Happy New Year 2015

WISH YOU ALL A HAPPY, HEALTHY, PROSPEROUS AND PURPOSEFUL NEW YEAR 2015

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Thought for Today-37: July 31, 2007

"Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed." - Margaret Storm Jameson

My Photo Album-8: Children and Happiness

The charming smile of a child can make for you forget your worries. I have seen severe and morose faces melt in the presence of children. Great souls become children and start playing when they are with them. Even pictures and photos of children have a magical quality and make one happy.

Gautam, a grandson of one of my brothers-in-law, visited our home sometime back and some phtos were taken on the occasion by my friend, Annamalai. A few of them I post here for the reasons cited above.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A Thought for Today-36: July 30, 2007

Note how good you feel after you have encouraged someone else. No other argument is necessary to suggest that you should never miss the opportunity to give encouragement - George Adams

A Thought for Today-35 : July 29, 2007

The main reason the dog has so many friends is because he wags his tail instead of his tongue - by Aaron Dragushan (Courtesy: Shallow Thoughts)

A Thought for Today-34 : July 28, 2007

Failure is success if we learn from it - Malcolm Forbes

Friday, July 27, 2007

Thirteen Virtues: Benjamin Franklin

TEMPERANCE: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
SILENCE: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
ORDER: Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
RESOLUTION: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
FRUGALITY: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
INDUSTRY: Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
SINCERITY: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
JUSTICE: Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
MODERATION: Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
CLEANLINESS: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
TRANQUILLITY: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
CHASTITY: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
HUMILITY: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
Excerpted from 'Benjamin Franklin on Moral Perfection' By Paul Ford: http://www.ftrain.com/franklin_improving_self.html

"The Whistle" by Benjamin Franklin

We should draw all the good we can from this world. In my opinion, we might all draw more good from it than we do, and suffer less evil, if we would take care not to give too much for whistles. For to me it seems that most of the unhappy people we meet with are become so by neglect of that caution. You ask what I mean?

When I was a child of seven years old, my friends, on a holiday, filled my pocket with coppers. I went directly to a shop where they sold toys for children, and being charmed with the sound of a whistle, that I met by the way in the hands of another boy, I voluntarily offered and gave all my money for one. I then came home, and went whistling all over the house, much pleased with my whistle, but disturbing all the family.

My, brothers, and sisters, and cousins, understanding the bargain I had made, told me I had given four times as much for it as it was worth; put me in mind what good things I might have bought with the rest of the money; and laughed at me so much for my folly, that I cried with vexation; and the reflection gave me more chagrin than the whistle gave me pleasure.
This, however, was afterward of use to me, the impression continuing on my mind; so that often, when I was tempted to buy some unnecessary thing, I said to myself, Don't give too much for the whistle; and I saved my money.

When I met with a man of pleasure, sacrificing every laudable improvement of the mind, or of his fortune, to mere corporeal sensations, and ruining his health in their pursuit, Mistaken man, said I, you are providing pain for yourself, instead of pleasure; you give too much for your whistle.

If I see one fond of appearance, or fine clothes, fine houses, fine furniture, fine equipages, all above his fortune, for which he contracts debts, and ends his career in a prison, Alas! say I, he has paid dear, very dear, for his whistle. In short, I conceive that great part of the miseries of mankind are brought upon them by the false estimates they have made of the value of things, and by their giving too much for their whistles.

Works of Benjamin Franklin: http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/f#a92 (Project Gutenberg)

A Thought for Today-33: July 27, 2007

The permanent temptation of life is to confuse dreams with reality. The permanent defeat of life comes when dreams are surrendered to reality - James A. Michener

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Thought for Today-32 : July 26, 2007

When you are inspired by some great purpose,
some extraordinary project,
all your thoughts break their bonds;
Your mind transcends limitations,
Your consciousness expands in every direction,
And you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world.
Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive,
And you discover yourself
To be a greater person
By far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.
- Patanjali, c. First to Third century B.C.
Patanjali Bio:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patanjali
About "Yoga Sutras of Patanjali":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga_Sutras_of_Patanjali
Full Text of "Yoga Sutras of Patanjali":
http://www.dailyreadings.com/sutras_1.htm
'Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali (Eight-fold Path of Patanjali) - Article by Sherry Roberts:
http://www.yogamovement.com/resources/patanjali.html

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Benefactors of Mankind-2: Linus Torvalds

Computer Genius who gave it all away!

Most of the books that adorn my bookshelves are bought either from platform booksellers or second-hand bookshops. It is a joy to find unexpectedly some wonderful book at throw-away price. Recently, I bought this old issue of Reader's Digest for Rs.5/- from a platform bookseller at Madurai. It was the March 2001 issue, with Linus Torvalds on the cover. Though I knew a little about Linux and its creator Torvalds, I learnt a lot from this very interesting article by Fergus M.Bordewich.
Linus Torvalds, in August 1991 at the age of 21, created the kernel of a new computer operating system and gave it to the world FREE! This O/S has transformed the whole landscape of computer use.
Other interesting info furnished by Fergus M.Bordewich:
An estimated 30 million people around the world are using Linux (as of 2001).
IBM has embraced Linus across all of its new series of mainframe computers, the mainstay of data centres in business around the world.
From childhood, Torvalds was a voracious reader and feasted on novels like Treasure Island or The Last of the Mohicans. He was bright at Maths and Physics. As a child, he idolized Albert Einstein, the personification of the great scientist committed to sharing his ideas with humanity. He says: "If you don't share your ideas and ideals, they wind up being worthless... Sharing is what makes them powerful." So he launched his new operating system, now called Linus, free of charge to the world.
Thank you, Linus Torvalds, thank you very much!

Linus Torvalds Bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linus_Torvalds
Businessweek Interview of Torvalds: http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/aug2004/tc20040818_1593.htm
Wired Magazine Interview of Torvalds: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.07/40torvalds.html
The Seattle Times Interview of Torvalds: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2002059632_linus11.html

Grace Before Reading a Book

Eternal Father, as we open the pages of this book we have chosen to read, we would express our gratitude for all the noble thoughts which mind of man has given to the world.

We are grateful for the opportunity afforded us by good books to become companions of great minds and hearts. May we keep our minds always open and receptive to truth and beauty, knowing that these finally are manifested in our character.

May we treat this book as we respect and admire a friend. May we always choose for our reading moments books which will elevate our hearts, ennoble our minds, and lift our spirits.For all the good things which come our way, we are grateful and, most of all, dear Father, may we be worthy of them. Amen. (From: "Introduction to Treasury of Courage and Confidence" by Dr.Norman Vincent Peale)

Use Your Gift

God never gives a person a task without also providing him with what is necessary to perform the responsibility.

W.W.Dawley, referring to this truth, says, "God gave Moses a rod, David a sling, Samson the jawbone of a donkey, Shamgar an oxgoad, Esther the beauty of person, Deborah the talent for poetry, Dorcas a needle, and Apollos an eloquent tongue - and to each the ability to use that gift. In so doing, every one of them did most effective works for the Lord."

