Response to Welcome

[Editorial synthesis of four Chicago newspaper reports from: Herald, Inter Ocean, Tribune, and Record,ca. September 11, 1893]**

[Sisters and Brothers of America,]

It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the grand words of welcome given to us by you. I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks the world has ever seen, of which Gautama was only a member. I thank you in the name of the Mother of religions, of which Buddhism and Jainism are but branches; and I thank you, finally, in the name of the millions and millions of Hindoo people of all castes and sects. My thanks also to some of the speakers on the platform who have told you that these different men from far – off nations will bear to the different lands the idea of toleration which they may see here. My thanks to them for this idea.

I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal tolerance but we accept all religions to be true. I am proud to tell you that I belong to a religion in whose sacred language, the Sanskrit, the word exclusion is untranslatable. (Applause) I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelite s, a remnant of which came to southern India and took refuge with us in the very years in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation. I will quote to you, brothers, a few lines from a hymn which every Hindoo child repeats every day. I feel that the very spirit of this hymn, which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions and millions of men in India, has at last come to be realized. “As the different streams, having their sources in different places, all mingle their water in the sea; O Lord, so the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.”

In his longing to know the Truth Narendranath (Swami Vivekananda) turned to Maharshi Devendranath Tagore, who was regarded by many as one of the best spiritual teachers of the time, when the Maharshi was living in retirement in a boat on the Ganga. His sudden appearance startled the venerable old man. Before he could say a word, Narendranath, tense with excitement, flung out the question: "Sir, have you seen God?" The Maharshi was unable to answer and contented himself with: "My boy, you have the Yogi's eyes."

The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself an indication, a declaration to the world of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita: “Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form I reach him, all are struggling through paths that in the end always lead to me.” Sectarianism, bigotry and its horrible descendant fanaticism, have possessed long this beautiful earth. It has filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human gore, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations into despair. But its time has come, and I fervently believe that the bell that tolled this morning in honor of the representatives of the different religions of the earth, in this parliament assembled, is the death – knell to all fanaticism (applause), that it is the death – knell to all persecution with the sword or the pen, and to all uncharitable feelings between brethren wending their way to the same goal, but through different ways.

 ~ Swami Vivekananda

Dronacharya – the wrongly accused

The Bheeshma requests Dronacharya to be the warfare teacher to the Kuru princes, when he finds out the supremacy in him. The heart-breaking incident between his old school mate Drupada had filled Dronacharya’s heart with rage and he was desperately waiting for a chance to set things even. He gladly accepts the offer and vows to remain loyal to the royal household of Hastinapura and eventually tells his pupils that his ultimate Guru Dakshina will be the crown of Drupada after being defeated by them.

 

Courtesy: The Amazing Amar Chitra Katha

He spares no effort in training his students and puts all his skill and knowledge to teach them. Like any other teacher who would have a soft corner for his favorite student, Dronacharya falls in love with his student Arjuna, even more than his own son Ashwaththama. He also determines that he will make Arjuna the most supreme archer in the whole world. When he finds Ekalavya or Ekalaiva to possess all the potential to be a threat for Arjuna’s supremacy, he asks for the right thumb of Eklavya as his guru dakshina. Hence Drona is accused as being partial etc. But the reality behind the story is not his favoritism towards Arjuna, but it was his loyalty towards Hastinapura. Read on.

 

Dronacharya seems to have displayed a greater degree of responsibility and loyalty than just being the guru of the Kurus or in protecting Arjuna’s superiority in archery among others. Ekalavya’s father, the king of Nishads was one of the army commanders of Jarasandha. Jarasandha was a known adversary of the Kurus and was more powerful. Even Krishna had to shift his kingdom because of Jarasandha’s threat. Later, Bheema kills Jarasandha with the tip of Krishna the all knower, during the Pandavas’ quest in performing the Raja Sooya Yagna.

 

Courtesy: The Amazing Amar Chitra Katha

Dronacharya had an insight that Ekalavya might misuse the knowledge he obtained by watching him teach the princes in disguise against the very Kurus to whom Drona was loyal. His loyalty was to even lay down his very life in spite of knowing that he was not in the side of dharma or righteousness during the big war. So he asks for the right thumb of Ekalavya, the ultimate requirement for a great archer.

 

Thus, the claim of Dronacharya cheating the so called ‘low caste’ Ekalavya is rubbished.  But it is true that he wanted no one in route of his pupil Arjuna towards supremacy. So he indeed might ask for his thumb to cut him out of the race but more so, to cut him out of turning against the Kuru race itself. Be it not for Arjuna, Ekalavya may well use his archery skills against Hastinapura, Dronacharya might have thought.

 

It is said that Ekalavya indeed worked as a confidant of King Jarasandha later on when he could not become an archer. At the time of Rukmini’s Swayamvara, he acted as the messenger between Shishupala and Rukmini’s father Bhishmaka, at Jarasandha’s behest. Ekalavya gets killed by Krishna during the latter’s conflict with Jarasandha’s army.

