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The first three labours of Hercules
 Roshan Rollands  
 7 February 2018  
Art

The first labour- The Newman LionHercules and the Newman lion by Pieter Paul ReubensThe Newman lion was a beast that took helpless women from the neighbouring villages. The reason it would do so wasn’t just for a good meal but also to attract heroes in their attempts to rescue the damsels in distress. Once entering its cave, the warrior would notice a grievously injured girl. Rushing to their aid, they’d be killed by the lion who was in fact masquerading as the victim. There’s two ways the story goes now. In one version, Hercules meets a boy who says that they’ll sacrifice a lion if Hercules return after slaying the beast within 30 days. If not, he’ll sacrifice himself to Zeus. Another version shows Hercules meeting Molorchos who said that if he was victorious, a ram would be sacrificed to Zeus and if not, it would be sacrificed to Hercules as a mourning offering. Hercules arms himself with several arrows but found them to be ineffective against the Newman lion’s golden fur. He changes tactics and forces the lion to retreat to its cave. Once in the dark, with limited room for escape, he stuns the lion with his club and strangled it with his superhuman strength. He then skins the lion using one of its own claws and used its fur as his armour. He returned to king Eurystheus who had assigned Hercules this trial. Fearing his strength, he refuses to let him into the kingdom and then sent herald to inform Hercules of his remaining eleven labourssecond labour- Lernaean HydraThe Lernean Hydra by Gustave MonreauThe hydra was a beast that was raised by Goddess Hera, the wife of Zeus for the sole reason of killing Hercules. It lived in the swamp near Lake Lerna which kept travellers away because of the toxic fumes. Hercules covered his mouth and nose while traversing the swamp to keep himself safe from the gases. He fired flaming arrows into the Hydra’s lair to draw it out. He then attacked the hydra with a harvesting sickle (according to some legends. Others suggest a sword or his mighty club). During the course of the battle, he realised that it was no ordinary monster as each head he cut off gave rise to two heads in its place. He then called on his nephew Iolaus for help at beating the beast. He then came up with the idea of using a firebrand to scorch the neck stumps of the decapitated heads, thus preventing them from regenerating. Seeing Hercules triumphing, Hera sends a giant crab to distract him which he crushes beneath his feet. Another alternate lore suggests that Hercules cuts a head off of the hydra and uses the poison that effuses out to decapitate the remaining heads. Hera, displeased with Hercules besting her creatures, puts them in the dark vault of the cosmos as the constellations Hydra and Cancer.Third labour- Ceryneian hindThe hind of Ceryneia by Erica WilliamsAngered that Hercules had survived the hydra, Eurystheus and Hera devised a new task that they thought was impossible for Hercules. So far, he’s always vested any monster they’d thrown at him. So this time, Hercules was told to capture the Ceryneian hind which is said to run even faster than an arrow. Hercules chases the hind on foot for a whole year, through Greece and the land of the giants, but to no avail. A version of the story says that Hercules finally caught it in a trap. Another version says that he immobilised it with an arrow to the forelimbs. Another version says that he met Artemis who told him to leave the hind and say that it was her will. Regardless, he returned with the hind. The king was hoping he’d get Hercules to kill it and anger Artemis in the process. Hercules begged Artemis for forgiveness and told her that he had to kill it as part of his penance but he said that he’d return the hind alive. The hind was to become a part of the king’s menagerie on Hercules’s return. Remembering his promise to Athena, he told the king that he could have the hind if he came out and took it from him. When the king came out, Hercules let the hind go. When the king questioned him, he simply said that the king was too slow for it.**All images have been taken from greekerthanthegreeks@blogspot.in

The fourth to sixth labours of Hercules
 Roshan Rollands  
 15 February 2018  

Fourth labour- Erymanthian boarThe Erymanthian boar by Francisco de ZurbaránEurystheus, humiliated that the hind had escaped from right before him, sent Hercules on the next task of bringing back the Erymanthian boar alive. There are no definitive accounts of this labour though this is the most agreed upon version. On the way to Mt. Erymanthos, Hercules dunes and sups with his old friend Pholus. He was a centaur and Hercules convinces him to open the jar of wine left to the centaurs of the mountain my Dionysus. The aroma was so strong that t attracted all the centaurs of the mountain. Unknown to them, the wine was so strong that it should’ve been diluted. They drank the unadulterated wine and went berserk, attacking Hercules. Hercules shot at them with his poisonous arrows, sending them retreating all the way to Chiron’s cave. One version of the legend states that Pholus, curious as to why these arrows had killed several centaurs, picked an arrow up but dropped it on his foot, thus poisoning himself. Another version states that a stray arrow hit Chiron and poisoned him although he’s immortal. He felt immense pain, so great that he gave up his immortality and took the place of Prometheus who had his liver torn away by an eagle every morning. Hercules, seeing Chiron in such agony shot down the eagle, killing it. This labour also according to some, serves as the point for the transfer of immortality from Chiron to Hercules. Chiron then tells Hercules that in order to catch the boar, all he had to do was drive it into the deep snow. Hercules thus caught the boar, bound it and took it back to king Eurystheus.Fifth labour- Augean stablesThe Augean stables by Morgan SnellThis labour was to clean the stables of King Augeas. This was intended to be both humiliating and impossible for Hercules because the animals there were immortal and produced a huge amount of dung. The stables housed roughly a thousand cattle and it hadn’t been cleaned in almost 30 years. Hercules, confident that he could complete it in a day, asked the king for a tenth of his cattle if he succeeded in doing so. The king agreed to the bet, oblivious to what Hercules was capable of. Hercules redirected the rivers Alpheus and Peneus and succeeded in cleaning up the filth in less than a day. Augeas refused to honour the agreement on the grounds that it was King Eurystheus who’d given Hercules the task anyway. Hercules took the matter up in court and was supported by Phyleus, the king’s nephew. Augeas banished them both before the verdict of the court was out. Hercules returned to the kingdom, killed Augeas and handed over the kingdom to Phyleus. Also, according to the poet Pindar, Hercules founded the Olympic Games shortly thereafter.Sixth Labour- Stymphalian birdsHercules kills the Stymphalian birds by Albrecht DürerThe Stymphalian birds were creatures that were sacred to Aries, the good of war. They were man eating birds with beaks of bronze and dagger like metallic feathers that could be launched at their victims. They had all migrated to Lake Stymphalia in Arcadia where they multiplied rapidly. In Greek mythology, Arcadia is the home of the God Pan. In other cultures, it is seen as an untouched and unadulterated wilderness. The birds went berserk, wreaking havoc all over the countryside, destroying crops, trees and killing the townspeople. Hercules ventures into the swamp but couldn’t go too far as it couldn’t support his weight. Athena coming to his aid, gave him a rattle made by Hephaestus for this very purpose. He shook it and the birds flew out from their perches. Hercules then shot down several of them with his arrows, killing them instantly. The remaining birds flew far away never to return.**All images are taken from greekerthanthegreeks.blogspot.in

Focus On Learning and Creating Rather Than Entertainment and Distraction
 Suchismita Sahu  
 25 February 2018  

An extraction from my reading experience, which converted me a writer. I cannot spend a single day without writing, even though I had to get up in the midnight to do it. Though,there is not much progress in my professional career now, but I feel writing converted me to an absolutely different personality. “Ordinary people seek entertainment. Extraordinary people seek education and learning.” -Benjamin Hardy Most people are distracted right now.They’re distracted while they’re at work. They’re distracted when they’re with family and friends.They’re distracted at the gym, on their commute, and even in the shower.The mediocre majority will continue going through life this way, never experiencing the fullness of a life filled with deep focus and purpose.Most people don’t prioritize learning and creating. They don’t care enough about any efforts to invest in their personal development and growth.Entertainment is more important. Most people have replaced achieving their life dreams and goals with TV, partying, and social media.Their life is characterized by entertainment and distraction, not learning and creating.As a result, they don’t have close relationships. They’re stuck in jobs they hate. Their life is on the fast-track to disappointment, and they don’t know what to do.Benjamin Hardy once said, “Entertainment and distraction is the enemy of creation and learning. They will keep you in mediocrity.”If you don’t want to end up living a life of mediocrity, focus on learning and education. It’s the fastest way to become extraordinary, wealthy, and successful.The Quality of Your Learning Determines the Quality of Your Success“Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.” -Hal ElrodYour income, relationships, and success are determined by your learning.Most people spend more money on entertainment and gadgets than self-education. This is why they remain poor and broke with superficial relationships.The quality of your learning and how much you invest in yourself directly determines the extent of your growth.In the words of Ryan Holiday:“The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth.”You are defined by what you’re willing to struggle for. Most people aren’t willing to really struggle for anything. They blindly accept what they’re given, and spend their free time disengaging from reality.Renowned motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said the most successful people in the world are always lifelong learners. They fully understand that their level of education directly determines their quality of life.“Formal education makes a living, but self-education makes a fortune,” Rohn explained.It’s not just about a college degree. Most of what you learn in college isn’t applicable to real-world success. It’s your self-education, the kind of learning that helps you develop into the next evolution of yourself.Most people will continue to go through life “in quiet desperation, with their songs left unsung.” Others dictate their income, their happiness, and their fulfillment.If you don’t want to end up with regret on your death-bed, choose self-education over entertainment.“You’ve got to wake up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.” George LarimerWe Attract the Things That Reflect Who We AreDarren Hardy, author of The Compound Effect, once told a story about how he ended up with his wife.When he was in his 20’s, he began compiling an enormous list of every attribute he wanted his future wife to have. He eventually filled 40 pages detailing the most exquisite and perfect match he could think of.At the end of his writing, he realized something very important:Any woman like that wouldn’t want to have anything to do with someone like him!Hardy realized he needed to become a far better version of himself to attract a woman like that.You must become a far better version of yourself to achieve the enormous success you want.Benjamin Hardy put it this way: “We attract into our lives what we are.” Ask yourself — if you want a million dollars, do you have the mindset of a millionaire? Do you have the financial knowledge and self-discipline to own that kind of money?Most people don’t, yet they continue complaining about being poor. You’ll never become a millionaire if you don’t become someone who could be a millionaire!Every day, millions of people attract mediocre opportunities into their lives — jobs, time investments, dating partners, etc. — not realizing they are attracting exactly who they are!Extremely successful people are magnets of extraordinary opportunities. They are individuals who gravitate towards success, because they are successful themselves.If you constantly engage in mediocre, subpar activities with toxic individuals, you’ll only receive similar opportunities. You’ll never experience the type of success of the world’s most extraordinary people, because success is something you attract by the person you become.“Every next level of your life will demand a different you.” -Leonardo DiCaprioStep Forward Into Growth or Backwards Into Security“It’s absurd that we would prioritize the hottest new device, the cool car, or trendy toy over owning that which makes us feel the most engaged and most alive.” -Neil PatelC.S. Lewis once described humans this way: “We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”You do not have the luxury to “wait” to improve. Like an egg, you’ll either progress into a new version of yourself, or go rotten. There is no other way.Most people continue choosing security and safety over the choice to become the fullest version of themselves.Said Louis Sachar:“So, what’s it going to be — safety, or freedom? You can’t have both.”Right now, you have the choice — step forward into growth and development, or step backwards into safety and security.Most people step backward, slowly killing their chances to become extraordinary.Seth Godin once said, “The problem is that our culture has engaged in a Faustian bargain, in which we trade our genius and artistry for apparent stability.”The sad truth is: there’s no such thing as security. Money can be taken away (how many times have you heard of a multi-millionaire going bankrupt?). Our health could fail at any time. Millions of people are abruptly fired or laid off every year.Security isn’t real.We must choose to design our own life, and let go of our addiction to “apparent stability.” If you’ve traded your genius and creativity for “stability,” it’s time to get those back.“The goal of life is not to relax on the beach, sipping mojitos all day. The purpose is to find something you love that adds value to the world.” -Ben FoleyMost People Won’t Ever Experience True Success“The mediocre have a very narrow perception of reality, and in turn, their lives. They see things as they are, not how they can be.” -Ryan HolidayLearning and self-education aren’t popular. Most people don’t read books, attend seminars, or take even the most basic steps for self-improvement. They would rather choose distraction and entertainment.Most people will never be successful because they will spend their life this way.With just a few small changes to your life, you could enter into the top 5% — 10% of your field. The competition is extremely low! Amazing, extraordinary opportunities are abundant, because so few people ever take the steps to discover them.You can become one of the few truly successful people in the world by taking your self-education and learning seriously. In a world of mediocrity, you can become extraordinary with only a few simple tweaks.So how do you start?The more you keep evolving in better versions of yourself, the more you’ll need to be focused on the things that are most important.Your days must be characterized by high-quality activities and behaviors.Benjamin Hardy put it this way: “Success is continuously improving who you are, how you live, how you serve, and how you relate.”James Altucher once said, “Every day, check these 4 boxes: Have I improved 1% on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health?”You can start small. Even the smallest improvement is more than most people will ever see. While most people change slowly and unconsciously over time, you can begin taking control of your success by choosing to make a few small improvements.That’s all it takes.If You Want to Live an Extraordinary Life, You Need to Give Up a Normal One“If you want to live an extraordinary life, you have to give up many of the things that are part of a normal one.” -Srinivas RaoExtraordinary people are very uncommon. Their lifestyle of learning and self-education aren’t popular, either. Odds are, once you begin investing in yourself, you’ll find it’s a lonely road.Todd Henry wisely said, “The more bold you are, the more rejection you’ll experience.” The mob of the majority doesn’t like deserters.If you want an extraordinary life, you’ll need to give up many parts of the “normal” life. That might mean giving up common toxic behaviors or hanging out with toxic people. If “everyone does it,” you’d do well to give it a long, hard look.Most people will never achieve an extraordinary life. That’s OK. The extraordinary life isn’t for everyone. Learning and self-education take time, energy, and focus that most people would rather spend on entertainment and distraction — “ordinary” things.“Great” opportunities cost “good” ones; you can’t have both.Said Benjamin Hardy:Before you evolve, you can reasonably spend time with just about anyone.You can reasonably eat anything placed in front of you.You can reasonably justify activities and behaviors that are, frankly, mediocre.But as your vision expands, you realize you need to make adjustments. You can’t spend your money on junk anymore. You need to manage your time much more diligently. You need to invest in yourself and your future.To avoid mediocrity, you can’t continue being with negative people.You can’t keep eating crappy foods that slow you down.You can’t do many of the things you used to do.This is what extraordinary requires. Most people see the price and simply say “no thanks.”But you can do anything if you pay the price.“Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success.” -Scott AdamsIn Conclusion“Who you are is a result of who you were, but where you end up depends entirely on who you choose to be from this moment forward.” -Hal ElrodThere are probably dozens of things you do on a daily basis that aren’t helping you improve.Most people live their lives on other people’s terms. Their days are spent working on other people’s goals and following the rules of someone else.Entertainment and distraction rule society. There will never be a shortage of TV shows, Buzzfeed articles, or Bad Lip Reading videos to take up your time.If you want to avoid mediocrity and achieve enormous success, you must cut out distractions and prioritize learning instead.Most people will go their whole lives as a slave to entertainment. They prioritize entertainment over improving their life, their family’s well-being, and their hopes and dreams.This is how people can stay at jobs they hate for years. It’s how people stay in toxic relationships and remain perpetually broke. They don’t bother learning how to succeed.If your lifestyle does not add to your growth and improvement, it will bring you down.Prioritize learning. Invest in self-education.Choose success over mediocrity.

