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Tale Ten – Takeaway

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

Tale Seven – Nostril

Tale Eight – Karma

Tale Nine – Guru

Tale Ten – Takeaway

Ravan was at the last stage of his life. Sri Rama asked King Ravan, “O Great King, you have been ruling all the three worlds with full powers. Tell me; what is the art and craft of efficient and effective state administration? I am a prince inexperienced. I am eager to learn from you.” King Ravan was gasping for breath – he was dying.

He explained: “O Sri Rama, you know everything about everything. Yet you ask me with humility, as a person who does not know! I had all the powers and wealth and also the blessings of Lord but still; I did not try to transcend my ego (ahamkara). On the other hand, I did everything that boosted my ego”.

“I had many plans to develop myself, and also my people to attain liberation (moksha), but I postponed those excellent plans and desired to have your wife, what a wretched thought it was. I made it my first priority and acted on it with full speed. O Sri Rama, you know what sufferings I went through and I am now paying for my mistake with everything I have, including my life.” “I learnt the lessons from you; it was too late though, I would answer your question about efficient and effective state administration”.

“Act today on your good thoughts, plans and projects. Do not delay for a moment. Postpone your evil thoughts for tomorrow. Both good and evil thoughts come everyday – such is the mind.”

This is why the leadership and management of mind is essential.

It is not the number of heads but the appropriate use of one that makes or breaks a person.

Posted in: Celebrations, Dussehra, Festival, Festivals, India, Motivational, Navratri

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Tale Nine – Guru

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

Tale Seven – Nostril

Tale Eight – Karma

Tale Nine – Guru

The story goes that after firing the fatal arrow on the battlefield of Lanka, Ram told his brother, Lakshman, “Go to Ravan quickly before he dies and request him to share whatever knowledge he can. A brute he may be, but he is also a great scholar.”  The obedient Lakshman rushed across the battlefield to Ravan’s side and whispered in his ears, “Demon-king, do not let your knowledge die with you. Share it with us and wash away your sins.”  Ravan responded by simply turning away.

An angry Lakshman went back to Ram, “He is as arrogant as he always was, too proud to share anything.” Ram comforted his brother and asked him softly, “Where did you stand while asking Ravan for knowledge?” “Next to his head so that I hear what he had to say clearly.” Ram smiled, placed his bow on the ground and walked to where Ravan lay. Lakshman watched in astonishment as his divine brother knelt at Ravan’s feet. With palms joined, with extreme humility, Ram said, “Lord of Lanka, you abducted my wife, a terrible crime for which I have been forced to punish you. Now, you are no more my enemy. I bow to you and request you to share your wisdom with me. Please do that for if you die without doing so, all your wisdom will be lost forever to the world.”

To Lakshman’s surprise, Ravan opened his eyes and raised his arms to salute Ram, “If only I had more time as your teacher than as your enemy. Standing at my feet as a student should, unlike your rude younger brother, you are a worthy recipient of my knowledge. I have very little time so I cannot share much but let me tell you one important lesson I have learnt in my life. Things that are bad for you seduce you easily; you run towards them impatiently. But things that are actually good for you fail to attract you; you shun them creatively, finding powerful excuses to justify your procrastination. That is why I was impatient to abduct Sita but avoided meeting you. This is the wisdom of my life, Ram. My last words. I give it to you.”

With these words, Ravan died.

Read Takeaway shortly

Posted in: Celebrations, Dussehra, Festival, Festivals, India, Motivational, Navratri

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Tale Eight – Karma

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

Tale Seven – Nostril

Tale Eight – Karma

Ravan abducted Ram’s wife, a crime for which he was killed by Ram himself. So says the Ramayan. The epic makes Ravan the archetypical villain. And since Ram is God for most Hindus, Ravan’s actions make him the Devil incarnate. This justifies the annual burning of his effigy on the Gangetic plains during the festival of Dushera.

But on the hills of Rishikesh or in the temple of Rameshwaram, one hears the tale of how Ram atoned for the sin of killing Ravan. Why should God atone for killing a villain? One realizes that, like most things Hindu, the Ramayan is not as simplistic and pedestrian an epic as some are eager to believe.

After slaying Ravan, Ram was informed by Rishi Agastya that Ravan was only half-demon: his father Vaishrava, was a Brahmin whose father was Pulatsya, one of the seven mind-born primal sons of Brahma himself. Ram, though God incarnate, was born in the family of Kshatriyas. In the caste hierarchy, Ram was of lower rank. As Brahmin, he was custodian of Brahma-gyan (the knowledge of God). Killing him meant Brahma-hatya-paap, the sin of Brahminicide.

So after killing Ravan, before returning to Ayodhya, Ram went to the Himalayas to perform penance and purify himself of the sin of Brahma-hatya or killing of a Brahmin.

Read Tale Nine tomorrow

Posted in: Celebrations, Dussehra, Festival, Festivals, India, Motivational, Navratri

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Tale Seven – Nostril

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

Tale Seven – Nostril

In the Rajasthani folk narratives of the Ramayana, we learn that in order to kill Ravan, Ram needed to liberate Ravan’s soul locked in the nostril of one of the horses that pulled the chariot of the sun-god. Only a celibate man could do this. Since Laxman was not married (the local version is ignorant of Laxman’s wife, Urmila, who he left behind when he followed Ram) he was able to shoot an arrow that struck the nostril of that horse which pulled the sun-god’s chariot. As a result, Ravan’s soul was no longer hidden and Ram was able to kill Ravan.

In some versions, it is Laxman, not Ram who kills Ravan showing the influence of Jains who believed Ram, being perfect, followed non-violence.

Read Tale Eight tomorrow

Posted in: Celebrations, Dussehra, Festival, Festivals, India, Motivational, Navratri

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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

Posted in: Celebrations, Dussehra, Festival, Festivals, India, Motivational, Navratri

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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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