Upholding Dharma

It is a short one for this week but it has something that our country (and its good citizen) have been lacking in some areas and should be revisited. It is also something that I have been pondering on a personal basis.

Let me start with a simple case study:-

There is a junction near the housing area where a quiet number of the residents would take to make a u-turn to go to the housing area. Well, that fine as it is quite convenient for the residents. The only problem is there is a clear sign that says no u-turn is allowed. Despite this sign board and sometimes the inconvenient (and danger) posed to other road users, the residents continue to make u-turns instead of driving a bit more further and make u-turn. It may sound trivial but perhaps the residents may not be aware, they are breaking traffic law on daily basis.

The notion of dharma comes to my mind. The concept of dharma may mean many things to different people and religion. It may even have different name in different part of the world and culture. In Hinduism, dharma signifies behaviors that are considered to be in accord with rta, the order that makes life and universe possible, and includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and ‘‘right way of living’’ (Wikipedia)

Before anyone accuse me of being holier than holy (ha ha), let me assure you that it has nothing to do with religion but rather a way of life, doing the right things (as oppose to doing the things right) and ensuring that we do not hurt others out of greed, anger and of course, stupidity. You can find a variant of this in every modern society, culture and religion. Morality is one aspect of it but then the question may arise – what is right for me may not be right for you. That I agree with you. But there simpler acid test for this – be guided by the existing laws and society norms.

It can simple as following the traffic rules – don’t make illegal u-turns is one example, not driving on the wrong side of the road, put on the indicators when changing lane, wear a helmet when riding a motorbike and so on. And to something more complex like managing the country in the best interest of it’s citizen. There is no law written down to managing the country in the best interest of the citizen, of course.

This is where the society norms comes in place. No society wants to be governed by greedy, dumb, wasteful, dictator alike government – unless we are in a failing states like Zimbabwe or North Korea (but not Iran as the US wants us to believe). But we are not, we are far from countries like that. We will come across many instances of doing the right things in a day if you keep an eye and ears on it.

Asking people to do the right thing is nothing new concept. It is an age old concept.

I first came across the word “dharma” when I went to India for the first time and bought the Mahabharata from a local book store there. It was on sale (most things were) and the language used in the book was not so complicated to follow (I had to do something to kill time when the ladies were out for their shopping).

The dharma is mentioned a few times in Mahabharata which itself been called the story of dharma:-

Mahabharata is one of the oldest epics of our country, nay the world. It shows how dharma and karma govern our lives. Dharma is what is the right thing to do at a given time or situation. Dharma is based on wisdom, insight and human values. Dharma has many meanings and many dimensions as well – duty, truth, non-violence (ahimsa paramo dharma) and others. It is well said that “dharmo rakshita rakshata” – dharma protects he who follows dharma. However, if you do not follow dharma, you have to reap the consequences. That is karma – you reap what you sow, sooner or later.

(Source)

Failure to uphold the dharma will eventually attract bad karma. That’s universal – if you don’t do the right things, the consequences will not be good as well. If you don’t follow the traffic rules, you may get into an accident (or cause others to get into an accident).

The same with running this country. If you don’t govern the country well, it will not prosper and developed. And so. You may have heard variations of it – Murphy’s law, Newton’s 3rd law of motion, blah, blah

Knowing what is the right to do is one thing, doing it without fail is another:-

Doing right always is a very difficult task. Many a times we do not know what is dharma, what is not. Even though we know, unless it is a very usual habit of following it, at times of great stress it is impossible to follow the path of Dharma.

(Source)

In order to do thing on a constant basis, it takes high discipline and of course practice but more importantly there must be an acceptance that doing the right things should precede doing things right. It has to be habitual as well.

Here’s Your Beef Pizza

Please read these as well:-

Pizza

(BF on the pizza list does not mean chicken, I am very sure of it but the staff insisted it is chicken. It may not look like much but add the service and the tax and soon to be GST, eating out may not be a cheap thing. Having the restaurant mixing your order is just rubbing the salt on your wounds)

Dear, that looks like beef, my wife told me as the waiter placed the pizza on the table…

Continue reading »

Holy Man Encounters

(Sathya Sai Baba, one of India’s most influential spiritual leaders, breathed his last at a hospital funded by his organisation in his home town of Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh on last Sunday. He was 85. Image source: http://www.kevinrdshepherd.info)

To many around the world, the Great Guru is dead but here’s the troubling news that often associated with modern day, highly commercialized but dead holy men:-

A scramble has broken out for control of the $12-billion empire of an Indian guru with a worldwide following who died Sunday. Sathya Sai Baba’s devotees included actress Goldie Hawn, the Duchess of York and Isaac Tigrett, the founder of the Hard Rock Cafe chain, Pratibha Patil, India’s president, and Manmohan Singh, the prime minister, attended his last birthday celebrations.

