Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Legend/Myth around Sabarimala Temple

Lord Ayyappa was the son of Vishnu & Shiva
Ayyappan is the Hindu god of growth, particularly popular in Kerala and the rest of South India. He is a the son of Shiva and Mohini – the female avatar of Vishnu. Ayyappan is also referred to as Ayyappa, Sastavu, Hariharaputra, Manikanta, Shasta or Dharma Shasta.
The iconography of Ayyappan depicts him as a handsome celibate god doing yoga and as an epitome of Dharma, who wears a bell around his neck. In the Hindu pantheon, his legends are relatively recent but diverse. For some, he is also an incarnation of the Buddha.
He is also revered by Muslims in Kerala due to his friendship with Vavar, who is identified as a Muslim brigand in local versions of the Ayyappan myth. In this mythology, Ayyappan confronts the plunder-driven pirate robber Vavar in the jungle on his way to collect tigress milk. They fight. Ayyappan defeats Vavar, and Vavar changes his way, becomes Ayyappan's trusted lieutenant helping fight other pirates and robbers. In another version, Vavar is stated to be a Muslim saint from Arabia, who works with Ayyappan.
He was born with the powers of Shiva and Vishnu to confront and defeat the shape shifting evil Buffalo demoness Mahishasuri. In the South Indian version, Ayyappan images show him as riding a tiger, but in some places such as Sri Lanka he is shown as riding a white elephant.
Ayyappa is also called Manikandan
Ayyappa is also commonly known as 'Manikandan' because, according to the legend of his birth, his divine parents tied a golden bell (mani) around his neck (kandan) soon after his birth. As the legend goes, when Shiva and Mohini abandoned the baby on the banks of the Pampa river, King Rajashekhara, the childless monarch of Pandalam, found the newborn Ayyappa and accepted him as a divine gift and adopted him as his own son.
The Pandya dynasty, which was ousted by Thirumala Naicker the ruler of the Pandya Empire spanning Madurai, Thiruveneli and Ramanathapuram resided in places such as Valliyur, Tenkasi, Shengottah and Sivagiri. King Rakashekhra, which was the foster-father of Lord Ayyappa belong to this dynasty.
Purpose of Ayyappa Avatar
After Goddess Durga killed the demon king Mahishasur, his sister, Mahishi, set out to avenge her brother. She carried Lord Brahma's boon that only the child born of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva could slay her, or, in other words, she was indestructible. To save the world from annihilation, Lord Vishnu, incarnated as Mohini, wed Lord Shiva and out of their union Lord Ayyappa was born and abandoned in the forest.
Ayyappa's Childhood
The Pantalam royal family was childless. One day the king of Pantalam found a baby boy in a forest. The king carried the baby to an ascetic in the forest to inquire about the boy. The ascetic advised the king to take the baby home, raise him like his own son, and that in 12 years he would discover who the baby was. The royal family did so, naming the baby Manikantha.
After King Rajashekhara adopted Ayyappa, his own biological son Raja Rajan was born. Both the boys grew up in a princely manner. Ayyappa or Manikantan was intelligent and excelled in martial arts and the knowledge of various shastras or scriptures. He surprised everyone by his superhuman powers. Upon completing his princely training and studies when he offered gurudakshina or a fee to his guru, the master aware of his divine power asked him for a blessing of sight and speech for his blind and dumb son. Manikantan placed his hand on the boy and the miracle happened.
Royal Conspiracy 
When it was time to name the heir to the throne, King Rajashekhara wanted Ayyappa but the queen wanted her own son to be the king. She plotted with the minister and her physician to kill Ayyappa. Feigning illness, the queen made her physician ask for an impossible remedy - tigress's milk. When no one could procure it, Manikanthan volunteers, much against his father's will, goes into the forest and returns riding a tigress. On the way, he chanced upon the demon Mahishi and slew her on the banks of the river Azhutha.
The Deification of Lord Ayyappa
The king, realising Manikantha's special ability recognizes the adopted son to be a divine being, resolves to make a shrine for him. For location, Manikantha shoots an arrow that lands thirty kilometers away. The young boy then transforms into Ayyappan. The place where arrow landed is now an Ayyappa shrine, a site of a major pilgrimage that is particularly popular for visits on Makara Sankranti (about January 14).
Sometimes the story is slightly different or extended, such as the younger son of the queen is not disabled, Ayyappan does bring tigress milk for the queen riding on a tiger, but after doing so Ayyappan renounces the kingdom, becomes an ascetic yogi and returns to live as a great warrior in the forested mountain.
The Worship of Lord Ayyappa
Lord Ayyappa is believed to have laid down strict religious adherence to receive his blessings. First, the devotees should observe a 41-day penance before visiting him in the temple. They should maintain abstinence from physical pleasures and family ties and live like a celibate or brahmachari. They should also continuously contemplate on the goodness of life. Moreover, the devotees have to bathe in the holy river Pampa, adorn themselves with three-eyed coconut and aantha garland and then brave the steep climb of the 18 stairs to the Sabarimala temple.
The Famous Pilgrimage to Sabarimala
Sabarimala in Kerala is the most famous Ayyappa shrine visited by over 50 million devotees it every year, making it one of the most popular pilgrimages in the world. Pilgrims from around the country brave the dense forests, steep hills and inclement weather to seek the blessings of Ayyappa on the 14h day of January, known as Makar Sankranti or Pongal, when the Lord himself is said to descend in the form of light. The devotees then accept prasada, or the Lord's food offerings, and descend the 18 steps walking backward with their faces turned towards the Lord.
(Compiled by Dr. Joji Valli, Courtesy Wikipedia & other sources)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Spicejet online fraud on its customers. Beware...

