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Archive for March, 2010

Giving Love

We all want to be happy, to have a happy song always playing in our heart. Yet it is not possible to be happy always. The factors determining our happiness are complex and often beyond our control. Death, financial insecurity, relationships that break off, etc. are things which can make us unhappy over which we have no or at best marginal control.

Yet there is one thing that we can do a lot about and that is our happiness level. A lot of research is being done now on happiness and one thing that most researchers are agreed upon is that each individual has a ‘happiness level’ like the temperature level of a thermostat to which he or she returns and stays at after each high or low of our life.  To an extent, this level is probably genetic, but a large part of it is within our control. We can also order our life so that we can stay above our ‘set level’ of happiness.

Religion and spirituality is well recognized to have a very important function in our happiness. This has been well proven by modern research. No amount of decrying of religion by atheists can challenge this. So religious people do win the ultimate battle over atheists after all, because they are more happy!

Hinduism also offers many ways of being more happy. Among some of the thoughts on this, I would just like to highlight 5 points:

Point 1: Love others.

Now, this may seem the biggest cliché of all. A number of quick repartees come to our mind when we hear these words. In this big mean world, people who profess to love others would seem to be putting themselves at other’s mercy. There is no guarantee that if you love others, others will love you in return, and so you seem to be giving more than taking, a definite disadvantage.

But this is the wrong way to look at this. In Hinduism, and in Yoga, we give out love, not because we expect love in return, but because it enriches our own selves.

This is the secret of giving out love, it is not because the world will love us in return but because loving in itself brings happiness to our hearts. A good man or woman (more…)

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When did Yoga start? The origins of Yoga are lost in antiquity. According to tradition, the Samkhya philosophy along with the Yoga school are considered to be the oldest among the six schools of Hindu philosophy, older even than the Upanishads. This however does not give us much information because there is controversy about the dating of the Upanishads and other Hindu scriptures like the Yoga sutras, with dates ranging from 1500-500 BCE (according to Western experts) and 4500-3000 BCE according to Indian tradition.

Proto Shiva Yoga seal from Mohenjodaro

Yoga seal from Mohenjodaro

In this context, this image is very important (image from here). The image is from a seal from the Indo-Saraswati civilization, from the city of Mohenjodaro. It shows a figure in a Yogic posture. The image is quite clearly an image of the God Shiva, the God of Yoga. Various aspects point to this, like the three faced image, the crown with buffalo horns and three peepul leaves, etc.

The image is undoubtedly in a Yogic posture. Since the date of the Mohenjodaro civilization is quite well established (more…)

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I was born in Guwahati, received all my education both school and medical college here and now am working here.

For those who have never been in Guwahati nor even heard of it, and that includes the vast vast majority of the world’s population, Guwahati is a small town in the North Eastern part of India.

The North East of India is an isolated and thinly populated part of the country, with little development. Its isolation is increased by the fact that it’s a hilly region with difficult communication.

One special feature of the region though is the diversity in population. It has probably the most widely varied population in the world, with literally thousands of tribes and communities each with its own culture, language, dress and customs, many of the tribes numbering only a few hundreds.

Within this region, Guwahati is the centerpoint, and is the most developed and well connected town here (though that’s not saying much!). It is surrounded by hills, and it is a little like being at the bottom of a green bowl when you look around.

In my young days I remember Guwahati was little more than an extended village, with few sparse houses, and most of the town covered by marshy ponds. But being at the center of the region has meant a lot of growth in these years, although this has been unplanned and haphazard.

Now Guwahati has all the advantages of being a city, like shopping malls, multiplexes, a diverse and interesting mix of people and a lot of cultural activity, along with the advantages of being a village, like knowing most of your neighbors intimately, birds and trees in your backyard, (more…)

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