Our heavenly Father has given at least one spiritual gift to each of us as believers, and He provides all we need to carry out our individual responsibilities (1 Cor. 12:6-7). We are all essential in the body of Christ (vv.14-27). Acknowledging these truths is not only a source of comfort and encouragement, but it is also a sobering reality, for it places before us an important obligation. God's gifts to us must not be squandered! They must be fully used, because some day "each of us shall give account of himself to God" (Rom.14:12).

What has the Lord given you? Are you using your spiritual gift for His glory and the blessing of others? Don't waste your gift! Use it! - Richard W. De Haan, "Our Daily Bread", July-December 1997

A Thought for Today-31: July 25, 2007

He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign - Victor Hugo

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Guardian Unlimited: Arts blog - books: The history book that has everything

Guardian Unlimited: Arts blog - books: The history book that has everything

Eyecatchers-7 : Potter flies from the shelves to break previous sales record - Times Online

Wow! The statistics Times Online gives is amazing. A few excerpts from Times Online(July 23, 2007): "The seventh and final Harry Potter novel broke records, becoming the fastest-selling book in history. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows sold 2,652,656 copies in its first 24 hours, according to Nielsen BookScan, the independent book trade monitoring service. The figures are for English language worldwide sales in more than 90 countries, excluding the United States. The blockbuster overtook its predecessor, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which sold 2,009,574 copies in its initial 24 hours." Well Good Luck to you, Mrs.J.K.Rowling!
Potter flies from the shelves to break previous sales record - Times Online

A Thought for Today-30: July 24, 2007

Seekest thou God? Then seek Him in man! His Divinity is manifest more in man than in any other object. Man is the greatest manifestation of God - Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Monday, July 23, 2007

A Thought for Today-29: July 23, 2007

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving - Albert Einstein

A Thought for Today-28: July 22, 2007

The ideals that have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth - Albert Einstein

A Thought for Today-27: July 21, 2007

How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn, for what purpose he knows not, though he sometime thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people- first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men (and women), living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving… Albert Einstein

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Five Precepts of Buddhism

The Five Precepts of Buddhism is for everybody. If only everybody can apply it to his day to day life, life would become really beautiful.

1. I undertake to abstain from harming living beings
2. I undertake to abstain from taking what is not given
3. I undertake to abstain from sexual misconduct
4. I undertake to abstain from false speech
5. I undertake to abstain from intoxicating drugs or drink

For more details, click:
Beginners' Buddhism

4 Powerful Reasons to Meditate and How To Get Started

4 Powerful Reasons to Meditate and How To Get Started

78 Timeless Wealth Building Tips from Benjamin Franklin

78 Timeless Wealth Building Tips from Benjamin Franklin

A Thought for Today-26: July 20, 2007

"When you are willing to make sacrifices for a great cause, You will never be alone" - Coretta Scott King

Eyecatchers-6: 'Varsity prepares to host Kalam' by D Suresh Kumar

I am an admirer of Indian President, Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam. He is a role-model many in the country now. Some interesting info from this article, with grateful thanks to Mr D Suresh Kumar:
Anna University is getting a room ready in its campus Guest House, which is likely to be APJ Abdul Kalam's home at Chennai, after he demits office as the People's President on July 25. Kalam has already informed that he would move into the room the same evening when his five-year term at Rashtrapati Bhavan ends. He has informed the VC that a single room would be sufficient for him as he is a single man.
Interestingly, Kalam had lived in the Guest House from November 2001 to May 2002 when he was Emeritus Professor of Societal and Technology Transformation. Kalam would go to bed at 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. and wake up at 6 a.m. to take a walk, waving to students and acknowledging their smile. (With grateful acknowledgements to 'The New Indian Express' of July 20, 2007)

Eyecatchers-5: 'Online Sorority' by Sunanda Mehta

This is a wonderful article by Sunanda Mehta and am glad to furnish excerpts from the article which is eminently readable, especially if you are a woman. Congratulations Ms Sunanda Mehta!

"Once upon a time there was the Dear Diary. Now it is the blog. Once it was strictly private. Now it is all about sharing and soliciting responses. From Manhattan to Mumbai, Canada to Chandigarh, everyday emotions, routines, triumphs, troubles, advice and recipes are being posted on the Net. The community has transcended all borders of caste, creed and culture. It is the online sisterhood.

From eveteasing to blind dates, a newborn baby to mid-life crisis, heartbreaks to vehicle breakdowns - it is all there on the blogs. No wonder that a recent global online survey concluded that worldwide women blog more than men. Persus Development Corporation found that 56 per cent of bloggers it polled were women. Only 44 per cent were men. While that may not be true of India, where it is still believed that women lag behind men as bloggers, the number is growing.

Stalkers are a big worry for women bloggers. "Many women do not use their real names," says Juneja, who had a tough time shaking off a stalker from Hyderabad who had even started to post her pictures on his blog. Recently, Melody ...gave a presentation at the All India Blogers Meet in Pune on how to handle stalkers.

Is this why men outnumber women in India on blogosphere? "Women are holding themselves back. I know women who are very expressive. But they don't want to attract unwanted attention," says blogger Kiruba Shankar. "Women are better at expressing their feelings. They convey subtle things better." Which is perhaps why more men than women read their blogs. It is not voyeurism either.

So be it a release, a way to de-stress, a way to solicit a view or simply to connect with like minded people, blogging sure seems to be giving the Indian woman the space that tradition may have denied. Make that blogspace." (Gratefully excerpted from The New Sunday Express: Section 4 : Classified Reader Service dated July 15, 2007)

Eyecatchers-4: 'The Encyclopedia of Life' by Riyap KP

ALL ABOUT LIFE : The Encyclopedia of Life (eol)
----------------------------------------------------
If every man's death diminished John Donne, every advancement in the Net elates Suri. This article made me immensely happy as if I had something to do with that advancement. It is so personal! Now to the article:
"This is a free online collaborative bio-encyclopedia to be compiled by experts. It will detail all 1.8 million known plant and animal species in a net archive! This archive would help conservation efforts besides being useful tool for education. It will also provide valuable bio-diversity and conservation information to anyone, anywhere, at any time.

This Wikipedia-style webpage will detail each organism's genome, geographic distribution, phylogenetic position, habitat and ecological relationships. The Bio-diversity Heritage Library will scan tens of millions of pages to provide open access to the relevant scientific literature which it holds. The first 1.25 millions pages have already been digitised in scanning centres in London, Boston, and Washington DC.

The pages are housed at http://www.eol.org/ will provide written information, photos, video, sound, location maps and other multimedia information on each species. The info will be able available in all major languages.

This non-profit project is expected to take about ten years and is being supported with US $ 12.5 million in grants from the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation and the Alfred P Sloan Foundation. The founding partners of the project include the Field Museum of Natural History, Harvard University, the Marine Biological Laboratory, the Smithsonian Institution, the Bio-diversity Heritage Library and the Missouri Botanical Garden." (Gratefully excerpted from The New Indian Express : Education Express dated July 20, 2007)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Books-7: "Daily Divine Digest"

This is a pocket book meant for daily use. It contains 365 topics of interest and help to spiritual aspirants for the 365 days of the year, date-wise. Author of this book, Srimat Swami Chidbhavanandaji Maharaj, is a disciple of Srimat Swami Sivanandaji Mahraj, second President of the Ramakrishna Order. He founded Sri Ramakrishna Tapovanam at Tirupparaithurai, near Trichy in Tamil Nadu. The swamiji attained ‘Mahasamadhi’ in . I had been to Tapovanam three times when the swamiji was alive and had the good fortune to receive his blessings.

