Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hello Jungle Geranium

Jungle Geranium
A friend of mine from Engineering School days, Ramakrishnan Ramanathan,  recently put up a photo of a flower that I instantly recognized as one that has been growing in my garden for years on a flowering bush. It is not very common in our area and no one knows the name here, however, the plant is native to South India and it seems popular in Florida too, so I asked him the name. He gave a complicated botanical name, Ixora something as well as the common one Jungle Geranium. The next step was to look up on the net if the plant has any medicinal use. I am a fan of herbal medicine and like to know the uses of plants growing at home. As a matter of fact, the plant has several uses, one being to treat loose stomachs. Next time I know where to head for after a visit to the very spicy snack shop nearby that invariably gives me a runny tummy. Apparently the plant used properly also prolongs age. The interested reader may read more about it at

Close up of Jungle Geranium

Mystics in the Himalayas treat just about everything with what grows around them and with the power of their  focus. If you are interested in them, you may read about them in my new book - The Babaji Affair -  Herbal medicines are fantastic because they are natural food with few side affects, if any. The pity with those who run to the chemist instead of the garden or forest is that they miss out on an easy cure that may be lying around their home and would keep them safe from side affects.

For years now I faced a difficulty,  waking up in the middle of the night and not getting a good sleep after that. This is especially so on days spent on a desk with no physical exercise, and that happens every time there is book writing or something like that. However, I discovered that a cup of light tea helps me to get a second round of good sleep. Recently I pondered on the matter and thought it might be the sugar and not the tea, so I tried a spoonful of sugar in water instead. Wonder of wonder, that works even better. Apparently some sugar is required for good deep sleep. An aunt of mine, with a similar problem took what her doc advised until her entire body became puffy and swollen like a balloon. Fortunately she came down for a visit to my home for a few days, and suspecting the cause as a side effect of her medicine, I was able to guide her away from it and the swelling. Ironically this aunt has a doctorate in Botany and has been a Professor of that at Delhi University.

Friday, September 13, 2013

How to ward off the Evil Eye

In some parts of the world, particularly the less developed and tribal parts, there is a belief that harm can come to one from the evil eye. Such a belief still exists in parts of Africa, India and Arab countries, especially rural areas, particularly amongst the superstitious and less educated. To ward of such evils many antidotes are prescribed such as throwing salt and red pepper over and around the heads of the affected, putting black dots on bodies, an assortment of amulets, hanging of lemons and chilies on a thread outside homes etc. all depending on local customs. In primitive cultures, including Europe some centuries ago, they even used to burn witches and women suspected of an evil eye. They still do in some parts.

From a modern educated, even post modern point of view, a human needs to answer two questions in this regard,

1. Is there any such thing as an evil eye at all? Is it at all possible?
2. If it is possible, what is the best way to ward it off.

It may easily be deduced that less evolved or mature a person, the less likely one is to assume responsibility for what happens to one in life, especially the bad things, and more likely it is for one to find some external agency for blame  It is therefore easy for one to blame a neighborhood witch rather than one's own carelessness or seek to eliminate a source of infection, when one falls sick. As regards the good that comes into our lives, we are entirely responsible, because we are so important and great! :) especially the more foolish and stupid one is, the greater we are. How dare anyone else claim credit for the good that happens to us! As King Solomon of lore said "A fool is to the extent wise that he knows that he is a fool, but the one who does not know it is indeed a fool" :) The wise person lives with a sense of humility at his smallness in this vast infinite universe instead.
One might easily say that the concept of an evil eye is just plain and simple rubbish and it is for this reason that as societies become evolved they give up on such nonsense. However,  just for the sake of argument let us assume for a moment, that there might be some truth in the concept, because to reject a belief outright without deliberation, howsoever absurd it sounds, is to harbor a closed mind, just as believing in the evil eye may be blind faith. Moreover, the belief has been widespread in ancient human cultures. Even today in a country like India, even educated persons have to battle with such beliefs because even though they may not believe in it, a close relative might. This author has faced this kind of problem personally and that is the reason for writing this post.

It is best to examine the issue with an open mind using common sense and logic. Absence of scientific evidence is not proof of the absence of a phenomenon. Science is still discovering new phenomenon every day.  Only with an open mind shall one learn of the truth of the evil eye and also of the most powerful antidote to ward off that trouble, once and for all from one’s life so that one can forget about it.

It is possible, indeed it does seem so, that all consciousness is connected and that it is not just actions, but also good wishes of others that bring goodness into our lives while evil or bad wishes of others bring bad or harm to us. This is something that science has not understood fully yet. If such a thing  exists as it might to some degree,  it may be regarded as something metaphysical or supernatural. Why not protect ourselves from it if it can be done with ease? One has often seen that life prospers in loving happy surroundings, whereas it suffers in the opposite atmosphere and therefore it is something every human can do is to minimize interaction with ill intentioned persons. But what about the supernatural or magical dimension of the problem, if any, because that might act from a distance too?

Before we learn of the antidote to the evil eye, the first important thing to realize is that if supernatural evil influences that harm, exist, then supernatural good influences that protect must exist too.  While the devil is the symbolic apex of evil, God is that of goodness. Therefore, invoking the help of God is the best and most powerful way to fight off evil, better than any lemons, black dots, lime, chilies, magic rings that are nothing but primitive methods with no logic or basis for their efficacy,  just a way for fraud magicians to make money out of the gullible, to increase their misery further.

When  persons are protected, the evil directed at them must return to its source i.e reflected back, through the workings of the principle of Karma, actuated instantly through the action of protection. An arrow once released must end up somewhere. Karma can not be avoided, both good and bad,  but it might be possible to move around its timing. The person with an evil eye generates his or her share of bad karma, the moment the evil eye or bad thoughts are turned on.

