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Tale Six – Antithesis

The Navratri festival is probably the most vibrant festival of India. Spreading across the expanse of India it is celebrated in different hues in different parts of the country each imparting its own flavour.

This is the only festival that lasts nine days and culminates with Dushera. A celebration of the triumph of good over evil.

There are enough tales, plots and sub plots to keep an inquisitive reader engaged for months. Here is a selection of short stories. One story for each of these ten days, to learn more about what made this such an absorbing contest.

Tales of one who had ten heads, yet not a sound mind.

Tale One – Inspiration

Tale Two – Sita

Tale Three – Curse

Tale Four – Flamboyance

Tale Five – Lust

Tale Six – Antithesis

Shiva is God embodying the principle of vairagya, absolute detachment. He demonstrates his disdain for all things material by smearing his body with ash and living in crematoriums. The material world does not matter to him. Ravan may be his great devotee; he may sing Shiva’s praise, and worship Shiva every day, but he does not follow the path of Shiva.

In reality, Ravan stands for everything that Shiva rejects. Ravan is fully attached to worldly things. He always wants what others have. He never built the city of gold – he drove out his brother, Kuber, and took over the kingdom of Lanka. Why did he abduct Sita?  Avenging his sister’s mutilation was but an excuse; it was the desire to conquer the heart of a faithful wife. And during the war, he let his sons die and his brothers die before entering the battlefield himself.

Read Tale Seven tomorrow

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Tale Five – Lust

The Navratri festival is probably the most vibrant festival of India. Spreading across the expanse of India it is celebrated in different hues in different parts of the country each imparting its own flavour.

This is the only festival that lasts nine days and culminates with Dushera. A celebration of the triumph of good over evil.

There are enough tales, plots and sub plots to keep an inquisitive reader engaged for months. Here is a selection of short stories. One story for each of these ten days, to learn more about what made this such an absorbing contest.

Tales of one who had ten heads, yet not a sound mind.

Tale One – Inspiration

Tale Two – Sita

Tale Three – Curse

Tale Four – Flamboyance

Tale Five – Lust

Ravan used to force himself upon the women who prevented his advances. There are two stories regarding it.

Vedavati was a beautiful lady who was performing penance with the intention of having Lord Vishnu as her husband. Her beauty enchanted Ravan. Vedavati resisted Ravan’s advances but Ravan did not stop. Vedavati foretold that she would return to the mortal world as the cause of death of Ravan. After that she sacrificed her life in a funeral pyre. She was then born as Ravan and Mandodari’s first child. Ravan was told before his marriage that their first child would cause his death. So after his first child was born, he sent Subahu to kill the child. Subahu was unable to kill the beautiful baby girl and lied to Ravan that he has killed her. The baby was found by King Janaka, who raised her. She was married to Rama, Vishnu’s incarnation and was the cause of Ravan’s death.

The second story is about Ravan’s encounter with Apsara, Rambha. He tried to capture Rambha who was engaged to Kuber’s son. She pleaded with Ravan that she was like his daughter, but Ravan was not discouraged. Kuber’s son was so angered that he cursed him stating that if he forced himself upon any woman, his ten heads would fall off immediately. This curse helped to protect Sita’s chastity when she was Ravan’s captive for about a year.

Read Tale Six tomorrow

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Tale Four – Flamboyance

The Navratri festival is probably the most vibrant festival of India. Spreading across the expanse of India it is celebrated in different hues in different parts of the country each imparting its own flavour.

This is the only festival that lasts nine days and culminates with Dushera. A celebration of the triumph of good over evil.

There are enough tales, plots and sub plots to keep an inquisitive reader engaged for months. Here is a selection of short stories. One story for each of these ten days, to learn more about what made this such an absorbing contest.

Tales of one who had ten heads, yet not a sound mind.

Tale One – Inspiration

Tale Two – Sita

Tale Three – Curse

Tale Four – Flamboyance

With ten heads, twenty arms, a flying chariot and a city of gold, the mighty Ravan is without doubt a flamboyant villain. His sexual prowess was legendary. When Hanuman entered Lanka, in search of Sita, he found the demon-lord lying in bed surrounded by a bevy of beauties, women who had willingly abandoned their husbands.

Ram, by comparison, seems boring – a rule-upholder who never does anything spontaneous or dramatic. He is the obedient son, always doing the right thing, never displaying a roving eye or a winsome smile. It is not difficult therefore to be a fan of Ravan, to be seduced by his power, to be enchanted by his glamour, and to find arguments that justify his actions.

One can’t help but wonder: why does the poet, Valmiki, go out of his way to make his villain so admirable, so seductive, so enchanting?