WITH MYSELF
 Sanjana Panda  
 7 March 2018  

Iwake up in the cashmere glow of my white sheet; the sun's shining bright and I go and get dressed in a lavender lilac dress. My unmade hair flies more than it should, as it flows away with the wind; it's raining now. The sun comes and goes; the rain never stops waiting. Their love is futile, but so is everything in love.The guy at the coffee shop smiles at me a little more today, more than he usually does everyday. I give a faint smile back. I sit down as I look at a stranger walk in, he wasn't one a summer ago. I can almost smell the daisies he got me, clutching them as he was nervous about our first date, I can remember our first date, the second, the third, and all of the others. I'm not great at remembering smells, but this smell is like a spell. And I do not know how to break a charm. It was love that I had in mind a summer ago, it is till now that he has a love for just himself.It's still raining even though the sun is still out, enough to drench my hair and my dress wet. I look at people running for cover; a woman goes running past me, after her hat. It is a complete mayhem though, but this is a feeling nothing can replace. I twirl my lilac dress and laugh, I laugh hard enough that I gather unwanted stern looks from strangers as the rain drops still dance with me, and I realise, I don't care about their opinions anymore.It's the funny feeling in my stomach that makes me laugh at nothing. I'm happy. I feel alive. Am I in love? Probably. And for the first time, with myself.#smblogcontest

BORN FREE TO LIVE IN A CAGE
 Padmini Ravindran  
 16 March 2018  

  All over the world, countries celebrate their independence day with great pride and gusto showcasing their strength and progress to be admired and awed by people. However, I wonder at times are we; human beings really free or liberated? Do we enjoy freedom in true sense? I’ll keep my thought process limited to India without going to the other parts of the world.Every human being according to me is free only at the time of birth. A baby has no worries about projecting the “right public image” and is happy doing anything and everything he wants to. As we grow, we are caged, shackled in many chains by the society- Social, cultural, emotional and lately technological.It starts when the baby (I’ll use ‘She’ as a pronoun as it encompasses ‘he’ too J!) is hardly a toddler. Parents love to show off his/her talents without any consideration for his/her moods and fancies. She has to sing or dance and entertain the relatives who are often least interested. Then there is a marathon for the best school in the city. The kid is again forced to mug up the likely questions to be asked at the interview, learn to behave in a certain manner at the age when she just wants to be left on her/his own.    Once at school the comparison starts with all the other children. Every parent wants the child to be the best - marvelling at studies, sports, debates and elocutions, arts, theatre, social etiquette and so on. In short she has to be a Superwoman, while the mothers sweat over every small detail like deciding what hobbies are “in”, what vitamin supplements to give the child for super-built body and extra-intelligent brain, what kind of clothes are in vogue for kids and so on. All advertisements put the pressure on parents to make a scientist/ doctor/ engineer or any professional (Please note that none off the advertisements think much of artists or farmersL! No wonders farmers have remained the most vulnerable lot in our “agrarian” economy for decades!). The harried parents, in turn pass on this frenzied madness on to their children. Every parent dreams of having a super successful child prodigy, irrespective of own talents that he has passed on in the child’s DNA at birth. We want our children to follow the career chart we have created for them taking in consideration the status, social acceptance, and money it will yield. What the child’s interests are is totally ignored.Once the school and college marathon is over and youth gets a plum job, then the other social pressures build up. A girl must learn to be graceful, super talented at juggling home and demanding career, must be having all the socially accepted attributes like – fair, tall, slim, social yet home-loving, educated yet sacrificing, modern yet with traditional values and the list is endless.This brings me to the fairness obsession in our country where most girls are bound to be wheat complexioned due to our geographic and climatic conditions. Having a dusky complexion is looked down upon and if you have a darker skin only God or fairness creams save you! I find the advertisements so ridiculous when a girl dreaming of a great career has to rely on fairness creams to prove her mettle! If she wants to remain single by choice then hell breaks loose. If she marries then her womanhood is not considered complete till she delivers a baby. Why I wonder, in a free country it becomes a privilege of all and sundry to barge into couple’s bedroom and discuss why are they not having kids and what could be wrong with them. Can we not let the parents decide when they want to bring in a life that is going to be their responsibility till they are alive?Men on the other hand are forced to bring home a handsome pay package and comparisons of how much comforts and luxury a neighbour can afford to give his wife vis- a -vis the poor husband becomes a main topic of contention. Once they become parents they too merrily join the same rat race that their parents had joined to ruin them.These are some of the socio-cultural shackles I strongly feel about. Emotional shackles too are somewhat intertwined in these as usually our Indian society loves to emotionally blackmail their loved ones to follow their commands. Log kya kahenge is the most dangerous epidemic that has been afflicted by Asian psyche. Social approval is a bug that has bitten all of us. Imagine the emotional state of a young girl when she is more than often rejected because she is NOT fair, slim or beautiful. She is most often an easy prey to depression. I wonder why we give so much importance to external attributes while totally ignoring the more important ones like nature, intelligence, compatibility etc. in a life partner. Are we shopping here for a curio to beautify home or wanting someone with whom we can share our lives! And same things go for men too - what with markets flooded with anti-balding treatments and all those fairness creams for men? He too is expected to earn well, be qualified with the most lucrative degree, have a macho figure etc. I often hear young girls asking for well sculpted men as their life partners. SO now the fire has reached even the other side of the society. At a young age he’s expected to offer all the comforts and luxuries when he’s still building his career!Added to all these cages, the worst shackle is the technology. We think human being created technology for comforts but today it has totally backfired on us impacting every aspect of the society. Just look around and see for yourself what have smart phones done to our lives! The downfall that started with the idiot box and further fuelled with the internet has been completed by the smart phones. Phones are getting smarter and humans are getting dumber. I’ve nothing against technology and if used sensibly it can be a great boon. We can now reach the entire world in a split second. Emails have become a passé with the advent of other more powerful and faster means of communication. Often Facebook and twitter has helped in reuniting people or in sending across a useful message. Today I too am saying what I feel thanks to this technology. We can surely not ignore the good things. However, we can’t turn a blind eye to the damage it does to our most profound institutions of marriage, family and society as a whole.  Families are fast disintegrating today as each one is happy to be in his on anda cell created by his Laptop, smart phone, personal TV or a tablet, and is constantly in his world with his headsets on. Cheating in marriages has never been so rampant and easy with the right to privacy. Virtual affairs ruin many marriages as one doesn’t understand that virtual love is bound to appear “perfect” and it’s only when you actually start life together you need to adjust and understand. Recently, a study revealed how social skills are being affected in this generation that spends most of its time in the virtual world. Family time is unheard of with each one immersed in his on virtual world. We forget that though wired from all sides we are not robots but human beings who are bound to need emotions like warmth, love and touch to thrive. The older generation who is not very tech savvy feels the brunt the most. They are mostly treated like a piece of furniture. The youth has no connect with parents leave alone grandparents. In our desire to connect across miles we have been disconnected from our own family.Family outings, dinners and gatherings do happen surprisingly even today but the most time and attention is hogged by these smart phones. Family time has become a joke with each member immersed in one’s cell phone- exchanging messages. Checking face book updates, updating status and so on.The family vacations are more for clicking selfies and check-ins to let the whole world on social media know the exotic place one is heading to. There have been many stand up comedies, what’s app forwards and tongue in cheek cartoons aimed at this but I feel we are quick to ignore these warning bells and laugh it off merely as a humour. So many have lost lives clicking selfies at dangerous spots but we are too slow to understand the implications. Are we really a generation of dimwits and our cell phones smarter than us? Only God save us in such situation…!All pictures Courtesy- https://unsplash.com

DEEP IN MY HEART, EMBOSSED LIKE AN ART.
 The Gumnaam Writer  
 21 March 2018  

She was married to a person she never loved. She never had a right to marry the person she loved. Even after all the years of fighting for her unfound love. She got married. Got married to a fake heart. A kind of heart which never came forward, letting the mind do it’s work. A work to undress a soul. With a right on that soul, every night he just used her body as a mode of entertainment. Something known as lust became his only mode of entertainment. Something known as lust became his only mode of living a happy life. Something known as lust became a mode of complete destruction of her life. Every night she felt like her soul is being 'raped'. Every night she saw a person on her bed with those devil horns. Waiting for her to undress herself. Every night she had nothing apart from missing the only person she loved was never made to be with her for a lifetime. All she was left with, was a shattered dream. A shattered love which had went far. So far that it could never be seen. All she could do to stay alive for her child is to keep a curve on her lips and never let that fake happiness disappear. All she could do to stay alive just to see a glimpse of her love was to prove love for her husband who never possessed a heart in him. All she dreamt for was the love which she got from someone who possessed a heart in him just for her. Been years of marriage but still her loyalty never let her fall in love with a person known as ‘her husband' who never possessed a heart. Well people say that sometimes things stolen are never found. Her heart was one of that kind. Which was stolen long back by someone who possessed a heart in him.A right that husband had. To undress her without her wish.A right that husband had. To make a lady, a naked doll. Just for fun.A right that husband had. To call that lady as his, ‘WIFE'. A right that husband had. To make his wife stay in his arms. Naked. For a lifetime.Been years of marriage but still her love for him. The husband. Never existed.Just like a time machine. Which never existed.True love never dies even after ages.Love is just like air. When it comes in front of lust. It’s never visible.©The Gumnaam Writer©The Part Tym HubbyI Be Your Pen, You Be My Words.#smblogcontest

PRAVAAH : THE MOTION OF WATER
 Gunika Grover  
 26 March 2018  
Art

The Flux, the change in flow, in current, movement, in moments of life.Humans are forever stuck in the hyperboles of their own imaginations and expressions. To relate to a metaphysical hydraulogical phenomenon is to experience life through the flow of water. The structural capacity of water is that of a fluid. The fluid, unlike oil, which makes breathe; unlike acid,which saves more, corrodes less.Water hence, provides a lesson for the pravaah(flow) we all need in healthy living. To endure, collect and proceed…   Flow through life with a sense of fluidity,taking shape to the circumstancesthat create the person you are meant to be. When an object traverses through universe in due time,kinetic, potential, stored, all of which, caused by the movement of the substance nurtures energy. Flowing water is a form of energy. Yes, the world has progressed in utilising the hydel power and hydraulic stations, the polities and economies of some countries revolve around them. Where the amazon rainforest has been dependent on existing reserves of hydropower, China produces 856 kw hydroelectric power annually. However I wish to highlight the intellect behind this energy of water. Sparkling Water? The moment it touches your throat, it flows through the surface that existed, erodes the friction and calms your being. When we think of the energy in stored glaciers and bottles, it almost feels solid. Contained. Abstained. So much so that whence we experience a natural or a virtual flow, it teleports us to a place of serenity and tranquility. The moment the shower spouts water on your head, the sense of thirst for peace and refreshment is enlightened. Be an ever flowing river and dance through life,flowing beautifully from one place to another.Glide to the destination of life that awaits. If we indulge in mind mapping, we would realise this phenomenon in depth, as to how our thoughts too are a flow of emotions and ideas. To surpass a phase in life, to move on, we must attempt to not stay put, but move. It is funny how for how people who worship the still water. For it is in a constant state of departure, while still arriving. We realise action when it is at position of unrest. Now it can be when the cloud rains pour, brooks babble across banks and produce froth or even then when see a tear roll down the cheek. It creates a moment of unsteadiness. And also a moment to not to stop. life is like river rapids, strong and powerful.times, we must know when to paddle gentlythrough a slow-moving stream.Wherever you are in your present practice and life,be mindful as to what fluidity your mind and body is craving. Water is the mother of fire and on earth only do we preside.Out of the three elements in existence, water, in my opinion holds the strongest and the most integrated position. I have seen my work and toil fall and turn into rubble within nanoseconds, I have seen alive beings burn to ashes. I didn’t have much to take from my grandfather after he expired, but his teachings on finding the flow stuck to my heart. Next time when you’re stuck in a puddle or a storm, remember to be like the flowing water. Remember to have a pravaah.