What is required for protection is belief in God and trust that He shall protect one from any undeserved evil. Whenever there is trouble that seems unexpected or unexplained, pray to God, thank Him for what he grants unasked and ask Him to protect oneself or loved ones from trouble and evil. There is no other, more powerful antidote than that.  

One must sympathize with persons from impoverished societies because their lives are filled with hardship. Member of such societies remain more busy in troubling each other rather than in positive work. It has been seen that when times are hard, even the educated tend to become superstitious. Yet superstition must be discouraged because then one makes less of the real effort that is required to improve lives and wastes time on mumbo-jumbo instead. Those who believe in doing good and being good or at least try to do so, can easily adopt the protection of the Lord as available in abundance for all life as suggested here.They may believe in God in whatever form they choose or appeals to them, even as a formless presence rooted in Infinite love that pervades the universe.

The Great Buddha advocated while teaching people to move away from superstition and a plethora of complex and fruitless beliefs that rather than help them evolve, held them back. However, those who easily adopt lies and cheating, lack compassion, who are driven by greed, lust sans love, anger, jealousy etc.can not have any stable faith in God. For such latter persons there is no choice but to resort to quacks and suffer even more.

What of children who can not pray for themselves? All it requires is a loving elder or any other well meaning person to do it for them and there are many such who send such blessings their way, especially infants the moment they see them, even a photo, or even just  mention of them because they are so fragile and pure. That is all that infants require. The angels of the Lord watch over them, that is why it is said that children have their guardian angels. To me infants, because of their innocence are charged with the power of God just as a mother nursing one is charged with divine love. To think that this power of God can be harmed by a wicked magician or bad eye is to belittle God the Almighty whose extent is Infinity and whose love and power are beyond limit. To belittle our Universal father is  reason enough for misery but to blame it on a witch or dark evil eye somewhere is to compound that misery. Perhaps this fact is known to the British Royal family because of their secret mystic knowledge and perhaps that is why whenever Prince George appears in public he is dressed in white or is within the frames of a white window.  They do not require black dots to scare away evil but if any color is fortunate for them then, they may seek a protection in white, because it is the favorite color of their guardian angels

A thinking mind cannot fail to note that in a country like India where use of amulets for infants is widespread, the infant mortality rate is one of the highest in the world too, whereas in a country like UK where in the main such amulets are not used the infant mortality rate one of the lowest. Nothing can replace good common sense and care and if a protection is needed against anything supernatural nothing excels the name of the Lord. The queen of England should know this, that is why she permitted the public and international media display of a day old Prince George to the world.

It is true that suffering is a part of life and there is a post on Karma that explains that in this blog. When suffering is great, even the educated tend to become superstitious, but all one can say to such is that if you do want to go in for superstition, why not go for the most powerful and sensible one of all in the Universe, the protection of the Almighty Himself? That is what evolved humans do.

When at peace try and understand the causes of it all through common sense, logic and reflection. As the great saint Kabir advised in his old Hindi couplet,
Dukh main simran sab kare, Sukh main kare na koi
Sukh main simran jo kare, dukh kahe ko hoi
That translates as, all reflect on the Almighty when in trouble but had they done so when at peace the trouble would not have arrived.

NOTE: for those who would like to delve deeper into this and similar spiritual subjects,  may I recommend my new book, The Babaji Affair-  available at amazon and mentioned in the previous post.

On the Global Best seller list - The Babaji Affair

My new book ' The Babaji Affair' is full of stories of Himalayan Hermit Mystics, based on my experience with them over the last thirty years or so. These are real sincere mystics not those pretending to be one as a business venture. The cover ( front, spine and back is shown here from the designing stage) It is shown on the global best seller list at the rather long link below it:

The Babaji Affair by Dr. Ashok Malhotra

Hope you read the book. It is available only in the paperback format and that perhaps is the only reasonable way to read a book of this size and type of content. The book contains stories composed by the author and real life experiences of the author with one of the most well known ones in recent times - Baba Haidakhan, Babaji. The philosophy revealed is not in conflict with modern logical and scientific perspective. Aside from the philosophy, those who have read it find the stories fascinating. Do read it if you get the chance, albeit my shameless promotion :) Its link to amazon USA is

UPDATE September 21, 2013: Vincent a fellow blogger had pointed out that such lists are continuously updated and they move the book out of the list if the sales drop. Therefore I have been checking the list every now and then and was delighted to see that it has moved up to number two position today from number eight earlier in a list of around forty chosen books.

Harbinder Gill and Chander Merani reading the Babaji Affair in California
UPDATE September 27, 2013  It has moved up to the top of list of books now. As a fellow author has pointed out, this movement depends on sales and keeps changing.
A Jungle Geranium book at home of author where this book was composed

Thank you so much to all the incredible Babaji fans and readers who helped ‘the Babaji Affair’ get on the best seller list of spiritual books
Share with loved ones if you've already bought your copy, or click here to purchase  if in/from USA.
For purchase in other countries plug “The Babaji Affair” in the Google search engine to find  a link nearest you to save on shipping charges. 

This book is now available in India also at 
I was delighted to find a lovely and brief review of the book from a reviewer by the name of RannBanka Rathod at this last link

That review is reproduced here:

“The book by Ashok Malhotra has been quite refreshing among the many spiritual books out today. I was expecting a biography however got glued on to the book after I started reading it. It has a kind of optimism and spirituality coupled with a message as to how one should approach life. A must read for people who enjoy reading books about spirituality.”

I would like to thank Mr. RannBanka Rathod for the review using his online name since I do not know his real one.