Thursday, October 12, 2017

Happy and Pretty Homes




Yesterday while walking through the local Bazaar I noticed a boy, a roadside vendor, selling some cheap clay toys and things. I purchased a small plastic vase from him that had a few plastic leaves and flowers stuck in it. I did not quite need it but the boy did not seem to be making any sales. He was delighted at the sale; perhaps it would help him later with his daily meal. It cost thirty rupees or half a dollar. At home, in my kitchen, there is a kitchen table by a window. It attracts a lot of afternoon sun and any cut flowers placed in a vase there just wilt away rapidly. Therefore I placed this little inexpensive flower vase there and immediately the room lit up. Later in the day a visitor remarked that it looked pretty. I have some unused expensive vases at home too and could easily place this inside those but it is not necessary. I shall let them lie unused for it is not expense that makes a home pretty but love and goodness.

Many a mansion of the rich have I visited in my travels across the world. Not one did I find that was filled with happiness, cheer and beauty, perhaps just wild laughter on occasions when they got drunk in a party. Inside these lofty dwellings were carpets from Persia, curtains from Kashmir, crystal ware from Czechoslovakia and expensive works of arts from elsewhere in Europe. A few even had fittings of gold in the toilet, even a seat of gold to rest your booty. I was afraid if one sullied it, one would not know because the color was so akin to the muck it was designed to hold.  I also visited huts and homes of poor and ordinary, some who had remained barely human in their poverty but there were others who had filled their hearts with treasures of love, truth and beauty and it was here that I found cheer and happiness. For it is not layers of carved stones on outer walls that make a building beautiful but trees, climbers and flowers that grow around it. It is not expensive works of art adorning rooms that make them beautiful but a simple object procured in love and goodness that adds beauty and cheer to a home and dwelling,. and the white toilet seats were a relief to sit on because one was sure they were clean from the color.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Lovely and Simple Lovegan Dinners



 

In my younger days my family was regular meat and fish eaters and this was central to the daily dinner most days of the week. Now older, I have given up on meat and fish as something that is neither good for health nor the soul. However I still consume eggs and milk products since these can be procured without perpetuating violence on animals. This is unlike vegans who shun these latter too. I have given a name of to this latter type of food - Lovegan Food. It signifies love for all life, not just animal life but also plant life. Whenever possible, I try to avoid perpetuating violence on plants too. For example I grow my own spinach but never cut the entire plant for its leaves. Just take some selectively and gently while allowing the plant to go to seed and complete its life cycle. I consume potatoes and peanuts though because these are leftovers from the plant when its life cycle is over.

Giving up meat however created problems for planning dinners. The traditional dinner plans that included meat or fish were out of the window and initially I hesitated increasing eggs to beyond one a day that I have at breakfast ever since childhood. This was because of much talk by doctors in earlier years that too many eggs can contribute to excess cholesterol in the body. It seems now that much of the early findings on diet and cholesterol have been revised. Finally, a sweet old Italian lady, who was 116 years old, came to my aid. There is an older post on her in this blog. On enquiring her diet it was found that two eggs a day was an essential part of her diet and that had helped her to become one of the most cheerful and one of the oldest human on earth. Therefore I too have added another egg to my daily diet by adding it to dinners except on Tuesdays that is a traditional non-meat non-egg day in many homes of South Asia in honor of the Lovely guardian, angel and god much loved in South Asia – Lord Hanuman. President Obama has carried a charm of this god in his pocket through much of his life and look where he took him. Praise be upon Him. My intention is not to have a very long life since I believe in reincarnation and feel it is wiser to move into new lives before one gets too old but the idea is to remain as healthy as possible while one is around.

The second egg has been introduced in dinner and now my normal dinner consists of a boiled or fried egg, seasonal stir fried vegetables, a salad and a little leavened or unleavened bread with butter. These four items together make a wholesome, nutritious and satisfying dinner that have all the ingredients necessary for a healthy life.

On a special occasion one can add a soup before this meal and a desert later with a cup of black tea and some nuts.  When one is entertaining guests one may add another large dish of fried fritters, pakoras or cutlets with a couple of sauces in small bowls so as that table looks rich with offerings. Potato cutlets with a filling of chopped paneer and coriander leaves are quite nice. A hung yoghurt sauce with a hint of garlic mixed in and the regular ketchup garnished with chopped celery or mint are the two sauces I use most often as the most convenient ones when entertaining.

The thought occurred that I should share with others who are similarly facing problems in planning out their dinners after giving up on meat through this blog with a wish that the life of the reader is a healthy and happy one.

Image developed from an image at

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Life and Old Age





http://absfreepic.com/free-photos/download/old-couple-walking-in-park-5184x3204_62221.html


Aside from what one may choose to do for the world a human being has three major personal responsibilities in life and a fourth more esoteric one that many ignore in the modern age.