Book Review: The Wild Cat By Taanya Sarma
 Ayushi A Nair  
 13 June 2018  

Book Title: The Wild CatAuthor: Taanya SarmaFormat: Paper BackTotal Number of Pages: 328Language: EnglishPublisher: Invincible PublishersPublishing Date: 21 December 2017ISBN-10: 9387328139ISBN-13: 978-9387328136Based on true events, this erotic thriller novel tells the tale of a young, naive woman named Tanya who enters the online dating and chat world. Her first foray into this digital realm initially proves to be bland and disappointing; however, sex, suspense, power struggles and attempted murder soon unfold. These unwelcome adventures interfere with her business and her sanity as she aspires to live up to her deceased parent’s standards.A conman named Sam ensnares Aaron, a handsome investment banker, into his ploy and uses him as a pawn to lure women into doing things they normally wouldn’t do. Sam then exposes their personal information as well as their images, sometimes in the act of cyber sex, and posts them on a very successful porn website that he owns. Tanya’s encounter with these two men evolves into a long, winding road, with each turn bringing irreparable changes in her life.Enraged by the deceit and the unconscionable behavior of these men, Tanya turns whistleblower and vows to assist the FBI in shutting down the dating app and porn site – and she won’t stop until the perverted perpetrators are behind bars. She never relents, but ultimately laments, “I never thought that I would have to give up my life to remain alive.”ReviewsA very interesting book, especially for young girls to understand the danger that exists in this society with online predators ~ Alma Guzman, Executive Producer Hollywood.Sex, suspense, power, struggle, murder attempt and well developed characters. This book has all the masala to be the next blockbuster Bollywood flick. A must read for sure. ~ RJ Khurki, Zabardast Hit 95 FM Truth is indeed stranger than fiction. This gripping story based on true events will keep you hooked till the very last page. ~ Antil, ScoopwhoopMY TAKEStarting from the book cover the first impression is the best impression the foremost thing which I liked in the book is the beautiful cover and its little unusual title “The Wild Cat” it indeed developed the curiosity within me to know what author meant by it.   The lower half of a girl’s face and below it is the night view of a city with buildings in the middle of the cover title with sub title. The Wild Cat A deviant tale of a young woman, a banker and a conman who happen to meet on dating website. The Cover is beautiful and attractive. Title is also perfect for the plot.The story revolves around the line of protagonist Tanya aka Iron Angel, Dorothy, Adam, Mr. U W, Aaron aka Phantom or Alpha, Mrs. Martha, Sarah, Monica , Sam Baker aka call as Nick Baker or Cobra, Newguyintown,Notorious, Aunt Iris, Rookie, Venom, Rebel Queen, Rex, Mr. & Mrs. Baker, Stephanie Owens, Schmidt, Jeff Simpson, Dali, Frida.This is the story of female protagonist Tanya an art gallery owner inherited from her father. She lost her mother in her early age and her father had brought her up but later her father passed away in an accident. She was a alone and only have the support of her best friend Dorothy.  Dorothy is dating online through an app which matches with a person of similar interest and lets them talk in a group or one -one.Tanya also downloads the app iVoice once she learns that she has been using it to date this person who is the owner of a sexy voice according to her. iVoice is a dating app but the twist is that it’s not like any other dating app. It’s a dating app based on voices of different people. One can only connect with another person she is interested in by hearing his voice. No real names, no identities. Just voice. The application has a option to lock in the phone number and also has a voice changer option if any user feels not to reveal their own voice. Tanya, aka Iron Angel on iVoice comes across another user called Adam who invites her to a private chat. Adam apparently is married and is a father to three kids. He shows signs of perversion and voyeurism and have cybered (cyber sex) quite a few times but his wife doesn’t mind even when she knows about his addiction. I don’t know why. Even his therapist knows about it but takes no step to stop him from his adventures. Tanya and Adam end up talking about the colours of underwear they wear, whether they wash hands after peeing, whether they sleep in PJs or sleep naked. I mean, girl you are talking to a virtual stranger and you haven’t even seen his face and you are already talking about penises, panties and thongs!! Like, seriously. I was exasperated at her common sense. He could have turned out to be an old pimp who doesn’t think twice before killing innocent girls. Anyways, coming to the second user Phantom; he is the lead male protagonist in this book. Aaron aka Phantom turns out to be an investment banker and is pretty civil when they first engage in conversation. He isn’t a creep like the two other users she had interacted previously. They almost talk everyday. As days pass, Tanya becomes more addicted to this app and starts to feel “soft” for Aaron. It’s trap. There’s always some people lurking in the background to pounce on when they are presented with opportunities. There’s one such person in this iVoice app too. He gains a large sum of money by selling of phone numbers and private images of the girls who uses this app. When Tanya comes to know about this and learns that Aaron is also linked with this whole ploy, she plots a revenge against them. The rest of the story follows Tanya in her revenge and whether she finds success in her plan. This book ends with a cliffhanger mode. The rest of the story will be in next trilogy set of the book.Language is simple crisp and lucid and has the ability to bring live the events narrated in the book. The characters are well developed and one can easily relate to their actions, reactions, mental agony, outbursts, etc. The only character that left me a bit confused was that of Tanya. The best part is that even the supporting characters are well- developed and merge smoothly into the story. You can easily relate to most of their actions, reactions and inner turmoil. However I would have loved to get to know what happen after BANG. BANG. who had shoot for that i have to wait for next book. While the first half is erotic thriller with cyber crime, the second half which is revenge.  Narration is done well. The author’s strongest point is plot with unique theme and warn the women of online world. One of the most important things that I noticed is how with few words, the author could not only just portrayed  the hazards of online world, the pain, joy and sorrows of the characters but she even manages to bring that out from the readers. Most victims of these crimes were teenage girls and women. There was a nefarious attempt to trap young girls to indulge in wrongdoing. The increase in number of mobile phones had also led to more number of cyber crimes. Crimes were also reported by misusing social networking websites on the internet. The writer’s words has the capacity to hold the reader till the last page. The book has been written well in accordance to real-life examples with realistic point of view.This is the debut novel of author but we don’t seriously feel as if we are reading a book written by a debut author. Overall a fantastic fantasy packed with action and tinged with suspicion and suspense. I personally would like recommend this book to every women out there and to all the book worms it’s a must read.Overall Ratings 4/5 StarsAbout the AuthorTaanya Sarma is an author, poet and an entrepreneur. An ambivert true to form, the depth and duality of Taanya’s personality are evident throughout her writing.The genesis of The Wildcat trilogy stems from her desire to warn naive young women about the pitfalls of the online dating world.Taanya’s goal is to see her series of novels published and available in multiple languages as far reaching as countries like India, China, UK, NZ, SA, Australia – and, of course, in her home country the United States.When she’s not writing, Taanya is most likely thinking about writing – or spending time with her adopted dog, playing the guitar and piano, sketching, biking, snorkeling or participating in some extreme sports like parasailing, skydiving, or bungee jumping.For a more in-depth look into the life and creative mind of Taanya Sarma, follow her at @taanya.sarma or check out her website at http://www.taanyasarma.com

The value of Special Event Videography
 Leona Zoey  
 1 November 2018  

Despite the fact that we are now living in a digital age where more than two thirds of the adult population carry a smartphone, there is still great value to be had from hiring the professional services of an experienced videographer to film your special event, whether that be a corporate event or a notable family event that you want to capture for posterity.In this world of Instagram and throw-away snaps on our phones, hardly any of those taken are even looked at following an event, or even downloaded to print out!Within the visual industry, you will find some very talented and creative professionals that can turn photograph and films into a work of art. They plan out amazing ideas and execute them in a way that leads to delivering some spectacular work.Corporate event videographyUnless you have someone with these creative and clever capabilities present, your event will be just a moment in time that will be gone forever if you don't document it properly. Shooting professional footage of your corporate event can come in very handy. You can use the material to help tell a story or sell your company to prospective business partners and raise awareness of your brand.You can use your film footage to help captivate and entice a target audience that you want to attract to your company, whether that is to work with or sell to. If you are trying to raise money at the same time as running an event, then having a winning film of your event can help to boost ticket sales for the next event you plan to hold.Simply relying on using captured footage from staff smartphones to use for your marketing or to tell a story and document the event can end up looking bitty and unprofessional. What sort of image or first impression will you give to prospective business partners or customers if you don't approach running and documenting your events in a professional manner?Without quality film of your even, you cannot show how impressive or fun it was. You will be unable to show specific elements to potential sponsors, delegates and speakers.Important family eventsJust like in the corporate world, you cannot rely on gathering any useful or quality film footage from your friends and relatives that take snaps and videos of your family event using their smartphones.Whether it is a milestone wedding anniversary, a baby Christening or naming ceremony, engagement party or a celebration for a significant birthday, if you want to keep some treasured memories alive for years to come, hiring a professional videographer is the way to do it properly.Remember that just because everyone owns a smartphone these days, doesn't mean that everyone has suddenly become an expert videographer overnight! Just because your mum can bake a fantastic fruit cake doesn't mean that she could cater a whole wedding with 250 sit-down guests!The old saying of 'horses for courses' really still applies with videography as well as other skilled creative services. Book a professional if you want to benefit from good results. To know more visit our website.

WIFE AUTHORITY
 Mantri Pragada MARKANDEYULU  
 15 November 2018  

A good quote

On Ideas
 Thomas Martinez  
 26 November 2018  
Art

Why do we read or why do we want to experience? To gather knowledge,ideas,to live in thoughtfulness.Some of us feel that if we are more thoughtful in every action we take,we are more enlightened because it gives us clarity of this world,like laureates in literature or in science.But sometime Ideas don't enlighten us ,it affects us,it diverts us from knowing ourself.How? It happens because of Imitation, Imitation is an art and not everyone is able to do that perfectly.But we are born to imitate,First our parents then our sociaty.We imitate everything not only language or appearance but also emotions and thoughts we see or hear,some says Imitation is first step of invention.But Sometime we became so obsessed with a particular idea from someone great that we want to imitate very perfectly , which made us forget what we actually want and who we are.We think that we are more alive and meaningful in thoughtfulness, in embracing new Ideas because we know Death is not actually painful,it's the absolute abesense of everything but in doing so sometime we are driven by ideas.We become possessed by it.We get mad to maintain a particular lifestyle, thought processing it doesn't matter even if it's wrong ,because to adapt perfection in anything we need to accept a little bit of imperfection also.This is the art of perfect Imitation.When people see these kind of men they think we are showing off to others,but we are actually showing off to ourselves.We personificate our ideas not knowing what we are doing and the realization happens untill the last moment comes then we understand we never truly lived in our mind. To me it's a tragedy.Yes It is indeed.So I suggest don't let any ideas to master your mind,you think of it,reshape it,remold it,don't let it posses you.If you think the idealistic life you are leading is 100% true then be in peace but if you thing you are getting mad to prove that then get away from that.

On Aggressiveness
 Thomas Martinez  
 26 November 2018  
Art

What is Aggressiveness?Anger is one of the primal emotions of human being, Even it is very Mature And Natural emotion for a Human to have. But there is a slight difference between being angry and Aggressive. Angry is a condition you may not express your anger but you can be angry but aggressive means to show your anger physically frequently most of without any logic.Reason – in our daily Life many things happen where  we should be angry and should show anger but in most cases, for social image or thinking about people’s view, we suppress it and try to find other passive way to express, sometime in form of revenge but without understanding more harmful effect what we are doing in society.Sometime we believe that giving aggressive response is the only way to resolve interpersonal problems avoiding a brief Communication and discussing matter through constructive behavior. We mostly do it when we are not confident and confused in any way.Aggressiveness is another way to let our mind free and powerful. As humankind is not allowed  to Clean our urges from inside because we are so called civilized. So this becomes a way to feel Pleasure, yelling on others. It feels like giving priority to himself or herself, to be more Alive and Superior Being.In most of time anger impairs ours ability to control over cognitive behavior and then we fail to find any right outcome to express. Gradually it forms a destructive aggressive way to express the condition.Effects – Frequent use of Aggressiveness can cause addiction of being Angry. Like all other emotions if we are always in a way to be angry it consumes us like addiction.In society we misinterpreted such kinds of people. They are very mistaken for their appearance as they lose their self monitoring ability.Cure – When we become aware of this we try to train our brain to control aggression by avoiding physical contact, to rationalize our activities, but the process sometime works as temporary Cure not permanent. In those cases we must take the way of reconciliation. If we blindly keep our self calm, taking responsibility for everything,that will trigger guiltness and that doesn’t kill the reason. So day by day this partial improper training can cause opposite effect as well. We must uproot the origin of Aggression .but its Easy to act like a child rather being a matured one. That's what we follow. We must convert our Anger to Constructive behavior without making dramatic situation.

