent does not know how to say no to their offspring, they too involuntarily yield to the whims of their devotees… {For some reason the following episode reminds me of the hit & run cases of Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai, etc., etc., rich parents pampering their off springs with expensive cars & the thrill seeking youngster ending up killing someone with speed}. Fearing the fearless Ravana & his atrocities, Lord Indra, the king of heaven asked Sage Narada to find a solution to help him safeguard his crown (olden day UN!… may be better still).

As usual Narada wanted to do something & one day he went to Ravana & suggested that he pick-up a fight with Yama, & defeats him which would make him rather famous. Ravana was not very fond of Narada but the suggestion sounded very lucrative, if he could defect Yama, the Lord of Death then everyone would fear him more.

Yama aka Dharma Raja (King of righteousness) was protector of the Law, judge of the “ultimate court” who decides the path (naraka-swarga or hell-heaven) to each & every soul. The only certainty in a living being is the death. Hence everyone has to meet him one day or the other.

The reason Narada wanted Ravana & Yama to fight was that Lord Brahma had granted Yama an infallible weapon called Kala Danda (time stick). The weapon once fired would kill anybody before it… no matter what boons he had to protect himself. So if at all there is a chance of killing the invincible Ravana it would be through Kala Danda!! {Among all kinds of killers, time is the ultimate because it kills everything Bhagavad Gita 10.33 }.

After sowing the seed of greed in Ravana, Narada quickly went to Yama. As Narada was conveying the unexpected message to a shocked Yama, Ravana already reached there with his army. The army started the fight, creating loss in Yama’s army. Then Ravana & Yama fought for 7-days & night & finally Yama decided to use his Kala-danda. Meantime Brahma came running there… & requested Yama not to use his ultimate weapon. Then Narada understood the situation… what a fix… If Yama fired the weapon, only two things could happen – either Ravana could die or he could survive. If Ravana died, Lord Brahma’s boon to Ravana that he could not be destroyed by any Deva, would become false! (Like modern day politicians!) If Ravana survived, his boon to Yama’s Kala-danda as the ultimate weapon of destruction, would become false! Sage Narada shook his head wondering why his father made such rash promises & expected others to keep it up for him. Meantime, Brahma created an illusion & made everything look like a dream… while Yama disappeared, Ravana went home happily for winning the war!!

The trigger of the Ramayana:

Ravana abducted Sita disguised himself as a mendicant seeking alms while his uncle Maricha guised as golden deer lead Rama & Lakshma away from her. Abduction became the cause of his death & liberation from his second life on earth. The reason for the abduction is not clear as only he could answer – if it was his lust or was he in love with Sita or his humiliation that he could not win her hand at Swayamvara? Or was it the insult to his favourite sister by the Rama & his brother Lakshmana (blinded by brotherly love & family honour)? Or simply he wanted to get killed & go back to his gate-keep’s post as soon as possible. Or perhaps it’s the culmination of everything? Ironically even to this day humans react in most of the situation mentioned yeh?

Ravana is portrayed as a womanizer, & it is his obsession of women which brought him a curse resulting in his death. A beautiful Sage-woman Vedavati was performing penance with the intention of winning Lord Vishnu for a husband. When Ravana saw her at her hermitage in the jungle was enchanted by her pious beauty. When she rejected his advances, Ravana proceeded to forcibly take her. Vedavati who was in love with Lord Vishnu could not tolerate it, she created a pyre & let herself be consumed by the fire. However before dying she prophesied that she would return to the mortal world as the cause of his death {as his own daughter – many say that Sita is in fact was his daughter & thus his lusting after his own daughter is one of the reasons for his downfall}. Vedavati is said to be re-born as Sita, thus becoming Lord Vishnu’s (as Rama) wife, & became the cause of mighty Ravana’s conquest & death.

It was puzzling to me as why he never forced himself on Sita & waited for her to consent before he married or force himself on her, which does not fit into the bill of womanizing! But there is also a legend which says: After seeing the beautiful Apsara (celestial dancing girl) Rambha, Ravana tried to molest her who was pleading him to let her go. Incidentally Ramba was betrothed to Kubera’s son Nalakuvara. Ravana was enamoured of her, & her plea of his would be daughter-in-law did not deter him. Nalakuvara then cursed that Ravana’s heads to fall off, if ever he forced himself on any woman. This curse is said to have kept Sita chaste, while she was his captive for nearly a year.