A few lines from the Introduction of this book: “The search for Reality is inborn in man. Ceaselessly it is going on. Geographical limitations and traditional upbringing are no barriers to it. The quest would stop only with the attainment of Union with Reality.
….
Tenets belonging to all the four paths (Karma Yoga or the Path of Action; Raja Yoga or the Path of Self-control; Bhakti Yoga or the Path of Devotion; and Jnana Yoga or the Path of Knowledge) are interspersed in this little book. Their being mixed up is a psychological necessity. As the change of diet is relishing to the tongue, change of theme is refreshing to the mind. An ardent daily pursuit of a page in this book is bound to enrich the spiritual caliber of the aspirant. Pursuit is to be followed by reflection.”

As a sample, I am giving below the entry for today, the 19th July:

THE AXLE

The wheel turns having the axle as the basis. The axle is not only the basis, it also keeps the movement of the wheel under control. Such is also the structure of nature.

Motion is relative. A moving object requires an immovable basis to move on. The moving planets have the fixed space to move on. The perishing things have the persisting Consciousness as the axle or basis. Nature rests and moves on Consciousness.

In man Consciousness is the axle on which the body and mind move and evolve – Vedanta”

My Favourite Poem-7: 'No Man is an Island ' by John Donne

No man is an island entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent,
a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less,
as well as if a promontory were,
as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were;
any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know
for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee.

This is a great favourite of mine. I came across this poem first while reading Hemingway's 'For Whom the Bell Tolls'. This poem highlights the non-dualistic ('advaidic') outlook and stresses the interconnectedness of human beings. The inner core of all beings is the same and hence we are all one. It is illusion (maya) that makes us think we are separate. This illusion divides humanity and leads to all sorts of conflicts and blood-shed. Following article beautifully conveys the essence of this poem: ttp://isu.indstate.edu/ilnprof/ENG451/ISLAND/island.html
Authors Bio, Works and other materials: http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/donne/ and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Donne

A Door into Hindi by Afroz Taj

"A Door into Hindi" by Afroz Taj is an interactive, multimedia Elementary Hindi learning website. It contains lessons and learning resources for the beginners. They are planning to have 24 video-based lessons with accompanying scrolling texts, grammar notes, glossaries, cultural notes, “video-professors,” and other learning resources. All 24 lesson videos filmed in India and Pakistan over the past two years are in the editing stage now. The lessons will be coming online over the course of this year, with approximately one new lesson coming up each week. Lessons 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 are ready now. Learning resources and exercises are being added on an on-going basis. If you would like to receive email announcements as new features are added, please send an email to “taj@unity.ncsu.edu
This material will be useful to students taking a standard University Hindi course, as well as to students studying independently, with or without a native speaking conversation partner or tutor. For details: http://taj.chass.ncsu.edu/index.html

My Favourite Short Story-5 : 'How Much Land Does A Man Need' by Leo Tolstoy

"How Much Land Does a Man Need? is an 1886 short story by Leo Tolstoy about a man who, in his lust for land, forfeits everything, including his own life. Late in life, James Joyce called it the greatest short story ever written.

After slowly accumulating more and more property, a greedy Russian named Pahom hears that the Bashkirs, a minority race in Russia, are practically giving their land away. He decides to visit them and they offer him as much land as he wants, provided he can walk its perimeter in one day. Pahom agrees and goes out on his trek, but when the sun starts to set, he finds he has walked too far. Running back, Pahom collapses at the starting point just as the sun disappears behind the horizon. The Bashkirs try to congratulate him, only to find him dead. In answer to the question posed in the title, the Bashkirs bury him in a hole six feet long by two feet wide.

Anton Chekhov, one of Tolstoy's greatest admirers, retorted: "It is a common saying that a man needs only six feet of earth. But six feet is what a corpse needs, not a man... Man needs not six feet of earth, not a farm, but the whole globe, all of nature, where unhindered he can display all the capacities and peculiarities of his free spirit." (Wikipedia)

A Thought for Today-25: July 19, 2007

We can harness the energy of the winds, the seas, the sun. But the day man learns how to harness the energy of love, that will be as important as the discovery of fire - Teilhard de Chardin

Eyecatchers-3: '92 and still going strong'

Women's Christian College, Chennai, turns a vibrant 92 in July 2007. The second oldest women's college in Chennai, WCC, situated on College Road, Nungambakkam, is a proud combination of its rich heritage and dynamic creativity. Founded in 1915 by the united effort of 12 missionary societies, it was born with a vision to "liberate the energies of wisdom and devotion" which are latent in the women of India.
.....
With a focus on international standards, the College is on the verge of establishing academic linkages with Eastern University, Pennsylvania. It is also evolving synergies afresh with its sister college in U.S. Mt.Holyoke.....
WCC is marking its 25th year of Autonomy with an International Conference "Reinventing Paradigms in Liberal Arts Education", on August 10th and 11th 2007. The thrust areas of this conference are Total Quality Management in Academics, Research and Academic Excellence, Education Economics, Global Challenges and National Response and Transforming Culture and Society Through Liberal Arts Education - From 'The New Indian Express' dated July 19, 2007.

Eyecatchers-2: The 'Apt' Book by E.G.Paul

Proper communication has become very essential in the changing times for one to emerge successful, not only in personal life but also in business. English language assusmes great importance in various parts of the world as it bridges different communities and culture that co-exist in many parts of the world. Invariably ther is an inbuilt ambition in every one of us to present our feelings and ideas and communicate in the best manner possible, and the mechanics of the writing process and speaking styles always look towards improvisation. People are hungry for apt words.

In this context, KVD Publications has published a unique book 'Apt Word Explorer' (532 pages). There are a variety of dictionaries, thesauri, word-power books for masterly use of words, and others. Here the compiler makes the search for apt words easy by arraning chronologically in dictionary form, all common words, enriching them with adjectives and adverbs, phrases and usages. The compiler of this book Satya Prakash has tried to make an exhaustive compilation of words of better expression made in different contexts. I am sure that managers, scholars, students, journalists, advocates and all other professionals will be immensely benefited by this book - From 'The New Indian Express' dated July 19, 2007.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

My Favourite Poem-6: 'A Smile costs Nothing ' (Anonymous)

A smaile costs nothing, but gives a lot.

It enriches those who receive it
Without making poorer those who give it.

A smile takes only moment, but
The memory of it can last for ever.

No one is so rich, or so mighty, that
They can get along without a smile.

And no one is so poor that
They cannot be made richer by a smile.

A smile brings rest to the weary,
Cheer to the discouraged, Sunshine to the sad,
And is nature's best cure for trouble.

This is also from the collection of Prof.S.Raghunathan.

