Monthly Archives: August 2015

Hallmarks of true devotion

Source: The Hindu (http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/hallmarks-of-true-devotion/article7593336.ece)

Scriptures and the Puranas describe many forms of worship or upasanas, practices and prayers that help to foster bhakti. The most vital aspect in bhakti is the absolute humility with which a jivatma approaches the Supreme Lord. This is stressed unequivocally by Kapila in his teaching, pointed out Swami Paramasukananda in a lecture.

This bhava comes with the knowledge that all one’s material and physical possessions in this life, and even one’s faculties of thought, word and action, one’s relations in this world, etc, are all given by God. The truth that none can own any of these as his own frees one from the delusion of I and Mine. The all knowing God looks for the offering of the immortal self within each jivatma, an offering that transcends the material and ostentation in the worship. Even a leaf, flower, fruit or a drop of water is acceptable to the Lord if only the jivatma truly loves Him for His sake and desires to belong to Him at all times is what Krishna asserts.

Worship done with the sense of ego, that is, any offering made with the feeling that I am giving this to God, cannot be true bhakti. Likewise worship done in the name of religion or any God with a sense of dogma is also not acceptable to God and true bhakti does not endorse enmity, prejudice or violence in any form. Worship performed with elaborate austerities and ostentation fails if the spirit of friendliness, compassion, consideration and respect is lacking. Kapila condemns this as wasted effort that goes against dharma and is equal to pouring ghee on the burnt ashes. A person, who dishonours people around him and lacks the broadmindedness to accept the abiding self of the Lord in all beings, is not eligible for doing puja.

Avoiding Eggs Won’t Kill You

The Vegan Lily

I’ve recently heard someone claim that animal rights activists or vegan activists try to encourage people not to eat eggs simply because they want to ‘kill off humans’. I’m genuinely curious as to whether or not people actually believe this.

As a vegan activist, I can confidently say that I encourage people to eliminate eggs from their diet because they have been proven to be dangerous to human health and the egg industry can also be cruel.

I care about animals and human health. At no point did I ever wish for any humans to die or for all humans to completely vanish of the earth (although every living thing and the planet would greatly benefit from this). I highly doubt that many animal rights or vegan activists are motivated by the death of humans nor would they wish that upon anyone.

This claim also doesn’t make sense to…

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METROSOCIAL: Honey, we shrunk the separatists

Source: Daily Mail UK

Late on Saturday night as Pakistan called off the blighted NSA-level talks, India had reason to smile to itself.

It is quietly achieving an unexpected success in its tempestuous relationship with its neighbour, one far more important than getting back an international criminal who is four months away from his 60th birthday.

India is finally cutting the crowd out of its relationship with Pakistan.

For nearly three decades, while calling Kashmir a strictly bilateral issue, India allowed separatists like SAS Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yasin Malik, Shabir Shah and Bilal Lone to be the ever-present third party.

In statements like “settlement of Kashmir issue must be in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people”, it was assumed for decades that the Hurriyat represented the “wishes of the Kashmiri people”.

It does not. Wishes of a region where more than 75 per cent voters turned out in the bone-chilling December of 2014 are certainly not represented by separatists, some of them former militants who carry the taint of murder, intimidation and a clockwork-precise ethnic cleansing of Pandits. 

August 18, 2014, changed all that. India called off foreign secretary-level talks after the Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit met separatists.

It will probably go down in history as one of the most crucial turning points in India’s diplomacy.

So far, the Modi government has been consistent in that tough and pivotal stance that it took.

Hurriyat leaders who were coming to Delhi to meet Pakistani NSA Sartaj Aziz on Sunday had been detained on arrival and quietly taken elsewhere.

Shabir Shah and Bilal Lone had also been whisked off from the airport. It helped the Modi government to have a PDP-BJP government in J&K.

PDP played the good cop by allowing the trouble- mongers to travel, quelling the possibility of local resentment and ensuring that separatists don’t whip up street anger by playing victim.

The detentions in the Capital have been low-key, the blow somewhat blunted by the 800- odd kilometres between Delhi and Srinagar.

There have so far been no street protests or violence in Kashmir over India’s decision not to let the separatists meet the Pakistani NSA. Some keyboard warriors from the Valley have been dismayed and vocal.

But then, armchair pundits are usually the last to know when their currency has lost its appeal and acceptance on the ground.

Separatists remain the poster boys of only this lot and the mainstream Indian media, which plays on loop for hours images of Pakistani flag being unfurled by leaders who often can’t even draw a hundred people to their rallies or protests. 

Moreover, a separatist like Bilal Lone, for instance, is known to avoid arrests and supporters in his base, Kupwara, are unlikely to cause trouble.

Detention of Geelani or Mirwaiz may trigger some protests and stone-throwing, but dealing with such nuisance is a small price to pay for a long battle in which the state must relentlessly squeeze the space for separatism.

It is wedding season in Kashmir, and houses of the brides and grooms are being cleaned before the celebrations in a ritual called livun.

The tradition of getting rid of unwanted elements could well save even one of the most embittered relationships.