Thursday, January 22, 2009


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Monday, January 19, 2009

A short poem

ok i know i did promise i'd write write on the golden temple but that'll have to wait. as the last two posts have been about punjab and its culture i decided id put up something else instead.Here's a short poem that touched me .ikts by teal henderson from chicken soup for the teenage soul.its about not losing hope and having faith in oneself.
the poem is called "Again":
If when you wake upin the morning,
And the Hurting is so great,
You don't want to get out of bed
And face the world of hate.
If everything in life goes wrong
And nothing you do seems right,
You just try a little harder
And soon you'll see thelight.
For every person who has put you down
And filled your life with pain,
You must strive to achieve greatness
And show them you can win .
For every dissappointment,
For the times you are let down,
There will be a better moment
And your life will turn around.
Because everyone feels heatache,
And everyone feels pain,
But only those who have true courage
Can get up and try again.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Story of Guru Nanak

as i promised yesterday, i do a few posts on the unique traditions of Punjab. During the Islamic invasions, the land of Punjab( which included present day pakistan)was the most threatened actually it was the religious traditions of the land which were threatened. That was the time when the bhakthi movement started in the various parts of India but had not yet reached punjab so that is how the initial roots of what came to be the rich tradition of " Sikhism" were eventually sown .Now it was the great Guru Nanak who started the bhakti movement in punjab Now here is a short story of Guru Nanak .Birth and early life
Guru Nanak Dev was born on 13 November 1469 into a Hindu Khatri( a sub caste of Kshatriya) family of the Bedi caste, in the village of Talwandi, now called Nankana Sahib, in Lahore, Present day pakistan.Today, his birthplace is marked by Gurdwara Janamastan.
His father, Mehta Kalyan Das popularly known as Mehta Kalu, was the patwari (accountant) of crop revenue for the village of Talwandi under the Muslim landlord of the village, Rai Bular, who was responsible for collecting taxes. Guru Nanak's mother was Triptha Devi and he had one elder sister, Nanaki.At the age of five years Nanak is said to have voiced interest in divine and spiritual subjects. At age seven, his father, enrolled him at the village school as per the norm.[8] Notable lore recounts that as a child Nanak astonished his teacher by describing the implicit symbolism of the first letter of the alphabet, as denoting the unity or oneness of God. Other childhood accounts refer to strange and miraculous events about Nanak such as a poisonous cobra being seen to shield the sleeping child's head from the harsh sunlight. Guru Nanak's teachings can be found in the Sikh scripture Guru Granth, a vast collection of revelatory verses recorded in Gurmukhi.
From these some common principles seem discernible. Firstly a supreme Godhead who although incomprehensible manifests in a variety of religious forms, the Singular 'Doer' and formless source of all forms. It is described as the indestructible or timeless form and in both impersonal and personal forms. Salvation or liberation depends on the grace ('nadir'- glance) of God alone and although outside the power of the individual, manifests through the individual whom is seen to be unceasing in their efforts. Religious awakening is compared to undergoing a living death.
Guru Nanak describes the dangers of the self (haumai- 'I am') and calls upon devotees to engage in worship through God's name and singing of God's qualities, discarding doubt in the process. However such worship must be selfless (seva). God's name cleanses the individual to make such worship possible. This is related to the revelation that God is the Doer and without God there is no other. Guru Nanak warned against hypocrisy and falsehood saying that these are pervasive in humanity and that religious actions can also be in vain. However the practice of satsang is considered exalted. It may also be said that ascetic practices are disfavoured by Guru Nanak who suggests remaining inwardly detached whilst living as a householder.Also, Guru Nanak said that" na koi hindu na hi koi musalmaan- hum sab ek hai , hamara rab bhi ek hi hai" loosely translated this means that there is no Hindu or Muslim, we are all one , even our GOD is one.(How similar it is to the teachings of the Vedic philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam).Through popular tradition, Guru Nanak's teaching is understood to be practiced in three ways:
Naam Jaapna: Chanting the Holy Name and thus remembering God at all times (ceasless devotion to God)
Kirat Karō: Earning/making a living honestly, without exploitation or fraud
Vaṇḍ Chakkō: Sharing with others, helping those with less who are in need
Guru Nanak put the greatest emphasis on the worship of True Name (naam japna). One should follow the direction of Awakened individuals rather than the mind (state of manmukh- being led by the mind)- the latter being perilous and leading only to frustration.
In the context of his times, reforms that occurred in the wake of Nanak's teachings and the bhakti movement at large included bhakti devotion being open to all castes, women not to be marginalized from its institutions, and both Godhead and Devotion transcending any religious consideration or divide, as God is not separate from any individual.
Common errors today are to understand Guru Nanak as a mere reformer or intellectual thinker. People tend to think of him as someone who attempted to reconcile Hindu and Muslim differences, and consequently of Sikhism as a thoughtful and conscientious attempt to combine elements of Hinduism and Islam. However, a close study of even a few of his shloks quickly dispel this false notion. Guru Nanak Dev spoke from direct understanding as an Awoken personality and not as a scholar, utilizing the language of [Punjab] at the time as a person of Hindu background living in a highly Islamic state. He encouraged people to worship within their own traditions, but to keep the focus on God's names rather than egotistic considerations.For over twenty years beginning in about 1497, Guru Nanak traveled in all four directions on foot. He traveled as far east as Assam and Burma. To the South he went as far as Sri Lanka (Ceylon). To the north he ventured even to places outside India like Tibet, Chinaand RussiaHe also went towards the west into Arabia and Persia and further on. From the stories ive heard from nani and dadaji, Nanakdevji travelled as far as Mecca and Medina and also visited many islamic centres. ( not very shocking as one of his closest disciple Bhai Mastana was a follower of the Islamic Sufi Sect)As his end approached Guru Nanak would frequently test the devotion of his sons and nearest followers and in doing so demonstrate their state of mind to one another. There were numerous such occasions and one particular devotee, Baba Lehna, rose to eminence because he never faltered in his faith in Guru NanakGuru Nanak appointed Baba Lehna as the successor Guru, renaming him as Guru Angad Dev, meaning 'one's very own' or 'part of you'. This successorhood wasn't a mere gesture. Via a transformation, compared in Sikh tradition as the passing of a flame from one candle to another, the Guru-aspect of Guru Nanak descended upon Guru Angad. Guru Angad became Guru Nanak. In Guru Granth Sahib this is described as having even a physical manifestation whereby Angad in person suddenly appeared to look like Nanak.
(To Sikhs, although there were ten separate Gurus in physical form, there was actually only one single Guru whose metamorphosised light moved from one successor or vessel to the next, granting a kind of rebirth to those personalities on their initiation. Hence they all held the original name of 'Nanak'.)
Shortly after proclaiming Lehna as the next Guru, Nanak announced that the time of his death had arrived, and retreated to a tree whereby he sat in the lotus position,nd the praan (life-force) was guided upwards and outwards from his body . The date was said to be 22 September,539according to the western calendar.And, upon his death, his followers from Hinduism as well as Islam were having quarels about his cremation and his successoer decided to just cover his body with a chaddar and let them carry on with their fight. The next morning when a compromise was reached between Nanaks followers, Guru Arjan Dev lifted tjhe chaddar not to finf Nanaks Body but lotus flowers where his body was and there after the Hindus immeresed the flowers in the Ganges and the Muslims buried the flowers at one of their dargahs. Look forward to the post on the Golden Temple tomorrow and also my first experience there.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Sacred Sukhmani