 

 

Image Courtesy: The Amazing Amar Chitra Katha & Saryth

7 fool proof steps to plant a positive day

Planting a day? Does it mean, we can choose how our day is going to be? Yes! The steps given below are simple but do not underestimate its simplicity. It really works very effective when implemented.

        a) Planning – Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail!

 When you are about to go to sleep during the previous day, list out the things you want to do for the next day and prioritize them. Having a short list of about 5 tasks will suffice. Take one little baby step at a time. It may take approximately 15 minutes to do this. Also, have a rough frame on what you want to do towards each of the tasks.
Benefits:
  • Having a plan gives you focus
  • It avoids the starting trouble and helps you jump straightin to “doing” than wondering what to do first
  • You save a considerable amount of time everyday

    b) Getting things done  – Easy to say, now easier to do also!
Start simple. As simple as that!
It’s a myth that one has to get the toughest thing done at first, but in practical sense, it is better to get the most easiest done first, thereby adding to the list of ‘completed task’ than to struggle with the tough one. By the time you have finished your tough one or at least bought it to a shape, you are already exhausted and there is still more to do. Even the easier ones are left out. You end up feeling not having completed anything. Do we pickup the heavy weight the moment we enter the gym? No! We do warm ups. Then why change the time tested method which works fine? 🙂
So start simple. Focus on one thing at a time. See here on why multi-tasking is not only counter productive, but how it distracts you.
Benefits of starting simple:
  • gives a sense of accomplishment
  • you actually do complete tasks
  • the more you complete, the more you energized you are toget bigger tasks done
c) Great expectations – Expect success and you will find it!
Start your day with a energizing note, tell yourself literally ‘Today is a great day’ before even getting up from the bed. There is power in positive expectations. The brain gets wired to emotions, feelings and most importantly, repetition. What you keep repeating gets stronger in the mind. How is that our hands find it easy to reach our mouth, even if its dark? Mere repetition. Try the same with the other hand, you find it a little difficult, isn’t it? Repeat positive notes to yourself, though you may wonder why at first, it will work wonders in fact.
 
Neural PathwaysNeural Pathways. Image Courtesy – Annawrites.com
Here is an example from my own life. When I began preparing for a IT certification course, I had no clue how I was going to clear the so called ‘tough’ exam of that time. When I was on my way to the training center,the hoarding of Boost catches my eye. It had something like this on it “You can do it, you can prove it” with the cricketer Venkatesh Prasad in action. I use to repeat that to myself whenever I see it and feel it within me. It gave me a sense of confidence and made me believe that I really can come out of the exam with flying colors. And I did.
Dr. Abdul Kalam narrated this incident from his childhood. Climbing huge trees was his playtime hobby where on a stormy day, he and his playmate got stuck in one of these trees and the wind started blowing so heavily that it was enough to knock down the kids. The parents came rushing andthe father of the playmate shouted “don’t fall down” and that girldid exactly what they didn’t want. She fell down. Dr. Kalam’s father shouted “hold on tight” and that’s what happened. Our Kalam held the branch so tight till everything was normal. The moral of the story? The brain does not understand counter statements. Just say it straight and say it simple, it’seasier for our brains.
Now which one is easier to understand from the picture below?
 The brain understands direct statements better
The brain understands direct statements better
Benefits of positive expectations:
  • it works in the subtleties of your mind and does miracles
  • it has been proven that success or feeling satisfied isalso a habit and can be cultivated by this action
  • you are in a better position with positive thoughts thanthat of the opposite

d) Now here is a slap note – Do not indulge in newspaper humbugs in the mornings.

It’s a bold one, and it is true. If you want to do anything productive, get rid of this “collection of negatives” called newspapers and breaking news in the mornings. You can browse through them at a leisure time or when you have completed the task you listed. There is nothing other than knowing all the negatives happening around you by reading newspapers, especially in the mornings. No, I am not against ‘knowing what’s happening around you’ is wrong, but is that what you get when you read them or watch them in the television? The news media is highly manipulated one, at least here. They act. Simple. Shun them as poison and get to work on what’s productive and positive to you.

Also, get rid of any distractions such as opening Facebook the moment you get to work or personal mails. These are sure ways to get youdistracted. Focus on the task at hand instead. Facebook isn’t bad but the world will not fall apart if you haven’t updated your status on it. Facebook can wait till you complete what’s important. On the other hand, if you feel indulging in personal chores while at work, examine if you are enjoying your work. You may be feeling stagnant, bored or even unrecognized!

Benefits of staying away from media-crap:
  • less distraction
  • blocking all the negatives lets you focus on your work andleaves you with a lot more clearer mind
  • you realize that the news media is making you nothing shortof a dumb-head, by throwing all sorts of crap

e) Rise early and exercise – need we say more?

Do at least 5 Surya Namaskar everyday and see the results for yourself. One has to experience the benefit of getting up early than reading about it. This is the most important part of getting organized.

