Published in the Oasis column of today’s Deccan Herald
In the Ramayana Hanuman, was identified to cross the ocean and scout for Sita the abducted wife of Rama. When he was midway across the ocean Mount Mainaka rose from the depths of the ocean and intercepted him. Hanuman was annoyed by the obstacle and started pounding the great mountain with all his might. Mainaka bore the brunt gracefully and spoke gently to Hanuman requesting the latter to accept the hospitality of the ocean. He sourced fresh fruits and water from his being and humbly requested Hanuman to avail the same and rest awhile before continuing on the journey. Maruthi was highly appreciative of the hospitality made a token of acceptance and continued with his journey.
The meekness of the once powerful Mainaka may seem in order with his altered status as a refugee. A little introspection of this story will reveal that Mainaka was being humble and grateful for what he received. It is said that long long ago all mountains were winged. They flew around with their massive bodies and landed where they pleased. This exercise proved to be a menace to earthlings. Therefore the Rishis requested Lord Indra to help them. Consequently, Indra chopped the wings off the mountains using his Vajrayudha. Mainaka, the son of Himavaan did not want to lose his wings. He sought refuge in the southern seas. Sagara obliged Mainaka and allowed the mountain prince to hide himself in the bosom of the ocean.
When Sagara learnt that Hanuman was crossing the ocean for Rama, the Ikshavaku prince he bid Mainaka to offer respite to the messenger. Sagara extended this support because he was grateful to Bhagheeratha, an Ikshavaku prince who had added sanctity and volume to his being by bringing down the divine Ganga to earth which eventually flowed into the seas.
This well known story has the mighty and the powerful eager to show their gratitude for favours received, and all of us are well aware that gratitude is the best attitude one can ever have to keep us happy.
Climate change is looming large and is threatening us in many ways .Scheduled and unscheduled power cuts happen to be some of them. People’s lives are thrown out of gear and nothing much can be done about it.
It is high time we realized that we can circumvent our woes if we refrain from wasting electricity recklessly and start conserving this scanty resource.
It is true that some people find it impossible to function in their homes and workplace even in broad daylight without switching their lights on because natural light does not seep into their homes. In most cases it would be literally impossible for people to get on with their morning chores if they did not use the various electrically operated electronic devices. Yet whenever these very people receive their electricity bills the amount does not evade shocking them.
It is a fact that quite a few kilowatts of electricity are regularly wasted by each household mostly due to forgetfulness and carelessness. This oversight not only raises the amount on their bills but also results in inadvertent and unfortunate accidents. Cases of electrocution, fires, and short circuits that have been reported almost with clockwork precision can be traced to domestic carelessness.
While one can understand that nobody is shirking their responsibilities of switching off lights intentionally, it will do good to remind them constantly about the same.
You could follow a few of these tips and herd your family and colleagues to a more electrically conscientious existence. One could put up unique cards which read “Thank U for giving me rest” above each switchboard which could inspire people to switch off unused electrical appliances. You could install zero watt bulbs in the bathroom, garage, motor room or wherever else you have temporarily functioning electrical appliances. If the bulb is switched on while operating the appliance then it will be a reminder that one or both the appliances are in use and needs to be put off after one is through with its utility.
Here are a few more tips that will help us to tread on the path of saving of electricity.
- Make sure that all the lights and appliances are switched off after use /before locking up the house/ before going to bed.
- If you need constant lighting in the house /staircase / corridors or the toilet, resort to using a zero watt bulb constantly in those areas.
- Using natural lighting saves lots of energy and produces a much nicer environment besides. Fix readymade skylights which are available which let in only the light and not the heat.
- Use Candle fluorescent lights to the maximum possible extent to conserve electricity.
- Try to avoid the use of the drier except during wet weather and save up on the current bill. Moreover sun dried clothes turn out crisper and fresher.
- Use of Air conditioners can also be avoided in pleasant climatic conditions. Try growing a few indoor plants to keep the room fresh and cool.
