Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Freedom of expression

Recently Penguin publishers pulled out the book “The Hindu”, by Wendy Doniger. There has been a big media hue and cry over this crying foul. But is there a foul, or is it just any publicity is good publicity.

The book has been in circulation for close to 4 years and I had never heard of this book till I read the news online that its been pulled out. Now I am so curious that I am willing to spend $14 and buy this and give it my time. I am sure there are a few thousands like me.

For the media crying foul, unlike Satanic Verses and such books, the book was not banned by any state government or central government. Just like Dr. Doniger has the right to express her views (right or wrong) so does the agency which filed the case against her. Isn’t that the real freedom of expression.

Also, India are not new to controversial books ex: take any book of Dr. S.L.Bhairappa like “Parva”, “Avarana” or “Sartha”. Each one has controversies built in but the books still exist and people like me buy it and some read and some don’t.

Last but not the least, freedom comes with responsibility one without the other is meaningless.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Story of awareness

It's been a decade since my first art of living course, this is the story of how I got to do the course.

After coming to Austin, I was looking to do some sort of meditation course and was interested to start communicating with the Yogananda's organization. I had already visited them once in LA and had developed a liking for them. Then as a twist in the tale came the illness of a coworker who apparently didn't own a car. As a good Samaritan and free bachelor high on helping people, I had offered to help him with his doctor visits. To my surprise he asked for a ride only once and in that ride he started to talk to me about "doing the Art of Living course" (don’t remember how it started, sorry), me still more mind/ego centered at that time wanted to argue with him and “wanted to be convinced fully” before I took the jump.

So, we talked about this and that and at some point it was getting towards heated one (from my side) and I was determined to prove him wrong (don’t know why) and at point he told me the importance of awareness. I remember him pointing towards the windshield of the car and saying "there is glass here and one should be aware that the glass exists" by that time we had already reached our workplace back and we stopped it there. He even lent me a couple of books to read, which I don’t remember if I read or not.  

It didn't make heads or tails to me then. and took a good long while to comprehend what he was saying about “awareness”.

That was the very first conversation that pointed me to the course and if my memory serves right it took close to a year after this conversation and another interaction with another friend that bought me to the door step. 

Later in the week I came to know that somebody else also offered him the ride for the doctors visit that day but this guy refused all others and waited for me, don’t want to label it and diminish the value.