As his health deteriorated in recent months, politicians discussed whether the state should seize his fortune. His nephew, R.J. Ratnakar, and Satyajit, a devotee, who cared for him, are among those reported to be jostling for control over the Sathya Sai organization.

Court documents allege that Sai Baba owned many cars, including Mercedes limousines and a Jaguar, and that the roof of his temple was lined with gold.

(Source)

To be frank, I am not really a devotee of Sai Baba or someone who closely followed his teachings (to an extent I thought that he was already dead many, many years ago) but the name is something I have been hearing since I was still small, often reminded of his name and image by some relatives in the family who consider him as the “Guru”. And who can forget the famous hair-do?

In recent times, other than Rajini’s movie “Baba”, the other “Guru” that made news in recent news was Swami Nithyananda and despite the denial by the Swami, the video evidence was rather overwhelming.

I still recall a long time ago when we were still living in Old Klang Road, my parents would make a short trip to a house situated on a hill along Jalan Morib, just across our housing area (these days things have changed a lot – there is a condominium on the same place now). We kids dreaded the place – not because it was scary but rather it was damn boring. We will walk to the house situated on the house – we loved the walk – the scenery along the road to the house is so tempting. There would be some people waiting at the front of the house, chit-chatting whilst waiting for the Guru (an elderly man with white hair) to be ready.

The Guru would start the session with some words of wisdom which was not so bad but once done, he will get us started on a long mantra session. This is the most boring part for us kids. Whilst the adult comfortably sit down in the hall, lights darken down a bit and everyone then starts the chanting of the mantra – over and over again, we kids would be edging to go out and breathe in some fresh air. We felt like we were drowning in all that chanting. We fought hard to keep ourselves awake – it was not really hard, our parents were by our side to knock us whenever they sense we were falling asleep. And somehow they always know the difference – we falling asleep and we closing our eyes and really chanting.

When the session is finally over, a small meal would be served, some chit-chats among the adults and finally we can walk back home. Thank God!

These days, the closest encounters with holy men would be at the temples and even this is kept to a distance. If one starts talking about religion in a rather passionately way, it merely signals the time to take our leave. Everyone have their sense of commitment when it comes to religion.

Kojak Time

It is T minus 2 days…

(Still remember this show from the 80’s? Back then, we used to call anyone who is bald, Kojak! Image source: http://savalas.tv)

There are some prayers over the weekend for my son and we suppose to get him shave his head as a sign of “renewal” (or as a means of going through a purification ritual, so they say).

This should have been done when he was still a baby but somehow we have been procrastinating until now (ya, we hate to see sharp razor “sliding” on his head). Aware of his good looks, he initially refused to get his head shaved clean until my wife informed that I will shave my head as well (it happened so fast, I had time to react). My son who like to act and talk like me at certain times liked the idea of two of us going bald at the same time – he asked me and I decided “why not?”

I had my hair cut to the minimum length before but a complete shave of the head is something new. As it is for a good cause and for my son, I will do anything, so losing a couple of hair from the head is small thing.

Read Also

Time for a shave

Almost Haircut

Kali Mints

(This is certainly insensitive to the Hindus around the world but in the western world, where there is freedom of expression and speech, being insensitive is not that too surprising)

From the website:-

Kali is a Hindu goddess that represents death, destruction, time and change. And what food comes to mind when you think of death, destruction, time and change? Curry! These exotic spice mints are great on their own or as an accompaniment to basmati rice and garlic naan. Each 2-1/4″ round tin contains one hundred mints.

Will we be seeing the same kind of protest that the Muslims took on the Danish Cartoons controversies? Or we are going to be more tolerant and call for boycott of the products & create awareness?

Read here for more story

2012 & 4 Yugas

(Image source: www.world-mysteries.com)

In my earlier post on 2012, it was stated that the Hindus believed that there will be a golden year within Kali Yuga. But what is Kali Yuga anyway.

From About Hinduism:-

According to Hindu scriptures, all mortal beings are destined to pass through four great epochs in every cycle of creation and destruction.

