Category: Sarva Dharma Sambhav


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Braille transcription of Jain Sadhvi duo Nidhi-Kripa Shri’s books — Jeena Aaye to Zindagi and Karm Jigyasa — was unveiled at Parliament’s Balayagi Auditorium on November 9, 2014. The aim of this Braille transcription is to make it possible for the visually-impaired to own these books and enrich their lives as per the guidance of Bhagwan Mahavir.

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Picture Source: Artnindia.com

Picture Source: Artnindia.com

Along with the unveiling of Braille transcription of duo’s book, Nandita Jain and Mridu Jain also unveiled a book ‘Jiyo Barass Likho Baras’ — a biography of the duo — on the same day, which also marks the 50th birth anniversary of the two Sadhvis.

Duo’s books propagate the teachings such as non-violence and guide people to lead a content life in the light of Bhagwan Mahavir’s teachings. ‘Jeena Aaye to Zindagi’ helps the reader to enrich life by multiplying good qualities and defeating grey shades, on the other hand ‘Karm Jigyasa’ is Bhagwan Mahavir’s tool to open the doors to understanding and tolerance.

The two Sadhvi’s mission is ‘knowledge for all’ and believe that even in the materialistic world people can be enlightened. In line with this mission, the books of two Sadhvi’s are available in audio format through Daisy format (digital talking book) for the visually-impaired.

Sadhvis Nidhi Shri was born in Mumbai and Sadhvi Kripa Shri was born in Jalna, Maharashtra, and together got Jain consecration around 32 years ago. The two started giving discourses after the consecration and started writing books from 1997 onwards.

(This is the second episode of the series ‘Lessons from Mahabharata’. The sole aim of this series is to highlight that the many messages given in the greatest epic are completely relevant even today and will be forever… For Episode 1, click HERE.)

By: Keyur Seta

All of us must have heard the phrase ‘Quality is above Quantity’ a number of times in our lives. Be it our elders, teachers, friends or bosses; someone at some point utters these words with regards to different contexts. One might think that this phrase is relevant to the current professionals from various fields. Although there is no denying this, I feel it has been relevant since ages; since thousands of years ago.

Yes, I am talking about the Mahabharata. There is a huge and obvious example of ‘Quality above quantity’ in the epic. Strangely, I haven’t heard or read anyone referring to this event in the context of this phrase. Or maybe many must have drawn a link of this incident with the phrase; such is the magnanimity of the many events of this epic. The episode I am talking about took place much before the commencement of the Great War of Kurukshetra between the Pandavas and Kauravas.

krishna-duryodhanAfter the war was announced and the preparations about the same were on in full swing, Duryodhana, the evil antagonist, and Arjuna, the righteous Pandava, visited Lord Krishna to ask for his assistance in the war. Krishna said he can either offer himself weaponless or his huge army (with weapons) to any one of them. As Duryodhana was the first one to arrive, he was given the opportunity to choose first. Despite knowing Duryodhana’s evil intentions, Krishna agreed to help him too since it was against the dharma for a Kshatriya to say no to a relative.

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We all know how materialistic Duryodhana was. For people with a materialistic mindset, numbers matter the most. In fact, their mindset always forces them to judge people and situations on the basis of numbers. Therefore, without giving it a second thought, Duryodhana chose Krishna’s army and was delighted about his choice.

On the other hand, Arjuna too was immensely pleased for getting the services of Krishna, although without weapons. Arjuna’s mind was unlike Duryodhana. As he didn’t measure things in terms of numbers, he very well knew the importance of having Krishna on his side as his charioteer. He knew Krishna alone is many times mightier than any army in the world.

The result of Duryodhana’s choice was devastating for the Kauravas. In fact, we can even infer that the biggest turning point in the Great War of Kurukshetra arrived much before it commenced. A change of choice by Duryodhana would have turned around the entire result on its head. However, some people do believe that if Duryodhana had chosen Krishna, the latter would have either convinced him against fighting the war or would have still ensured a victory for Pandavas. I too would like to believe it.

So there we are! We have had the biggest example of ‘Quality above quantity’ thousands of years ago, which is relevant even today and will be as long as the earth exists; such is the timelessness of the epic.

