Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Here is a puzzle for you Imagine you are in Africa . You have been tied hanging on a tree with a rope anchored on the ground, a candle is slowly burning the rope, and the lion is waiting for you to drop and be his lunch. Your survival hinges on the rope staying intact, there is no one around to help you.

What to do now ..........

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Sing a Happy Birthday song for the lion...

/ / Howzzzzzz that!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Some of the Inspiring Quotes which tell not to give up in life so you can learn something from these Quotes
1) Never expect things to happen. Struggle and make them happen. Never expect yourself to be given a good value, create a value of your own
2) If a drop of water falls in lake there is no identity. But if it falls on a leaf of lotus it shines like a pearl. So choose the best place where you would shine.
3) Falling down is not defeat but defeat is when your refuse to get up...
4) Ship is always safe at shore... but is not built for it
5) When you are successful, your well wishers know who you are. When you are unsuccessful you know who your well wishers are.
6) It is great confidence in a friend to tell him your faults; greater to tell his/her
7) "To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world
8) "Even the word 'IMPOSSIBLE' says 'I M POSSIBLE' "
9) Effort is important, but knowing where to make an effort in your life makes all the difference.
May God Bless You All,
Never take some one for granted, Hold every person Close to your Heart because you might wake up one day and realize that you have lost a diamond while you were too busy collecting stones." Remember this always in life.”


Some of the Inspiring Quotes which tell not to give up in life so you can learn something from these Quotes

1) Never expect things to happen. Struggle and make them happen. Never expect yourself to be given a good value, create a value of your own

2) If a drop of water falls in lake there is no identity. But if it falls on a leaf of lotus it shines like a pearl. So choose the best place where you would shine.

3) Falling down is not defeat but defeat is when your refuse to get up...

4) Ship is always safe at shore... but is not built for it

5) When you are successful, your well wishers know who you are. When you are unsuccessful you know who your well wishers are.

6) It is great confidence in a friend to tell him your faults; greater to tell his/her

7) "To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world

8) "Even the word 'IMPOSSIBLE' says 'I M POSSIBLE' "

9) Effort is important, but knowing where to make an effort in your life makes all
the difference.

May God Bless You All,

Never take some one for granted, Hold every person Close to your Heart because you might wake up one day and realize that you have lost a diamond while you were too busy collecting stones." Remember this always in life.”

Tracks and Children

In the name of God who has put love and mercy among our hearts ( verily in that are signs for who reflect )A group of children were playing near two railway tracks, one still in use while the
other disused. Only one child played on the disused track, the rest on the operational track.The train is coming, and you are just beside the track interchange. You can make the train change its course to the disused track and save most of the kids.
However, that would also mean the lone child playing by the disused track would be sacrificed. Or would you rather let the train go its way?Let's take a pause to think what kind of decision we could make.................. ... ..
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Most people might choose to divert the course of the train, and sacrifice only one child. You might think the same way, I guess. Exactly, I thought the same way initially because to save most of the children at the expense of only one child was rational decision most people would make, morally and emotionally. But, have you ever thought that the child choosing to play on the disused track had in fact made the right decision to play at a safe place?Nevertheless, he had to be sacrificed because of his ignorant friends who chose to play where the danger was. This kind of dilemma happens around us everyday.
In the office, community, in politics and especially in a democratic society, the minority is often sacrificed for the interest of the majority, no matter how foolish or ignorant the majority are, and how farsighted and knowledgeable the minority are. The child who chose not to play with the rest on the operational track was sidelined. And in the case he was sacrificed, no one would shed a tear for him.The great critic Leo Velski Julian who told the story said he would not try to
change the course of the train because he believed that the kids playing on the operational track should have known very well that track was still in use, and that they should have run away if they heard the train's sirens. If the train was diverted, that lone child would definitely die because he never thought the train could come over to that track! Moreover, that track was not in use probably because it was not safe. If the train was diverted to the track, we could put the
lives of all passengers on board at stake! And in your attempt to save a few kids by sacrificing one child, you might end up sacrificing hundreds of people to save these few kids.While we are all aware that life is full of tough decisions that need to be made, we may not realize that hasty decisions may not always be the right one.
"Remember that what's right isn't always popular... and what's popular isn't always right. "Everybody makes mistakes; that's why they put erasers on pencils.

AWESOME - Worth a Read ....

"The Relationship which needs effort to maintain will never be true & which is true will never need efforts to maintain"
An old man lived alone in Minnesota . He wanted to spade his potato garden, but it was very hard work. His only son, who would have helped him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and mentioned his situation:
Dear Son,
I am feeling pretty bad because it looks like I won't be able to plant my potato garden this year. I hate to miss doing the garden, because your mother always loved planting time. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. If you were here, all my troubles would be over. I know you would dig the plot for me, if you weren't in prison.................................
Love, Dad
Shortly, the old man received this telegram: 'For Heaven's sake, Dad, don't dig up the garden!! That's where I buried the GUNS!!'
At 4 a.m. the next morning, a dozen FBI agents and local police officers showed up and dug up the entire garden without finding any guns.
Confused, the old man wrote another note to his son telling him what happened, and asked him what to do next.
His son's reply was: 'Go ahead and plant your potatoes, Dad.......................... It's the best I could do for you from here..'


In the name of God who has not begotten,nor has begotten. The hermit Tanzan and a younger hermit were travelling, when they saw a beautiful young women unable to cross the river. Tanzan immediately offered and helped the woman by carrying her across the river. Tanzan and the young hermit continued on their journey, but after some time the young hermit could not stand it anymore. He said "as hermits we must abstain from desires of the flesh, yet you were so
physically close to that young woman. Why did you do that?"
Tanzan replied, "I already put her down at the river. Are you still carrying her?"


There was once this guy who is very much in love with his girl. Thisromantic guy folded 1,000 pieces of paper cranes as a gift to his girl.Although, at that time he was just a small fry in his company, his futuredidn't seem too bright, they were very happy together. Until one day, his girl told him she was going to Paris and will never come back. She also told him that she cannot visualize any future for the both of them, sothey went their own ways there and then... Heartbroken, the guy agreed. But when he regained his confidence, heworked hard day and night, slogging his body and mind just to makesomething out of himself.Finally with all the hard work and the help of friends, this guy had setup his own company..You never fail until you stop trying. One rainy day, while this guy wasdriving, he saw an elderly couple sharing an umbrella in the rain walkingto some destination.
Even with the umbrella, they were still drenched. Itdidn't take him long to realize they were his girl's parents.With a heart in getting back at them, he drove slowly beside the couple,wanting
them to spot him in his luxury sedan. He wanted them to know thathe wasn't the same any more; he had his own company, car, condo, etc. Hemade it! What he saw next confused him, the couple was walking towards a cemetery, and so he got out of his car and followed...and he saw his girl, a photograph of her smiling sweetly as ever at him from her tombstone and he saw his paper cranes right beside her...Her parents saw him. He asked them why this had happened. They explained,she did not leave for France at all. She was ill with cancer. She had believed that he will make it someday, but she did not want to be his obstacle... therefore she had chosen to leave him.Just because someone doesn't love you the way you wa nt them to, doesn'tmean
they don't love you with all they have. She had wanted her parents toput his paper cranes beside her, because, if the day comes when fatebrings him to her again...he can take some of thoseback with him...Once you have loved, you will always love. For what's in your mind mayescape
but what's in your heart will remain forever.
The guy just wept...The worst way to miss someone is to be sitting right beside her knowing you can't have her, see her or be with her everagain.........hope you understand.