Spicejet will cheat you. Don't book on their site.
Today i booked a ticket on spicejet website taking advantage of their recent offer. After making the payment, the site informed me that the session was expired. So it advised me to rebook the ticket. And no PNR was issued.
So i went to one of their franchise site and booked the ticket immediately.
I got PNR immediately and got sms on my mobile instantly for debting of cash from my credit card.
But to my surprise after half an hour i get another sms on my mobile stating that cash has been debited from my credit card.
The same kind of situation has happened to a few of my friends too with spice jet.
I called my credit card company and spicejet to rectify the situation.
However both confirmed that money has been deducted from my credit card.
Can anyone see how Spicejet plays game to cheat its customers in the clean daylight...
Everyone who book a ticket through spicejet website be warned about the situation.
How can they deduct amount from the credit card without issuing a PNR?
And how can the session be timed out or expired once it goes to payment gateway?
Normally, the website will rectify everything before it takes the customer to the payment gateway. Once, it is onto the payment gateway the deal is finalized.
So i seriously warn all the prospectus customers of Spicejet to be cautious about this situation.
They are cheating the customers and simply deducting money from the creditcard.
Really watchout of such cheats like spicejet.

I complained to them and i get the response from spicejet that your money will be reimbursed after 30 days.

Is it ethical to bill someone's credicard without selling something?

What rights do the spicejet or any seller has to touch a customers creditcard ?

Can we call this as an instance of corporate fraud?

If they do the same to 500 customers daily, how much free money they get for 30 days in their account?

Let us react and raise our voice against daylight fraud of the corporate.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Human beings Do Not Need To Breed 'Like Rabbits' - Be Responsible

Pope Francis: Catholics Do Not Need To Breed 'Like Rabbits'
Pope just reminded the people of twenty first century. But it is certainly a reminder not just to Catholics but to the entire human race. Humanity is the race that we all belong to not religion. A species that has self-exalted with dignity and pride as above all other species but not in terms of life and living with dignity. Human beings do breed like rabbits swatting human dignity into the gutters and thrashes. Can we call this as responsible parenting? Are we as parents respecting human dignity? 
Responsible parenthood is not just populating the earth with human species that cases turn to be human animals defaming the human race. Child birth across the world is hardly done in good conscience as most of it turns out to be a mistake or miscalculation. And net result is a life is thrown into world of misery and disaster. Is this really responsible parenting?
Know your resources and capabilities in the competitive world to bring up progeny in a responsible way. Look at the sparrows before the lay eggs, they make their own houses/nests and equip themselves fully ready for welcoming their progeny. 
Can we atleast learn from the other species, if we are ignorant about how to be responsible.
Don’t look at the world who slams you as barren, just say hell with the world who slams you as barren. They are not going to feed your kids or being responsible for their upbringing. So, go for it only when you are prepared and equipped for being responsible for your creation. Because, human being is a being with dignity and that dignity is to be respected as we have exalted ourselves as the superior species. 
If what difference do we from the birds or animals?
Are we greater than the bird or animal species?
By Dr. Joji Valli
When a journalist asked Pope Francis about birth control during an impromptu press conference on the papal plane, Pope Francis said contraception isn’t the answer, but rather ‘responsible parenthood.’ He explained it with graphic words.
“Some think that, excuse my expression, that in order to be good Catholics they have to be like rabbits. No! Responsible parenthood!”
Responsible parenthood, meaning Catholic couples, in good conscience should decide how many children they can raise. Through his words, the Pope defended natural planning methods. The most popular one is known as the Billings Ovulation Method.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Social Responsibility of Science and Religion for the Welfare of the Society by Dr. Joji Valli

