Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Religion defines this land.

12 September 2015 at 14:40 ·
"Religion and spirituality define this land. Gandhi strived hard to make people realize its importance not just in governance but in everyday life, in everything we do. The apathy and ignorance of secularists has left the ground open for miscreants and petty opportunists to play havoc on this land, essentially spiritual."

Ashraf Patel Dear Aparna Krishnan secular does not mean non religious .. this duality between secular and religious is a myth.. secular means separating religion from state .. and yes some secular people maybe not religious .. and spirituality can be non religious
Aparna Krishnan Yes, I know. This is a quote.
Aparna Krishnan This land is religious, and to understand it and get get anchored in it is important. For any real and deep rooted social processes. Anyway i am not really interested in debates. I am just tabling my learnings from my village.

Aparna Krishnan I beleive in the essential religiousness of this land.
Ashraf Patel I believe too .. about the religiousity of the land in some way as you state it ..that is a reality . And that religiousness can be rooted in tolerance respect social justice freedom and love ..it's just how we define religiosity .. which includes embracing different faiths and non faiths
Aparna Krishnan I understand from the people, I learn, and I report. I have relinquished any mandate of 'correcting' or 'teaching', if I really had one. I like to think I did not. If anyone needs correction and teaching it is the urbans, sadly deracinated, and criminally consumerist. The village people, their practices, their skills, their religions, are what can yet save this earth.
Aparna Krishnan So I object to Rationalists who come to Reform Villages. They would be better put to work in rapacious cities which destroy hinterlands.
Ashraf Patel Yes I can see that .. that's your call .. I am not making a case for conversion of any faith .. I am making a case for recognising the diversities of belief ..and I am sure you know the names of many very religious people who have exploited their land and the people .... so evil and good is not determined by what religion people come from or non religion
Aparna Krishnan To correct religion in an essentially religious land one has to be rooted im religion. Basavanna, Brahmayya garu, Nanak, Meera, Gandhi.
Aparna Krishnan Or at least respect the core religiousness of people.
Aparna Krishnan Where religion deviated from thet the gurus have strived to correct. Narayana Guru, Kabir. But for that effort. religion needs to be respected and not sneered at.

Dharma Artha Kama Moksha

12 September 2016 ·

Dharma, artha, kama, moksha - the four purusharthas.

When only artha (wealth), and kama (desires) are taught as goals to a generation the decline of that civilization begins.

Dharma (one's larger duties), and moksha (independence from the sway of likes and dislikes, or sthithapragya) need to be inculcated. For the sake of the child, of the generation, of the civilization.

Narayana Sarma Hiranya kashyapa instructed Prahlada's teachers to teach him only the first three aspects of life. Yet Prahlada chose and mastered the fourth that no one taught him!

Narayana Sarma (Dharma there meant duty)

Aparna Krishnan Dharma always means duty. English has no better word.

Narayana Sarma What society prefers to teach is always so different from what the children choose to learn! (wow I love this line of mine! :)

The unsaid class issues.

One day, some months ago, a footpath lady we used to regularly buy things from, and who had become a friend, we realized was charging us more than other customers.
My daughter was hurt. I realized I too was. It was as if the relationship has not lived up to its trust.
Then I took a deep breath, pushed the sense of pain under the carpet, and faced the facts, and showed my daughter also the facts. We have hardly lived upto any relationship. We live in a nice home, and the lady, lives in a small house in a slum. We may give her some gifts of sweets or sarees or money when her house went under water. But the reality is that she is very poor and we are at the other end of the spectrum.
As a class, given our class privileges, holding onto inherited privileges, we keep the poor poor by underpaying in ways that keeps them on the brink of survival. The emperor has no clothes. The emperor is We.
(And the more closely one engages with the poor, the more we realize our own deep duplicity. The mirror does not lie. What I have seen in the mirror down the years has not been nice.)

Prakash Thangavel I face this dilemma often. Should I turn a blind eye towards cheating because of their poverty or chide them? Coconuts always go by a sack without notice and work is mostly left unfinished, but still the relationship has endured, for 50 years. Hope it does for another 50..