A Thought for Today-24: July 18, 2007

All the secret of success is this: to pay as much attention to the means as to the ends.- Swami Vivekananda

55 Ways to Have Fun With Google

55 Ways to Have Fun With Google

LISMysore: World eBook Fair

LISMysore: World eBook Fair

Devotees of Holy Trio | Google Groups

Devotees of Holy Trio Google Groups

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sri Ramakrishna Math and Mission

I am a devotee of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Holy Mother Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda (Swamiji). Like many, through Swamiji I came to know about the other two. My lukewarm interest was kindled and rekindled by my friend, Dr.R.Janakiraman. During our bachelor days, he used to take me to Sri Ramakrishna Tapovanam, near Trichy, Tamilnadu, to see Srimat Swami Chidbhavanandaji Maharaj, a revered monk and a great soul. Because of him there are more than 100 institutions (schools, colleges, maths etc) in Tamilnadu today. He was a very great scholar. He has written many books, which are a real treat to the spiritually inclined. Again because of Janakirman, I went to Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Chennai and Madurai. He used to present me on occasions like birthday books published by Sri Ramakrishna Math. After his departure from Karaikudi, when I was very much depressed, I happen to open a book presented by him: The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. That was a turning point in my life. I started going to the Madurai Math every month regularly. The then President of the Madurai Math, Srimat Swami Chidghananandaji Maharaj used to shower love and affection on me. Thus drawn by him, I started staying overnight at the Math for doing spiritual practices. I have posted my feelings about him elsewhere in this blog.

When Srimat Swami Gahananandaji Maharaj visited Madurai for laying foundation stone for the Temple of Sri Ramakrishna, I had the good fortune receive spiritual initiation from him. Then in a spiritual fervour, I visited Belur Math(near Kolkatta) and stayed there for nine days. This was purely a spritual trip and hence I had no time for anything else at Kolkatta. I could visit holy places mentioned in the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna like the Dakshineshwar Temple and the various centres of the Math at Kamarpukur, Jayarambati, Shyampukur, Cossipore, Baranagore, Antpur, Baghbazar, Kankurgachhi and Gol Park. It was a wonderful and unforgettable experience.

For those who do not know much about the Math and Mission:

"Ramakrishna Math is a monastic order for men brought into existence by Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886), the great 19th century saint of Bengal, who is regarded as the Prophet of Modern Age.

Ramakrishna Mission is a registered society in which monks of Ramakrishna Math and lay devotees cooperate in conducting various types of social service mainly in India. It was founded by Sri Ramakrishna's chief disciple and religious leader, Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), who is regarded as 'one of the main moulders of the modern world', in the words of an eminent Western scholar.

These twin organizations have set in motion a non-sectarian, universal spiritual movement which has been silently working for more than a hundred years to catalyze the spiritual regeneration of humanity. The chief catalyst in this ongoing transformation is India's ancient religious philosophy known as a Vedanta...... In modern times, this ancient system of thought has been purified, unified and energized by Sri Ramakrishna, and expounded in the modern idiom by Swami Vivekananda and thus made available all over the world without any distinctions of caste, creed or race.

......

The ideology of Ramakrishna Math and Mission consists of the eternal principles of Vedanta as lived and experienced by Sri Ramakrishna and expounded by Swami Vivekananda. "

Some of the basic principles:

1. God realization is the ultimate goal of life.
2. Potential divinity of the soul.
3. Synthesis of the Yogas.
4. Morality based on Strength
5. Harmony of Reglions
6. All Work is Sacred.
7. Work as Worship.
8. Service to Man is Service to God.

Motto: "For one's salvation and for the welfare of the world"
Courtesy: "Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission - Their History, Ideals & Activities
Websites:
http://www.belurmath.org/ and http://www.sriramakrishna.org/

My Favourite Short Story-4 : 'The Gift of the Magi' by O.Henry

This charming tale of love and mutual sacrifice of husband and wife is one of my favourites. Actually, this is the first story of O.Henry I read. This prompted me to read his other stories. A thoroughly enjoyable story in today's troubled times and broken homes. I induced my daughter to do a comparative study of 'The Gift of the Magi by O.Henry' and 'Where Love is, God is' by Leo Tolstoy for her M.A.dissertation.

To read the story: http://www.online-literature.com/o_henry/1014/
Works of O.Henry at Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/h
Discussion on the story: http://classiclit.about.com/cs/articles/a/aa_giftofmagi.htm
Bio of O.Henry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O._Henry

My Favourite Poem-5: 'The Ladder of St.Augstine by H.W.Longfellow '

We have not wings, we cannot soar;
But we have feet to scale and climb
By slow degrees, by more and more,
The cloudy summits of our time.

.....

The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.

This is from Prof.Raghunathan's collection of favourite poems. This is my favourite too. For the full poem, click: http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poem/1330.html
Longfellow's bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Wadsworth_Longfellow
Poetry of Longfellow: http://www.everypoet.com/archive/poetry/Henry_Wadsworth_Longfellow/longfellow_contents.htm Longfellow's Works in Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/l#a16

A Thought for Today-23: July 17, 2007

Choose the highest ideal and live your life up to that - Swami Vivekananda

Monday, July 16, 2007

My Photo Album-7: "My son Vinod"

Vinod is my only son. He will be shortly completing his postgraduation in chemistry. I am glad to post three of his photos: one taken as a babe, the second as a kid and the third recently. In the second one, he poses in front of my bookshelf.

My Photo Album-6: "The Late Dr.T.Anandarajan"


Dr.T.Anandrajan was a versatile and highly talented scientist, who passed away at the young age of 39. I used to admire him greatly for his keen, analytical mind and pleasant manners. To borrow the words of Robert Kennedy, he loved and lived his life entirely. Unexpectedly and suddenly death snatched him away from us. He left behind him his young wife (who used to call me "appa" (father), one-year-old son and a few days old daughter. I would like to cherish his memory always and hence this posting.

Vedanta's Message | Life, Fear, Only, Have, Love

Vedanta's Message Life, Fear, Only, Have, Love

My Favourite Short Story-3 : 'The Blind Man' by Guy de Maupassant

This is a short story of Maupassant from 'A Comedy of Marriage and Other Tales'. Thanks to Project Gutenberg, I could read and enjoy it and now am able to share with everybody. It is the ninth tale in the book. You may want read this book, which is just a click away: http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext05/8cmar10.txt
Bio of Maupassant: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_de_Maupassant

My Favourite Poem-4: 'Little Things' by Mrs.J.A.Carney

Little drops of water
Little grains of sand
Make the mighty ocean
And the beateous land

Little deeds of kindness,
Little words of love,
Make our earth an Eden,
Like the heaven above.

This poem came to know through my respected friend, Professor S.Raghunathan. He has been a source inspiration for me for a long period now. I must thank for this poem, and many other goods things. Thank you, Sir, thank you very much!

A Thought for Today-22: July 16, 2007

If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he is not fit to live - Martin Luther King Jr.

A Thought for Today-21: July 15, 2007

They alone live, who live for others - Swami Vivekananda

A Thought for Today-20: July 14, 2007

All the secret of success is this: to pay as much attention to the means as to the ends - Swami Vivekananda

Friday, July 13, 2007

My Favourite Short Story-2 : 'Vanka' by Anton Chekhov

I am a great admirer of Anton Chekhov. I have read his short stories and plays many times. He is one of the greatest short story writers of the world. I have read only the English translations. To those who can read them in the original Russian version, his writings should be even more enjoyable. I am in total agreement of the following views on Chekhov's writings by Thomas Seltzer.

