Tuesday, 28 March 2017

A Motion uncalled for…

The Canadian parliament passed a motion recently which curbs criticism of Islam as a religion. The anti-Islamophobia motion is also referred as the M-103 motion. It got a overwhelming majority of 201 votes in support against 91 who opposed it. This follows the weak kneed approach towards the refugees issue by many of the European countries. When the entire world is calling for a concerted action against the fundamentalist ideologies which threaten the humanity to its brink, this retrograde move comes as a shocker to the international community. This only emphasizes the fact that politicians are of the same ilk, wherever they are, acting against the interests of the humanity. Instead of safeguarding the victims they are siding with the aggressors, the kind of Dhimmitude, towards which all the aggressions are intended. 

Compare this with the plight which Hinduism faces in its birthplace. All sort of adverse inferences are cast against the country’s major religion by the so called liberal free speech votaries. This continues day in and day out, in all spheres and this goes very much unchallenged. In fact a similar motion is needed in our country, not to bar the criticisms, but only to save the much maligned religion, Hinduism from biased mudslinging. The oldest civilsation, is actually in a brittle condition due to continued smear campaign.

Years of exposure to this cesspool of lies have benumbed the general population of our country that they seldom react to such innuendos. Hence, a lie repeated several thousand times gets an exalted position equivalent to truth. Recently a report came about the maligning of Hindu gods in the text books for the fifth standard children, studying in kerala. There was no media discussion about that and as expected the social ramification in response to that report was an often experienced deafening silence. Thus these misdemeanors by the zealots go unabated with the support of media and the powers that be. Even in case  when any rare voice of assertion is raised amidst the stupor in which our society is drenched in, the liberals and the secular media will shout it down from the roof to ensure that such calls for real freedom of speech gets suppressed in the howling raised by them. Remember the noise raised when the name of a road in New Delhi was changed from Aurangazeb to Abdul Kalam? Though both were Muslims, Abdul Kalam was a nationalist and naming a road after him was much to the annoyance of the liberals, that too changing it from their favorite Bigot.  This kind of calumny has been going on in our nation for the last several decades without any opposition. But with the new changing world order a glimmer of light is seen at the far end of the tunnel.  Let our hopes become true, for the sake of Humanity.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Mission has enough space to cover…

Last couple of weeks witnessed some unforgettable moments in our Nation’s history. Some are unforgettable because of the scar they have left and the lessons for the society which has seldom shown the needed alacrity to learn from its mistakes. The mockery of democracy during the course of the power struggle between the convicts and their erstwhile aides, is something which will remain undigested in our minds for a long time to come. The other unforgettable event that happened was the launching of 104 satellites in a single mission. This has shattered the previous record of 37 satellites launched by Russia by a mile.

This moment of national pride and importance was rightly explained by the scientist of ISRO, who said that they are aware that it is not a number game and they are aware that number of satellites launched is not comparable to the runs scored on the cricket field. Our media instead of detailing about the intricacies involved in carrying out such a challenging mission, hyped only on the numbers. There is a lot of engineering innovations required for stacking the tiny satellites in the available space and ejecting them sequentially in the desired orbits without colliding with each other. This is the achievement of ISRO's launch vehicle team that calls for celebration. Not only that, the money earned by carrying them almost halved the launch cost of the PSLV. Buoyant with this success the Chairman of ISRO also said that our country is now ready to setup a space station. It would indeed a real giant leap. All these are made possible by hard working men and women who have nothing else in their pursuit other than excellence. 

See what Sri Sujit Menon, a scientist working with ISRO, has to say about his colleagues. ‘Most of the ISRO employees are ordinary Indians. Most of them did not attend an Ivy League University. Most of them have not graduated from the IITs or the NITs. Most of them do not even have a doctorate. Many of them are from middle class families. Some are even from poor households. I have personally worked under the person responsible for creating ISRO's supercomputer, the SAGA-220 housed at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center. He has a BSc degree in Mathematics. That's it. No B.Tech, No M.Tech, No PhD, No Post Doc. I have a degree from IIST, a reputed national university. But I'm awestruck at the depth of his intellect.  I asked him how he was able to achieve so much in his career and rise to the highest of ranks. His answer was simple, Perseverance’.

The success of PSLVs, GSLVs, Chandrayaan, Mangalyaan etc that most Indians see on their television screens has been made possible by the consistent hard work of many such individuals. Ordinary people with extraordinary dedication. May their tribe increase.