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I would like to list down few examples of this theory out of our daily living:-

  • In today’s age we have gadgets for almost everything. The basic aim of every gadget or machine is to save our time and at the same time achieve more perfection. However, we had more contentment and free time when we were less dependent on gadgets.
  • The number of TV channels today is well above a thousand! But we were more satisfied when there was just one channel or a handful of channels. And despite such huge number of channels, many are seen spending their time just flipping channels as they aren’t satisfied with any. The same goes for movies.
  • The numbers of shopping centers and shopping malls have increased rapidly over the years. People are also seen indulging in shopping like never before. The reason for this is their lack of satisfaction from whatever they buy. Although he or she is happy initially after buying something, the satisfaction derived out of it lasts only few moments, forcing them to shop more and repeat the cycle. On the other hand, people were more satisfied when they used to spend on simple items with less frequency.
  • Since a decade or so, we have also been witnessing an overdose of cricket. Obviously, this had had a great impact on our satisfaction derived from the sport. Plus, the emergence of Indian Premier League (IPL) made matters worse by staging around 80 matches in less than two months! And since it is becoming more and more a batsman’s game, the value of a century or six-hitting has reduced. For how long do we now feel happy when a batsman scores a 100?
  • In today’s social media savvy era, we have hundreds of friends. But how many are there really with whom we can share our heart out comfortably?

(This is the first episode of the series ‘Lessons from Mahabharata’. The sole aim of this series is to highlight that the many messages given in the greatest epic are completely relevant even today and will be forever… For Episode 2, click HERE.)

By: Keyur Seta

Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya,
Glanir Bhavati Bhaavat,
Abhyutthanam Adharmasya,
Tadatmanam Srujamy Aham

Through the above Sanskrit Mantra, Lord Krishna has assured that whenever and wherever evil or adharma will threaten to take over good or dharma, he will manifest or arrive on earth to ensure that evil is destroyed.

Although this is one of the most scared mantras, it is also making people ask this question again and again – If the mantra is true, why hasn’t God arrived on earth considering the numerous ghastly evils on earth? I too have asked this innumerable times. However, I have stopped asking it in recent times. In fact, I have also started believing that it is futile to ask such a question.

Before I explain the reason for this, I would like to clearly state that this is just my way of looking at an episode of Mahabharata and I don’t possess any concrete proof to support my theory.

krishna-and-arjunIt is well-known that Lord Krishna helped Arjuna and other Pandava brothers to win the great war of Kurukshetra against the evil Kauravas. Looking at this incident, one would ask then why isn’t he helping the world right now to fight these many evils. But the analogy is not as simple as it appears. A deeper perception is required.

Just before the start of the war, Arjuna straightaway refused to fight as he wasn’t ready to kill his own kinsmen, grandfather Bheeshma and his teacher Dronacharya. So Krishna encouraged him to fight through a long conversation, which later came to be known as the Bhagavad Gita. It is only after he agrees to fight that Krishna helps him by his various tactics.

So if Krishna is God, why he didn’t use his powers to eliminate the Kauravas right at the start of the war? He had the power to end the war in a matter of seconds so why didn’t he do that? Well, this incident gives a clear message that God helps us in our fight against any evil only if we are ready to fight against it with all our might. Until and unless we, in huge numbers, are determined to put in all our efforts in battling against various evils, God is not going to help us.

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We humans have enough power and strength to wage a war against adharma. By fearing and underestimate ourselves and overestimating the evil forces, we are falling prey to negativity. And where there is negativity, there is no God. History is full of examples of ordinary human beings fearlessly battling against oppressors. So it is not right to blame Him of not doing anything to alleviate if we are not willing to dedicate and ready ourselves for a mighty fight against evil forces.

So, according to me, as a large majority of us (including me) aren’t doing anything to wipe out the corrupt and wicked forces, God isn’t using his powers to free us from various evils. Until and unless we don’t pull up our socks (mind you, in huge numbers) for the task, we shouldn’t expect God to perform any miracles.

No doubt, there are a lot of people selflessly working for the upliftment of the downtrodden but the number isn’t enough. We can expect some miracle only if a large majority of us enter the battlefield of the various Kurukshetras of the world.

Maybe the Lord is already present on earth just waiting for us to unanimously enter the battlefield. Maybe he is present is small quantities in many of us and just wants us to unite ourselves and Him. Either ways, the need is the same – stand up and fight!

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Janmashtami or Gokulashtami is a Hindu festival celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna. He is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who specially took birth as the child of Devaki and Vasudev to wipe out various evils from earth. As a child, Krishna eliminated his own evil uncle Kansa. His entire life has been full of messages for the entire human population, not just Hindus. His biggest and most important contribution was seen in the great war of Kurukshetra where he helped the Pandavas defeat their evil cousins Kauravas.