"Chekhov's works show an astounding resourcefulness and versatility.There is no monotony, no repetition. Neither in incident nor in character are any two stories alike. The range of Chekhov's knowledge of men and things seems to be unlimited, and he is extravagant in the use of it. Some great idea which many a writer would consider sufficient to expand into a whole novel he disposes of in a story of a few pages. Take, for example, 'Vanka', apparently but a mere episode in the childhood of a nine-year-old boy; while it is really the tragedy of a whole life in its tempting glimpses into a past environment and ominous forebodings of the future--all contracted into the space of four or five pages. ... He reveals things that no author before him has revealed. It is as though he possessed a special organ which enabled him to see, hear and feel things of which we other mortals did not even dream the existence. Yet when he lays them bare we know that they are not fictitious, not invented, but as real as the ordinary familiar facts of life. This faculty of his playing on allconceivable objects, all conceivable emotions, no matter how microscopic, endows them with life and a soul. .....the magic touch of this strange genius.... Chekhov divines the most secret impulses of the soul, scents out what is buried in the subconscious, and brings it up to the surface. ... He is equally at home everywhere. The peasant, the labourer, the merchant, the priest, the professional man,the scholar, the military officer, and the government functionary, Gentile or Jew, man, woman, or child--Chekhov is intimate with all of them. His characters are sharply defined individuals, not types. In almost all his stories, however short, the men and women and children who play a part in them come out as clear, distinct personalities." [ Thomas Seltzer: Introduction to Best Russian Short Stories]. Link to Best Russian Short Stories: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/13437/13437-8.txt. Biography of Chekhov: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Chekhov. Link to Chekhov's works: http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/c#a708

My Favourite Poem-3: 'Stopped by Woods' by Robert Frost

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

WHOSE woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

This is a beautiful poem. The last four lines of this poem have become unforgettable to me. After his passing, these were the lines found on the bedside of Jawaharlal Nehru , written in his own hand. I learnt about this poem only then. As it appealed to Jawaharlal Nehru, it appealed to many people, including ordinary people like me. For the critical appraisal of the poem, click: http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/a_f/frost/woods.htm
For Robert Frost's Biography: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Frost
North of Boston (Selected Poems of Robert Frost): http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext02/nobos10.txt

A Thought for Today-19: July 13, 2007

Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, and every part of your body, be full of that idea and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, that is the way great spiritual giants are produced - Swami Vivekananda

Thursday, July 12, 2007

My Favourite Short Story-1 : 'Where Love is, God is' by Leo Tolstoi

This is an ennobling, elevating and inspiring short story. I have read it several times. I am always very much moved by it. It is an incomparable classic. Even after more than 100 years of its publication, it is avidly read by many. I would recommend it to all.

http://www.online-literature.com/tolstoy/2892/

My Favourite Poem-2: 'Religious Musings' by S.T.Coleridge

The Best Prayer

He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small.

For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.

For the full poem, click:
http://www.usask.ca/english/barbauld/related_texts/religious_musings.html

My Photo Album-5: "Achchukkutti is our chellakkutti!"

Achchukkutti aka B.C.Surya is my younger brother, Chandru's son. He is less than a year old. He has a striking resemblance to my late father. Probably he has inherited some of his qualities also. He is another pet of mine. But the minute he sees me he starts crying. Hope he will accept me after some time.

Books-6: 'As a Man Thinketh' by James Allen

It is a world-renowned book and does not need any introduction. It is one of the all-time great books. Generation and generation, people are getting benefitted by this wonderful book. I have derived a lot of inspiration from this book. I am reproducing below some of the passages which appealed to me most. I am providing the link to this book for those who want to read this book in full.

As a being of Power, Intelligence, and Love, and the lord of his won thoughts, man holds the key to every situation, and contains within himself that transforming and regenerative agency by which he may make himself what he wills.

Only by much searching and mining, are gold and diamonds obtained and man can find every truth connected with his being, if he will dip deep into the mine of his soul;

... only by patience, practice, and ceaseless importunity can a man enter the Door of the Temple of Knowledge.

Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds, and growing the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and impure thoughts, and cultivating towrd perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts.

Law, not confusion, is the dominating principle in the universe; justice, not injustice, is the soul and substance of life; and righteousness, not corruption, is the moulding and moving force in the spiritual government of the world.

Let a man radically alter his thoughts (by systematic introspection and self-analysis) and he will be astonished at the rapid transformation it will effect in the material conditions of his life.

...impure thoughts of every kind crystallize into enervating and confusing habits, which solidify into distracting and adverse circumstances: thoughts of fear, doubt, and indecision crystallize into weak, unmanly, and irresolute habits, which solidify into circumstances of failure, indigence, and slavish dependence : lazy thoughts crystallize into habits of uncleanliness and dishonesty, which solidify into circumstances of foulness and beggary: hateful and condemnatory thoughts crystallilize into habits of accusation and violence, which solidify into circumstances of injury and persecution; selfish thoughts of all kinds crystallize into habits of self-seeking, which solidify into circumstances more or less distressing.


http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext03/mntkh10.txt

A Thought for Today-18: July 12, 2007

Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this Divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work, or worship, or psychic control, or philosophy — by one, or more, or all of these — and be free. This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms, are but secondary details - Swami Vivekananda

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Books-5: 'Life of Pi' by Yann Martel

Today I completed reading the above book. I had been to Chennai on a two-day trip. I utlized this opportunity to read this book. It is a fantastic book. I have to borrow words from experts to describe its many-sided splendour. Yann Martel blends fact and fiction with wily charm(The Guardian). An astonishing piece of fiction. It is unbelievable that a person can give such free rein to his imagination and put the whole pile of meandering thoughts into a brilliant, logical sequential order(Deccan Chronicle). He is a powerful writer and storyteller(Edmonton Journal). It is an amazing and astounding novel.

The hero is a castaway with only a Royal Bengal Tiger for companion, and of course, the Pacific ocean , the sky, the winds and his thoughts. There are many passages in the book that are worth recording. However, for want of space, I am reproducing below only a few:

There were many skies. The sky was invaded by great white clouds, flat on the bottom but round and billowy on top. The sky was completely cloudless, of a blue quite shattering to the senses. The sky was a heavy, suffocating blanket of grey cloud, but without promise of rain. The sky was thinly overcast. The sky was dappled with small, white, fleecy clouds. The sky was streaked with high, thin clouds that looked like a cotton ball stretched apart. The sky was a featureless milky haze. The sky was a density of dark and blustery rain clouds that passed by without delivering rain. The sky was painted with a small number of flat clouds that looked like sandbars. The sky was a mere block to allow a visual effect on the horizon: sunlight flooding the ocean, the vertical edges between light and shadow perfectly distinct. The sky was a distant black curtain of falling rain. The sky was many clouds at many levels, some thick and opaque, others looking like smoke. The sky was black and spitting rain on my smiling face. The sky was nothing but falling water, a ceaseless deluge that wrinkled and bloated my skin and froze me stiff.

There were many seas. The sea roared like a tiger. The sea whispered in your ear like a friend telling you secrets. The sea clinked like small change in a pocket. The sea thundered like avalanches. The sea hissed like sandpaper working on wood. The sea sounded like someone vomiting. The sea was dead silent.

And in between the two, in between the sky and the sea, were all the winds.

