Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Poornima / Kali yugabda 5116 / Jaya Purattasi 22 (October 8, 2014)

Yoga got a strong leg up on the world stage when Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for observing an International Yoga Day, describing the ancient science as "India's gift to the world." Modi's unexpected reference to yoga during in his UN General Assembly speech came when he was talking about climate change and going back to basics. Yoga is not just about fitness or exercise, it is about changing one's lifestyle, Modi said, plugging for ancient practice that was introduced to the west by Modi's spiritual inspiration, Swami Vivekananda. Yoga is enjoying rising popularity in the United States and has now become a multi-billion dollar business, but its link to India is often understated. Modi's public reference on the world stage to India's gift is possibly meant to remind international audience of this link. In previous interviews, Modi has said he is fortunate to have been introduced to the world of yoga and pranayama at a young age and it helps him synchronize the heart, mind, and body. India's Prime Minister has been keeping a nine-day Navratri fast during which time he subsists only on a liquid diet, mostly lemon juice, but he showed no sign of fatigue during his 30-minute speech that was delivered in a strong voice, without once pausing to even sip water. New York City itself is something of a yoga capital in the US, with enthusiasts promoting the science in public places such as Times Square and Central Park. (From a report by Shri Chidanand Rajghatta in THE TIMES OF INDIA, September 28, 2014).
Well-known religious preacher Morari Bapu has financed the Haj pilgrimage of a kulfi seller in Talgajarda village in Bhavnagar (Gujarat, Bharat). On the other hand, a Muslim spiritual leader, Saiyed Mehndi Bapu, of the nearby Ratol village, gave 5.5 bighas (about 2 acres) of his ancestral land for a Shiva temple. enues across the state. Morari Bapu has known 79-year-old Yunusbhai Malek as “Nathabhai” since childhood. Malek earns his livelihood by selling kulfi in the village. One day, as he was returning home, Morari Bapu asked if Malek had performed Haj. “I told him that I was a poor man and could not afford Haj,” Malek said. “But Morari Bapu asked me not to worry about money and asked me to begin preparations. He promised that he will arrange money for my Haj,” said Malek. “Morari Bapu paid Rs 6.20 lakh to help me and my wife go for Haj,” said Malek.  When contacted, Morari Bapu said, “His Haj is more significant than the money I arranged for it.” In the Muslim-dominated Ratol village in Bhavnagar, a kilometre from Talgajarda, Muslim spiritual leader Saiyed Mehndi Bapu, the village’s biggest landlord, donated 5.5 bighas of his ancestral land for a Shiva temple. “I donated it for the expansion of Shiva temple to accommodate the increasing number of devotees,” said Mehndi Bapu. (Based on a report by Shri Syed Khalique Ahmed in INDIAN EXPRESS, September 28, 2014).
There are many stories about the origin of Golu (Kolu), the lovely festival of dolls celebrated during Navaratri. One of them has a significant connection with agriculture. It is said that in order to encourage de-silting of irrigation canals, Golu was celebrated to create demand for clay materials. Another mythological story behind this festival is that when Durga wanted to kill an evil demon Mahishasur but didn’t have enough strength to do it by herself, she asked all Gods and Goddesses to transfer their strength to her. They all did that and stood still as statues. This festival is celebrated to acknowledge their sacrifice “In earlier times, women wouldn’t go out much. So this festival would give them an opportunity to meet others and go out of the house for some time,” says Bangalore-based Namratha, who gives her personal touch to the festival every year. What makes her Golu special is the unique theme that she follows every year. She started celebrating this festival three years ago when her daughter Stuti was born. Having started with a village theme when Stuti was born, Namratha followed with a ‘school’ theme when Stuti turned 2 and started going to school. In the third year, when her daughter started going to music classes, the theme was set accordingly. This year, they felt she was old enough to learn about nature and all the five elements. The idea was to show what an integral part nature plays in everyone’s life. So, Namratha thought to depict the five elements of nature – earth, water, fire, air and sky in her Golu. She depicted Earth through various hills, plains, fields, animals and people made of clay. Water was depicted through chart paper and wax. Fire was depicted to teach that if there was no fire, we would all be having uncooked food. Air was presented through various models of windmills and was depicted to show that we need air to live; it is all around us. Namratha’s unique Golu has attracted many young guests. They wonder and discuss as they see the amazing models. Stuti proudly invites everyone to her house and explains in detail what each element mean. (

Smt Gokula of Puzhuthivakkam, Chennai (Tamilnadu Bharat), is a flower seller. She also works as a domestic help. She manages to give her son engineering education out of her meagre income. One day in January 2014, she bought vegetables at the Koyembedu wholesale market. Back home, when she emptied her bag full of vegetables, she found to her horror bundles of currency totting up to Rs 5 lakhs. She had brought someone else’s look alike bag by mistake. Quickly, she handed over to the police, what was not her property. Meanwhile, police had received a complaint from Muniyammal, 57, an agriculturist, that she had lost Rs 5 lakhs at the Koyembedu vegetable market, close to the mofussil bus terminus, the same day. Within hours, the cash went back to its rightful owner. Muniyammal, on her way back to her village, carrying the cash that she required for house construction, had eaten the Prasad that Ayyappa devotees distributed at Koyambedu, just before she bought vegetables. The amount involved being so big, others were astounded how she could keep her cool, after lodging the complaint. Muniyammal’s reply was: “I just had Ayyappan’s prasadam; I am sure Ayyappan himself will see to it that my money comes back to me”. It did come back. (Newspapers carried this story on January 1, 2014; reproduced by MANGAIYAR MALAR, January 16-31, 2014).
Satyakam, a house in Ganganagar locality of Meerut ( ttar Pradesh, Bharat) is special. 12 children live in the house, all of them HIV-positive and blessed to have found parents in Ajay Sharma, 41, a former teacher at the Government Inter College in nearby Phalwada, and his wife Babita, who teaches at the Ismail Degree College. The children:from Balwant, the oldest at 17, to Samrat, the youngest aged a delicate 5. Their rooms are painted a bright blue, and adorned with stuffed toys, colourful cards by the children, and posters of goddess Saraswati and Swami Vivekananda that read, ‘Strength is life, weakness is death’. His 12 sons address the bespectacled Ajay as ‘pitaji’. Ten years ago, he had a brain haemorrhage and slipped into a coma for 15 days. This close encounter with death helped him “understand the importance of being alive”, says Ajay, dictating his decision to quit his full-time job and dedicate the rest of his life to the cause of underprivileged children. Wife Babita has been a pillar of support. It is her salary that Satyakam runs on. Their motto is very clear. “I want these 12 children to reach out and help a hundred like them,” says Ajay. The couple has two biological children of their own. “I’m fortunate to be a mother to these kids. My two children consider them as their own brothers; we are all part of the same family,” she says. Friends and neighbours help them in both cash and kind if there is a crisis; well-wishers have don¬ated all the toys and clothes. Their Facebook page and website ( has even got them help from abroad. Money, however, has never been a problem, says Babita, it doesn’t take much to bring up 12 children if done simply and wisely. (Based on a report by Smt Sakshi Virmani in OUTLOOK, September 15, 2014).