Saturday, November 02, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Early in the morning, an Indian Mayna was waiting for his pair-companion on the terrace of a building. After making a variety of sound effects, he came and stood still.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Bay of Bengal from the shore of Puri in Orissa.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sitting on a small rock just off the coast of Kanyakumari, at the southernmost tip of India, Vivekananda went into deep meditation-- but what a strange meditation! He meditated not upon God, but upon India. It was as if all the pages of India's history opened up before him. Engrossed in deep meditation, he felt in his heart of hearts that India would rise only through a renewal and restoration of that highest spiritual consciousness which has made of India, throughout its history, the cradle of religions and cultures.

No nation can survive without the policy of give and take. As India's greatest deficiency was her poverty, India would have to learn from other countries how to remove it, and for this it was urgently necessary to learn Western science and technology. But India would not just take like a beggar; she would also give something as well. India's strength is in her spirituality, so India would make the whole world understand what true religion is. Swami Vivekananda then decided he would spread India's region and culture throughout the whole world.

Meanwhile, news reached India that the world's first Parliament of Religions was going to be held in the United States of America in Chicago. Swamiji's South Indian followers asked him to take part in it. Swamiji thought of about it, but he wanted divine guidance. At last it came. One night while half asleep, he saw
Sri Ramakrishna walking into the ocean and saying to him: "Go". Swamiji then wrote for permission to the Holy Mother, Sri Sarada Devi, who is regarded as another manifestation of Sri Ramakrishna. The Holy Mother wrote back giving her blessings.
Now Swamji felt sure that his mission of going to the West was ordained by God.

At times he even had the conviction that great things would be accomplished by him through this Parliament of Religions. One day, when Swamiji was with one of his brother desciples, Swami Turiyananda, he said: 
"Haribhai, I am going to America".

On 31 May 1893, Swamiji sailed from Bombay for America on board the ship 'Peninsular'. After changing ships, he reached Vancouver, Canada, on 25 July. From there he went by train and reached Chicago on 30 July 1893. 

Excerpts from "Swamiji's Return to India", Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A male sparrow that has a darker shade of brown on its wings and body was busy eating breakfast.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

 Feeling happy happy

The expression of any human when he is happy can be superficial and transient at times, the reason being real happiness which is felt within might not show on the face always. A kind of contentment envelopes our being when we break into laughter when someone cracks a joke, enjoys nature while walking alone down the street in the evening or eat a piece of chocolate pastry. A similar kind of fulfillment is felt after reading a good short story after months of separation from books and authors. Simply putting on some slow music of our choice when we are at home brings the body to rest -- which can be termed as a state of mental peace if not complete happiness.  At times jamming up with an old friend rekindles memories from the green past. The freshness of thoughts and the current that is exchanged over a conversation injects a new life into the body that tends to decay soon after transformation. But in all these a lot of enjoyment can be drawn from within family which was our root strength during our growing-up years. If we can find time for ourselves from the routine work, we might also find time to make ourselves contented and charge the life battery called heart and infuse some fresh air into our lungs. Playing some music and dancing with it can energize the body and clapping with friends to Rock music at a concert can add jazz to our life. Some kind of happiness is restricted for a few or for adults only like walking into a discotheque where the entire body becomes a music system in a minute with full-on blast of music. All these actions take place when our mind plunges into boredom because it doesn't have anything worthwhile to think or act upon. Any action excites the body because the mind is then not in the active mode. It has taken backseat. When we are engaged in an activity,  we sit and think before we execute the plan -- these series of actions create excitement ripples which we often misunderstand with happiness. Once that task is fulfilled, our mind now looks for another source of action! Now it is programmed to search for external satisfactions.

This chain of activities and successful completion of those create a bubble of pleasure within. Then we exult, smile, laugh and feel triumphant. We often share these feeling with someone whom we call a friend. Happiness, some say, can be derived from sharing -- be it our thoughts or gifts and goodies. It won't be wrong if I say that at times there might be an absence of a person at times when we need to share. At that very moment what we can do is drink a glass of water and start reading something that can soothe our mind for the time being. Interestingly, our mind, like the pilot, takes off from the runway and reaches a higher plane where there is the existence of only feel-good moods and then our thoughts float on cloud nine. That is how we realize the simple truths of life and become more understanding. The result is a better person who knows how to go within oneself rather than searching for happiness outside the body and soul system.

It's very normal that when we are happy we must also make sure that others understand our feelings and gets a share of that state of happiness. There in lies the importance of showing our feelings and not hiding the same from others. When we are elated or thrilled after receiving an accolade, our face glows and our spirits are lifted. It doesn't stop here, the heart starts pumping blood into every vein and artery in the body. We must make sure the contentment level doesn't reach the high level of excitement so that our heart beats faster than normal. When everything is under control and the body and mind are trained to the reaction of happiness, we feel blessed. That very moment is kept as a treasure into our hard disc brain. Good times at times last for a long period which we cannot fathom unless we are consciously aware. I have noticed that people often talk about the past and how the times were and cherish those good memories while four heads come together at some place.

It might so happen that the good times might be replaced by waves of dissatisfaction. They might flow from nowhere and leave us thinking what went wrong. The peace-loving mind gets a blow and we might lose control of the steering. Life as great men have seen is like the ocean where waves of happiness and sadness come and go. Difficult it might be to remain alert all the time but there is no best solution but to keep ourselves anchored like a ship with the cargo of inner knowledge. Well-being becomes our friend forever.