Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Greetings

నూతన సంవత్సర శుభాకాంక్షలు

Wish you all Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Greetings


క్రిస్ మస్ శుభా కాం క్షలు
Wish you all a Merry Christmas

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Lesser to a higher truth

In all religions we travel from a lesser to a higher truth, never from error to truth. There is Oneness behind all creation, but minds are various. "That which exists is one, sages call it variously." What I mean is that one progresses from a smaller to a greater truth. The worst religions are only bad readings of the truth. One gets to understand bit by bit. Even devil-worship is but a perverted reading of the ever-true and immutable Brahman. Other phases have more or less truth in them. No form of religion possesses it entirely.

Interview. London, 1896. Complete Works, 5: 202.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fencing The State Borders ...

Maharashtra For Maharashtrians

.... at the risk of sounding sentimental, I would go with the repeatedly mouthed but rarely acted on statements of two of the otherwise vastly different leaders of modern India, Gandhi and Tagore.

"I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible."

"…Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
…Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake".

Alaka M. Basu

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sects must gradually disappear

Sects must gradually disappear as liberty and knowledge increase. Sects are founded on the nonessential, which by the nature of things cannot survive. The sects have served their purpose, which was that of an exclusive brotherhood on lines comprehended by those within it. Gradually we reach the idea of universal brotherhood by flinging down the walls of partition which separate such aggregation of individuals.

Interview. London, 1896. Complete Works, 5:197-98.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Is it comparative religion you want to preach?

It is really the philosophy of religion, the kernel of all its outward forms. All forms of religion have an essential and a nonessential part. If we strip from them the latter, there remains the real basis of all religion, which all forms of religion possess in common. Unity is behind them all. We may call it God, Allah, Jehovah, the Spirit, Love; it is the same unity that animates all life, from its lowest form to its noblest manifestation in human beings. It is on this unity that we need to lay stress, whereas in the West, and indeed everywhere, it is the nonessential that people are apt to lay stress. They will fight and kill each other for these forms, to make their fellows conform. Seeing that the essential is love of God and love of human beings, this is curious, to say the least.

Interview. London, 1896. Complete Works, 5: 197.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Message from Former President of India

Hello Friends ..

I was in Hyderabad giving this lecture, when a 14 year old girl asked me for my autograph. I asked her what her goal in life is. She replied: I want to live in a developed India. For her, you and I will have to build this developed India. You must proclaim. India is not an under-developed nation; it is a highly developed nation.

Do you have 10 minutes?

Allow me to come back with a vengeance.

Got 10 minutes for your country? If yes, then read; otherwise, choice is yours.

YOU say that our government is inefficient.

YOU say that our laws are too old.

YOU say that the municipality does not pick up the garbage.

YOU say that the phones don't work; the railways are a joke,

The airline is the worst in the world, mails never reach their destination.

YOU say that our country has been fed to the dogs and is the absolute pits.

YOU say, say and say. What do YOU do about it? Take a person on his way to Singapore. Give him a name...YOURS. Give him a face...YOURS.

YOU walk out of the airport and you are at your International best.
- In Singapore you don't throw cigarette butts on the roads or eat in the stores.

YOU are as proud of their Underground Links as they are.

You pay $5(approx. Rs.60) to drive through Orchard Road(equivalent of Mahim Causeway or Pedder Road) between 5 PM and 8 PM.

YOU comeback to the parking lot to punch your parking ticket if you have over-stayed, identity. In Singapore you don't say anything, DO YOU?

YOU wouldn't dare to eat in public during Ramadan, in Dubai.

YOU would not dare to go out without your head covered in Jeddah.

YOU would not dare to buy an employee of the telephone exchange in Londonat 10 pounds (Rs.650) a month to, "see to it that my STD and ISD calls are billed to someone else."

YOU would not dare to speed beyond 55 mph (88 km/h) in Washington and then tell the traffic cop, "Jaanta hai main kaun hoon (Do you know who I am?). I am so and so's son.

YOU wouldn't chuck an empty coconut shell anywhere other than the garbage pail on the beaches in Australia and New Zealand. Why don't YOU spit Paan on the streets of Tokyo? Why don't YOU use examination jockeys or buy fake certificates in Boston????? We are still talking of the same YOU.