The four great epochs in Hinduism are: Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dwapar Yuga and Kali Yuga. Satya Yug or the Age of Truth is said to last for four thousand divine years, Treta Yuga for three thousand, Dwapara Yug for two thousand and Kali Yuga will last for one thousand divine Years that equals to 432,000 earthly years.

Throughout these four yugas, Lord Vishnu is said to incarnate ten times in ten different avatars. During the Age of Truth (Satya Yuga), human beings were spiritually most advanced and had great psychic powers. In the Treta Yuga people still remained righteous and adhered to moral ways of life. Lord Rama of the fabled Ramayana lived in Treta Yuga.

In the Dwapara Yuga, men had lost all knowledge of the intelligence and bliss bodies. Lord Krishna was born in this age. The present Kali Yuga is the most degenerated of the Hindu epochs.

Another theory explains these epochs of time on the basis of the degree of loss of righteousness in the world. It says, during Satya Yuga only truth prevailed (Sanskrit Satya = truth), Treta lost ¼ truth, Dwapar lost ½ truth and Kali is left with only ¼ truth. Evil and dishonesty has replaced truth in the last three ages or yugs.

Wikipedia on the other hand reports:-

Kali Yuga is the last of the four stages that the world goes through as part of the cycle of yugas described in the Indian scriptures. The other ages are Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga and Dvapara Yuga.

According to the Surya Siddhanta, an astronomical treatise that forms the basis of all Hindu and Buddhist calendars, Kali Yuga began at midnight (00:00) on 18 February 3102 BCE in the proleptic Julian calendar, or 23 January 3102 BC in the proleptic Gregorian calendar

Veda Online explains in details what happens during Kali Yuga:-

Hindu astrologers have calculated this to have been 2:27 a.m. on February 18, 3102 BC. This took place some 36 years after Lord Krsna spoke Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna.

The scriptures like SB 12.2 teach that during the 432,000 year age of Kali, humanity deteriorates and falls into barbarism. Humans begin to kill animals for food. They fall under the spell of intoxication. They lose all sexual restraint. Families break up. Women and children are abused and abandoned.

The saints and sages of ancient India describe the people of this age as greedy, ill-behaved, and merciless. In this age, says Srimad-Bhagavatam, merely possessing wealth is considered a sign of good birth, proper behaviour, and fine qualities. Law and justice are determined by one’s prestige and power

Severe droughts and plagues are everywhere. Slovenliness, illness, hunger and fear spread. Nations are continually at war with one another.

The men of Kali-yuga seek only money. Only the richest have power. People without money are their slaves.

Now the question arises – when does Kali Yuga ends? There seems to be many different interpretation of the end on different websites. Wikipedia simply mentions it as “When flowers will be begot within flowers, and fruits within fruits, then will the Yuga come to an end. And the clouds will pour rain unseasonably when the end of the Yuga approaches”

Interestingly it is also mentioned that “since only 5,000 years is past from the beginning of Kali-yuga, there is still 427,000 left for the end of Kali yuga. Even the Kali-yuga is not the end. After the end of Kali-yuga, again Satya yuga starts”

The last statement is interesting since we take into account the predicted golden years that may start in 2012, then it may be true that there is another 427,000 years to go before the end of Kali Yuga. And the golden years within Kali Yuga is expected to last for 10,000 years.

2012 will be an interesting year if all the ancient predications falls in place.

Read Also

Year 2012

Why We Pray?

Timeless Code of Conduct

Here’s something for the start of the week, something that everyone can embrace to (without the need to change religion)…

Conduct

(Image source: Stack Exchange)

Lies within the Vedas are the common-sense code of conduct recorded in the Upanishads, the final section of the Vedas. The code of conduct dictates 10 restraints, namely:-

The first restraint, Noninjury (ahimsa) – not injuring or harming others by thought, word, or deed

The second restraint, Truthfulness (Satya) – refraining from lying and betraying promises

The third restraint, Nonstealing (asteya) – neither stealing nor coveting nor entering into debt

The fourth restraint, Sexual Purity (brahmacharya) – divine conduct, controlling lust by remaining celibate when single leading to faithfulness in marriage

The fifth restraint, Patience (kshama) – restraining intolerance with people and impatience with circumstances

The sixth restraint, Steadfastness (dhriti) – overcoming non-perseverance, fear, indecision, inconstancy and changeableness

The seventh restraint, Compassion (daya) – conquering callous, cruel and insensitive feelings toward all beings

The eighth restraint, Honesty (arjava) – straightforwardness, renouncing deception and wrongdoing

The ninth restraint, Moderate Diet (mitahara) – neither eating too much nor consuming meat, fish, fowl or eggs.

