Sunday, September 25, 2016

Reduce breaths and live longer

It's been my continuous experience in meditation: Breaths automatically slowing down. To the point of not breathing. And yet, the feeling of being relaxed. Then, very slowly, breathing happening slowly. But once I get conscious of this, I feel the breath rhythm is disturbed.

But I had this theory, which I recently also heard again coming from a Vedantin. That of the 21,600 breaths in a day (with each breath of 4 seconds), as you reduce a few, you live longer.

Another aspect of breath as we know: If you breathe deeper, your mind is calmer. When you are in agitation, be it physical, mental or emotional, you breathe faster. If this prolongs in day, you exceed the 21,600 count and it reduces the life-span by that much. Which also holds up scientifically, where it's well-known that prolonged agitation of these aspects is bound to make us ill, which will obviously reduce life-span.

In the end, what we need is the primary awareness of life being a game, a dream in a forever cycle. So take the awareness of a witness while involved in Karma, fulfill your role and come out of this cycle.

So..let's breathe deep!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

I am Infinite

In the rhythm of the flute, that I sat hearing
I could see, the coconut trees sway

And leaves seem dancing, in blissful merriment
I know they knew, that I am watching

We are all are one, the Brahman infinite
They were expressing only, the feelings in Heart

You take the body away, but I live on
Oh foolish people, to have attachments at all

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Lonely Path

There was once a lonely path
I walked on it all alone
Amidst the crowd unnoticed
I was at peace with myself

Then had I held a hand
And this has given me respect
In eyes of those who walk by
But for this I didn't care

Then we have two young hands
And this has given me bliss
I know now the taste of
I cannot rest till I achieve

So I look forward to the lonely path
But this time I'll walk somewhere
I know what I look for
I know now what I want to

The creator's folly

There is no meaning left, in the sizzle and bustle of crowds
You can have as many, but people will only distract

A quiet reflection, when there was just One
Has created this marvel, this system of creation

I was but a loner, and then I wanted too many
Regret do I that this has, cost me my identity

Forgotten have I who I was
Forgotten have I who I am...

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Child is Spontaneous

I know not what relation it is..
I daze at you with unending bliss
Every antic my little child
Does extract a little a smile

How you do it is just being yourself
What a truthful teaching it is

The world would have a hearty laugh
if you do it, but frown on it, if ever I did

Sau Tarah Ke Rog Le Lu...Lyrics gone too far?

I was listening to this song "Sau Tarah Ke Rog Le Lu" from a recent film (YouTube Link). The music sounded jazzy. But pay attention to the lyrics, and it seems to be more about a one-night stand. And then you realize that the lyrics seem to be downplaying STDs. As if, I can't help it now, I'd rather take on the disease.

 I don't know if these lyrics raise a hue a cry or not, or the "chill it man" generation just passed it on as another test of their "openness". But it should have, the way the "Choli" songs in '93 or Govinda-Karishma songs in '95 / '95 did. That negative promotion did some damage in making it not worth having suggestive lyrics in films.

Lyrics like these need to be scrutinized by the Censor Board; not sure if it currently comes under their purview. I know the board is under pressure these days for lack of "consistency" and "moral policing" / "lack of maturity" etc etc. That can be a separate debate, but lyrics like these which undermine the gravity of such diseases while also promoting unhealthy behaviors towards sexuality, definitely need condoning!

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Onam Days

(As received in a forward)

The Ten Days of Onam Celebrations

The celebrations of Onam start on Atham day, 10 days before Thiruvonam. The 10 days are part of the traditional Onam celebrations and each day has its own importance in various rituals and traditions.

1. Atham 5th Sept 2016
The first day of Onam celebrations starts with Atham day in the Malayalam month of Chingam. It is believed that King Mahabali starts his preparations to descend from Pathala to Kerala on this day. The day also marks the start of festivities at Thrikkakara temple, which is considered as one of the centers of Onam and the abode of Mahabali, with the raising of the festival flag. The traditional ritual of laying pookkalam (floral carpet) starts on Atham day. The pookkalam on this day is called Athapoo, and it is relatively small in size. The size of the pookkalam grows in size progressively with each day of the Onam festival. Only yellow flowers will be used on Atham and the design is kept simple. Statues or figurines of Mahabali and Vamana are also installed at the entrance of each house on this day.