The Sukhmani sahib is considered a sacred scripture by bothe the Hindu's and Sikh's of Punjab. The Sukhmani coprises an integral part of the core of the most sacred scripture of Sikhism : The Guru Granth Sahib. Sukhmani Sahib is the name given to the set of hymns divided into 24 sections which appear in the Guru Granth Sahib. Each section, which is called an Astapadi(ashta means 8), consists of 8 hymns per Astapadi. The word Sukhmani literally means Peace in your mind. This set of Hymns orform of Guru Bani is very popular among the the Sikh's as well a sthe Hindu's, who frequently recite it in their places of worship called Gurdwaras and even in certain t and at home. The full recital takes about 90 minutes and is normally undertaken by everyone in the congregation.
According to Sikh doctorine, this Bani is believed to bring peace to one's mind and compoundly peace to the world. This set of 192 hymns were compiled by the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji.This scripture has some beautiful Sayings and some very interesting knowledge points. The Sukhmani Sahibis a must read along with Yog Vasisth and Celebrating Silence. It is a great gift to humanity from the Guru's of Sikhism. My next post will reflect more on the origins of Sikhism and the unique religion and Culture of the Punjab in the next few posts.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cool Salad

mm ate this one last night at an old family frineds place it was yumm..
what you need : some nicely washed crisp green lettuce, red ,yellow and green capsicum cut into strips ,onion cut into strips , lots of broken/crushed roasted peanuts without the skin. for the dressing : mix extra virgin olive oil,soy sauce, crushed dry mint/basil leaves and thyme /oregano/rosemary( basically a combination of herbs you like),lime juice a few drops are fine, salt,black nd white pepper and a few drops of honey. now mis this up and add to the salad. add the peanuts at the end for garnish makes it nice nd crunchy...unfortunately didnt carry my camera to take a pic when we were making it there but believe me its yumm.. one could also use a mix of green lettuce, red lettuce and rocket that comes out tastier as rocket is quite flavourful...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Want to try out a new template

