Raghuraman

~ Reflections of my inner self ~

Evolve sustainable job opportunities

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Globally, the employment problem has been on the rise for many decades. Governments are finding it very hard to cope with this and temporary stop gap arrangements have not solved the issue. The extent of the problem has been increasing all the time with rises in population and the problem is most acute in rural areas. This has resulted in people moving away from their traditional areas to urban cities in search of jobs. A time has come to carefully analyze the problem and take logical steps to find solutions. Before we sink deeper in to the problem created by us, it is time Governments and citizens become aware of the issue and take immediate steps to solve it.

It boils down to the fact that we have been overlooking all the sustainable jobs offered by Mother Nature to mankind. There is a mind set which has taken a deep root in us that such jobs are not suitable or do not pay well in line with the developments of the social economic scene of our current living. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

In India there are millions of acres of land lying idle and uncultivated for one reason or another. Statistics indicate the figure as over 200 million acres. One acre of land can give employment to 2 people. Estimates show we have over 360 million in the combined strength of cows and buffalo. Two cows can provide employment to 5 people. Our forests occupy over 75000 sq kilometers. One square kilometer of forest can provide employment to 200 people.

The potential available in the oceans is 20 times more. A rough calculation will show all these natural resources can provide direct /indirect employment to over 100 million people

These are sustainable and growing jobs as they are capable of regeneration and they do not pollute or damage our nature. Why then do we continue to ignore such vast opportunities?

The missing link lies in the mind set of people and State. We need to clearly identify these opportunities and research and evolve viable working models. We have a number of research institutes all over the country, and a set number of their faculties should target their work to creating rural based job opportunities using these resources. It time to put a stop to academic research work and focus on need based research. Graduate research work should be assigned for this. States should translate all positive results and solutions and provide all support for such programmes .to reach the common man. Corporate organizations will then come forward to invest in such ventures based in rural sectors.

Efforts and supports must be provided to convert the results of such ventures to provide livelihoods and economic return to all participants. We can not expect the common man, who is occupied with work to earn his daily bread, to initiate this activity. They may be aware of the potential of natural resources, but are unable to find a way to tap and use the same; they also lack the resources and capacity. However when we give opportunity they will understand its productive and sustainable significance.

The growing success of self-help groups and NGOs in Tamilnadu (India) is a an example how local teams of people using local raw materials and resources can provide a meaningful livelihood to people all around.

There are three steps to accomplish anything in life. They are to plan purposefully, to proceed positively and to pursue persistently. Such a plan should be set in motion to achieve a lasting solution and sustainable job opportunities. This should become a national movement which drives forward our economic status, and be a model for all developing and developed nations to follow.

Written by admin

April 5th, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Posted in General, Global Issues

Are we prepared to face 2012?

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Disasters like earthquakes, tsunami, volcanic eruptions, tidal waves and cyclones have a way of happening to us when we least expect them. Their effect, intensity and location may differ but they can leave behind a colossal loss of human and animal life as well as the destruction of homes, roads and commercial buildings. Most of the time we are caught off guard and precious time is lost in mobilizing support systems. While this is not meant as a criticism of the efforts and help being meted out to those suffering from such calamities, it seems sensible to plan ahead for a National and International program with the necessary resources. Such forces with people and material should be located in strategic areas in each nation. Their services should be made available to the needy around the world and should be coordinated by the United Nations. Considering that we have had many disasters during the last 2 years it is pertinent that the UN have a dedicated division to meet such challenges on a global basis.

We are today forewarned of possible disasters in the year 2012 by many predictions. For instance the readings of Nostradamus (four of his earlier predictions have come true) says that there will be a scarcity of food and an economic downturn as a result of major earthquakes, floods and tidal waves in many places of the world. These include UK, Canada, coastal and river valley towns in India, many coastal states of USA and the Far East. It is also reported that the planet Nibru, which crosses the path of earth and the sun once in 3600 years, will be in action by December 2010. As a result earthquakes and tsunami have been indicated. Such predictions are recorded in Sumerians noting who were instrumental in the discovery of Neptune and Pluto. A number of Siddars have indicted as early as 1985 the possibility of tsunami type waves occurring in many places in 2012. Many planetary readers also indicate the pollution in the air, water and earth will alter basic nature and these elements can lead to major disasters. The Far East will be a major casualty.