A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. In the room of 200, he asked. "Who would like this $20 bill?"
Hands started going up. He said, "I am going to give this $20 to one of you - but first, let me do this."He proceeded to crumple the 20 dollar note up. He then asked. "Who still wants it?" Still the hands were up in the air."Well," he replied, "what if I do this?" He dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty.
"Now, who still wants it?"Still the hands went into the air."My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.
Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless; but no matter what happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value.Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who love you.

The worth of our lives comes, not in what we do or who we know, but by ...WHO WE ARE.You are special - don't ever forget it.
Author Unknown


Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One manwas allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to helpdrain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's onlywindow. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives andfamilies, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the militaryservice, where they had been on vacation.Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, hewould pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things hecould see outside the window.The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periodswhere his world would be broadenedand enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.Ducks and swans playedon the water while childrensailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidstflowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could beseen in the distance.As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, theman on the other side of theroom would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passingby. Although the other man couldn't hear the band -- he could see it.In his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it withdescriptive words.Days and weeks passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bringwater for their baths only to findthe lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully inhis sleep. She was saddened andcalled the hospital attendants to take the body away.As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could bemoved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, andafter making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take hisfirst look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn tolook out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall.The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceasedroommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see thewall.She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.
"Epilogue: There is tremendous happiness in making others happy,despite our own situations. Sharedgrief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have thatmoney can't buy.


Once upon a time there was a water-bearer in India who had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pot full of water in his master's house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water-bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you." "Why?" asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of ?" "I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work and you don't get full value from your efforts, " the pot said. The water-bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house." Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and warding.
You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.


One fine day, an old couple around the age of 70, walks into a lawyer's office.Apparently, they are there to file a divorce.Lawyer was very puzzled, after having a chat with them, he got their story....
This couple had been quarreling all their 40 over yrs of marriage nothing ever seems to go right.They hang on because of their children, afraid that it might affect their up-bringing. Now, all their children have already grown up, have their own family, there's nothing else the old couple have to worry about, all they wanted is to lead their own life free from all these years of unhappiness from their marriage, so both agree on a divorce....
Lawyer was having a hard time trying to get the papers done, because he felt that after 40 yrs of marriage at the age of 70, he couldn't understand why the old couple would still want a divorce..
While they were signing the papers, the wife told the husband..
"I really love u, but I really cant carry on anymore, I'm sorry.."
"Its o.k, I understand.." said the husband. Lookin at this, the lawyer suggested a dinner together, just 3 of them,wife thought, why not, since they are still gonna be friends..
At the dining table, there was a silence of awkardness.
The first dish was roasted chicken, immediately, the old man took the drumstick for the old lady.."take this, its your favourite.."
Looking at this, the lawyer thought maybe theres still a chance, but the wife was frowning when she answer..
"This is always the problem, you always think so highly of yourself, never thought about how I feel, don't you know that I hate drumsticks?"
Little did she know that, over the years, the husband have been trying all ways to please her, little did she know that drumsticks was the husband's favourite.
Little did he know that she never thought he understand her at all, little did he know that she hates drummsticks even though all he wants is the best for her.
That night, both of them couldn't sleep, toss and turn, toss and turn...after hours, the old man couldn't take it anymore, he knows that he still loves her, and he cant carry on life without her, he wants her back, he wants to tell her, he is sorry, he wanted to tell her "I love you"...
He picks up the phone, starting dialing her number....ringing never stops..he never stop dialing....On the other side, she was sad, she couldn't understand how come after all these years, he still doesn't understand her at all, she loves him a lot, but she just cant take it's ringing, she refuses to answer knowing that its him..."whats the point of talking now that its over...I have ask for it and now I wanna keep it this way, if not I will lose face..
"she thought...still ringing...she have decided to pull out the cord... Little did she remember, he have heart problems...
The next day, she received news that he had passed away...she rushed down to his apartment, saw his body, lying on the couch still holding on to the phone...he had a heart attack when he was still trying to get through her phone line....
As sad as she could be...she will have to clear his belongings...when she was looking thru the drawers, she saw this insurance policy, dated from the day they got married, with the beneficiary being her... And together in those file, there was this note...
"To my dearest wife, by the time you're reading this, I'm sure I'm no longer around, I bought this policy for you, though the amount is only $100k, I hope it will be able to help me continue my promise that I have made when we got married, I might not be around anymore, I want this amount of money to continue taking care of you, just like the way I will if I could have live longer. I want you to know I will always be around, by your side... I love you"
Tears flowed like river......
"When you love someone, let them know... You never know what will happen the
next minute.... Learn to build a life together.. Learn to love each other. For who
they are.. Not what they are..."

Thursday, April 23, 2009


A back country family is visiting a big city for the firsttime. The mother and daughter are in the hotel lobby when theyspot an elevator."What's that, Maw?" the girl asked."I ain't never did see nothin' like that in my life," repliedthe mother.Seconds later an old frail man walks in the hotel door andhobbles to the elevator. He presses the button with his cane,waits for the doors to open, and gets in.The mother and daughter, still amazed by this contraption,continue to watch.They hear a ping noise and the doors open again. Out steps aspry and handsome 20-year-old muscular young man.The mother looks at her daughter and says, "Go get your Paw!"

The Sandcastle

A little boy is on his knees scooping and packing the sand with plastic shovels into a bright blue bucket. Then he upends the bucket on the surface and lifts it. And, to the delight of the little architect, a castle tower is created. All afternoon he will work. Spooning out the moat. Packing the walls. Bottle tops will be sentries. Popsicle sticks will be bridges. A sandcastle will be built.
Big city. Busy streets. Rumbling traffic. A man is in his office. At his desk he shuffles papers into stacks and delegates assignments. He cradles the phone on his shoulder and punches the keyboard with his fingers. Numbers are juggled and contracts are signed and much to the
delight of the man, a profit is made. All his life he will work. Formulating the plans. Forecasting the future. Annuities will be sentries. Capital gains will be bridges. An empire will be built. Two builders of two castles. They have much in common. They shape granules into grandeurs. They see nothing and make something. They are diligent and determined. And for both the tide will rise and the end will come. Yet that is where the similarities cease. For the boy sees the end while the man ignores it. Watch the boy as the dusk approaches. As the waves near, the wise child jumps to his feet and begins to clap. There is no sorrow. No fear. No regret. He knew this would happen. He is not surprised. And when the great breaker crashes into his castle and his masterpiece is sucked into the sea, he smiles. He smiles, picks up his tools, takes his father's hand, and goes home.
The grownup, however, is not so wise. As the wave of years collapses on his castle he is terrified. He hovers over the sandy monument to protect it. He blocks the waves from the walls he has made. Salt-water soaked and shivering he snarls at the incoming tide.
"It's my castle," he defies.
The ocean need not respond. Both know to whom the sand belongs...
I don't know much about sandcastles. But children do. Watch them and learn.
Go ahead and build, but build with a child's heart. When the sun sets and the tides
take - applaud. Salute the process of life and go home.

