Sunday, January 29, 2017

Visiting the Himalayas


 
A view for the Silver Oaks Mountain Resort near Palampur in the Himalayas
This blog has been around for several years. Inspired by its tag line, many readers from around the world have been inspired to make a visit to the Himalayas. There are numerous destinations to choose from along the length of these scenic and majestic mountains, the tallest in the world. This blogger has had deep ties to the Himalayas since childhood. The name of one of the tallest of its peak – Sunanda Devi – has been revealed by this author a few years ago, in one of his books, due to spiritual grace of the Mother Goddess. It was earlier referred to simply as Nanda Devi East but since this revelation the new usage has become popular.

A visitor from afar may choose any one or more of its numerous destinations to visit that are accessible to tourists from the happy Kingdom of Bhutan in the East to the valleys of song and dance in the west.. While some have been enthralled by the experience there are also some that returned less than satisfied. The reason for this is that the Indian Himalayas are located in a country that exceeds any other in its diversity; it has a mix of good and bad when it comes to arrangements for stay and travel. Although none is disappointed by the picturesque scenery and ambience, one needs the right place to stay as well to have the best possible experience, one that is homely comfortable, not expensive and run by a sound management.. The best approach is to take guidance from others who have already made the trip if possible and to do some research on your own that has become easy with the internet nowadays..

Here is one place this blogger can recommend as an idyllic location that is located in the lower Western Himalayas and is therefore easy to reach. It is called Silver Oaks Mountain resort. It is located near the Himalayan town of Palampur famous for its tea estates. The owner is a former officer from the India Air Force. He discovered this destination just from his love of the Himalayas and purchased some land there. Soon after, he set up the facility to share the joy of the location with others similarly interested. The place is not expensive yet superbly clean and comfortable with lovely well furnished  and spacious rooms with a view. It also has a blog page where an interested reader can get more information at:

Those interested in making the visit for spiritual reason may also wish to look through the author’s blog for other locations in the Nainital Himalayas at:
Only the very adventurous, hikers and mountaineers may attempt to venture into deeper locations such as the Valley of flowers or the Nanda Devi National Park for a view and blessings of  the sacred soul stirring Nanda Devi and Sunanda Devi mountain peaks. Information on these latter places can be found in Wikipedia.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Kachnar or Bauhinia the Blessed Tree



All trees are beneficial for the planet and the life that dwells upon it but if there is one that is more beneficial than most others in the warmer parts of the planet where winters are not cold enough to snow, then it is the Kachnar (Bauhinia or Phanera variegata). It also known as the orchid tree or Mountain Ebony. It is truly a blessed tree with delicious edible flowers that are a beauty to behold. Kept in a flower vase by the bedside, they promote good sleep. The flowers are scented and attract humming birds much.

An earlier post in this blog had described how fruit orchards can be made healthier by mixing in bio-diversity with other trees. Kachnar is a lovely tree to choose for this mix because its roots are nitrogen fixing and that along with its fallen leaves helps to keep the orchard much healthier than it would be otherwise over its life while adding beauty and food value to it. Moreover, because it does not grow to a very large size, it shall not impose upon the fruit trees.

Kachnar flowers are in white, yellow, pink and purple colors and it is often grown as an ornamental tree in gardens and on streets. The botanical name of white flower bearing species is Bauhinia variegate, purple/pink flower is Bauhinia purpurea, yellow flower is Bauhinia tomentosa. Recipes for its buds and flowers can be found on the net by a google search. Its new leaves are edible too and new as well as old leaves are good cattle fodder. Put on top of a desert of ice cream or another that has white whipped cream on top to decorate, the desert becomes royal enough to present to the Queen.

Various parts of the plant have health and medicinal value. The interested reader can find more information on this at.

Or

Image Source:


Thursday, January 26, 2017

How to Choose the People in your life



While hermits and spiritual persons may choose to restrict interactions with other humans and focus on nature and the universe, most humans in their journey through life have to interact with huge number of persons - family, friends and associates.