The illusion of being immortal
 Thomas Martinez  
 26 November 2018  
Art

The Illusion of being ImmortalMany people wish to be gifted with immortality and imagine how our life would be living that way, a way to live forever beyond time, beyond our chances to experience again and again, to be with our senses and memory that we value most.but we forget we are meant to be dead.Yes,death is not a curse but is a gift, it is the reason for which we search for enjoyment and peace as we know we have very limited time on earth.It is the truth that breaks the illusion of eternal being, which would be very boring and monotonous.the First thing is what is the reason to be born? I think to feel the living soul, to find the purpose of life and Death provides the certainty of it.We live in our own illusion, the mind is a universe and we make a world in it, give it life but never thought of death, and there comes the eternal presence of Death, that makes a life complete as a renowned poet Allen Ginsberg says "Find share and Lose Lest we die unbloomed".In Life there should be something for which you can never be satisfied and may be thats the reason we are made that way,we never become satisfied whatever we get,We always strive for more and more.May be today Lifespan seems too less, as there are many things to do. I appreciate people's view, the world has become too hard to live, people are tired of  fighting, and at some point when people lose ability to fight as the same they loose the ability to enjoy physically the way they did in their youth,even you stay youthful forever your mind will be old because it has seen so much of this world,corruption ,injustice,violence and all negative things. But we can't fix the world now, it is in its own way to be destroyed. But whatever the reason is, immortality is much to ask from Life.it will lead you nowhere, you will feel you are stuck in a time loop, neither you die nor live.Because living is not about how long you live, it's about how much you live in the subjective reality, the time you live with mindfulness, perceiving the beauty of your surroundings, every sound you here, every small things you see, everything you feel, because it's our vision what gives us the highest sense of perception either through ingenuity or with curious childlike ignorant mind .may be the death is the end of our physical body but the idea of Death gives us life.there are many Great things done in the name of love, for which we feel more alive Even the perception of death doesn't matter. So death is a perspective concept So as the immortality. And Even sometime Death becomes the only solution of Unknown Mysteries because the true nature of Life is Mystery and that is the reason you can't predict it.Death is also part of fantasy cause it's not possible to feel death when you are full of life.Its more connected to pleasure as people feel seeing  cruelty,torture,death.Everything should have a limit.see future is uncertain so it is possible to feel immortality at a point of certain time,then feel what will be the future life?I feel that when I will get utmost peace and love from life I will ask for death because I will always fear the uncertain future and to make the present Happyness for eternity I need to die with it,Death gives us a fixed identify after life otherwise life would be ever changing and at some point we will fear Change.

Find Yourself
 Thomas Martinez  
 26 November 2018  
Art

I see most people are busy judging others, passing Comments on others, its like they are not living in themselves but in others life, all secrets about other people, their happiness, their thoughts, their tragedy everything, we are so curious about those people around but are we curious about ourselves? .Do you ever give time to your self, criticising your own self ? You think that you know you, but you don't? if you spend 5 minutes to yourself that's enough for a day to understand your soul, I promise. it's your life. Even not only we criticise others we fear, feel embarrassed most of the time what others will think of me, this is working in both ways. Can we not stop this habit? can we not start living in ourselves?.No third party will help you improve your life so why thinking too much. Live in your passion and be honest to yourself that the only way to improve your quality of life.we don't live much as we always complain about it but if we just use our time whatever left in a day with ourselves, I can say that would be the best time for us.we always think either in past or future even its difference is in fraction of seconds. But when you start living in present you will feel true living.that's the moment you touch reality. because that time you are living in yourself, there should be a purpose of life which is greater than life and you strive for it.you are not trying to prove to the world who you are but to yourself, to find yourself. that's the best journey, and if you are true yourself than nothing can stop you to be happy, to be successful the way you want to be. Because at that time you will feel how individual you are, how unique you are and how different you are. And this way your behavior to others will be changed also, you will feel not only your individuality but every human on earth, because they are all individual, they deserve respect, love, protection just like you need. So Be SIMPLE to yourself, be ALIVE in Your heart and most important be HONEST.

TWELVE PARANORMAL TALES
 Amitav Ganguly  
 7 January 2019  
Art

Paranormal short stories

StoryMirror in conversation with Author Aanchal Bharara
 StoryMirror Feed  
 15 February 2019  
Art

Q:Please give details about your initial education and forming years of life.A: I completed my Honors in Political Science from D.U. Then did mu B.Ed from IP University followed by Diploma in English Journalism from IIMC.Q: How did you get interested in literature? What inspired you to write?A: I was always in writing. Earlier I used to write scripts for a News Agency. Then I left my job, and now I write on social media platforms. Literature used to gave me an understanding of many situations that we face in our life. From there I also wanted to write something that will reach people and will stay with them forever.Q: What difficulties did you have to face with respect to literary work? A: I was out of touch for 3-4 years. Got married and was completely involved in my family only. But the passion was still alive. So getting back on track, writing well after years of staying completely away from pen became a little difficult. And today I struggle to reach the audience with my writings which I am still trying to improve and get back to those writing skills that I earlier had. There are so many creative writers that I feel there is a lot of scope for improvement in my writings.Q: What is your view about the present-day literary work? A: I think it has reached completely different heights. In this field people have become so good. Every piece of work that I get to read is in itself amazing. Today's literary work has made the world seem smaller. People get to read about cultures which are followed far far from them.Q: Do you think that the emergence of digital and social media has given a new opportunity to creative writers? A: Of course, it has given a new opportunity and a very good platform to people who really want to showcase their creativity. The opportunities today are unlimited for the talent to reach the people.Q: Please tell us something about your literary work. A: Starting with scripts and small articles, after taking a little break, I am more into short stories and poems now. Love learning and improving my work with each passing day. My work is mostly about love and respect in relationships, that people have forgotten about, because of their busy lifestyles these days.Q: What was your first literary work and how was it published? A: My first work published in India Today Online. It was an interview with a music Jockey. After that I wrote my first story 'Child's unfulfilled wishes' and it was published here on StoryMirror for the first time. It was about a child who had everything except his parents' time and attention.Q: How many ways literature can contribute to society in future? A: Literature will continue to contribute the society the way it does from years. People will understand different lifestyles and cultures of other countries. The solutions to the problems that we face in our daily lives, might become available easily for the people. From our past, people will learn a lot. They will understand what all happened in different places and why. For future, the mistakes of the past might be avoided. And the favorable steps for further development can be taken.Q: Where do you see yourself after 5 years in the literary world?A: I want to reach the maximum audience possible plus I want to improve so much and write so well that people will love reading my work.Q: What ways would you suggest to build a community for poets? A: Online video sessions among the poets, working in collaboration online and meeting each other through small get together or in live poetry sessions.Q: What message would you like to give to aspiring new writers?A: I am myself a new and aspiring writer. But what I can suggest is, keep reading the works of good writers, keep learning and improving.Q: How was your experience of writing on StoryMirror?  A: It has been amazing and I love writing here on StoryMirror. Feedback from other writers encourages me so much. The contests make writing more exciting. Reading the works of others teaches us so much. Q: Would you like to say something about StoryMirror?A: It is the best platform for those who want to showcase their writing talent. To those who want to read stuff, StorryMirror has unlimited options. It has all that reading crazy people need at one place. I have tried many platforms but this is the most reliable, promising, developing and totally authentic one. You can read my content on StoryMirror at https://storymirror.com/profile/yb5w2mj2/ 

StoryMirror in conversation with Author Aditya Thakur
 StoryMirror Feed  
 20 February 2019  
Art

Q: Please give details about your initial education and forming years of life.A: I am currently pursuing the B.E. Program in Electrical Engineering from Punjab Chandigarh College, Chandigarh. I am a writer and a poet. I love to sing, and study about music and psychology. My other interests include painting, sketching and public speaking. I just want to do it all.Q: How did you get interested in literature? What inspired you to write?  A: When I was growing up, I went through my phases of teen rebel, the melodrama of youth and the feelings of being misunderstood. I had a hard time dealing with growing up and facing the world. And when I couldn't find any other way to deal with it, one day I decided to write, and the words came flowing to my mind and I was amazed. It felt so good and relieving, that I continued with writing poems, articles and stories, and read them to my family and friends.Q: What difficulties did you have to face with respect to literary work? Sometimes you are so weighed down by your emotions that you don't want to write about them because at times, that is like, piercing knives through your heart. It hurts so bad to confront and re-confront the bad stuff but then again, that also gives you some of your best work. So, i don't mind it but it sure feels difficult to be eaten alive by something you love doing, so dearly. So that is one difficult thing about it, the way how everything is sometimes so difficult to write about when it's just screaming out of you, everywhere.Q: What is your view about the present-day literary work?  A: I think it's amazing how so many writers have found various platforms and a lot of stories are coming out. New Genres are being formed and everybody is now pushing their limits, which is great. Finally, we are in a world where everyone has a voice and that just feels so amazing.Q: Do you think that the emergence of digital and social media has given a new opportunity to creative writers? A: Absolutely yes! I couldn't have agreed more. Digital platforms are a blessing to a budding writer's world.Q: Please tell us something about your literary work.  A: Most of the stuff I write about is centered around the themes of growing up, parting, solitude and escapism. I take inspiration from my own life and the lives of people around me. I try to paint a picture with my words and try to do in the most honest and sometimes dark manner. I have also written about suicide, death, friends and teenage and I am open to writing more about being spiritual and what it means to be happy and sad. I want to go and explore different themes and write about each one of them, if I can. I think I am a tireless nomad in search for something that connects everything.Q: What was your first literary work and how was it published?A: My first literary work was with StoryMirror. I had never tried my hand at writing but one day i decided to and so I sent one of my poems 'The rush of your dreams' in the inter-college level competition organized by StoryMirror. I got so many views and applause for it that it was too overwhelming. It also got selected to be featured in one of the anthologies by StoryMirror, which is under work. I was completely shaken, and I still remember that feeling like it was yesterday. Q: How many ways literature can contribute to society in future? A: Well, for one, I’d say literature is going to save the world. In a world where we are so divided by boundaries and religion, I think Literature is where we all come together as humans. If every human being develops a writer's heart and an artistic growth, so many amazing things can happen to this world, that could have been thought of only in dreams or stories.Q: here do you see yourself after 5 years in the literary world? A:I want to travel all around the world, look for various muses and write about them. I really hope to make it successful as a writer and as a poet and maybe one day, I’ll get to write my story for the world to read and be remembered. Q: What ways would you suggest to build a community for poets? A: I think it is a great idea. While I firmly believe that every writer has a different and a deep personal story to tell, I think it would be great if we all could just talk to one another and discuss about our muses and themes. I'd love to be in such a club, for sure. Sign me up! Q: What message would you like to give to aspiring new writers? A: As one myself, I’d ask them to continue writing no matter what. It doesn't matter whether you get any recognition or applause, just remember why you started off writing and go on with it, no matter what. The most important thing is to write for yourself, and then comes the world. So just do your thing and don't ever look back.Q: How was your experience of writing on StoryMirror?   A: Two words - Beyond Exhilarating. I got so much recognition and exposure, and I am so grateful that I can't even begin to put it into words. It feels like being found in this chaotic world and I look forward to being remembered. Thank you, StoryMirror! You have my heart!Q: Would you like to say something about StoryMirror?  A: Yes! Keep up with this amazing platform. I hope a lot of writers consider you as the medium they want their work to spread and speak to the people. May you make big with all of these writers. Keep slaying!!!You can read my content on https://storymirror.com/profile/oseliq3i/aditya-thakur/poems

Should we fear Examinations?
 Ratna Kaul Bhardwaj  
 26 February 2019  
Art

It is wrong to believe that examinations are a burden or a fear on part of all the communities involved in  the entire set up of our examination system, be it teachers, students or the parents. It is very important to understand that Examinations are an important tool to evaluate our understanding about the subjects being taught, or being learned.Generally we relate the examinations with the grades or the percentage of marks scored. If understood deeply, the grades or the marks scored don’t hold much importance in comparison to what has been learned or taught  and how the same has affected or been  related to  our day to day life.  When we prepare ourselves for the examinations, we get an opportunity to widen our understanding, to check the facts properly  and to learn and memories more deeply the information that a particular content offers. They also help to absorb the knowledge unconsciously. Hence, Examinations also provide us with an opportunity to work hard, develop mental discipline,patience, creativeness, leadership,  improving writing caliber, learn the content by heart, by understanding it, not by mugging it up. Once the content is mugged up, it looses its importance unless the information that it carries is stored deeply in our mind. So understanding the content is the most important factor in terms of gaining knowledge and applying it in our next level.In current scenario when the syllabus is quite huge, it is important for all to prepare a healthy schedule to address one content at a time, understand it, check the loop holes, focus on the logical part and  write the content a multiple times to grasp the knowledge, as writing improves comprehension and critical thinking. Writing is basically the frame work of our communication.It is important to understand that without conducting examinations, students do not concentrate in their studies, hence the mental discipline is lost. Hence, my advice here to all the communities involved in the process of examinations, is not to fear the system but to address it logically. Take it in the healthy spirit, don’t load the children with the burden but find ways and means by making it more playful,more enjoyable, and more practical by focusing on cross learning,making mind maps, designating time hours, multiple patterns of a single question, relating the content with day today activities the child is into, etc. Don’t forget to given leap hour to a child on daily basis during examination to rejuvenate his interest in examinations. Boredom should be avoided to keep their interest alive.All the best!Ratna Kaul Bhardwaj

StoryMirror in conversation with author Hinal Mhatre
 StoryMirror Feed  
 28 February 2019  
Art

