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Showing posts from July, 2009

thought for today

SAS Newsletter: "When one works and wants to do one's best, one needs much time. But generally we don't have much time, we are in a hurry. How to do one's best when one is in a hurry?
. . .Generally when men are in a hurry, they do not do completely what they have to do or they do badly what they do. Well, there is a third way, it is to intensify one's concentration. If you do that you can gain half the time, even from a very short time. Take a very ordinary example: to have your bath and to dress; the time needed varies with people, doesn't it? But let us say, half an hour is required for doing everything without losing time and without hurrying. Then, if you are in a hurry, one of two things happens: you don't wash so well or you dress badly! But there is another way - to concentrate one's attention and one's energy, think only of what one is doing and not of anything else, not to make a movement too much, to make the exact movement in the most ex…

Mira Malhotra- Dolls

Lisa Conti

Images are from an Indian Summer Blog.

The strongest woman in Nepal Hisila Yami

‘We Still Fight, But With Words, No Longer With Guns’

50-year-old Hisila Yami alias Comrade Parvati, Nepal’s most powerful woman Maoist leader, dispells the myth that Maoist guerillas are bellicose and unkempt. She is suave, soft-spoken and smiles often. Educated in India and England, this architect taught in a college for 13 years before going underground during the Maoists’ 11-year-long armed struggle. From guerilla camps to becoming Minister for Tourism to being elected to Nepal’s Constituent Assembly, Hisila has had a long and eventful journey. Despite being a political heavyweight — a Member of the Politburo of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPNM), a former Minister and wife of Baburam Bhattarai, the ideological fount of the CPN-M — Hisila wears her identity lightly.

In a smart business suit, a salt-andpepper- haired Hisila spoke to AMRITA NANDY-JOSHI of the Nepali Maoists’ transition from revolution to realpolitik, from military offensives to political offensives and…

The Indian Male

Tehelka has a wonderful piece of why Indian men never grow up.

Why Indian Men Are Still Boys

A decade after the New Indian Male was heralded, why are violence, boorishness and emotional clumsiness still the hallmarks of the average Indian man? NISHA SUSAN examines the tangle

A FEW YEARS AGO, a group of young men, all Bengaluru- based lawyers, were asked who bought their underwear. Their answer bears out the seemingly arbitrary nature of this intrusion. Of the five men, all in their late twenties, all wellgroomed and intelligent, all given to the unconventional in their personal and political lives, only one bought his own underwear. For the rest, this was the first time they were thinking about why their mothers were the ones still picking out their boxers and briefs.

In the popular imagination the Indian male has always been the stuff of nightmare, able to rape, beat and oppress with his hands tied behind his back. Certainly the newspapers and the grapevine are full of such tales. Here i…

Happy Birthday Leela, Divya and Annika

Picture by Pradip Dalal

Jon Stewart The most trusted name in News!

Jon Stewart: The Most Trust Newscaster in America... Be Afraid, Be Somewhat Afraid
Time Magazine conducted an online poll, asking "Now that Walter Cronkite has passed on, who is America's most trusted newscaster?" Jon Stewart received 44% of the vote, 15 percentage points more than the second most trusted newscaster, Brian Williams. Stewart came in first or second in every state, except Vermont. And he won more than 50% of the vite in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, but also surprisingly in Idaho, Utah, Arkansas (where he won 63% of the vote). Jason Linkins in the Huffington Post:

Well, in a result that he will probably accept as downright apocalyptic for America, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart has been selected, in an online poll conducted by Time Magazine, as America's Most Trusted Newscaster, post-Cronkite. Matched up against Brian Williams, Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson, Stewart prevailed with 44 percent of the vote. Now, if we're being honest, he probably…

Thought for today

SAS Newsletter: "I suggest that every one of you should try - oh! not for long, just for one hour a day - to say nothing but the absolutely indispensable words. Not one more, not one less.
Take one hour of your life, the one which is most convenient for you, and during that time observe yourself closely and say only the absolutely indispensable words.
At the outset, the first difficulty will be to know what is absolutely indispensable and what is not. It is already a study in itself and every day you will do better.
Next, you will see that so long as one says nothing, it is not difficult to remain absolutely silent, but as soon as you begin to speak, always or almost always you say two or three or ten or twenty useless words which it was not at all necessary to say.

- The Mother [CWMCE, 3:259]"

101 Salads for Summer

SUMMER may not be the best time to cook, but it’s certainly among the best times to eat. Toss watermelon and peaches with some ingredients you have lying around already, and you can produce a salad that’s delicious, unusual, fast and perfectly seasonal.

That’s the idea behind the 101 ideas found in this section. In theory, each salad takes 20 minutes or less. Honestly, some may take you a little longer. But most minimize work at the stove and capitalize on the season, when tomatoes, eggplant, herbs, fruit, greens and more are plentiful and excellent.

This last point is important. Not everything needs to be farmers’ market quality, but it’s not too much to expect ripe fruit, fragrant herbs and juicy greens.

Salt, to taste, is a given in all of these recipes. Pepper, too (if I want you to use a lot of pepper, I say so).