Children do not get much choice in the humans they interact with in life. It is decided for them, in the main, by fate and circumstance, from the family they inherit to others. However as we grow up, we may choose the people in our lives and the extent we deal with them. This choice has a huge impact on the way our life turns out to be. Ancient sages have pondered on the subject. Perhaps the most precise and brief recommendation on this is due to the ancient sage Patanjali, the father of yoga. 
Happy, sad, pure and sinful are four types of souls. In these it is best to cultivate, friendship, sympathy, admiration and avoidance respectively.  Patanjali, On Yoga, Ch1, Vs 33
It must be noted that recommendations of Patanjali are directed towards making human lives happier and more evolved. Those who are interested in choosing their journey to become more miserable or of nostalgia wish to return their souls back to levels of insects and animals from which they arose must do the opposite of what Patanjali recommends.

For others, this recommendation implies that it is best in life to cultivate friendships and associations with persons who are in the main happy and cheerful persons. On the other hand, persons who are depressed and sad are best sympathized with and helped if possible but one’s interaction with them may be minimized otherwise.

Souls that are inclined towards purity, love and truth are worth admiring and emulating while those inclined to lies and hate are sinful and best avoided. If you associate with them, they shall harm you and lead you to misery.

These brief recommendations apply not just to friends and associates but also to one’s family. Any of the four types may exist within that for evil persons too belong to a family. My mother was a cheerful, happy and pious lady through much of her life and it was indeed a blessing to have been granted such a mother by the Lord although the same cannot be said for all the members of my family. Her strong ethical code in life dictated that she speak no ill words about any family member to another. However, on her death bed in 1999, when I was alone with her briefly she passed on two bits of advice.

The first was an admonishment for not being more careful with my finances. I have been quite careless about the same through most of my life. The second was a veiled warning to be careful, that there was a snake in the family and I must find out who it is and be careful. Her code of ethics prevented her from revealing the name. Her use of the word snake is a reference to the kind of persons who do grave harm to others from behind their backs for no special reason except because it is in their evil nature to do so. It took me many years to determine with near certainty the identity of this family member after a careful consideration of facts as also other things she had said while she lived.  Generally one assumes the best of people one deals with if one is made that way especially if one is a family member.

How is one to protect oneself from evil persons if one does not know that they are evil in secret and are laying snares and nets behind your back to harm you? Other wise persons have made suggestions for this. Do not worry and do not give up your path of goodness and straight forwardness. The Lord shall protect you then and evil doers shall get trapped in the very snare they prepare for you; those who are digging a pit for you shall fall into that very pit themselves. The best you can do for them when you discover them besides avoiding them is to pray that they too return to path in life that produces peace and happiness for them rather than misery. In fact they do not really have a choice in the matter for long because a deep dark bottomless pit lies at the end of their currently chosen path.



Sunday, January 22, 2017

Are these Some of the Favorite Foods of Her Majesty the Queen?




In an earlier post I hinted that spiritual persons acquire an intuition that permits them to predict future events at times or facts that are not available through direct information. and that is the source of some of the things I said during the American elections. I do go wrong from time to time because my life is still a far cry from that of the prophets. I am merely a humble seeker but once in a while there is Divine Grace. What I have prophesied has at times has come true against all expectations. Such knowledge comes not just facts but also from communion with the all knowing inner knowledge of the universe that never misleads unlike facts that can. It was for this reason that saints of lore were called prophets.


On a lighter note my mind went to guessing what the favorite foods of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the II might be. I have no personal knowledge of the topic not having bothered to research it but here is my guess.  I suspect it is nothing as exotic as truffles and caviar but simpler things like a grilled cheese sandwich for a snack. A traditional meal of roast, peas and potatoes as also tender chicken breasts and for deserts, straw berries with cream and small cakes topped with lots of sweet whipped cream, let people say it’s bad for weight! LOL!


Perhaps someone out there, who knows the Queen personally or has knowledge of the subject might verify or deny my guess. May Her Majesty live healthy and long. May the Lord Bless Her.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The World has Changed Today – Donald Trump and Mike Pence




Trump Pence Amaryllis

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.    Donald J. Trump
When news came that Donald Trump and Mike Pence have been inaugurated as the new President and Vice President of the United States of America, I immediately tweeted that the world has just changed, there is a new POTUS in the White House. To that tweet I attached a photo of a deep red Amaryllis that grows in my garden naming it the Mike-Pence Amaryllis. The naming had been done a couple of days ago when CNN had tweeted that a new insect had been named on Donald Trump. I tweeted back with this nomenclature and picture here as a counter.

