Monday, February 29, 2016

Why toil and trouble despite much Technology and Democracy



Eugene Delacroix, Horse Frightened by Lightning



Recent decades have seen an unprecedented progress and proliferation of technology and democracy on the planet. While this has provided much progress to humans, one of the most essential things required by humans – peace and happiness may not have increased at all. Rather we are seeing a huge rise of wars and refugees on the one hand  and a rise of economic inequality, stress, homelessness and child poverty even in the most developed parts of the world. The most developed country in the world, the US has the highest rate of citizens in prison than mankind has ever seen since the dawn of civilization.

The question to ask is why is this happening despite democracy and technology? While people offer different reasons, most are superficial ones. The real answer is quite simple; evil can make use of these things just as effectively as forces for good. In the most recent election covered widely in the media, a Party Primary in the state of South Carolina in US, people overwhelmingly rejected a person known for his impeccable honesty and integrity established over several decades while preferring another whom many others including those who vote for her have regarded as less so as the polls on media like CNN suggest. Seems honesty is no longer the top priority with many. In the UK people are questioning why their health services and other interests are being sold to centers of greed and profit but people must first question why they chose persons to do it for them. One cannot invite a die hard rapist to one’s home and then complain if raped.

Why are forces of greed and evil succeeding in democracies rather than those of good? The answer is the same as expressed in spiritual literature – humans under influence of greed or dishonesty themselves will be repeatedly lured by false promises of the devil or the fear generated by him rather than values of love, truth and simplicity, so that people get the leaders they deserve. Greed blinds humans into harming their own interests, and the affinity of those on unworthy paths is naturally drawn to leaders that excel in the same.

In the end though, because this perpetuation of endless greed is unsustainable, humans shall return to love and truth, some because of wisdom and others because of the suffering undergone. If they cannot do it on their own the Universe shall do it for them even with an Armageddon like scenario if necessary. One can only wonder when that would happen. There is much more on that in this blog at:
http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2015/03/thirty-unusual-years-of-human.html


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Gratefulness



Some of us may have suffered some grave injustice through the course of our lives or would have heard of some taking place elsewhere through the media. When that happens many of us tend to think that there is no justice in the world or even that there is no God or intelligent control in the universe to oversee it all. However, dear friends, that is not a helpful attitude. First of all it can prevent us from seeing any wrong that we may have done in the past that may have brought on these troubles and we may continue to do them again unless we change. Secondly, most important of all, we tend to view life over the short term when it is in fact an eternity that goes on through many lives in many places and many new physical bodies and over the long term the Lord surely ensures justice. 

We shall suffer our course of hardships, an education for our souls, as also enjoy the result of our good deeds when that happens. Leave the wicked alone for the universe to deal with. They shall surely receive their just deserts when the time comes for it. The best a human can do for himself or herself  at any given moment is the right thing while holding on to virtues of love, truth and simplicity. Gratefulness opens our soul to receive such blessings sooner rather than later and there is no bigger happiness than being contented with what we have received while striving for any more we desire only when possible with pleasant and righteous effort  that is full rather than devoid of compassion for all life we encounter in our journey.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

God’s Own Garden – Valley of Flowers




Mystic and the Blossoms, http://www.amazon.com/Mystic-Blossoms-Ashok-Malhotra/dp/1411648579

While there are many beautiful gardens created by humans, none can match beauty of nature and some of the gardens that mother earth has planted on the planet but if there is one that fits best the title of God’s own garden, it is the valley of flowers and surrounding hills in the Himalayas. I visited this in early eighties and was immensely inspired by it. On my return from the trek, I passed through hugely dirty and poor villages and wondered if there was a message in this valley that could help these villages improve. The thoughts that emerged were put down in a brief novella called the Mystic and the Blossoms. I do believe the novella has a message of love and beauty for every village especially if it is situated in the poorer and developing parts of our world. The novella is available both  in print and electronic versions that can be downloaded in minutes, for example here:

http://www.amazon.com/Mystic-Blossoms-Ashok-Malhotra/dp/1411648579

This little book is a must read for any person involved in development of rural areas and villages or just about anyone who just loves to read a good story.

About valley of flowers here:
Valley of Flowers


Image Source (modified here)
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

A lovely little cottage




When a couple is young or aged with children grown up and gone, then a small compact home or cottage is far more convenient than a large home. This blog has several designs for small compact cottages, here is one more. The same design can be adapted for a family home too by constructing a couple of rooms on the first floor. Then one may lock away the upper floor for occasional use only or give on rent when children grow up and go on to set up their own homes.