Ravana’s Shiva devotion:

Like all the sons, Ravana was very fond of his mother Kaikesi. One day when he went to meet her, she was at the sea shore worshiping a Shiva Linga made out sand. As a undisputed, mighty & wealthy king, he was sad to see his mother with the Sand Linga & promised her that he would get a very special Linga for her worship from Lord Shiva himself. So, he set out immediately towards Kailasa & tried to go straight to see Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva’s Vahana (vehicle) cum Gate keeper Nandi, blocked his way & refused to let him enter (history repeats in another form!) Already reached the status of invincible, Ravana did not like it & an argument broke out. In the end, angry Ravana tried to dislodge Mount Kailash on which Lord Shiva was meditating. Knowing Ravana’s arrogance, Lord Shiva pressed the mountain with his toe crushing Ravana’s forearms, which made Ravana to let out blood-curling screams in agony, hence to be known as Ravana (one who screams). Again here the process of lesson on humility continues. Stuck under the mountain, Ravana decided to appease Shiva & calm down his anger, pulled out his own nerves with his bare hands, wound them around his toes & used them as strings to play music. He used his own body as a Veena & sung praises of the Lord. In the bargain Ravana became one of the greatest devotees of Lord Shiva, even offering one of his heads & composed the Shiva Tandava Stotram. (A statue of Ravna at Koneswaram temple, Sri Lanka depicts this). Lord Shiva eventually relented &, pleased with his devotion, gave him the Atma Linga (the one found at Gokarna, Karnataka) to be taken to his mother. However, he was deprived of his hard work, through the plots of Devas, once again fearing for their status & the power Ravana would eventually obtain (this time with the help of Lord Ganesha, son of Lord Shiva). Ravna also acquired knowledge of magic & expertise in usage of divine weapons, Chandrahas, a divine sword (with a note of warning that if it were to be used unjustly, it would return as the three-eyed one & destroy him). Ravana has many other names, including Dashaanana, Dashamukha, Ravula, Lankeshwar, Ravaneshwaran, Dasis Ravana, Dasis Sakvithi Maha Ravana, etc., etc.

If Ravana is considered a villain in India, in Sri Lanka he is considered a hero, the Greatest Emperor in Asia. Evidence of His lost Palace & many other sites are found along with artifacts including his mace & even the Ashoka Vana/Vatika where Sita was kept is also exists… some say that the Fortress at Sigiriya Rock (I had the privilege of climbing to the top in 2015) in Matale district near Dambulla belongs to Ravana. Even though it’s in ruins, it’s clearly visible that such a fete is humanly impossible!! Evidences were also found in India, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, etc. whether people believe or not the legend lives on.. bring different perceptions. In the end, all happened for Jaya/Vijaya to come out clean & to teach us a lesson. So the cause & effects are always one behind the other.

Note: The third birth: The third & final was towards the end of the Dwapara Yuga as Shishupala & Dantavakra (an ally of Sri Krishna’s enemy Jarasandha) to be slayed by Lord Krishna along with Balarama (Mahabharata). After which they went back to Vaikuntha. If you are wondering who was guarding the Vaikuntha during their absence?  Well it was me of course!!}

To read more about Ravana, and my unique analogies to modern history, check out my 3rd and final article.

Bloomington Diary – Part 5 – Funeral Chapel

The very first day I started walking I saw the pretty Funeral Chapel. I don’t really remember seeing one in any of the places I visited in North America. It’s a charming little chapel with plenty of deep yellow Lilium flowers, sitting right at the T-junction of 3rd Street & South Pete Ellis Drive, facing MacDonald & KFC. Besides the two restaurants there are many other eateries. I have no idea if the restaurants came first or the chapel first… just kidding.

It stood there as if to remind the general public to drive carefully & eat wisely. I was thinking it’s a cute little place to say final good bye if the soul is still hovering around. However I never saw any vehicle there or in their parking lot. So either it’s not functional or the death rate less because of the signal the chapel sends to general public. We both ourselves walked 8 to 10 kilometers daily in some way or the other. Perhaps God almighty gave them long life because of the lower crime rate… I remembered the sunglasses on the grass in the parking lot as well as the mobile kept leaning the tree.

