The beauty behind the word ‘Namaste’

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I had a discussion with an American woman recently. She asked me if it was ok for Christians to use the word, ‘Namaste‘ , since the word has it’s origin in Hinduism. For starters, i told her that , “have we become so intolerant now that we don’t even have space for a single word from another religion? Whatever happened to Humanity – the greatest religion of all ?”  I started explaining to her the significance of the word and she was mesmerized. Not only she but about 9-10 more people , (all of whom were Christians) said that it was a beautiful concept . In fact many of them use it often. Especially the ones taking Yoga class. It is a norm to use it there. I was happy i could put the message across and i thought of sharing it here too.

On the surface of it , ‘Namaste‘ is a word that is used to greet each other.  This is accompanied by folding of both hands and slight bowing down of one’s head .But this is not it. The word has a greater significance. The word has it’s origin in the Sanskrit language where ‘Namaste‘ is a combination of 2 words – namah + te which means “I bow to you”. In other words, “i offer my respects to you.” The joining and folding together of hands of the palms symbolizes oneness. When said with mindfulness and  understanding, it serves to negate our sense of separateness or ego from others. There’s something about the universal recognition and the spiritual energy that accompanies the essence of Namaste that makes it a truly remarkable greeting. Just speaking the word Namaste – especially along with the Mudra  (symbolic or ritual gesture) posture – raises the vibrations of your intention to greet someone by honoring of their inner goodness.The deeper spiritual purpose of the Namaste greeting is to remind ourselves and others of the absolute oneness and divinity of all life and to keep this thought and knowledge established each day in our consciousness. When the word Namaste is spoken and the hands are held in prayer over the heart, the person will bow forward as a sign of respect and humility.  When we recognize the Divine Light in each other we are humbled by the greatest of that which creates us and that which we truly are.

When we know its purpose and spiritual significance, the greeting paves the way for a deeper, divine communion with others, complete with love, honour, and respect.

(With inputs from the Katha Upanishad)

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Photo Credits:

(https://angeliquemol.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/namaste.gif

https://www.trsiyengar.com/images/namaskar_3.gif)

‘Earth Day’ Special

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“Humanity; the most intelligent species on the planet, capable of anything, but is governed by it’s aggression and youth. A species fast in developing, but slow in maturing.

Once a species that cared about it’s home, it’s provider, let it’s ego dominate it’s decisions. A period of ignorance and neglect has had profound effects across the world. Effects which can be reversed, if nature is given the time to repair the damage.

Remember: We only have one home.”

David Bayliss

Photo Credits :

(http://www.imagesbuddy.com/images/07/2013/03/earth-day-april-22.jpg)

Cut the Crap and Stop Shaming Women during – ‘ That Time of the Month ‘ !!!

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I am a woman. I am proud of my essential being. I am proud of the fact that i can create, bear and bring a new life to this world. Even the society around me is proud of me for being able to generate life. However there’s one thing which is ironical here – The world celebrates a woman for fertility , for life but shames her for the very phenomena that is responsible for her fertility in the first place. Yes, the world shames her for ‘menstruation.’ It’s the year 2015. The world is rapidly progressing and that too scientifically. Yet even in the year 2015 , a lot of women across countries, cultures, and religions are stigmatized when ‘that time of the month arrives.’ Sad part is that most people (women included) don’t even have a rational explanation for this regressive approach towards menstruating women. They do it because they have been following their ancestors or maybe because they are too unaware to question and find the answers. When i talk about people here, i do not mean some kind of tribal folks or people from rural backgrounds. Not at all. The urban folks are very much included. Folks that are literate( I’m not deliberately using the word education here because literacy and education are two very different things).

A woman is made to feel like some kind of an inferior ‘creature’ when she is on her period. In fact a lot of times women don’t even speak about it. They hush it up as if it’s some kind of a sinful act.  I’ve come across some bizarre practices followed by people .Not just bizarre but obnoxious and some times just foolish. Let me give you some examples : In a lot of households , a menstruating woman is NOT allowed to enter the kitchen, NOT allowed to eat pickles, NOT even allowed to bake cakes, NOT allowed to go to a temple for worship ( in case of Hinduism), NOT allowed to sleep on the same bed as her husband, definitely NOT allowed intimacy, is given a separate section of the house to reside , in some extreme cases. Not just Hinduism , every religion in the world puts restrictions on menstruating women (except Sikhism). In Islam, menstruating women are not allowed to touch the Quran, enter the mosque, offer the ritual prayer or be intimate with her husband for seven full days. The woman is also exempted from rituals such as daily prayers and fasting. The Jewish ‘Code of Law’ – The Halakha prohibits any physical contact between a man and a woman during menstruation.Likewise, in Christianity too (especially Catholic Christians) a menstruating woman is considered ‘unclean’ and ‘impure.’ So she’s not allowed to touch the Bible, attend Church Services or even touch raw food. Surprisingly, even a religion like Buddhism does not allow women to circumambulate around the Stupas during menstruation.