( A paper presented at Jana Deepa Vidyapeeth Pune, for International Conference on Science, Technology and Values)

The interest in social responsibility or corporate social responsibility (CSR) in relation to ethics and management has gained significant momentum over the last several decades. In spite of much skepticism and critical comments, the emerging concept of Social Responsibility has achieved credibility and acceptability by offering solutions to the lack of morale and morality in organizations.
The shift in values implied by social responsibility particularly questions the suitability of the existing neo-liberal paradigm to address employees’ increasing needs for meaning and social contribution at the corporate level. Increasing need for promoting welfare and progress at the grass root levels society demands initiative and intervention  from individuals at every walk of life.
Similarly, the social responsibility of science and religion has crucial stakes as there is a paradigm shift in the business world for the progress of the society. Perhaps a spirituality-based paradigm offers a viable alternative to more traditional discourses on ethical business practice and scientific inventions and discoveries by promoting holistic responsibility for all social actors. Pope Francis’ recent comments favoring evolution, “When we read about creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” the pontiff proclaimed while speaking at the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. “He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfillment.”(1)  Where does this leave the idea of socially responsibility? Or rather, is it an awakening to the socially responsible individuals? May the PSR (Personal Social Responsibility) be the aspiration of the humanity? This paper takes a close look at social sins which Gandhiji considers as the root cause of violence in the world that hinders societal welfare and causes imbalance in nature.

{Keywords: Social Responsibility, Corporate Social Responsibility, Science and Religion, Man’s Conscience, Human Centric Approach, Progress of the Society, Equilibrium of the Nature}

Social responsibility is an ethical framework which suggests that an entity, be it an organization or individual, has an obligation to act for the benefit of society at large. Social responsibility is a duty every individual has to perform so as to maintain a balance between the economy and the ecosystems.(2)  A trade-off may exist between economic development, in the material sense, and the welfare of the society and environment. Social responsibility means sustaining the equilibrium between the two. It pertains not only to business organizations but also to everyone whose action impacts the environment. This responsibility can be passive, by not engaging in socially harmful acts, or active, by performing activities that directly advance social goals.
Mahatma Gandhi delineates seven social sins which sometimes are called as the seven blunders of the world  that lead to violence in the world. All of them have to do with social and political conditions of human life. It is also interesting to note that the antidote for each of these ‘deadly sins’ is an explicit external standard or something that is based on natural principles and laws, and not on social values. Following are the seven social sins:
Wealth Without Work
Pleasure Without Conscience
Knowledge Without Character
Commerce (Business) Without Morality (Ethics)
Science Without Humanity
Religion Without Sacrifice
Politics Without Principle (3)
As an eighth principle Varun Gandhi has added to his grandfather’s list of social sins: ‘Rights without Responsibilities’ that causes anarchy in the society and imbalance in the nature.

1. Social Responsibility ― an overview
The very concept of Social Responsibility emerged due to the responsible thinking of some learned or realized human beings at the inception of humanity. They realized that there can never be an antidote for cessation of pain and suffering. So, human being who is undergoing suffering needs to be supported by those who are not affected by it. This pragmatic understanding and thinking gave way to different philosophical tenets both in the East and the West.(4)  Similarly, science and religion has been inducted to the societal framework to alleviate human suffering and enhance happiness. 
The term 'corporate social responsibility' was originally coined in the 1930s by two Harvard University professors A.A. Berle and C.G. Means.  Although most of the formal writings on CSR emerged in the twentieth century, the modern discussion of CSR is said to have started in the 1950s with the work of the Howard R. Bowen, the ‘Father of Corporate Social Responsibility.’  His emphasis was on the people’s conscience rather than the company itself.
The term CSR came into common usage in the early 1970s, after many multinational corporations were formed.  During the 1980s and 1990s corporations and academia came into the scene showing interest in business ethics. And today the ever growing interest has contributed much relevance for the corporations and society which now is vibrating into every sphere of human life as we are now focusing on the social responsibility of science and religion. 

