In the war of egos, the winner is the bigger loser

Source : http://www.gitadaily.com/in-the-war-of-egos-the-winner-is-the-bigger-loser/

When people disagree on an issue, the disagreement sometimes degenerates into a war of egos, where the issues are pushed into the background. People obsess on proving that they are right, not on determining what is right. In such arguments, the winners often end up as bigger losers.

Those who lose such an argument may be seen by the world as losers. But in the long run, those people grow and flourish who are ready to revise their understanding when necessary, who have the humility to learn what is right. The Bhagavad-gita (13.08) indicates that humility is the first of the twenty characteristics of those in knowledge. This implies that humility is the doorway to knowledge – those who have humility learn and grow. Those who prove that they are right even when they aren’t, bang shut the door of humility. They lock themselves outside the house of knowledge, in the arena of illusion.

The notion that one can do no wrong, that one’s view is the right view, that one’s view is, in fact, the only right view – that is essentially the notion that one is God.

So, when discussions start becoming ego issues, best to bow out and thus stay out of illusion.

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The Lord’s kindness

Source : http://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/the-lords-kindness/article18572297.ece

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna talks of three yogas that lead to moksha — karma, bhakti and jnana. But the Gopikas did not observe any of these paths, and yet were liberated. That is because of their intense love for Lord Krishna. The Lord did not take into account their lack of jnana, but was impressed by their attachment to Him, said M.A. Venkatakrishnan in a discourse. The Lord is kindly disposed towards everyone. But we are so undeserving of His kindness that despite His efforts to reach out to us, we still remain unliberated.

In His abode, the Supreme One is waited on by all those who have attained liberation and yet the Lord is unhappy, because there are many more on this earth who haven’t yet been liberated. So He searches out people to whom He can grant liberation under one pretext or another. If someone utters His name in one of the towns where a temple of His is located, He takes that as worship of Him and looks favourably upon that person. Or if someone accidentally does some good to a devotee, that too begins to count in his favour.

Suppose a devotee is out on the road and there is an unbeliever walking beside him. The unbeliever is armed with a stout stick. Suppose a man who had planned to waylay the devotee is frightened, supposing that the non-believer is there to protect the devotee, then the non believer gets a merit simply by having saved the devotee, albeit unintentionally!

Suppose you rub gold to test its quality and decide to gather the resulting gold dust. It will take you a long time to get some substantial gold from the accumulated dust.

In the same way, the Lord patiently gathers points in our favour to ultimately liberate us, like a man who collects gold dust.

The four-legged protectors: 4 stray dogs save baby girl in dumpster in Bengal

Source : http://indianexpress.com/article/trending/trending-in-india/four-stray-dogs-save-newborn-from-dumpster-in-bengal-3742306/

Over the past couple of months we have come across many incidents of stray-dog menace and dogs being attacked in retaliation. The debates about dog culling in Kerala to Union minister Maneka Gandhi appealing for action against dog killers, have been sad and disappointing.

But, here’s something positive that cheered people on social media — a report on four stray dogs saving a newborn found in a dumpster. The news was reported in Purulia district of Bengal. According to Times of India, the four dogs not able to do much after discovering the child, sat in guard and protected her from crows and patiently waited for help.

On November 5, a schoolteacher identified as Ulhas Chowdhury, on his way to school, heard the wailing of a baby. He started looking around and trailed the cry coming behind the bushes. Suddenly he saw a small baby wrapped in pink cloth crying aloud, with four, four-legged protectors.

Discovering the little one, Chowdhury alerted people of the neighbourhood and asked for help. The report adds that Chowdhury’s neighbour Parveen Sen rushed to the spot and picked the baby from the bin and even feed her milk.

When the baby girl was brought to Chowdhury’s home before taking her to the hospital for initial examinations, her rescuers followed the people to his home and ensured she was okay.

The Purulia Sadar police station was informed and they informed the incident to 24-hour child helpline. The baby is current in a local hospital and has jaundice but doctors say there is nothing to fear. The doctors also said that the abandoned baby girl is 7-10 days old and weighs 2.8kg.

Manchester Sikh temples offer food and shelter to people affected by terror attack

Source : http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/manchester-sikh-temples-food-shelter-people-terror-attack-suicide-bomb-harinder-kukreja-gurdwara-a7750881.html

Sikh community opens its doors to victims in solidarity, along with local homeowners, hotels and venues

Sikh temples in Manchester are offering shelter to those affected by the deadly terrorist bombing at an Ariana Grande concert on Monday.

The four nearby Gurdwaras – Sri Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara Educational and Cultural Centre, Gurdwara Sri Guru Harkrisham Sahib, Dasmesh Sikh Temple and Central Gurdwara Manchester Gurudwaras – all kept their doors open for victims through the night.

“Sikh Temples in Manchester, UK offering food & accommodation. They are open for ALL people,” said Harjinder Kukreja in a Tweet, posting the address of Sikh temples located in the area.

Many other local people took to Twitter to offer those affected beds for the night, using the hastag #RoomForManchester.

Taxi drivers offered free lifts, and several hotels and venues in the city centre were also reported to be offering space for those stranded in the city centre.

END Corporal Punishment – STOP Child Abuse

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Poisonous pedagogy, also called black pedagogy (from the original German name Schwarze Pädagogik), is a psychological and sociological term describing a subset of traditional child-raising methods which modern sociologists and psychologists describe as repressive and harmful. It includes behaviors and communication that theorists consider to be manipulative or violent, such as corporal punishment.

Alice Miller defines poisonous pedagogy as all types of behavior that she believes is intended to manipulate children’s characters through force or deception. Her focus is not merely on smacking (although she has said that “Every smack is a humiliation” and clearly opposes corporal punishment) but also on various other forms of manipulation, deceit, hypocrisy, and coercion, which she argues are commonly used by parents and teachers against children.