Read Tale Five tomorrow

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Tale Three – Curse

The Navratri festival is probably the most vibrant festival of India. Spreading across the expanse of India it is celebrated in different hues in different parts of the country each imparting its own flavour.

This is the only festival that lasts nine days and culminates with Dushera. A celebration of the triumph of good over evil.

There are enough tales, plots and sub plots to keep an inquisitive reader engaged for months. Here is a selection of short stories. One story for each of these ten days, to learn more about what made this such an absorbing contest.

Tales of one who had ten heads, yet not a sound mind.

Tale One – Inspiration

Tale Two – Sita

Tale Three – Curse

Ravan was no doubt a learned Brahmin – devotee of Lord Shiva. During one of his visits to Mt. Kailash, he was asked to wait as Lord Shiva was in deep meditation. While waiting, Ravan met Nandi who had the face of a monkey. During their conversation, Ravan made fun of Nandi and naughtily chided Nandi as to why he asked for a monkey face as a boon from Shiva while he could have asked anything. He also added that when Shiva had asked him, he had asked for ten heads (double that of Shiva who has five), twenty hands (double that of Shiva who has ten).

This infuriated Nandi who cursed him that monkey-faced persons would be responsible for his downfall and death.

Read Tale Four tomorrow

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Tale Two – Sita

The Navratri festival is probably the most vibrant festival of India. Spreading across the expanse of India it is celebrated in different hues in different parts of the country each imparting its own flavour.

This is the only festival that lasts nine days and culminates with Dushera. A celebration of the triumph of good over evil.

There are enough tales, plots and sub plots to keep an inquisitive reader engaged for months. Here is a selection of short stories. One story for each of these ten days, to learn more about what made this such an absorbing contest.

Tales of one who had ten heads, yet not a sound mind.

Tale One – Inspiration

Tale Two – Sita

It’s true that what Ravan did was wrong but according to some stories Sita was his daughter.

It’s said that Parvati once asked Lord Shiva to get a permanent house rather than keep wandering. Lord Shiva as he is rightly called ‘Bholenath’ agreed. Since Lanka was being made for his wife, it had to be special and that’s how Golden Lanka came into being designed by Vishwakarma.

At the time of grihapravesh, a yagna had to be organized for which none other than Ravan himself was called since he was the greatest and most learned brahman of that time. After the yagna, when Ravan was asked for his dakshina, he demanded Lanka.

Then another yagna was organized by Lord Shiva and once again Ravan was the priest. On its completion Ravan was offered a fruit by Lord Shiva which had the power to make his wife Mandodari pregnant and bear him a child. On his way back, Ravan felt hungry and unknowingly ate that fruit. When he woke up, he found himself impregnated and his neck getting choked. In his attempt to cough off this choke, his daughter (later called ‘Sita’) was thrown away to some far off land. She was then found by Janaka, the future father-in-law of Lord Ram.

Read Tale Three tomorrow

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Teachers Everywhere

When the student is ready, the teacher appears.

Festivals come once in a year but festivities are round the year.

Teachers Day comes once a year but teachers are with you, throughout the year.

Is learning the essence of life?

Not to everyone.

There are some who believe, and rightly so, that action is all that matters. Learning is the fuel, action is what puts it into motion.

There are others who have a cordial relationship with learning. They open their doors to learning once in a while- to let in some guests who are otherwise unwelcome generally.

And there are others who consider learning as an intruder and keep their senses on full alert to thwart any attempts from this unwanted intrusion in their zone of comfort.

To each his own. And we can rarely find fault with the different approaches. After all each of us has a right to decide how we wish to lead our lives, our priorities, our interests, grow, or evolve.

Gautam Buddha too was living in a blissful state of ignorance, in the lap of luxury, till he decided to explore and discover himself. This reveals two things – one, you can change course in life at any time, and two, it’s never too late.

Is learning self-realisation? Is it education? Is it discovery?

Does learning happen, or is it delivered by a teacher?

Can one learn without a teacher?

What role does a teacher have?

Teachers are not labelled. They may not necessarily be human. They may not be physically present. You can learn from a story, an anecdote, an observation, a thought.

You can stay untouched though surrounded by teachers, and you can learn despite the absence of teachers. The essence of learning is not what is being taught, but what is being learnt. And for that it is not the teacher in front of you, but the learner in you that seeks the teacher.

For those who seek teachers, they keep looking. For those who seek learning – teachers are everywhere.

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To Give or To Get

“Congratulations on your elevation. The cream always rises to the top.” – A few years ago, this was the message received by an officer from a well-wisher.

He responded, “Thanks for the wishes. As far as being the cream, I’d rather be the sugar instead.”

What would you like to be?

According to an interesting but apocryphal legend, in the 7th century a fleet of ships carrying people who had fled Persia due to the change of regime, arrived on the western shores of India. They were looking for a place to settle and make their new home.