As his mission on earth was accomplished with the victory of the Pandavas, Krishna descended to heavenly abode after the completion of the war. But he assured his devotees that he would arrive on earth whenever an evil force will pose danger to win over the good.

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For the entire life story of Lord Krishna, visit these links:-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krishna

http://archives.amritapuri.org/bharat/symbolism/srikrishna.php

 

Happy JANMASHTAMI to all! May the various evils of the world be wiped out.

 

Lord Vishnu's reincarnation as Krishna, the child of Devaki and Vasudeva. (Picture Source: http://www.twitsnaps.com)

Lord Vishnu’s reincarnation as Krishna, the child of Devaki and Vasudeva. (Picture Source: http://www.twitsnaps.com)

 

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Eid-Al-Fitr is an Islamic festival marking the end of Ramadan (also knoawn as Ramzan), the month of fasting. Muslims all over the world fast daily in the month of Ramadan from dawn to dusk known as Roza. After sunset, they break the Roza and consume food. This is done for the entire month of Ramadan till the day of Eid. People generally wish each other ‘Eid Mubarak’, ‘Eid-Ul-Fitr Mubarak’, ‘Happy Eid’ and so on depending on each language. For more information on Eid, click this link – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eid_al-Fitr

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Although Eid is an Islamic festival, it is celebrated by people of all faiths world over.

Picture Source: smsblaze.com

Picture Source: smsblaze.com

 

Picture Source: The Hindu

Picture Source: The Hindu

 

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Easter is a Christian festival celebrating the resurrection (rising from dead) of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion on Good Friday, which is a public holiday in most parts of the world. Mostly, Easter is a movable Holiday and is celebrated on the First Sunday between March 22 and April 25 in accordance to the Vernal or Spring Equinox.

 

Wishing all a Very Happy Easter. May there be new hope for humanity all around the globe!

 

For a detailed meaning and information of Easter, see these links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter

http://christianity.about.com/od/holidaytips/qt/whatiseaster.htm

 

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Picture Source: text.medjugorje.ws/

Picture Source: text.medjugorje.ws/

 

By: Keyur Seta

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri, Pakistan’s renowned Islamic scholar and politician, is highly impressed by the teachings and message of Swami Vivekananda. In fact, for Swamiji’s 151st Birth Anniversary, he sent his wishes to India through his Indian friend Sudheendra Kulkarni, who is a socio-political activist and columnist.

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Picture Source: Mr Sudheendra Kulkarni

Picture Source: Mr Sudheendra Kulkarni

“I had a chance of meeting Qadri. But before meeting him, I sent him a few books about Swamiji. When I met him, he said he read the books and is highly impressed by Swamiji’s message. He praised Swamiji by quoting from his Parliament of Religion speech at Chicago. Just imagine, a Muslim, a Pakistani being impressed by Swamiji’s message.” said Kulkarni while speaking at Swami Vivekananda’s 151st Birth Anniversary aka National Youth Day function organized by Ramakrishna Mission and Math, Mumbai. He also stressed on religious tolerance by urging people to celebrate festival of all religions.

A large group of people gathered at the Vivekananda Hall were both surprised and delighted to hear this. Similarly, other dignitaries – Chitra Ramkrishna, MD & CEO of National Stock Exchange Mumbai, Dr Priya M Vaidya, Asst. Prof. of Philosophy, University of Mumbai, B. N. Srikrishna, retired Supreme Court Judge ((he prepared Srikrishna Report of 1992 riots) and Professor Narendra M. Naidu from Modern College Pune – too presided over the event encouraging people to walk on the path shown by Swamiji.

The event also saw a dance drama on Swamiji’s life and message by Keka Sinha and her group and a Classical concert by Padmashri Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty.

More pictures from the event:

Picture Source: Keyur Seta

Picture Source: Keyur Seta

Picture Source: Keyur Seta

Picture Source: Keyur Seta

 

Guru Nanak Gurupurab or Guru Nanak Jayanti is a Sikh festival that celebrates the birth of Guru Nanak, who was the first Sikh Guru. Like other major festivals of India, Guru Nanak Gurpurab is celebrated by people across various faiths. According to the Indian ancient calendar, it is celebrated Kartik Poornima, the full moon day in the month of Kartik. Guru Nanak was the founder of the Sikh religion and the first among the 10 Sikh gurus. The sacred book of Sikhs called Guru Granth Sahib is considered the 11th living Guru.