The Victorians have associated Amaryllis flower with strength and determination because of its height and sturdiness and it seemed an appropriate choice among flowers for the eminent personalities. Amaryllis flowers in similar red colors are not new but to my knowledge this one has not been named after any eminent personality before. Naming roses after famous persons is more common. Besides, the precise shading that any flower develops depends on the environment in which the flower has grown for several years as this one has in my home. If the White House chose to grow this type of Amaryllis in rows in front of the White House, the red color would look rather nice in spring and summer against the majestic white backdrop. Visitors would then exclaim,
“Look, how lovely, It is Trump - Pence”
I was delighted when Trump won the election and was confident he would after Bernie Sanders dropped out from the race. There are tweets and blog posts about this from me from months ago. When CNN had published polls that Hillary would win with a huge probability, I had tweeted back that they will look very stupid when the election results come. This tweet is still in my twitter feed. I had also tweeted much earlier that Trump would win Michigan too and that too should be in my twitter feeds. Such predictions arise not from scientific polls of the kind media depends on but on what is mentioned in the very last brief lines of this note.

I could never bring myself around to supporting Hillary even though I consider her lovely as a person because the Clintons have enriched themselves much in the years of their stated public service. Although not against businessmen and others enriching themselves much, provided they do it ethically, I have never been in favor of those who do so while in public service. True, that many politicians in democracies around the world are doing similarly but none of them are my heroes leaving only a few like Jose Mujica of Uruguay and Narendra Modi of India for example who have not done so and that I can admire freely among politicians.

Therefore I had supported Donald Trump on twitter right up to his inauguration, to the extent that a few possible Hillary supporters had tweeted back asking if I was a Russian Asset. Just to clarify, to my knowledge, I have not communicated with any person from Russia or their middle men, over the last several decades. Further, for the last seven years or so, ever since retirement from professional service, I have not taken even a penny from any organization or individual depending entirely on my own resources and the Lord even as the hermits in the wilderness do. Moreover I also do not associate myself with any group or association even though many have invited, so that I may express any of my thoughts entirely independently in a way that might make even a humble contribution to improving the world we all share.


One is saddened by the sense of loss of those who had supported Hillary Passionately, many of them lovely persons,  but as in football matches so in democratic elections, the fact that one or other side would lose is inevitable and one has to move forward in life accepting that fact. At the end of the match it is best to hug each other in bonhomie until the next one. 

My tweet about Donald Trump yesterday did not mention if the change that has taken place would be beneficial for the world or not. One can only hope and pray that it would be. To my mind three of the most serious problems facing the world are rising inequalities that is driving some even in the richest countries of the world to homeless streets, violence and wars in Central America, Middle East and Africa, causing people, even children to flee from their homes terrified as refugees leaving all behind and in some cases of children even their most treasured possession in the universe - their parents. The third problem is those connected to environment, of rising pollution of our air, water and deforestation of the planet leading to huge climate instabilities.  

My hope is that the new team in the White House would help solve or substantially reduce some of the problems just mentioned. Donald Trump has the enthusiasm for change while Mike Pence has the necessary political experience to help steer this new car that Trump has jumped into, for in order to reach a new destination in a new car, one must also be adept at driving it.

May the sun warm the hearts and souls of all into love and compassion
As a person with spiritual interests, I do read signs and omens. Today morning in a dream just before waking up I saw clearly a picture of the Sun shining in the sky and took this as a sign that,
All shall be well

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Joy of Stir Fried Vegetables – Recipes and Spices



 
While just plain steamed vegetables are nice in a traditional western dinner of roast, sausages or grill, these must remain side dishes on the dinner plate. However, increasingly based on new health studies or for spiritual reasons many are shunning or reducing meat in their diets. In this latter case it is possible to make a main dish out of vegetables provided one uses the right recipes for stir fried vegetables; these can make a delicious and wholesome main dish on a dinner plate. In this latter case just one or two hard boiled eggs, a salad and buttered bread on the side makes a complete and nourishing dinner that delights mind, body and soul. The following tips and spices will be helpful for any interested reader

The Simple Stir fry

Stir fried vegetables are prepared by heating a little butter, clarified butter or cooking oil in a pan or pot and then adding chosen seasoning and vegetables to it, followed by a little stirring and cooking with a cover in the pan on low or medium heat.

