Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sanathana Dharma series - 1. What is it?

Now, immediately after going through a few lines of this post, people may start criticizing me as ‘yet another Hindutva extremist’, or ‘RSS guy’ or whatever. I mean, we are present in such a situation that anything which is written about Hinduism is taken in that spirit, of late. This post is to express how tolerant the Hindu religion is, and how it has escaped all the fight is has experienced from all the other religions, and how it remains to be one of the supreme religions, throughout the world, expressing the human community about the culture and heritage of the people of India, who follow the oldest of all religions.

To begin with, what is Hinduism?

Well, it’s basically a religion followed by the majority of people in India. The name, by which it should be called, is ‘Sanathana Dharma’, roughly meaning ‘The eternal law’. From way down the ancient times, this religion has prevailed, which has guided people towards eternity, or Moksha. It is interesting to know that Sanathana Dharma had no name whatsoever in the past. Since it was a way of life, more than a mere religion, and was the ONLY one of it’s kind, there was no name, until the other religions came in to existence and only at this time, it was referred as Sanathana Dharma, since it was very old and eternal.

Now, what does Sanathana Dharma say?

Well, if, shedding all inhibitions, one looks closely, he will know that Sanathana Dharma has the root principle of Advaitha. Now, one might protest that Sanathana Dharma preaches Vishistadwaitha or Dwaitha, the other two variants. That’s why I said, one has to look closely, shedding all inhibitions. The Sanathana Dharma has its base as the four Vedas, the Rig, Yajur, Sama and the Atharvana. These four Vedas have one Mahavaakya, or the powerful phrase. One phrase each for all the four Vedas. These Mahavaakyas are that powerful that they can liberate a mortal to the stage of immortality. It’s a common practice for a person when becoming a sage or a Sannyasi, that these are preached by his guru, to enable him to attain the goal. These Mahavaakyas are:

1. Rig Veda – ‘Prajnanam Brahma’ – the consciousness is Brahman
2. Yajur Veda – ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ – I am Brahman
3. Sama Veda - ‘ Tat Tvam Asi’ – That thou art
4. Atharvana Veda - ‘Ayam Atma Brahma’ – The (this) self is Brahman.

Now, ‘Brahman’ here is not Brahma, the creator. Brahman is the eternal element, which created everything, and which prevails in everything it created, and without which nothing will function. In short, ‘GOD’.

These four Mahavaakyas are the key to a person becoming a Sannyasi and achieving Moksha. If one recites them again and again, he will, one day realize practically that the one who resides outside, is the one residing inside the person. Once this is practically realized, the Moksha is attained. That means, the person continues to live till his allotted time becomes complete in the world, but now after attaining Moksha, he realizes that the creator and the creation are the same. With this practical knowledge, he serves the human kind, as Ramana maharshi, the Paramacharya of kanchi, Ananthamayee ma, the mother and Arobindo Gosh of Pondycherry, Ramakrishna paramahamsa, served humanity.

This philosophy, which clearly explains that Moksha is not anywhere in the outer world, but which can be attained, at the very instant the truth of the creator and the creation are the same, unfolds. This philosophy is stated well in those 4 Mahavaakyas.

The root meaning of these Mahavaakyas themselves, without any prejudice, clearly states this fact. There are many other proofs as well, which clearly explain that the Advaitha is the root philosophy of Sanathana Dharma.

Now, we know about the religion and the root principle of it. Let’s take a look at another aspect, without which the Sanathana Dharma would have been nearly extinguished.

Jagadguru Sri Aadhi Sankaracharya.

See the next post for the continuation.

Monday, December 29, 2008

My top ten most favorite sounds

Was thinking about posting this when I was eating Poori this morning. As a result, here it is.

My top ten favorite sounds.

1. The telephone receiver replacing sound
2. the typewriter sound
3. Car door closing sound
4. The revolver chamber rotating sound
5. The sound when the table spoon is dropped in to a bowl containing chutney to the brim
6. The projector rotating sound (when playing a movie)
7. the key board key striking sound – provided the keys must be pressed faster
8. the car starting sound
9. The sound made when milk is mixed in a spoon after mixing complan
10. The sound made when a quality leather shoe strikes wooden floor.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Long Halloween - Terrific !