Herein, then, are enough salad ideas to tide you over until the weather cools down.


1. Cube watermelon and combine with tomato chunks, basil and basi…

Pico Iyer on the Dalai Lama.

Dream — nothing!” is one of the many things I’ve heard the 14th Dalai Lama say to large audiences that seem to startle the unprepared. Just before I began an onstage conversation with him at New York Town’s Hall this spring, he told me, “If I had magical powers, I’d never need an operation!” and broke into guffaws as he thought of the three-hour gallbladder operation he’d been through last October, weeks after being in hospital for another ailment. For a Buddhist, after all, our power lies nowhere but ourselves.

We can’t change the world except insofar as we change the way we look at the world — and, in fact, any one of us can make that change, in any direction, at any moment. The point of life, in the view of the Dalai Lama, is happiness, and that lies within our grasp, our untapped potential, with every breath.

Easy for him to say, you might scoff. He’s a monk, he meditates for four hours as soon as he wakes up and he’s believed by his flock to be an incarnation of a god. Yet when you…

Solar Eclipse Images

image of solar eclipse from New Delhi

image of Solar Eclipse in Varanasi

thought from the mother

You can at every minute make the gift of your will in an aspiration - and an aspiration which formulates itself very simply, not just "Lord, Thy will be done", but "Grant that I may do as well as I can the best thing to do."
You may not know at every moment what is the best thing to do or how to do it, but you can place your will at the disposal of the Divine to do the best possible, the best thing possible. You will see it will have marvellous results. Do this with consciousness, sincerity and perseverance, and you will find yourself getting along with gigantic strides. It is like that, isn't it? One must do things with all the ardour of one's soul, with all the strength of one's will; do at every moment the best possible, the best thing possible. What others do is not your concern - this is something I shall never be able to repeat to you often enough.
Never say, "So-and-so does not do this", "So-and-so does something else", "…

these things are old by Nikhil Pal Singh

As Barack Obama stood on the stage at Grant Park in Chicago on election night, my euphoria yielded to a strange unease in the pit of my stomach and all good feeling drained away. I soon realized what caused this sensation as I consciously registered the reflected image in the bulletproof glass that imperceptibly framed Obama’s face. Even as his mouth formed words that announced a new founding and the vindication of old foundations, the ghostly image conjured a recurrent, traumatic history of unfulfilled promises, unredeemed struggles and unaccounted losses, the many thousands gone.

Perhaps any victor that night would have been so protected. Nevertheless, that black existence and aspirations toward inclusion and equality in the U.S. readily associate with a history of legal and extra-legal violence deployed to produce and preserve racial distance and disparity is hardly surprising. However unseemly, the strongest prospective parallels between Obama and King drawn during the Democratic p…

Tenzin Palmo

What Is Liberation for Women Today?

An interview with Tenzin Palmo
by Jessica Roemischer

What Is Enlightenment: What is liberation for women today?

Tenzin Palmo: It’s actually a fantastic time to be a woman. In much of the world today, women are freer than we have ever been in the history of the human race. We are becoming educated. We are as free as men to study, to think about and practice whatever we wish, and to travel around the world. We are able to think for ourselves outside the usual paradigms. And from a spiritual point of view, this means we can choose our own path, and we have the freedom to follow it. So we’re living in a very interesting age when women are beginning to have their own autonomy. But what we do with that is up to us. We can imprison ourselves to as great an extent as we were imprisoned in previous times, except in different roles. We can become more bound up in samsara. Or we can use this autonomy to become free in an ultimate sense. So we should use this huma…

Words of wisdom

on the World Wide Web
chosen by Lama Surya Das

* * * * * * * * *
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
- Steve Jobs, from a college commencement address"

Why are we so fat

Elizabeth Colbert at the New Yorker, reviews two books that deal with why we have grown fatter over the years.

Fat; Obesity; “The Evolution of Obesity” (Johns Hopkins; $40); Michael L. Power; Jay Schulkin; “The Fattening of America” (Wiley; $26.95); Eric Finkelstein One of the most comprehensive data sets available about Americans—how tall they are, when they last visited a dentist, what sort of cereal they eat for breakfast, whether they have to pee during the night, and, if so, how often—comes from a series of studies conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Participants are chosen at random, interviewed at length, and subjected to a battery of tests in special trailers that the C.D.C. hauls around the country. The studies, known as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, began during the Eisenhower Administration and have been carried out periodically ever since.