YOU can respect and conform to a foreign system in other countries but cannot in your own. You throw papers and cigarettes on the road the moment you touch the Indian ground. If you can be an involved and appreciative citizen in an alien country, why cannot you be the same here in India?

Once in an interview, the famous Ex-municipal Commissioner of Bombay, Mr.Tinaikar, had a point to make.

"Rich people's dogs are walked on the streets to leave their affluent droppings all over the place," he said. "And then the same people turn around to criticize and blame the authorities for inefficiency and dirty pavements.

What do they expect the officers to do? Go down with a broom every time their dog feels the pressure in his bowels?

In America every dog owner has to clean up after his pet has done the job. Same in Japan. Will the Indian citizen do that here?" He's right. We go to the polls to choose a government and after that forfeit all responsibility. We sit back wanting to be pampered and expect the government to do everything for us whilst our contribution is totally negative. We expect the government to clean up but we are not going to stop chucking garbage all over the place nor are we going to stop to pickup a stray piece of paper and throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to provide clean bathrooms but we are not going to learn the proper use of bathrooms.

We want Indian Airlines and Air India to provide the best of food and toiletries but we are not going to stop pilfering at the least opportunity. This applies even to the staff that is known not to pass on the service to the public. When it comes to burning social issues like those related to women, dowry, girl child and others, we make loud drawing room protestations and continue to do the reverse at home. Our excuse? "It's the whole system which has to change, how will it matter if I alone forego my son's rights to a dowry.

" So who's going to change the system? What does a system consist of? Very conveniently for us it consists of our neighbours, other households, other cities, other communities and The government. But definitely not me and YOU.When it comes to us actually making a positive contribution to the system we lock ourselves along with our families into a safe cocoon and look into the distance at countries far away and wait for a Mr. Clean to come along & work miracles for us with a majestic sweep of his hand or we leave the country and run away.

Like lazy cowards hounded by our fears we run to America to bask in their glory and praise their system. - When New York becomes insecure we run to England.

When England experiences unemployment, we take the next flight out to the Gulf. - When the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by the Indian government. Everybody is out to abuse and rape the country. Nobody thinks of feeding the system. Our conscience is mortgaged to money.

Dear Indians, the article is highly thought inductive, calls for a great deal of introspection and pricks one's conscience too?..

I am echoing J.F. Kennedy's words to his fellow American to relate to Indians?. "ASK WHAT WE CAN DO FOR INDIA AND DO WHAT HAS TO BE DONE TO MAKE INDIA WHAT AMERICA AND OTHER WESTERN COUNTRIES ARE TODAY" Let's do what India needs from us.

Forward this mail to each Indian for a change instead of sending Jokes or junk mails.

Thank You,

Dr. Abdul Kalaam --

Note: This is received originally as Power Point Presentation.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Indian Caste System

The Indian Caste System
describes the social stratification and social restrictions in the Indian subcontinent, in which social classes are defined by thousands of endogamous, hereditary groups often termed as jatis or castes.

Manu Smriti
s a work of Hindu law and ancient Indian society (manus is the Sanskrit for "man" or "human"). It is one of the nineteen Dharmasastra, which are part of the Smriti literature. It is considered the oldest and one of the most important texts of this genre. Some of these codes of conduct pertain to the caste system and discuss the stages of life for "twice-born" males (the āśrama system). It explains itself as a discourse given by Sage Manus to rishis who begged him to enlighten them on the topic.

The Bhagvat-geeta contradicts many statements including the fixture of one's varna at birth, and has always been accorded a higher authority by the people in daily life.

Vedic Vocations (Hindu Castes) Were Not Related to Heridity (Birth)
The ancient society recognized the importance of all. Irrespective of one's skill or background, there was a place for him / her to participate actively and make useful contribution. The ceremonial rites, though conducted by the learned priest, were open to all. People used prayers for atonement and benediction for all. Everyone sent their "heroes" (sons) to the battles for Visha or to protect and assist the Sovereign. A number of important aspects of the ancient society can be further clarified by considering the following passages (with references to one God or BRAHMAN+, and manifesting as Agni, Indra or Savitar) from Vedas (ancient Hindu texts).

