Monday, August 31, 2015

Hibiscus the Flower




Hibiscus is a flowering plant of the mallow family that has a number of varieties and grows in many colors with the red hibiscus being the hardiest and most common. The genus includes from small shrubs to small trees. The flower is the national flower of South Korea and Haiti.

The tea made of hibiscus flowers is known by many names in many countries around the world and is served both hot and cold. The beverage is well known for its color, tanginess and flavor. Dried hibiscus is edible, and it is often a delicacy in Mexico. It can also be candied and used as a garnish for desserts. The tea is a tonic and it seems lowers blood pressure. Hibiscus tea also contains bioflavonoids, which are believed to help prevent an increase in LDL cholesterol, which can increase the buildup of plaque in the arteries. However it seems the flower can have adverse effect in attempts at conception, pregnancy and also at the breast feeding stage. Thus it seems for women this flower may be best past the child-bearing age.

There is a beautiful shrub of hibiscus growing in my backyard and the pictures with this post are those snapped yesterday.

A large hibiscus shrub growing in the Author's backyard

Friday, August 28, 2015

Naked Truth of Politics - The Good and the Evil

In politics we have what is known as the right and the left, the conservatives and the liberals. Although they oppose each other much, the truth is that there are good and bad humans on both sides. And there are evil ones on both sides too, the evil ones on the left are those who fool the people to gather their support and then after grabbing all the wealth and power establish themselves in comfort while denying the people even basic freedoms of speech and movement as happened in many communist countries in the past. The evil amongst the right wing are those that live in comfort in mansions while denying even food and shelter to fellow humans that are homeless, even children, and those who profit from death. Many humans would find this hard to believe but it is a fact that in some cities in the US giving food to a homeless person starving from hunger has been made illegal. In countries where they have found the middle road such as those in Austria, Sweden and Denmark we find the happiest of countries on Earth, and much goodness stalks the land.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Kittens in the Backyard - Billi and Tilli


 
Billi and Tilli the kittens, May the Lord keep them from harm

A brown cat from the neighborhood used to come in and ask for a little food from me at times. Two months ago she gave birth to two kittens in the backyard. She protected them fiercely in the first month and then one day she just disappeared never to return.Perhaps she shall come back one day and be happy to find her kittens in good shape, or perhaps her soul watches from heaven, may it rest in peace. The kittens howled for a day and then I started feeding them a little milk and a slice of bread, twice a day. they quite seem to love the bread but also catch other creatures of the garden now. Today morning I got up late and they had caught a bird for breakfast. The other birds in the garden were howling and I felt sad but guess these are the ways of the animal kingdom, and how can we blame cats for feasting on birds when even many humans who could manage otherwise also do.

I do not know much about cats so I do not let them in the house much, but there are some out houses and spaces where they live. I have given them an old soft gray trouser to sleep on and they just love it. They live in the backyard and have been given names, Billi and Tilli. Just took this picture of them. Billi has a black dot on the nose. I have made this post on them to add more about there antics with time and to preserve the picture of these new lovely inhabitants of the garden.

One day last week, I found that the cats had disappeared. I looked in all their usual hide outs but could not find them and thought they would return by evening. However, when they did not return even in the evening or next morning at their meal times, it got me really worried and left me with a feeling of loss. The soul of all life is connected and we suffer a loss when a part that is close to us is removed. I prayed for their safety. However later next day when I opened a door to a staircase that leads to the first floor, I found them both there, sitting in fear and very hungry. They were soon given a nice meal and sent to their bed room in the back yard.

What had happened is that there are two bed rooms on the first floor of my home that are used by children and guests when they visit. At other times, that wing of the home is kept locked by a door that separates it to minimize cleaning chores. Last week the TV suddenly stopped working one late night. I let it go then but next day I asked a driver, who visits whenever I have to go somewhere in the city because I do not drive myself anymore, to help bring down another TV set from an upstairs bedroom while the first one is sent for repairs. The driver has been with me for 15 years now and is almost a member of the family. In the process the doors of the home and upstairs had been opened. Unseen Tilly and Billy had sneaked upstairs. They are indeed very naughty now. There they had got locked in and then sensing they had done something wrong just hid there in fear.

Billi enjoying supper while Tilli peeps shyly from behind
 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Castles in the Sand




Castles in the sand


There was beautiful seaside sand around Johnny’s home and Johnny loved to get to it and build beautiful castles. Often times his mother would have to come out and say, “Johnny your castles are very nice, but please don’t not spend so much time on them, your papa says, spend some time in studying your school books too, that is what will last in the long run, these are castles in the sand, they will be swept away with the first tide.” Johnny would often respond,

“ I don’t believe a word of what papa says,” continuing with play until it became too dark to continue.

