Category Archives: Sarva Dharma Sambhav

Display of Oneness: Sant Nirankari Exhibition

By: Keyur Seta

Nature hasn’t created any difference among humans. We all have the same flesh and bones. But since time immemorial, humans are being divided in various ways through various evil forces. This division is the root cause of all human suffering in the history of mankind.

The scenario is the same even in 2015. Despite the clout of education and urbanization, evil forces are dividing us and are also being successful in it. The reason for this is the lack of awareness of the basic truth that we all have the same flesh and bones. So, it becomes necessary for someone to lead us to this truth.

Sant Nirankari Mission, under the guidance of Dhan Nirankar ji, has taken up the task of highlighting the oneness or equality among human beings from all race, religion, caste, creed, class or whatever. Its sole aim is to spread the message of unity in various ways through the message of world peace.

The organization had recently held an exhibition of oneness, unity or humanity in Mumbai. With the help of a lot of volunteers, they pointed out the fact that all humans are the same and all divisions, created among them, is man-made.

Have a look at the pictures/ photos from the exhibition:-

sant-nirankari-jiunity-symbol100_9437hindi-shayari100_9433100_9432symbol-of-unitydhan-nirankari-jidhan-nirankaridhan-nirankari-social-work

Ecosystem calling, answer now or regret forever!

By: Keyur Seta

Picture: FB page 'Wake Up World'

Picture: FB page ‘Wake Up World’

Ever since our childhood we have been told that we should respect, protect and conserve nature. Many of us have started believing in it more ever since terms like Global Warming and Climate Change have come into being. But after attending a five-hour session titled ‘Philosophy of Ecology’ at New Acropolis (Mumbai), I have now literally started worshiping nature. It was pretty much the same with others who participated in the session. The seminar dug into the deeper aspect of ‘Ecology’ and what we humans have reduced it to due to various reasons, including greed. But unlike most seminars or lectures, this one was more practical and interactive. Hence, the participants took back with them a lot of things rather than just attending and forgetting about it after it’s over. Highlights of the session:- Baraka Movie:- The video below shook us. It is a footage from the non-verbal movie Baraka. It shows the true, raw beauty of nature in various forms and later focuses on how we have destroyed it through our greed, materialism and consumerism. The mesmerizing visuals transforming into something so brutal is heartbreaking even for those who aren’t nature lovers. Then what to say of the people gathered there? A lady vowed to give up non-vegetarian food after witnessing the process through which chicken is produced. Here is the video:- Composting:- An entire process of Composting was practically presented. For those who don’t know, Composting is a process through which fertile manure is produced from sheer garbage. The fertile compost can be used to grow your own food. To learn Composting, visit an organization called ‘Dirt’ by clicking HERE.

Process of Composting (Picture: Acrd.bc.ca)

Process of Composting (Picture: Acrd.bc.ca) Click to Enlarge

Solution to Global Warming:- We should plant as many plants as possible on our terrace. There are innumerable buildings in a city like Mumbai. Just imagine the positive effect on the environment of high number of plants on lakhs of terraces in Mumbai. This will help fight Global Warming, although at a minor level. Native Americans:- One of the themes of the seminar was that to solve the problems of today by looking back to the past. To explain this, information and insight on Native Americans was presented. Here is its summary:-

  • They worship nature diligently.
  • From their teachings, it is evident that they learnt about destruction way back 300 years ago, before the industrial revolution.
  • They believe that nature holds all the aces.
  • Pregnant women were sent to forests where she would give birth to her baby all by herself. It is believed that a baby born through such a process will be strong.
  • They give names to children after nature.
  • They firmly believe in giving away what they have. In case if a person becomes possessive about something, he is said to be weak.
  • As and when they need to hunt an animal for food, they plead in front of it to let them consume it. The remains of the animal are respectfully buried.
Native American (Picture: Imageblogs.org)

Native American (Picture: Imageblogs.org)

Chief Seattle’s Letter:- Chief Seattle, who was the Chief of Squamish Indians, wrote to the America in 1800 explaining why nature or land should never be bought and how they see God in everything. This letter will undoubtedly move anyone. Read it HERE. Here is a gist of other important points presented:-

  • Animals eat only as much as they require. Hence, they don’t have problems like obesity, heart diseases, diabetes, etc.
  • Sun consistently arrives each morning, come what may. He is an ideal example of consistency.
  • “Know yourself, only then you will know the Cosmos and Gods.” – Temple of Apollo in Delphi, Greece.
  • Symptoms of any issue can be treated. But to heal, one needs to go to the root of the problem.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – M K Gandhi.