       Benefits:
  •         for a change, do it and you can list out the benefits yourself 🙂

f) Gratitude and love goes a long way – probably nothing else can go that long, not even Duracell.

Feel, literally feel the gratitude on everything around you.There are wonderful things happening at this very moment, can you imagine howbeautifully your body works, how your eyes read this and how fast your brain isinterpreting as and when you read?
The little finger in our hand, for instance, gets almostforgotten when its normal, but when it is hurt, it becomes the biggest issue inthe world for the individual. Appreciate every possible thing around you. Whatdo you think is the difference between a person of wisdom and us, but thisfeeling of love and gratitude?
Are you saying “I am not able to feel grateful becausecertain things aren’t happening the way I want it”? Well, things are nothappening probably because you are not feeling grateful. What is it going tocost you to express gratitude and love?
 
Gratitude goes a long way!
Gratitude goes a long way!

Imagecourtesy – http://joettles.com

Benefits:
  • feeling appreciated, feeling grounded and blessed
  • shift of focus, from ‘why things happen this way?’ TO ‘howblissful and blessed am I?’
  • like attracts like, gratitude and love attracts more of it
 g) Kick the deadline
Well, not to be taken literally. Simply don’t get bogged down with the deadline haunting you. If keep looking at the calendar and deadline is your habit, its time to break it. Take a deep breath (breathing is everything),and instead, focus on the task at hand and complete it.
Stopwatch
Questions to the reader:
What is the tiny bit from the above points that got your attention? Tell us why.
If you have interesting methods and tips on planning your day and getting organized, why don’t you share it here for the benefit of us all?

Not just charity, Satsang begins from home too!

We pour out ideas and expressions during brainstorming. A proven fact is that the collective minds when focusing on one idea arrives at a more deeper understanding and an effective solution. But this buzzword “brainstorming” had an evolved form in the earlier days. It is called Satsang, where Sat meaning ‘good or noble’ and sang means ‘union or gathering’. The wonderful part is, it began from every household.
 
How it was then
* Earlier days, the sons and daughters talk to the elders about how their day was.
* The talking resulted in exhausting their stress.
* Supporting words from elders wiped off their pressure and re-energized them for the next day.
* Through open discussion, they came up with new perspective.
* The experience and wisdom of the elders helped the younger one to better equip themselves.
* The grand children look forward to start off a remarkable journey in the imaginary world, pouring out of the stories from their grandparents. The stories had moral value, courage, determination, perseverance, everything carved in beautifully. 
 
 
How it is now
* Everyone is transfixed to television. Work is adjusted based on the timelines of teleserials.
* There is no regular, healthy discussion in families.
* The kids have their choice of programs too or they are glued to their PCs.
 
Like Charlie Chaplin the Great said “we made aero planes and radios to come closer, but we got confined inside them”.
 
Child glued to TV

 

The outcome
* We feel exhausted
* Dangerous – the kids feel alone, less appreciated, throwing more tantrums and becoming passive watchers of tv, learning all sorts of things unwanted to their age
* They eat whenever they watch tv and it becomes vice versa!
* Obesity in children, wearing glasses at a tender age is on a alarming rise – an interesting perspective here is that they seldom get to watch things that are far away, like those beautiful tall trees, landscape, greenery etc. that we enjoyed during our childhood.
* other medical issues for both boys and girls
 
Eating and watching TV, they are inter-linked
 
 
Have you seen how healthy an American kid is, when compared to ours (well, don’t take the example from the above picture). The physical activity has become almost nil, posing a great threat to our society. We care for our Tigers, why are we quietly watching the tigers of our home becoming a weaksheep?
 
What can be done
Any issue ought thave its solution, only if we are determined to find one. Whenever you get some free time, as a family – please consider the following:
 
  • discuss about your dreams
  • talk to your parents and elders on how their day was
  • let the children showcase their talents for the family to appreciate
  • the laws of science is universal. Just like how one cannot see clearly in a water that’s stirred up, the  mind needs settling down too.
  • when things seem like chaotic, lean back and breathe deeply for a few minutes, just focus on breathing if you can, if dozed off, its good too for a powerful nap
  • most importantly, put the television to sleep. You will do this if you feel the importance of the people around you than those models who keep crying after getting paid handsomely. Doesn’t it occur how foolish it is to pay money through our nose for the electricity, cable connection to watch them cry?
  • don’t get carried away by the commercials with white-blazer scientists showcasing their packed “ours is the only solution for your problem” product. Try natural methods instead. Do you still believe that these commercialists know more than what the Mother Nature knows about you?
  • statistics shows us that people who are happy spend very less time watching television. Instead they choose to read, talk to loved ones, and pursue their dreams, yes, age no bar.
Remember. Only you can help yourself and we have a responsibility to provide a better future for our younger generation. Act now!
Image courtesy:
http://www.slopemedia.org
http://all4women.co.za/parenting-articles/the-effects-of-tv-on-your-child.html