I was browsing through books at landmark, Spencer’s this Saturday the 20th of Dec, as I always do whenever I go to Spencer’s. There is one beautiful comics section there, which has some of the best comics from the US. As usual, my hand went towards one particular comic, which I select every time but then replace it after looking at it with a desperate kind of look. This time also, I was about to replace it but decided against it and bought it (It was Rs. 800/- ! The prime reason why I didn’t buy it all these days).

That book was ‘The Long Halloween’, a Batman comic book . It was that exiting that I went to landmark the nest day and bought the sequel called ‘Dark Victory’ (Another 800 bucks!).

I first read Batman in Tamil during my school days in ‘Thigil’ comics, a division of Lion Comics. The book’s name is ‘Pournami Vettai’. From that moment, I became Batman fan. To me, Batman is different from all the other comic heroes. He has his flaws, his own fears and he is a very normal mortal, unlike superman or captain America or whatever. Also, his villains fascinated me more than anything. Joker, Harvey Dent aka Two face, Ivy, Penguin, Solomon Grundy, scarecrow.. The thread which unites all of these with Batman is that they all are freaks like the Batman.

This story ‘The Long Halloween’ focuses on the early years of Batman when he is trying to keep up a promise he gave to his parents. In his own words, “I made a promise... on the grave of my parents that I would rid the city of the evil that took their lives”. The very comic begins with this phrase.

People get murdered on holidays by a killer, incidentally named Holiday. All the kills have a clue left near them and it’s left to Batman and Commissioner Gordon to bring out the killer. Through some terrific encounters with the major villains of the Batman, they finally bring out the killer, who is the most unexpected.

The Long Halloween deals also with the life of Harvey Dent, who becomes ‘Two-face’, one of the major characters of Batman comics. It talks about who Harvey Dent is, how did he lived, what was his intentions and finally how he became one of the ironies of life; the exact opposite of what he was. A very interesting book.

Here are some of the snaps I took from the net. I will replace them with the original snaps I took from the comic tomorrow.

The illustrations are fantastic ! Tim Sale has donned the work with Jeph Loeb contributing the story.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Can-you-lend kinda jackasses !


‘How much do you have in your hand now?’

Tell me how many times you have heard this phrase in your life. I’m sure you would have heard it a million times. What does it mean? Well, it means you have to oblige the asker whomever he is, have to give him whatever he asks with a smiling face, and wait till eternity to get him back to you and give the borrowed amount, and that too, you must never ever flinch a muscle on your face even if the borrower happily forgets to pay the due back but keeps talking to you about every single thing under the sun except this due!

Well, how many of us will ask money to another person, however close he is, however critical the situation could be, without the feeling of at least a tinge of shame? I know many people have the habit of asking money from others. Some even run entire livelihood borrowing money always from others. To me, I can never borrow money from others. Forget borrowing, but can’t even ask! My hands tremble and my voice changes, and I feel like dying, to ask money from others! Not only money but anything.

I have NEVER borrowed money from others except two situations. Once, the marriage of one of my closest friends arrived, and at that time I didn’t even have 100 Rs in hand. I borrowed money from another close friend of mine and bought a gift. Know how it felt? I was unable to ask money at all! I was trembling, and tears started forming when I was asking the amount. The friend had a golden heart! He understood my predicament immediately and sent me the amount the very next day through internet. He lives in a foreign country (even now).

Another time, I borrowed a big amount from my aunt (my mother’s sister). Even then, I was ashamed, but she graciously understood my situation, came forward and gave me the amount. I can never forget them both in my life.

There are some people like them. But, there is a majority of a crowd which exactly is the opposite. They don’t have any problem in borrowing money from others, and they think that others live life only to give them the money they want. They don’t even have the basic shyness to borrow money, and they just come to us, utter the phrase in the first line of this post, and whatever we say, somehow they stick to their point and virtually grab all the money we have.

A friend of mine is like that. He takes for granted everything he faces. He stays with me in a room and whenever he wishes, grabs the key of the other rooms and goes and sleeps in their room! He doesn’t care about what they will think when they return back at all. And, he has the habit of gifting away anything which his friends ask this guy. Now, you might think this is a good quality. But wait! He gifts away things which are ours! Without our concern he gives away our things, and coolly says ‘I have given it to him’ when we ask for it, after a few days, suddenly noticing that the thing is missing! That too, he says, ‘How can I say no when someone asks’!!