Guru Nanak was born on April 15, 1469 at Rai Bhoi Ki  Talvandi, now in Pakistan. The town is now called as Nankana Sahib. He was married at a young age and had two children. However, his spiritual urge compelled him to leave his wife and children and go to a spiritual pilgrimage with his best friend Mardana for 12 years. After attaining tremendous spiritual enlightenment, he started preaching against all forms of differentiations, especially religious and caste based. His movement of creating peace between people of various faiths gave rise to the religion of Sikhism. For the complete story of Guru Nanak, click HERE.

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Here’s wishing Happy Guru Nanak Jayanti to all! May his message of peace and unity among all human beings be spread far and wide! In his own words – Aval Allah Noor Upaya, Kudrat Ke Sab Bande

Picture Source: a1lucknowflowers.com

Picture Source: a1lucknowflowers.com

By: Keyur Seta

All over the world, human population is divided on the basis of religion. There are a large number of religions practiced universally and people from each one consider someone from another religion as different from him or her. But if we look at it closely, we realize that we all fall under the category of human beings; that we all have the same flesh and bones; that we all feel happy and sad at the same things. This universal truth was presented at the event Interfaith Dialogue for Modern Era in Mumbai by Ramakrishna Mission and Math, Mumbai. The Interfaith Dialogue was a part of the 150th Birth Anniversary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda, whose message was also spread widely at the event.

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There was dialogue and interaction by religious heads of various religions -

  • Christianity by Father Joshua
  • Zoroastrianism by Lion Yazdi Panthaki
  • Baha’ism by Dr Mangesh Teli
  • Buddhism by Prof. Sudhakar Arjun Pawar
  • Jainism Dr. Bipin Doshi
  • Islam by Maulana Syed Athar Ali
  • Sikhism by Mr. Harpal Singh
  • Judaism by Mr. Ralphy Jhira
  • Sufism by Mr. Sami Bubere
  • Hinduism by Swami Atmapriyanandji Maharaj

After listening to each one of them, it wasn’t hard to realize that all religions preach the same message of humanity, oneness, equality and love for all fellow beings.

Some pictures from the event:

Picture Source: DNAIndia.com

Picture Source: DNAIndia.com

Interfaith-Dialog-India

Swami-Vivekananda-religion

Diwali is a Hindu festival but, like all major festivals, it is not limited to people of Hindu faith. It is an Indian festival in actual sense. There are various reasons or incidents behind the celebration of Diwali.

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  • The biggest one is related to Ramayana, the great Indian epic. Circumstances forced Ram to undergo a forest exile along with wife Sita and brother Ram. One day, the demon king Ravan abducted Sita after he fell in love with her beauty. Ram was forced to wage a war against Ravan to free Sita from his clutches. After a long war, Ram ultimately turned victorious after killing Ravan. When Ram, Sita and Laxman returned victorious to Ayodhya after 14 y ears, people welcomed them in a grand manner by lighting lamps, decorating the city, bursting crackers, etc. Hence, Ram’s return to Ayodhya is said to be the start of Diwali as each year on that day people celebrated the festival.
  • There is another very similar theory about the origin of Diwali in relation to another great Indian epic Mahabharata. The Pandavas were forced to wage a war against their wicked cousins Kaurawas. After defeating their enemies when Pandavas returned to their city Hastinapur, the locals celebrated the occasion with much aplomb which marked the start of Diwali.
  • It is also believed that Goddess Kali emerged from the forehead of Goddess Durga to save the earth from the demons. However, she lost her sense of control and started killing anyone randomly. She stopped only when Lord Shiva intervened. This incident is marked as Kali Puja at the same time as Diwali.
  • There is another theory which states that once Gods and Demons desired to live forever and for that they churned the ocean to seek immortality. To stop them, Goddess Durga rose up from the ocean. Later, Lord Vishnu married her. Their marriage is marked as the celebration of Diwali.

Here’s wishing each and everyone a Very Happy Diwali. Well, we all wish each other ‘Happy Diwali’ but Diwali can be considered happy only if it is unpolluted. Each year, the level of air and noise pollution reaches sky high during Diwali due to various types of fire crackers. When we harm earth or mother nature in such a ghastly manner, we can’t be having a Happy Diwali by any means. It not only destroys nature and spreads various diseases, it creates hell for the animals. My sincere request to all of you is to have literally a Happy Diwali. This is the festival of lights so just light up someone’s life, be it anybody. Lighting up people’s life gives many times more pleasure than polluting the environment.

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