Tuesday, May 31, 2011

They want the Toyota not VW

Between me and my wife we have 2 cars, one is a 2001 Toyota Camry and the other is a 2002 Volkswagen Passat. Camry is Beige in color and Passat is Blue in color. Considering their age, both cars are near or slightly beyond their 100000 mile markers. 


The other day when I walked to the Camry, I saw this note on the dashboard and I looked over the Passat and I was slightly happy to see no such note. The mind started wondering, does the Camry look so old in comparison or may be the blue vs. the beige colors making the difference.

My momentary happiness died away for I realized the person who put this note thinks Camry is more valuable than the Passat. I haven’t contacted these people for I have no intentions to part with either the Camry or the Passat.     

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Another week, another YESPLUS

It was close to a year since I did the YESPLUS and so when the time and opportunity came up, I jumped in. What a beautiful time I had, one of the best times and one of the most well spent times.

It wasn’t easy to make up my mind again, I had my own reasons, more notable amongst them are, the 5 day commitment, the whole weekend will be spent in the class, I have done it once and so on. Unlike last time when I was playing mind games and I had to get an external trigger, this time around the trigger came from within and I showed up. I am convinced at all levels that I did the right decision.

I interacted with some of the most amazing people, I witnessed the growth in my good buddies, I got to see my goofy side and witness the goofy side of others. Some of the sessions were riot (fun way). I witnessed the rigidness/uneasiness that was there at the beginning of the course giving way to smiles and happiness in the end. The workshop was a no participant left out workshop. It was one complete package of fun and learn.   

Last time I went in, I went in to learn and this time I went in to play the game called YESPLUS. Believe me there is a huge difference and both are fun in their own rights.

There are a lot of people to thank for making this event/workshop to happen, more notably are Nitin, Keya and Geetha.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Weekend Update

Lot of things happened over the weekend. On Friday (May 13) was the birthday of Sri Sri Ravishankar (fondly known as Guruji), so we had a satsang at the Art of Living Center. The satsang had a few firsts, this was one of the few birthday satsang that started off with a Guru Pooja, we did a different meditation than we usually do during satsangs. As usual for any Art of Living activity we ended the session with a lots of food. After the birthday celebration I reached home and saw Guruji’s birthday message in 3 different languages Kannada, Hindi and English.

On Saturday we had organized a volunteering activity at Capital Area Food bank. 11 of us showed up and helped the food bank sort out the donated food (mostly cans and boxes, no fresh produce). There was a lot of learning from the food bank activity.

  • To volunteer at the food bank, you need to be wearing closed toe shoes (no sandals allowed)
  • Canned foods were kept even after 2 years of expiry date
  • Peanut butter, Mayo and Tomato Sauce unless sealed inside the bottle with the aluminum foil, were not kept.
  • Mayonnaise was kept if it was within 10 months or so of expiry
  • If the can had a dent and it was expired, and the first 3 ingredients are tomato, those were thrown away
  • Baby food were only kept if they had at a minimum of 3 months of shelf life
  • All food came through donations and I was amazed to see people had donated things that were 5 or 6 years beyond expiry
  • The 11 people who showed up had good fun, we plan to go back again in the near future to do it again

And on Sunday I went for my session of Meru Chikitsa, I have already written about it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Curiosity got the best for me (Meru Chikitsa)

Last week, when we were discussing about Dr. Rachael Murad’s visit to Austin, I didn’t consider myself to be one of her patients. For I don’t feel anything wrong with my spine or my back.

When I picked her up from the bus station and spent some time with her driving to her place of stay, curiosity got the better out of me. I scheduled myself an appointment for today (Sunday, May 15 2011). As though it was a co-incidence, thanks to some wrong sleep posture or some such thing, I was having a slight pain the lower back for last couple of days.

During the appointment, the good doctor did a few tricks on my back and near my head and taught me a couple of breathing techniques. The mind was thinking all the time, how am I going to feel better? for she hasn’t done much and whatever she did is too gentle. But in the end, I was in for a surprise.

After the appointment was over, she asked me to stand up and walk around. The feeling I had was amazing, I felt light, there was no back pain, the energy in my body was much higher than with which I had walked in. The awareness was much more elevated. It was almost the same feeling that I get when I do a good round of Sadhana.         

Dr. Rachael Murad will be in Austin till May 22nd and is currently taking appointments. Make an appointment and show up, for you do not know what's in store for you.  

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mahabharata TV series update

I finally completed watching all the 94 episodes of Mahabharata and it was a wonderful journey. I wish I had taken time to my complete the journey but the temptation to finish was too irresistible. In conclusion, hats off to the actors for having done such a wonderful job. I think the weakest link is the guy who played Yudhistira’s role, rest all have done amazingly well and hats off to the directors and producers. Its worth every penny.