Q:Please give details about your initial education and forming years of life. A: Currently I am studying in class 9. Till this day I've written over 30 poems, and the credit goes to the interest I have in literature and the way I somehow live my life to the fullest by being anxious.Q: How did you get interested in literature? What inspired you to write?  A: Nothing specifically inspired me to write for there is a lot going around in teenage years. Being an amateur in writer, I have a lot to face now. Come what may, my words won't be wasted. Q: What is your view about the present-day literary work? A: As times change, so does the face of literature. Though not so large in number, but there are various rising patrons publishing their own little worlds. Poets like me have new assets of the digital and social media. But sometimes these forums just mentally freeze a person as literature is an overwhelming field.Q: Please tell us something about your literary work. A: My poems are basically like a heart that sings alone. This includes narrating the aesthetics of some incidents, unanswered questions and  whimsical daydreams. Some of my literary works reflect self-assessments done at 3 am, uncertain love interests, phases of life, ghosts of people that are still alive, and deep messages conveyed through simple words. And the rest are stupid desires, abstracts, negative glimpses, anxious drama, confessions, longing memories, unspoken words, etc. I have tried to fit them in various poetic styles such as haiku, limerick, acrostic, sonnet, sometime free verses or created my own styles. Q: What was your first literary work and how was it published?A: My first literary work was a small Marathi poem that I wrote when I was 8, though I don't have it written somewhere but I do remember it. After that I hadn't written poems and stories for some 4 years, except some school homework.Q: How many ways literature can contribute to society in future?A: Literature contributes to the society in various ways that we don't even realize. On a smaller level, it might make someone's day and on a larger level, it acts like a eternal communication. To be honest, I do not like visualizing myself with a all 'down to the earth' attitude. I'll go where my poems will get me, also, I am considering to publish my poetry collection. I would suggest the build up a community where a every person gets recognition due to his/her poetic excellence and not the other way round where a poem gets recognition due to its poet/poetess. I am, myself, a aspiring writer and from the little experience I have, I would suggest them to write as per their own terms and conditions, not necessarily tracing some great writer's steps. Initially the context stays simple and text seems jumbled but as it moves forward, context deepens and words get cleared.One's written works are little parts of one's mind you give to the world.Q: How was your experience of writing on StoryMirror?  A: I am enjoying my experience with StoryMirror.I would like to add that, earlier I would surf through internet searching for writing communities based in India and would always end up on a abroad or almost closed writing communities. I am really grateful for coming across and being a part of StoryMirror and the respective contests, for being a platform for me to showcase my creativity.Q: Would you like to say something about StoryMirror? A: Also, thank you for providing me with the opportunity to share my views and opinions through this interview.Here is the link to read my content https://storymirror.com/profile/e2cgoydy/5-crookedfingers/poems

StoryMirror in conversation with author Morgan Tomas-Klostermann
 StoryMirror Feed  
 12 March 2019  
Art

Please give details about your initial education and forming years of life.I graduated a semester early from Beckman Catholic High School and started taking college courses early on. Currently, I attend Northeast Iowa Community College. Given my hectic life, at the moment I am only enrolled in online courses. Ever-so-slowly, I’m working towards my Associate of Arts degree before I transfer to a four-year university to pursue a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. How did you get interested in literature? What inspired you to write?  I have always had a fondness for literature—there’s just something immensely intriguing about finding a great book and escaping into the literary world it provides. I’m always adding new books to my kindle. As for writing, I discovered early on in my childhood that I had a talent and interest in poetry. More often than not, I used poetry writing as a therapeutic tool and it proved to be a helpful means of coping with the struggles of my daily life. It still is. What difficulties did you have to face with respect to literary work? The difficulties that had the most impact in relation to my writing would probably be writer’s block and finding FREE ways to get my work put out there and/or published.What is your view about the present-day literary work? In regard to poetry specifically, the majority of my favorite writers are modern-day and from this generation. I find that I tend to gravitate towards writing styles similar to my own. I think that there has been a recent increase in writing that has a positive subject matter, which I find refreshing considering most of my own work tends to be on the negative side of life. Do you think that the emergence of digital and social media has given a new opportunity to creative writers? I definitely believe that social media and technology both have made a HUGE difference in the amount of opportunities available for writers. For me, personally, the digital world has skyrocketed my writing and certainly improved it.Please tell us something about your literary work. My work is almost solely poetry, and that’s what I’ve chosen to dedicate my time spent writing to. Every single piece has some sort of deeply personal connection to me or my life and, in numerous cases, my past. I haven’t had the most sunshine-y life, but in the last five years things have taken a turn for the better in the best ways. I think this positive turn for me is becoming visible in some of my writing. What was your first literary work and how was it published?  My first real piece of writing that I put out there was a cheesy Love poem that I wrote around age twelve specifically for a contest hosted by what previously was Poetry.com. It’s called Definition of Love, and through the website at the time, it was published into an anthology entitled Collected Whispers. I was quite proud then, but reading it now, I almost want to blush at how obvious my youth was. How many ways literature can contribute to society in future?I think that, in the future—as well as now, even—literature and writing and poetry will (hopefully) open people’s eyes to what the world was/is like today and explore the endless possibilities of what the world COULD be.Where do you see yourself after 5 years in the literary world?In five years, the hopes I have in regard to my writing all revolve around the simple goal of being recognized and successfully putting myself out there. It’s been a struggle finding ways to do that that won’t affect me financially. What ways would you suggest to build a community for poets?I think that many positive strides have been made to do exactly this, and many more are already in the process. I do wish that there was a singular poetry community online that provided ways for writers to share their poetry with others, receive feedback, build a collection of their poetry, AND enter FREE contests/calls for submissions. I feel like, the ways things are right now, poets have to bounce around from site to site or place to place to accomplish all of those things.What message would you like to give to aspiring new writers? The best advice I could ever give isn’t my own advice at all, but rather the words of Ernest Hemingway. Ernest Hemingway once said, “Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”How was your experience of writing on StoryMirror? To be completely honest, I have only ever been on StoryMirror to enter a contest. When I got the email requesting an author interview, I was so pleased because I feel like no other writing community appears to care about or get involved with its members/writers. Instantly, I wanted to be a more active part of StoryMirror, so I’d say my experience was wonderful.Here is the link to read my content https://storymirror.com/profile/drmr5sia/morgan-tomas-klostermann/poems 

Increasing Extramarital affair
 Tanmaya Madhukanta  
 6 April 2019  

Indian society is giving women the liberty to be sexually active. After hearing of multipartners and wife swapping, the new flavour of the season is of Indian wives dating other men.The syndrome which has become really hip and popular today is ‘my wife’s boyfriend.’ Women today have come out of the four walls of the house and have started experimenting with their sex lives. For many years, the issue of extramarital affairs was thought to be a “woman’s issue” – that is, women dealing with their husbands’ affairs.Today, while large numbers of husbands are still having affairs, there has been a significant increase in the number of Indian wives having affairs.A recent survey done on contemporary marriages by the Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS), Mumbai, has brought to light the fact that there is a rise in extramarital affairs, and couples know and accept their partner’s paramours.But the most surprising finding is that more and more married women are looking for love or rather fun outside marriage. With the work place and the Internet, overscheduled lives and inattentive husbands – it’s no wonder more Indian women are looking for comfort in the arms of another man.Women interact with men more at work. They go for more meetings, take more business trips and presumably participate more in flirtatious water-cooler chatter.These light or intensive flirtations whatever the women opts for give them a self-esteem boost during work hours and don’t rock the boat at home.Gone are the days when cuckolding was a social taboo. Today globalization has spawned an almost experimental outlook towards sex.In an age where porn has hit the streets openly, women today do not hesitate to break the ‘humdrum’ of their lives by experimenting with their sex lives and this experimentation is no longer a man’s prerogative. Today wives are acting on the urge more than ever.With husbands pursuing demanding careers and having no time for the home, or for that matter sex, it has led to wives looking for adventure outside marriage.Husbands are also aware of it, because they know that they cannot give them the time. The neglect of their personal life by husbands has led to women becoming desperate for attention and they don’t mind flaunting their boyfriends.Often we want to hold on to relationships because we do not want to get out of our comfort zone. Even if the marriage is not healthy, we tend to hold on to it for various reasons.Whether through an open relationship or just a fantasy, looking elsewhere is not the root cause of trouble in relationships. Instead it’s the fact that we crave adventure in our humdrum lives and most marriages fail to provide that.Many women say that an affair outside marriage has changed their lives for better because they feel desirable in the arms of somebody else.In addition, when women break out from a truly committed relationship and run free, the question is not what they are running towards, but rather what is it they are running from.In this situation looking for love elsewhere tends to be a life pattern triggered by fears (of commitment, of being loved, of waking up with the same person every morning).Over the years, though the institution of marriage is still alive, there is a sea of change in the relationship between husband and wife. People these days look more for financial security than emotional.“The love and care is definitely there, but passion definitely dies away with years. From having sex once a week, they have sex one a month or may not even for months together. It is high time we accept the fact that everybody needs variety in their sex life,” says Devyani Rao, a stylist with a leading lifestyle magazine.In Indian society, people generally have marriages of convenience. According to Mumbai based psychologist, Dr. Varkha Chulani, “This condition of wives having affairs generally arises in 80 percent of marriages today because there is very little communication with each other. For most women, an inattentive husband is the biggest problem, and husbands too have accepted this situation because they refuse to go through the tedious process of divorce.”While the woman is on the lookout for love outside marriage, she is definitely in no mood to leave her husband. She just wants to have her share of fun.For women who have been married for many years and for whom the whole life is about taking care of their kids and their house life definitely becomes very monotonous for them. It becomes natural for them to look for love outside marriage, just to spice up their life.There are several reasons that men accept this arrangement. Firstly, they don’t want to go through the legal hassle of divorce.Second, after spending so many years of togetherness they get used to each other and just knowingly shut their eyes. Third, it gives the man a green signal to have fun with other women.

Cancer
 Saloni Maliwal  
 21 April 2019  

CancerLosing someone close because of cancer is never too easy because it is very hard to deal with atruth like this. Cancer is scariest medical health issue compared to all the other medial health issues. People who have cancer are dying everyday even if they are alive, it becomes very difficult for those people who face this problem because their life completely changes.Cancer is such a kind of health problem which can be cured if it is detected soon but there is no guarantee if the person would be still alive after he or she is cured by cancer. A person who detects that he or she has cancer they break down because there is a reason behind it, because they know that they will leave their family and the love ones because they do not know if they are going to be alive the next day or next week or next month. After knowing they have cancer, they cannot predict anything about their life. Once the person knows that he or she has cancer they do not have any hope left. Because they know even if they are alive, they still are dying with the thought of death. They know if they don’t get cure, they are going to die sooner or later.When someone is cured with cancer, they celebrate it. They celebrate it because they fought for living each second of their life. They are titled as a warrior because they are one. Some people even call them a fighter because they were brave enough to live their life in pain and with a thought of death every day in their mind as soon as their day begins and as soon as they go to sleep. They always had one hope that is to live for a little longer and experience every moment and every second of their life. It is never too easy for someone to be okay when they are facing cancer. It takes a lot to make them happy. They are in pain each and very day of their life and they are sad, depressed with the fact that why did it happened to them and why are they one who are suffering so much.The main reason doctors advise their patients to visit clubs and ask them to be around people who they can always communicate about their problem and are happy around because that might just help them to feel better and increase their chance to live. Some people around us also conduct some small seminars so that they can communicate with all the people who are cancer survivors also who are fighting with cancer so that they can motivate them and boost their confidence level and get back their hope to live. They also encourage them to be more positive and live all the moments of their life happily and with a smile and not with pain, sadness and depression. It just cures you faster if you live each moment happily and enjoy each second of your life with your love ones and close ones.~By. Saloni Maliwal.