2. Science without Humanity
Is science for science or is it for the humanity? If there are no humans for whom is science?
If science becomes all technique and technology, it quickly degenerates into man against humanity.  Science breeds technologies that exile humans into Himalayas ― don’t we smell some trouble there? If all humans are at Himalayas, then who needs the technology? And if there is very little understanding of the higher human purposes that the technology is striving to serve, we become victims of our own technology. We see otherwise highly educated people climbing the scientific ladder of success, even though it's often missing the rung called humanity and leaning against the wrong wall.
In a general view, science is regarded as the answer to human problems. But for Gandhiji, science without humanity is a sin. Scientists of our time and before have always tried to bring about some kind of technological or scientific explosion into the world. But if all they do is to superimpose technology on the same old problems, nothing basically changes. We may see an evolution, as an occasional ‘revolution’ in science, but without humanity we see little real human advancement. All the old inequities and injustices are still with us.[1] About the only thing that hasn't evolved are these natural laws and principles ― the true north on the compass. Science and technology have changed the face of almost everything else.[2] However, the fundamentals of life will remain unchanged forever.
Science is humanity's quest for understanding the order that manifests in nature and the laws that relate causes with effects. The scientific approach and methods have succeeded in revealing several obscure truths about nature and enabled man to have considerable power at his disposal.[3] Ever extending expansion and progress that we witness in transport, communication, agriculture, architecture, healthcare, so on and so forth are obviously the by-products of technological progress and scientific understanding. If all these goodies are given on a platter to improve life and living conditions for humans, how can we consider science as a sin?
Knowledge gives power and power is ability; but power without the wisdom to use it rightly contributes to disaster.[4] Indeed, power without wisdom is dangerous to the extreme that man can turn against humanity. We have ample examples of disasters, starting with bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki where millions of innocent people were killed. Perhaps, today in a more advanced way the drone attacks that are taking place in different parts of the world are pure examples of science without humanness. Can we call it as science without humanity? Is it right to put blame on the scrupulous, unenlightened greedy and selfish humans rather than putting all the blame on science and its advancements? Perhaps, it is important for us to spread awareness through education to develop minds that are scientific and humane. It is only education and awareness that can develop a clear conscience that can give wisdom to use power for the progress of the humanity.

3. Religion without Sacrifice
Is Religion for Religion or is it for the human beings? If there are no humans whom is Religion for? If Religion becomes all rituals and inhuman, like what is happening in the other side of the world, it quickly will degenerate into humanity against man.  As per the whims and fancies of the man, religions are created and multiplied. Without knowing who needs it and who understands it. What a misguiding state of the very purpose of religion! The moment is not distant when humanity voices against irresponsibility and purposelessness of the religious creeds that breed violence, poverty and unhappiness in the phase of the earth. Don’t you think Religion has social responsibility to ensure happiness of the mind, body and spirit? Isn’t it horrible to witness humanity against man? If religions take initiative to impart qualities such as empathy to each human being through their religious up-brings at family level and individual level ― there is no doubt that religion is on the right track. It is embedding the nano-chips of respecting and loving the human dignity and self-integrity. When Pope Francis declares to the world that God is not a magician, he is reminding every human to get involved to establish happiness and a heaven on earth.
Similarly, Pope Francis’ initiative of the Global Freedom Network[5] which has participation from most of the major religions of the world was held in Rome to take immediate measures to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking. Yes! It is the right religious approach and straight way of addressing the problems taking social responsibility on a priority basis.
So, such initiatives of the Pope is the clear expression of the social responsibility of religion. The meeting of leaders of different religions and NGOs discussed deeply and found some common ground to work in unison for the social welfare and equilibrium of nature.
It is expected that other world faiths will take this approach as well, and hopefully join the GFN as it has stressed the share of social responsibility that every religion has for bringing about social welfare and progress. GFN clearly stated that,
“Stakeholders, at all levels, have a moral and legal duty to eradicate this crime against humanity and strive to ensure that all human beings co-exist in freedom, equality, harmony and peace in accordance with the values of our shared humanity. With collaborators from all over the world we must expose these hidden crimes by using today’s technology and working through good and just national and international institutions. It is our moral imperative to make ours the last generation that has to fight the trade in human lives.”[6]
Certainly, when Gandhi spoke about Religion without Sacrifice, we can be sure that it is the sacrifice of greed and selfishness of religions and work with focus of making human being as the centre. Gandhiji’s concept of sarvodaya, meaning service to all, and not to the maximum number. The philosophy behind Sevagram was Sarvodaya — the welfare for the whole.[7] Sevagram radiates to a fundamentally viable vision of village and human life.[8] Sarvodaya philosophy is not merely a theory of ethical justice, but it is also the sheet anchor that lays great emphasis on distributive social and economic justice.[9] For Gandhiji, perhaps it must have been pricking of his social responsibility conscience that is directing his actions for the progress and development of all.
Indeed, distributing what one has with the suffering and needy or supporting them is not an easy task. It is the only antidote which those people at the inception of the humanity realized to keep equilibrium in the nature and happiness on earth. This is possible only when religions adopt a human-centric approach with the realization that religions are just man-made tombs to preserve the human understanding of the Existence. Perhaps, with the misunderstanding that Aham devo bhavami ― I am like God. I am like God is way apart from below God IS… But if we can realize that if humans made no tombs, certainly their bodies will become part of the nature which is the natural law of human existence.  We love life so much. We have not had enough of it. To satisfy our own human existence we become prey to selfishness and greed.
The sacrifice of such vices can be started as a personal social responsibility at a very intimate and individual level. So it becomes the self-responsibility of every human person. This is the kind of sacrifice Gandhiji spoke about. It takes sacrifice to serve the needs of other people ― the sacrifice of one’s own pride and prejudice, among other things. Greed, pride and selfishness will destroy the union between man and God, between man and nature, between man and woman, between woman and woman, between man and man, and finally between self and self. That can escalate to a situation of man against humanity and humanity against man. Self becoming enemy of Self!
World is in the midst of a catastrophe: Natural calamities in the Philippines and human trafficking in Nigiria; Ebola in Africa; Religious fundamentalists attack in Middle East; Global warming and Environmental poisoning; Global financial crisis and cancerous growth of Greed; Technological advancement and Irresponsible Attitude of Humans, etc., are some of the eventualities that we experience and witness on a daily basis.