- Turn off lights and fans when you’re not using them, even for just a few minutes. The idea that lights use extra electricity to start up is a myth.
- Do not leave the music system, computer, television and other appliances switched on when you are not using them constantly.
- Avoid using electrically operated devices to exercise your body; this measure will cut the flab on the electricity bill as well as on your body.
- Clean stabilizers and electronic appliances constantly to ensure smooth functioning.
- Clear out the refrigerators and switch them off when you plan to leave your house locked for more than two or three days.
- Defrost refrigerators from time to time and give them a rest of at least three to six hours every month.
- Avoid using fancy lighting and serial lighting to the maximum possible extent.
- Service your electronic devices from time to time and change them if they are too old for use lest they burn a hole in your pocket.
- Avoid unnecessary electrical charging of batteries, cell phones and generators.
- Whenever you use the electrical devices to the optimum extent by maximizing their capacity; the consumption of electricity automatically goes up.
Remember you when you imbibe the habit of becoming electrically we can achieve a three-pronged agenda. Not only can we save electricity, we can also cut down on our electric bills and prevent fortuitous accidents and slow down the global warming a wee bit!
These days a lot of young and not-so-young adults are donning the roles of adoptive single parents. Being such a parent can be an arduous and fulfilling experience at the same time. For those of you who think it is a postmodern trend, think again. Kalidasa sketched the affectionate and responsible mindset of a single unmarried adoptive father in his famous work, Abhijnana Shakuntalam.
The abandoned baby of sage Vishwamitra and the nymph Menaka is adopted and brought up lovingly by sage Kanva. The child grows up amidst pristine beauty and selfless love absorbing those very qualities. As a young girl, she is once harassed by a recalcitrant bumblebee.
King Dushyantha of Hastinapura who is on a hunting spree in the vicinity observes the damsel and springs out of the bushes and saves her from distress. The couple fall in love in the aftermath and enter into a secret wedlock known as Gandharva Vivaha.
When it is time for the king to return to his royal duties, he does not want to take his young bride with him in the absence of her foster father. Soon, Shakuntala discovers that she is with child and languishes in the hermitage gazing at the regal insignia Dushyantha has left behind.
When Sage Kanva returns to the hermitage, he hears an aerial voice apprising him of the scenario awaiting him. Perhaps, this prepares him mentally to deal with the situation with patience and understanding. He immediately makes arrangements for his pregnant daughter to join her royal husband without much ado about the circumstances of the events.
Yet, the practical man is emotionally fraught with angst when he has to let go of his daughter. He wonders if a similar experience could be worse for biological fathers!
This incident brings a closure on the difference between foster and biological parents by subtly pointing out that a genuine parent-child relationship is an intangible web woven by innumerable strands of love, care, sharing and emotional support for each other.
Most of us must be familiar with a certain type of people who are timid to the point where they allow the domineering to walk all over them. While we cannot discount the fact that they are the tribe who are responsible for the little peace we enjoy on earth, we must also not forget that we are punishing them with untold trauma for being good natured.
A tale from the repertoire of stories from the Ramakrishna Ashram suggests a panacea for diffident denizens. There once lived a cobra in a little hamlet. He was feared by everyone. One day a saint came to the village. The cobra noticed the contrast in the attitude of the villagers towards himself and the saint. He approached the saint and spelled out his observation. The sage told the cobra to follow austerity. The snake who was determined to garner admiration even gave up hunting and lived on leaves shed by the trees. When he became noticeably meek and amiable, even little children in the village picked up him up by the tail and swirled him around just for fun. The serpent put up with this ordeal, to achieve his goal. Sometime later, the saint visited the settlement again. He heard about the saintly cobra. The good man visited the emaciated serpent and told him, that being nice did not mean accepting rude or violent behaviour. In fact, no one should ever accept an onslaught on their self esteem or accept discourteous behaviour, especially when they have done nothing to merit it. The Samaritan told the cobra to continue to be affable but also draw the line when others tried to take advantage of his goodness. When the reptile wondered as to how he could straddle both the situations, the saint told the cobra to unfurl his hood and hiss to frighten the mischief makers. He need not necessarily harm them, but threatening to do so could keep them at bay and also ensure his sanity and serenity.
