Happy New Year 2015

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

Monday, March 31, 2008

Health Watch-5: "Cockroach and Asthma"

A study carried out by Leelavati Hospital, Mumbai, states that if you see one cockroach in your kitchen, probably there are 100 others hidden somehwere! They carry 33 types of bacteria and parasites and hence are dangerous. The changes of you and your children getting asthma and other allergic disorders are more. So beware!

A Thought for Today : March 9, 2008

Everything in the world is a miracle, if only one dives deep - Swami Siddhinathananda

Monday, March 24, 2008

My Album-33: "Aravind, a close-up!"

Aravind, a real close up, by Vinod with Nokia N70m. Note his famous 'money-purse' mouth!

My Album-32: "Aravind enjoying himself!"

Aravind enjoying himself in CECRI Children's Park. Clicked by Vinod with Nokia N70m.

My Album-31: "Aravind on a seasaw!"

Aravind on a seasaw, clicked by Vinod with Nokia N70m.

My Album-30: "Smiling Vinod!"

Vinod smiling about something. Clicked by a friend with Vinod's Nokia N70m. (Vinod, I want you to be smiling all the time. May God bless you!)

My Album-29: "Vinod's Bajaj Platina"

Vinod's Bajaj Platina. Clicked by Vinod with his Nokia N70m.

My Album-28: "Vinod absorbed in his work"

Vinod absorbed in his work. Clicked by a friend with Vinod's Nokia N70m.

My Album-27: "Subha-1:"

Subha, a friend's cute little daughter, clicked by Vinod with his Nokia N70m. The picture is not clear for want of light.

My Album-26: "Vinod working on Laptop!"

Vinod working on a laptop. Clicked by a friend with Vinod's Nokia N70m.

My Album-25: "Sri Ramakrishna Jayanthi Celebrations-2:"

A section of the audience of the Sri Ramakrishna Jayanthi function at 'Vivekanandam Sevai Maiyam'. Seated at the centre is Professor (Mrs) Avudayammal Dayalan, Former Principal, Sri Sarada Niketan College for Women, Amaravathi Pudur, who distributed the prizes to the meritorious students and mementos to all the participants.

My Album-24: "Sri Ramakrishna Jayanthi Celebrations-1:"

Sri Ramakrishna Jayanthi was celebrated in a very small way at the Vivekanandam Sevai Maiyam on March 9, 2008. Dr.V.Sundaram, Deputy Director and Head, Planning, CECRI, Karaikudi presided over the function. In the photo, Dr.Sundaram is sitting on the left and Dr.A.Selvaraj delivering a special address for the students who participated in the celebrations.

My Album-23: "A portrait of Swami Vivekananda in 'Vivekanandam Sevai Maiyam' (Vivekanandam Service Centre)"

A portrait of Swami Vivekananda in 'Vivekanandam Sevai Maiyam' (Vivekanandam Service Centre). Clicked by Vinod with his Nokia N70m.

My Album-22: "Aravind and Ammu on a swing"

Aravind and Ammu on a swing. Clicked by Vinod using his Nokia N70m.

My album-21: "Ammu, Achu and Aravind watching TV!"

Ammu, Achu and Aravind watching TV! Clicked by Vinod using his Nokia N70m.

My Album-20: "Achu drinking water from a tumbler!"

Achu drinking water from a tumbler. Clicked by Vinod with his Nokia N70m.

My Album-19: "Achu with a cap"

This special pose of Achu with cap was clicked by Vinod using his Nokia N70m.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Letters-10: “Farm Loan Waiver”

1. This refers to the article “Ending the debt trap and attaining food security” (The Hindu, Madurai, March 3, 2008). The settling of debts of just one section of poor farmers who are beneficiaries of institutionalized loans will not help matters much. The government should identify those dependent on private sources which lend money at exorbitant rates. Clearing the debts in a one-time move, and glossing over it till the elections are over, is meaningless.

Our lands have become degraded and lost all productive capacity. Farmers should be provided subsidized inputs and timely buyback of their produce at reasonable rates. This would amount to teaching a person how to fish for livelihood rather than giving him fish as a one-time generosity. Spending Rs.60,000 crore on debt relief is not enough. The beneficiaries should be made self-reliant. (M.Kamal Naidu, Hyderabad)

2. The waiver is like providing food to the hungry in the morning who become hungry again in the evening. Does the Finance Minister propose to clean up the accumulated dust year after year? Instead, Rs.60,000 crore could have been spent on educating the farmers, providing them with water, seeds and fertilizers, setting up food processing units in every district and buying the produce at a fixed price. (Naresh Jain, Bangalore)

3. A debt relief does not fully mitigate the farmers’ problems in India. In fact, it will only encourage them to evade the repayment of bank loans. In the long run, the waiver will do more harm to farmers because financial institutions will hereafter be wary of advancing big loans to them. The government should evolve better remunerative prices for agricultural produce. (A.Madan Mohan, Chittoor).