It was very different from the one I saw at Indianapolis which was next to a cemetery & seemed never ending. I have no idea if the cemetery is really big or I imagined it. My husband was busy concentrating on my daughter’s driving, somewhat like back seat driving & my daughter was nervous between GPS direction & father’s watchful eye & me in my own world!!

I have seen funeral chapels in movies & TV shows & someone had posted a video showcasing some kind of figures appearing in the chapel as if they have come to watch the mass. People sometimes create either a scary or nice thing attached to death or ghost. It’s a different thing to understand. I remembered my childhood where we used to roam around the grave yard collecting some berries or fruits but in the night would refuse to sleep near the window or go to bathroom with our escort. Strangely in young mind always the night is attached to ghost. Now I have grown out of the fear after realizing birth & death are the two faces of the same coin & we have to die if we like it or not & that it’s all predestined.

Life is simple for us to understand & it’s unfolding right in front of our eyes. We die thousands of times in our lifetimes!! Wondering what I am talking about? Every day when are asleep we are as good as dead, although we are still breathing & have utility repair work going on. We are alive but not aware of what is happening around us. The sense shops are closed for the day with the shutter down. That’s what the scriptures say: When you sleep you go to your seat of origin, from where you come from- the God almighty. That’s why the sleep always refreshes you & energies you & no matter what, no one wants to be deprived of sleep. Likewise death is just change of garb from one worn-out body to another. Yet everyone is afraid of death & if only we had control over death… LoL. Someone had sent me this interesting forward:

 

One day Yama Raja (Lord of death in Hinduism) came to a man & said: Hey today is your last day!

Man: But I am not ready & so many things are pending, no way I could go with you.

Yama Raja said: Well today your name is the first on my list…

Man: Okay, then why don’t you take a seat & we will take a COFFEE before we go?

Yama Raja said: Alright your last wish I can’t say no & also coffee.. the aroma is tantalizing…

Man gave Yama Raja COFFEE with sleeping pill in it.

Yama Raja finished COFFEE & fell into a deep sleeeeep/slumber

Happily Man….. took the list & removed his name from top of the list & put at the bottom of the list.

 

When Yama Raja woke up he said to the Man: Because you have been so nice to me, now I will start my job from the BOTTOM of the list… did I bring a smile to your lips?

 

Practically every other day we walked past the chapel & I was curious to go inside but I was not sure if I could go inside just like that out of curiosity & also some time there a is belief that one will be jinxed if they are thinking of such places..

Every time my husband dragged me… let us see some other time but that some other time never came… “You always make trouble for me… someone is definitely going to send you to Sherif’s office!!”

Why do we blink… a fascinating & beautiful story from Hindu Mythology

Have you ever wondered why we blink our eyes… like the beating of the heart.. it goes from birth to death.. unabated… something we take for granted as our birth right & yet we would never wish to lose it?

What would the world be like if we cannot see… the colours around us – the flowers, plants, birds, butterflies, fruits, etc., etc. Eyes are one of the most important organs gifted to us by our Creator. That’s why when the danger approaches the first thing we do is try to protect our eyes. Along with that, we are also blessed with a natural protection mechanism. Everyone blinks their eyes, unless they are paralyzed or suffer from some kind of disorder, till they bid final good bye to this worldly life. This process repeats itself without our knowledge unless we are sleeping. Blinking is the mechanism that protects the eye from external debris & spreads tears over the cornea. With every blink the eyelid spreads moisture over the cornea. There is a beautiful story about the blinking of the eyes (in every 0.2112 seconds) mentioned in Vishnupurana. A story of Love, Duty, Devotion & Commitment which seems to have almost slipped from the modern humanly diet!!

Ancient King Nimi was the son of Mithila King Ikshwaku & the grandson of Manu*, born in Janakpur (now part of Nepal). Nimi was a pronounced king with all the noble virtues & faultless ruling. Living in a utopia like kingdom, the subjects of his Videha Kingdom (aka Mithila) adored him. Keeping the welfare of his subjects and the peace & prosperity of the kingdom, Nimi wanted to perform a particularly powerful Yagna to evoke the blessings of the Gods. Preparation began & in the meantime he needed an exceptional powerful sage as the Presiding Priest for it. So after discussing with the Raja Guru & his Council, he came to the conclusion that Sage Vasishta would be the Presiding Priest.