Reflecting on the present, the current situation in Haiti is a gross reflection of how a sudden earthquake can do such large damage, resulting in millions of people homeless and starving for food and water. It will take over 10 years to bring some sort of stability and restore balance to the ailing Haitian’s. The work of support organisation’s like the Red Cross has been commendable. They have been working almost 18 hours a day proving support and relief under demanding and straining conditions, managing with minimum needs and their work continues.

Slowly we are also beginning to realize and feel the changes that are happening to our weather: unusual high day temperatures, delay in onset of seasons and monsoon, rise in sea water levels and melting of glaziers. The world by large is slowly recovering from the down trends of 2008/2009 and it may take a few years more to bring a balance and achieve the projected growth for the developed and developing countries. In this context another major reversal (this time by forces of nature, though we are instrumental) can be a major reversal to all our efforts. Individuals and Nations have a role to play to avoid such a disaster. Individuals can consciously work towards saving energy, avoid use of plastic, achieve savings in water consumption and try and reduce carbon emissions using more public transport and sharing of cars. We can bring more area under green coverage, plant more trees and cut back on deforestation.

Leaders of the world should meet to prepare a blue print and action plan to create better awareness to bring down global warming on a National and Global level. Creation of specific task forces and monitoring bodies should not be delayed or postponed. The world central body of representatives should meet frequently to review progress both at the national and world level. Such an action will place us on a better footing if the predictions for December 2012 come true and at the very least will help us to better prepared to face disasters.

Over a period of time it will help in mitigating the adverse effects of global warming. Leaders of developed and developing countries should actively involve themselves in the campaign which will influence individuals and nations. International bodies such as the UN and World Bank will be a great support for such actions.

It is my hope and prayer that this article catches the attention of policy makers and it is my appeal to like-minded friends to forward and share these feelings with others. The support of Google, the world’s largest resource base, is solicited to promote this campaign and achieve the desired result for the benefit and betterment of mankind.

Written by admin

March 25th, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Posted in General

Touching the Earth: A Yogic Practice

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I acknowledge with thanks the writer Thich Nhat Hanh for the following inspiring information

There is a practice evolved from Buddhism called “Touching the Earth”. This yogic procedure helps us to realize our wish to generate love, compassion, joy and equanimity. During the practice we touch the earth deeply 6 times. We touch the earth with our forehead, legs and hands. Our mind and body forms a perfect whole. We surrender our pride, notions of fear, resentments and even hopes and enter the world of things as they are. We thereby return to our own source of wisdom and we are no longer separate from the mother Earth.

We join our palms and bow in 10 directions: east, west, south, north, north east, north west, south east, south west, above, below and an eleventh direction- within.

During the 6 earth touching we follow a procedure. In the first we look deeply within. In the second we see the connection between ourselves and other living beings, including those who live around us. By the fifth earth touching we are able to feel true love for the people we have disliked. All hatred and anger will disappear and we only want the person whom we hated to enjoy happiness and peace.

We are able to reach that point because we are able to love ourselves. So touching the earth and involving ourselves in the six meditations generates in us deep love, affection and acceptance. When we are able to love a person who made us miserable we realize what a miracle love is.

The closer you lie against the Earth, melting in to the Earth, the better you become nothing in order to become everything.

After practicing touching the earth for two or three months, you will feel deeply refreshed, strong and healthy. You will love life and be able to smile because the energies of hatred and ill will in you will have greatly diminished to enrich and elevate yourself.