Pictures: Buddhist Japanese Temple, Mumbai

By: Keyur Seta

Not many people are aware that a beautiful Japanese Buddhist Temple is situated at Worli Naka in Mumbai (India). It is known as Nipponzan Myohoji temple. One visit to the temple brings a lot of serenity. What is also noteworthy is the beautiful interiors, paintings and idols.

Have a look at the pictures taken in and around the temple:

(Click to enlarge)

Nipponzan-Myohoji-MumbaiBuddha-temple-WorliBuddhist-temple-worliBuddhist-temple-Mumbai Buddhist-temple-Worli-naka Nipponzan-Myohoji-temple Worli Worli-Buddhist temple Worli-Buddhist-templeNipponzan-Myohoji--temple-worliNipponzan-Myohoji-temple-Mumbai

Buddha Life Story & Sayings: When the bright yet blissful light illuminated the world

Gautam Buddha is considered one of the greatest revolutionary spiritual leader the world has ever seen. He is that bright yet blissful light that has illuminated peace, love and harmony to the world and continues to do so.Today, falls his Birth Anniversary as per the traditional calendar. Hence, the day is known as Buddha Poornima and celebrated by his followers world over. The day is also called Vesak Day by some.

Gautam Buddha shrine at Bodh Gaya Temple. (Picture: aboutfestivalsofindia.com)

Gautam Buddha shrine at Bodh Gaya Temple (Picture: aboutfestivalsofindia.com)

Buddha was the founder of the religion, Buddhism. The Buddhist faith is practiced all over the world but mostly in countries India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.

Gautam Buddha was born as the prince Siddhartha in Lumbini (today, Nepal) in the Shakya clan in the 6th Century B.C. His father was a renowned king of that region. Therefore, Siddhartha was also expected to follow in his father’s footsteps. But he was destined for even greater glory. An astrologer predicted the possibility of Siddhartha being a spiritual leader. This, obviously, worried his father no ends.

As per the predication, Siddhartha’s heart used to bleed at the sight of the poor, helpless and underprivileged. So, his father kept him confined to their palace. But eventually, Siddhartha did become successful in seeing the outside world and whatever he saw broke his heart. He couldn’t bear the pain and atrocities borne by his fellow human beings. This was enough to motivate Siddhartha to banish the kingdom and become a monk.

He soon started getting followers who were once his fellow monks on the path of spiritual glory. Soon, Siddhartha received miraculous enlightenment at the feet of the Bodhi Tree, a sight that is worshiped ever since. He was later known as Gautam Buddha.

This started a a new religion that preached only sacrifice, non-violence, forgiveness, and love and harmony for fellow beings.

On the day of Buddha Poornima, let us not only pray but make valiant efforts to restore peace at a new when hatred has reached such enormous levels. Let Buddha’s message of peace and kindness reach far and wife.

For the complete life story or biography of Gautam Buddha, click HERE.

Famous sayings/ quotes by Gautam Buddha:-

Buddha Shrine at Pragbodhi (Picture: ddlogo.blogspot.com)

Buddha Shrine at Pragbodhi (Picture: ddlogo.blogspot.com)

“In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?”

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”

“However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?”

“If the problem can be solved why worry? If the problem cannot be solved worrying will do you no good.”

“You are the community now. Be a lamp for yourselves. Be your own refuge. Seek for no other. All things must pass. Strive on diligently. Don’t give up.”

“Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.”

“It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.”

Nepal Earthquake: How can you help (in the short & long run)?

By: Keyur Seta

The deaths and casualties in the Nepal Earthquake are continuing to go high. According to latest reports, the death toll has now surpassed 4000 with many thousands injured. The help needed should be directly proportional to the magnanimity of the tragedy.

The Indian Army and a whole lot of social groups and independent volunteers are selflessly fighting day in and day out to repair the damage and help out those who are injured and stranded. The Government of India too is taking special care to make sure all the help is provided during Nepal’s hour of crisis.

But when the intensity of the crisis is so high, no help is enough. Hence, it becomes our moral responsibility to make whatever little effort to restore the situation in Nepal. If we can’t visit the affected areas personally, we can surely be there in spirit by donating as much amount as we can.

Here is the frightening video of Nepal Earthquake at Kathmandu’s Durbar Square captured by a tourist

Selfless volunteers working hard

Selfless volunteers working hard

You can make a contribution to Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund in the following ways:-

The headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission at Belur Math in West Bengal are collecting funds for the Nepal Earthquake.
Phone: (91-33-) 2654-1144/1180/5391/8494/9581/9681
Email: mail@belurmath.org

Save The Children, an NGO, is providing help to the many children affected by the earthquake.
Phone: (Toll Free) 1.800.728.3843 (8:00am-5:00pm EST, M-F)
Online Donation: https://secure.savethechildren.org/site/c.8rKLIXMGIpI4E/b.9274575/k.FD90/Nepal_Earthquake_Childrens_Relief_Fund/apps/ka/sd/donor.asp?msource=emefunepa415&utm_source=emergency&utm_medium=email-sc&utm_campaign=Emergency-Nepal
Email: MajorGiving@savechildren.org