So King Nimi himself went to Sage Vasishtha & bowed before him & with all the humility said: “Great Sage, I am performing a Yagna for the welfare of the Nation & the subjects. Kindly preside over it.”

Sage Vasishtha frowned & asked, “When are you going to start the Yagna?”

Surprised Nimi said, “as soon as possible Sir. We have already started gathering the essentials.”

Sage Vasishtha fell silent & perplexed & said “I am afraid I cannot come now. I have already committed to Devendra (Indra), the king of Devas, to preside on his yagna. In fact I am on my way & I cannot go back on my word.”

Now it was Nimi who went silent & kept looking at the Sage’s face with so many thoughts going through. He was wondering if he should wait for the great Sage to come back or not. Indra’s Yagna might take long time & it is a well known fact that it is always disturbed by the Danavas (demons – who also happened to be the step brothers of Devas). He thought, ‘the Yagna is not for me but for the welfare of the people…in this constantly changing world no one knows when things will change so I should not wait that long..’.

Sage Vasishta was also thinking… ‘the King has come all the way with humility, love & respect, & of course with a good cause, how sad would it be to send him back empty handed? The moment I am done with Indra’s Yagna, I will perform Nimi’s Yagna’.

Since both of them were highly evolved souls, they could not gauge what was going through other’s mind. Neither of them said anything & both went their ways….

Indra’s Yagna went on for quite some time & the minute it was over, Sage Vasishtha was happy because of the successful completion of the Yagna. Then immediately he remembered Nimi & bidding farewell to Indra he rushed back to Earth.

On reaching Nimi’s kingdom, Vasishta was in for a shock to see that the Yagna had already started with Sage Gautham as the Presiding Priest. Being Presiding Priest was a worthy & very revered job & sight of Gautham occupying what would have been his upset Vasishtha immensely. More over when he reached, King Nimi was sleeping & did not come to greet him too. It heightened his anger further. When in anger, one cannot think straight & Vasishta came to the conclusion that the King had deliberately insulted him by starting the Yagna without him. In the same fit of rage, Vasishtha cursed King Nimi: “You do not even have the courtesy to wait for the sage that you came to first. Such a man is not worthy of having a body. I curse** you, King Nimi that you will be without a body!!” As soon as the curse was uttered, Vasishtha realized his mistake but it was too late to undo it.

King Nimi woke up with a startle & when he heard the commotion around him realized that the things had changed from the time he went to bed. When he looked around he saw his own lifeless body & his family, the entire kingdom along with those present at the Yagna were crying. Wondering what was happening, he closed his eyes & meditated. With his divinity he was able to understand the situation & he was angry that Vasishtha was being so unreasonable. The thought of not completing the Yagna for his subjects & the opportunity robbed for no apparent reason accentuated the anger. Blinded by anger he cursed Vasishtha back saying: “I curse you that you would also be without a body!”

The king had not been a just ruler but also was very spirutal & had considerable spiritual prowess too. Hence his words also came true & Sage Vasishta’s spirit/soul**** left his body…..

Nimi roamed around in the form of a spirit & immersed himself in the Brahman. Now that he was not bound by his body or his responsibilities, he found the true joy of being one with the Brahman. The king became spiritually stronger as he meditated continuously.

In the mean time the citizens of King Nimis were very unhappy & they could not believe that the king who had looked after them like a father was no more. They could not phanthom the idea of continuing the yagna without their beloved King. So with help from the great priest present at the yagna, the family & the subjects manged to preserve the King’s body with oils & scents & continued the yagna with even more vigour.

Once the yagna was completed the Gods came in for their offering. At that time the people presented their plea before the Gods. They said,  “Our King was the greatest king in the world! He performed this yagna for our benefit! It was because of the yagna that his lifeless body lies there…. Please help us!*** “

“What do you want?” the Gods asked them.

“Let the King’s spirit be reunited with the body! We want our beloved King back! Without him we could never feel safe!”

Their intention & request was so genuine that pleased by the love of the people, the Gods agreed to their request.

Using their powers they summoned the King’s spirit & were about to put it back in the preserved body when the King yelled “Please… please… don’t do that!”