The Cart Horse & The Donkey

Once upon a time there were two cart-horses. They worked together for many
years, pulling the cart of a peasant. Over the years, they often argued with each
other, complaining that the other was not keeping to its side, or was going just a
little too quickly or just a little too slow.
One day, one of the two horses suddenly died.The remaining horse was very
upset about this.It realized that in all the time that they had worked together, it
had not once told the other horse how much it valued its company and its faithful
help in pulling the cart. Now the chance was gone forever.
The horse also reflected on all the squabbles they had had. It suddenly
understood that it need not have taken offence as easily as it had done, that it
need not have borne as many grudges, that it could have been less arrogant, in
short, it realized that it had wasted all the energy that had been available for
friendship and kindness on unworthy and unnecessary thoughts and emotions.
The horse was ashamed and resolved to lead a different life in future. Whoever
its new partner was going to be, things were going to be different.But time
passed, and the horse forgot. One day, it caught itself in exactly the same kind
of behavior that it had sworn never to engage in again.
The horse could not understand why it had returned to its old ways.That
evening, in the stable, the horse decided to seek out the peasant's donkey,
which had a reputation for wisdom among the animals.The donkey listened to the
horse's story.
Eventually, it replied. "It is good that you have noticed what has happened. If
you truly want to change, this is possible; but it will, for a long time, cost you
your peace of mind. Are you prepared to accept this?" The horse replied that it
definitely did not want to return to its old ways. Anything was better than
So the donkey continued, "There is one very simple, and at the same time
very hard thing that you have to do. Remember every day that one day, perhaps
today, perhaps many years from now, you will die. Remember every day that the
horse next to you will die. Remember every day that every other creature you will
see, will one day die. Remember that all animals alive today are part of a wave,
which will soon break and be lost on the beach forever, to be followed by a new
wave, and another, and another. No wave is permanent. The only thing that is
permanent is the ocean."
There were tears in the horse's eyes.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Old Tree

The Old Tree
Once upon a time there was a leafy tree in a field. Leaves grew densely on the
tall branches. The roots were deeply into the ground. The tree was the most
remarkable among the rest.The tree then became the home for some birds. They built their nests and they
lived on his branches. The birds made holes on him, and they hatched their eggs
within the greatness of the tree. The tree felt so delighted because he was
accompanied as he walked through his long lasting days.
People were grateful for the presence of the tree. They often came over and
sheltered under him. Under his branches, they sat down and opened their picnic
baskets. "This tree is very useful," that's what the people said everytime they
went home from shelter. The tree was very proud hearing those compliments.
However, time went on. The tree was beginning to be sick. His leaves and twigs
were falling, then his body became thin and pale. The greatness he used to have
was fading away. Birds felt reluctant to build their nests there. No one would
come to sit under the tree to shelter anymore.The tree wept, "Oh God, why is it so hard for me? I need friends. Now no one
would come close to me. Why do you take all the glory I used to have?" The tree
cried loudly, so it echoed throughout the forest. "Why wouldn't you cut me down,
so I don't have to bear this suffering?" The tree kept on crying, and his tears
were running down his dry body.
Seasons came and went, but his condition had not changed. The tree was still
feeling lonely. His branches became drier and drier. Every night the tree wept and
cried, until the morning broke."Cheep...chirp....cheep" Ah, what was that noise? Oh, it's a little baby bird who
has just pipped from the egg. The old tree woke up from his daydream.
"Cheep...chirp...cheep", the noise became louder and louder. There was another
baby bird. Not long after that, the tree became noisy because of the birth of new
baby birds. One...two...three...and four baby birds have been born to this world.
"Ah, He has answered my prayers," exclaimed the old tree.
The day after, there were many birds flying to the old tree. They were going to
build new nests. The dry branches have turned out to attract their attention to
nest there. The birds felt warmer to stay inside the dry branches instead of their
place before. The number of birds was increasing and there were more kinds of
them. "Wow, now my days are brighter with their presence here", murmured the
old tree gladly.
The old tree was back to cheer again. And when he looked down, his heart was
flowing with joy. There was a new little tree growing near his roots. The new tree
seemed to smile at him. The tears of the old tree has grown a little tree who
would continue his devotion to nature.
Dear friends, that's the way it is. Is there any lesson that we could take from the
story? God always has secret plans for us. The Almighty God will always gives answers
to our questions. Even though it is not always easy to guess what the resolution
is, be certain that the Omniscient God knows what's best for us.
When there are times He sends temptation for us, in other times He gives us His
overflowing blessings. The test He gives us isn't something that can't be
overcome. When God gave the temptation to the old tree, actually He DELAYED
in giving His glory. God didn't choose to cut the old tree down since He kept some
secrets. God was testing his patience.
So, dear friends, be sure, whatever temptation we are facing is a part of the
chain of glory He is preparing for us. Don't give up, and don't be discouraged. God
is always there beside patient people.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


1. Why do we light a lamp?
In almost every Indian home a lamp is lit daily before the altar of the Lord. Insome houses it is lit at dawn, in some, twice a day – at dawn and dusk – and in a few it ismaintained continuously (Akhanda Deepa). All auspicious functions commence with thelighting of the lamp, which is often maintained right through the occasion.Light symbolizes knowledge, and darkness, ignorance. The Lord is the"Knowledge Principle" (Chaitanya) who is the source, the enlivener and the illuminatorof all knowledge. Hence light is worshiped as the Lord himself.Knowledge removes ignorance just as light removes darkness. Also knowledge isa lasting inner wealth by which all outer achievement can be accomplished. Hence welight the lamp to bow down to knowledge as the greatest of all forms of wealth.Why not light a bulb or tube light? That too would remove darkness. But thetraditional oil lamp has a further spiritual significance. The oil or ghee in the lampsymbolizes our vaasanas or negative tendencies and the wick, the ego. When lit byspiritual knowledge, the vaasanas get slowly exhausted and the ego too finally perishes.The flame of a lamp always burns upwards. Similarly we should acquire such knowledgeas to take us towards higher ideals.Whilst lighting the lamp we thus pray:Deepajyothi parabrahmaDeepa sarva tamopahahaDeepena saadhyate saramSandhyaa deepo namostuteI prostrate to the dawn/dusk lamp; whose light is the Knowledge Principle (theSupreme Lord), which removes the darkness of ignorance and by which all can beachieved in life.