4. Rights without Responsibilities?
No life, no misery. No life, No happiness…
Anthony Gidden in view of the active citizenship propagated the slogan 'no rights without responsibility'. It essentially encourages a communitarian response which is on the basis of mutual sharing. Anything that is mutual that sustains and what is not mutual prone to collapse or make dents in the system. A respiratory system functions on healthy breaking in and breathing out. When it is one way, the system is at fault. Imagine, if we only focused on breathing in…
Rights always entail responsibilities, obligations, or even duties.[10] In fact, it is today we need to talk about rights as the counterpart of responsibilities. We as the citizens of the biggest democracy in the world are entitled with fundamental duties and rights. On fulfilling upon the duties or responsibilities we are entitled to enjoy certain rights as the citizens.
Similarly, both science and religion have certain rights as the actors in the society. They can only enjoy those rights provided they fulfill the responsibilities to the society without forgetting the fact that they sustain and flourish in the society with the tax-payers’ money. This also includes a special responsibility for discovering truths and facts, and for protecting them from the destructive impacts. However, here the issue is, how to balance the rights and responsibilities paving waves to the progress and welfare of the society in which they operate?
In short, we must use the tools of modernity to cope with living in a world 'beyond tradition' and 'on the other side of nature,' where risk and responsibility have a mix. [11]

5. Man is to ask Questions…
Tracing the history of scientific and religious quests, we can substantiate that both have evolved out of the inquisitiveness of human beings. As a pioneer among the living species, human being's inquisitiveness to his surroundings, into what is happening within and around him, initiated him to observe and solve any mystery that he witnessed. Man’s inquiry into why the sun rises and sets, why trees grow, why the sky is blue, why there are so many species around him, etc... Similarly, man was haunted with the questions of his own existence ― who am I? What is the purpose of life? Why is there so much conflict and tension within me? What is death? Is there anything beyond death? ― are the questions in the purview of religion.
Man’s responsibility is to ask questions whereas machines will only answer. Machines are made to give answers. Machines or the so called technology is the by-product of man’s inquisitiveness to strive for his own progress en route to his search for everlasting happiness.
What says religion? The answer is what says the human. We are going to decide.[12] What responsibilities must we have? It certainly would be an insane question to ask at this point. But I would like to ask that question through this paper.
Society, religion, philosophy, culture and theology are not advancing at the same pace that of science and technology. The future lies entirely in our own hands. Respect for human life is accepted universally.[13] The complementary nature of science and religion are very encouraging and giving hope for the triune concept of man, nature and God. It is our responsibility to decide our own future. Balance of the nature must not be destroyed. Because, everything is for the human beings which both religions and science have irrefutably accepted.  
Religion is the experience of human beings whereas science is the experiment of humans in search of validating the experience. There can be no conflict between science and religion. They both have the same mission: To provide for the welfare of mankind and to let man live in happiness, friendship and in peace. Science is developed with experience, with intellect, with wisdom and creativity.[14] The subject of religion is the source of knowledge and the source of the creation of human beings.
We understand that science and religion are two aspects of the whole. They complete each other. Intellect and knowledge gained by science is power. How are we going to control that power?[15] Science has both the right to accept and responsibility to refuse.[16] Just as the plurality of the public realm must be protected from intrusion by social forces such as conformity, so too do social interests need to be protected from intrusion by the political expectations of openness and equality.[17]