How is Trekking Beneficial to Your Mind and Soul?
 Manmohan Singh  
 6 May 2019  

Much like yoga,Trekking is an exercise that brings you together the body and the mind And makes your spirits shine, With the nurturing and the taming of your mind, You better the feelings that are food for your soul.Like yoga; in its process and exercise, trekking has a lot to do with breath-work and breath-control leading to mind control. The process of trekking then, further goes on to healing and fixing the energy loopholes of your being.The exercise of trekking is getting popular everywhere in the world. India and Nepal, the areas that are close to the Himalayas are in the spotlight because wisdom comes down from the great Himalayas to these lands. There are a plenty of trekking destination in India, and even more difficult trekking destinations in Nepal. The Annapurna base camp trek in Khandruk, Nepal is a doable and yet difficult trek that I recommend people to participate in.I will go as far as to say that trekking is a meditation and that’s because as widely it is believed that meditation requires one to be still and calm and composed; that may not be the entirety of meditation. Meditation is a practice that we do to activate our minds that has been either focusing on certain things too much, or been too relaxed or out of focus in its functioning.Meditation is essentially a practice that makes your concentration power more and more flexible and stronger. By explanation, concentration is the power of being able to contract and expand your consciousness and hold it for as long as required.Our consciousness gets out of practice and things start to get monotonous. When we go for trekking, the mind is expected to achieve great levels of concentration because it demands the holding capacity of your concentration, which, if not present, will kill you on your trek. That’s why people who have a good hold of their concentration can take up more and more difficult treks. Hence trekking is a form of moving meditation. It can be justified that trekking is essentially yoga in consistent movement and a faster method of unraveling and opening up. If you trek for a living, your body will find itself in a perpetual state of movement, and the mind at rest and in control at all times.Trekking demands for you to be mentally present at all times, or else your reality will be altered very easily and you may lose consciousness, which is why you may find trekkers walking silently in concentration. So what happens when we calm our minds and trek silently? We make our minds more and more alert so that it helps channelize all the energy in the body to be utilized by the physical activity!When your mind is calm and focused and your body is in movement, you become the humblest version of yourself at that moment because you are focusing on the bare necessities to keep you alive and walking ahead. And when humans get what they need and not what they greed, people are humbler and in greater harmony with themselves and each other. It will not be surprising to say that people, who trek as a lifestyle choice, live longer and live life in its full essence because all they have to do is walk away and find another strange place to find comfort in. What happens when you are trekking is that you are meditating with each step, your mind is calm, your body is in movement and your spirits are enriched versions which is how things are supposed to be in life, where people are only caring for their necessities and not for their greed.But the city life has introduced a lot of greed and in times when we exist in satisfaction, we may encounter moments of greed which leads our body and soul in the direction to achieve that greed that we inculcated in us. What we are doing while trekking is focusing on the bare necessities of life.With trekking you will go the natural way, and the natural way always leads to more satisfaction than running madly after something that you don’t even need. The “time” that you buy, is the “age” you have bought for yourself to live.Trekking does have tremendous scope for spiritual growth as well. Wisdom comes with the patience that we are willing to give to the things that are necessary for us, after we have bought all that time from meditating in movement. We are free to spend it on what may be an essential knowledge to pass down to your next generation. Whatever knowledge that people gain from spending time on gaining it, internalizes in our body and down to our genes...So you decide what information and knowledge you want to pass on to the coming generation. Trekking is extremely beneficial for your mind body and soul because when you are on a trek, you are feeding your entire being with all the goodness it needs internally and externally’ with every step you take, the problems you face on this journey are different from not meeting a project deadline…. You see, you’re more worried about collecting enough firewood to grant yourselves a heart-warming bon-fire when you want to take rest.

My solo trip to one of last village in Kasol Himachal.
 vishal saxena  
 12 May 2019  
Art

In the middle of the day, I was standing puzzled in the place known as Kasol. I had no idea how this place would be and what I would do alone there. The foreigners definitely were visible in the majority. Hebrew (Israel official language) was used in many restaurants along with English and Hindi.I usually don't eat before the bus travel, so I was hungry and decided to Visit holy Manikaran first (3 km uphill from Kasol). Manikaran has mesmerizing beauty. A grand Gurudwara besides the God Shiva temple on the bank of violent Parvati river. This place is also blessed with a hot spring. In this hot spring, delicious food of the Gurudwara is cooked. The gateway to Gurudwara led to a bridge to cross Parvati River and the hot spot for profile pictures.Right inside the Gurudwara, there is a pond of hot water from spring in which freezing water of Parvati is brought through a pipe and mixed. It is believed that if you take a bath in this pond all your skin disease will vanish. In the vicinity where water is mixed, the water temperature varies from hot to cold. So you can enjoy lukewarm water. I took the bathe and then I headed up to Langar food. This has been my first ever Gurudwara visit. I would skip the traditional beauty of Gurudwara. I had delicious food there. Most people miss they also serve sweet (Halwa) in form of Prasad upstairs. Never miss that. You can book your room in Gurudwara if you want to stay there. It's free. Free food and free stay make many foreigners crazy. Next, I visited the temple. Clicked some pictures.Here was a thing that no-one told me before. Manikaran is beautiful, but you can hardly spend 3-4 hours only not the entire stay. So I chose to go Kasol again.There are buses every 10 minutes, but I chose to hitchhike. Those two guys were high on weed like most people there. They asked me to take a puff.I said I don't drink and smoke.They said that there is nothing here for you then. They told me from here on, every place is Kasol, where you want to go?I was confused, this situation was never written on any blog. They dropped me at the market.I walked through the market, there was nothing new in that place. There were just ordinary hill station shops and few hotels. I felt cheated by the place and decided to go back.At the bus station while I was waiting for the bus. Some locals suggested me to go to Tosh or to Kheerganga trek. Since I had a healing leg and a luggage, so I was avoiding the difficult long trek. Then this guy appeared, he told me that he has a cafe on the top of Sheela village. It's an easy trek, and he showed me some pictures too.It was a risky choice this guy could be anything. But going back was not the best option either, so I said yes.The bus stopped near a small shop named Naina cafe. It was 4 pm already. As long as the Sun is visible mountains are mesmerizing, beautiful but once it sets they become scary. I wanted to make sure before it happened, I should be in a room. Just beside this cafe, the trek started it lasted around 1 hour going through some easy and rough terrain. Entire time the sound of Parvati River was just adding magic to the journey.I don't even remember when it was the last time when I witnessed the pattern of leaves.Or I danced to the music of water or screamed my heart out, or I wasonly physically exhausted. Facing the fear of death every moment, I only felt what it meant to be alive. It was the first time when I saw something beautiful and did not capture it because I knew no camera can capture what I was feeling while trekking. That's how beautiful little Sheela village trek was.It would be unfair to travellers if I try explain what I felt in words. It was in the true sense, the first night I ever spent in nature. Itwas magical from the Sunrise to the Sunset. It turned out that I was the first customer for that new homestay and their place was in construction. I chipped in my bit. There were a few guys who have left their jobs from metro cities and intended to live forever in this place. Obviously, they all were shouting 'Bum Bhole'. Later that turned out to be a problem that they all were so high when they slept, it was hard to wake them up. I and one more guy had to check out, but there was no one to receive payment. We called on their phone too. Even we left a message that we would pay online in whatever means they would say when they will wake up. Later, around after an hour when we were walking through the long route just to spend more time on this, they came to us and misbehaved.That 5 km walk from that place to last bus stop point, is the best part of my entire journey. Most people who go even further up during camping generally take a taxi to come back. That walk around the Sheela Village is beyond words, I came across places where adventure was the only mean to go ahead. It was scary in between when we realized we two guys were all alone walking through that place and it started to rain too but luckily it stopped.Walking through that unusual route I realized how beautiful life could be, how much we can do in a day. In our usual life we don’t even realize its value. Every day, every place is beautiful as long as you are not stuck there.

Bhagavad Gita Verse 1.6
 Dhwani Shah  
 25 May 2019  

Patience Is Very Active - In Gita Verse 1.6 There are the mighty Yudhāmanyu, the very powerful Uttamaujā, the son of Subhadrā and the sons of Draupadī. All these warriors are great chariot fighters.Duryodhana was so impatience that in his anxiety to win the war, he was not knowing what he was speaking. He says that the very powerful Uttamaujā, the son of Subhadrā and the sons of Draupadī, it means his and his brothers sons are not worthy, not powerful. Even though Pandavas sons were taken care and brought up by others as they lost their empire in gambling, and were in exile. Whereas Kauravas themselves had brought up their children. By saying this he conveyed that he and his brothers had failed as parents in bring up their children.When we are in the grip of desire, anxiety and anger religions says don’t do anything in that moment of anger - wait.Haste is one of the greatest diseases of present day, because it has made many things impossible which could have happened with a little patience.On your part great patience is needed, and a trust that the whole existence is in support of all those who are trying to grow spiritually. It is not you who are trying to grow spiritually; it is the existence which through you, is trying to reach its pinnacle.Patience is very alert, patience is very active, patience is very expectant. If you are waiting for somebody — a friend is to call on you — you may be sitting just by the door, but you are very attentive, alert. Any noise on the road, any car passing by, and immediately you start looking: maybe your has friend come? The wind on your doors , and suddenly you are alert: maybe he has knocked…. Dead leaves in the garden moving hither and thither, and you come out of your home; maybe he has come…. Patience is as active as that. It is a waiting. It is not dull, it is very radiant. It is not unconscious; it is not like a stupor. It is like a flame burning bright. One waits. One can wait infinitely, but one waits, expectant, active, alert, watchful.People are in a hurry, and religion is such a tree that it needs patience. It needs infinite patience. It needs no-hurry. If you are in a hurry, you will miss what religion is. Religion is not somewhere in temple or as followers. Religion is where you are. In this moment.If you are in a hurry, if you are in haste, you will never know the taste of its existence.Impatience also shows that you are not trusting your dreams, you are not trusting your totality of longing. Patience simply means: I will wait, whatever time it takes for the spring to come — but I will not wait patiently; I will wait with a heart throbbing, desiring, waiting… each moment, day in, day out. Waiting for the ship is a very total action on your part — because the action is total, your trust is total.One cannot predict when it will come. Only one thing can be said emphatically that if you are impatient it will not come. The more impatient you are for it, the less is the possibility, and if you are patient, it is bound to come. The more patient you are, the closer it is. If your patience is absolute, then it can happen right this very moment. But everything depends on patience. Patience is prayer and patience is trust and patience is love.Pandavas patience had courage to hold the present moment and the given resources. It was active, alive, in gratitude. Even the soldier of their army were ready to be participant in the war. While Duryodhana’s impatience was dead - why dead - as his disrespectful action was not allowing anyone to take any action. Before the war could start he had already lost the war. As his whole army were dead through inaction before the war had even started. His army was not a participant in the war. To achieve our goal we need our supporting team to participate.Recollect the moment when we don’t allow ourselves or the people around us to use the available resources, the whole environment becomes tense. Suddenly we feel everything is dead.Patience is nothing but a fragrance of trust. The night is dark but one trusts that the dawn is coming. Each passing moment the day is coming closer and closer. Maybe the night is actually becoming darker. In fact it becomes darker before the dawn comes, so the actual may not be helpful to the possible. The actual may be saying, ‘What are you doing? What are you waiting for? The night is getting darker than ever before. The dawn must be going further away and the distance is growing greater. This is simple logic: the night is getting darker so the dawn cannot be very close. You are losing track! There is no point in waiting any more.Your mind is constant!y hijacking you from the present moment — either into the past or into the future, but it never allows you to be in the now, to be here. By infinite patience is meant that “I trust, I am not worried. I am not rushing for tomorrow. I will rest in this moment. I will allow this moment its totality. I will explore this moment with my totality.” Then immediately, within a split second something wells up within you, something overwhelms you: a kind of music, a kind of melody, a feeling of well-being, as if everything is as it should be, you are at home, nothing is needed, all is perfect.That feeling is bliss — that everything else as it is, is right; it is absolutely okay, it cannot be better. That feeling is bliss, but that feeling is possible only when you relax, are patient, unhurried. And that’s what meditation is all about. Spirituality is nothing but a style of life, of living moment to moment, without hankering for the future… just living the present so totally that the mind has no time, no space, to go anywhere else… so absorbed, so utterly involved, drunk, with the present.Bliss is something that comes to you from the beyond — not created by you but only received. One has to learn how to wait for it; one has to learn the art of waiting. Patience, infinite patience, is needed.

5 Things to Avoid in Food During Trekking
 Manmohan Singh  
 30 May 2019  

Trekking is a holistic activity that takes you to places that are unbelievably picturesque. Places that you may have seen in photographs and postcards. The glistening mountain tops and pristine lakes are not the only things that are tempting to the soul. The foods in these areas of the world are so different to the taste buds and very new to enthusiastic souls who like to discover these new things while travelling.The fun in travelling lies in these small discoveries that one makes. While trekking, one comes across so many kinds of mesmerising terrains and landscapes, the soul and the body is ready to accept all the good that the foods of the local area brings along in the course of the journey. Not just the food but the native cultures and traditions are rich, diverse and a segment of traditional beliefs that have passed down the ages. Nepal is a place that is known for the diverse amount of trekking trails and terrains, for trek enthusiasts to dwell in. The best part is that trekking in Nepal does not burn a huge hole in your pocket, that’s why Nepal is a favourite amongst enthusiasts. One of the most famous tracks for trekking is the Everest base camp trekking in Nepal. People, who want to get close to the highest mountain in the world, opt for this trekking trail once in Nepal.There is a long list of foods that you should eat while on a trekking trip, but there are 5 important foods and beverages that you must absolutely avoid while starting on a trekking journey. 1. Alcoholic beveragesConsumption of alcohol lowers your energy outlet and drags down your focus while trekking. More than anything, alcohol is a beverage that stirs your emotional levels and hampers the progress on your mental capacity on a trek. Trekking is an activity that requires your mind to be aware and alert at all times; a loss of one second of your attention span can lead to fatal accidents. It is worse if you go through a hangover before starting a lengthy trek.  It is true that people consume alcohol to ward off the chilling winds in a trek, but that is only really small quantities of alcohol. It is always better to celebrate with alcohol after the trek is over. 2. Cold meatsYou may have heard that meat is a very strong source of proteins and energy, but you may not know that you can obtain the same quantity of proteins and vitamins from so many kinds of vegetables. More than anything, why the consumption of meat is so bothersome is that, meat can be preserved and kept for inculcating flavour, and the proteins in the meat don’t survive for long. So, what you consume in the end is a dead flesh that has been cured for flavour. While trekking you need proteins and vitamins to keep you trekking in a consistent manner, it is not advisable to consume dead flesh while on a trek that needs you to produce the energy from within. Especially while on a trek to Nepal do not expect a lot of variety in meat. If you are used to eating beef forget that you will find beef anywhere, cow is the national animal of Nepal and it is highly offensive to consume beef or steak. 3. Carbonated drinksWhen on a trek you must take care of your abdomen and stomach. Try to eat foods that do not upset the stomach a lot. Especially consuming all natural based items is advisable. Carbonated drinks only serve for flavour and the taste buds while not being a very healthy option while on a trek. For energy boost and refreshment, try drinking natural vegan milks and fruit juices instead. 4. RiceEating rice in large amounts causes your stomach to swell and this makes it hard for you to carry your own weight on a trek. Rice is necessary for the carbohydrates that is provides but consuming too much out of hunger is not advised. This is because rice does not provide lot of roughage for exercising the abdomen. Rather breads like the traditional Nepali roti are full of proteins and roughage. 5. Processed foodsAny form of processed foods is likely to contain very less amounts of the vitamins of that particular food. Processed foods also contain traces of preservatives that are not beneficial for your energy flow. Avoid processed foods and try to consume more foods that can be naturally sourced, even if it lacks in flavour which is very unlikely, opt for natural foods, fruits and vegetables.  While on an important trek, or any trekking expedition for that matter, try to go as vegan or vegetarian as possible. The greens that you consume hold a lot more energy than meat and other alternatives you consume for proteins. There are a lot of foods that are essential for treks, and believe it or not, while on a trek, the simplest foods like rice, wheat and lentils are the best source of energy. The locals thrive on this kind of food and it is what keeps them surviving and it the best shape to be alive on these terrains. We may be tourists but the natives are locals they are one with the mountains and the natural surroundings. So follow their lead and do in Rome as the Romans do. 