Coming back to the point, he asks money whenever he needs it. Pitying his condition, if we give the money, then that’s it! It will never return unless you ask him 100 times at least! That too, he doesn’t mind if it’s a big amount or a smaller one. Whatever his need is, he asks that amount. Even if we say no, he persists, and draws the last straw out of our pocket! People like this ‘friend’ of mine are the majority everywhere, and people like me, to feel ashamed even to ask the money back, are a very minimal!

I have had the ‘fortune’ of having some friends who are so generous to ask whatever they think they can, and expect me to give them immediately. But, once borrowed, they totally and effectively forget about it! I have wondered many days that how is it possible to forget the fact that you have borrowed money and have to return it back ?? Will you be able to sleep? There should at least be some sort of responsibility and these guys don’t even have the slightest trace of it!!

There are a few relatives as well, who belong to this category.

Anyways, I learnt that saying no in certain situation helps. Do comment to this post, if you have had any such friends or situations. It would be appreciated if you guys comment, instead of replying to me in mail. See you all in my next post friends. . .

Note:- The picture was taken from http://blog.baliwww.com/wp-content/photos/tajen_gafl.jpg

Monday, December 01, 2008

Terrorism and India - a common citizen's perspective !

Are you ready to trust a complete stranger whom you meet in the electric train ? How far will you stretch your hand to help someone whom you do not know ? Do you know atleast the names of your neighbors, not to mention their details ? If a completely unknown person talks to you, how will be your reaction? Won't you step back and withdraw yourselves in to your tiny little shell ? Did you ever notice this alarming resentment which is spreading across people, which has crept in to our minds slowly in the years passed by ? Why is that so ?

Initially, India was considered to be the symbolism of peace and love. A harmless nation. Even though there were occasional communal clashes, on the whole, India was a good nation. For outsiders. Post babri masjid, these terrorist attacks (terrorists need not come from a foreign nation. All the goons the political parties have produced are also terrorists) have increased since then, giving a notorious name to India, among other countries.

Tell me. Hasn't our security become a farce these days ? We are lucky to have lived one more day if we come home safely. Imagine ourselves sitting in an electric train, or strolling happily in a park, or enjoying a TV show or a book or having a sweet romantic talk in our home, when suddenly a blast can turn our lives upside down ! We tend to be the unlucky souls if it happens, and the other people become lucky that day. Is it our mistake ? Is it our mistake to get killed by some slug headed idiotic f**kin' coward who thinks he has avenged the death of his motherf**kin' counterparts who are nothing but again some bunches of foolish idiots thinkin' about avenging the death of their friends or relatives supporting a foolish theory ?

Now, apologies for using foul lingo in this post. But, imagine those innocent lives going off for no mistake of theirs! Is it our mistake to live a fearful life, not trustin' anyone? Why is this happening to us ?

To me, it's the inability of the government which has failed to punish crime the way it deserves. Now, don't jump on me for saying so. Think about this. Even the most feared criminal gets a punishment after nearly a decade. What happened to auto shankar ? What happened to Shobraj?
? What happened to nalini ? What happened to tom, dick, harry and their criminal cousins ? They all are sitting happily in prison, enjoying their stint, while the law sleeps in the court. By the time the verdict comes, they'll have a happy natural death!

Look at the government. Whomsoever rules, they all are sleeping even after such terrorizing incidents. Everytime, the government becomes alert for a few days and then slumbers again. Shouldn't the law be tightened? Shouldn't the criminals shit in their pants fearing
about the punishment?

Imagine the Mumbai Taj atrocity happening in a country like Israel ! I am sure the criminals responsible would have been castrated by this time ! Why is our government acting in such a 'come-criminals-this-is-your-fairy-land' kinda way ?

People are getting more and more resentful about the government. It's high time it tries to protect it's people instead of silently observing the atrocities, issuing comments that law will take it's own course. Please try to imbibe confidence and peace among the fellow citizens, O government! You are the only thing that can save these innocents from dying.

Seriously, I got angry seeing these mindless bastards kill people in Mumbai. The root of such crimes has to be burned completely, assuring the citizens a happy, calm life. Else, the people themselves will start saving them, thereby creating another Calcutta - pre-independence. That time, things would've gone out of hand for the government to do anything- juz like it's now.

--
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