Now, coming to the actual story itself. There are a few questions and observations that arose in me after completing the series,

  • Why does Krishna reveal to Karna that he is born to Kunti right before the war, was it his last effort to drag Karna to the side of Dharma?
  • At the beginning of the war, Duryodhana calls Yuyutsu as his step brother, is he right in calling him like that?
  • Dronacharya and Kripacharya were the only 2 acharyas (teachers) participating in the war, what was their justification?, Kripacharya was the spiritual advisor to the king, no other king in the war asked his spiritual advisor to participate in the war. If we talk about being indebted, Dronacharya had paid his debts to the kingdom by teaching the princes and their sons. The reason Dronacharya gives is that his guru Parushurama also wielded weapon, but we all know why Parushurama did what he did?
  • Watch the episodes carefully, Dronacharya gives a better and more plausible explanation on why he asked for Ekalavya’s thumb?
  • The way Dronacharya was killed is it according to the law of Dharma?
  • I had similar question for Bhishma’s death but this website seemed to satisfy me to an extent
  • Bhishma through out the series chastises Karna and in fact tells the king to separate Karna, Dushyasana and Shakuni from Duryodhana’s life for they are the ones who are feeding ill to Duryodhana,  But on the 10th day of the battle, out of the blue he claims he knew Karna was the son of Kunti.
  • If this was revealed on the 10th day of the battle how come Sanjaya did not even mention a bit of it to the King and Duryodhana did not know till the end?
  • Bhishma is laid to rest on bed of arrows pierced through his body on the 10th day, didn’t gravity have any effect those days, he seems to be at the same height above the ground on the last day as he was on the 10th day.
  • With the number of arrows piercing his body, wouldn’t Bhishma had died of excessive blood loss in a couple of hours? and how can so many arrows miss all the vital organs to keep the guy alive?
  • I don’t get why Karna insists on King of Madra to be his charioteer for his day and half war, while people like Bhishma and Dronacharya had fought longer and better with run of the mill charioteers
  • When Karna’s chariot gets stuck in the mud, why does he get down to lift the chariot up?, he was only fighting with Arjuna and the chariots can just remain where they are and they could continue the fight.
  • Another point about Karna’s chariot, why didn’t he get another chariot when his got stuck in the ground. If you see the episodes, you will see that Dronacharya changes quite a few chariots in one of the episodes.
  • The incident when Ashvathama kills the sons of Draupadi thinking they are the Pandavas, was he so blind that he couldn’t differentiate between 13-14 year old boys and mature adults.
  • Duryodhana is probably the only one I know of who died of a thigh bone fracture, may be he died of excessive blood loss.
  • In the very first episode king Bharata announces that all his sons are worthless to be his successors and nominates an external person to be the king, but through out the rest of the episodes, every body keep talking as though seniority at birth is the only criterion to ascend the throne.
  • Being naive and goody goody, was Yudhistira really following dharma?
  • The answer to the question of was Yudhistira right in putting his kingdom, his brothers and his wife to bet is answered by Krishna in one of the episodes (answer he was wrong and that’s the reason they all are forced on a 12 year life in the forest).
  • The episode on the death of Abhimanyu is very well done, the story is very nicely narrated
  • After watching the episodes I am now convinced that Bhagavadgita is an extremely powerful weapon and has the vast potential of becoming a weapon of mass destruction if used in the wrong way.
  • I am also amazed at one last thing, Gandhari curses Krishna that whole of his clan (Yadavas) will be destroyed through in fighting and still retains enough power in her to change the body composition of Duryodhana the very next instant.      

The deaths of Bhishma and Dronacharya can only makes sense, if I assume Krishna is the guiding force behind Pandavas and he is using Pandavas as weapons to establish dharma in the land and pandavas were the only people capable of building a society based on Dharma for the future.

The final episodes where Krishna confronts his brother Balaram and the episode of Bhishma giving practical wisdom to Yudhistira are worth watching.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Mahabharata – TV series

Off late I have been watching Mahabharata, yes the TV version that was telecasted back in the 1980’s. The episodes are all on Youtube. At the time they telecasted, my knowledge of Hindi was pretty limited, I couldn’t completely understand, let alone appreciate the work. Now that I am seeing for the second time, I quite like the way it is done. They had put in a lot of efforts to make it this good. The dialogues are well written and the concept is well developed.

For those who are more interested in looking at the story from a different point of view, it is fun to watch the ego play of Duryodhana and his friends including mama Shakuni and Karna and how the ego of the family (father and son) destroyed the whole kingdom. It is interesting to watch how Bhishma in the guise of his oath runs away from Dharma and the price he pays in the end by lying on a bed of arrows pierced through the body. The other one that cracks me up is the way Dharmaraya believes that being goody goody all the time towards everybody is Dharma (you will find a ton of examples for this in the serial). In the end I realized the only person who followed dharma till the end was Vidhura and nobody else. The Bhagavadgita part is also very well done.       

I think it is worth a watch, considering its free and legally available. It has a few strong messages that are apt even today. On  a lighter note, most songs in the episodes have the same tune.

ps: since there is no 1 version of Mahabharata, there are some interpretations that does not match the “actual Vyasa Bharata”, here is a link if you are patient enough to read through.