May good things happen to us in the coming New Year. Those who believe in a new resolution, New Year is just the excuse to form new habits and change for the better. Here is a selection of some New Year messages, from some great Indians, that are zara hatke and could add some oomph to our resolutions.
India is a not just a country …to put it mildly India is a mind-boggling planet. There is so much diversity in India – be it the geography, people, lifestyles, languages, customs, politics and even religion etc. For centuries, India’s forte has been her ‘spirituality and religion’ and that too is so diverse. The Indian sphere of God is so different that it appears quite baffling to the modern mind. Naturally therefore, one asks ‘How come you guys have so many Gods’ etc. But the explanations are not hard to find these days.
It is not uncommon for Indians to get asked “So…what do you guys eat for breakfast in India?” I wish the answer was straightforward. India has a diversity platter on almost everything including food. Only those who know about Indian culture really understand that there is no such thing as homogenous Indian food – be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. Also there are some natural and time tested principles that make the Indian cuisine unique, including the so called ‘Indian breakfast”.
Navratri 2012 is ON. The nine evenings of Navratri no doubt has a spiritual significance to the devout, but it is also a time to celebrate ‘womanhood’ ~ the Indian way and that too for 9 consecutive days.But , today we seem to have forgotten the art of honouring women and she is shown on TV as a jalebibhai, chikni chameli, madam malai, anarkali disco chali, beedi jalaikey….Not to speak about the abhorrent treatment given to her in some sections of the society. Navratri comes to us as good reminder to discover the shakti that have been dormant for quite some time.
Lord Ganesha is popularly known as Vighneshwara – the Lord of obstacles. For those on the spiritual path, Lord Ganesha represents a perfect wisdom to remove all obstacles that comes in the way of attaining God. But to those who need a empirical proof of God, the legends of Lord Ganesha’s eight temples in Maharashta collectively called Ashta-Vinayak temples offer much mysticism.
What’s your IQ? What’s your EQ? These days we are also asked about SQ (spiritual quotient). These IQ, EQ, SQ are available today only to measure our aptitude, emotions, spirituality etc. But there is a quotient that was discovered thousands of years ago in India, which is based on natural order of things. It is the VQ ~ the Varna quotient which is simple, logical and provides a template to understand oneself.
Is the past dead? Is heritage of any relevance today? While all other ancient civilizations have long disappeared, India is probably the only living civilisation spanning over some 5000 years. India at its core has somehow retained the elements of her ancient civilization showing a clear continuity. Much has stood the test of time in India – from the subtlest knowledge to the much preserved world heritage sites. Here’s a brief account of the ancient Indian cultural sites that are classified as world heritage by UNESCO.
The Indian spiritual traditions are replete with dialogues, Q&As and rhetoric on truth. Even in the great epic Mahabharata we find many accounts of reasoning and inquiry where application of dharma is discussed. The Yaksha Prashna in the Mahabharata is one such section where we find a famous Q&A (question and answer) session between Yama the Lord of death and the wise King Yudhistir. In this Q&A we find 123 pointed questions by Lord Yama in a rapid fire style to which the righteous Yudhistir answers in a crisp and insightful way covering many aspects of applied DHARMA.
Though scientific discoveries like the Higg’s Boson aka ‘God particle’ are an honest attempt to know the origin of universe, there have been other attempts and approaches to know the truth. If “India is like a historic father of the Higg’s Boson project” according to Paolo Giubellino the spokesperson of CERN, the search for the absolute truth had a wiser ancestor in ancient India. It is already known to scholars that the inquiry into truth has been a favourite subject for ‘Truth’-seekers in India for thousands of years. But ‘Truth’ according to them wasn’t about any particle of God in the realm of cause-and-effect, but a discovery. Where does the ancient Indian discovery trail take us?
If you are from India, you are more likely to know at least one story from the Panchatantra. We know that the Panchatantra has some great short stories, but to classify this 2300 year old collection as a story book for little children could be a bit hasty. A careful look at it beyond the narrative tells us a different story. A critical view at the Panchatantra brings to light a creative way of life coaching using a practical and fun way, that too for all age groups.