Note: design is suitable for row houses or cottages too because of no side windows

Top most image from

Monday, February 15, 2016

A few words about God

 
A facet of the universe, just one facet of God



Nature too is a facet of God
Many persons in the modern world do not believe in God because they say physical scientific evidence has not been found that can prove His existence. But the evidence is all around you. Some evidence lies within each one of us. We know that we can feel love or hatred, joy or sorrow etc. Nothing that scientists and engineers have constructed so far possesses any such feelings. Moreover, we all believe that we possess free will i.e. the ability to make choices every moment of our lives (albeit within constraints). Machines cannot possess such freedom of choice. All actions of machines are based on their design, programming and inputs. Machines do not even possess a consciousness. They neither exhibit fear nor make any attempt to protect themselves if you destroy them

Thus, life possesses something that goes beyond anything that has been found in purely material and physical constructions. What is this extra, mysterious thing that gives us the ability to possess feelings? Here we may rely on the collective wisdom of mankind from ancient times. Many wise persons have declared that humans possess a soul that is not subject to physical laws in the same way as physical things and that things such as feelings and even consciousness of beings arises from this mystic source. They go on to declare that even though our physical bodies perish at death, the soul does not. It merely migrates off to other existences. Eastern religions declare that a soul may be born again and again through reincarnation.


Once a human accepts the fact that he or she possesses an imperishable soul then the question arises as to where this soul came from. Our physical bodies are due to our physical parents. However the same parents cannot be the parents of our soul because our soul has existed before birth and will continue to do so after death. In future life times it may take on other bodies with different parents. Everything comes from something and we may like to know the source of our souls. Once again the wise ancients come to our aid. According to them the source of our soul is the universal source - God, One may view God as father or mother since our soul arises from this single source. To say that science can not detect these things is not enough to deny them. Science as yet knows little about dark matter or dark energy but deduces them from the effects. The soul and God is similarly deduced.

Most of us love our fathers and mothers and we know that they love us too. If God is our eternal father then He too must love us, and if we love Him too it can only enhance our relationship with Him. Not to believe in Him is to ignore Him. Many question why there is sorrow and trouble in this world if we have an eternal, all-powerful God as our parent। The answer to that can be found if we view our relationship with our physical parents. When we were young and at an age they could have imposed their wishes on us in all things, they often allowed us the freedom to have our own way. The consequence of exercising this freedom at times produced trouble and our parents permitted that willingly, though sadly as a learning experience. God, too as the universal source, our eternal father, has provided us the freedom to choose and to suffer the consequences from time to time. If we were to exercise our choices according to His advise then we can avoid suffering and sorrow. How are we to know what is God’s advice? This is where developing a relationship with our eternal father and understanding the fundamental workings of life comes in.

The scriptures or saintly persons can be our guides too (if they are sincere ones) since their aim as messangers of the universal law is to alleviate human suffering. They declare that conduct which involves greed, lust, anger, lying, stealing etc. produces pain and sorrow. We indulge in such behavior at times because of a temporary advantage or gain. In the long run though, evil consequences follow. In contrast, truthfulness and loving behavior produces happiness. Animals are not able to rise above basic instincts of lust and violence because they are unable to reason. They must then depend entirely on God’s mercy to evolve. However with human birth comes the ability to reason and thus hasten our evolution through conscious effort and practice. It would be a pity if we miss this opportunity and continue to get tossed about in miserable existences.

God as a father of all the souls of all life forms in this universe must maintain his family with not just a loving eye but also a just one. It is because of this we reap what we sow through the principle of retribution, divine justice, karma or whatever you wish to call it depending upon your cultural background. This principle helps life to evolve and also maintains an overall balance in the universe, otherwise the individual doings of beings could alter the destiny of the universe as a whole. Good actions produce happiness in this life as well as subsequent ones and bad actions the reverse.I recall a saintly piece of prose, which went on to describe the conversation between a saintly person and God. The person questioned God that whenever he walked on the sand he saw a second set of footprints and was assured that God was beside him. However in some of the most difficult moments of his life he found that there was only one set of foot- prints and wanted to know from God why it was so. In this composition God answered, that was when He carried him. Even though we may ignore God he never ignores us coming to our aid during the most distressful times in our lives just as a loving parent grabs the wheel from a child's hand when the car is headed for disaster. If we do the same and help others in times of distress whenever we have the opportunity and ability to do so then that must surely be pleasing to our eternal Father. When we do something nice for our human parents it expresses our gratitude to them. When we do something nice for other humans, animals or nature we express our love for Him.

In modern times many have turned away from God because they have been disappointed in man-made religions. It is all right to turn away from a religion that does not please us but that should not mean turning away from God. If one is turned off by the manner in which food is served in restaurants it should not imply that we should turn away from food. One may find many independent sources to learn more about Him besides His many delightfully illustrated books that are all over the forests, fields of wild flowers, trees and mountain streams.


You could learn a bit about Him from this blog too, but only a little because this blogger is still learning about Him and only knows a little, that too approximately. No finite mind may know Him fully. He alone knows Himself fully. But we need not worry about this. After all we hardly knew our human parents fully too yet loved them while resting assured that they too loved us when we were infants. For the Almighty lord we are far smaller than infants, how so ever grown-up or important we become for other humans.

