Please do come if you are in town .
Here is the sound byte of the lecture.
Please do come if you are in town .
Here is the sound byte of the lecture.
T hough this information has already been published in the keynotes section, I am uploading this again in the blog section following quite a few enquiries.
The following topics can be elucidated and discussed at various levels for specific age groups, genders, professions and purposes as per requirement. Examples from mythology, history and literature will be used to put across the idea effectively. Strategies, solutions and options to deal with problems will be the mainstay of each talk. Games, role play and activities will be included when conducting the sessions as workshops.
note: I am game to exploreother ideas and topics if given enough time.
Workshops on the following topics can be conducted over two sessions of ninety minutes each followed by half an hour of interaction or open house discussion as per requirement.The sessions will be a combination of talk and activities.)
10.Team building and leadership. (SWOT analysis of colleagues and employees and learning to build a healthy competitive atmosphere.)
The law of Karma makes it amply clear that we will most definitely experience the consequences of our actions.
Largely, people do not have any objections about harvesting the benefits of their good deeds. It is only when we go through a rough passage of life we cringe and cower at the thought of bearing the brunt of our misdeeds.
A level-headed person will understand that when one lands a bad bargain, he or she should hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. By doing so, at least the quotient of regret of not having tried enough to circumvent the problem can be done away with.
An episode from the Mahabharata documents this nugget of wisdom through the predicament of Parikshit, the king of Hastinapura. Once, the sovereign succumbed to unreasonable anger. He humiliated a reverent sage Shamik by garlanding him with the flaccid dead body of a snake.
The sage’s son Shringi, who was outraged by the king’s misdemeanor, cursed him to be dead in a week’s time by a snake bite. The petrified king realised that no amount of penitence could salvage him from the imminent death. Nevertheless he thought out the situation pragmatically.
He got a royal residence built on a tall tower and moved in. The food, drink and even the very air that he breathed were scanned before being permitted into the premises. Now it was customary for Brahmins to offer a fruit to the king. That day also, it was given to the king after the usual security check.
When the unsuspecting ruler cut open the fruit, a worm fell on the ground and grew up manifold. Takshaka, the king of snakes, metamorphosed himself into a tiny worm and had reclined in the heart of a lemon. Parikshit recognised Takshaka – and he fell dead when stung by the reptile and the prophecy was fulfilled.
Though Parikshit could not save himself, the fact remains that he left no stone unturned to protect his life. His approach is worthy of being emulated, for while it is sad to fail in one’s mission, it will be a shame and pity for not having tried to decimate the problem. If a righteous sovereign could not salvage himself from the consequences of his misdemeanor, we must think twice before we err consciously!
We, in the subcontinent, have been told that possessing an Aadhaar card will be an antidote for all regional, national and international identification purposes for about half a decade now.
The multiple uses of this card would prove to be a panacea and offset the need to have and keep track of half a dozen similar cards. It is considered to be foolproof and of world-class, because it uses biometrics and the latest technology.
As usual, we the Indians, have mixed feelings towards it. The believers, the non-believers, and the in-betweens, who debate vehemently on the subject.
The first group queued up almost immediately at the assigned booths and went through the procedure through rain and shine.
They ranged from babies in arms to senior citizens. Loads of documents were verified and the denizens filled up e-forms. They were asked to wait up to three months to receive the magic wand. The believers encouraged the in-betweens to follow suit.
The ones who thought that it would be better to be uniquely identified, gave it a shot. They expected the serpentine queues in front of Aadhaar booths to have depleted with time. But they did not take our billion-plus population into consideration.
Nevertheless, they stood with the hope that their time and effort would eventually reward them.
Months flit past. The coveted card made its way to the doorsteps of the early birds. It pleased some. Others found that one or all of their details were misrepresented.
Meanwhile, a newspaper report mentioned that somebody in the then Andhra Pradesh received an Aadhaar card in the name of Sonia Gandhi. Pranksters and people with selfish motives had generated the coveted card for the dead.
The arrival of more such news reports made the non-believers gloat. The in-betweens who had by this time decided not to believe, got into the “I told you so!” mode.
Years have passed since then. The dilemma of letting the card be or not, continues. It has not been written off entirely. If technology could be done away with, then we could adapt the philosophy of Rene Descartes. Then, we could circumvent a lot of paper work and save the great Himalayan forests. Then Cogito Ergo Sum, (I think, therefore I am) could ideally become the new mantra and the proof of our existence.
The Dashavatara, which chronicles the ten manifestations of Lord Vishnu, defines the Lord’s role very distinctly. Parashurama Avatara happens to be an exception. The manifestation as Parashurama which precedes Ramavatara finds presence in Krishnavatara also. Parashurama’s appearance in both Ramayana and Mahabharata has made some people wonder whether the two epics speak about the same person or different person who lived through the Treta Yuga and Dwapara Yuga.
Towards the end of Parashurama Avatara, Maha Vishnu had completed his mission and was reborn again as Rama. It is believed that in the last portion of Parashurama Avatara and the first portion of Ramavatara there was a combination of the human and the divine. The manifestation of Lord Vishnu as Parashurama lasted till he met Rama. An incident in the Ramayana speaks of a time when Rama was returning to Ayodhya with his bride Sita after his wedding, he was confronted by Parashurama.