And there were all the nights and all the moons.

To be a castaway is to be a point perpetually at the center of a circle. However much things may appear to change – the sea may shift from whisper to rage – the sky might go from fresh blue to blinding white to darkest black – the geometry never changes. Your gaze is always a radius. The circumference is ever great. In fact, the circles multiply. To be a castaway is to be caught in a harrowing ballet of circles. …. To be a castaway is to be caught up in grim and exhausting opposites. When it is light, the openness of the sea is blinding and frightening. When it is dark, the darkness is claustrophobic. When it is day, you are hot and wish to be cool and dream of ice cream and pour sea water on yourself. When it is night, you are cold and wish to be warm and dream of hot curries and wrap yourself in blankets. When it is hot, you are parched and wish to be wet. When it rains, you are nearly drowned and wish to be dry. When there is food, there is too much of it and you must feast. When there is none, there is truly none and you starve. When the sea is flat and motionless, you wish it would stir. When it rises up and the circle that imprisons you is broken by hills of water, you suffer that peculiarity of the high seas, suffocation in open spaces, and you wish the sea would be flat again. The opposites often take place at the same moment, so that when the sun is scorching you till you are stricken down, you are also aware that it is drying the strips of flesh and meat that are hanging from your lines and that it is a blessing for your solar stills. … When rough weather abates, and it becomes clear that you have survived the sky’s attack and the sea’s treachery, your jubilation is tempered by the rage that so much fresh water should fall directly into the sea and by the worry that it is the last rain you will ever see, that you will die of thirst before the next drops fall.

The worst pair of opposites is boredom and terror. Sometimes your life is a pendulum swing from one to the other. The sea is without a wrinkle. There is not a whisper of wind. The hours last forever. You are so bored you sink into a state of apathy close to a coma. Then the sea becomes rough and your emotions are whipped into a frenzy. Yet even these two opposites do not remain distinct. In your boredom, there are elements of terror: you break down into tears; you are filled with dread; you scream; you deliberately hurt yourself. And in the grip of terror – the worst storm – you yet feel boredom, a deep weariness with it all……

Life on a lifeboat is not much of a life. It is like an end game in chess, a game with few pieces. The elements could not be more simple, nor the stakes higher. Physically it is extraordinarily arduous, and morally it is killing. You must make adjustments if you want to survive. Much becomes expendable. You get your happiness where you can. You reach a point where you are at the bottom of hell, yet you have your arms crossed and a smile on your face, and you feel you are the luckiest person on earth. Why? Because at your feet you have a tiny dead fish…”

This is only a sample. If one wants to enjoy the whole story, there is no other way than to read the book, which is eminently readable and enjoyable.

A Thought for Today-17: July 11, 2007

Strength is Life, Weakness is Death. Expansion is Life, Contraction is Death. Love is Life, Hatred is Death- Swami Vivekananda

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Know That by Knowing Which, Everything Becomes Known. Attain That by attaining Which, Everything is attained!

To me, this is a 'maha-mantra' or 'supreme formula' to fulfilment. I feel that if one meditates on this, one may find a solution to the puzzle of life. By turning inward and diving deeper and deeper into oneself, I feel, one's perception grows and many truths of life are revealed. I feel, continuous practice with a lot patience should yield very good results.

A Thought for Today-16: July 10, 2007


The world is in the hands of those who had the courage to dream – and to realize their dreams - Paulo Coelho

Monday, July 09, 2007

FASOHD: Forum for Advancement of Science of Human Development

The Forum for Advancement of Science of Human Development (FASOHD), is a non-profit, registered, service society, promoted by and functioning at the Central Electrochemical Research Institute, Karaikudi-630006, Tamilnadu, India, since 16 Oct. 1985. I have been associated with it during the past eight years as a Life Member, EC Member, Treasurer and Joint Secretary. It afforded an opportunity to execute many of my ideas and to manifest some of my hidden talents. I enjoyed myself thoroughly in the different roles I played in it. I would like to place on record my gratitude to Dr.M.Raghavan, Dr.Visalakshi Ravindran, Dr.V.Sundaram, Dr.R.Srinivasan, Mr.K.Nakkeeran, Dr.(Mrs) N.Kalaiselvi, Rtn Muthu.Palaniappan and Dr.S.Sathiyanarayanan, the key office-bearers for reposing their complete confidence in me and for the full freedom they gave me to do whatever I liked. I also picked up some good friendships through FASOHD and a few important contacts. I am graeful to you FASOHD!


(1) Its main aims and objectives are:

(a) To stress the importance of Values – Moral, Ethical, Spiritual etc. in life
(b) To promote the advancement of the Science of Human Development
(c) To evolve and evaluate various techniques for realizing the potential of of human mind and body
(d) To collect scientific data on the efficacy of different techniques in improving creativity, intelligence and originality in individuals
(e) To provide a common forum for fostering the advancement of the Science of Human Development
(f) To organize meetings, lectures, demonstration of yoga/meditation, training classes for the members
(g) To organize with the collaboration of like-minded bodies/institutions Seminars on topics relating to the Science of Human DevelopmentTo promote and to bring out
publications – magazines, books etc.