Developmental psychologist James W. Prescott, in the 1970s, carried out research into primate child-mother bonding and noted a link between disruption to the child-mother bonding process and the emergence of violence and fear based behaviour in the young primates. He suggests that the same dynamic functions for human beings, through the breakdown of empathy.

Sweden was the first nation to outlaw all forms of corporal punishment of children, in 1979. According to the Swedish Institute, “Until the 1960s, nine out of ten preschool children in Sweden were spanked at home. Slowly, though, more and more parents voluntarily refrained from its use and corporal punishment was prohibited throughout the educational system in 1958”. As of 2014, approximately 5 percent of Swedish children are spanked illegally.

Parents’ rights in Sweden to spank their children was removed in 1966. In 1979 Sweden became the first country to explicitly ban corporal punishment, through an amendment to the Parenthood and Guardianship Code which stated, “Children are entitled to care, security and a good upbringing. Children are to be treated with respect for their person and individuality and may not be subjected to corporal punishment or any other humiliating treatment.” Corporal punishment in Sweden does not usually carry a criminal penalty, unless it meets the criteria for assault.

The psychologist Alice Miller, noted for her books on child abuse, took the view that humiliations, spankings and beatings, slaps in the face, etc. are all forms of abuse, because they injure the integrity and dignity of a child, even if their consequences are not visible right away.

Humiliations, beatings, slapping, deception, sexual exploitation, mockery, neglect, etc. Are forms of abuse because they harm the integrity and dignity of the child, even if the effects are not immediately apparent. It is in adulthood that the abused child once will begin to suffer and make others suffer. This is not only a problem of the family but of society as a whole, because the victims of this dynamic of violence, transformed into executioners, take vengeance on entire nations, as is shown by the growing genocide More frequent under atrocious dictatorships like that of Hitler. Beaten children learn early on what violence they will use adults by believing in what they have been told: That they deserved punishment and that they were beaten “out of love.” They do not know that the only reason they were subjected to the punishment was because their parents suffered and learned the violence early without questioning it. In turn they beat their children without thinking of hurting them.

That is how ignorance of society remains so strong and that parents continue in good faith to produce evil in every generation for millennia. Almost all children get beating when they start walking and touch objects that should not be touched. This happens exactly at the age when the human brain is structured (between 0 and 3 years). There, the child must learn from his models kindness and love but never, in any case, violence and lies (like: “I give you for your good and for love”). Fortunately, there are some abused children who receive love and protection among “witnesses” in their entourage.

Souces : SlideShare, Wikipedia, Google

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisonous_pedagogy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_abuse

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporal_punishment_in_the_home

http://www.alice-miller.com/

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The end and the means

Source : http://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/the-end-and-the-means/article18490302.ece

Bhakti in its highest form is itself a Purushartha, a fifth one added on to the four usually accepted values of Dharma, righteousness, Artha, wealth, Kama, pleasure and Moksha, liberation.

This is the crux of the teaching in the Bhagavata Purana and it is shown how a devotee’s entire being is filled with intense love for God and with a desire to serve Him at all times. This in itself becomes the highest delight for him, and is extolled as Prema Bhakti, pointed out Sri B. Damodhara Dikshitar in a discourse.

Prema bhakti is often compared to a mother’s selfless love for a child when her entire concentration governs the way she takes care of the child at all times.

Great devotees such as Narada and Uddhava see the Gopis’ love for Krishna as an expression of the highest form of devotion. It is a state of mind that even yogis and sages steeped in meditation find it hard to attain. Each one has to work his way in this effort. Devotional practices such as offering worship in temples, or engaging in prayer in one’s home, or singing the names of the Lord, individually or in a group, are means towards cultivating intense and selfless love for God. There is no room for ostentation or outward show in this path where bhakti is an end in itself and is also the means. The only criterion is sincerity and genuine love to the Lord.

None can know the mind of a devotee better than the Lord for He is the in-dweller in each and every aspect of creation. Unique are the ways in which He responds to each one of them.

Is not Vidhura overwhelmed when Krishna chooses to have food in his humble abode in preference to the hospitality of Duryodhana and others? What a divine vision is granted to the devout Akrura?

Staunch devotion, the key

Source : http://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/staunch-devotion-the-key/article18475184.ece

Immediately after the revelation of His cosmic form, Krishna explains to Arjuna that only through unswerving devotion to Him can He be known and realised. “He who does work for Me, he who looks upon Me as his goal, he who worships Me free from attachment, who is free from enmity to all creatures, he goes to Me.”

Adi Sankara, in his commentary on the Gita, shows that this statement reflects the essence of the entire Gita teaching, pointed out Sri K. Ramasubramania Sarma in a discourse. It clearly teaches whatever one has to imbibe and practise in life, namely, that one who leads life with his mind fixed on God at all times and remains devoted to Him automatically reaches the goal.

The answer to Arjuna’s doubt regarding the relative merits of jnana and karma is provided here. The two paths are not mutually exclusive and intersect very often and only when being practised one realises this truth. Spiritual knowledge has nothing to do with theoretical or empirical learning or intellectual attainments. It is the direct and intuitive experience or vision of the Absolute Reality. For some it is felt as a moment of illumination in the inner recesses of one’s understanding which soon gets submerged in the rising waves of worldly experiences.

In the case of Arjuna, the vision of the cosmic form of the Lord confers an understanding of the grand design of creation in which all beings subsist in the cycle of birth, growth and death in a somewhat endless manner. But the Lord makes it clear that beholding the vision, which is itself a divine gift, is not attainment of the goal. This vision should help one to gain a permanent experience of the divine truth. Such an awareness that forms the backbone of one’s existence is possible only to one who has staunch devotion to the Lord.