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September 6th, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Posted in General, Health, Indian Culture

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Live in the present, free of past and future

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Living in the present moment is the only way to live and live well. It is in the present that we touch base with our inner selves and come to terms with the reality outside. We need to continuously say goodbye to our past situations and circumstances and our reactions to them. It is in the now that we plan and project a future we want to ensure for ourselves.

With the dawn of each new day brings a time of peace, thanksgiving and prayer loaded with positive vibrations in thoughts and speech. As the day progresses we go on to encounter both the good and the bad. We should choose in each moment the good in us to weaken the low and unpalatable. This will act as a bridge going from from one good example to another.

We should live in the now, experiencing the richness of the present moment. By doing this we are extracted and uprooted from the past and the impending future. It is in the now that we make our encounter with the Divine. Nature knows no past or future. It is our human consciousness that relates to reality, as if it were an unfinished event or an inevitable future.

When we remain in the now we are open to enjoying all that is given to us as a gift. We experience to the full joy, sadness, laughter, pain, hope, dismay, beauty, ugliness –all wrapped up as a gift for the present. It is in the now that we rise when we rise, pray when we pray, eat when we eat and live as we live. In such an existence the past is over and future is still a way off .

The now helps us to arrive at our destination in the most effective way possible. So live now to the full, catch the early morning sunrise, enjoy the mist, dew, rain and snow, eat a healthy breakfast and enjoy the work of the day. Enjoy your leisure time, spend enough time exercising, begin each fresh day with a prayer and share your experiences with your near and dear. Above all, enjoy doing all these things!

The “now enjoy” technique never lets you down, because you are responsible for it from your own inner being which will provide the pattern and harmony for a more meaningful, richer life.

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September 6th, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Words of wisdom to stay healthy

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Healthy body: focus on more eating wheat products

Healthy skin: use olive oil

Healthy eyes: do eye exercises every day, use lubricating oils/drops once in while

Healthy hair: use approved Ayurvedic oils twice a week

Healthy fruit: apple and papaya

Healthy food: oats, green vegetables, green salad, grains and sprouts

Healthy exercise: yoga, breathing exercises (pranayama), walking,

Healthy drinks: four glasses of water first thing in the morning and apple juice any time

Healthy mind: meditation every day

Healthy beliefs:  kindness, fellow feeling, empathy

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September 6th, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Happiness is in your reach

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The writer wishes to acknowledge the presentation and information provided by author Marguerite Theophill

We all seem to carry a notion that some people have smooth and trouble free lives, some are happy and lucky while others seem to have lot of misfortunes and are unlucky. We assign ourselves to one of these groups depending on the situation. This is an illusion created by our own thinking, a state of  mind. In reality, happiness does not happen to us it happens by us!

This does not mean we should ignore the painful reality of what happens in our day to day lives. We can feel miserable and make others around us also miserable. However, we can choose our response to something at any given point in time, and it is entirely in our hands. All of us experience the tension and pressures of the day, some of which is created by us while some gets imposed upon us. We can feel miserable and we choose to be angry and furious. There is a good alternative here; we can call upon the graces of the moment, remind ourselves  of our good fortunes, breath calmly for a few minutes, find something else to focus upon and some thing to be grateful for. We can choose between forever brooding or instead can focus on healing and moving on.

Happiness is called upon and cultivated, involving un-learning as much as learning.

Experiences in life can create habits and patterns that become deeply ingrained, influencing our moods and choices. We should realize that blaming others for our miseries, even if partially true, is  only an excuse. It can not give us the peace and happiness which we crave for all the time. It instead serves to increase our miseries and suffering.

Cultivating a feeling of happiness is a self generated cycle of activity. It is biological as much as physical. When you take time out for a walk, move to view the greenery, pray and meditate, dance and sing along to a favorite tune, or share moments with special people then happy hormones flood your system keeping you healthy. For this you should first accept that happiness is something that is generated within and it can come with time and practice.

Happiness is saying yes to more caring relationships, yes to more positive emotions and engagements. An assured way to a fuller, meaningful life and relationships.