A single vegetable or a mix of vegetables can be used in a stir fried dishes. When preparing a mix, it is best to add vegetables in the order in which they cook. Potatoes require the most time. They are therefore added first if part of the mix. Vegetables like peas and cauliflower require lesser time and can be added a bit later while some like cabbage and button mushrooms (fungi) needs very little cooking time and should be added last for best results.

To soften hard vegetables like potatoes, a little water can be sprinkled on them and cooked covered for a few minutes on low heat to ensure the water does not dry out and the vegetable gets much too brown or burnt. A little experience in the kitchen would make any person a perfect judge of the best timings and heat required for different vegetables.

Adding Spices

While some vegetables like button mushrooms (called a vegetable here for convenience) are delicious if stir fried in butter with just a bit of salt and black pepper others require more additions if they are to be a main dish for a lunch or dinner.

One of the best spices to add to stir fried vegetables aside from black pepper is cumin. The seeds can be used whole or ground in a blender for the dish. The flavor of cumin seeds develop when they are roasted or fried a bit otherwise they have a bitter flavor that is not very nice. The seeds can be pre-roasted in an oven or hot plate and then ground and stored in a glass jar for use later. Otherwise, after heating cooking oil in the pan, add the ground cumin powder first and let it fry for a minute before adding vegetables. Just half a tea spoon is sufficient for a couple of cups of diced vegetables. Salt to taste and some black pepper may be added while the cooking proceeds.

Curried Stir Fry Vegetables

In South Asia curried stir fried vegetables is a common daily preparation. However, do note that curried vegetables or any other dish is never prepared with curry powder. That is a western innovation never used in South Asia. Not only does it not taste nice it also smells bad at least to this author. The way vegetable preparations are curried in much of South Asia is by adding ground cumin powder or whole cumin seeds, coriander seed powder, turmeric and chili powder according to taste. If you wish to make a curried stir fried vegetable dish use these spices in about the same quantity as the cumin. While the cumin must be added to very hot oil before the vegetables, the other spices are mixed in later after the vegetables are added to the pot and stirred in.

Garam Masala

In prosperous South Asian homes, another spice mix called Garam Masala is a must add to stir fried and other meat or vegetable preparations. It is primarily a mix of spices like cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin and black pepper. There is a full blog post on how to make your own Garam Masala in this blog. In my kitchen we ran out of our Garam Masala today and I have left a new batch of spices to sun before grinding them in a blender in the evening as shown in the photo. Once ground it shall be enough for a couple of months of cooking. We vary the mix a bit every time the spice mix is prepared depending on the spices that are available at hand but the interested reader can begin with a standard mix at first and then try variations as they become more comfortable with it. Two cups of diced vegetables require about a level tea spoon for a dish and it has to be pre-fried just like was indicated for cumin in the previous paragraph. Use the search tool in the left bar to reach a blog post on Garam Masala and more spices.

Adding Herbal Flavors

Garlic, Ginger, tomatoes, Green Chilies and Green Coriander Leaves (Cilantro) are great additions to a stir fried vegetable preparation. Peal and chop a few cloves of garlic and let them brown in the cooking oil before adding vegetables. Ginger cut in strings can be added at any stage while green chilies and chopped tomatoes come out best if added when the dish is nearly ready. Cilantro leaves may be added as a garnish after the heat has been turned off.