Aparna Krishnan I think we need to look at the far vaster cheating we do. Structured, legalized and universally accepted. While that goes on, every other cheating will also get nurtured, illiya.

Aparna Krishnan Its theory - in practice we feel 'cheated'. I feel 'cheated'. Thats how deep our sense of entitlement is !

Prakash Thangavel Far more cheating happens in corporate products and we cannot raise our voice. As usual, we go for comparatively cheaper products thinking we have outsmarted them, but as a cartel they have fixed a base price and one cannot go beyond that.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Ritucharya - Sharad Ritu

Ayurveda places much significance in Ritucharya - the protocol for each season.
The Sharad Ritu starts soon - Sept 15th to Nov 15th. Currently we are in the Ritu Sandhi where we move from Varsha Ritu to Sharad Ritu. In this week, one gradually changes habits from an anti- vata diet and regimen (as Varsha Ritu is when vata gets vitiated), to an anti- pitta diet and regimen (as Sharad Ritu is Pitta prakopam or vitiation.)
In the Sharad Riru those having Pitta problems will see their problems vitiate. A virechanam (purge), one of the panchakarma procedures is done at this time (and is advised for all) to subdue the pittam.
The diet advised through these two months is sweet, bitter and astringent to counter Pitta. Curds is strictly prohibited as it vitiates Pitta. Sour, salty and spicy foods are similarly avoidable.


12 September 2014 at 08:10 ·
When I first moved to the village, I used to look askance at the mantrams - as the village people practice them. When for many of my daughter's complaints they used to ask me to go to a vaidudu and get mantrams said, I used to evade, trying to not hurt their sentiments, and also not go. ... it took many years, for some strong urban over-westernized attitudes to shed, and both my daughter and I have had mantrams said.
When Shankaranna prayed with the gilledu (Calatropis gigantica) twigs in his hands facing in turn all the dishas (directions), I could feel the total and intense surrender of his to the gods or the powers that be - before he turned to me and waved the twigs downwards as he said the mantrams.  My pains reduced, and that might he has severe body pains. Slowly I learnt that the village beleifs are vaster than my superficial dismissivemenss.

To try to look for modern scientific validation of our deep traditional wisdom think is a defeated beginning. Also because th paradigms are themselves so different that one is incompetent to comment on the other. Still ...

In later years, a swami taught me a mantram - and the utter stilling of thoughts that that achieved taught me some more humility of the vast unknown areas of thought and wisdom that there are.

Why attacks on Mahatma Gandhi are good - Rajmohan Gandhi

Why attacks on Mahatma Gandhi are good

They offer an opportunity to recall what he stood for. The imperfect Gandhi was more radical and progressive than most contemporary compatriots.