2. Why do we have a prayer room?
Most Indian homes have a prayer room or altar. A lamp is lit and the Lordworshipped each day. Other spiritual practices like japa (repetition of the Lord’s name),meditation, paaraayana (reading of the scriptures), prayers, and devotional singing etc isalso done here. Special worship is done on auspicious occasions like birthdays,anniversaries, festivals and the like. Each member of the family - young or old -communes with and worships the Divine here.The Lord is the entire creation. He is therefore the true owner of the house we livein too. The prayer room is the Master room of the house. We are the earthly occupants ofHis property. This notion rids us of false pride and possessiveness.The ideal attitude to take is to regard the Lord as the true owner of our homes andus as caretakers of His home. But if that is rather difficult, we could at least think of Himas a very welcome guest. Just as we would house an important guest in the best comfort,so too we felicitate the Lord’s presence in our homes by having a prayer room or altar,which is, at all times, kept clean and well-decorated.Also the Lord is all pervading. To remind us that He resides in our homes with us,we have prayer rooms. Without the grace of the Lord, no task can be successfully oreasily accomplished. We invoke His grace by communing with Him in the prayer roomeach day and on special occasions.Each room in a house is dedicated to a specific function like the bedroom forresting, the drawing room to receive guests, the kitchen for cooking etc. The furniture,decor and the atmosphere of each room are made conducive to the purpose it serves. Sotoo for the purpose of meditation, worship and prayer, we should have a conduciveatmosphere - hence the need for a prayer room.Sacred thoughts and sound vibrations pervade the place and influence the mindsof those who spend time there. Spiritual thoughts and vibrations accumulated throughregular meditation, worship and chanting done there pervade the prayer room. Even whenwe are tired or agitated, by just sitting in the prayer room for a while, we feel calm,rejuvenated and spiritually uplifted.

3. Why do we do Namaste?
Indians greet each other with namaste. The two palms are placed together in frontof the chest and the head bows whilst saying the word namaste. This greeting is for all -people younger than us, of our own age, those older than friends, even strangers and us.There are five forms of formal traditional greeting enjoined in the shaastras ofwhich namaskaram is one. This is understood as prostration but it actually refers topaying homage as we do today when we greet each other with a namaste.Namaste could be just a casual or formal greeting, a cultural convention or an actof worship. However there is much more to it than meets the eye. In Sanskrit namah + te= namaste. It means - I bow to you - my greetings, salutations or prostration to you.Namaha can also be literally interpreted as "na ma" (not mine). It has a spiritualsignificance of negating or reducing one’s ego in the presence of another.The real meeting between people is the meeting of their minds. When we greetanother, we do so with namaste, which means, "may our minds meet," indicated by thefolded palms placed before the chest. The bowing down of the head is a gracious form ofextending friendship in love and humility.The spiritual meaning is even deeper. The life force, the divinity, the Self or theLord in me is the same in all. Recognizing this oneness with the meeting of the palms, wesalute with head bowed the Divinity in the person we meet. That is why sometimes, weclose our eyes as we do namaste to a revered person or the Lord – as if to look within.The gesture is often accompanied by words like "Ram Ram", "Jai Shri Krishna", "NamoNarayana", "Jai Siya Ram", "Om Shanti" etc - indicating the recognition of this divinity.When we know this significance, our greeting does not remain just a superficialgesture or word but paves the way for a deeper communion with another in anatmosphere of love and respect.

4. Why do we prostrate before parents and elders?
Indians prostrate before their parents, elders, teachers and noble souls by touchingtheir feet. The elder in turn blesses us by placing his or her hand on or over our heads.Prostration is done daily, when we meet elders and particularly on important occasionslike the beginning of a new task, birthdays, festivals etc. In certain traditional circles,prostration is accompanied by abhivaadana, which serves to introduce one-self,announce one’s family and social stature.Man stands on his feet. Touching the feet in prostration is a sign of respect for theage, maturity, nobility and divinity that our elders personify. It symbolizes ourrecognition of their selfless love for us and the sacrifices they have done for our welfare.It is a way of humbly acknowledging the greatness of another. This tradition reflects thestrong family ties, which has been one of India’s enduring strengths.The good wishes (Sankalpa) and blessings (aashirvaada) of elders are highlyvalued in India. We prostrate to seek them. Good thoughts create positive vibrations.Good wishes springing from a heart full of love, divinity and nobility have a tremendousstrength. When we prostrate with humility and respect, we invoke the good wishes andblessings of elders, which flow in the form of positive energy to envelop us. This is whythe posture assumed whether it is in the standing or prone position, enables the entirebody to receive the energy thus received.The different forms of showing respect are :Pratuthana - rising to welcome a person.Namaskaara - paying homage in the form of namasteUpasangrahan - touching the feet of elders or teachers.Shaashtaanga - prostrating fully with the feet, knees, stomach, chest, forehead and armstouching the ground in front of the elder.Pratyabivaadana - returning a greeting.Rules are prescribed in our scriptures as to who should prostrate to whom.Wealth, family name, age, moral strength and spiritual knowledge in ascending order ofimportance qualified men to receive respect. This is why a king though the ruler of theland, would prostrate before a spiritual master. Epics like the Ramayana andMahabharata have many stories highlighting this aspect.

5. Why do we wear marks (tilak, pottu and the like) on the forehead?
The tilak or pottu invokes a feeling of sanctity in the wearer and others. It isrecognized as a religious mark. Its form and colour vary according to one’s caste,religious sect or the form of the Lord worshipped.In earlier times, the four castes (based on varna or colour) - Brahmana, Kshatriya,Vaishya and Sudra - applied marks differently. The brahmin applied a white chandanmark signifying purity, as his profession was of a priestly or academic nature. Thekshatriya applied a red kumkum mark signifying valour as he belonged to warrior races.The vaishya wore a yellow kesar or turmeric mark signifying prosperity as he was abusinessman or trader devoted to creation of wealth. The sudra applied a black bhasma,kasturi or charcoal mark signifying service as he supported the work of the other threedivisions.Also Vishnu worshippers apply a chandan tilak of the shape of "U", Shivaworshippers a tripundra of bhasma, Devi worshippers a red dot of kumkum and so on).The tilak cover the spot between the eyebrows, which is the seat of memory andthinking. It is known as the Aajna Chakra in the language of Yoga. The tilak is appliedwith the prayer - "May I remember the Lord. May this pious feeling pervade all myactivities. May I be righteous in my deeds." Even when we temporarily forget thisprayerful attitude the mark on another reminds us of our resolve. The tilak is thus ablessing of the Lord and a protection against wrong tendencies and forces.The entire body emanates energy in the form of electromagnetic waves - theforehead and the subtle spot between the eyebrows especially so. That is why worrygenerates heat and causes a headache. The tilak and pottu cools the forehead, protects usand prevents energy loss. Sometimes the entire forehead is covered with chandan orbhasma. Using plastic reusable "stick bindis" is not very beneficial, even though it servesthe purpose of decoration.

6. Why do we not touch papers, books and people with the feet?
To Indians, knowledge is sacred and divine. So it must be given respect at alltimes. Nowadays we separate subjects as sacred and secular. But in ancient India everysubject - academic or spiritual - was considered divine and taught by the guru in thegurukula.The custom of not stepping on educational tools is a frequent reminder of the highposition accorded to knowledge in Indian culture. From an early age, this wisdom fostersin us a deep reverence for books and education. This is also the reason why we worshipbooks, vehicles and instruments once a year on Saraswathi Pooja or Ayudha Pooja day,dedicated to the Goddess of Learning. In fact, each day before starting our studies, wepray:Saraswati namasthubhyamVarade kaama roopiniVidyaarambham karishyaamiSidhirbhavatu me sadaaO Goddess Saraswati, the giver ofBoons and fulfiller of wishes,I prostrate to You beforestarting my studies.May you always fulfill me?