The Gods were surprised when the plea came from the King’s spirit.

“I am now free! I do not wish to have any more bondage! Please do not put me back in the body! I wish to continue to be free & become part of the Supreme Brahman!”

“Your people wish that you have to be with them! That is the reason we….”

Nimi looked at his people & memories of his subjects came to him, as if from another life. But he realized that these people genuinely loved & trusted him with their lives. He turned to the Gods & smiled at them. “If my subjects want me to be with them, I will! But not in the way they wish!”

The Gods looked surprised.

“I have lived like a spirit for too long & I cannot be attached to a body! However I wish to be a part of my people & their future generations to perpetuity! I wish to be in a spirit form with them always!”

The Gods granted this boon & even now Nimi is said to stay on in the eyelids of people. It is said that people open & close their eyelids because Nimi stays there. In fact the time it takes to open & close the eyelids is called “Nimisha” in Sanskrit.

However it was not good enough for the family & the citizens of Nimi. So they took the plea to the Sages to find a solution.

The Sages looked at the Kings body & decided that the body itself could be used for creating another King. Using the powers of the mind, they churned the body of the dead King & from it a glowing person emerged with complete spiritual awareness, well-versed in shastras & Vedas. The glowing man was named Kushadhwaja & was crowned as the King. Kushadhwaja was just as Nimi & he kept his people very happy & prosperous. However Kushadhwaja was not known by this name. Because he was born from a dead body, Kushadhwaja was known as Vaideha (son of the man without a body in Sanskrit) & because Kushadhwaja was born without an actual father or mother he was called Janaka (the man without a progenitor). Kushadhwaja was also born from the churning of the mind & hence was called Miti.

The King was/is better known by the name Vaideha Janaka from Mithila the father of Sita…. or Ramayana.

 

*It is said that Manu was the Manasa-putra (son created from mind) of Lord Brahma {the creator – one of the Trimurthi & not to be mistaken with Brahman, aka Paramatman, the Supreme Reality} & he started the new Yuga. The Sanskrit word Manav (for man) comes from Manu as he the progenitor of mankind.

** We often read about Curse in mythology. Everything in the creation is predetermined by Brahman, as Brahman is both the cause & effect. For example when we are born our death is already registered! Only thing a channel such as heart attack, accident, drowning, etc… is required. Hence even the curse of evolved souls has a purpose to surve. Even Sri Krishna was cursed by Gandhari to be killed & his clan Yadukula wiped out like hers did. Otherwise they could not just walk out of earth without reason.

***This was the face of ultimate Sacrifice/Love – Subjects wanted the boon for their King & King did everything for his subjects.

**** Some call it Spirit & some call it Soul… you can choose what you want… after all India is a democratic country!!

Amazing Mother Nature……. Witnessing the process of cycle of creation with naked eye!

If I tell that one can witness the entire process of cycle creation (including death) with our naked eye in the span of 8 hours, without a camera, how many would agree with me? Probably None… have I gone bonkers?  Well I am indeed nuts… but over Mother Nature… the most beautiful lady in the entire universe.. I don’t mean the bikini clad size 34-32-36 inch…. Hmmmm… She is a mystery which we mortals cannot understand in our life time. By the time we learn to love and try to understand her, unfortunately it will be time for us to kick the bucket. Anyways if we look around and if we have patience, Mother Nature has provided us with a chance to witness everything… only we have to learn to put two into two together. We all agree that God almighty is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, no gender. God is beyond any attributes of form, colour, shape, yet is the most compassionate, full of love, kindest of kindest, friendliest of friendliest, beautifullest of the beautifullest, most merciful, etc., etc., left to one’s own vocabulary of imagination. Yet we cannot see, smell or feel God because our antenna is not tuned properly. God is not limited or belong to one individual but we all the entire creation in the universe belongs to God almighty. God is something only you can experienced…. Perhaps a highly evolved soul can see or hear god… since I don’t have any friends or family in that ranking I really can’t tell how it works!!