International Association for Human Values (IAHV) is also collecting funds for the tragedy.
Online Donation: http://www.iahv.org/in-en/nepal-earthquake-relief/

Friends Service Council Nepal is an organization situated in Kathmandu, Nepal which is working with respect to the tragedy.
Contact Online: http://www.fscnepal.org/contact-us/
Phone: +977-1-5201497
Email: fsc@wlink.com.np

Goonj, an Indian NGO, too is working for the rehabilitation of the victims.
Contact online: http://goonj.org/
Phone: 011 – 41611244 & 9810032527

Facebook is also doing its bit in collection fund for the tragedy.
Visit FB’s Nepal tragedy page herehttps://www.facebook.com/nepalearthquakesupport

But what about the long run?

But an ideal way to help in the long run will be by making sure such devastating tragedies never take place ever. This might sound outrageous to some but I feel it is futile to blame Mother Nature for this because such tragedies are an outcome of our own greed. We have destroyed forest after forest and many other aspects of nature in the name of development and progress. Towers after towers are created without paying heed to nature.

Any development at the cost of nature or ecology is not development. It is downright destruction or violence. And since every action has a reaction, incidents like Nepal earthquake, Kashmir and Uttarakhand floods and other such incidents keep happening and, unfortunately, will continue so, if we don’t do anything in this regard.

But, you might ask, what can we do? Well, there is plenty we can do to, at least, make sure the condition of our planet isn’t worsened further.

Picture: Prsindia.org

Picture: Prsindia.org

Here are some ideas:

  • Plant trees or saplings anywhere and everywhere you can.
  • Avoid Firecrackers as they violently pollute the environment at an enormous level. Parents themselves should sensitize their kids about it.
  • Minimize the use of cars. If you are young and fit, use as much of public transport as possible. Many of you might label me crazy but there is no other alternative to reduce traffic and pollution or to, at least, make sure it doesn’t increase further. The traffic and pollution has already crossed insane levels. Use carpooling to the maximum. Metro Rail is a major boon in this regard.
  • But the above option is possible only if our government and authorities improve the condition and efficiency of our public transport systems. There should be more local trains with more bogies. Some years ago, a very lengthy B.E.S.T bus used to run on Mumbai roads. But they have stopped it for reasons best known to them. Such buses will prove to be a major boost.
  • Ban deforestation or cutting trees completely. We have destroyed forests and trees enough. We should follow the policy of not a single tree being allowed to cut down.
  • Make laws to minimize creation of new industries. Preserving nature is more important than making new products and inventions.
  • Make sure the industrial waste is properly decomposed and not dumped carelessly into the sea or rivers.
  • Ban polluting or littering into rivers even at a micro level.

Only resorting to the above and many other options will help in sustaining Mother Nature. If we ignore these measures, we should be ready for more massive earthquakes, floods, etc. The equation is simple – If we destroy nature, we can’t expect nature to bear it lying down. This is Nature’s Law and not the man-made judicial laws, so it can’t be tweaked as per our whims and fancies.

I recently read on Facebook – Nature doesn’t need us. We need nature.

Book Review: Ramayana: The Game Of Life – Shattered Dreams

Author: Shubha Vilas

Rating: * * * *

Review By: Keyur Seta

Shattered Dreams is the second book in the six part series Ramayana: The Game Of Life by author Shubha Vilas. The first book, Rise Of The Sun Prince, succeeded in narrating the early childhood of Lord Rama in an enchanting manner (read its review HERE). The author has continued the good work in the second book. This time, Vilas has also overcome the challenge of presenting sad and serious turn of events with so much optimism and pleasantness.

The story commences when Rama is 25 years old. He is married to Sita while Laxmana is married to Urmila. Ayodhya is going through its happiest period until King Dasharata, Rama’s father, starts seeing disturbing dreams. Worried and anxious, Dasharata hurriedly organizes Rama’s coronation as the new king of Ayodhya.

Picture: Amazon.com

Picture: Amazon.com

However, Dasharata’s dream is shattered after Rama, Sita and Laxmana are forced to go into exile due to the trick played by the evil Kaikeyi, who dreams of seeing his son Bharata on the throne of Ayodhya. Will Dasharata be able to bear separation from his beloved Rama? Will Bharata accept the throne presented to him through treachery?

Rama’s exile is looked upon as a sad incident and rightly so. But the author has presented the episode and its consequences in a positive and hopeful light. Of course, the reader does feel sad by the turn of events but Vilas’ idea of looking at the positives even in a super tragic situation moves your heart.