Bhagavad Gita Verse 1.19
 Dhwani Shah  
 5 June 2019  

Rhythm Is Silence - In Gita Verse 1.19 The blowing of these different conch shells became uproarious. Vibrating both in the sky and on the earth, it shattered the hearts of the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra.Rhythmic Response of Pandava reached in whole existence. While Kauravas response was tumultuous in whole existence.In Bhagavad Gita Verse 1.13 it says that when Kaurava responded - After that, the conch shells, drums, bugles, trumpets and horns were all suddenly sounded, and the combined sound was tumultuous.Rhythm means - When you feel one with the trees and the birds. and the rivers and the rocks, and the ocean and the sand – watch. You will find that there are many rhythms of your breath, a great spectrum: from the most violent, ugly, miserable hell-type, to the most silent heaven-type.Then when you have discovered your rhythm, practice it; make it a part of your life. By and by it becomes unconscious; then you only breathe in that rhythm. With that rhythm your life will be a life of a yogi: you will not be angry, you will not feel so sexual, you will not feel so filled with hatred. Suddenly you will feel a transmutation happening to you.Rhythm is a message of silence in us. Tumultuous is a message of excitement and anxiety. As a team when Pandavas silence reached to sky and on the earth it shows their gratitude towards existence. In gratitude they said that we will focus on what we have to deliver is without enmity towards Kaurava and fight with them. We accept your assignment in gratitude.Whenever we hear music immediately we become silent. In the middle of all the objective world’s activity suddenly we feel silence, we feel life. This is very alive not dead but flow.Rhythmic message by Pandava and their team conveyed to Universe that we are ready without any resistance to deliver your assignment.For them it is not right or wrong, win or lose but only one thing how we can deliver our assignment which has been given by Universe.There is no possibility of any division between right and wrong on the highest level of universal consciousnesses, for the simple reason that there are no divisions at all. It is one.What is right and what is wrong?Awareness is right; unawareness is wrong. Don’t label actions as wrong and right. Don’t say violence is wrong. Sometimes violence can be right. Don’t say love is right. Sometimes love can be wrong. Love can be for a wrong person, love can be for a wrong purpose. Somebody loves his country. Now, this is wrong because nationalism is a curse. Somebody loves his religion. He can kill, he can murder, he can burn others’ temples. Neither is love always right nor is anger always wrong.Then what is right and what is wrong? Awareness is right. If you are angry with full awareness, even anger is right. And if you are loving with unawareness, even love is not right.So let the quality of awareness be there in every act that you do, in every thought that you think, in every dream that you dream. Let the quality of awareness enter into your being more and more. Become suffused with the quality of awareness. Then whatsoever you do is virtue. Then whatsoever you do is good. Then whatsoever you do is a blessing to you and to the world in which you live.Sound of conch shells which was so Rhythmic that the silence which was uproarious through it, shattered the hearts of the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra.It’s natural. When you are excited for anything other person will not be shattered. Because they know it within no time they can uproot you, divert you. But when you are silent the other person will be shattered because it says that I am rooted in myself. The person who is rooted in themselves it is very difficult to uproot them and defeat them. For Kaurava this war was to win but this Uproar of silence so profound that they could hear that we will not be able to defeat Pandava.

Bhagavad Gita Verse 1.23
 Dhwani Shah  
 8 June 2019  

Be Spontaneous - In Gita Verse 1.23 Let me see those who have come here to fight, wishing to please the evil-minded son of Dhṛtarāṣṭra.Arjuna is now becoming very specific. After Kauravas responded to Grandfather’s conch shell, he understood that it’s not just war between two parties or brothers. But war between many. Each one from Kaurava side is going to attack differently. As Duryodhana gave free hand to everyone for their individual revenge. Now when there are a group of people going to attack as individuals for their personal revenge every moment new planning and strategy is required . Everything will depend on how each individual will begin to attack simultaneously and who would be targeted.It was a big challenge for a war without enmity but needs moment to moment planning, preparation, response etc . During such moment only one thing would help - Self-Consciousness, Self-Alertness, Watching, which opens the door for Spontaneity.Is spontaneity compatible with watching?Buddha certainly says: Don’t just do something — stand there! But that is only the beginning of the pilgrimage, not the end. When you have learned how to stand, when you have learned how to be utterly silent, unmoving, undisturbed, when you know how to just sit…sitting silently, doing nothing, the spring comes and the grass grows by itself. But the grass grows, remember!Action does not disappear: the grass grows by itself. The Buddha does not become inactive; great action happens through him, although there is no doer anymore. The doer disappears, the doing continues. And when there is no doer, the doing is spontaneous; it cannot be otherwise. It is the doer that does not allow spontaneity.The doer means the ego, the ego means the past. When you act, you are always acting through the past, you are acting out of experience that you have accumulated, you are acting out of the conclusions that you have arrived at in the past. How can you be spontaneous? The past dominates, and because of the past you cannot even see the present. Your eyes are so full of the past, the smoke of the past is so much, that seeing is impossible. You cannot see! You are almost completely blind — blind because of the smoke, blind because of the past conclusions, blind because of knowledge.Decision by Duryodhana that everyone can fight individually, in that condition unless Pandava become Non-Doer only then there would be some hope of delivering their assignment to Universe.The knowledgeable man is the most blind man in the world. Because he functions out of his knowledge, he does not see what the case is. He simply goes on functioning mechanically. He has learned something; it has become a ready-made mechanism in him…he acts out of it.You watch, you are utterly quiet and silent. You see what the situation is, and out of that seeing you respond. The man of awareness responds, he is responsible — literally! He is responsive, he does not react. His action is born out of his awareness, not out of your manipulation; that is the difference. Watching is the beginning of spontaneity; spontaneity is the fulfillment of watching.The real man of understanding acts — acts tremendously, acts totally, but he acts in the moment, out of his consciousness. He is like a mirror. The ordinary man, the unconscious man, is not like a mirror, he is like a photo plate. What is the difference between a mirror and a photo plate? A photo plate, once exposed, becomes useless. It receives the impression, becomes impressed by it — it carries the picture. But remember, the picture is not reality — the reality goes on growing. You can go into the garden and you can take a picture of a rosebush. Tomorrow the picture will be the same, the day after tomorrow the picture will also be the same. Go again and see the rosebush: it is no longer the same. The roses have gone, or new roses have arrived. A thousand and one things have happened.The photo plate is never true to life. Even if your photo is taken right now, by the time the photographer has taken it out of the camera, you are no longer the same! Much water has already gone down the Ganges. You have grown, changed, you have become older. Maybe only one minute has passed, but one minute can be a great thing — you may be dead! Just one minute before you were alive; after one minute, you may be dead. The picture will never die.But in the mirror, if you are alive, you are alive; if you are dead, you are dead.Buddha says: Learn sitting silently — become a mirror. Silence makes a mirror out of your consciousness, and then you function moment to moment. You reflect life. You don’t carry an album within your head. Then your eyes are clear and innocent, you have clarity, you have vision, and you are never untrue to life.This is authentic living.If you live authentically, you are Spontaneous. Arjuna when he says that I want to see everyone, who desires to fight - he meant that he wanted to watch again. He was not anxious for the war but whether he was watchful regarding everything or not? If anything is missed by him? He was checking himself. His this act was from No Doer. His body was vehicle of Universe. When your body is vehicle of Universe, you are Spontaneous.

Bhagavad Gita Verse 1.25
 Dhwani Shah  
 10 June 2019  

Awareness Of Self - In Gita Verse 1.25 In the presence of Bhīṣma, Droṇa and all the other chieftains of the world, the Lord said, “Just behold, Pārtha, all the Kurus assembled here.”In the Bhagavad Gita Verse 1.24 Krishna parked the chariot exactly in the middle. Indicating Arjuna Be In Middle. Now in the presence of everyone Krishna addresses Arjuna as Parth, besides their relationship they were friends and only Krishna used to call him as Parth. By addressing him as Parth, he conveyed that as a friend I am with you, but you need to hold yourself, come back to yourself. All your family members are assembled here, but not as family, everyone has their agenda. By saying ‘Just Behold’ he said that don’t fall into your personal agenda, remind yourself the agenda of the Universe. You are here in the capacity of human to deliver the agenda of the Universe.Hold, wait - Waiting creates seeing. Patience creates the possibility. Absolute patience creates the absolute possibility to see. In tense, impatient minds eyes are clouded, filled with smoke - they cannot see. When you silently wait, by and by clouds disappear from the eyes, because they are created by impatience. When you patiently wait they disappear. Vision becomes clear, a clarity is attained. You can see. Wait and see - when you wait, and you will see. Seeing will come by itself, on its own accord. You simply wait.If you can wait it means you have dropped the reaching mind, the achieving mind; you have dropped the desiring mind. Only then can you wait. Waiting means now you are here and now, this moment is enough, this moment is all - and suddenly the eyes are clear. No clouds roam in the eyes then - no smoke. The flame burns without smoke. And you see.In this clarity Universe can use you as it’s vehicle. Become vehicle, hold yourself to drop the mind, become empty.What is Emptiness - not escaping but coming into the clearing, seeing the inner sky unclouded, listening to the songs of the birds without distorting. And then again and again you are becoming more and more attuned with the emptiness, Universe, and the joy of being empty. Gradually, you see that emptiness is not just emptiness; it is fullness, fullness of the Universe, a fullness of which you have never been aware, a fullness of which you have never tasted.So in the beginning it looks empty; in the end it is full, totally full, over flowingly full. It is full of peace, it is full of silence, it is full of light, filled with whole existence.When Krishna says just behold to Arjuna; not only observe the outside world but simultaneously watch yourself. Don’t become unconscious regarding yourself. Be alert. Why he addressed him as Parth - as everyone there were calling him including Krishna as Arjuna, but when he called him Parth suddenly so that he can become alert regarding himself.All of us know that whenever we are suddenly addressed by different name, nick name we get a small jerk, in that jerk we drop our mind.Same jerk was given to Arjuna, it was making him alert regarding this moment and his watchfulness. Krishna knew there are all chances that by insightful to see everyone calmly - “Arjuna addressed Krishna please draw my chariot between the two armies so that I may see those present here, who desire to fight, and with whom I must contend in this great trial of arms” - may fall to emotions. By addressing as Parth Krishna gave Arjuna a wake up call, wake up from your unconsciousness, become aware of yourself. Krishna gave a clear message by saying Just Behold - Awareness Of Self.The Dhammapada states, “Awareness is the path of immortality, while unawareness is the path that leads to a life lived in sleep and eventual death. If a person is awake, aware and lives accordingly, he or she becomes a vehicle of Universe.” It further says that this awareness is the difference between life and death, and that we are not alive just because we are breathing, but because we are truly aware.If we are truly aware then the mundane life will become divine. Even your Karma to fight will become divine.