Exotic Stir Fries

Adding nuts like almonds, cashew nuts and paneer pieces adds an exotic touch to a stir fried dish and makes it fit for a King’s table. To use cashew nuts or almonds soak them in water for a few hours. Peel off the skins of almonds and then add to the stir fried vegetable dish along with the chopped vegetables. Paneer is an unprocessed non-melting cheese. Information about it can be found in this blog or on google. It may be procured from a store or made at home by coagulating fresh milk with a bit of vinegar. Because paneer does not melt, it can be added to stir fries to make them more delicious and full of rich proteins. Nuts serve the same purpose.  If you have edible flowers growing in your garden, the flower petals can be used to garnish and decorate the dish on special occasions. Use the search tool in side bar to reach a list of edible flowers in this blog.

In a Pie or Samosa

Stir fried vegetables prepared as just described make an excellent pie filling. My favorite is a stir fry of peas and button mushrooms for a pie. This pie, because it is stir fried with herbs and spices does not need gravy as many meat pies do.

Samosa is an Arab and South Asian variation of a pie. In this case the stir fried mix is wrapped in kneaded and rolled out flour and deep fried in a triangular sort of shape. It requires much practice to make at home and is therefore mostly purchased from a Samosa shop. It is delicious but not very healthy to have in a regular meal, only as an occasional snack

The Dinner

A western dinner that has a stir fried vegetable preparation as explained can be the main dish on a dinner plate. The side dishes can be couple of hard boiled eggs (just one if you already had one at breakfast), a small serving of salad and bread. The bread can be any western or Asian but all are wonderful hot and with some butter on it.

A few persons are allergic to gluten in wheat and they may then use steamed rice as replacement. Just add a little water to the stir fried dish when it is nearly done so that it develops a little gravy needed for steamed rice to soak up.

For special occasions one can make a five course dinner out of a main preparation of stir fried vegetables. Begin with a small appetizer, followed by soup, the dinner as described, a course of salad dressed in a mayonnaise, hung yoghurt or sour cream followed last by a desert and black tea especially on cold winter evenings.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Keeping a Daily Diary



Some days back there was a tweet from Sir Richard Branson suggesting that keeping notes is a must habit. That reminded me of another good habit that I have known for long but never taken up, keeping a daily diary. Therefore, a couple of days ago I procured a large size note book and have begun making entries every evening. Wonder how long, I can keep up the habit because it has not been a part of my good habits before. However, I have decided to keep the diary and even if I skip some days I will keep it up on the days I can. It would indeed be an excellent place to record ideas one may forget otherwise.

One very simple reason to keep a diary is that although I write a lot, it has been on a keyboard for several years and I was beginning to feel that my handwriting has begun to deteriorate. This would help revive it.

An earlier post had mentioned that it is good to talk about or review the day’s activities in the evening. If you do not have a sympathetic companion to talk this over with every evening then writing a diary serves a similar purpose. It helps to delete any memory that would be stored in the subconscious otherwise with an emotional attachment. That creates unnecessary baggage for the mind. In the normal course it is resolved through karma, meditation or dreams; dealing with it on a daily basis soon after events unfold helps to reduce this load.

If you decide to begin a daily diary too, choose any size notebook you fancy. Enter the date on top and underscore it with a wiggly line that comes out better when drawing with hand rather than a straight line. Enter the day’s events, thoughts or whatever under it. Before beginning the entry on another day, leave a little blank space in case you wish to enter something more as an after thought. However, never record anything that you consider very private and will embarrass you if read by someone else. A diary is often discovered by others inadvertently.



Friday, January 13, 2017

When the Lord Holds Your Hand



 
Those who reflect on flow of events through life would not have failed to notice that there are times when we set out to do something and we face hurdles and obstacles all the way through, while there are other times when everything goes smoothly. These last are the times when the universe cooperates and assists, when we make the right choices and there is confidence in our heart that all is well. These last are the times when the Lord is holding our hands and leading us to experience what is in keeping with our karma. It is our reward, opportunity, education and experience to push us along in our endless journey through the universe.

The times when we face obstacles and difficulties in whatever it is that we have set out to do may not be in accordance with our destiny and there is a chance that despite pain and effort we undertake the result will be less than satisfying. Wise persons must always stop to reflect if they should give up that undertaking or change plans in another direction. This does not mean that we should avoid struggles and intense effort in life, when required to do so, for much that is beautiful in life comes from intense effort. What needs to be done is to evaluate if along the way of such difficult tasks we have a feeling of satisfaction, that the effort, albeit hard, is joyous and that the undertaking does not involve compromising our ethical and good human values, for that would led to more bad karma for future.