Science and religion are responsible for world building and life enhancing. They are not rivals rather they are complimentary treading the path of social welfare and progress. And we as the actors of the science and religion, it is our responsibility to build a world of our imaginations. What kind of a world are we trying to build? ― A world of greed, pride and selfishness or a world of prosperity and happiness? Are we trying to build a human centric world where humaneness and empathy are strong pillars? This question certainly not science and religion should answer but it should reverberate in the heart of each of us.
Remembering the words of martin Luther King, Jr.: "science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values," and that of Einstein: "Religion without science is lame; science without religion is blind." If so can we think of a science without humanity and a religion without sacrifice? And of course, rights without responsibilities…  Can there be a science or religion without humans?
It is understood that we must search for the truth by using our creative thinking endlessly. But in application we must respect and value human life, human dignity by being socially responsible humans whose ultimate goal should be that antidote which the learned or realized people mandated as social responsibility. That social responsibility can only flow from the self-responsibility.
Lokasamasta suhino bhavanto must be the social responsibility of science and religion at every moment. Now we have the opportunity, awareness, wisdom, innovation and technology to achieve social welfare and progress, if only we become human-centric; if only we have the wisdom and conscience. In short, personal responsibility or self responsibility is the key. Therefore final decision or answer must come from within each of us whether it is science or religion.
No man's land is land that is unoccupied or is under dispute between parties that leave it unoccupied due to fear or uncertainty.[18]
Do you love to live in a no man’s land?

HeartSpeaks Foundation
Dr. Joji Valli

 Dr. Kuruvilla Pandikkattu - Welcome address
Dr. Joji Valli - Preparing for Q&A

[1] Stephen R. Covey, Principle Centered Leadership, (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1992), p.91
[2] Ibid
[3] J.S. Rajput (Ed.), Seven Social Sins: The Contemporary Relevance, (Allied Publishers, New Delhi, 2012), p.123
[4] Ibid
[5] Global Freedom Network is a social responsible act inviting all citizens of all religions to follow it closely for the progress of the society. It is a societal moment initiated in the spirit of individuals who have transcended into a terrain human existence who are dedicated souls of our times.
[6] Glopal Freedom Network: <>, Retrieved on December 8, 2014
[7] Kuruvilla Pandikattu, Sevagram and sarvodaya: The relevance of Gandhian Symbols for a viable Future, in Kuruvilla Pandikattu (Ed.), Gandhi: The Meaning of Mahatma for the Millennium, p.199
[8] Ibid.
[9] Anil DuttMisra, SushmaYadav, Gandhian Alternative (vol. 3: Socio-Political Thoughts), (Concept Publishing Company, New Delhi, 2005), p.118
[10] Adalbert Evers, Anne-Marie Guillemard (Ed), Social Policy and Citizenship: The Changing Landscape, (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013), p.22
[11] Anthony Gidden, The Third Way: The Renewal of Social Democracy (Polity Press, Malden- USA, 2013), p.68
[12] Christopher Nimsky, Rudolf Fahlbusc, Medical Technologies in Neurosurgery (Springer, Austria, 2007), p.16
[13] Ibid.
[14] Ibid.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Lisa L. Stenmark, Religion, Science, and Democracy: A Disputational Friendship, p.165
[17] Ibid.
[18] No man’s land, <>, Retrieved on December 8, 2014.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Can Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (VK) be compared with Global Village?

Can Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (VK) be compared with Global Village?
Marshall McLuhan compared Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam as Gobal Village in his theory.
Can we consider this comparison as correct to the eastern or even Hindu essence of the term?

Understanding Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam
Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (From "vasudhā", the earth; "ēva" = indeed is; and "kutumbakam", family;) is a Sanskrit phrase which means "the world is one family". Probably, Gandhiji must have been inspired by this concept that lead him to practice lokasamgraha.  It is Universal welfare for him. But Tilak differs a bit as it is Public Good for him. We are not dealing into Gandhi and Tilak right now. But if necessary as we go deeper into the concept, it is probably enlightening to look at them. It will gives lights on what was the thinking in the twentieth century and how relevant is it now? Do we need to reinterpret the concept for the youth of 21st century?[1]

The original verse is contained in the Mahopanishad VI.71-73. Subsequent ślokas go on to say that those who have no attachments go on to find the Brahman (the one supreme, universal Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe).