4. Will the debt relief actually solve our farmers’ tribulations? The fact that most of the farm borrowings is from moneylenders has been overlooked. The Finance Minister could have ploughed the funds towards welfare measures which would have assured earnings. The farmers would have then earned enough to repay their loans. (C.Jeevitha, Chennai).

5. The waiver announcement has come a little too late. Had it come earlier, some precious lives could have been saved. It has also created an anomalous situation. Honest farmers sacrificed many things while honouring their schedule of repayments. Many who were unable to repay loans resorted to suicide. Both these categories do not benefit from the waiver. Is not it cruel? (A.R.K.Pillai, Mumbai).

6. The agricultural loan waiver has essentially proved that the policy of economic liberalization drawn up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has not worked and that the Finance Minister could not do anything to take the so-called liberalized markets to the rural masses. Election-eyed loan waivers to one and all will only ruin the economy in the long run. (S.Subramanian Balaji, Chennai).

7. The waiver of farmers’ loans amounting to Rs.60,000 crore is laudable. However, it may set a bad precedent. In future, farmers may take loans and wait for the next elections and a waiver. It will also serve as a disincentive to those farmers who pay off their loans regularly. (Wg.Cdr.V.Sundaresan (retd), Secunderabad)

8. Rather than arguing whether the waiving of the loans has been done with an eye on the elections, we should think of setting up credible structures to ensure that our farmers do not get into the debt trap again. (Vaibhav Minocha, Ghaziabad)

Courtesy: “Letters to the Editor”, The Hindu, Madurai, March 4, 2008

Health Watch-4: "Breakfast Keeps Teens Lean"

Teenagers who regularly eat their breakfast tend to weigh less, exercise more and eat a more healthful diet than their breakfast-skipping peers, researchers said in Washington on Monday, the March 3, 2008.

The study involved 2,216 adolescents whose eating pattern, weight and other lifestyle issues were tracked systematically for five years.

The more regularly the teens ate breakfast, the lower their body mass index was, according to the study. Those who always skipped breakfast on average weighed about 2.3 kg more than their peers who ate the morning meal every day.

Courtesy: Reuters and The Hindu, Madurai, March 4, 2008

Science Watch-7: "Remote Control with a Wink"

Don’t read too much into someone winking at you in Japan – a researcher says he has developed a system that will let people run their iPods with the flick of an eye.

The system, comprising a single-chip computer and a couple of infrared sensors, monitors movements of the temple and is so tiny that it can be built into the side of a pair of eyeglasses.

Closing both eyes for one second starts an iPod, while blinking again stops the digital machine. A wink with the right eye makes the machine skip to the next tune while with a wink of the left eye, it goes back.

The system can serve as “a third hard” for rock-climbers, motorbike drivers and astronauts, as well as people with disabilities.

The system – dubbed – “Kome Kami Switch,” or “Temple Switch” – can easily differentiate a deliberate one-second wink from natural blinking, said the device’s developer Kazuhiro Taniguchi.

“Normally you blink in an energy-saving manner, very quickly and lightly, but you would close your eyes more firmly to operate a device,” the developer said.

The Kome Kami Switch is also capable of operating television sets, air conditioners, room lighting and other household electronics.

Courtesy: AFP and The Hindu, Madurai, March 4, 2008

A Thought for Today : March 8, 2008

Stop the habit of wishful thinking and start the habit of thoughtful wishes - Mary Martin

Friday, March 07, 2008

Health Watch-3: "Fish to be used to fight mosquitoes" by Shastry V.Mallady

The Tamil Nadu State health machinery has decided to deploy two fish varieties on the field in its onslaught against mosquitoes to prevent vector-borne diseases.

As per a plan chalked out by the Directorate of Public Health(DPH), permanent fish hatcheries would be created in the network of Primary Health Centres and health sub-centres where the two non-edible fish varieties would be reared and supplied to public places/residential buildings on demand.

“The fish varieties – Gambusia and Guppies – will be effective in checking the mosquito larva. The DPH through its nine zonal offices in the State would set up small hatcheries and also protect the existing natural hatcheries,” S.Elango, Addl Director of Public Health, told The Hindu.