Proceeding thus, life becomes a far more joyous journey then it is possible otherwise and leaves one smiling and singing through much of life rather than sobbing and sulking through it. It is also important to realize that both hardships and good times have limited life. They disappear when that karma is exhausted. Thus hardships shall pass and we need to be patient through them and use that as an opportunity to learn about life; to become wiser and more evolved. Even when faced with gravest of difficulties we need to remind ourselves that we shall not live forever and even this life shall pass soon.

The good times shall pass too. In this latter case wise souls enjoy that reward, thank the Lord for that good time while it is on and when it has ended they wait for more delightful adventures in their journey through life and beyond. Yet there are foolish childish souls that kick and scream as they are dragged away from their good experience when it has come to an end (that includes most of us : ); even worse they end up doing a lot of wrong things in order to preserve some or all of their advantages or protect from perceived loss. This last results in a huge amount of bad karma for their future. Many political leaders in Africa and some elsewhere are classic and most visible examples of this to the world at large when their elected terms of leadership has come to an end

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Impact of Lust and Nudity on Spiritual Growth



Some modern philosophers have argued that sexual pleasures of the appropriate kind are a useful part of the human experience and therefore worth pursuing. What exactly is considered appropriate varies with thinkers but in no case does it involve compulsion, inducement or force by one human on another. Sexual indulgence, if any, must only be between adults and from mutual interest and agreement.

However, spiritual literature and saints across diverse traditions of the planet have advised humans to overcome urges of lust and described that along with two other emotions - greed and anger – it is a cause of driving humans to hell. The Bhagvat Gita, a revered scripture of the Hindus, describes these as the three gates to hell. It only lauds limited sexual desire i.e. that associated with procreation as divine. The new testament of the Christians warns not just against lustful activity but even lustful thoughts. However sexual desire within marriage is not considered bad.

Some have argued that lust leads to romance and love. Love is one of the most beautiful emotions that a human can experience and few thinkers contest that. While sexual indulgence as a part of love may rank closely with sexual desire within marriage, it is by no means same as the English language implies by equating sexual indulgence with making love. The Saint Kabir of South Asia in fact went on to say that, where there is love, there is no lust and where there is lust there is no love. This in fact is the experience of many good humans who have experience of true romantic love. Then sex becomes unnecessary.

Much sexual indulgence can lead to physical weakness, disability and even physical harm. Promiscuity can lead a human to disgraceful behavior, disease and becoming a victim of crime. The Devilish or Satanic use temptation to entrap humans and sexual temptation is their primary weapon next to that of false promises of wealth and power. Uncontrolled desires have led to fall of kingdoms and impeachment of a President of the strongest country on the planet in modern times.

The difficulty with not avoiding lust is that if not checked it tends to become a major preoccupation with humans. It then prevents them from experiencing other more durable pleasures the universe has to offer such as beauty in nature. It can also lead to diversion of attention from other pursuits that would have led a human to attain material progress in the world if not a spiritual one. As regards spiritual progress, that becomes a distant dream for the one preoccupied with lust. Therefore as Patanjali, the father of yoga has said at the outset of his text on yoga, a human must overcome lust just as much as things like violence, lies, stealing and greed in order to even begin progress on the evolutionary path.

When a desire is strong, merely suppressing it may have an adverse impact and limited, careful observant exposure then seems better. Spiritual texts recognize that giving up lust is not a simple matter and it is something that has to be worked on gradually, easily without forceful suppression through experience, wisdom and learning. The Bhagvat Gita goes on to state that when one gives up urges of lust, one indeed becomes a yogi. It is something that may not be achieved in a single life time. Several lives may be required for most but the very first step for any wise human is to recognize that lust is not a good thing. It is a major weakness that they must works towards eradicating. If they do not do that, there are all the chances that matters will become worse rather than better. The best approach is to gently push away thoughts of lust from mind soon as they arrive and replace them with other thoughts. In case one continues to think in that direction, the thought will become progressively more difficult to control. Such thoughts sponsor sexual biological reactions within the body, something Nature created to assist procreation,  that in turn sponsor more such thoughts until the only escape remains indulgence. Once the mind discovers other thoughts of worthy pleasures and joy, the power of lust over it will weaken. Eventually a soul shall be freed to make progress in this world and the hereafter to godly states of being and joy.