7. To touch another with the feet is considered an act of misdemeanor. Why is thisso?
Man is regarded as the most beautiful, living breathing temple of the Lord!Therefore touching another with the feet is akin to disrespecting the divinity within himor her. This calls for an immediate apology, which is offered with reverence andhumility.

8. Why do we apply the holy ash?
The ash of any burnt object is not regarded as holy ash. Bhasma (the holy ash) isthe ash from the homa (sacrificial fire) where special wood along with ghee and otherherbs is offered as worship of the Lord. Or the deity is worshipped by pouring ash asabhisheka and is then distributed as bhasma.Bhasma is generally applied on the forehead. Some apply it on certain parts of thebody like the upper arms, chest etc. Some ascetics rub it all over the body. Manyconsume a pinch of it each time they receive it.The word bhasma means, "that by which our sins are destroyed and the Lord isremembered". Bha implied bhartsanam ("to destroy") and sma implies smaranam ("toremember"). The application of bhasma therefore signifies destruction of the evil andremembrance of the divine. Bhasma is called vibhuti (which means "glory") as it givesglory to one who applies it and raksha (which means a source of protection) as it protectsthe wearer from ill health and evil, by purifying him or her.Homa (offering of oblations into the fire with sacred chants) signifies the offeringor surrender of the ego and egocentric desires into the flame of knowledge or a noble andselfless cause. The consequent ash signifies the purity of the mind, which results fromsuch actions.Also the fire of knowledge burns the oblation and wood signifying ignorance andinertia respectively. The ash we apply indicates that we should burn false identificationwith the body and become free of the limitations of birth and death. This is not to bemisconstrued as a morose reminder of death but as a powerful pointer towards the factthat time and tide wait for none.Bhasma is specially associated with Lord Shiva who applies it all over His body.Shiva devotes apply bhasma as a tripundra. When applied with a red spot at the center,the mark symbolizes Shiva-Shakti (the unity of energy and matter that creates the entireseen and unseen universe).Bhasma has medicinal value and is used in many ayurvedic medicines. It absorbsexcess moisture from the body and prevents colds and headaches. The Upanishads saythat the famous Mrityunjaya mantra should be chanted whilst applying ash on theforehead.Tryambakam yajaamaheSugandhim pushtivardhanamUrvaa rukamiva bhandhanaanMrytyor muksheeyamaa amrutaat"We worship the three-eyed Lord Shiva who nourishes and spread fragrance inour lives. May He free us from the shackles of sorrow, change and death – effortlessly,like the fall of a rip brinjal from its stem."

9. Why do offer food to the Lord before eating it?
Indians make an offering of food to the Lord and later partake of it as prasaada -a holy gift from the Lord. In our daily ritualistic worship (pooja) too we offer naivedyam(food) to the Lord.The Lord is omnipotent and omniscient. Man is a part, while the Lord is thetotality. All that we do is by His strength and knowledge alone. Hence what we receive inlife as a result of our actions is really His alone. We acknowledge this through the act ofoffering food to Him. This is exemplified by the Hindi words "tera tujko arpan"– I offerwhat is Yours to You. Thereafter it is akin to His gift to us, graced by His divine touch.Knowing this, our entire attitude to food and the act of eating changes. The foodoffered will naturally be pure and the best. We share what we get with others beforeconsuming it. We do not demand, complain or criticise the quality of the food we get. Weeat it with cheerful acceptance (prasaada buddhi).Before we partake of our daily meals we first sprinkle water around the plate asan act of purification. Five morsels of food are placed on the side of the plateacknowledging the debt owed by us to the Divine forces (devta runa) for their benigngrace and protection, our ancestors (pitru runa) for giving us their lineage and a familyculture, the sages (rishi runa) as our religion and culture have been "realised", aintainedand handed down to us by them, our fellow beings (manushya runa) who constitutesociety without the support of which we could not live as we do and other living beings(bhuta runa) for serving us selflessly.Thereafter the Lord, the life force, who is also within us as the five life-givingphysiological functions, is offered the food. This is done with the chantpraanaaya swaahaa,apaanaaya swaahaa,vyaanaaya swaahaa,udaanaaya swaahaa,samaanaaya swaahaa,brahmane swaahaaAfter offering the food thus, it is eaten as prasaada - blessed food.

10. Why do we fast?
Most devout Indians fast regularly or on special occasions like festivals. On suchdays they do not eat at all, eat once or make do with fruits or a special diet of simplefood.Fasting in Sanskrit is called upavaasa. Upa means "near" + vaasa means "tostay". Upavaasa therefore means staying near (the Lord), meaning the attainment of closemental proximity with the Lord. Then what has upavaasa to do with food?A lot of our time and energy is spent in procuring food items, preparing, cooking,eating and digesting food. Certain food types make our minds dull and agitated. Hence oncertain days man decides to save time and conserve his energy by eating either simple,light food or totally abstaining from eating so that his mind becomes alert and pure. Themind, otherwise pre-occupied by the thought of food, now entertains noble thoughts andstays with the Lord. Since it is a self-imposed form of discipline it is usually adhered towith joy.Also every system needs a break and an overhaul to work at its best. Rest and achange of diet during fasting is very good for the digestive system and the entire body.The more you indulge the senses, the more they make their demands. Fastinghelps us to cultivate control over our senses, sublimate our desires and guide our minds tobe poised and at peace.Fasting should not make us weak, irritable or create an urge to indulge later. Thishappens when there is no noble goal behind fasting.The Bhagavad-Gita urges us to eat appropriately - neither too less nor too much -yukta-aahaara and to eat simple, pure and healthy food (a saatvik diet) even when notfasting.

11. Why do we do pradakshina (circumambulate)?
We cannot draw a circle without a center point. The Lord is the center, source andessence of our lives. Recognizing Him as the focal point in our lives, we go about doingour daily chores. This is the significance of pradakshina.Also every point on the circumference of a circle is equidistant from the center.This means that wherever or whoever we may be, we are equally close to the Lord. Hisgrace flows towards us without partiality.

12. Why is pradakshina done only in a clockwise manner?
The reason is not, as a person said, to avoid a traffic jam! As we do pradakshina,the Lord is always on our right. In India the right side symbolizes auspiciousness. So aswe circumambulate the sanctum sanctorum we remind ourselves to lead an auspiciouslife of righteousness, with the Lord who is the indispensable source of help and strength,as our guide - the "right hand".Indian scriptures enjoin - matrudevo bhava, pitrudevo bhava, acharyadevobhava. May you consider your parents and teachers as you would the Lord. With this inmind we also do pradakshina around our parents and divine personages.After the completion of traditional worship (pooja), we customarily dopradakshina around ourselves. In this way we recognize and remember the supremedivinity within us, which alone is idolized in the form of the Lord that we worshipoutside.

