When Swami Vivekananda faced his fears & emerged victorious

The following incident is narrated by Swami Vivekananda in his complete works:

“Once when I was in Varanasi, I was passing through a place where there was a large tank of water on one side and a high wall on the other. It was in the grounds where there were many monkeys. The monkeys of Varanasi are huge brutes and are sometimes surly. They now took it into their heads not to allow me to pass through their street, so they howled and shrieked and clutched at my feet as I passed.

As they pressed closer, I began to run, but the faster I ran, the faster came the monkeys and they began to bite at me. It seemed impossible to escape, but just then I met a stranger who called out to me, ‘Face the brutes.’ I turned and faced the monkeys, and they fell back and finally fled.

Swami-Vivekananda

That is a lesson for all life–face the terrible, face it boldly. Like the monkeys, the hardships of life fall back when we cease to flee before them. If we are ever to gain freedom, it must be by conquering nature, never by running away. Cowards never win victories. We have to fight fear and troubles and ignorance if we expect them to flee before us.”

Also read: 5 inspiring incidents from Swami Vivekananda’s life

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The monkey over here is symbolic for any of our problems or fears. We are always ready to delay facing our problems or fears. This procrastination leads us nowhere. In fact, gets us more and more deeper in trouble. But as soon as you face them boldly, they are reduced to ashes and you realize there was no need to fear in the first place.

In a way, this is also the lesson given by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna.

Additional reading:

How Swami Vivekananda attacked communalism, casteism, class division in one go

8 Swami Vivekananda quotes on faith and strength

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Dubai Gurudwara hosts Iftaar every day of Ramazan

It’s Ramazan time and this obviously means that the evenings and nights are about Iftaar parties around the world. But one Iftaar celebration that is standing apart from the rest is in Dubai.

And the celebration is not inside a mosque but in a Gurudwara! Yes, you read it right. The only Gurudwara in the UAE [United Arab Emirates] called Guru Nanak Darbar, which rests in Jabel Ali, is hosting an Iftaar evening for the entire month of Ramazan.

We came to know this through a delightful video shared by Khaled Al Ameri on Facebook that covers the entire festivity. The Gurudwara has been hosting Iftaar evening every year once since it was established in 2012. But this year, they have decided to host it daily.

Dubai Gurudwara
The Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara in Dubai. [Photo source: Their official Facebook page]
“We believe that all religions are very beautiful. And since last seven years every year we have one day Iftaar. But being the year of tolerance, this year we are having 30 days Iftaar. Every day we come across people from all walks of life. Believe me, all families, children, everybody comes here. That’s the beauty of this place,” said Surender Singh Kandhari, the Chairman of the Gurudwara.

Sikhs and various Sikh groups are known for their selfless service towards humanity without any sort of discrimination. This is seen in their Gurudwaras and during natural and man-made calamities. “This is an example for the whole world to set that humanity is the first thing,” he added.

The Ramazan fast is broken at this place through an Islamic prayer that takes place right inside the Gurudwara.

See the video by clicking HERE



Mumbai man breaks world record for non-stop Kapalbhati

A Yoga expert from Mumbai has broken the world record for doing non-stop Kapalbhati at one go. Sunil Bhujbal performed the exercise for 1 hour 30 minutes, which is a new record in the Limca Book Of Records.

The previous record of 1 hour 21 minutes was achieved by M P Ramesh Babu from Mysore, Karnataka on 26 June 2017.

But this isn’t the only record Bhujbal broke. Along with doing non-stop Kapalbhati, he also broke the record of sitting in Padmasan for the longest duration and doing the most number of Kapalbhati strokes, which came to a minimum of 20,500.

Bhujbal is a member of the organization Yoga Vidya Niketan. He performed the feat at Damle Yoga Kendra in Matunga. A group of people had turned up as early as 7 am in the morning to witness the event.

Sunil-Bhujbal

Speaking after his achievement, he said, “You need determination in learning. You need to make your rib cage strong so that your passive inhalation should be maintained. If not, you will feel suffocated. In Yoga Vidya Niketan we are told that fixation of chest is very important. The message is given here and I followed that.”

Bhujbal has few other Yoga related records in his name. One of which is carrying out the maximum number of Kapalbhati strokes, which is 4833, in 21 minutes, which he achieved in June 2018.

Video of the last moments of him breaking the world record

The event also had few doctors who did Bhujbal’s check-up before and after his activity. Dr Madhuri Gurjar, one of the doctors, spoke about his medical condition. “His determination and fitness has amazed us doctors. This is an astonishing experiment from the medical point of view. After checking his vitals before he broke the record and after, one truth that has come in front of us is that there is no better way than Yoga to maintain good health.”