Madras visit. 1734

The picture right above is that of a board in front of the main entrance of a reputed temple in Chennai. The priest of the temple has not even spelled the word ‘sanctity’ correctly and yet wants women out of the temple during ,”that time of the month.” Anyway, the retrograde rituals restricting a menstruating woman from eating, worshiping, moving to certain places and being intimate with her partner are practically the same across religions. I can quote the exact lines from the scriptures of the religions, I’ve mentioned above but it’ll take a lot of important space here. So being a Hindu by birth, i’d just like to explain the MYTH because of which people still want to remain irrational:

“Viswaroopa the son of Thwashta was recruited as the ‘guru’(priest) fore the gods in place of Bruhaspathi, when Bruhaspathi was hidden himself because of the insult made by the Indra. Viswaroopa was killed by Indra in a cheating war, then the Indra was attacked by the Brahma-hathya Dosha’. So now indra was suffering from the ‘brahma-hathya Dosha’. After some time he asks Bruhaspathi for solution, then Bruhaspathi said ‘if there is any body to share that, then you’ll be relieved and you should give some boons to the person’ The following shared the Brahma-hathya Dosha of indra in the following manner.
1. Earth (prithvy)
2. Trees (vriksha)
3. Sea (samudra)
4. Ladies (sthree)
Earth shared the sin and releases the sin in the form of “fuller’s earth (choudu mritthika)” and got the boon that the earth will be filled or become closed even after the excavations. Trees shared the sin and releases the sin in the form of ‘gum’ and got the boon that they can grow even they cut. Sea shared the sin and released the sin in the form of ‘foam/froth’ and got the boon the at the sea cannot cross the sea shore (generally, not in some cases). Ladies shared the sin and releases the sin in the form of ‘menstruation’ every month and got the boon that they can give birth to children from menstruation.” 

.. And this is the reason why people want to remain irrational ?? Like really ? Personally i find it extremely offensive to impose stigmatization on a woman during her period just because some people still want to follow a myth that is like a million years old. Menstruation is a NORMAL BIOLOGICAL phenomena due to which a woman’s Endometrium (The inner lining of the uterus) sheds every month along with the tearing of connective blood vessels through the female genitalia , which we call a period. Hence, getting a period is an innate part of being a woman. So why all the fuss , all the restrictions and the superstitions? It is because of menstruation that women can conceive a new life when they want to. It is because of menstruation that the human race will not go extinct. Yet , some people whom i call, ‘unevolved’ try to prove their prowess by restricting and imposing women. Annoying. More annoying than these unevolved morons are the women themselves who willingly want to be a part of this irrationality and have no hesitation in passing their dogmatic beliefs to the next generation.

The female body should not be ostracized for fertility. The procreative capacity of women is not to be seen as impure. It’s obnoxious to even think otherwise. When a young girl gets her first period, don’t make her feel inferior. Instead congratulate her for her beautifully transforming into a woman. Take care of her and more than anything else, make her aware of her body ( and i’m including both the parents here). I am stunned at the moral and religious hypocrisy of people. A man who might have just raped somebody, a man who might have consumed alcohol, a man who might have committed adultery, a pervert, a wife beater, a murderer, etc etc. everybody is allowed inside places of worship at all times EXCEPT a woman who is undergoing a BIOLOGICAL process every month that makes her  CAPABLE OF GENERATING LIFE when she wants to. So who should be shamed ? A menstruating woman or the people who want to stigmatize her ? Think about it and try not being a part of the latter. Be more aware and create that awareness around you . Start from your own homes and stand up for the women in your lives if they are subjected to this mistreatment. But most of all, women themselves need to celebrate themselves. All the women who shout out aloud for  being empowered, for starters STOP BEING EMBARRASSED for your body, which by the way is the only thing capable in this world of generating life. Womanhood is to be celebrated. !!

P.S : I feel so happy today that i was never subjected to any of the above mentioned rituals ever. i owe my parents a big THANK YOU since i live in a society that stigmatizes a woman for just being a woman.

Stop-Sacrificing-A-Girl’s-self-esteem-at-the-altar-of-menstrual-Myths-e1410506036511

Photo Credits:

(http://www.fuccha.in/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/MENS.jpg

,http://www1.sulekha.com/mstore/airforcebala/albums/default/Madras%20visit.%201734.jpg

,http://menstrupedia.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Stop-Sacrificing-A-Girl%E2%80%99s-self-esteem-at-the-altar-of-menstrual-Myths.jpg)

Your Opinion is Not My reality

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What is the most difficult thing to do in this world – Being Yourself.

People are quick to judge. It comes easy. What doesn’t come easy is the power of observation. How hard is it to just observe people and not judge ? For a lot of people – Impossible. A  judgmental mind is a weak mind. It’s a threatened mind. It’s a cynical mind. Cynicism is ok sometimes because one should not plainly accept what is being given to them in life. One  has to and should question it. But to question just for the heck of it , or let’s say out of habit is so not cool .People always want to see what they want to see and not see what really exists. This attitude , this bent of mind ain’t right.