13. Why do we regard trees and plants as sacred?
The Lord, the life in us, pervades all living beings, be they plants or animals.Hence, they are all regarded as sacred. Human life on earth depends on plants and trees.They give us the vital factors that make life possible on earth: food, oxygen, clothing,shelter, medicines etc.Hence, in India, we are taught to regard trees and plants as sacred. Indiansscriptures tell us to plant ten trees if, for any reason, we have to cut one. We are advisedto use parts of trees and plants only as much as is needed for food, fuel, shelter etc. weare also urged to apologies to a plant or tree before cutting it to avoid incurring a specificsin named soona.Certain trees and plants like tulasi, peepal etc., which have tremendous beneficialqualities, are worshipped till today. It is believed that divine beings manifest as trees andplants, and many people worship them to fulfill their desires or to please the Lord.

14. Why do we ring the bell in a temple?
Is it to wake up the Lord? But the Lord never sleeps. Is it to let the Lord know wehave come? He does not need to be told, as He is all knowing. Is it a form of seekingpermission to enter His precinct? It is a homecoming and therefore entry needs nopermission. The Lord welcomes us at all times. Then why do we ring the bell?The ringing of the bell produces what is regarded as an auspicious sound. Itproduces the sound Om, the universal name of the Lord. There should be auspiciousnesswithin and without, to gain the vision of the Lord who is all-auspiciousness.Even while doing the ritualistic aarati, we ring the bell. It is sometimesaccompanied by the auspicious sounds of the conch and other musical instruments. Anadded significance of ringing the bell, conch and other instruments is that they helpdrowned any inauspicious or irrelevant noises and comments that might disturb ordistract the worshippers in their devotional ardour, concentration and inner peace.As we start the daily ritualistic worship (pooja) we ring the bell, chanting:Aagamaarthamtu devaanaamgamanaarthamtu rakshasaamKurve ghantaaravam tatradevataahvaahna lakshanamI ring this bell indicatingthe invocation of divinity,So that virtuous and noble forcesenter (my home and heart);and the demonic and evil forcesfrom within and without, depart.Page 13

15. Why do we worship the kalasha?First of all what is a kalasha?
A brass, mud or copper pot is filled with water.Mango leaves are placed in the mouth of the pot and a coconut is placed over it. A red orwhite thread is tied around its neck or sometimes all around it in a intricate diamond-shaped pattern. The pot may be decorated wit designs. Such a pot is known as a kalasha.When the pot is filled with water or rice, it is known as purnakumbharepresenting the inert body which when filled with the divine life force gains the power todoallthewonderfulthingsthatmakeslifewhatitis.A kalasha is placed with due rituals on all-important occasions like the traditionalhouse warming (grihapravesa), wedding, daily worship etc. It is placed near the entranceas a sign of welcome. It is also used in a traditional manner while receiving holypersonages. Why do we worship the kalasha? Before the creation came into being, LordVishnu was reclining on His snake-bed in the milky ocean. From His navel emerged alotus from which appeared Lord Brahma, the creator, who thereafter created this world.The water in the kalasha symbolizes the primordial water from which the entirecreation emerged. It is the giver of life to all and has the potential of creating innumerablenames and forms, the inert objects and the sentient beings and all that is auspicious in theworld from the energy behind the universe. The leaves and coconut represent creation.The thread represents the love that "binds" all in creation. The kalasha istherefore considered auspicious and worshipped. The waters from all the holy rivers, theknowledge of all the Vedas and the blessings of all the deities are invoked in the kalashaand its water is thereafter used for all the rituals, including the abhisheka.The consecration (kumbhaabhisheka) of a temple is done in a grand manner withelaborate rituals including the pouring of one or more kalashas of holy water on the topof the temple. When the asuras and devas churned the milky ocean, the Lord appearedbearing the pot of nectar, which blessed one with everlasting life.Thus the kalasha also symbolizes immortality. Men of wisdom are full andcomplete as they identify with the infinite Truth (poornatvam). They brim with joy andlove and respect all that is auspicious. We greet them with a purnakumbha ("full pot")acknowledging their greatness and as a sign of respectful and reverential welcome, with a"full heart".

16. Why do we consider the lotus as special?
The lotus is the symbol of truth, auspiciousness and beauty (satyam, shivam,sundaram). The Lord is also that nature and therefore, His various aspects are comparedto a lotus (i.e. lotus-eyes, lotus feet, lotus hands, the lotus of the heart etc.).The lotus blooms with the rising sun and close at night. Similarly, our minds openup and expand with the light of knowledge. The lotus grows even in slushy areas. Itremains beautiful and untainted despite its surroundings, reminding us that we too canand should strive to remain pure and beautiful within, under all circumstances.The lotus leaf never gets wet even though it is always in water. It symbolizes theman of wisdom (gyaani) who remains ever joyous, unaffected by the world of sorrowand change. This is revealed in a shloka from the Bhagwad-Geeta:Brahmanyaadhaaya karmaaniSangam tyaktvaa karoti yahaLipyate na sa paapenaPadma patram ivaambhasaaHe who does actions, offering them to Brahman (the Supreme), abandoningattachment, is not tainted by sin, just as a lotus leaf remains unaffected by the water on it.From this, we learn that what is natural to the man of wisdom becomes adiscipline to be practiced by all saadhakas or spiritual seekers and devotees. Our bodieshave certain energy centers described in the Yoga Shaastras as chakras.Each one is associated with lotus that has a certain number of petals. For example,a lotus with a thousand petals represents the Sahasra chakra at the top of the head, whichopens when the yogi attains Godhood or Realisation. Also, the lotus posture(padmaasana) is recommended when one sits for meditation. A lotus emerged from thenavel of Lord Vishnu. Lord Brahma originated from it to create the world. Hence, thelotus symbolizes the link between the creator and the supreme Cause.It also symbolizes Brahmaloka, the abode of Lord Brahma. The auspicious sign ofthe swastika is said to have evolved from the lotus.

17. Why do we worship tulasi?
In Sanskrit, tulanaa naasti athaiva tulasi - that which is incomparable (in itsqualities) is the tulasi.For Indians it is one of the most sacred plants. In fact it is known to be the onlything used in worship, which, once used, can be washed and reused in pooja - as it isregarded so self-purifying.As one story goes, Tulasi was the devoted wife of Shankhachuda, a celestialbeing. She believed that Lord Krishna tricked her into sinning. So she cursed Him tobecome a stone (shaaligraama). Seeing her devotion and adhered to righteousness, theLord blessed her saying that she would become the worshipped plant, tulasi that wouldadorn His head.Also that all offerings would be incomplete without the tulasi leaf - hence theworship of tulasi.She also symbolises Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu. Those whowish to be righteous and have a happy family life worship the tulasi.Tulasi is married to the Lord with all pomp and show as in any wedding.This is because according to another legend, the Lord blessed her to be Hisconsort. Satyabhama once weighed Lord Krishna against all her legendary wealth. Thescales did not balance till a single tulasi leaf was placed along with the wealth on thescale by Rukmini with devotion.Thus the tulasi played the vital role of demonstrating to the world that even asmall object offered with devotion means more to the Lord than all the wealth in theworld.The tulasi leaf has great medicinal value and is used to cure various ailments,including the common cold.Yanmule sarvatirhaaniYannagre sarvadevataaYanmadhye sarvavedaaschaTulasi taam namaamyahamI bow down to the tulasi, At whose base are all the holy places, At whose topreside all the deities and In whose middle are all the Vedas.