The first three responsibilities are to prepare for a career and means of earning a livelihood, to raise a family and see that children grow safely into adulthood as good humans; and to look after one’s parents in their old age if needed for often old people need as much help as little children do. These three responsibilities may vary in extent for individuals. For example, someone may not marry at all or have parents that do not need any help in old age because they manage to look after themselves quite well. There are some who receive an inheritance and need not work for a living but spend time in service or alternatively destroy themselves through indulgence. Some may also face life traumas or health issues that limit their abilities to meet these responsibilities. However, more or less, it is these three responsibilities that most face. 

In trying to execute the three responsibilities each human faces challenges and how well they are able to do it depends on individual circumstances. For example, there are many good humans presently in war torn countries like Syria, who despite their best intentions and efforts are unable to do much on any of these three fronts. Others who live in supposedly peaceful countries may face their own individual personal wars if not national ones. Some end up in hostile marriages or even with hostile parents that create difficulties. Therefore, eventually what is more important is not how well humans succeed at meeting these three responsibilities but how sincere were their intentions and efforts towards  meeting these challenges and how much they evolved into better humans through it all. If a human can reach into old age as someone at peace and reasonably happy then it can be concluded that they have been successful in life, otherwise not so much even though on the surface it appears that they have done rather well. That is what the Lord and a loving mother would wish for a child when they bring it into life. Better a happy hermit than a frustrated billionaire tossing and turning in anguish or drunk into a stupor. Nevertheless, for all, the past is no more than a story in a book and the future, an eternity of many more lives is in front of them to continue their journey, hopefully more successfully with the grace of the Lord so that they too may attain unto blissful states.

Sometime around the age of sixty, a few years later or earlier, a human retires or should retire from an active career, the children may be well into adulthood and aged parents may have left the world. Now a human is freed from all of three major responsibilities of life. A few continue to chase their lust or money even at this late stage but one can only pity them.  Hopefully, he or she has been wise enough during earlier years to have prepared a dwelling, be it a hut or a mansion, so that they have a roof over their head besides some means to meet their most basic needs of food etc. in the very least. Young persons must start working on this bit by bit through their active adult years so as to be comfortable in old age. One need not have too much in old age for as many find, huge mansions or excessive wealth are in reality a burden in old age rather than a help but a basic minimum is necessary so that one does not end up on the street as a beggar.

The question then is what then remains as the main life goal of an old person? Here the fourth responsibility of humans comes in and it is in fact the most important one, the very purpose of life. It is to evolve and become a better person so as to get a better start in next life than even this one.  It it is only then that one can contribute most to making other lives better, not just one's own. Whatever happens to a human during a lifetime has depended much on what they were born with including where they were born, their looks, talents and inclinations and the parents they got. All this was due to storehouse of our karma i.e. our thoughts, emotions and deeds, in a previous life and what we gather in this life shall decide our future one. We reap what we sow and one can not get apples if one plants a thorny bush. It is because of this that saints through the ages have advised that spiritual pursuits must be the prime goal of humans in the very least in this last phase of life. If one has pursued spirituality through the family and career phase of life all the better for then they would have the background for rapid progress in this area when old.

As a retired person, one can enjoy company as well as guide grandchildren, if they get that opportunity. It is likely that many have gathered wisdom and knowledge through a life of ups and down and it is good to share this with others they meet or even the wider world now possible  through the internet. It is a worthy thing to do and creates good karma that shall last beyond death. All life depends much on what the universe, mother earth and society provides and any effort to give something back as well as contribute seems a good thing to do. That has been the main motivation for the present blog by this author for the past several years. Recently I have posted less in this blog as my interests have become more spiritual and started another blog devoted more exclusively to spirituality than the present one that has posts on many diverse topics from life. I posted a poem about old age there. It is a simple and cheerful poem with a lovely message. Do check out at,



Thursday, August 3, 2017

Change in Profile Name to Doctor Ashok Babaji



Sometime back at the suggestion of Spiritual mentors I had changed my profile name on blogger to Ashok Babaji from just Ashok. It is explained in an older post. However recently in a google search I found that others use that name too. Ashok is a common name and the use of reference Babaji frequent, therefore this is not surprising. It has created some confusion in the minds of some too. Therefore I added the title Doctor in full (rather than just Dr.) to the profile name to make it unique, an honor I earned after earning a doctoral degree from the University of British Columbia decades back. Spiritual mentors gave an OK to go ahead.

All these titles do not or should not indicate any pride for just as a doctoral degree or a medical one is necessary to use the title Doctor, humility is a necessary one to use Babaji. May the Lord grant me this in full, even though many human weaknesses still continue to pursue me because,
Humility raises a person to the greatest of honors while pride precedes a fall