2. Chithira 6th Sept 2016
The pookkalam design on the second day consists of a second layer added on top with 2 different colours apart from yellow (mostly orange and creamy yellow). On this day, people start cleaning the household to prepare for the Thiruvonam day.

3. Chodhi 7th Sept 2016
On the third day of Onam celebrations, the pookalam starts growing in its size by adding new layers or designs with at least 4 to 5 different flowers. The day also marks the start of shopping activities. Onam is associated with gifting new clothes, hence from this day onwards people start buying new clothes and jewellery.

4. Vishakam 8th Sept 2016
The fourth day of Onam celebrations. Vishakam is considered to be one of the most auspicious days of Onam. In olden days, the markets open their harvest sale on this day, making one of the busiest days in the markets for public. Nowadays, Vishakam marks the start of many Onam-related competitions such as Pookkalam competition.

5. Anizham 9th Sept 2016
The fifth day of Onam celebrations is one of the most important days in the Onam celebration, as it kicks off the great Vallamkali (Snake boat race) in many parts of Kerala. The snake boats are prepared for participation in the boat race at Aranmula Uthrattathi Vallamkali. A mock Vallamkali is conducted on this day at Aranmula as a dress-rehearsal for the final boat race which will be held after Onam.

6. Thriketa 10th Sept 2016
The sixth day of Onam celebrations. By the sixth day, the public frenzy starts building up. Most of the schools and public offices are granted holiday from this day onwards and people start packing their bags to their native homes to celebrate the festival with their dear ones. The pookkalam design will be very large by this time, with at least 5 to 6 new flowers types added to the original designs.

7. Moolam 11th Sept 2016
The seventh day of Onam celebrations. On this day, the smaller versions of traditional Ona Sadya (Onam lunch feast) start in many places. Most of the temples offer special sadyas on from this day. Festivities include Puli Kali (masked leopard dance) and traditional dance forms like Kaikotti Kali which are performed in various functions.

8. Pooradam 12th Sept 2016
The eight day of Onam celebrations. The day starts off with a major traditional ritual where the small statues of Mahabali and Vamana will be washed and cleaned and taken around the house in a procession. It will be later installed in the center of the pookkalam smeared with a rice-flour batter. The smearing is done by small children who are called Poorada unnikal. From this day onwards, the statue will be called Onathappan. The pookkalam design from Pooradam day onwards gets much bigger and complex in design.

9.Uthradom 13th Sept 2016
The ninth day of Onam Celebrations. Uthradom is the ninth and the penultimate day of the festival of Onam. It is considered as Onam eve and celebrated in a very big way. The importance of this day is last minute extreme shopping frenzy called as Uthradappachil and is considered the most auspicious day for purchase of fresh vegetables and fruits along with other provisions from the Thiruvonam day.

Uthradam is known as 'First Onam' because it marks the day when King Mahabali descends onto Kerala. Traditional myths say that the king will spend the next four days touring his erstwhile kingdom and blessing the subjects. Due to this, Uthradom is celebrated in a very pompous manner with larger pookkalams and celebrations in all households. The Uthradom lunch is generally grand. Women normally cut the first set of vegetables on this day that marks the celebrations of Thiruvonam in each household and preparations for grand Thiruvonam feast also start during the evening of Uthradom day.

10.Thiruvonam 14 Sept 2016
The tenth and final day Onam celebrations that culminates the 10 days of Onam Carnival. The day is known as Thiru-Onam (Sacred Onam Day) also known as 'Second Onam'. Myth says that this was the day Mahabali was sent to the netherworld ( Pathalam) by Vamana. The day marks the return of Mahabali to his fabled land (Kerala), as per the boon he received from Vamana to meet his subjects and bless them. Apart from this myth, this day is considered auspicious being birthdays of several temple deities representing Vishnu, like Vamana of Thrikkakara temple, Sree Padmanabha Swamy of Thiruvananthapuram etc.