(2) Activities:
(a) National-level Seminars : FASOHD has so far organized 10 National Seminars in different cities of the country like Mysore, Bangalore, Bhavnagar, Kochi, Coimbatore, Kanyakumari, Madurai, Chennai etc.
(b) Tamil Seminars: FASOHD has so far organized 4 Tamil seminars at different places like Annamalai University, Bharathidasan University, Sri Sarada Niketan College for Women and Ramasamy Tamil College.
(c) Bilingual Seminars: FASOHD has so far organized two bilingual seminars at Tamilnadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore and KLN College of Engg, Madurai.
(d) Other Seminars
A Seminar was organized in collaboration with the Alagappa University at Karaikudi on TECHNIQUES FOR REALIZING THE POTENTIAL OF HUMAN MIND & BODY
during Sep 97.
A seminar on Alternative Medicine was organized jointly with the Radionics Association of India at CECRI, Karaikudi during 1997.
A National Youth Day Seminar was organized jointly with the English Dept of the Alagappa Govt Arts College, Karaikudi, on 24 January 2001
(e) Programs for Youth
A Training Program for Students for Effective and Efficient Learning was organized at the A.P.Govt Higher Secondary School for Boys, Tiruppathur, with the support of the Lions Club of Karaikudi Vennila. About 120 students of 12th Std participated in the program.
Personality Development Programs were organized for school students at:-
(i) Thanjavur Arunachalam Chettiar Govt High School, Kottaiyur on 6 Oct 01.
(ii) Kallal Murugappa Higher Secondary School, Kallal
(iii) Alagappa Matriculation Hr Sec School, Karaikudi on 1 Dec 2001.
(iv) Chidambaram Chettiar Girls Higher Secondary School, Kottaiyur \
(v) SMS Vidyasala Hr Sec School for Boys, Karaikudi
A Spoken English course and a Computer course for Students at school-level have been conducted.
(f) Program for Teachers
A VALUE EDUCATION TRAINING PROGRAM FOR TEACHERS was organized jointly with SMRTI, Chennai and Sishu Vidyalaya, CECRI, Karaikudi during Dec.2000 at CECRI, Karaikudi. More than 150 teachers from various schools in Sivagangai district participated in the program.
A program for B.Tech.teachers was organized on 28 Sep 01 at CECRI, Karaikudi, in collaboration with the Centre for Education, CECRI, Karaikudi.
(g) Books Released: FASOHD organized jointly with the World Tamil Language Trust a book-release function on 11 January 2002. The book was the Tamil translation of Stephen Hawking’s world-famous book, A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME.
Several other books were released/introduced during the Book Fairs organized by FASOHD at Karaikudi.
(h) Simplified Kundalini Yoga classes (SKY): Yoga classes were organized jointly with the Vedatri Maharishi Manavalak Kalai Mandram, Karaikudi, at CECRI Community Centre for the benefit of members and their family from 26 August 2001.
(i) Lectures: Lectures are organized periodically on useful topics like Health, Alternative Systems of Medicine, Physiotherapy, Meditation, Literature etc.
(j) Publications: Besides the Proceedings, Abstracts and Souvenirs of the various Seminars, FASOHD has been publishing TWO QUARTERLY bulletins for the benefit of members.
An English Quarterly, FASOHD BULLETIN, and a Tamil Quarterly, ‘SIGARAM’ (Peak or Zenith), containing elevating and uplifting thoughts and ideas are published and distributed to members free of cost.
A booklet, VALUES IN LIFE, which is a compilation from various books, was published during Eighth National Seminar at Coimbatore.
(k) Study Cirlce/Readers Forum: The FASOHD Readers' Forum meets on 3rd Sundays and discusses about elevating and uplifting literature.
(l) Library: FASOHD runs a Library, containing more than 1000 rare, elevating and highly useful books for the benefit of members.
(m) FREE MEDICAL CAMPS
(n) BOOK EXHIBITIONS & BOOK FAIRS
(o) OTHER ACTIVITIES
(i) DONATION OF 2040 BOOKS TO RURAL SCHOOL LIBRARIES :
As a sequel to the Karaikudi Book Fair 2002 organized by FASOHD jointly with CECRI at Karaikudi during Feb.26-Mar.3, 2002, 2040 books were donated to 40 Rural School Libraries of the district at a function organized at CECRI, Karaikudi, on 3 April 2002.
(ii) DONATION OF 10,000 BOOKLETS TO STUDENTS
Also as a sequel to the Karaikudi Book Fair 2002, 10,000 booklets have been procured and distributed to students of schools and colleges in and around Karaikudi.
(p) ADOPTION OF SCHOOLS

Books-4: The Christ We Adore by Swami Ranganathananda

This booklet (pocketsize - 48 pages) is based on the lecture delivered by Srimat Swami Ranganathanandaji Maharaj in 1954. The Swamiji's fine perception of the inner subtleties of the teaching of Jesus will touch the chord of Universal Truth present in every heart. The Swamiji says in the opening para: " We, in India, have learnt through our religion to look upon great teachers with a heart open to the inspiration which they hold for all humanity. The approach of our people to the lives of all teachers has something refreshingly beautiful about it; it is hard for non-Hindus to understand how we, professing a different religion, can open our hearts, with equal fervour, to receive the inspiration of this great Son of Man, Jesus... It is spirituality that India seeks in its religious quest and not a creed or a dogma. "

A few pages later, he says: "Jesus came to offer... to give the bread of life to the spiritually hungry......Jesus proclaimed a religion of wide and deep horizons; he brought God near to man and bound both with the cord of love; he eliminated fear as the medium of their relationship. With love implanted in his heart in place of fear, man emerged as the lover of his fellow-men; he learnt to find fulfilment in a life of love for God and service to man, to God in man. This love for God, this intimate communion with Him, is the fulfilment of the righteous life; it is the only means of satisfying the soul's spiritual hunger. This is the essential religion. It holds that man has a higher dimension which transcends his physical and social personality; he is essentially spiritual; in that inmost being of his life his intimacy with and closeness to the divine, and his kindship to all creation.

This is the approach of Jesus to religion. And this is the approach which India has learnt from the Upanisads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Bhagavata and other scriptures...."

A few quotes from the book:

1. ... purity of heart is the one condition for spiritual realization (Bless are the pure in heart: for they shall see God - Bible)
2. ... acts of piety, morality and social are but the means to attain this purity.
3. He who is humble and pure realizes the glory of the Atman, and becomes free from grief (Katha Upanishad).
4. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (Bible)
5. ".... whoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it" (Bible)
6. These words of Jesus are akin to the exhortation of Sri Krsna. "Those devotees who practise, in a converging life endeavour, this teaching op mine which fulfills all righteousness and leads to immortality, endowed with faith and a godward passion, are extremely dear to me" (Bhagavad Gita).
7. Perfection is a complete transformation of character through the realization of the kingdom of heaven which is within. It is the fruit of lived religion.

A Thought for Today-15: July 9, 2007

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life - Berthold Auerbach

A Thought for Today-14: July 8, 2007

The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited - Plutarch

A Thought for Today-13: July 7, 2007

Imagination is more important than knowledge – Albert Einstein

Sunday, July 08, 2007

My Photo Album-4: "Rajeev and Suri"













Rajeev is Suri's another pet. Suri learned one of the greatest truths of life from Rajeev. When he was just less than 4 years old, Rajeev was travelling from Chennai to Karaikudi by a bus. As they boarded the bus at Tambaram, Rajeev's family had to sit at different places in the bus. Rajeev's neighbour was a mustachioed and authoritative-looking person. Rajeev immediately asked him whether he was a policeman and when he got a affirmative reply, Rajeev plied him with more questions like whether he had a gun in his house etc. Rajeev's mother who was sitting two seats away, admonished Rajeev for botherering the fellow-passenger. When I learned about this incident, I asked Rajeev how he dared to talk like that to a policeman? His reply, which was a lesson to me, was: "Why should I be afraid when I have not done anything wrong?" Suri exclaimed, "Aha, not knowing this truth, I had wasted about 45 years of my life fearing everybody needlessly!"

I am uploading a few pictures, which Rajeev drew in MS-Paint. I liked them. Hope you will also like them. Now he is 14 years old and doing 9th Std. Alos uploading a photo of Rajeev taken a few years back. Thank you Rajeev, thank you very much!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Books-3: "Notes from a Friend" by Anthony Robbins

Anthony Robbins is a well-known writer and a much sought-after consultant by big corporations and government agencies. More than 25 millions people have benefitted by his works.

This concise and easy-to-understand guide contains some most powerful and life-changing tools and principles. If only one could read them carefully and apply them day-to-day life, it would definitely change one's greatly for the better.

Some of the beautiful ideas contained in it are:

* No matter how daunting or overwhelming your circumstances may seem, you truly can turn things around. You can turn the dreams you once had into reality. How? By tapping into a power that is inside you.... This power within you can change anything in your life literally in a matter of moments. All you must do is unleash it.
* Not only was the secret to living ginv, but to give, I had to become a better person.
* Search for role models.
* Once we understand what shapes our thoughts, feelings, and behaviour, all it takes is consistent, intelligent, massive action.
* ...the power to change anything lies sleeping within us. We can wake up this power and bring our dreams back to life, starting today.
* ... positive thinking alone is not enough to turn your life around. You must have some strategies, some step-by-step plans for changing how you think, how you feel, and what you feel, and what you do every single day you are alive.
* .... it is possible to change. The past does not matter. Whatever has not worked in the past has nothing to do with what you will do today. What you do right now is what will shape your destiny. Right now, you must be a friend to yourself. You can't "beat yourself up" about what has happened: instead, you must immediately focus on solutions instead of problems.
* The first step to turning your life around is getting rid of this negative belief that you can't do anything or that you are helpless.
* The key to success is to decide what is most important to you and then take massive action each day to make it better, even when it does not look as if it is working.
* The most successful people ... would not be denied. They would not accept no. They would not allow anything to stop them.
* Massive, consistent action with pure persistence and a sense of flexibility in pursuing your goals will untimately give you what you want, but you must abandon any sense that there is no solution.
* .... we can't always control the events of our lives, but we can control what we decide to think, believe, feel, and do about these events. ... every moment we are alive, whether we admit to ourselves or not, a new set of choices, a new set of actions, and a new set of results are merely a decision or two away. Most of us forget that we have this power to choose. Ultimately, it is our decisions, not the conditions of our lives, that determine our destiny.
* Steer your focus in the right direction.... Focus on where you want to go.
* The reason we set goals is to give our lives focus and to move us in the direction we would like to go. Ultimately, whether or not you achieve a goal is not half as important as the type of person you become in pursuit of it.
* Choosing a goal may cause only a slight change in life's direction at first. It is like one of those huge freighters at sea: If the captain shifts course by just a few degrees, it won't be noticeable immediately. But in several hours or days, this change in direction will bring the ship to a completely different destination.
* All people who succeed dedicate themselves to continuous improvement. They are never satisfied with just doing well: they consistently want to do better. If you dedicate yourself to this philosophy of constant and never-ending improvement, .... then you can virtually guarantee that you will not only continue your growth throughout your life - the real source of happiness - but you will also succeed.

The book contains a lot of useful tips/steps for growth and development. Given above are only a few samples. It cannot be a substitute for reading whole the book. Actually, this pocket-size consists of only easily- and eminently-readable 125 pages.

A Thought for Today-12: July 6, 2007

If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk - Raymond Inmon

My Photo Album-3: "Srimat Swami Chidghananandaji Maharaj(Sri Ramamoorthy Maharaj)"

Through my friend, Dr.R.Janakiraman, I started taking interest in the Sri Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Movement from 1970 and he took me to Sri Ramakrishna Tapovanam several times, when Srimat Swami Chidbhavanandaji Maharaj was President. Then he took me to Sri Ramakrishna Math, Madurai, during its early days. After Dr Janakiraman's departure from Karaikudi, unexpectedly my spiritual fervour started growing slowly (due to the influence of books presented to me by Dr Janakirman) and I started frequenting the Madurai Math. By then, Srimat Swami Chidghananandaji Maharaj has become President of Madurai Math. He started showering kindness on me from the beginning. Charmed by his kindness, the frequency of my visit increased and it became a regular monthly visit. But I would leave the Math in the evening. One day evening, which was a Saturday, when I wanted to take his leave, Swamiji asked me to stay at the Math as the next day was Sunday and a holiday. So I stayed at the Math. The experience was pleasant and I started going once a month on a Saturday and stay the night at the Math. Sunday early morning, after 'arati' I would leave.

The swamiji was simplicity itself. More often he would wear only a saffron-dyed 4-yard dhothi, leaving the upper part of the body uncovered. He would avoid touching money. When I wanted to hand over donations collected, he would always say, "Hand over the money to the office".

When his health started declining, he went to Kasi (Varanasi) and spent his last days there. He attained mukti at Kasi on April 5, 2005 at the age of 75.

He was an embodiment of love and I would always cherish his memory and I consider myself blessed to have received love and affection.

Jai Shri Guru Maharaj Jai!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Witch of Portobello, a Novel by Paulo Coelho

Last week, during my visit to Chennai, I bought this book. I am an ardent admirer of Paulo Coelho and have read almost all his books. I started reading the book on the train itself and completed in five days, in spite of pressing engagements. From the beginning, it completely captured me. It is a typical Coelho book with a mixture of mysticism, spiritual exercises, meditation and supernatural experiences and it is totally absorbing. As usual, I read this book also with a pen in hand to underline/highlight passages which appealed to me. A few of these, which read like Quotable Quotes, I am furnishing below:

* Pity those who seek for shepherds, instead of longing for freedom!
* An encounter with the superior energy is open to anyone, but remains far from those who shift responsibility onto others.
* Our time on this earth is sacred, and we should celebrate every moments.
* We cook and complain that it is a waste of time, when we should be pouring our love into making that food.
* We can see the Divine in each speck of dust, but that does not stop us wiping it away with a wet sponge.
* ..things are never absolute; they depend on each individual's perceptions.
* When fate is very generous with us, there is always a well into which all our dreams can tumble.
* We had it all, apart from the one thing we wanted most - a child. And so we had nothing.
* ....love is still the strongest force, one that can transform us forever.
* Christ surrounded himself with beggars, prostitutes, tax-collectors and fishermen, I think what he meant by this was that the divine spark is in every soul and is never extinguished.
* .... each of us contains our ancestors and all the generations to come. When we free ourselves, we are freeing all humanity.
* Each of us contains something within us which is unknown, when it surfaces, is capable of producing miracles.
* .... love does not bring and never has brought happiness. On the contrary, it is a constant state of anxiety, a battlefield; it is sleepless nights, asking ourselves all the time if we are doing the right thing. Real love is composed of ecstasy and agony.
* A kind of blanket lies between the physical and the spiritual world, a blanket that changes in colour, intensity and light, it is what mystics call 'aura'.
* ..... all the advances we have made have been in the field of science. Human beings are still asking the same questions as their ancestors. In short, they have not evolved at all.
* .... when we dare to see things differently, life opens up to our eyes.
* We have a duty to love and to allow love to manifest itself in the way it thinks best.............It is a sin to prevent love from showing itself.
* ...... trust in love and miracles will happen.
I have only highlighted a few passages which interested me most and have not said anything about the story. Only reading the full novel will give a real idea about the enjoyable story. So if you want to really enjoy the novel, you will have to read it in full.

Quest for Excellence

http://www.mudrashram.com/excellence1.html

The Greatest Thing in the World!

http://henrydrummond.wwwhubs.com/greatest.htm
http://henrydrummond.wwwhubs.com/memorial.htm
http://henrydrummond.wwwhubs.com/lifework.htm

A Thought for Today-11: July 5, 2007

The greatest disease is not TB or leprosy, it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair and hopelessness is LOVE. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread, BUT THERE ARE MANY MORE DYING FOR A LITTLE LOVE.- Mother Teresa

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Amazing Photo Editor 6.8 - Applications - Free ebooks BluePortal.Org

Amazing Photo Editor 6.8 - Applications - Free ebooks BluePortal.Org

Directory of FREE Online Books and FREE eBooks : clipclip

Directory of FREE Online Books and FREE eBooks : clipclip

Best Places to Get Free Books - The Ultimate Guide

Best Places to Get Free Books - The Ultimate Guide

Download Free Ebooks from Adobe® Digital Edition 1.0

Download Free Ebooks

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