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September 6th, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Medical emergencies whilst travelling

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While you are traveling, on a holiday or moving to a new location there is a risk that one can run in to some sudden health problems. These can come when least expected and can become a big nuisance. However there are a few tips and ready solutions which can come to the rescue until one is able to reach each a medical centre or doctor.  The following will give much needed preventative measures and first aid help.

Some common medical emergencies are:

- Blood pressure sudden changes

- Tension

- One sided headache

- Cold

- Back pain

- Indigestion

Blood Pressure

Possible causes are excessive salt intake combined with excess weight and tension. The arteries use a particular level of pressure to carry the blood throughout the body, which is 120/80. When the arteries shrink or when there is a block the pressure increases and can become 120-135/80-99. Therefore it is possible that systolic pressure can go to 135 and diastolic pressure to 95. If not attended to, this can lead to paralysis, stroke and kidney function problems

Exercise is a very beneficial in this case. Therefore simple solutions include regular walking (30-45 minutes every day), use steps to climb instead of taking the lift, walk or cycle to the market instead of using a car or motor bike. Also, try doing some physical jobs at home including cleaning house, cooking, polishing etc

Tension

When you have one law for yourself and another law for others you are a likely candidate for mental tension. Another cause is over expectation. When you have tension, the WBC count in the blood can get affected and body resistance will be lowered. The symptoms are frequent headaches, increased blood pressure, frequent urination, forgetfulness, lack of concentration and tired feelings.

Suggested solutions are to think often about your achievements and success. Try not to view everything negatively (remember the cup half full story), do not compare yourself with others and spend more time with family members and friends. Focus on some exercise every day (45 -90 minutes), learn and attempt prayers, yoga and meditation. Think differently and develop self confidence. Read about achievers, take failures as a lesson for success and plan for an orderly day. As we can often invite tension in our daily lives, we have a responsibility to drive it out also.

One-sided headache

When we get a striking pain in one side of the head it can become unbearable if left unattended. Some get it regularly, for some it is only occasionally. Those with sugar problems can also get this if they do not eat properly and in good time. Symptoms are include blurred vision, seeing spots, numbness in legs and arms, and even vomiting.

Remedies include:

- Soak a towel in hot water, wring it out well and use it to massage the shoulder and back

- Drink a cup of tea without milk (you can also take two aspirins)

- Forget any recent incidents from home or work and try to rest in a cool, well ventilated place away from light

- If the pain is very severe doctors recommend use of a Sebilium tablet (check with your doctor)

Cold

For a normal cold Paracetamol tablets can be taken for 3 days. You can also get relief with massages of vapor rub (Vicks). Avoid cold drinks and  expensive cold remedy tablets as they are no better than Paracetamol tablets. One should also increase the intake of vitamin C and A, This can be done by taking plenty of cabbage, soya beans, orange, and carrots with your food. Drink warm soups.

Good food and rest will help a lot to reduce the impact of a cold virus. For further relief, inhale the vapor from a spoon of Vicks in hot water and covering your head with a towe.

Back Pain

There could be many reasons for back pain. Major causes include: continued and prolonged sitting in one sedentary posture (suffered by office workers), sudden lifting of heavy weighing objects, standing for long periods, wearing high heel shoes and being over weight with a high BMI index. Women are more likely to suffer from this when there is no physical activity, during pregnancy when weight increases or during the menopause phase when estrogen secretion increases.

Solutions for this pain include:

- Rest and good rest! Try sleeping on the floor with legs raised onsupports.

- A cold compress with ice cubes inside a folded cloth for 15 minutes, 4 times a day. Do not place ice directly on the skin.

- If pain persist after 48 hours, try hot water baths or keeping a hot water bottle

- Gentle massage over the pain area can be done, but do not press hard over the back bone

- Medicines can be tried including aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen or paracetamol (only take one of them)

If the back pain continues for over two weeks you are advised to see a doctor. Pain can often be cured once the cause is identified.