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Bedekar sir, the seniormost teacher at Damle Yoga Kendra, said, “Bhujbal should maintain his capacity and should increase it so that next year he can break another record. He is an asset to Yoga Vidya Niketan.”

By: Keyur Seta

Lessons from Mahabharata E 7 – Your vast knowledge is of no use if…

No matter what field you belong to, the basic criteria to succeed is having enormous knowledge in it. Whether you are a student eager to gain good marks or a grown up wanting to do well in his or her profession, doing maximum study of your subject is the backbone of success.

However, there is one quality that plays a strong part in determining whether the knowledge you acquired bears any meaning and that is your intention. Your knowledge is worth nothing if your intention is evil. Such examples are found in our ancient scriptures.

Duryodhana was the villain of the Mahabharata. But not many people would know about his positive quality. He was an expert mace [gadaa] fighter. He acquired training from his guru sage Balarama and became a champion in the skill. In fact, Balarama even went onto say that Duryodhana was the greatest mace fighter of his generation; even better than the mighty Bheema.

But Duryodhana had a huge negative point, which was his jealousy towards his cousins Pandavas – Yudhishthir, Bheema, Arjun, Nakula and Sahadeva – right from his childhood. He was lusty for the throne of Hastinapura and wanted to sit on it by hook or crook; more by the latter.

Duryodhana-photo
Actor Darshan as Duryodhana in the Kannada movie Kurukshetra

After failing to eliminate the Pandavas, Duryodhana played a cruel game of dice by collaborating with his equally evil uncle Shakuni. The result was that the Pandavas, along with their wife Draupadi and mother Kunti, were sent for exile for 14 years.

Duryodhana had the throne for 14 long years for himself but he wasn’t able to enjoy it. He knew the period will finally end and he will be faced with the great battle of Kurukshetra. We all know what happened with the Kauravas in the battle. Despite having a great warrior force, they had to face a humiliating defeat.

One of the most interesting incidents during the war was Duryodhana’s mace fight with Bheema. As per sage Balarama, Duryodhana was the greatest mace fighter. However, it was Bheema who won because Lord Krishna signalled him to attack Duryodhana on his thigh, which would ensure his defeat.

In other words, even God will be on the side of someone with lesser knowledge if his intentions are noble.

By: Keyur Seta

(This is the 7th episode from our series, Lessons from Mahabharata. To visit previous episodes, click HERE.)

Short story: Under the shade in the rainy evening in Bharatpur

The sun had set in Bharatpur that evening but it wasn’t dark at the market road. The workers of the Jan Raksha Party (JRP) were burning effigies of a leader from the ruling Lok Seva Party (LSP) after he allegedly made a derogatory remark against their leader.

The JRP workers were sweating in their pink T-shirt bearing the abbreviation of their party in the already humid town but they didn’t care. How dare he insult their beloved leader?

Their victorious reverie was broken when a group of supporters of LSP started raising slogans against the said JRP leader. They felt their leader did the right thing. They too were oblivious to their sweaty purple T-shirts bearing the abbreviation of their respective parties. But both parties were united in not caring for the general office going population that was having difficulty while returning home after a long and tiring day at work.

Such was the state of affairs in Bharatpur these days. The town was divided between LSP and JRP; between pink and purple. Earlier it was only their supporters who were at loggerheads. But slowly, common people too clinged onto any one side and developed enmity against those on the ‘other’ side. So what if they have been their close friends or even family members all these years?

The colleges regularly saw tussles and arguments between both set of supporters. But since recent times, even offices saw heated conversations between those who were otherwise well-educated and mature.

Under-the-tree
Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The scene was the same even in the virtual world of social media and What’s App. More than the IT cells of these parties, the common people were energetically creating posts to bash and insult the other side. Both parties were saving a lot of money since the common people were ready to publicize them and their agendas for free.

When the general public felt such enmity for people from the ‘other’ side, one can just imagine the hatred between the official party workers of both parties. They literally couldn’t see eye to eye.

The mobs of both groups were showing no signs of stopping. Hence, it took some divine intervention in the form of unseasonal December rain. What started as a drizzle soon transformed into heavy rain and storm-like situation. To make matters worse, the electricity went off.

The general public, which was running helter skelter, was now confused. Ajit, a man in his mid-20s, ushered inside the entrance of a shop that was shut. As he was moved inside the roof properly to escape the rain water, his body his someone. It was a man in his 50s who too was there as he had to save himself from the rain and it was too dark to try going home.