The axe wielding Brahmin knew that Rama had broken the Bow of Shiva in the process of stringing it in order to win Sita’s hand in marriage. He was aware that the power of Maha Vishnu was split between the two Avataras. Parashurama waylaid Rama and challenged the prince of Ayodhya to prove his prowess by stringing the bow of Maha Vishnu. Rama was struck by the temerity of the Brahmin. He took the bow quietly and did the needful in a trice.
In that moment, the component of Maha Vishnu in Parashurama merged with that of Rama. However, the body of the Brahmin in which the Lord resided continued to live as sage Parashurama. As Raghava handed over the bow to Parashurama, he laid a condition. He told the ascetic that the latter could forfeit the merits of his penance or his physical mobility as a sign of his penitence.
Interestingly, Parashurama surrendered the Punya he had garnered over his lifetime and opted the power to be on his feet so that he could retire to the Mahendra mountains and spend his days in prayers. He went on to tutor great pupils like Bheeshma and Karna as he went on to live as the contemporary of Sri Krishna. The Lord reiterated the theory of Karma was applicable to one and all himself included!
Angels and demons reside within each one of us. When we fuel the positive or negative traits in us, they transpose as our character eventually contributing to our personality.
For instance, the Hindu way of living believes that we feed strength to our Gods which happen to be the goodness in us through Yagas and Yajnas.
The Gods who have to be pleased could be either forces or nature or could be presiding over various qualities that we desire to acquire. During these times, the performer of the Yajna follows certain disciplines.
He has to be truthful, abstain from alcohol and cooked food, uphold integrity, and espouse celibacy, apart from reposing faith and belief in the action that he has proposed to perform.
In other words, the Yajaman, the performer of the Yajna cleanses himself physically, mentally and spiritually before setting out to empower the Gods or the natural elements, who actually reside within him.
Then an individual or a team of Yajniks, light a ceremonial fire in a spot which is conducive and feed it with Havis. Havis, is usually pure ghee sourced from cow’s milk cream and is poured in to feed the sacrificial fire.
This action is accompanied by appropriate acoustics by way of mantras invoking the Gods or the forces of nature in a sincere manner. When this action is performed for a couple of hours over a few days, the smoke emanating from the fire and the complementary sound bytes will have an effect on the overhanging clouds. They will get charged which will result in rains.
The periodic rains in an agricultural society will ensure bumper crops. This in turn will usher in prosperity followed by contentment, peace and harmony. Naturally the citizens of the country who live in such an atmosphere will develop a penchant for the development of self and society. Arts, science and commerce will thrive, paving the way for a better standard of living.
The logic behind Yagas and Yajnas has been lost on us for lack of comprehension. Even if people who do understand the underlying principle perform them by the book, the altered environment punctuated with pollution and deforestation seldom fetches the desired results.
However, the new age should not deter us from feeding the God within us.
Yajna can be interpreted as a metaphor. It is an exercise which can help understand that the means are as important if not more as the ends we hope to arrive at. Any project taken up with discipline, passion and perseverance is equivalent to a Yajna which is perfectly capable of delivering the results we look forward to achieve.
Ancient Indians believed that “Shareeram eva Dharma Sadhanam” – which means the human body is the vehicle of spirituality.
In other words the intrinsic virtues of a person are directly related to the well-being of his physical self. It is said that once a great king cooked and served a humble meal to a Samaritan monk.
The well-fed monk rested for a while and furtively started helping himself to the silver cutlery from the royal kitchen. The king was aghast. He confronted the monk, who blamed it on the food. A little probing revealed that a thief who professed to be a merchant, paid toll tax to the king’s men by way of some food grains. It had been duly cooked by the king for the monk.
Since the monk had led a clean life, the morally soiled food had its effect on him on ingestion.
The food we consume not only lends us physical sustenance but also lends us our character. This is probably the reason why all religions subscribe to both feasting and fasting.
Fasting helps us to discipline our senses, cleanse our intestines and regulate our digestive system.
Ayurveda classifies food into three categories Satvic, Rajas and Tamas in the decreasing order of health quotient.
Satvic food consists of a healthy vegetarian diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, milk and bland food without many spices which keep the body in a good condition and help the mind to inch forth towards noble and spiritual thoughts.
Rajas food includes fried and spicy food sometimes including a non vegetarian diet which undermines and clogs the digestive system paving way to a lethargic way of living. Leftovers, stale or unpalatable food constitute Tamas food which degenerates the consumer physically, mentally and spiritually.
It is frightening to note that modern living which has bestowed us with refrigerators and microwave ovens are actually encouraging even the well to do and educated into consuming Tamas food, without giving it a second thought about its ill effects on the health.
The hazards of modern living are translating into unflattering medical reports. True, we cannot set the clock back or undo the damage. Unhealthy bodies have a tendency to breed weak psyches which in turn can prove to be detrimental to the society we live in.
Yet we can endeavour to “be the change we want to see” by incorporating some simple lifestyle changes in our lives and those of our children, so that we can alter things for the better in future.