Nudity:

Since the previous discussion may have been found too serious by some, let us return to a bit of humor on the topic. Recently a major social media website censored a post containing a statue of the nude Greek god Neptune displaying his handsome assets. There was no obvious suggestion of lust in the image since the god was not having an erection. However, many modern humans not used to such a display tend to get excited by it nevertheless. The website said it led to too much focus on body parts. What in fact may have happened is that it led them to focus too much on that part of the body.  This was not the case with ancient Greeks where nude statues of gods and other nudity was common place.

Concealing something actually goes to increase curiosity and fascination with what has been hidden. Much covering may in fact play the opposite role of becoming a sponsor of lust rather than eradicating it. Those in Athens, some of the most evolved humans the planet has seen for a brief period in their history, realized this fully, hence the nudity. The Christian Bible illustrates the point by describing Adam and Eve as nude in a heavenly garden but feeling a sense of shame and need to cover the moment they were exposed to knowledge of lust. There are religious sects in South Asia since ancient times such as the Naga sadhus and Digambar Jains where full nudity is commonplace. A highly revered spiritual mentor of this author often meditated for hours fully nude in his Himalayan abode.

Therefore while lust is regarded as a debilitating emotion the avoidance of nudity is regarded by many as not an aid but a hindrance towards this goal. It merely suppresses and reinforces such thoughts.  This author has tried to illustrate the point in a lighter vein in his Novel – Nude besides the Lake – an extraordinary story of beauty and human goodness. The novel can be found through a simple search on google or at Amazon and other retailers.







Evolved beings neither suffer from urges of lust nor the shame of nudity


Monday, January 2, 2017

My Experience, Our Planet




Today the thought came of writing personal things from my own life while drawing inferences to the hell like conditions modern humans have created for themselves in parts of the world.

It has been mentioned in many earlier posts that while some parts of Earth are heaven-like, others are hell-like. The hellish conditions are not just because of nature but also those created by humans through wars, overcrowded cities, pollution of air and water and the overwhelming greed of a few who, with the help of lawmakers they are able to influence, suck large number of humans into grinding poverty, even a homeless life on the streets, in some of the richest and most exploitative countries of our world.

For the most part, my early life was spent in some of the most heaven-like parts, mostly in the Himalayas. In 1962, I came down for the first time to New Delhi where my mother had just finished building our first family home. The land had been provided by the government in exchange for some land the family had given up elsewhere and a loan was provided by the government to build a home.

With the grace of the Lord, I have been in good health most of my life, except for some episodes of hay fever and another of angina described next. My father, though a senior officer in the British Army first and later the Indian Army, did not have any savings because he was fond of flashy black cars and  much feasting and partying, a love he shared with my mother who loved to host all she could lay her eyes on as a guest.. We needed the loan to build a home. The area was under development then with lots of homes and roads being built around and the air was full of dust. The very first day we landed here, my eyes became red, nose started running and I was sneezing like crazy. It was a dust sponsored hay fever as I have figured out since. Fortunately, we did not hang around in this home long and the moment we left it for greener locales the hay fever disappeared.

Our family was obliged to rent out the newly built home so that we could pay back the loan on the property. In the meantime, the family had other grander homes to live in, provided as a service benefit to my dad. The family home of Delhi that we owned jointly, parents and brothers was a special home. One of the tenants was a lady called Mohini Giri whose father V V Giri stayed with her while in Delhi. Mr. V V Giri continued to stay in the home because he did extremely well in his political career while in it and considered it a blessed home. The address of this home was C-243 Defence Colony, New Delhi. He went on to become the President of India while here and it has been a matter of pride for me that our first owned home was one in which the President of India lived. He only stayed there for a day or two after that because as a President he was obliged to move to the Palatial Presidential Estate in New Delhi that was once built for the Governor General of British India.