Indigestion

The usual symptoms are a curling pain in the stomach, a burning sensation in the lower chest area, one sided headache, and belching. However, it is possible that these are symptoms could indicate some other complaint so be wary. The causes of indigestion include over-eating, eating foods high in oil content, eating excessively spicy foods, eating uncooked meat and excessive tea, tobacco or alcohol. People with mental tension, fast eaters or those with dental problems are prone to indigestion.

Solutions include:

- The risks are greater when you travel as you are away from home eating a different food, so eat moderately and slowly, chewing the food well

- Avoid eating spicy or masala foods. Avoid chocolates, onion, garlic, lime and tomatoes.

- Avoid over dried, fried foods or cold foods

- Stop eating at least two hours before going to bed

- Do not smoke

- Avoid tight clothes

- Try doing yoga, meditation when you feel tension

- Drink digestive Ayurvedic products: jeera water, ginger water etc

- Take anti-acids (Ranitidin or omipprazol tablets), this will reduce excessive secretion of acids in the stomach

All of these are temporary solutions,  if the problem continues  see a doctor at the earliest opportunity.

Written by admin

September 6th, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Posted in Health

Anjaneeya worship: Faith and Strength

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In India, Anjaneeya is known by many names including  Hanuman,  Maruthi, Vavuputhra and Anjanai Kumara. He is worshipped all over India and the world as a God to whom you can pray for solutions and relief for problems. Most Hindu temples will have special place for Hanuman. He is an embodiment of great devotion, strength, intelligence and courage. He plays a very important role in many places in the great Epic Ramayana . The verses in the book Sundarakandam  describes  in detail how he successfully flew across an ocean to locate Goddess Sita and bring the good news to his Lord Sri RAMA .

There are many famous temples for him. In Chennai we have Nanganallur temple, on the way to Pondicherry we have  Panchavadi temple, near salem in Namakkal  there is a famous Anjaneeyar temple and near Tirunelveli at Suchidram we have another  Anjaneeyar temple. In Delhi, on the  Poosa road, there is a 108 feet high statue temple and another  near Vijayawada, Mumbai chembur. The list goes on and on….

In north India most households will have  the book: Hanuman Chalisa. This is a text for chanting every day, of which two cartoon CDs have been made in India and are very popular. In the US an attempt is being made to make a full length movie on Hanuman by Sri Uru Patel with actor Keanu Reeves playing the lead role. His picture is also displayed prominently in gyms!

It is said that Hanuman is the most poular and sought after God on the internet. Sri Krishna and Sri Vinayaka have over 8.45 and 7.64 lacs devotees/supporters respectively. There is a record 26.8 lac people who are Hanuman’s devotees and the number is increasing…..

Prayers seeking his support give courage, strength and direction to his devotees. He is available at all times to the needy and distressed, rich and poor and all are equal to him. All he asks from you is true and sincere selfless devotion.  One can find devotees praying with Tulsi leaves, flowers and garlands made out of Sri Ram writings, fruits, honey and grains as offerings.

Many all over the world have experienced the positive vibrations and strength derived from His worship. There is an increasingly long list. People in India are happy to know that the President of the United States, Mr Barack Hussein Obama, is also a devotee and carries a small idol with him at all times.

Written by Raghuraman

July 2nd, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Posted in Hinduism

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Hindu Marriage: Tradition and Rationale

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The tenets of the Hindu marriage, its conduct, procedures and styles are explicitly laid down in the Vedas. The Hindu wedding is a balanced blending of religion, morality, culture and joy, making it a memorable event. The Vedic rituals solemnise the marriage while indoctrinating the specified duties of the couple through life. The rituals are symbolic of beautiful and noble sentiments.

The following lines go some way to explaining the significance of this important ritual:

GANAPATHI POOJA: The God of initiation is invoked first to keep away all impediments and for a smooth conduct of proceedings. This is followed by Navagra pooja.

VRATHAM: This is performed with invocations to various Gods: Indra, Soma, Chandra, Agni, with a vow to uphold values. This is followed by Kasi yatra.