To start with, the DPH expects to construct 1500 fish hatcheries in malaria-endemic districts and with a particular focus on 11 municipalities/urban areas.

Explaining the reasons for choosing fish as a medium, Dr Elango said that the two varieties are very active, low cost, eco-friendly and would swiftly eat away the larva of mosquitoes. The fish would be given in a sachet to the people and subsequently it could be grown, he said.

A fortnight campaign involving general public is now being undertaken (till March 15) by taking the support of elected representatives and local panchayats.

Excerpt from “The Hindu, Madurai, March 6, 2008
Grateful thanks to Mr.Shastry V.Mallady and The Hi
ndu

Science Watch-6: "A Physics record is broken"

In an accomplishment that promises to lead to new drugs, energy advances and other benefits, Tennessee’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has become the world’s most powerful source of pulsed neutrons.

The $1.4 billion Spallation Neutron Source’s linear accelerator produces a proton beam that strikes a mercury target and creates a stream of subatomic neutrons that are used to study the structure and dynamics of materials.

The beam reached 310 kilowatts, in late January, nearly doubling the 163-kilowatt record held by the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford, England. Oak Ridge now holds the Guinness World Record.

“This is basically confirming what we did in January”, a lab spokesman Bill Cabage said. “We confirmed the record.”

Courtesy: AP and The Hindu, March 5, 2008

A Thought for Today : March 7, 2008

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Health Watch-2: "Foods for Long Life"
















Blueberries: Photo by Magnus Rosendahl Broccoli: Photo by Jon Sullivan
The London Times lists top foods for a long life:

1. Cabbage, Kale, Broccoli, Sprouts:

These contain Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C), which help to fight breast and lung cancer. Aim for three servings a week.

2. Blueberries:

Powerful in retarding ageing, they can even reverse failing memory. They also contain resveratrol, found in grapes and red wine, which can extend your lifespan.

3. Nuts:

Two servings of 8g nuts a week (a saucer) lower risk of heart attack. Nuts are high in fat, but most is beneficial mono-unsaturated fat. Almonds and walnuts help lower cholesterol.

4. Tomatoes:

Eating 10 servings of tomato sauce or tomatoes a week reduces prostate cancer risk. Best cooked and served with little oil.

5. Garlic:

Garlic prolongs cancer-survival time in animals by about 5%, which in humans might add about four years.

6. Oily fish:

Contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids which protect the heart. Experts recommend 300g a week (3-4 servings), steamed or baked – regularly eaten, it cuts the risk of dying from heart disease.

Courtesy: Sunday Times of India/BMS Interaction, Feb.2008

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Science Watch-5: "Prefrontal Cortex Damage and Moral Conduct"

In creation, it seems only human beings are bestowed with a moral compass. Scientific research reveals that the prefrontal cortex of the brain that is just above the eyes is where the moral compass is located. It is the area where discrimination between good and bad takes place.

Dr.R.K.Mishra, emeritus professor at AIIMS, observes that the third eye spoken of by yogis, passes through exactly the same spot. US Researchers discovered that the stimulus from infrasound of BETA rhythms which are between 13 and 22 cycles per second are confined to the frontal area of the brain where complex mental processes take place. Excess stimulation with these frequencies produces recklessness, euphoria and complete loss of mental balance.

The third eye is called ‘vahni’. It is also called ‘gnananetra’. The devotee of Lord Siva applies sacred ash in triple horizontal stripes called ‘tripundraka’ on his forehead to protect it from damage.

If prefrontal cortex of an individual is damaged, then he becomes unable to learn from his past experiences of reward and punishment. “This removes the emotional core of social and moral reasoning, preventing his emotional memories from shaping he Mind’s conscience” ('Strange Frontiers' by George V.Harding).

….
Let us hope that further research in the field may reveal more useful insights.

Excerpt from “Ethics: Personality Limitations on Moral Conduct” by K.A.N.Talpasai, Bhavan’s Journal, June 30, 2004

A Thought for Today : March 6, 2008

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes - Walt Whitman

Eyecatchers-63: "A Culture City to Revive Confucianism"

China plans to spend billions of dollars to build a culture symbolic project in the eastern province of Shandong, home to ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius, to revive traditional cultural values, including Confucianism.

Jiang Daming, governor of Shandong, announced at a news conference in Beijing that the “Chinese Cultural Symbolic City” will be built in the Ji’ning City, spanning more than 300 sq.km.