18. Why do we blow the conch?
When the conch is blown, the primordial sound of Om emanates. Om is anauspicious sound that was chanted by the Lord before creating the world. It represents theworld and the Truth behind it.As the story goes, the demon Shankhaasura defeated devas, the Vedas and went tothe bottom of the ocean. The devas appealed to Lord Vishnu for help. He incarnated asMatsya Avataara - the "fish incarnation" and killed Shankhaasura. The Lord blew theconch-shaped bone of his ear and head. The Om sound emanated, from which emergedthe Vedas.All knowledge enshrined in the Vedas is an elaboration of Om. The conchtherefore is known as shankha after Shankaasua. The conch blown by the Lord is calledPaanchajanya. He carries it at all times in one of His four hands.It represents dharma or righteousness that is one of the four goals (purushaarthas)of life. The sound of the conch is thus also the victory call of good over evil.Another well-known purpose of blowing the conch and the instruments, knowntraditionally to produce auspicious sounds is to drown or mask negative comments ornoises that may disturb or upset the atmosphere or the minds of worshippers.Ancient India lived in her villages. Each village was presided over by a primarytemple and several small ones. During the aarati performed after all-important poojasand on sacred occasions, the conch used to be blown. Since villages were generally small,the sound of the conch would be heard all over the village. People who could not make itto the temple were reminded to stop whatever they were doing, at least for a few seconds,and mentally bow to the Lord. The conch sound served to briefly elevate people'smindsto a prayerful attitude even in the middle of their busy daily routine.The conch is placed at the altar in temples and homes next to the Lord as asymbol of Naada Brahma (Truth), the Vedas, Om, dharma, victory and auspiciousness.It is often used to offer devotees thirtha (sanctified water) to raise their minds to thehighest Truth. It is worshipped with the following verse.Twam puraa saagarot pannahaVishnunaa vidhrutahakareDevaischa poojitha sarvahiPanchjanya namostu teSalutations to Panchajanyathe conch born of the oceanHeld in the hand of Lord Vishnuand worshipped by all devaas

19. Why do we say shaanti thrice?
Shaanti, meaning "peace", is a natural state of being. Disturbances are createdeither by others or us. For example, peace already exists in a place until someone makesnoise.Therefore, peace underlies all our agitations. When agitations end, peace isnaturally experienced since it was already there. Where there is peace, there is happiness.Therefore, every one without exception desires peace in his/her life.However, peace within or without seems very hard to attain because it is coveredby our own agitations. A rare few manage to remain peaceful within even in the midst ofexternal agitation and troubles. To invoke peace, we chant prayers. By chanting prayers,troubles end and peace is experienced internally, irrespective of the external disturbances.All such prayers end by chanting shaanti thrice.It is believed that trivaram satyam - that which is said thrice comes true. Foremphasizing a point we repeat a thing thrice. In the court of law also, one who takes thewitness stands says, "I shall speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth".We chant shaanti thrice to emphasise our intense desire for peace. All obstacles,problems and sorrows originate from three sources.Aadhidaivika : The unseen divine forces over which we have little or no controllike earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions etc.Aadhibhautika: The known factors around us like accidents, human contacts,pollution, crime etc.Aadhyaatmika : We sincerely pray to the Lord that at least while we undertakespecial tasks or even in our daily lives, there are no problems or that, problems areminimised from the three sources written about above.May peace alone prevail. Hence shaanti is chanted thrice.It is chanted aloud the first time, addressing the unseen forces. It is chanted softerthe second time, directed to our immediate surroundings and those around, and softest thelast time as it is addressed to oneself.

20. Why do we offer a coconut?
In India one of the most common offerings in a temple is a coconut. It is alsooffered on occasions like weddings, festivals, the use of a new vehicle, bridge, house etc.It is offered in the sacrificial fire whilst performing homa. The coconut is broken andplaced before the Lord. It is later distributed as prasaada.The fibre covering of the dried coconut is removed except for a tuft on the top.The marks on the coconut make it look like the head of a human being. The coconut isbroken, symbolising the breaking of the ego. The juice within, representing the innertendencies (vaasanas) is offered along with the white kernel - the mind, to the Lord.A mind thus purified by the touch of the Lord is used as prasaada ( a holy gift).In the traditional abhishekha ritual done in all temples and many homes, several materialsare poured over the deity like milk, curd, honey, tender coconut water, sandal paste, holyash etc. Each material has a specific significance of bestowing certain benefits onworshippers. Tender coconut water is used in abhisheka rituals since it is believed tobestow spiritual growth on the seeker.The coconut also symbolises selfless service. Every part of the tree -the trunk,leaves, fruit, coir etc. Is used in innumerable ways like thatches, mats, tasty dishes, oil,soap etc. It takes in even salty water from the earth and converts it into sweet nutritivewater that is especially beneficial to sick people. It is used in the preparation of manyayurvedic medicines and in other alternative medicinal systems.The marks on the coconut are even thought to represent the three-eyed Lord Shivaand therefore it is considered to be a means to fulfill our desires.