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The Marina Breach…

The Jallikattu protests by the students started of just like the people against corruption movement started By Sri Anna Hazare at New Delhi, and it veered off like just that movement. This should be a lesson for the youngsters who started this with good intentions. It is not just enough to start a movement, but sustaining it in the same avowed path is also more important. The chances of such movements getting hijacked by vested interests are more and those who were in the forefront should have been careful about this. Anybody who has witnessed such democratic protests being exploited by vested interests earlier, like the one happened at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, would have said that this will also follow suit. The indications were very obvious from the beginning and any sane mind would have recognized it easily. First and foremost was the fact that Jallikattu is a Hindu Tradition, part of the Hindu Festival Pongal, which is also celebrated as Makara Sankaranti all over India was never told by the people who were protesting. They wanted to whip up the linguistic passion of the people of Tamilnadu and were terming this as a Thamizhan Tradition, meaning Tradition belonging to Tamils. They chose to hide the Hindu identity to get support from the Pseudo secular media and the fringe elements. Never ever there was any voice raised against the cattle trafficking which is the reason for the dwindling number of the native cattle in our country. Ban against Cow Slaughter was not a demand by these misguided youths who were protesting. Ban against Cow slaughter is an inherently important issue upon which hinges the future of our Native cattle breeds. The fact that they didn’t do these also gives rise to the doubt whether these anti national elements who hijacked the movement were there right from the beginning, and whether it was they who goaded the youngsters to drop the Hindu identity from their protest. 

This sinister looking start to the movement meant that it surely going to get deviated at a later stage when the anti-national elements feel that they can carry it on by themselves. The mass hysteria of the people of Tamilnadu, who were ignited by the pseudo pride and linguistic jingoism paved an easy way for anti-nationals to percolate inside and poison the crowd. Many Hindus felt that these protests would enable for a concrete action from the government to bring back Jallikattu, which they dearly wanted. So they too turned a blind eye to the dropping of Hindu identity. When the issue was heading towards a plausible solution, the ugly heads of these poisonous minds started showing up. The state government drafted an ordinance, and it was given assent by the Home ministry and then by the Hon’ble president. At that time these usurpers of the movement started asking various other demands which were not there in the beginning. The people who started the movement also resigned themselves from the protests and were booed for that. Slogans against the central and state governments, especially against our Prime Minsiter were raised much to the anguish of the youngsters who were watching all these helplessly. All these could have been avoided had they not shunned their Hindu identity in the beginning, because these anti nationals are also virulent anti hindus and they would never work for a Hindu cause. It was an unholy alliance formed by the leftists, Missionaries, Jihadis and the Pseudo rationalist tamil Jingoists, trying fish in the troubled waters. It is a lesson learnt in a terrible manner for the Hindus in Tamilnadu. But it has also brought out in the open who their enemies are. Hindus have a weird tendency not to learn any lesson from history. Let’s pray to that almighty that it doesn’t happen this time.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Samartha Bharat

We celebrate Samartha Bharat Parva from 25th December to 12th January. Swami Vivekananda had started his historic meditation of three days on the future of India at the mid-sea rock at Kanyakumari on 25th and 12 January is Swami Vivekananda Jayanti. Swami Vivekananda had harped on the fact that India has to become capable of fulfilling her destined role of guiding the world in spirituality. Therefore, we celebrate this period from 25th December to 12th January as Samartha Bharat Parva focusing in the strength and capability of India and the ways to further enhance it. Samartha Bharat Parva culminates in grand celebration of Swami Vivekananda Jayanti. 

Swamiji said, “The whole world requires Light. It is expectant! India alone has that Light, not in magic mummeries, and charlantism, but in teaching of the glories of the spirit of real religion-of highest spiritual truth. That is why Lord has preserved the race through all its vicissitudes unto the present day. Now the time has come. Have faith that you are all, my brave lads, born to do great things! Let not the barks of puppies frighten you-no, not even the thunderbolts of heaven-but stand up and work… 

Give and take is the law, and if India wants to raise herself once more, it is absolutely necessary that she brings out her treasures and throws them broadcast among the nations of the earth, and in return be ready to receive what others have to give her. Expansion is life, contraction is death. We commenced to die the day we began to hate other races, and nothing can prevent our death unless we come back to expansion, which is life. We must mix, therefore, with all the races of the earth. …Let us calmly and in a manly fashion go to work, instead of dissipating our energy in unnecessary frettings and fumings. I, for one, thoroughly believe that no power in the universe can withhold from any one anything he really deserves. The past was great no doubt, but I sincerely believe that the future will be more glorious still. May Shankara keep us steady in purity, patience and perseverance….

We want thousands of men, and thousands of women, who will spread like wild fire from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin, from the North Pole to the South Pole- all over the world. It is no use indulging in child’s play-neither is there time for it. Let those who have come for child’s play be off now, while there is time, or they will surely come to grief. We want an organization. Off with laziness. Spread! Spread! Run like fire to all places. Do not depend upon me. Whether I live or die go on spreading yourself …When death is so certain it is better to die for a good cause”. 