Humans too spend a lot of time building homes, family, career, skills, wealth etc. and if someone with a spiritual bent of mind comes along and says, “Dear friend, your works are very nice, but please don’t spend so much time on them, The saints and prophets say, spend some time with God and  your soul, that is what will last in the long run, these are castles in the sand, they will be swept away one day when the time comes. ”Many a human would respond,

“ I don’t believe a word of what the saints and prophets say,” continuing with play until it became too dark to continue.

http://www.lovethispic.com/image/21677/sand-castle


Friday, August 21, 2015

Human Life, briefly described - A Poem

View from the window where this poem was composed


This
Story of a human life
In brief
Father Universe
Mother Earth
Sent forth to dwell
In this world
For a while

With a designated
Quality of life
Two boxes of biscuits
One filled with joy
Another with sorrow
One sweet
Another salty


In the years
Up to twenty
One lives
The quality of life
That was chosen

From twenty to sixty
A human may strive
To create for a while
What pleases him or her

From sixty to eighty
They return to that
Which was chosen and defined
From the start
Albeit tempered
By what they had sought
In the years that intervened

A human stays
Beyond eighty
In this life
If they have been slow to exhaust’
What had been packed for them
In the box of joy
In the box of sorrow

When it comes time
To bid goodbye
When one prepares
The grade card
The Universe shall review
For your boxes to renew
When a human departs
Was there something of value
In a life so lived

But dear friend
when you find a child in need
and give him a feed
or a barren piece of land
to plant a tree
little things like that
as you journey fourth
shall surely make your journey
worth your while







Read more of purpose of life in this blog here:
http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2011/04/purpose-of-life.html 

and about life viewed as five stages of twenty years each here:
http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2011/01/five-stages-of-human-life.html



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Sound basis for Atheism

 
A still from the author's garden

Amongst one of the reasons for atheists to be atheists is that God cannot be seen. However, that is not a good enough reason to be an atheist. There are better ones. There are a lot of things that cannot be seen such as radio waves, gravity, love, hate free will etc. Atheists do not deny these other things. Other atheists try to deny God based on reasoning and logic and that too is a poor basis because for every piece of logic they offer there is a counter one. Some others deny God because of fear, frustration, anger, hurt etc. all negative emotions and this only strengthens the belief of theists.

The only sound basis for denying God and being an atheist to my mind is faith. There can be nothing more secure than that. On the other hand there can be nothing more secure than accepting God because of faith and that is what my previous post was about.


AfterNote: A lively discussion follows from person engaged in the spiritual arena for major portions of their lives Vincent from UK and Raymond from US. Vincent has considerable familiarity with Himalayan thought while Raymond has same with both Himalayan and Oriental philosophy. Both are author's too and have written much on the topic in their blogs and books.

NOTE: This blog post was originally dated January 23, 2011

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sant Dashrath of Gehlaur – Dashrath Manjhi



 
Sant Dashrath of Gehlaur (Dashrath Manjhi, 1934 - 2007)


While India is famous for ancient esoteric yoga knowledge and leading mystic lights of humanity such as Buddha and Gandhi, the situation and state of the general population in modern times is far from the lives of saints that inhabited the land. While India boasted in the past of leading international universities like Nalanda that were the light of the  ancient world even as Harvard and Princeton are today, the less said of its modern universities the better.

And on the street chaos rules. From remnants of ancient education people still keep their bodies and homes clean, but they pick the garbage and many throw it on the street outside. When they visit a market or office, instead of parking their vehicles in an orderly fashion, they leave it anywhere in a random manner so that disorder is the order of the day. If there is a hole in the road, few will venture out to fill it or remove some obstruction from the road, but rather complain how lethargic the government is, while those in government made up of the same lot shall say, they are there briefly and have their own needs to take care of first. Another shall come and do it in future, besides no one gets punished for not doing work or rewarded for work but just for sucking up to the boss.

In this state it is not surprising that decay and chaos rules, on the streets and in many parts of the land. Places in the wilderness are spared  where humans have not yet intervened, where one may see the immense beauty that God made in this ancient cradle of civilization. Yet while this is the general picture, there are individuals who have broken out of the mold and taken a teacher from amongst the ancient saints to heart rather than just the lips or on a cloak of hypocrisy with no room for love in heart filled with greed. One such in recent times was a poor illiterate villager by the name of Dashrath Manjhi who lived in an isolated village of eastern India called Gehlaur, and the life he led entitles him to the title of Saint or Sant as it called in the local language. The words Sant, Santa, Saint are variations of the same Indo-European word.

Who knows where the knowledge and power of mystics comes from? Perhaps it lies buried in their souls and is awakened with a small trigger. Early in his life he heard the words of another famous mystic saint – Sant Kabir who had lived a few centuries earlier in India and conveyed his wisdom through two line poetic couplets and this was sufficient to educate Sant Dashrath in all that a mystic needs to know, or all that a human needs to learn of our world and the universe. Sant Dashrath belongs to a line of saints who have continued to live in family life and work for a living rather than withdraw into forests, mountains and isolated abodes.

Dashrath’s village could be reached through a 65 kilometer broken roads from the nearest town called Wazirganj and during election periods in democratic India there are times when politicians reach remote parts. They request people to vote for them promising everything a government is supposed to do - road, electricity, water supply, school, hospital etc. but then promptly disappear out of sight for the next five years.

Manjhi decided to reach Delhi the capital of the country for help for his village and for women who die in child birth and children who die of hunger in dry years when even all the rats of the field have been dug out and roasted for a meal. Not having money for a train ride he just walked along the railway tracks, a distance of over 1400 kilometers. It took him two months. On the way he cut old discarded truck tires to make sandals and old sacks to make garments. But in Delhi when no person of any consequence would even give him an audience he looked at one in stiff white clothes who passed by in a shiny car and recited a couplet of Kabir. It is written in Hindi below followed by its translation,


Bada hua to kya hua, jaise ped Khajur
Panchi ko chhaya nahi, phal lage ati door

Translation:

So what if you are big, like the date palm tree
No shade for the birds, fruits grow very far

and,

Harijan avat dekhi ke, Mohdo mukh diyo
Bahv bhakti smajahyo nahi, murakh chook gayo 

Translation:

Seeing a man of God coming he turned his face and left
He  understood  not goodness, the poor fool lost his chance

Returning home, Sant Dashrath sold off his goat and purchased some hammers and chisels.  This was way back in 1960. He began to cut a new path through the rocks of a hill near his village. When he fell sick he knew which herbs contain which medicine as mystics do, being in tune with nature, and after a few days of rest would resume his work. He worked by hand from 1960 to 1982 eventually succeeding in cutting a new motorable  road through the hill to town in 22 years, shortening the distance to just seven kilometers from seventy. Now a woman or child would not have to die because they could not reach the town for help in time even as his wife had. The road brought modern construction materials and a school to the village. He died in 2007 and in recognition of his work he was given a state funeral with full honors as due to a saint.


Sant Dashrath can be searched on Google under the name Dashrat Manjhi. He can also be found on Wikipedia at:



Friday, August 14, 2015

Peace in last moments of life



Roses for Nando and for no suffering but just peace for all about to depart
A little while ago a friend on twitter, Diane Segura, tweeted about a link to a heart breaking story. A lady from Oklahoma, USA (see) recently caught a serious bacterial infection. She became very sick at home and her legs and arms were becoming septic. Her husband moved her to a hospital where she is in very critical condition. Major parts of both her arms and legs were removed by the doctors to save her life. Her husband visits her in hospital and shows her videos of the two sons and tries to console her but is unable to stay with her at hospital. At the time of this writing, her condition appears to be very critical.

I had tweeted back that it is at times like this, more than any other, that I am reminded how badly humans need God despite all their science. Billions upon billions of bacteria and viruses are all around us all the time. Just one tiny one that one cannot even see is sufficient to destroy our lives but does not most of the times because of the grace of the Almighty. While at times human intervention saves us from some, it is only the Lord who can in every case. It seems just one little virus is sufficient to bring about an end of all the cells that make up our physical structure by cancer or some other ailment, slowly and painfully at times and rapidly at others. Despite all their science, all their pride, humans shall never be able to create from scratch even a single cell from amongst the countless in a human body, only the power to destroy them, but the Power that created them has both the power to save or destroy them with utmost of ease.

Modern medicine has the ability to prolong life but not necessarily its quality and in some cases the prolonging is in to the worst imaginable hell in the universe. In older times, or even now in less developed parts of the world, this lady would have perhaps died by now and left for another world or another life if one believed in reincarnation, or who knows may even have recovered spontaneously as indeed I have a few times through my life because in moments of gravest sickness all I did was pray and used some simple home and herbal remedies. I do not mean to suggest to others to take the same course, that would be risky, but definitely advise calling on the Lord in moments of need in the very least if not at all times. For me though my method has not entailed any risk because of what is stated next.

My own prayer in life for myself and loved ones has been to the Lord, since many years now, not necessarily for prolonging of life, but to make the last moments quick and as peaceful as possible, whenever He deems fit to recall this life seeing that a condition with the Lord for entering a physical body, for all life, is that death too must come some day. It is not how long one lives that is of any great importance but how well one lives while one is around that is important. The soul too must change bodies just as the body changes garments when they are old, dirty or no longer appropriate.

Such beliefs were strengthened when many years ago, my dear departed mother suddenly developed paralysis in legs before her demise. At first she underwent surgery of the spine because it seems a small abscess had developed in the spine. When the condition occurred I had prayed much for the Lord to save her. She survived and the sensation in her legs returned but not the movement and strength enough to ever walk again. She had led a very active and cheerful life and after a brief period of depression recovered much of the cheerfulness even on a wheelchair but it was not the same. A few years later she had a cardiac arrest and went into coma. She was moved to one of the finest hospitals. However this time in my prayers, I prayed to the Lord not to necessarily save her but do whatever is best in His wisdom. A bright light flashed in my mind and I learned later that she left the world around that time. Her name was Nand Rani Malhotra (Nando) and she was three months short of 75 at that time on April 25, 1999. While she lived, her skin odor was fragrant at all times, her sense of cleanliness and morality combined with compassion for all extraordinary, her complexion fair and clear as it was of the Queen of England when she was young; her hair thicker than most any woman has even into her old age, she loved roses, her favorite color pink in flowers and clothing, and that is why an image of that is selected for this note. May her soul rest in peace. Most definitely her time had come to bid goodbye to this life and move on to a new one.

Mystics in the Himalayas link all significant events to karma and say that it is indeed good Karma to leave the world for new lives peacefully. In another recent incident a village lad, whom I give the use of an independent room in my home in return for some chores and who has been described in some earlier posts, returned one day from his village not very far away, earlier in the year to announce that his dad had left the world. When I asked him how, he explained that he was fine till dinner but then felt tired and was sure that his last moments had arrived. He was around 57 years old but poor most of his life and aged sooner because of it. He asked his sons to gather all friends and relatives for the last goodbye. A few hours later he closed his eyes with his head resting in the lap of one his sons and left the world completely in peace. May the Lord grant such a peaceful last moment to all, whenever the time for it comes, and, much peace and strength at this moment to this lady who prompted this blog post, her husband, sons and all in her family who care.

Monday, August 10, 2015

When the World is up for Profit



Inspired by thoughts of God and the state of the world

With the failure of communism, the world was left with an economic system that runs on profit, something called capitalism. However, while killing incentives for humans to strive produces bad results as in communism, the consequences of an unregulated race for profits can be worse and produces huge suffering in the world. While this has led to rising economic inequality in the largest economy of the world USA and despite its riches, hunger amongst some of its children and homelessness for some on its streets, it has also directly or indirectly led to huge suffering in other parts of the world such as the one being witnessed in Gaza, Syria, Iraq and Yemen; aside from periodic financial crisis in the largest economy of the world that reverberate around the world forcing more families into poverty and more children into hunger. The solution for mankind lies not in killing free enterprise but in killing greed whenever it becomes filthy and stinks, to sniff out that stench and devise ways and means to eliminate it through simplest of rules and regulations because complexity of regulations often marks either stupidity or deviousness, often worse than the evil it sets out to conquer or make a pretense of doing so.

Can I make a profit if I sell my Grand Ma?
And about the last days here:
http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2015/03/thirty-unusual-years-of-human.html

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Billionaire’s lament – A Poem





The Billionaire upon making his first billion
Threw a party for friends at his mansion
A mansion he purchased for ten million
The band was good and the host handsome
But in his heart joy was missing
So he dragged an old wise friend
To a quiet shaded corner
In the garden beside the pond
I have six mansions, two private planes
A luxury liner with hostesses ever so blonde
Ever ready to give a massage
With breasts so large
He made a gesture with his hands to show

Yet in my heart there is much pain
A drink makes it better for a while
But the morning after is ever so vile
Has all this been in vain?
Said the friend, in mystic Himalayas
Live sages holding the keys to ooh la las
He must visit the location
Whenever it is time for a Vacation

To the Himalayas by plane, by train
Followed by a drive up a narrow lane
a day worth of walk
up a treacherous path
The billionaire made it to a cave
To visit a sage profound
Who perchance never had a shave
He was fully nude
So were others all around
But he didn't look silly
Because a long beard hid his willy
LOL that brought a laugh to your Chin
For that is where my message must begin

The sage said, my son
You are very welcome
Happiness he said
In laughter, in beauty is found
In love and sunshine
In the song of birds
In green valleys studded with lakes
Not in fancy motor cars
But in nights spangled with stars
In adding joy to life of little angels
The hungry man on the street
And a child in need
In fresh air and songs
In a simple meal
Made with care and zeal
Not made by a chef so grand
But just a smile, a loving hand

One in life must necessarily choose
Wealth or happiness as  prime pursuit
Pursue success and happiness recedes
Success shall follow when happiness precedes
He had erred in pursuit of wealth
Trading favors in deals of stealth
Had gone too far beyond the gate
Where happiness lies ever in wait

An image of a nude sage with long beard and a rich man here:
http://cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I0000nr_splicVtU/s/850/850/0065-India-Allahabad-Maha-Kumbh-Mela-Naga-Sadhu-Nudity-Blessing-Modernity-Tradition-Money-2013.jpg

About Himalayan sages who wear nothing more than the sky in the author's novel:
https://www.amazon.com/Nude-besides-Lake-Novel/dp/1463529392


Text on a photo snapped in backyard of author's home



Saturday, August 1, 2015

Keep it Clean Down Under




Clean from the Toilet

 Note: This post contains potty humor that some may find offensive. Take care :)
A friend from Australia mentioned that some call Australia down under because it is the A---  of the world. However, this note is about our bottoms, not geographical ones and how to keep them clean.

Bottoms tend to get dirty every time we produce poop and while they wash thoroughly with water in many eastern countries, it seems they are still wiping with modern versions of leaves of the forests i.e. toilet paper in the West. I have often wondered what they did in winter back in the old days when there were no toilets and when it snowed so that there were no soft or even prickly leaves on the bushes. Conifers remain ever green but one would hardly recommend the pins and needles they have. They probably picked up a bit of snow as a wipe. Can imagine it must have frozen stiff, LOL

While a water wash may be cleaner, it takes practice and unless a Westerner can get an Eastern friend to show how it is done, it is difficult. Moreover, western toilets are not fully equipped and designed for it. Eastern one’s usually have a separate tap and mug at hand for the job.It must be recorded though that not only is the wet wash technique cleaner, it also helps the environment and trees by saving on paper. However, if one becomes obese it can become difficult to stretch the hand enough to the right exit for the job while seated on the toilet, because in the wet wash method it must be reached from the front only so as to be able to cup the water in the left hand while pouring it from the right very near the location, and not from behind. I can imagine some readers trying imaginative acrobatics to explore what I have written here come morning :-)

Most certainly a dry wipe is not clean unless one is heading for a shower or bath right after and that does not happen every time. A new practice has now started of wet wipes that are much cleaner except that some of the wet wipes do not degrade as fast as the dry ones. They have been clogging up sewer lines in London especially around areas rich ladies live who prefer being squeaky clean, and that is not a pun. LOL  Seems because of a blocked line the stuff backed up in a low lying basement toilet so that a user got buried neck deep in the stuff from around his neighborhood. Buckingham Palace is not too far from this location and it is possible that some of these precious offerings were from Her majesty, The Queen if that is any consolation. LOL

Personally having lived in both the East and the West, I have used both practices. Recently having got a little cut and bandage on my left index finger (on the hand used for wet washes) I returned to toilet paper. I devised my own method for a cleaner bottom though that is worth sharing with the world. Just get a box of soft Kleenex and keep it on a counter near the toilet paper. After a dry wipe, follow with a wet wipe with the folded Kleenex dipped in water. One could fold up the toilet paper in a wad to do the same but kleenex seems better. If the practice catches on may I suggest the company produce another brand in a better size that might be name Kleenax.  LOL

In case friends take up this practice may I suggest an anti bacterial wet wipe would be better. I do not mean to suggest that you burn your bottom with dettol or something but gentler mineral agents are available that when diluted sufficiently would do the trick. For example potassium permanganate or silver citrate in appropriate concentrations would likely help. Perhaps my scientific friends can research and come up with the right percentage in ppm and how to produce it for keeping at hand next to the Kleenax. Pity the bottoms that will suffer in the process though. Higher than necessary concentrations of potassium permanganate, brown the bottom and silver citrate blacken its. LOL would hate for my white friends to be asked if they have mixed ancestry perchance someone looked at their colored bottoms. Fortunately, even though the potassium permanganate solution is red it browns the skin rather then redden it or one might end up with the bottom of a monkey, LOL

A friend who is a business anchor on BBC, The world famous Aaron Heslehurst,  returns all browned up from a tan after a visit down under in Sydney every holidays and he need not worry though if the permanganate solution did some more browning.