The character traits and wisdom of Rama, Sita and Laxmana largely help in this. But in the end, you are most awestruck by the wisdom and humility of Bharata. Normally, Ramayana is more about the greatness of the divine couple and their servant. But after reading Shattered Dreams, the youth, its target audience, will consider Bharata equally great. His love, respect and devotion for Rama will overwhelm you long after finishing the book.

Talking about the language, Vilas has continued from where he left in the first book. It is a smart example of rich language that resorts to utter simplicity. This ensures that the book will be an easy read for English literature lovers as well as for those not much into English reading. Except for few dragged portions before the exile, the pace is fast throughout. The gripping drama peppered on every situation makes sure you are always glued.

Now, some minor issues. Going by the story and events focused, the book shouldn’t have been 387 pages long. The theory that a woman should worship her husband and should always be dependent on him shouldn’t have been glorified. The series is written for today’s youth, so such regressive, patriarchal ideas should at least have been limited. The words of wisdom at the end of the page are inspiring and enlightening. However, on few occasions, that portion is too long.

Overall: Shattered Dreams is a must read for mythological lovers, especially if you have read the first book in the series. It provokes anticipation for the remaining parts.

Details:

Publishers: Jaico Books

Genre: Mythology

Pages: 387

Price: Rs 350 (available at discount on Flipkart)

Book Review: Ramayana: The Game Of Life – Rise Of The Sun Prince

Author: Shubha Vilas

Rating: * * * *

Review By: Keyur Seta

Ramayana is one of the oldest Indian epics that is popular world over. So, obviously, the people of India have been hearing the greatness of the tale and its legendary characters from various books, elders and teachers, if not from a television series or a movie. Since we already have acquired so much of information about the epic, do we really need another book to retell us the same story?

As far as author Shubha Vilas’ latest book on Ramayana is concerned, the answer is in the affirmative since it throws light on numerous incidents that most of us, especially the youngsters, won’t be aware about. The book Rise Of The Sun Prince is the first in the series of six books under the title Ramayana: The Game Of Life.

Talking about the story of Rise Of The Sun Prince, it portrays the chapter Bala Kanda from Valmiki’s Ramayana. It begins before the birth of Lord Rama and covers the events until his marriage with Sita. It extensively throws light on the life of the great Sage Vishamitra.

The purpose of the book, as stated by the author, is to retell the glorious epic to the modern audience of today’s era. The writer succeeds in the task fairly well largely due to his language that is rich but at the same time simple and easy to grasp, even for people from vernacular mediums and across age groups. His smart use of the conflict element further helps in creating a number of intensely dramatic moments. The words of wisdom at the end of almost every page further enhance the content. This section along with the entire book is full of lessons and messages that are relevant today and will be forever.

But, as stated above, the novelty in content with regards to various events is a much bigger plus point. Along with incidents related to a number of characters, this is because of the importance given to the story of Sage Vishwamitra. In fact, he is the central character of the book instead of Lord Rama. This might come as a complete surprise but this aspect is fully justified due to the fascinating, inspirational and soul-stirring story of one of the greatest sages.

A number of incidents related to the life of Vishwamitra become the high point of the book. Some of these include:-

  • His conflict with King Dasaratha over taking Rama with him to defeat demons Maricha and Subahu.
  • Him being mesmerized by the expression on Rama’s face.
  • His grave enmity with Sage Vasistha and its dire consequences.
  • His painstaking efforts to achieve the title of Brahmarishi.
  • The final outcome of his enmity with Vasistha.

But along with numerous plus points, the book also has its share of few minuses. These are:-

  • Epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata are full of miraculous events, some of which are difficult to accept by the modern rational audience. Since the book is meant for them, few incidents should have been toned down. For instance, a group of armies being thrown out of the various parts of the cow’s body and even from her cow dung becomes a bit too much.
  • Rama and Sita are shown to be impressed only by each other’s looks. In fact, the writer has again and again emphasized only on the physical aspects of both the characters instead of the numerous great qualities they possess. This makes it appear as if they share mutual lust for each other rather than love.
  • I don’t quite agree with the idea of bringing out as many as six books to tell the story of Ramayana. Three or four would have been enough. However, I would be glad if the author manages to bring out the remaining five books with similar engaging content and proves me wrong.

Overall: Shubha Vilas’ Rise Of The Sun Prince is an enjoyable and intriguing read for the lovers of Indian epics.

Details:

Author: Shubha Vilas

Publisher: Jaico Publishers

Genre: Indian Mythology

Pages: 211

Price: Rs 250

Additional Feature: 32 page preview of the next book in the series titled Shattered Dreams and 5 page Appendix about ’24 Qualities That Make A True Hero’.