Thus in the celebrations of Samartha Bharat Parva, we have to organise various functions / camps / exhibitions / programs to reach the youth to give this message. The youth who come in contact with us through written cultural examinations also are to be motivated to celebrate Samartha Bharat Parva or at least the Swami Vivekananda Jayanti in their colleges. By this, they get associated with Kendra. Thus Samartha Bharat Parva is very important period for us to involve all the newly contacted persons in our work and hence, we have to plan properly. 

While sitting at the Rock at Kanyakumari, Swamiji realised his mission of life as to awaken the Hindu Nation which had lost confidence in itself. He decided to talk to the American people about Vedanta, so that if West appreciated it then the educated in India too would turn to it. Due to exploitative British Rule, the people of India were too poor. His compassionate heart also wanted to start some work to help them. Thus, he first went to America with the idea of participating in the Parliament of Religions and for collecting the money for starting some work for the poor in India. The American people responded with great enthusiasm to his exposition of Vedanta. Because of his triumph in America the missionaries undertook vigorous campaign against him. Though it did not affect his popularity, it affected his fund collection. He wrote to Nanjunda Rao, “But you must not depend on any foreign help. Nations like individuals must help themselves. This is real patriotism. If a nation cannot do that, its time has not come. It must wait.” 

But then he found that though his efforts to raise money were frustrated, his triumphant work in America had raised the confidence of India. He observed how West achieved many successes because of organized efforts. He wanted that, rise in self-confidence in India, not to be effervescent but, should lead to some concrete work through organization. For the organization, right types of men are needed. To mould the men to carry forward the work in America he found that he has to put the Vedantic truths in such a way that it moulds character. That was a difficult job. He wrote, “I have succeeded now in rousing the very heart of the American civilization, New York, but it has been a terrific struggle… I have spent nearly all I had on this New York Work and in England. Now things are in such a shape that they will go on. Then you see, to put the Hindu ideas into English and then make out of dry philosophy and intricate mythology and queer startling psychology, a religion which shall be easy, simple and popular, and at the same time meet the requirement of the higher minds - is a task only those can understand who have attempted it.” 

While attempting to take the Vedanta to the modern mind higher purpose of his birth as hinted by Sri Ramakrishna became clearer to him. In one of his letters he wrote about it- “The dry Advaita must become living -poetic- in everyday life; out of hopelessly intricate mythology must come concrete moral forms; and out of bewildering Yogi-ism must come the most scientific and practical psychology-and all this must be put in a form so that a child may grasp it. That is my life’s work.”
It is this work of Swami Vivekananda of ‘making Vedanta practical’ that we are carrying forward. Vivekananda Kendra has to do this work of Swamiji to spread the message of Practical Vedanta. Practical Vedanta in other words is the Yoga way of life. Therefore, Mananeeya Eknathji chose Yoga as the core of Vivekananda Kendra as said in our Prarthana - Karmayogaikanishtha. Our Kendra Prarthana enshrines most of the key points of how Vedanta can be practiced. Eknathji founded Vivekananda Kendra to focus on these life-giving principles and work accordingly in life. 

The prayer starts with Jaya Jaya Paramatman – victory to God. At every moment in our life, we have to choose. Our each action either elevates us or makes us more selfish or narrow. Jaya Jaya Paramatman means exercising our choice of action in the interest of the Samashti i.e. collectives like family, society, nation and the whole creation in such a way that we are elevated; the Divinity in us is more evident. Swami Vivekananda said in ‘Common Bases of Hinduism’, ‘And then comes the most differentiating, the grandest, and the most wonderful discovery in the realms of spirituality that has ever been made. Some of you, perhaps, who have been studying Western thought, may have observed already that there is another radical difference severing at one stroke all that is Western from all that is Eastern. It is this that we …hold in India that the soul is by its nature pure and perfect, infinite in power and blessed.’ This is what we remind ourselves in our prayer as ‘Vayam suputra amritasya noonam’. We can see that each line of our Prayer is to focus on the great Vedantic principles which Swamiji wanted us to practice. Thus not mere chanting the prayer everyday but also contemplating on it and practicing it in our life would make our society strong and capable to fulfill the purpose of India. 
During Samartha Bharat Parva, the Kalpataru Day is also celebrated on 1 January the day Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa granted his devotees whatever they wanted. Swami Vivekananda says that Sri Ramakrishna was born to protect our Hindu Dharma and Hindu society. Therefore, our society should emerge as Kalpataru, which would fulfill the needs of all the individuals. And what is methodology? Our prayer gives it beautifully – Jeevane Yavadadanam syat pradanam tatodhikam Let give far more than what we receive. 