However it’s very easy to see God in our day to day life. We can see God with the beautiful things all around us like the trees, flower, different living beings including us the perfect machinery ever created, the melody, as only a beautiful entity like God is capable of creating such vast beauty. We can smell the beautiful fragrance through flowers, leaves, etc. We can see the power in the form of earth quake, flood, the sun, moon, river, ocean, each and everything. When we think of god in general always look up… may be mentally picturing a place beyond human imagination as we are not even capable of comprehending the existence of such a place. Our physical powers are limited and we cannot even stretch our hand beyond 6 to 6.5 feet on our own… even if we jump!! And our mental power is limited to picture only what we know or seen or heard!! Going back to basic, god almighty has manifested to make us bird brains understand in the form of Mother Nature. She is the God with attributes. Without her donation, tolerance, patience we cannot survive in this world. She nurtures us from birth to death and when we are dead again she accepts us… no matter who we are. She also has mechanism to teach us everything provided we are willing to learn… it is said that you can take a horse to water but can’t make it drink… so inspite of the presence if we are not willing to understand then we cannot simply say that it is not there.

So what is that the cycle of creation I am talking about… well you have to see my next blog… when I first saw it years ago I was in middle school but it took all these years for me to understand the beauty of it… (And now I’m officially a grandmother as of 09/10/2013!!)

I dedicate this article to the entire female species of the universe whom I consider the manifestation of Mother Nature  in a lesser form…… the one who is capable of playing a major role in creation and nurturing the living being. perhaps the only certainty after birth and death…..

Why do we help others in crisis? Why do we pray? (2/3)

To begin with its because it is basic human nature passed by God almighty the spark of life which make us tick. Since it is from God, no one has been able to pin point the location of the spark, in spite of all the claims in advancement of Science & Technology. Also we know that if we help someone today, tomorrow I am entitled to get help when I myself am in trouble. So we have both the pairs of opposite selfish & selfless motives as our instincts. We pray because even though we have not seen God Almighty we accept the simple fact that there is someone who is mightier than us. We mortals are so limited in our mental ability we don’t even see the proof in front of our very own eyes… the Mother Nature… in the form of Creator, Sustainer & Destroyer. She is nothing but the very extension of God Almighty visible to naked eye,no matter if you are in any form, shape, size, back ground, colour, etc. That’s why the basic essentials like Sun, Air & Water are provided by nature without any partiality. Unless you are blind physically but also mentally you can realize that.

In micro term imagine yourself as an toddler with constant need of care & your fatigued mother collapses walking on her way home or overwork done at home… put that into Macro context, a sick Mother Nature & the entire creation left in melancholies/doldrums… I am referring to mother here because her qualities are a visible extension of Mother Nature. And also under normal circumstances she is the only reality to naked eye & does not require DNA testing to prove. So think backwards… you are a child your mother is sick, needs major surgery, she neglects herself for your sake… how much chaos will occur in the family particularly in your own small little mind. The Super Mother is sick, & sums up the total chaos in the world!! It’s beyond anyone’s perception right? Suppose your mother gets help to take care of you temporarily & she manages to get her operation done & with proper care & nourishment comes back home… who will be the happiest? And who will be benefited? Surely you don’t have to wait for the Cinderella ending yeh? Similarly Mother Nature is sick attending to all of her creations particularly to greedy humans who Use, Misuse & Abuses & no care/nourishment & requires major surgery. This reminds me of a quote from Mr.Gandhi himself: There is enough in the world for everybody’s need, but not enough for one man’s greed. Because of our mismanagement flora & fauna is becoming extinct faster than we can imagine.
Just a thought… if only the man could carry everything with him while departing from his decaying body… what would have happened… what all he would have packed!?!?

We have almost reached the point of no return… but we still have hope (Mothers always tries to gives chances to children no matter how bad they are). Then there is a limit for everything. When the rubber band pulled beyond the limit either it snaps or loses its elasticity. Similarly even mother’s tolerance has a limit. And once she loses his tolerance then no one can control… There is a Brazilian saying: God Almighty always forgives. Man forgives sometimes but Mother Nature Never forgives!! Should we wait for that day??? The “D” DAY!!

Let us wake up to the future crisis today & do the needful in any possible way. Saving water, avoiding pollution, wasting food, cutting trees, being kind to fellow creation, list goes on & on… even a small thing matters.. like the phrase alilu-seve* (service of the squirrel) at the time of building the Rama-Sethu. Each & every one of us can make a difference. A small good deed can bring oodles in return. Please all of you try to do your best to save the Mother Nature in order to save ourselves & the world from destruction.