The tenth restraint, Purity (saucha) – avoiding impurity in body, mind and speech

Read here for more explanation and details

Vedas are at least 4,000 years old and known to be one of the oldest sacred texts and despite the age, the code of conduct laid in the Vedas is pretty much still relevant for today.

I guess it is because at end of the day, we are only humans. Similar code of conduct is also found in other religions – it is just a matter whether we want to understand and embrace them.

Year 2012

(This may happen in 2012 too – picture source: www.occultopedia.com)

If you are a Hindu or a Mayan, this should be good news…

According to an article by David Hedges titled “Golden Age in 2012”, the golden age is expected to start on 22nd December 2012. He said in his article:-

In the Brahma-Vaivarta Purana, Lord Krishna tells Ganga Devi that there will be a Golden Age within the Kali-yuga that will start 5,000 years after the beginning of the Kali Yuga. The Golden Age will last for 10,000 years according to Lord Krishna. The Kali Yuga calendar began at midnight on 18 February 3102 B.C. according to many sources.

The ancient Hindu’s mainly used lunar calendars but also used solar calendars. If an average lunar year equals 354.36 days, then this would be about 5270 lunar years from the time when the Kali Yuga started until 21 Dec 2012, the year that the Mayans predict rebirth of our planet; and it is also about 5113 solar years of 365.24 days per year.

David Hedges ended his post with the following statement:-

Now we have another ancient source, Hindu Scripture’s called the Brahma-Vaivarta Purana, predicting a new world about the same time that the Mayans predicted it to come! Historically, this is an amazing fact since these two ancient cultures didn’t have any contact.

Sounds interesting?

2012 is just another 5 years from now and based on the current state of the country, I don’t foresee any “golden age” in the future unless of course, if the current government loses miserably in the next general election and a more responsible government takes over. Will we then be able to see a politician who puts the interest of the people ahead of the interest of his political party? To think about it – it is not impossible.

Then again, there may be another way of us achieving the “golden age”.

In an entry at Wikipedia on the year 2012, it was stated that in a book titled “The Bible Code”, a meteor, asteroid or comet will collide with the Earth and again in another book titled “The Nostradamus Code” where there will be a series of natural disasters caused by a comet. In another book titled “The Orion Prophecy” it was claimed that the Earth’s magnetic field will reverse. Plenty of natural disasters may cause the death of many people and towns causing humans to rebuild their lives again? Yes, it is possible.

In the same entry in the Wikipedia, it was also mentioned that in 2012, aliens will contact humans. Probably akin to the event dramatized in the movie “Star Trek: The First Contact” (but in that movie, the “first” contact was made in year 2063). In the “Star Trek” world, the golden age indeed started after the first contact – humans became more interested in knowledge rather than on money.

The year 2012 seems interesting…

Read here for another take at year 2012

Del.icio.us Tag: Internet

Read Also

2012 and 4 Yugas

The unveiling of the World Tallest Lord Murugan Statue

.
On 28th January 2005, the world’s tallest Lord Murugan’s statue was unveiled in Batu Caves. The statue is 42.7 meters tall and presently is the tallest in the world presently. The temple officials are hoping that it will be listed in Guinness Book of World Record. There were other records too:-

1. The statue cost RM2.5mil is made of 1,550 cubic meters of concrete, 250 tonnes of steel bars and 300 liters of gold paint brought in from Thailand. Fifteen Indian sculptors had worked on the project for three years.

2. The RM15,000 flower garland, which was 43m long and weighed about a tonne (A total of five days without sleep and 18 men was what it took to prepare this enormous garland. They needed another 20 men to help lift it to the crane so it wouldn’t sway and hit visitors).

Although, I was not in Batu Caves for the ceremony, my camera was (ya, I managed passed it to my sister as she was leaving to Batu Caves)

Picture 1
.


The statue as it was unveiled – they had to use 2 cranes to lift the huge malai (flower garland) up the statue and placed it in the right way. Look closely at the feet of the statue and you will see something interesting. See the next picture below to see what is interesting

Picture 2
.


The little kid dressed up as Lord Murugan standing at the feet of the statue – that’s gives some comparison of the real size of the statue

Picture 3
.

In conjunction with the unveiling of the statue, various Indian Cultural activities were also held. My sister managed to get 2 of the cultural dancers to pose for the shot (ya, she did a better job than me on the camera). It is quite rare to see the peacock dance.

For more pictures, also see TV Smith
.
(Filed under Del.icio.us Tag: Indians)
.