The city will incorporate the country-level city of Qufu, ancestral home of Confucius, and Zoucheng, home of Mencius, and the Jiulong Mountain range between the two cities. The whole project covers refurbishing the homes of the two ancient philosophers and building new architectures in the Jiulong mountain range, Jiang said.

The project planning and construction commission, chaired by top Shandong officials, will solicit ideas on project designing from the public.

Details of the solicitation are available at the city’s website,
www.ccsc.gov.cn.

Jiang said all design plans will be reviewed by a consultation panel of some 30 top artists, sinologists and architects in China. The ambitious engineering project, initiated by 69 academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering in 2001, aims to showcase the traditional values like peace, harmony and ingenuity advocated by ancient philosophers such as Confucius.

The project has won supports from many, including Pei Ieoh Ming, renowned architect and glass pyramid designer of Louvre, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Xu Jialu, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and an initiator of the project, said: “The city will exhibit and commemorate the long-honoured Chinese values, such as refining personal morality, cherishing peace and harmony, and filial piety. Ideally, it shall be the spiritual home for the whole nation.” Xu told reporters that the total budget of the project will be made after design plans are finalized, and forecasts the total cost to surpass about $4.2 billion estimated in 2004.

Construction is expected to start before 2010.

Courtesy: Xinhua and The Hindu, March 3, 2008

Health Watch-1: Snoring and Heart

Researchers at a Budapest university have found that loud snoring with breathing pauses is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Courtesy: The Hindu, March 3, 2008 (Newscape)

A Thought for Today : March 5, 2008

A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books - Longfellow

Letters-9: "Forgotten Farmers"

1. I was shocked to learn that the UP Govt gave cheques for amounts as low as Rs.3 to drought-affected farmers in Bundelkhand (‘Doomed in dryland’, The Week, Feb.17, 2008). Farmers are taken for granted and cheated. We forget that it is the fruits of their toil that everybody, including the ministers, enjoys at the dining table. – Sanjay Pawar, On email

2. It is a shame that the government gave cheques for Rs.3 to drought-hit farmers. Perhaps, even the cheque leaf would cost more! – N.S.Rajaram, On email.

3. It is a shame that political parties are blaming each other when 600 farmers have already died of starvation or committed suicide in Bundelkhand. Strangely enough, the crisis went unheeded, though the region had been reeling under drought for the past five years. Howe can the government be so blind? - Harish Saxena, Noida, UP

4. That officials have tried to suppress cases of starvation death in Bundelkhand is a serious matter. I was shocked to read that officials prevented a man from taking the body of his father, who died of starvation, for autopsy. If the police action in Nandigram was state-sponsored terror, this was worse. Human rights groups should take up the matter and ensure that the guilty officials are punished. – Prem Kumar, Lucknow

Courtesy: The Week, March 9, 2008 (Letters to the Editor)

A Thought for Today : March 4, 2008

Compromise makes a good umbrella but a poor roof - James Russell Lowell

Science Watch-4: "Ulysses satellite freezing to death"

After 17 years of studying the sun and the solar system, the Ulysses solar probe is about to freeze to death, NASA and the European Space Agency have said.

The satellite had long outlasted the five-year mission it began in 1990, but continued to transmit useful data on solar winds. More recently, its plutonium power source had weakened and its fuel was freezing as the probe made a wide circle of the sun, traveling as far as Jupiter.

In January, engineers tried a long-shot manoeuvre to heat up the fuel. But their effort backfired and hastened Ulysses’ death by months.

The $ 250 million probe was a joint ESA-NASA project. After being released from orbit by astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery in October 1990, Ulysses made nearly three full wide circles of the sun from above and below its poles, logging nearly 10 billion km overall.

When the satellite recently started to fail, it had just finished examining the sun’s North Pole for a third time.

“This mission has rewritten textbooks,” said Arik Posner, NASA’s Ulysses program scientist. What made Ulysses unique and crucial to scientists was its orbit and perspective. It provided astronomers with a three-dimensional look at the sun and the rest of the solar system. Most of the planets line up along the same geometric plane generally around the middle of the sun and that is where most of the space probes orbit, too. But Ulysses made long wide circles of the sun’s poles, essentially gazing down at the sun and solar system from above and below instead of around the middle.

That three-dimensional data from Ulysses was important for scientists trying to figure out the solar wind. These winds blast away from the sun at 1.6 million km an hour in all directions, said David McComas, a scientist with the Ulysses project.

The wind is crucial because it protects the earth from cosmic radiation, causes geomagnetic storms on the earth, and causes Aurora borealis. “We understand it now, we did not understand it before,” Mr.McComas said.

Courtesy: AP and The Hindu, February 24, 2008

A Thought for Today : March 3, 2008

Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity - T. S. Eliot

Letters-8: ‘Sons of the Soil’ Slogan

The Bombay of yore prided itself on being a melting pot of cultures and El Dorado for those dreaming to make something of their lives. Many were willing to bear hardships for that ‘pot of gold’. An example is my great-aunt who had come to the city with her little daughter to escape harassment by her husband and in-laws. When her daughter died of typhoid, my aunt made her life in the city’s suburbs. Another woman, who is a friend of my mother, had come to the city long ago. After working in a ration shop initially, she completed her MBBS and moved to the US in the 50s. That was Bombay for many. We should take pride in being Indians and go beyond state and linguistic classifications. And not allow politicians to use the ‘sons of the soil’ slogan to tear us apart to garner votes. - Suman G.Pai, On email.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A Thought for Today : March 2, 2008

Yearning for the seemingly impossible is the path to human progress - Bryant H. McGill

Facts & Figures-25 : Undiscovered Planet at the edge of Solar System

Japanese scientists studying the path of space debris over the last four billion years postulated an undiscovered "Planet X," between 30 and 70 percent the size of Earth, at the edges of the solar system.

Courtesy: Weekly Review, Harper's Weekly, March 4, 2008

Facts & Figures-24 : Drug-resistant TB found in 45 countries

The World Health Organization announced that virtually untreatable drug-resistant tuberculosis could now be found in 45 countries with a half-million new cases each year, and that the highest rate of infection was in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Courtesy: Weekly Review, Harper's Weekly, March 4, 2008

Monday, March 03, 2008

A Thought for Today : March 1, 2008

Success depends on your backbone, not your wishbone – Author not known

A Thought for Today : February 29, 2008

Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan - Norman Vincent Peale

12 Ways of Winning People to Your Way of Thinking

1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
2. Show respect for the other man’s opinions. Never tell a man he is wrong.
3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
4. Begin in a friendly way.
5. Get the other person saying, “yes, yes” immediately.
6. Get the other do a great deal of talking.
7. Let the other man feel that the idea is his.
8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s point of view.
10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
11. Dramatize your ideas.
12. Throw down a challenge.

Courtesy: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

Saturday, March 01, 2008

A Thought for Today : February 28, 2008

Greater is he who acts from love than he who acts from fear - Simeon Ben Eleazar

Eyecatchers-62: "Darwin's Legacy"

On February 12, 2009, most of the world will celebrate the 200th birth anniversary of a great scientist whose theory – based on incredibly laborious empirical observation and once-in-a-millennium-insights – forever changed humankind’s perceptions of itself and of the natural world around. Next year will also mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s great work, On the origin of species by means of natural selection or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. The five year (December 27, 1831 – October 2, 1836) the English naturalist spent on board H.M.S.Beagle in a round-the-world voyage gave him the opportunity to study and compare the fauna, flora, and geology of many distant lands. It led him to wonder about the diversity of life forms he found and why creatures occupying similar environments in places around the globe could be so vastly different. The idea that biological species were not immutable but were capable of change was in itself not new at the time. Darwin would have been familiar with the speculations of his own grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, and the French zoologist, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. But within a couple of years following the Beagle voyage, Darwin was going much further. He was thinking about a common origin for all life on the planet when he sketched in his notebook a ‘tree of life’, implying that all species had diversified from a common stalk.

However, Darwin was not the only one thinking alone such lines. In 1858, he received a letter suggesting ideas remarkably like his own; it was from Alfred Russell Wallace, who was collecting biological specimens in Southeast Asia. Papers putting forth both points of view were duly presented at a meeting of the Linnaean Society of London. The Origin of Species (as Darwin’s 1859 magnum opus came to be titled in 1872, in the sixth edition) marshaled a vast body of evidence and presented his arguments in favour of evolution driven by a process of natural selection that allowed traits best suited to a particular environment to spread in a population. Evolution and a common origin for all life lie at the heart of biology. In an essay strikingly titled ‘nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution,’ the geneticist and evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky declared: “Without that light [biology] becomes a pile of sundry facts – some of them interesting or curious but making no meaningful picture as a whole.” The elucidation of the structure of the DNA, the unraveling of the genetic code, and the ability to sequence the entire genome of even complex organisms have served only to lay bare the processes that produce life, which all living organisms share, and show how evolutionary pressures act on those processes. As though this were not enough, Darwin’s ideas have inspired, over the past century-and-a-half, “powerful images and insights in science, humanities and the arts,” as an essay in Nature reminds us.