Although, medical science talks a lot of pollen caused hay-fever, with the grace of the Lord that has not been a problem with me. I have lived in green forested areas of North America, India and other parts of the world and never suffered even a day of allergy from it. It was only on one occasion, when serving as a Professor at the University of Mosul in Iraq, when we went for a picnic to a forest near Mosul called Shalalat that my eyes swelled up and became red from allergy within half an hour of being in the forest. We had to rush out and taking a few pills of Avil the allergy subsided. The area must have had some unique pollen that I was allergic to. We were in a group and my wife and children were with me. No one else was affected similarly. Aside for this singular instance of allergy in a green area there has been none other through my life.

At that time, in 1987, Mosul on the banks of the River Tigris was a heavenly city as it seems to have been for five thousand years ever since Sumerian times except for brief wars and not the hell it has become since due to the unfortunate Iraq wars ever since USA and UK thought Iraq had WMDs. The country has been largely destroyed since. Hopefully none in USA is considering destroying other parts of the world based on alleged reports of Russian hacking next or as Hillary had promised to do by shooting down Russian planes in Syria just like those kids do at the games parlor.

While not suffering from allergy to pollen for the most part, I have had repeated occasions of suffering hay fever from dust through my life. The next period was during my graduation at the India Institute of Technology in Delhi in 1966-71, a dusty area at that time. I suffered numerous episodes of hay fever in that period that only disappeared when I moved to North America in 1974. Since that time, I went up and down between North America, other parts of the world and India several times because up to the age of 45, I just loved to travel across the world and found every excuse to arrange my professional assignments that way.

Between 1998 and 2001, I returned as a visiting Professor to the Indian Institute of Technology. Since the seventies, New Delhi has been greened and built much and dust levels have come down, therefore, during this time I did not suffer any dust allergy. However, something more insidious had happened to Delhi since. It has since become full of air pollution from vehicles and Industries. No one has been able to explain why those industries or people who work in them have to in the Capital city when there is enough room to house them elsewhere. My guess is that the ensuing pollution has clouded judgement of those who suffer that pollution.  Even in my earlier days whenever, I had traveled to very crowded and polluted parts of Delhi I had felt nauseas. Now that pollution was all over. Fortunately, The IIT has its own very green campus that is surrounded in parts by urban forests and I had accommodation on campus, therefore, I survived for some time by confining myself largely to the campus. But something worse was happening, the pollution was getting into my arteries and that led to angina by early 2001. Unlike hay fever, angina is not something that goes away in a day. It may require surgical intervention that I was never in favor of. It took a few years away from Delhi for me to get over this condition next...

As mentioned, I had lost the urge to travel well before the age of 50 but the urge for visiting green forests, mountains, and lakes of Himalayas has remained with me more or less as a permanent love and source of spiritual strength.. My favorite district in the Himalayas is Nainital and a visit to it requires passing through Delhi. Even brief stopovers in Delhi have been painful for me. On one such in 2007, I began to vomit in the cab that was driving me through crowded Delhi and only managed to save myself with the grace of God of being robbed of my belongings by a passing robber who often take advantage of such situations in crowded, crime infested cities of our world. It requires a human to be fully alert in order to protect oneself through this jungle of crime and filth that humans have created.

I feel saddened for the many millions who still continue to live in Delhi but draw solace from the fact that most humans may not be as sensitive to air pollution as some others like me. Yet children suffer and I suspect the government of India based in Delhi suffers too because there are times they come up with decisions that defy common sense. I find myself tweeting then in a hurry, some simple common sense to the Inspiring Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his office, even as I did today morning, and as do many others from across the planet. At times a correction is made soon, but such corrections can be only few and far between. Because of this, in the main, it is not just those who live in Delhi that are affected but also one sixth of  humanity of the country and by extension the entire world to some extent,  by the actions of the government in Delhi, that is compromised by fighting its way through this pollution, a mind hazing,  life threatening, hell like condition that humans have created for themselves.