udāra pēśalācāra sarvācārānuvttimān |
anta-saga-parityāgī bahi-sabhāravāniva |
antarvairāgyamādāya bahirāśōnmukhēhita ||70||
aya bandhuraya nēti gaanā laghucētasām |
udāracaritānā tu vasudhaiva kuumbakam ||71||
bhāvābhāva-vinirmukta jarāmaraavarjita |
praśānta-kalanārabhya nīrāga padamāśraya ||72||
eā brāmhī sthiti svacchā nikāmā vigatāmayā |
ādāya viharannēva sakaēu na muhyati ||73||
(Mahōpaniad- VI.70-73)

The above text is describing the 'lakana' (characteristics) and behavior of great men who are elevated to the coveted brAmhI sthiti (one who has attained Brahman while still alive). The above says:
aya bandhuraya nēti gaanā laghucētasām | udāracaritānām tu vasudhaiva kuumbakam ||
Discrimination saying "this one is a relative; this other one is a stranger" is for the mean-minded. For those who're known as magnanimous, the entire world constitutes but a family.
The above verse is also found V.3.37 of Panchatantra (3rd century BCE), in the in 1.3.71 of Hitopadesha - (12th century CE).
The statement is not just about peace and harmony among the societies in the world, but also about a truth that somehow the whole world has to live together like a family. This is the reason why Hindus think that any power in the world, big or small cannot have its own way, disregarding others.[2]

Global Village is a term closely associated with Marshall McLuhan,[1] popularized in his books The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1962) and Understanding Media (1964). McLuhan described how the globe has been contracted into a village by electric technology and the instantaneous movement of information from every quarter to every point at the same time. In bringing all social and political functions together in a sudden implosion, electric speed heightened human awareness of responsibility to an intense degree.
Marshall McLuhan predicted the Internet as an "extension of consciousness" in The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man thirty years before its commercialization.
The next medium, whatever it is - it may be the extension of consciousness - will include television as its content, not as its environment, and will transform television into an art form. A computer as a research and communication instrument could enhance retrieval, obsolesce mass library organization, retrieve the individual's encyclopedic function and flip into a private line to speedily tailored data of a saleable kind.(3)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

VHP 'ghar wapasi' ― a comparative view of Parable of Prodigal Son

Above parable renders different meanings depending on the situation. Let us look at the same and understand how it is interpreted and its relevance in today’s context:
The parable begins with a young man, the younger of two sons, who asks his father to give him his share of the estate. The implication is the son couldn't wait for his father's death for his inheritance, he wanted it immediately. The father agrees and divides his estate between both sons.
Upon receiving his portion of the inheritance, the younger son travels to a distant country and wastes all his money in extravagant living. Immediately thereafter, a famine strikes the land; he becomes desperately poor and is forced to take work as a swineherd. When he reaches the point of envying the food of the pigs he is watching, he finally comes to his senses:

But when he came to himself he said, "How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough to spare, and I'm dying with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will tell him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. I am no more worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants.'"
— Luke 15:17-20, World English Bible
He arose, and came to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran towards him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
— Luke 15:17-20, World English Bible
But he answered his father, "Behold, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed a commandment of yours, but you never gave me a goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this, your son, came, who has devoured your living with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him."
— Luke 15:29-30, World English Bible
"But it was appropriate to celebrate and be glad, for this, your brother, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found."
— Luke 15:32, World English Bible

Now let us look at VHP ghar Wapasi action plan from a practical perspective in terms of the above parable:
Reason 1: Prodigal son wanted to come back and his father was happy to receive.
Reason 2: His father desired from the core of his heart for the return of his younger son.
Reason 3: Experiencing the poverty and hardness of life brought him to the realization which prompted him to act practically.
Reason 4: It was not the love towards his father or brother that took him back to his father.
Reason 5: It was for his own survival that he decided to go back to his father’s house.
Reason 6: Prodigal son thought of giving a fair try before trying out some other place.
Reason 7: Love towards his own very existence was questioned, the young man decided to give a shot before he tried anyone else.
Reason 8: It was the prodigal son’s need for survival that took him back to his father’s house.
Reason 9: Very existence of prodigal son was questioned.

Why do one needs to go back to Hinduism, if he/she doesn’t have any advantage to own very existence.
Is there anything come in the world for free?
If conversion is free who wants it?
Let conversion be with advantages.