Courtesy: Editorial, The Hindu, Feb.12, 2008

A Thought for Today : February 27, 2008

Great works are performed, not by strength, but by perseverance - Samuel Johnson

Facts & Figures-23 : Sperm Damage affects Four Generations!

According to a recent U.S.study, mean can pass down sperm damage caused by alcohol, cigarettes, and other environmental toxins for up to four generations.
Courtesy: Weekly Review, Harper's Weekly, Feb.26, 2008

Facts & Figures-22 : The Sun will vaporize the Earth!

Scientists revealed that the sun will vaporize the earth if we cannot figure out how to change our orbit within 7.6 billion years.
Courtesy: Week Review, Harper's Weekly, Feb.26, 2008

Facts & Figures-22 : Japan Launches Experimental Satellite

Japan launched an experimental satellite that would provide Internet access speeds of 1.2 gigabytes per second.
Courtesy: Weekly Review, Harper's Weekly, Feb.26, 2008

Facts & Figures-21 : Top Producer of Wind Power

Texas surpassed California to become the top producer of wind power, and oil men were cashing in on the boom. "We are number one in wind in the United States," said Texas land commssioner Jerry Patterson, "and that will never change."
Courtesy: Weekly Review, Harper's Weekly, February 26, 2008

A Thought for Today : February 26, 2008

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds - Albert Einstein

Living without Violence by Usha Jesudasan

On January 30, we remember the anniversary of Gandhiji’s violent death.

Violence. How we fear it. How we hope that it will not touch us or those we love. But it does – so often. The violence we face may not be brutal or physical; it may not on our streets; or with bombs or guns; but nevertheless it is there. We find it lurking in our everyday relationships, attitudes to each other, words, thoughts, looks and feelings.

For centuries men mostly, and those in authority, marginalized the idea of non-violence as it did not help them prosper or succeed in getting what they wanted as much as violence and fear did. Then came people like Gandhiji, Martin Luther, Vaclav Havel and others who made non-violence a political weapon and showed those who were captive to violence and oppression, its power.

Since then, people all over the world have discovered the power of non-violence as a political weapon. But the non-violent life is more than just a political tactic. It is a way of life for every single person and one that is both challenging and meaningful. The idea of non-violence is revolutionary and feared by those who cling to power, because it is an idea that can completely change the nature of society, and thus is a grave threat to the established order.

Non-violence or ahimsa living, is not just for activists; it is for us ordinary people – we all need to transform our minds and hearts to embody non-violence. This is a huge challenge because our society surrounds us with violence – in the media, in our workplaces, relationships and way of life. So, unless we train ourselves to consciously unlearn all the habits of violence we use, our first response to a crisis is violence.

We need to practice the art of “ahimsa living” every day. We need to store within ourselves a repertoire of non-violent actions, thoughts and words, so that when we do face crises, we can draw upon these practical, ethical, and spiritual ahimsa resources.

Could you make a commitment to an ahimsa way of life for a day or a week? Which areas of your life would you have to specially target to live this way?

Courtesy: ‘Young World’, Supplement to The Hindu, Jan.25, 2008

Grateful thanks to Ms Usha Jesudasan and The Hindu for the excellent article, which I intend to read at every opportunity till it is indelibly registered in my mind and some visible change is effected in me; and I fondly hope the visitors to this blog also read it with due to attention and benefit by it.

A Thought for Today : February 25, 2008

Deeds, not stones, are the true monuments of the great - John L. Motley

A Gentler Way To Lose Weight

You may have thought yoga was strictly for the mystics. Well, think again. Research in Washington shows that 45- to 55-year-olds who regularly practice it are better able to fight “middle-age spread,” while those already overweight are more likely to slim down.

Interestingly, few people practice yoga vigorously enough to burn many calories doing it. The study authors speculate that yoga instead makes you more “body aware” and perhaps teaches you discipline that you can apply in other areas of life.

The authors offer these yoga tips:

· Find an edge where you are challenged but not overwhelmed.
· Pay more attention to the internal experience than outer
performance.
· Try to become more aware of even your smallest movements.
· Note what you are saying to yourself as you practice – be sure
to appreciate your own efforts.

Courtesy: ‘RD Health’, Reader’s Digest, January 2006