Swami Vivekananda awakened the soul of India. When Swamiji returned from America in 1897, he was given a rousing welcome, - a welcome no one has received till now. It was as if the soul of India had returned to moribund Indians. Today we need to give a rousing welcome to his ideas in our heart and raise our land through organized work, to make India a capable nation – Samartha Bharat. We have to make the Vedanta simple and practical. Being one with the Chaitanya / Divinity pervading everywhere and employing the body-mind complex in the service of the divinity expressed through family, community, society, nation and the whole creation – Nishkama buddhyaarta vipanna seva vibho tav aaradhanam asmadiyam- is the meaning of Practical Vedanta or Yoga way of life. This is what we are working for raising the world to the higher consciousness for spiritual evolution. Today, this work initiated by Swami Vivekananda is the need of the hour for the whole world. Therefore, our celebrations of Vivekananda Jayanti, which is the concluding program of Samartha Bharat Parva, should be a very grand and purposeful involving many persons at all strata of the society. 
Nivedita Raghunath Bhide

Monday, 28 November 2016

Impacts of demonetization.

When the Prime Minister announced about the demonetization on 8th November 2016, it sent a wave of surprise to all in the country and a shocking blow to those who have amassed millions of unaccounted money. While the shock and surprise are yet to dip, the effects of demonetization are already beginning to show. While the hoarders of Black money are shedding crocodile tears about the sufferings of the common man standing hours together at the bank to exchange his old currencies, their allies in the guise of journalists and financial experts are finding loopholes in the arrangements. Many of them argue that this should have been better planned, so that the misery of the common man could have been avoided. This was not only a very bold and selfless initiative done by the government but also a very secretive one, to which only very few people are privy. And Modi baiters very well know that any level of planning and gearing up would have alerted the very men who are the real targets of this action. Don’t think that they are ignorant, they are only being complicit. Hoarders would have immediately converted their ill gotten money into any other form. But it is also not correct to say that the government caught the common man and small time traders unaware. If you look at the various steps taken by the present government you can very well understand that the government is taking a steady but sure step towards bringing the parallel economy to task. First it was the Jan Dhan Yojana scheme which could get a total of 25.51 crore new accounts as on 9.11.16, which basically comprises of farmers and people in rural India. This paved way for a direct link between the common man and the government getting rid of the touts and middlemen who are the reason for the pilferage in all of the government welfare schemes. As a result of this common man could get the benefits directly from the government subsidies. This gave a blow to the corrupt politicians who used to siphon the grants given to the public. This also brought a major chunk of our population into the banking practices.

Then the government announced the voluntary income disclosure scheme, giving a lengthy rope to the wrongdoers to correct themselves. A total of 65,250 crores were disclosed through this scheme. The demonetization step followed these previous actions, which is quite logical. Already around 5.5 lakh crores have been deposited in the bank within 2 weeks of this announcement and various reports are coming about sacks of cut notes being dumped into sewage canals. So if anybody is surprised by the government’s stern action it is only because of the corrupt and callous governance to which they are used to, for the past several decades.

Government is pushing the country towards more banking transactions and more transparent accounting. This may also be a step towards a cashless economy, as many are hinting about. The gradual transition towards digitization and a cashless economy will definitely help curb corruption in the long run. The increased transparency and record of transactions will make it considerably difficult to hold black money and carry out under-the-table deals. The added convenience of using digital payment solutions and virtual wallets can’t be ignored either.

While announcing this demonetization program, Government stressed that it is the only avenue available to curb the hawala market and the funding which comes to the terror groups. Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) network will be dismantled by the demonetization measures. Taking out 500 and 1000 rupee notes out of circulation will have a lasting impact on the syndicates producing FICN's, thus affecting the funding of terror networks in Jammu and Kashmir, North-eastern states and Naxalite hit states. But we seldom see any news channel, discussing about this intent of the government. They probably would have thought that even the very mentioning of the word terror, would hurt the sentiments of a “section of people”. And as if to assuage the wounded hearts of those people they are inventing stories of suffering to common man. It is not to be forgotten that many of these news channels are actually floating on very same corrupt money, which the government want to get rid of.

With nearly five state elections in 2017, demonetization has stunned political parties. Especially, in large states like Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, cash donations are a huge part of "election management”. In one stroke, big parties will find themselves hamstrung as cash hoards are often undeclared money. Parties will have to completely rejig campaign strategies in light of expected cash crunch
We should bow before the Prime Minister for taking such a bold decision, which he very well know, is going to get brick bats from his detractors and also could lose him favors from his own admirers. But he has taken a decision which no one has dared to before. This action has shaken many of our people. This action is intended to purify the national veins from the clogged pollutants it has acquired over several decades, an action to revitalize the values. This is a direct call to our conscience. A positive take away from this action is that many among the youth are welcoming this move. That gives a glimmer of hope about the future of our nation.