Women's Issues
It seems from the above that the ancient society was quite considerate and respectful to those (both men and women) engaged in various vocations, and people were free to make choices or changes in their careers or skills if the opportunity existed. Vedic prayers also indicate that the women had considerable say in selecting their marriage partners, and were espoused to live in monogamous relationships while enjoying same rights as their husbands.

Furthermore, in the Vedas there is little evidence of child marriages, dowry system and the practice of suttee or sati (self-immolation of a woman upon her husband's death). Similarly, there is no indication of any stigma relating to widowhood or the remarriage of a widow.

Note also that the well-educated, scholarly and charismatic women of yore, who also participated in many philosophical debates with men, included Gargi (the daughter of Vachaknu - from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad) and Vidyottama (wife of the famed poet and writer, Kaalidasa, who started his life as a humble and menial worker in the woods). It is clear that the women or the lowly and humble in the society were neither ignored nor abandoned.

The Historical Theory of Caste System Origin
The Aryans organized among themselves in three groups. The first group was of the warriors and they were called Rajayana, later they changed their name Rajayana to Kshatria. The second group was of the priests and they were called Brahmans. These two groups struggled politically for leadership among the Aryans. In this struggle the Brahmans got to be the leaders of the Aryan society. The third group was of the farmers and craftsmen and they were called Vaisia. The Aryans who conquered and took control over parts of north India subdued the locals and made them their servants. In this process the Vaisias who were the farmers and the craftsmen became the landlords and the businessmen of the society and the locals became the peasants and the craftsmen of the society. ......

The Caste System
In ancient India there developed a social system in which people were divided into separate close communities. These communities are known in English as caste. The origin of the caste system is in Hinduism, but it affected the whole Indian society. The caste system in the religious form is basically a simple division of society in which there are four castes arranged in a hierarchy and below them the outcast. But socially the caste system was more complicated, with much more castes and sub-castes and other divisions. Legally the government disallows the practice of caste system but has a policy of affirmative discrimination of the backward classes.

Mostly Culture and Heritage in Andhra Pradesh
Brief notes on Communities and Clans of Andhra Pradesh

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Women as Catalysts for Peace and Stability

"The purpose behind explaining the importance of goddesses in Hindu pantheon is not to show my religious leanings or highlight the determinism that has prevented Indians from ushering societal change, but to state that in India, women are not submissive. In fact they provide the moral compass for the Indian society."

'Women as Catalysts for Peace and Stability' - A perspective from India
- Speech made by Archana Kapoor at World Women's Forum at Seoul, Korea
Article on HARDNEWS Magazine

Friday, June 27, 2008

What is dharma? What is mukti?

What is dharma? Dharma is that which makes us seek for happiness in this world or the next. Dharma is established on karma, and it impels us day and night to run after and work for happiness.

What is mukti? That which teaches that even the happiness in this life is slavery, and the same is the happiness of the life to come, because neither this world nor the next is beyond the laws of nature... Again, happiness, wherever it may be, being within the laws of nature, is subject to death and will not last ad infinitum. So we must aspire to become mukta. We must go beyond the bondage of the body. Slavery will not do.

From "The East and the West," originally written in Bengali
by Swami Vivekananda. Complete Works, 5:446.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Communities and Clans

About roots of indians (South Asians) traceable to many places in the world
- By V. Ramachandra Rao

Part 1--Some info on connections/roots of Indians (south asians) to Africans, Southeast Asians, Malaysians Indonesians, Polynesians, Papuans, China, Jewish, Palestine, Arab, Turkic, Greek, etc. Ethnic Strands in India - Part 1

Part 2--Some info on connections/roots of Indians (south asians) to Celts, Scythian, Goth, Greek, Hunnish, etc Ethnic Strands in India - Part 2

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I have a Dream...