VAKKKU NICHAY MUHURTHAM: The bride’s father and groom’s father solemnize the final betrothal ceremony.

This is followed by exchanging of garlands to symbolize the union of bride and groom. Then there is OONJAL, PAALIKAI SEEDS SOWING CEREMONY, VARA PUJA and Kanya Dhanam (father gives the bride to the groom). The bride will now wear an exclusive KOORAI sari with a belt of reed grass. Mantras and thanks giving hymns are chanted to deities. The father gets a word of assurance from the groom three times!

MANGALYA DHARANAM: Timed to the auspicious hour, the tying of Managala sutra (also called thali), with a back ground of loud Nadaswaram (called ketty molam), ladies sing the popular GOWRI KALYANA VAIBHOVAMAY. Three knots are tied: one by the groom and the remaining two knots by his sister, thereby welcoming the bride to the family.

This is followed by Pani grahanam and sapthapathi. This is walking seven steps around the fire while mantras are chanted. It is a confirmation of friendship, love, strength and, taste to live together inseparable for rest of their lives.

PRADHANA HOMAM: Homage paid by the couple to Agni, the fire GOD, a prime witness to the marriage. Then comes a treading on the grind stone, showing the star arundhathi (embodiment of an ideal wife and chastity), next LAJJJA HOMAM (brides offering to sacrificial fire) followed by AARATHI.

SHOWERING OF AKSHADAI: All elders and invitees bless the couple for their health, wealth, peace, love, joy and happiness.

Written by Raghuraman

July 2nd, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Posted in Hinduism, Indian Culture

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Spiritual Experiences: Haridwar and Rishikesh

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A train journey of about 42 hours, covering 5 states, took us north from Chennai to Haridwar. Rishikesh is one hour from Haridwar and further up is the Capital of Utterkand State: Dehradun. Delhi is a further 4 hour drive from Haridwar. Both Rishikesh and Haridwar are border areas and entry points for the famous Pilgrim yatra to Kedarnath and Badrinath. The river Ganga, originating from Gangaothri, flows through these towns which makes these places serene and much sought after tourist holy destinations. Ganga is worshipped as a provider, supporter and caring mother. The perennial flowing river calms down our agitated minds to elevate us to a state of peace and tranquility. The holy waters are carried back home and distributed to near and dear ones.

Many spiritual leaders have settled down here on the banks of the Ganga to establish centres of learning, Ashrams. There is Chinmaya ashram, Swami Sivanandha ashram, Swami Dyanandha Ashram, Pathajali Ashram and up to fifteen more. These are residential campuses wherein disciples of masters continue the great work. They are today centres of culture and tradition. Accommodation is offered to visitors but one needs to book in advance as there is a waiting list year round.

The towns are full of small narrow by lanes. Mostly three-wheelers run on these roads alongside cycle rickshaws. Everywhere we can witness a clean environment and simple lifestyles. Vegetarian food is available in road side eateries called Dhabas who offer fresh hot rotis, dhall and vegetables at unbelievable low prices (attracting every tourist). The local population is made of mostly shop keepers, traders and artisans. They sell products and wares to the tourists who come here almost every month excluding the rainy season. Being a tourist location there are many tourist/taxi operators and hotels on the river front catering to various budgets.

We had requested accommodation at Swami Dyanada Ashram and we were very happy to get our confirmation for a weeks stay. The Ashram is housed in an area of 5 acre of land in plenty of greenery with over 5 residential blocks and 250 rooms. There is a prayer/mediation hall, a beautiful temple on the banks of river, a dining room (to seat over 300) Visitors are treated with access to a very good library having an excellent collection of sacred old books in Sanskrit, Hindi and English which are available on CDs and DVDs. There is a lovely shop selling books written By Swami Dyanadha with lectures available on CDs and DVDs. There are also rudraksha malas, special chains rings made of 5 metals, wall hangings, useful items for a prayer room, wall decorations and a host of other unique items.