Since they spoke a different language, the king of a small state sent his emissary with a glass of milk filled to the brim to communicate to the visitors that he had no space in his kingdom for more people.

The head of the fleet poured a spoon full of sugar in the glass of milk and sent it back to the king of the Indian state. The king was first amused at the returned glass of milk but then he tasted it. His face lit up realizing that the message from the visitors was, “We will mix with your people and integrate into your community just like sugar mixes in milk and makes it sweeter.”

And how true were they to their word? The Zoroastrians or Parsis as they are known in India, is a community of 100,000 in a country of one billion people. Their contributions to industry, art, science and literature are disproportionately tremendous. Just to mention a few Parsis: Zubin Mehta world famous conductor, The Tata family- founded many industries and Air India, Homi Bhabha the founder of India’s Nuclear Program, Dadabhoy Navroji- a co-founder of modern India in Gandhi’s team, Members of the Godrej family- industrialists, and so many more…

I guess it takes only a small amount of sugar (0.01% of the population) to add a lot of sweetness to the large pot of milk.

Addressing a group of exchange students who were to spend a year abroad with foreign families, I found most of them had great plans on what they were going to get out of the experience, but hardly anyone mentioned what they were going to offer as part of this exercise.

Each of us will be remembered for not what we take, but what we give.

We fondly recollect our associations with people, groups and organizations from whom we have received and they too will remember us for what we have contributed. The trigger may be to receive but you can’t receive till you give and whoever sweetens the cup rises to be the cream.

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Tiranga

Are you proud to be an Indian?

World History – Facts about India

1. India never invaded any country in her last 1000 years of history.

2. India invented the Number system. Zero was invented by Aryabhatta.

3. The world’s first University was established in Takshila in 700BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century BC was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.

4. According to the Forbes magazine, Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computer software.

5. Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to humans.

6. Although western media portray modern images of India as poverty struck and underdeveloped through political corruption, India was once the richest empire on earth.

7. The art of navigation was born in the river Sindh 5000 years ago. The very word “Navigation” is derived from the Sanskrit word NAVGATIH.

8. The value of pi was first calculated by Budhayana, and he explained the concept of what is now known as the Pythagorean Theorem. British scholars have last year (1999) officially published that Budhayan’s works dates to the 6th Century which is long before the European mathematicians.

9. Algebra, trigonometry and calculus came from India. Quadratic equations were by Sridharacharya in the 11th Century; the largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 106 whereas Indians used numbers as big as 10 53.

10. According to the Gemological Institute of America, up until 1896, India was the only source of diamonds to the world.

11. USA based IEEE has proved what has been a century-old suspicion amongst academics that the pioneer of wireless communication was Professor Jagdeesh Bose and not Marconi.

12. The earliest reservoir and dam for irrigation was built in Saurashtra.

13. Chess was invented in India.

14. Sushruta is the father of surgery. 2600 years ago he and health scientists of his time conducted surgeries like cesareans, cataract, fractures and urinary stones. Usage of anesthesia was well known in ancient India.

15. When many cultures in the world were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in Sindhu Valley (Indus Valley Civilization).

16. The place value system, the decimal system was developed in India in 100 BC.

Indians in USA

Indians are the wealthiest among all ethnic groups in America, even faring better than the whites and the natives.

There are 3.22 millions of Indians in USA (1.5% of population) YET,

• 38% of doctors in USA are Indians.

• 12% scientists in USA are Indians.

• 36% of NASA scientists are Indians.

• 34% of Microsoft employees are Indians.

• 28% of IBM employees are Indians.

• 17% of INTEL scientists are Indians. .

• 13% of XEROX employees are Indians.

Indians around the Globe

Q. Who is the GM of Hewlett Packard?

A. Rajiv Gupta

Q. Who is the creator of Pentium chip (needs no introduction as 90% of the today’s computers run on it)?

A. Vinod Dahm

Q. Who is the third richest man on the world?

A. According to the latest report on Fortune Magazine, it is Azim Premji, CEO of Wipro Industries. The Sultan of Brunei is at 6th position now.

Q. Who is the founder and creator of Hotmail (world’s No.1 web based email program)?

A. Sabeer Bhatia

Q. Who is the president of AT & T-Bell Labs (AT & T-Bell Labs is the creator of program languages such as C, C++, Unix to name a few)?

A. Arun Netravalli

Q. Who is the new MTD (Microsoft Testing Director) of Windows 2000, responsible to iron out all initial problems?

A. Sanjay Tejwrika

Q. Who are the Chief Executives of Citibank, Mc Kinsey & Stanchart?

A. Victor Menezes, Rajat Gupta, and Rana Talwar

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