''Patriotism is not instilled by fear but is inspired by hope. Hands that were once raised against one another will join to run the economic engine of the country, if the vision of a common destination inspires confidence and commitment. The answer lies in promoting economic opportunities for assured employment and equitable living conditions, so that 'others' are not perceived as job stealers or rapacious profiteers. Sharing the fruits of economic growth brings about a sense of the common 'us', whereas the feeling of alienation that springs from economic marginalisation splinters society into several resentful sets of 'us' battling inimical groups of 'them'. Growth with equity will ease the hearts and clear the minds, preparing people for unified action.

Even as these efforts must be undertaken with urgency, the dignity of a human being and the sanctity of human life must become the essence of human rights that have to be respected by all. The State, and civil society, must ceaselessly strive to protect and promote those rights, till their observance is seen to be obligatory for all citizens. Those who foment sectarian hatred or violate human rights have to be punished by the law of the land and by social censure. If the custodians of peoples' welfare, the guardians of law or the conscience-keepers of society (especially the media) act in a cowardly or complicit manner when human rights are threatened or trampled upon, there will be no defence against prejudice and persecution, other than rebellion and retaliation.

In the public sphere, open dialogue and discourse must continue to engage people's minds on these issues, without the fear of being shouted at or shut down by sectarian groups. Myths need to be broken, stereotypes need to be challenged and unpleasant realities must be acknowledged. This requires conviction, courage and candour in all who wish to contribute to social harmony. Young people must be engaged in these efforts, so that they are not weighed down by past prejudices but can uplift their minds to seek a society where diversity results in confluence rather than conflict."

.... read the rest of the article on HardNews Magazine (Google News Alert for: Indian Express, Hyderabad)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

We must all work incessantly

We read in the Bhagavad Gita again and again that we must all work incessantly. All work is by nature composed of good and evil. We cannot do any work which will not do some good somewhere; there cannot be any work which will not cause some harm somewhere. ... Good and evil will both have their results, will produce their karma. Good actions will entail upon us good effect; bad action, bad. But good and bad are both bondages of the soul. The solution reached in the Gita in regard to this bondage-producing nature of work is that, if we do not attach ourselves to the work we do, it will not have any binding effect on our soul.

Class on Karma Yoga. New York, December 20, 1895. Complete Works, 1:53.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Oneness of All Beings

Wherever there has been expansion in love or progress in well-being, of individuals or numbers, it has been through the perception, realization, and the practicalization of the eternal truth
--the oneness of all beings.

Written by Swami Vivekananda in March 1899, to be included in the prospectus of the Advaita Ashrama at Mayavati in the Himalayas. Complete Works, 5:435.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Former CBM Missionary to India Passes Away

TIMPANY, Dorothy Elizabeth - 95, CM MD FRCS(C), formerly of Windsor and Falmouth, passed away February 3, 2008, in Windsor Elms Senior Citizen's Home. Born March 6, 1912, in Peddapuram, Andhra Pradesh, India, she was the oldest daughter of missionaries, Dr. Clarke L. and Elizabeth Wright Timpany from Aylmer, Ont. Known as "Dot" to her friends and colleagues, she served as a physician/surgeon in India for 44 years.

She served in a succession of hospitals: Berhampur with the British Baptists, the Christian Medical Centre in Pithapuram, the Star of Hope Hospital in Akividu, before studying general surgery at the Christian Medical College and Hospital in Vellore.

Dot and two Indian colleagues, Susheela and K. Janaki, studied surgery in Scotland during her furlough in 1964-65.

Read entire post

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Universal Religion

“if there is ever to be a universal religion, it must be one which will have no location in place or time; which will be infinite like the God it will preach, and whose sun will shine upon the followers of Krishna and of Christ, on saints and sinners alike; which will not be Brahminic or Buddhistic, Christian or Mohammedan, but the sum total of all these, and still have infinite space for development; which in its catholicity will embrace in its infinite arms, and find a place for, every human being, from the lowest grovelling savage not far removed from the brute, to the highest man towering by the virtues of his head and heart almost above humanity, making society stand in awe of him and doubt his human nature. It will be a religion which will have no place for persecution or intolerance in its polity, which will recognise divinity in every man and woman, and whose whole scope, whose whole force, will be created in aiding humanity to realise its own true, divine nature.”

At the Parliament of Religions, Chicago, 1893. Complete Works, 1:19