Don’t try to seek answers that you want to hear. Be open minded.Be evolved and learn to accept the truth as it is without judging people because if you can’t , you’re a mess for life. Each one of us including me has judged sometime in life. The only difference is that some of us ‘grow’ and get evolved to not judge again.Others just can’t let go of the cynicism. When strangers try to make an opinion about us based on their own short comings it doesn’t really matter. But when our close people do it, it hurts because they know us so well. So why should they judge us ? Should they not understand what we feel or think ? Or at least make an effort to understand our point of view ? Even if their stance is different from ours , what is the point of judging? Just accept the differences without being cynical about it.

William Shakespeare mentions in his play, The Merchant of Venice that ,”it is easy to give a sermon to to a crowd but it is extremely difficult to be a part of the same crowd and follow that sermon yourself.”  This is the problem the world faces. People want to preach and preach all the time without ever doing it themselves. It takes a lot of nerve to ‘not’ hold back people in life. It takes guts to trust people with their decisions. Sadly, very very few people do that.  From the very beginning, Society teaches us to ‘”Always be yourself.” Ironically when that actually happens it doesn’t approve of our ways. The moment when we are confronted with a situation like this where we stand conflicted,  is the time when we should decide  whether we will bow down to the fear that society wants to inflict on us or whether we will live each day our own way. The choice is always ours.

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Photo Credits :

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Honoured with the Versatile Blogger Award

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A fellow blogger on WordPress whose blog is entitled – ‘The Human Lens’ has nominated me for the ‘Versatile Blogger Award’. I am extremely grateful for receiving this award. It’s been a while i accepted an award here since i always have felt the need to promote lesser known but riveting blogs of new writers. But this time i graciously agreed to receive it since the blogger who has nominated me is a very talented, bright and intellectual individual. I keep her in my highest regard and have utmost respect for her not just as a blogger but as a human being. Before i share with you the rules for the award, I’d like to introduce you to the lovely lady who has nominated me .

She’s a Pakistani woman, who stands out of the crowd. The woman is a human rights journalist/activist and trainer. She’s also a feminist and advocates equality.Her affiliations include the South Asian Feminist Network, Pakistan Women Media Network, Dignity International, Islamic Relief, Search for Common Ground etc. She lives it real and is a very aware and pragmatic woman. I insist all of you reading this should definitely visit her blog. Here’s the link : https://saadiahaq.wordpress.com/

The rules for this particular award are :- 1. Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog 2. List the award rules so your nominees will know what to do. 3. State 7 things about yourself 4. Nominate other bloggers for the award. 5. Contact your nominees to let them know you have nominated them. 6. Display the award logo on your blog.

As per the above rules i have to list 7 things about myself .So here they are :

1.I believe in the notion of ‘Live and let live.’ Therefore neither do i impose myself on people nor do i allow people to impose themselves on me. I like being a free spirit.

2. I love to travel because travel teaches you what your books or society doesn’t. It opens you up to new horizons. I plan to take a solo trip to a  distant place soon.

3.I love to write. It makes me forget all the stress of life, if there is any. Writing makes me really happy.

4. I love music. It’s something i can’t do without. I don’t just listen to it but i write it too. Writing lyrics is my latest venture.

5.I like spending time on Twitter.

6.I love watching Sitcoms. They make my life interesting. I don’t need human contact if i am left alone with my shows.

7. I am 100% loyal to the people i love. I owe my happiness to my family and friends. They are my lifeline :-)

Having written 7 facts about myself , i’d now like to nominate some amazing writers here for this award. My list of nominees includes the following lovely people :

The extremely talented , versatile and piano maestro – Mihran Kalaydjian (https://kmihran.wordpress.com/)

The very resourceful and  modest Lorrie Bowden (http://lorriebowden.com/)

The very optimistic Pratik Akkawar (https://pratikakkawar.wordpress.com/

The man who lives it real Bikram (https://mannbikram.wordpress.com/)

The intellectual and aware blogger from Sleeping Geeks (http://sleepinggeeks.com/)

The ever bright and sparkly blogger from Silver Threading (http://silverthreading.com/)

One of my all time favourites on WordPress Ronovan Hester (https://ronovanwrites.wordpress.com/)

I wish all my nominees best wishes for all their future endeavours :-)

Feel the Joy Within

The-present-moment-quotes-happiness-and-joy-quotes.

If you can sip hot cappuccino , read a Dan Brown novel and plug in ear phones post midnight with a smile on your face , it means you are happy. If you can move about randomly in the street , all by yourself with a song on your lips and ecstasy in your heart , you truly are feeling the joy in your life. It’s precious. So precious !! With that subtle composure in your life, you can so easily let go of things that once triggered you and made you upset. You don’t even care anymore about things that drain your energy. A friend tweeted this a few days back – The journey from “What the hell?” to “I don’t give a shit!” is the hardest! I agree. But this journey is worth it :)

Life is not that difficult so why purposely sign up for a life full of struggle when you can sail through it really smoothly. Work hard, achieve your aspirations, follow your dreams but don’t complicate your life just because you are too scared to pursue the one thing you were meant to do on this planet – ‘Be You’ !!! Every single moment , just be ‘you’ – One hundred percent. Life will turn out to be beautiful :)

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(http://www.verybestquotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/The-present-moment-quotes-happiness-and-joy-quotes..jpg)