After an awkward moment, they spoke and soon introduced themselves. The man in his 50s was Rameshchandra. The two were glad to have each other’s company to combat this difficult situation. Ajit realized that Rameshchandra was feeling uneasy.

When Ajit caringly prodded further, he revealed that he is diabetic and needed water. Ajit promptly handed him a bottle from his bag in the dark. Rameshchandra thanked him. He then he noticed that Ajit was limping a bit. Now it was Rameshchandra’s turn to caringly prod him about his uneasiness.

Ajit explained how his leg got hit to the street lamp pole in the dark while he was hurriedly getting under the roof. Rameshchandra handed him a little bottle of a balm which he always carried for his headache. He said the balm works even for the kind of injury Ajit suffered. Then Ajit remembered the slogan of the balm’s advertisement, ‘Ek balm, teen kaam’ and they had a hearty laugh.

There was massive age gap between the two of them but they didn’t feel it. Difficult circumstances can even bring two people from different age groups together in a human way. Both decided in their minds that they would like to keep in touch. They were no longer thinking about the uneasiness caused by their wet T-shirts.

Just then the electricity returned and the road lights were on. They were glad but as soon as their eyes fell on each other, they were stunned. They were wearing pink and purple T-shirts respectively.

By: Keyur Seta

Why the meaning of the name ‘Yudhishthir’ is relevant today

When it comes to the characters of the Pandavas, the name Arjun has received maximum fame. His skills ensured that he be considered one of the best archers ever. Hence, a large number of parents have been naming their children Arjun among Hindus.

But as far as the Pandavas or even all the main characters of Mahabharata are concerned, one of the most underrated names is Yudhisthir. The meaning of his name is inspiring and something that is needed in today’s times.

Yudhisthir means a person who can remain calm and composed even in the midst of a war. To elaborate, the word ‘Yudh’ means ‘war’ and ‘sthir’ means ‘still.’ Hence, Yudhisthir is someone who doesn’t lose his calmness amidst a war.

Yudhisthir
Yudhisthir from the TV serial Mahabharata played by Rohit Bharadwaj

The meaning is so relevant today and I don’t mean from the armed forces who indulge in actual war. The everyday lives have become so stressful that each day is nothing short of a war.

Students are fighting the war to score more marks. Working professionals are at war over deadlines and the pressures of their seniors or bosses. At times being in a relationship in today’s times of dating apps is also a war.

Interestingly, Yudhisthir also possessed some praiseworthy qualities. He was extremely kind, largehearted, benevolent and possessed a tremendous amount of knowledge of the Shastras.

An incident that displayed his largeheartedness was the one where all his four brothers [Arjun, Bheem, Nakul and Sahadev] died. A Yaksha told him that he can bring to life only one of his four brothers. To this, Yudhisthir chose Nakul, although he was his step-brother over Arjun.

The Yaksha was so impressed with Yudhisthir that he brought all four brothers to life.

Yudhisthir acquired the name ‘Dharmaraja’ for his strict adherence to dharma [rightfulness]. His other name was Ajatshatru, which means someone who has no enemies.

Hence, personally speaking, it won’t be a bad thing to name your child Yudhisthir.

Gurudwara in Andheri west: See pictures

Sometimes you experience something memorable out of the blue. Such events can’t be planned. The same happened with me recently when I landed in the famous Gurudwara of Andheri in Mumbai.

I had gone to the D N Nagar Metro Station area for a work-related visit. I reached my destination much before time, which is rare for me considering my work schedule. My auto-rickshaw stopped just near the Gurudwara. The sight was enough for me to enter it, more so since I was before time.

I have seen this Gurudwara in some television shows and movies. I always felt I should visit it some day but it just kept on delaying. But here I was at the place all of a sudden.

Gurudwara-Andheri

I was surprised to see a young man in rich clothes and attire on the footwear stand. He was extremely polite and humble. The beautiful sight of the main dome ensured that I didn’t feel the steps while climbing up despite it being a tiring day.

The inner sanctum of the Gurudwara instantly fills you up with peace. No matter how hectic day you had, you will feel relaxed as soon as you enter it. The sight of other devotees and the priest-like man with the Guru Granth Sahib felt like my own even though they were strangers.

I was there only for few minutes but that was enough to rejuvenate me.

The experience reminded me of my visit to the Gurudwara in Matunga west in Mumbai.

By: Keyur Seta

Gurudwara Andheri west