I am a Christian by birth. I had no idea that when I was baptized. I had no idea what religion would be? I had no idea what the practices are or what the privileges are if at all any.
If I had a choice then I would never have allowed myself to be baptized. My Christian fraternity should not misundstand me for saying the above statement. Christianity is a beautiful religion and I admire Christ who is one of my role models in life.
Certainly, you must be thinking I am trying to put blame on my parents. No way, they did their duty to give a good individual to the world and wonderful human being to the earth.
I was baptized because my parents where Christians. What can they do? Just have to follow the tradition. They did their duty and the net result was…
Who could be blamed?
I blame no one. Not even me.
But what can I do today…
That is what I am doing today.
So, today I remain a Christian on the paper and not at the heart.
What you are is,
That your heart is.
Never mind, you are eager to know what my heart is…

I am not a Hindu either, though the VHP claims that being an Indian my origin must be Hindu.
I doubt if there was a Hindu origin in my family?
Just imagine, if all my ancestors were to be monkeys or homo sapiens…
Could it be possible that monkey had religions that time?
At least in whatever experience as a being on earth
Have you ever found any monkey who claims to have religions?
Only a religious monkey can have religious descents…
I asked many monkeys and tried to gather from them that if they have atleast something called religion.
None of them seems to have heard the word religion either.
And they did not even understand what I was trying to communicate…
They were busy with scratching their heads and belly while chewing some nuts.

Since I have no trace of my ancestors being converted from Hinduism to Christianity,
Why should I undergo a reconversion?

I am potential fresh candidate for religious people.
Imagine when a MIT/IIT student almost completes his graduation,
The next process is campus placement.
The student will get many offers from different leading companies.
He will choose the firm that offers him the best package.
Of course, the package suits the best of his dreams…

I do have dreamt of a package for conversion:
1. A fully furnished Bunglaw of 5000sq… with two maids, one cook and a driver
2. Either a SUV of Benz or BMW
3. 1 cr in the bank account
4. 1 lakh per month as religious conversion salary
5. Free stay and accommodation at different pilgrim centers of the joined religion
6. Free air tickets to those pilgrim centers.
7. Free medical care in case of sickness or oldage
8. No force on attending the religious rituals

I am offering my candidature for as a potential candidate for conversion to Islam, Hinduism, Jainism, Budhism, Judaism, Sikhism, Confucianism or any isms which exists anywhere on earth.

If not let me live my life…
Just as a human being…
Leave me alone…
Leave me alone to LIVE my life.

Disclaimer: It is my personal opinion and not to attack or hurt the feelings of any religion or religious groups. My intention is to bring awareness in the society about the idea of divine and human aspiration for having faith as faith is absolutely a personal or rather private agenda. Any means of force to covert is therefore, i believe is a violation privacy and intrusion into ones personal life. So let us make use of our time to fight against terror, poverty and even a clean India rather than setting fire to religious sentiments which create disharmony in the society.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

"Open up more ashrams to control population explosion thereby reducing poverty and suffering – a great CSR agenda"

In India, there is its magnificent lineage of noble ancestors, the great men and seers who have protected and enriched the nation through their spiritual practices and wisdom.
In the midst of controversial book ‘Holy Hell’ by 20yrs personal attendant of the godwoman a.k.a Amma and sexual scandal by another godman Asaram Bapu as it sets the religious sentiments of the ardent followers on fire, I would unhesitant to say that India needs more ashrams not for spiritual well-being and enlightenment, rather for the single cause controlling population explosion. I am not underestimating the population of India as one of our strengths. But when you go for a job hunt and have to compete with a hundred thousand instead of few hundreds of candidates, I am sure, the same population that we just said as strength turns your chances of life miserable and keep you an educated beggar on the street and in life. Similarly, when you travel by bus or car and not able to reach your destination on time due to heavy traffic, don’t blame your destiny. Instead, think about the population explosion that is around in the country which sucks your time, life, opportunities and even energy.
We are almost hitting 1.3 billion soon. So imagine your chances of making your life comfortable is getting lesser and lesser. If we consider every young couple is thinking of having just one or two kids, it is going to escalate the population in the next 10 years to a 20 or 25% more than what it is now. And certainly, one of the major reasons of misery, poverty, suffering, pollution that India undergo today is nothing other than over population itself.
In the 70s, Sanjay Gandhi had envisioned the catastrophe and started with compulsory sterilization which was criticized all across that time. You may read more about it from the sources on the internet.
So I think, one of the ways to bring down the ever escalating population is to have more ashram in India. Let youngsters take the call and be in the ashram to experience the call of their biological freedom in the name of spirituality without making kids. It may be against the Indian culture and tradition. But if most of the ashrams are a place for sexual gratification and making money then why not try it out convert the problem into a productive solution for the ever challenging problem. Probably, that is one of the ways through which the undisputed Indian tradition or legacy can save India in the 21st century. Be it any religion, sect or cult, encourage more and more ashrams where youth can remain single and yet live there life.
Om Shanti...

(Comment if your insight and vision can enrich and enhance the acute social problem of over population and poverty Or else remain with folded hands as a numb onlooker.)