Bhagavad Gita Verse 1.29
 Dhwani Shah  
 14 June 2019  

Imperfection - In Gita Verse 1.29 My whole body is trembling, my hair is standing on end, my bow Gāṇḍīva is slipping from my hand, and my skin is burning.Arjuna is looking at himself with more alertness and intensity. He is now giving details of where and what symptoms he has in his body.This shows that first he wants to reconnect himself with his subjectivity. As after looking to all his friends and family members who are right now divided. It was very painful and emotional moment for him. If some die it can be understood but if someone is not ready for any kind of mutual understanding, this moments is very painful.Mutual understanding is foundation of all relationships. Everyone has their different thinking, desires, goals, but there is always a way by which everyone can come to a common platform by mutual understanding and support each other. As every one of us are incomplete and imperfect. Unless we work to support each other no one can grow either in objective world or subjective world.'Imperfection' is not a derogatory word, it is almost synonymous with a living flow. Complete, where will you be going? what will you be doing?' Complete means growth has stopped, you have come to your very end. All that was potential has become actual - that's what completion means. Now there is nothing else but to die.Imperfection means there is more still awaiting, much is going to happen. If you accept your imperfection, and you live it in totality. These are two different things. To believe that your imperfection is perfect is utterly wrong. But be total in each moment - when you are imperfect be TOTALLY imperfect. And then out of that totality you start growing.The day you become perfect you are no more needed - the perfect ones are discarded immediately. So life never becomes perfect; it goes on moving. From one totality to another totality, from one imperfection to another imperfection, it goes on, it goes on. Imperfection is simply life, aliveness, growth, evolution. So why go on condemning imperfection?The Vedas say: AMRITASYA PUTRAH - YOU are the sons of immortality, deathlessness. You come out of nectar, you are made of the stuff of which nectar is made - AMRITASYA PUTRAH. YOU are sons of God, daughters of God - it simply means your potential is infinite, it can never be exhausted. Whatsoever you become, you will again find new doors opening, new peaks challenging, new adventures waiting for you, new dimensions calling you forth, invoking, provoking. One never comes to the dead end.God does not mean perfection, god simply means the energy that goes on moving. Each moment, you can be total. And from one totality you can slip into another totality; one totality helps you to be total in another moment. If you were angry totally, then you will be loving totally - the totality in anger helped you to be totally in love.But you are incomplete; everything is incomplete. That's why things are growing, that's why there is so much evolution. God, is an evolving concept.God, to be at all, has to be as imperfect as you are. Then what is the difference between you and God? He is total and you are not total. He accepts his imperfections; you don't accept, you go on rejecting. That is the difference. The difference is not in perfection, the difference is in acceptance. You deny, you reject, you hide, you defend, you remain closed, you are afraid. You never go into anything really, you remain out of it - afraid, fearful, scared, ready to escape if sometimes things become too much. You go only so far.The difference between you and God is only one: he goes UTTERLY into everything. When God dances, there is no dancer, there is only dance - he is so utterly in it. When God loves, there is no lover, there is only love he is so utterly in it. You are never total. Imperfect you are, imperfect is everything - these trees, these birds, these skies, everything is imperfect. But remember, by 'imperfection' is not condemnatory, is praising life.When our focus is on us physically, mentally and emotionally shows that we are not trying to change objective world but want to live in that moment of objective world becoming alert about our emotions and mental limitation is willingness to work on that. Arjuna when he says that “ My whole body is trembling, my hair is standing on end, my bow Gāṇḍīva is slipping from my hand, and my skin is burning” he is not saying from weakness he is courageous to work on his unconsciousness without condemning it. If he will not work on that he will not be able to fight the war and deliver his assignment given by Universe. He turns to Krishna not as a weak human being but as a courageous Individual.

Bhagavad Gita Verse 1.30
 Dhwani Shah  
 15 June 2019  

Body Wisdom - In Gita Verse 1.30 I am now unable to stand here any longer. I am forgetting myself, and my mind is reeling. I see only causes of misfortune, O Kṛṣṇa, killer of the Keśī demon.Now Arjuna says that he is becoming more and more unconscious. My mind is reeling into the objective world. He addresses Krishna, who is killer of demon. Who is capable of killing Demon, please help me to come out of my Unconsciousness, which is my demon in this moment. He is not saying that I want to run away from my Unconsciousness, he is saying that in the unconsciousness I am forgetting my self. Through his body and following the body’s wisdom he is turning towards Krishna.In my blog Bhagavad Gita Verse 1.4, I wrote regarding Self-Remembering, from Patanjali to every Spiritual person says Self-Remembering is key to connect ourselves with our subjectivity. When Arjuna says I am forgetting my self, he is seeking Krishna’s support for Self-Remembering. Even when he is slipping into his unconsciousness he is calling Krishna to bring him back to light. He knew very well that he cannot do anything with his unconsciousness. Only one thing he could do was to turn to Krishna.Let’s understand Body Wisdom first as Arjuna through his body symptoms became alert towards his unconsciousness.The body should function rightly, perfectly. It is an art, it is not austerity. It is not an austerity; you are not to fight with it, you are simply to understand it. And the body is so wise, wiser than your mind, remember, because the body has existed longer than the mind. The mind is a very new arrival, just a child.The body is very ancient, very, very ancient – because you moved once as a rock; the body was there, the mind was fast asleep. Then you became a tree; the body was there, with all its greenery and flowers. The mind was fast asleep still, not so asleep as in the rock but still asleep. You became an animal, a tiger; the body was so alive with energy, but the mind was not functioning. You became a bird, you became a man. The body has been functioning for millions of years.The body has accumulated much wisdom, the body is very wise. So if you eat too much the body says, “Stop!” The mind is not so wise. The mind says, “The taste is beautiful – a little more.” And if you listen to the mind, then the mind becomes destructive of the body, this way or that. If you listen to the mind, first it will say “Go on eating,” because mind is foolish, childlike. He does not know what he is saying. He is a new arrival, he has no learning in him. He is not wise, he is yet a fool. Listen to the body. When the body says, “Hungry,” eat. When the body says, “Stop,” stop.If you allow the body to have its say, you are moving on the right path, the great way. And this is so not only with food, this is so with the whole life. Your sex goes wrong because of the mind, your stomach goes wrong because of your mind. You interfere with the body. Don’t interfere! Even if you can do it for three months, don’t interfere. And suddenly you will become so healthy, and a well-being will descend on you. Everything feels okay, the shoe fits. But the mind is the problem.The mind has its own function; that is, how to relate with others, how to move in this world where so many persons are living, how to drive a car, how to follow the rules and regulations of the traffic, how not to create danger for others or for yourself, how to look ahead and plan. The mind is just like a radar, it looks ahead – where to move, how to move – but the base remains the body.Those people who are against the body and cripple their senses will miss their connection with subjectivity for a longer period than those people who listen to their senses and follow their advice.If you listen to the senses you become simple. Of course nobody is going to pay you respect because they will say, “This man is a sensual man.” And a sensual man is more alive than a non-sensual man. But nobody is interested in life; everybody is interested in a dead thing to be worshipped.Listen to the body – because you are here to enjoy this moment that has been given to you, this graceful moment, this beatitude that has happened to you. You are alive, conscious, and such a vast world!The human being is a miracle on this small planet – very, very small, tiny! The sun is over a million times bigger than this earth, and this sun is mediocre. There are suns millions of times bigger than this, and there are millions of suns and millions of worlds and universes. And up to now it seems, as far as science goes, that life and consciousness has happened only on this earth. This earth is blessed.If we follow the body wisdom like Arjuna, immediately we will be able to connect ourselves with our subjectivity.

Bhagavad Gita Verse 1.39
 Dhwani Shah  
 20 June 2019  

Half Truth - In Gita Verse 1.39 With the destruction of the dynasty, the eternal family tradition is vanquished, and thus the rest of the family becomes involved in irreligion.Now Arjuna says that from Bhishma to everyone in the family will vanish in this war. After the war from our family no one will be alive and whosoever is alive will not live religiously. The statement is logical and appealing.Logical mind cannot see anything in totality, as whole. It can only see life as fragments. Mind is incapable of comprehending totality.Totality cannot be approached through logic. Totality can be approached only through subjectivity. Totality is not a syllogism; it is not a conclusion. But logic can give you a false notion. It simply says that when Arjuna says that the destruction of dynasty, Arjuna infers that this war is going to destruct my dynasty. He becomes unconscious of Universe and plan of Universe. By this logic he says that the rest of the family who will be alive will be involved in irreligion. The conclusion is not right; remember that you don’t know. That ignorance will be very, very helpful, because that ignorance will be sincere, authentic, true.Knowing that I don’t know will support Arjuna to come back to his subjectivity.Right now what Arjuna says is like this - he is breaking a seed and looking into it, there is no trace of any tree there. No matter how much he searches he will not find any trace of a tree. But the tree certainly comes from this small seed. Because he is right now unconscious, he cannot think that what is not found in the seed, where does it come from? And such a huge tree was hidden in such a small seed! And then, after giving birth to seeds, that tree dissolves. Exactly like this, the whole existence comes into being and then dissolves. Energy comes into existence and then merges into non-existence.It is very difficult to catch hold of non-existence. Existence is of course visible to us. Hence, according to yoga, those who accept only existence - those who believe that existence is all - are seeing only leela, the play of life. And to know only the play is illusion.Illusion does not mean that one does not know; illusion means that one knows only the play. Knowing as such is there; even if one knows that he does not know, then too the knowing is there. So knowing is in all of us. And illusion doesn’t mean “not knowing.” The most unaware of all beings also knows some things. According to yoga, the meaning of illusion is to know only half. And remember, the half-truth is worse than untruth - because it is possible to be free from untruth, but to be free from the half-truth is very difficult. It appears to be the truth and it is not. If it is wholly the untruth, purely the untruth, then it won’t take any time to be free from it. But if it is a half-truth it is very difficult to be free from it.There is one more reason that a thing like truth cannot be divided into halves - because in dividing it into halves, it dies. Can you divide your love in half? Can you say, “I half love you” to somebody? Either you love or you don’t love, but half-love is not possible. Can you say “I half steal”? Maybe you steal half a dollar, but the stealing of half a dollar is also full stealing, and the stealing of a million dollars is also full stealing so is the stealing of half a cent. Half-stealing cannot be done. Half of a thing can be stolen but the stealing itself cannot be half. The very meaning of “half” is that you are in illusion.Yoga says that those who see only existence are grasping only half. And he who grasps only the half lives in illusion. No, the other side is also there. A man who says, “I am born but I don’t want to die,” is clinging to the half. He will suffer; he will live in illusion. And no matter what he may do, death is bound to come - because the other half cannot be parted with. If you have accepted birth, death is the other half of it, it comes together with it. A man who says, “I will choose only the pleasures, not the pains,” is falling into a fallacy.Yoga says that the moment you choose only the half you fall into error. Suffering is only the other side of pleasure, it is half of it. Hence, one who wants to be peaceful will have to know restlessness also. There is no way out. Yoga says that to avoid one half is illusion. They are together. But we do not see the whole; what we see first we hold on to. And we go on denying the other side without understanding that when we have been holding on to one half, the other half is waiting behind it. It is just waiting for an opportunity; it will soon appear.Arjuna’s statement of this verse simply says that he is looking the circumstances only as half, which is not truth, it’s half truth. In his half truth he is seeing that everyone over here will be vanquished and leave a message for the next generation or whoever will survive is only irreligion memory and nothing else. For him his logical conclusion is truth. He forgets that when Universe gave him assignment to Fight Without Enmity is ultimate truth. Where your action is as non-doer is religious act and whoever will be left after the war they will be able to live religious life.

Bhagavad Gita Verse 1.43
 Dhwani Shah  
 24 June 2019  

Fear - In Gita Verse 1.43 O Kṛṣṇa, maintainer of the people, I have heard by disciplic succession that those whose family traditions are destroyed dwell always in hell.Arjuna is now in the grip of fear. More so he is becoming unconscious towards himself.Did you find any similarity between unconscious Arjuna and us, our prayers are also out of fear and not in gratitude.All your fears are by-products of identification.The fear that things may change tomorrow.... Somebody may die, you may go bankrupt, your job may be taken away. There are a thousand and one things which may change. You are burdened with more and more fears, and none of them are valid...because yesterday too you were full of these fears, unnecessarily. Things may have changed but you are still alive. And man has an immense capacity to adjust himself in any situation.The fear is part of the mind. The mind is a coward, and has to be a coward because it doesn’t have any substance. It is empty and hollow, and it is afraid of everything. And basically it is afraid that one day you may become aware. That will be really the end of the world!Mind is a prison. Awareness is getting out of the prison – or realizing it has never been in the prison; it was just thinking that it was in the prison. All fears disappear.The greatest discovery in life, the most precious treasure, is of awareness. Without it you are bound to be in darkness, full of fears. And you will go on creating new fears; there is no end to it. You will live in fear, you will die in fear, and you will never be able to taste something of freedom. And it was all the time your potential; any moment you could have claimed it, but you never claimed it.It is your responsibility.In fear Arjuna identified with it. With this identification he become unaware of the fact that the universal assignment given to them not only would liberate them but his family also. Because of the fear he thought hell was certain for his family and him. He became assertive.To be identified with something which you are not, is the formation of the ego. Ego means to be identified with something you are not.Identity is the basis of all slavery: Be identified and you will be in a prison.The very identity will become your prison. Be non-identified, remain totally yourself, and then there is freedom. So this is what bondage is: Ego is the bondage, and egolessness is freedom. And this ego is nothing but to be identified with something that you are not. For example, everyone is identified with his name; and everyone is born without any name. Then the name becomes so significant that one can die for his name’s sake.This identification is ego. If you are not identified with anything – with name or with form or anything – then where is the ego? Then you are, and still you are not. Then you are in your absolute purity, but with no ego. That’s why Buddha called the self, no-self; he called it anatta, anatma. He said, “There is no ego, so you cannot call yourself atma even. You cannot call yourself ‘I’; there is no ‘I.’ There is pure existence.” This pure existence is freedom.When the mind is projecting something which is not, it is avidya. When this mind destroys all projections, all identifications, remains without any projective activity, then this method of destroying all projections, all that is not, but appears to be – is called vidya. Vidya is not knowledge; again, vidya is a positive force to destroy all that which avidya creates. Vidya is untranslatable. Vidya means a positive force in you which can destroy ego formation. Both are positive: avidya creates that which is not, and vidya destroys that which is not. So vidya means yoga, vidya mean the science of religion.Arjuna in fear was trembling and creating hell for himself and his family members. Same Arjuna when he heard Bhishma’s conch shell first took position and then replied. There was aliveness in him, there was trust in him. As soon as he became unconscious towards self, immediately he lost the life in his living body, he was dead. He created hell for him and his family.