Seven decades ago, India stepped into the path of progress by instituting a large number of public sector companies and factories. Namma Bengaluru has housed several of them. The coming of this sector ushered in a new pattern of work life in our city. New secular communities, colonies and tenements sprouted like mushrooms all over the place. They thrived for a couple of decades lending a vibrant vigour to the ethos of our garden city. As in all things change happens to be the only constant in life. It has not left the public sector untouched, hence we see the phenomenon phasing out ever so quietly from our lives.
The only remnants of the public sector happen to be the senior citizens who dot our city with their unique anecdotes. Though I have been privy to many of them, the one which never ceases to fascinate me happens to be the one I wish to share with my readers.
It is a well known fact that Rama and Lakshmana the protagonists of the Ramayana availed help from Sugriva the monkey- king to fight their enemy Ravana and redeem Seeta. An army of monkeys famously known as the Vanara Sena was instituted to help Rama in his mission. The ocean was crossed and the battle was fought. Rama the crown prince of Ayodhya slew the ten headed demon king Ravana redeemed Seeta. When it was time to return to Ayodhya with his wife Seeta and brother Lakshmana, he rewarded all the leaders like Hanuman, Sugriva, Vibhishana among the others but was at a loss as to how to return the favour of the members of the Vanara Sena. Then the lord said that the Dandakaranya forest would be abundant with fruits to take care of them during the Treta Yuga.
The simian army accepted their gift humbly but did not disperse as expected. So Rama told them that they could serve him as Yadava confederates when he re-incarnated as Krishna. Even as the Vanaras acknowledged the blessing gratefully, Rama felt that he had not been generous enough to see them through the wheel of time. So he said that in the Kali Yuga they would be absorbed as human resources by the public sector!
I have heard this tale regaled in jest, just to mark a merry moment. Of late, the elderly who recollect this tale do it with such a veneration which leaves the listener baffled! If the stories do enough rounds in the new tone, it will probably enter the portals of our mythology by the next half of this millennium! Only time can tell!
We cannot, should not and need not live like the Jones’. We can achieve our personal goals by recognising our set of six enemies known as the Arishadvargam and make sincere efforts to overcome them. The Ramayana outlines the life of Vishwamitra who was a Rajarishi. He once visited Brahmarishi Vasishta who lived in austerity but had access to plenty because he possessed the divine wish granting cow Kamadhenu.
Vishwamitra thought that he could put Kamadhenu to better use and demanded Vasishta to hand it over to him. When he was met with refusal, he seized the gentle giver. Vishwamitra was stunned when the divine bovine materialised a massive army to defend herself.
At that moment, Vishwamitra realised the superiority of Vasishta and resolved to become a Brahmarishi like him. He renounced all his worldly titles and commitments. In other words he gave up ‘Lobha’ or greed to pursue the path of spirituality. He performed stringent penances, which were interrupted time and again by his own frailties. He understood that he would have to overcome ‘Kaama’ or passion when he succumbed to grace and charm of Menaka and fathered Shakuntala.
When he resumed penance he became aware that he should conquer ‘Krodha’ or anger when he cursed the celestial nymph Rambha to turn into stone. His ‘Mada’ or ego took a beating when he tried to send the corporal form of Trishanku to heaven. He knew he cut a sorry figure when he created a unique heaven for Trishanku.
He recognised that it was his ‘Matsarya’ or jealousy of Vasishta which was still being an impediment in his lofty pursuit which was nothing but ‘Moha’ or his infatuation for power. This realisation made him submit humbly to the compassionate sage which finally made him Brahmarishi.
Sage Vishwamitra went through a roller coaster of obstacles when he displayed one-upmanship to spite his rival. Yet when he delved into his psyche identified his faults and corrected them he succeeded.