Our day starts at 4 am to go and attend temple pooja in the ashram temple right located in front of the river Ganga. Besides the main deity Siva, there are smaller temples for Ganapathy, Adisankaa, Hanuman and Jyothir lingams. It is a beautiful, white marble structure very clean and very well maintained with poojas and chanting performed in the traditional style.

We are given an early break fast so that we can attend the lectures and classes conducted by teachers in the ashram. After lunch we have free time for interactive sessions, library, reading or personal work. We then go for a river bath in Ganga (ice cold water flows even at 4 pm)- no soap, oil, or shampoo and all one needs is a towel and a change of clothes. The river is so pure and Divine, an ideal location for prayer and meditation, and generally reflect upon oneself in total silence. Many offer obeisance for departed souls in the family. We attend an evening prayers session by 6.30 pm and a special aarthi on the river front for matha Ganga. We participate with awe, admiration and total surrender. After an early simple dinner we retire, not before a stroll in the green woods and cool gardens full of flowering shrubs.

We made trips to the hill temple of Neelakanda Mahadev housing a beautiful swayamboo lingam of Siva. We are allowed to perform abisheham ourselves with milk and holy waters. It is said a visit to this temple is a cure for illness and a salvation for our misdeeds. We also visited the Ram and Lakshman Jula at Haridhwar for a feel of Haridwar which is known for temples and its markets. We also attended the famous Ganga Aathi at Triveni ghat, a great sight and a evening to remember all our lives. We  joined a special group and were allotted a priest to our aarthi, for our family, and received Prasad afterwards. A very satisfying experience.

Days quickly flew by and by Thursday evening we prepared for our next halting place, Haridwar, not before offering our grateful thank you and gratitude to members of the ashram. As customary we offered a donation to cover our stay and food and liberal tips to service staff (over 30 people) that made our stay a very pleasant experience.

We had booked our stay at Haridwar in Hotel Basera, which has a central location very close to the railway station. We had the the good fortune to get a car arranged through a contact of ours- Sekar from Delhi. Our driver knew all the local places and was very efficient in organizing smooth and hassle free visits to all locations. In addition to a repeat visit to Ram and lakshman jula areas, we went to the hill temples Manasa devi and Chandi devi. The route up is through cable cars, well organised by the management, a car comes every two minutes which can house four people  and takes 15 minutes to reach the top. Good Darsan and prayers to mother Kali, a little bit of shopping and we are back. The view all along was wonderful and we also witnessed the Aarthi at Hariki Pouri Ghat. We were fortunate to get in to the VIP darsan area through our drivers contacts! The view of 7 big Aartis being performed for the river Ganga was a thrilling sight to see with background chanting of Ganga matha slogas.

One afternoon we went for a bath in a very special ghat reserved for state VIPs, a very private and exclusive affair! As per our plan we spent an afternoon at Baba Ramdev centre, consulting doctors and getting tips and advice with general ayurvedic medicine.  It is a very well organised set up and the consultation was free.

We bade goodbye to our driver with farewell gifts and generous tips. A special gift and Prasad was packed and conveyed through our driver to our sponsor.

The third day was kept for local shopping and preparation for our final packing for our return trip next morning. We had three more bags full of gifts and ganga water for our friends back home! Our camera is full of photos and we transferred the pictures to CDs. The trip was extremely worthwhile with some of the experiences being beyond words to describe. We are grateful to the Almighty for his help, guidance and direction. A very special thank you is in order for our kind hearted and caring sons Vivek and Arjun, with whose support this trip was possible. An experience which will stay with us for a long time to come .

We boarded the train back to Chennai after 3 hectic days at Haridwar. The hotel people had packed us plenty of food to keep us going for one day and we relied on the dining car for the second day of the journey. We travelled home content with three more pieces of luggage full of giftsand ganga water for our friends together with two CDs full of photos and memories.

Written by Raghuraman

July 2nd, 2009 at 8:45 pm

Posted in Hinduism, Indian Culture

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