21. Why do we chant Om?
Om is one of the most chanted sound symbols in India. It has a profound effect onthe body and mind of the one who chants and also on the surroundings. Most mantras andvedic prayers start with Om.All auspicious actions begin with Om. It is even used as a greeting - Om, Hari Ometc. It is repeated as a mantra or meditated upon. Its form is worshipped, contemplatedupon or used as an auspicious sign.Om is the universal name of the Lord. It is made up of the letters A (phoneticallyas in "around"), U (phonetically as in "put") and M (phonetically as in "mum"). Thesound emerging from the vocal chords starts from the base of the throat as "A". With thecoming together of the lips, "U" is formed and when the lips are closed, all sounds end in"M".The three letters symbolize the three states (waking, dream and deep sleep), thethree deities (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva), the three Vedas (Rig, Yajur and Sama) thethree worlds (Bhuh, Bhuvah, Suvah) etc. The Lord is all these and beyond.The formless, attributeless Lord (Brahman) is represented by the silence betweentwo Om Chants. Om is also called pranava that means, "that (symbol or sound) by whichthe Lord is praised". The entire essence of the Vedas is enshrined in the word Om. It issaid that the Lord started creating the world after chanting Om and atha. Hence its soundis considered to create an auspicious beginning for any task that we undertake. The Omchant should have the resounding sound of a bell (aaooommm).Om is written in different ways in different places. The most common formsymbolizes Lord Ganesha’s. The upper curve is the head; the lower large one, thestomach; the side one, the trunk; and the semi-circular mark with the dot, the sweetmeatball (modaka) in Lord Ganesha'shand. Thus Om symbolizes everything - the means andthe goal of life, the world and the Truth behind it, the material and the Sacred, all formand the Formless.22. Why do we do aarati?Towards the end of every ritualistic worship (pooja or bhajan) of the Lord or towelcome an honored guest or saint, we perform the aarati. This is always accompanied bythe ringing of the bell and sometimes by singing, playing of musical instruments andclapping.It is one of the sixteen steps (shodasha upachaara) of the pooja ritual. It isreferred to as the lighted lamp in the right hand, which we wave in a clockwise circlingmovement to light the entire form of the Lord.Each part is revealed individually and also the entire form of the Lord. As thelight is waved we either do mental or loud chanting of prayers or simply behold thebeautiful form of the Lord, illumined by the lamp. At the end of the aarati we place ourhands over the flame and then gently touch our eyes and the top of the head.We have seen and participated in this ritual from our childhood. Let us find outwhy we do the aarati?Having worshipped the Lord of love - performing abhisheka, decorating theimage and offering fruits and delicacies, we see the beauty of the Lord in all His glory.Our minds are focused on each limb of the Lord as the lamp lights it up. It is akin tosilent open-eyed meditation on His beauty. The singing, clapping, ringing of the bell etc.denote the joy and auspiciousness, which accompanies the vision of the Lord.Aarati is often performed with camphor. This holds a telling spiritual significance.Camphor when lit, burns itself out completely without leaving a trace of it. It representsour inherent tendencies (vaasanas). When lit by the fire of knowledge which illuminesthe Lord (Truth), our vaasanas thereafter burn themselves out completely, not leaving atrace of ego which creates in us a sense of individuality that keeps us separate from theLord.Also while camphor burns to reveal the glory of Lord, it emits a pleasant perfumeeven while it sacrifices itself. In our spiritual progress, even as we serve the guru andsociety, we should willingly sacrifice ourselves and all we have, to spread the "perfume"of love to all. We often wait a long while to see the illumined Lord but when the aarati isactually performed, our eyes close automatically as if to look within. This is to signifythat each of us is a temple of the Lord.Just as the priest reveals the form of the Lord clearly with the aarati flame, so toothe guru reveals to us the divinity within each of us with the help of the "flame" ofknowledge (or the light of spiritual knowledge). At the end of the aarati, we place ourhands over the flame and then touch our eyes and the top of the head. It means - may thelight that illuminated the Lord light up my vision; may my vision be divine and mythoughts noble and beautiful.The philosophical meaning of aarati extends further. The sun, moon, stars,lightning and fire are the natural sources of light. The Lord is the source of thiswonderous phenomenon of the universe. It is due to Him alone that all else exist andshine. As we light up the Lord with the flame of the aarati, we turn our attention to thevery source of all light, which symbolizes knowledge and life.Also the sun is the presiding deity of the intellect, the moon, that of the mind, andfire, that of speech. The Lord is the supreme consciousness that illuminates all of them.Without Him, the intellect cannot think, nor can the mind feel nor the tongue speaks. TheLord is beyond the mind, intellect and speech. How can this finite equipment illuminatethe Lord? Therefore, as we perform the aarati we chant;Na tatra suryo bhaati na chandra taarakamNemaa vidyuto bhaanti kutoyamagnibTameva bhaantam anubhaati sarvamTasya bhasa sarvam idam vibhaatiHe is there where the sun does not shine,Nor the moon, stars and lightning.then what to talk of this small flame (in my hand),Everything (in the universe) shines only after the Lord,And by His light alone are we all illumined.


A duck walks into a bar and asks the bar tender, "Got any 'gwapes'?", and the bartender replies, "No, sorry I don't sell grapes here." So the duck leaves and goes home to rest and the next day he walks into the same bar and asks the bar tender, "Got any gwapes?" The bartender replies, "No, sorry I don't sell grape here." The duck leaves and goes home to rest and the next day, he goes back to the bar and asks the bartender, "Got any gwapes?" The bartender angrily replies, "I don't want to have to tell you again, I don't sell grapes here and if you ask me again I will nail your beek to the counter of the bar!" The duck leaves and goes home to rest. The next day the duck goes to the bar and asks, "Got any nails?" The bartender looks at him and screams, "No, we don't have any nails!" The duck then asks, "Got any gwapes?"

Health Benefits of Exercise and Physical Activity:

Health Benefits of Exercise and Physical Activity:
1) Reduced risk of premature death
2) Reduced risk of developing and/or dying from heart disease
3) Reduced high blood pressure or the risk of developing high blood pressure. Helps
reduce blood pressure in people who already have high blood pressure.
4) Reduced high cholesterol or the risk of developing high cholesterol
5) Reduced risk of developing colon cancer and breast cancer
6) Reduced risk of developing diabetes
7) Reduces or maintains body weight or body fat
8) Builds and maintains healthy muscles, bones, and joints
9) Reduced depression and anxiety
10) Improved psychological well-being ,enhanced work, recreation, and sport performance
11) Helps older adults become stronger and better able to move about without falling.
Benefits of Aerobic Exercise:
12) Increased maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max)
13) Improvement in cardiovascular/cardio respiratory function (heart and lungs)
14) Increased maximal cardiac output (amount of blood pumped every minute)
15) Increased maximal stroke volume (amount of blood pumped with each beat)
16) Increased blood volume and ability to carry oxygen
17) Reduced workload on the heart (myocardial oxygen consumption) for any given
sub maximal exercise intensity
18) Increased blood supply to muscles and ability to use oxygen
19) Lower heart rate and blood pressure at any level of sub maximal exercise
20) Increased threshold for lactic acid accumulation
21) Lower resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people with high blood pressure
22) Increased HDL Cholesterol (the good cholesterol)
23) Decreased blood triglycerides
24) Reduced body fat and improved weight control
25) Improved glucose tolerance and reduced insulin resistance
Benefits of Strength Training:
26) Increased muscular strength
27) Increased strength of tendons and ligaments
28) Potentially improves flexibility (range of motion of joints)
29) Reduced body fat and increased lean body mass (muscle mass)
30) Potentially decreases resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure
31) Positive changes in blood cholesterol
32) Improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity
33) Improved strength, balance, and functional ability in older adults

QUOTATIONS by Abraham Lincoln

QUOTATIONS by Abraham Lincoln
And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.Whatever you are, be a good one.
Die when I may, I want it said of me by those who know me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.
To correct the evils, great and small, which spring from want of sympathy and from positive enmity among strangers, as nations or as individuals, is one of the highest functions of civilzation.
If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how -- the very best I can. And I mean to keep on doing it to the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me will not amount to anything. If the end brings me out all wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.
You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.
The way for a young man to rise is to improve himself in every way he can, never suspecting that anybody wishes to hinder him.
Those who write clearly have readers, those who write obscurely have commentators.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.
People are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
I destroy my enemy when I make him my friend.
I don't know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.
The Lord prefers common looking people. That is why he made so many of them.
Every person is responsible for his own looks after 40.
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. We here highly resolve that the dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.
Let reverence for the laws be breathed by every American mother to the lisping babe that prattles on her lap. Let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges. Let it be written in primers, spelling books, and in almanacs. Let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in the courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation.
Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves.
When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. And that's my religion.
We must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called on to perform what we cannot.
Do not worry; eat three square meals a day; say your prayers; be courteous to your creditors; keep your digestion good; exercise; go slow and easy. Maybe there are other things your special case requires to make you happy, but my friend, these I reckon will give you a good lift. –
And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.


Once upon a time there was a water-bearer in India who had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pot full of water in his master's house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water-bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you." "Why?" asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of ?" "I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work and you don't get full value from your efforts, " the pot said. The water-bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house." Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and warding. You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.