In the early nineteen-nineties, a researcher at the C.D.C. named Katherine Fleg…

SAS Newsletter

You can at every minute make the gift of your will in an aspiration - and an aspiration which formulates itself very simply, not just "Lord, Thy will be done", but "Grant that I may do as well as I can the best thing to do."
You may not know at every moment what is the best thing to do or how to do it, but you can place your will at the disposal of the Divine to do the best possible, the best thing possible. You will see it will have marvellous results. Do this with consciousness, sincerity and perseverance, and you will find yourself getting along with gigantic strides. It is like that, isn't it? One must do things with all the ardour of one's soul, with all the strength of one's will; do at every moment the best possible, the best thing possible. What others do is not your concern - this is something I shall never be able to repeat to you often enough.
Never say, "So-and-so does not do this", "So-and-so does something else", "…

Quote of today J Krishnamurthi

If you are aware of outward things

Please do listen to this. Most of us think that awareness is a mysterious something to be practised, and that we should get together day after day to talk about awareness. Now, you don't come to awareness that way at all. But if you are aware of outward things - the curve of a road, the shape of a tree, the colour of another's dress, the outline of the mountains against a blue sky, the delicacy of a flower, the pain on the face of a passer-by, the ignorance, the envy, the jealousy of others, the beauty of the earth - then, seeing all these outward things without condemnation, without choice, you can ride on the tide of inner awareness. Then you will become aware of your own reactions, of your own pettiness, of your own jealousies. From the outward awareness you come to the inward, but if you are not aware of the outer, you cannot possibly come to the inner.

The Collected Works, Vol. XV - 242

thought for today

Go deep, very deep down in the silence of your heart, and you will find the Lord there radiant and merciful.
It is not an impression or an imagination - it is a concrete experience that fills you with a lasting and powerful joy.

- The Mother [p-159, White Roses, Sixth Edition, 1999]

Poem of the day

As Much As You Can

And if you cannot make your life as you want it,
at least try this
as much as you can: do not disgrace it
in the crowding contact with the world,
in the many movements and all the talk.

Do not disgrace it by taking it,
dragging it around often and exposing it
to the daily folly
of relationships and associations,
till it becomes like an alien burdensome life.

by C.P. Cavafy
translation: Rae Dalven
from: The Complete Poems of Cavafy; Harvest Books, 1961

From 3QD

The Evil that Men Do

Tehelka reports the rapes that have gone unpunished in the tribal areas of Chhattisgarh by Salwa Judum men.

In the Indian setting, refusal to act on the testimony of the victim of sexual assault in the absence of corroboration as a rule is adding insult to injury. A girl or a woman in the tradition- bound non-permissive society of India would be extremely reluctant even to admit that any incident that is likely to reflect on her chastity had ever occurred… [A rape victim’s testimony] does not require corroboration from any other evidence, including the evidence of a doctor. — Supreme Court justices Arijit Pasayat and P Sathasivam, July 2008

FOR DECADES, the Supreme Court of India has cleaved to a rigorous legal standard in cases of rape: the testimony of the victim is enough evidence to launch the prosecution of the accused. Successive judgments over the years have reinforced this position. Thousands of convictions of alleged rapists have been effectively obtained on the basis of victim…

Sri Aurobindo

The way to get faith and all things else is to insist on having them and refuse to flag or despair or give up until one has them - it is the way by which everything has been got since this difficult earth began to have thinking and aspiring creatures upon it. It is to open always, always to the Light and turn one's back on the Darkness. It is to refuse the voices that say persistently, "You cannot, you shall not, you are incapable, you are the puppet of a dream," - for these are the enemy voices, they cut one off from the result that was coming, by their strident clamour and then triumphantly point to the barrenness of the result as a proof of their thesis. The difficulty of the endeavour is a known thing, but the difficult is not the impossible - it is the difficult that has always been accomplished and the conquest of difficulties makes up all that is valuable in the earth's history. In the spiritual endeavour also it shall be so.

- Sri Aurobindo [SABCL, 23:577-78]


Abbas Millani gives an intellectual history of the Green Wave.

What we are witnessing right now in the streets of Tehran is, first and foremost, a political battle for the future of the Iranian state. But closely linked to this political fight is also an old theological dispute about the nature of Shiism--a dispute that has been roiling Iran for more than a century.

Shiism, like most religions, is no stranger to heated schisms. Shia and Sunnis split over the question of whether Muhammad had designated his son-in-law, Ali, as his successor (Shia believed he had). Some Shia, called Alawites, believe the only divinely designated successor was Ali, while another group, Zaydis, believe there were four imams. A large, intellectually vibrant third group is known as the Ismailis because it believes the line of imams ended with the seventh, Ismail. And the largest Shia sect is called the Ithna Ashari--or the Twelvers. Dominant in Iran, they believe in twelve imams and posit that the last imam we…

Fashioning Felt

Cooper Hewitt Museum has a wonderful exhibit on felt, on of the first fabrics used by man. It's basically wool that is processed so that it's fibers stick together. At the exhibit their was a lovely yurt composed of different textures of felt joined together, all without any sewing. Simply Beautiful.

There was also an exhibit on using natural materials in countries like Costa Rica, Alaska, Bolivia and Micronesia. The Nature Conservancy sent ten leading designers have been commissioned to develop new uses for sustainably grown and harvested materials in order to tell a unique story about the life-cycle of materials and the power of conservation and design. The featured designers and places include Yves Behar/Costa Rica; Stephen Burks/Australia; Hella Jongerius/Mexico; Maya Lin/Maine; Christien Meindertsma/Idaho; Isaac Mizrahi/Alaska; Abbott Miller/Bolivia; Ted Muehling/Micronesia; Kate Spade/Bolivia; and Ezri Tarazi/China.