ok so i am going to try out a new template soon. this one is quite popular do lemme know how this one looks compared to the previous theme and depending on the feedback, ill switch back to the previous template.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


ok so i went to the ashram ( the international art of living centre) yesterday . It was AMAZING. Guruji( His Holiness Sri Sri Ravishankarji) is there these days . It was my first one for 2009 . Believe me i couldnt have asked for anything better than to start the new year soaked in a state of bliss.Belive me even tough i reached a bit late , the singing in VM was still going on and when Guruji started to speak , it was the most amazing thing and deep knowledge.Last evening was a q n a session and guruji spoke on various topics from spirituality and materialism to the effect of planets and the role of leadership and life in general.
I cant quote verbatim but ill put down in short points what was spoken:
1. The world has enough for everyonee's needs but not for everyone's greed
2. Spirituality and Meaterialism can coexist
3.The planets( grahas ) do have effects but if one chants the mahahmantra of Om Namah Shivaya , the negative effects gets balanced out
4. Some one asked a really silly question on Karma and choice so Guruji answered:asking the question is ur karma, u being in the VM is also ur good karma but asnsswering the question is not my karma but my free choice.
5. Sadhna Seva Satsang.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I went back home for a quick visit after about one year . Usually its every 3-4 months a short trip but since am studying in sydny it was just this once. Delhi seems to be the second punjab in India. A huge population of Punjabis and Sikhs is the pride of this place. Not only that, it is India's capital City with huge pockets of Biharis, Rajasthanis, Bengalis and smaller pockets representing the rest of the country . Delhi even todayrepresents the best of both the Indi's-one steeped in tradition and culture and yet moving forward in a globalising economy. The best of Ethnic and Western worlds- probably the best example of east meets west can be found in this city because apart from communities representing all of India , Delhi is home to a huge expat population from every nook nd corner of the world-thanks to the embassies.
Delhi noe has the largest CNG transport system in the world, world's largest rail travel network including the metro. Food . Food and more Food9well one shouldnt expect anything less in a city that boasts of a h uge punjabi populace)from chhole bhature with piyaz ki chutni, to mushroom and gobi tikka to anar ki jucie to chaat,from greek and italian to the dal makhnni at maurya and the new concept of plated indian food at the Varq( a newly opened restraunt at the taj mansing btw the singadha palak with rice is a must try here believe me its yumm)to the little eateries on Pandara Road( karahi paneer and mushroom tawa masala is a must try here)to the raidiwalas selling the yummiest shakarkhadi ki chat(sweet potatoes) and chhole with thande kulche and momos an dchowmein being available on the streets. To eating ghar ka khana with mamis and buas and bade bhaiyyas who speak purrfect punjabi despite being educated in boston and england, being pamperde by your bhabis, nana-nani and badepappa, chilling out with cousins and lazing around in bed for half the morning in delhi's cold weather-it was a truly different world from the life i lead in sydney or in bangalore- maybe one of the reasons the whole family was going on a pampering spree for me was that i came home to delhi after a year.Anyways now to the shopping part-one can get the best of ethnic wear ( yes girls in delhi actually wear a mix or balance of ethnic and western wear, fusion wear, western wear and designer wear here) however i decied to go more on the ethnic side as i prefer variety in my wardrobe ( a mix of westerns, ethnic and fusion wear) and since ive been picking up my western clothes in aussie land .i ended up buying a very lovely chanderi silk suit and five casual suits gifted by my nani . I also did pick up gorgeous wollen sweaters and aatons of other things. Delhi being the second punjab of India has a lot many religious places of interest -be it temples or Gurudwaras. One such p[lace i love gfoing to is Nanak Piao which is right near nanis house , the peace and power of that place is something else only9 another post for this).All in all the delhi trip was fun, short and sweet maybe after am done with my studies ill go back to visiting there once every three months.I however do feel sad at not being able to visit Amritsar and Jallundar this time around.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year - 2009

ok 2008 has passed us by - there were moments. some great. some good and some not so good and some terribly bad . 2008 saw many things - terrorism, economic recession , depression, suicide, crime, martyrs giving up their lives, human unity, the strength of values , the strength of spirituality , hope and above all peace.
Heres wishing everyone a great 2009 and may the terrible times of 2008 tide over and may everyone have a 2009 filled with inner peace , outer dynamism, peace, bliss and above all a 2009 soaked in divine grace.......
PS: i may not be able to blog regularly until the 10th of january as i am in delhi and donot have frequent access to the computer and a internet connection......will write about my delhi trip in later posts after 10th of january...

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