He is ever engaged in sending forth security, warmth and love all around the universe. He is the provider of the water we drink, the air we breathe, sunshine and everything else besides. If we miss his presence at times it is because we now take Him for granted and because our attention is focused elsewhere. One need not conform to the practices of any religion if it does not please one to have a loving relationship with God who is present everywhere. God because of His infinite nature cannot have a defined and finite form such as those of living beings, therefore we have to feel Him rather than see him. However in certain religions they believe that if a disciple wishes to develop a relationship with God he may visualize God as possessing a definite form and attributes. This is all right as long as one does not forget that the chosen form and attribute is only a point of focus on infinity, a matter of convenience, just a facet of the Infinite. There is nothing else besides Him in all of the universe except the erroneous thoughts of the life forms that dwell within the universe and actions born of those thoughts.When our thoughts are in harmony with Him, our actions are marked by Love, Truth and Simplicity. 

Praise the Lord



First published on December 17, 2007 in this blog

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Five Element Tea




The Feast of Achelous by Peter Paul Rubens

All life has been created from the same pool of genes, different life forms having different sets with many common ones across different life forms that inhabit our planet. Humans share some genes with sheep and numerous other animals. It is not surprising therefore that they tend to exhibit some of the same behavior. Thus when someone started to drink the tea that most humans do, most others followed ditto. It is an excellent brew but that does not mean that there are not other leaves, flowers, fruits, barks and roots that cannot make an excellent cup when dried and used similarly.

This blog has described several other leaves and flowers that can lead to an excellent cup. Presently a Five Element Tea is described here that includes equal amounts by volume of dried  root, bark, flower, leaf and fruit of different plants, all known for their health giving properties for most and such a tea consisting of these five components of the plant world is named as the five element tea. The concept has been adapted from  a reference to it in Ayurveda. Many different five element tea mixes are possible using different health promoting herbs and flowers described in this blog or elsewhere but presently one mix is suggested here  that is easy to prepare at home using the following. Such teas are not available in the market

Root –  Crushed Ashwagandha roots
Bark – Cinnamon, crush into bits smaller in size than a quarter inch approximately
Leaves – Green tea leaves
Flower – Dried red rose petals and buds, preferably the scented variety
Fruit – Crushed almonds

Ashwagandha roots can be found in Ayurvedic medicine stores. Dried roses are found in many herbal stores too including Ayurvedic herbal stores or one can dry one’s own by spreading out some on a sheet in shade and leaving until dry in a few days. A vegetable drier may also be used to quicken the drying. Mix equal amounts by volume of the five and store in a jar. This tea is prepared by bringing water to boil, adding a level tablespoon of the mix per cup, let boil for two to three minutes (It needs this as opposed to ordinary tea that merely requires brewing). Transfer contents to a tea pot for serving or strain directly into cups.  Sweeten with a spoonful of honey. Do not add milk but half a tea spoon of flaked almonds may be added if you like. A cup or two of this tea per day is likely to promote good health and happiness for most. If you have knowledge of herbal medicine and know of a replacement for any of the five components of tea suggested here, go ahead and use it as a replace any to prepare your own personal mix. If you are in the tea business feel free to use the term by adding your name or name of your business to it e.g. Mirchees's five element tea,  but do give credit this blog or blogger. 


Thursday, February 4, 2016

State of the Human




Parts of the planet we all share are amazingly beautiful. Mother earth has filled it with beautiful mountains, forests, fields of numerous grasses that soothe the soul and feed the stomach, wild flowers, springs, streams, lakes and rivers of clear water, trees with beautiful foliage that bring forth fruits of diverse sweet flavors and flowers through the seasons. The air mother earth provided for all her children to breathe is pure and father universe sends forth warm rays of sunshine most days when he is not busy watering the fields and forests. On this lovely beautiful planet of ours grow lovely flowers that delight the heart and assorted foods that are extremely delicious and nourishing.

Yet despite all this, there is only a small fraction of humans on the planet that enjoy bounties of nature in peace and happiness to the sweet song of birds that sing for them all through their lives. Many in fact are busy creating misery for each others, many driven out of their homes as refugees while others starve, some to death. Many live in cities with air that burns the throat and hurts the eyes, water that makes one sick unless a bomb falls from the sky and kills one off sooner.

What might be the spiritual cause of this misery for so many? It is not far to seek dear friends. A human charged with greed and pride is not satisfied with what mother has provided for free. They hanker for more and exploit each other and even perpetuate violence on each other for the same. The misery they perpetuate on themselves and each other is a direct consequence of this greed, pride and violence. When a soul establishes itself once again in love, truth and simplicity then it becomes worthy once more for enjoying what mother earth truly wishes for all.

A time of widespread wickedness may come when there is no option left for mother earth and father universe to call it quits for most. Souls from present and past, from the very beginning shall then be resurrected and gathered so that the planet becomes crowded with billions of humans for a while, ready for that Day of Judgment,

A day to sort the good fruit from the rest that have gone rotten 
for throwing into the deep dark pit that has no bottom. 

That time does appear to be at hand dear friends for we exceed seven billion in number already and only a few more remain to be resurrected.