Written by Rajmohan Gandhi | Updated: September 9, 2015 12:01 am
Mahatma Gandhi, attacks on Mahatma Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi south africa, Mahatma Gandhi values, Rajmohan Gandhi column, indian express columnGandhi suggested that our uncertainty over the right course to take would disappear once we ask how the most helpless person we have known would be affected by our choice.
Offended by attacks on the Mahatma, some friends who think of me as a scholar ask about a new book which, according to media reports, alleges that during his years in South Africa (1893-1914), Gandhi disdained black people and supported British imperialism. Not having read it, I cannot comment on the book, but I can address the two allegations. Before doing so, however, let me say that attacks on Gandhi should be welcomed, for they offer an opportunity to recall the things Gandhi stood for.
Gandhi’s “answer to doubt”, given around Independence Day in 1947 — also known as the “talisman” — is deservedly famed. In that short text, Gandhi suggested that our uncertainty over the right course to take would disappear once we ask how the most helpless person we have known would be affected by our choice.
Less well remembered is Gandhi’s reply when asked, in 1946, to describe the independent India he wished to see. Drawing a geometric picture, Gandhi said he wanted “not a pyramid but an oceanic circle” of complete equality. In such a circle, “the last would be first, in fact there would be no first and no last”, and the individual citizen, not a president or prime minister, would occupy the circle’s centre (Harijan, July 28, 1946).
Yet, along with equality, Gandhi wanted fraternity; along with justice he sought reconciliation. Demanding justice for Dalits, Gandhi also strove for a partnership between Dalits and upper-caste Hindus. He wanted India’s Hindu majority to protect the country’s minorities, but he also wanted Hindu-Muslim friendship, and he asked Pakistan’s Muslim majority to protect that country’s Hindus, Christians and minority-sect Muslims. Internationally, Gandhi wanted a free Palestine (a cause that many in India have chosen to abandon) — but also Arab-Jewish reconciliation.
Looking at the clash today between the need to escape from dangerous and seemingly hellish places and the lack of room in supposedly heavenly places, do we not yearn for persons with the large and just heart and wise mind that Gandhi showed?
The same may be true when people desire to improve today’s dangerous relationship between the so-called Muslim world and the so-called West. Or when we think of inequalities in India, or of conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Dead now for nearly 70 years, Gandhi did not leave behind precise solutions for such problems. But his legacy will aid, not impede, efforts to find the solutions, even if we assume for a moment that between 1893 and 1914, Gandhi was prejudiced about Africa’s blacks and backed British imperialism.
Was Gandhi in favour of imperialism?
For some time yes, and openly so. This is no “discovery”. In fact, as Gandhi put it himself in his autobiography, the British Empire was one of his two passions at the start of the 20th century. (The other was nursing the sick.) Hadn’t Queen Victoriaand other eminent Britons declared that in their empire, all the races would be equal and everyone would enjoy the freedoms of belief and expression and the rule of law? When Gandhi realised that the imperial claim was false, he became, as Winston Churchill and a succession of viceroys complained, the empire’s strongest foe, and India’s masses joined Gandhi in rebellion.
As for our world’s black people, Gandhi nursed great expectations from them. In February 1936, he said to Howard Thurman, the African-American thinker, who was calling on him in Bardoli in Gujarat: “Well, if it comes true it may be through the African Americans that the unadulterated message of non-violence will be delivered to the world” (Harijan, March 14 1936). Nearly three decades later, when Martin Luther King and his colleagues won their remarkable nonviolent triumphs for black rights in the US, they did not hesitate to say that Gandhi and India had inspired them.
But wasn’t the younger Gandhi at times ignorant and prejudiced about South Africa’s blacks? He undoubtedly was, especially when provoked by the conduct of black convicts who were among his fellow inmates in South Africa’s prisons. This too is no “discovery”. I wrote about it in detail in The Good Boatman in 1995, and dozens of other scholars have referred to it.
After all, Gandhi too was an imperfect human being. However, on racial equality, he was greatly in advance of most if not all of his compatriots; and the struggle for Indian rights in South Africa paved the way for the struggle for black rights. Here is what Gandhi said in 1908 (in a Johannesburg speech), referring specifically to Africans, Asians, Europeans and the mixed: “If we look into the future, is it not a heritage we have to leave to posterity, that all the different races commingle and produce a civilisation that perhaps the world has not yet seen?” (May 18, 1908).
In 1908, the commingling of all the races of the world was a bold thought for anyone, Indian or otherwise, to express. Earlier, during the American Civil War over slavery, Indian intellectuals well aware of that war (including Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and Syed Ahmed Khan) had remained silent on slavery. Later, when Gandhi insisted that India’s freedom struggle would be hypocritical without a simultaneous fight against untouchability, even close colleagues like Vallabhbhai Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru advised him against what they termed a “distraction”.
The imperfect Gandhi was more radical and progressive than most contemporary compatriots. Today, in India, South Africa and the US, his legacy provides hope, not an obstacle, for the equality of races and castes. A 1995 book contains this observation from Nelson Mandela: “Gandhi had been initially shocked that Indians were classified with Natives in prison… All in all, Gandhi must be forgiven these prejudices in the context of the time and the circumstances.” (“Gandhi the Prisoner” by Nelson Mandela in B.R. Nanda (edited), Mahatma Gandhi: 125 Years, ICCR, 1995.)
Some, however, seem to think that they are wiser than King or Mandela.
The writer, a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, is research professor at the Centre for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign