Archive for January, 2011

The Punjabi ‘Lohri’ Festival of Jan 13 …

Posted on January 28, 2011. Filed under: Indian Thought |

Lohri is celebrated on the last day of the Punjabi month of POH and falls on Jan 13. It was believed that the Lohri night was the longest night of the year and after that the days began to get longer.

Lohri is dedicated to the end of Winter while Teej (or Teeyan) is dedicated to the rains or the Monsoon and Basant is dedicated to Spring.

Legend has it that Holika and Lohri were sisters. While the former perished in the Holi fire, the latter survived with Prahlad.

Lohri  is also associated with Dulla Bhatti. a Muslim highway robber who lived in Punjab during the reign of Emperor Akbar. Besides robbing the rich, he rescued Hindu girls being forcibly taken to be sold in the slave market. He arranged their marriages to Hindu boys with Hindu rituals and provided them with dowries. Understandably though a bandit, he became a hero. So every other Lohri song has words to express gratitude to Dulla Bhatti.

Eating of til (sesame seeds) and rorhi (jaggery) is customary on. Children go from door to door singing folk songs in praise of Dulha Bhatti. They are given sweets and savories and occasionally money. Turning them back empty-handed is regarded inauspicious.

The collections gathered by the children are known as Lohri and consist of til, gachchak, crystal sugar, gur (jaggery), moongphali (peanuts) and phuliya or popcorn. Lohri is also distributed at night. Till, peanuts, popcorn and other food items are also thrown into the Holi bon fire.

In some places, a small image of the Lohri goddess is made with gobar (cattle dung) decorating it. A fire is kindled beneath while chanting its praises. People toss sesame seeds, gur, sugar-candy and rewaries on the bonfire, sit around, sing and dance till the fire dies out.

Some perform a prayer and go around the fire showing respect to the natural element of fire. Guests and the poor are offered til, gachchak, gur, moongphali (peanuts) and phuliya or popcorn.

In houses that have recently had a marriage or childbirth, Lohri celebrations reach a higher pitch of excitement. Singing and dancing form an intrinsic part of the celebrations. People wear bright clothes and dance the bhangra and gidda to the beat of the dhol. Punjabi songs are sung, and everyone rejoices.

The festival starts a week or so earlier when the small groups of boys go ringing doorbells and chanting some kind of doggerel with each line ending in “ho”. Lohri songs are rhymed nonsense, at times very funny .For example:

Saalee paireen juttee
Jeevey Sahib dee kuttee
Kuttee no nikalya phoraah
Jeevey sahib da ghorah
Ghorey uttay kaathee
Jeevey sahib da haathee
Haathee neh maarya padd
Dey maaee daanya da chajj

(My sister-in-law has slippers on her feet/ Long may live the Sahib’s bitch./ The bitch developed a sore/ Long live the Sahib’s horse./ The horse has a saddle/ Long live the Sahib’s elephant/ The elephant let out a loud fart/ Hey old woman give us Basket full of Popcorns.)

Also every other Lohri song has words to express gratitude to Dulla Bhatti (The ‘ho’s are in chorus)

Sunder mundriye ho!
Tera kaun vicaharaa ho!
Dullah bhatti walla ho!
Dullhe di dhee vyayae ho!
Ser shakkar payee ho!
Kudi da laal pathaka ho!
Kudi da saalu paatta ho!
Salu kaun samete!
Chache choori kutti! zamidara lutti!
Zamindaar sudhaye!
bade bhole aaye!
Ek bhola reh gaya!
Sipahee far ke lai gaya!
Sipahee ne mari eet!
Sanoo de de lohri te teri jeeve jodi!(Cry or howl!)
Bhaanvey ro te bhaanvey pit!

(Beautiful girl; Who will think about you? He is dulla bhatti; Dulla’s daughter got married He gave 1 kg sugar! The girl is wearing a red suit! But her shawl is torn! Who will stitch her shawl?! The uncle made choori! The landlords looted it! Landlords are beaten up! Lots of innocent boys came. One innocent boy got left behind. The police arrested him! The policeman hit him with a brick! Cry or howl! Give us lohri …. Long live your couple!
Whether you cry, or bang your head later!)

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The Bhagwad Gita …

Posted on January 26, 2011. Filed under: Indian Thought |

The Bhagvad Gītā or Song of God is a sacred Hindu scripture. Its philosophies and insights reach beyond religion since they address humanity itself. Apart from Indians, the Gita has been praised by Huxley, Einstien, Oppenhaimer, Emerson, Jung and Hesse. Here are some of its truths.

Why do you worry without cause? Whom do you fear without reason?  Who can kill you? The Soul is neither born nor does it die.

Whatever happened has happened only for the good. Whatever is happening is happening only for the good. Whatever will happen will happen only for the good.

You need not have any regrets for the past. You need not worry for the future. The present is what is happening.

What did you lose that you cry? What did you bring with you that you think that you have lost? What did you produce that you think got destroyed?  You did not bring anything.

Whatever you have, you received it from here. Whatever you have given, you have given it here. What ever you took, you took from God. Whatever you gave, you gave to Him. You came empty handed and you will leave empty handed.

What is yours today, belonged to some one else yesterday. And will belong to some one else the day after tomorrow. You are mistakenly enjoying the thought that it is yours. It is this false happiness that is the cause of your sorrow.

In an instant you can be a millionaire. In another instant you can be a pauper. Yours and mine. Big and small. Erase these from your mind. Then everything is yours and you belong to everyone.

Change is the law of the Universe. What you think of as Death, is indeed Life.

This body is not yours. Neither are you of the body. The body is made of fire, water, air, earth and ether and will disappear into these elements. But the soul is permanent and so are You.

Dedicate your being to God. He is the one to be  relied upon. Those who know this are free from fear, worry and sorrow. Whatever you do, dedicate it to Him. This will bring joy and freedom.

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The Mind …

Posted on January 14, 2011. Filed under: Guide Posts, Personal Magnetism |

The Mind is the direct governing power of the body it occupies because the state of mind affects the whole body.

Most importantly as you see yourself or should see yourself, others will see you. And what you are in relation to yourself, you will be towards others. And when you fail to respect yourself, you show it in your manner and bearing towards others.

It is common knowledge that fixed inclinations rule every intelligent person. Indeed habits make or mar the clearness of mind and vital existence. Hence habit culture is best for securing control over the body. A habit is a fixed method of doing things.

As they say whatever you make up your mind to accomplish – that will surely come to pass. The Only Limits are in your Mind.

But there is nothing so dreary as the empty mind. It can be countered by having a goal – for the day, for the week, for the month, for the year and a life goal.

Above all have no idleness in your mind, otherwise power slips away. Do not let the mind drift.  It drifts when it satisfies the desire for entertainment and for being pleased.

Mental wandering destroys power and injures the brain. When ever the mind drifts, ask, ‘What is the use of it?’

Most importantly let no time be wasted in idle talk, idle thinking and useless activities. Thought is the mainspring of life and hence it has to be cultivated. Thought must be constant, deep and diverse. Only by hard thinking does the mind grow.

A thinking mind is necessarily a powerful one and an alert mind is quick acting. Keep thinking. Develop the power of thought in the spare moments of the day. Intense wishing stimulates deeper thinking.

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On Alms Giving …

Posted on January 7, 2011. Filed under: The Good Book |

In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening, withhold not your hand. Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.

Honor the Lord with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty. Store alms giving in your treasury; and it will rescue you from all affliction. More than a mighty sword and more than a mighty spear, it will fight on your behalf with your enemy.

 

Kindness is like a garden of blessings and alms giving endures forever. Brothers and help are for a time of trouble, but alms giving rescues better than both.

 

Water extinguishes a blazing fire, so alms giving atones for sin. Whoever requites a favor, gives thought to the future; at the moment of his falling he will find support.

Do not keep needy eyes waiting, nor grieve the one who is hungry, nor anger a man in want, nor delay your gift to a beggar, nor turn your face away from the poor. For if, in bitterness of soul, he calls down a curse on you, his Creator will hear his prayer.

Do not with hold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go and come again, tomorrow I will give it”, when you have it with you. And behold the tears of the oppressed and they had no one to comfort them.

Open your mouth for the dumb, for the rights of all who are desolate. A righteous man knows the rights of the poor. He who gives to the poor will not want. He who is kind to the needy, honors their maker.

Give graciously to all the living; and with hold not your kindness from the dead. Do not fail those who weep, but mourn with those who mourn.

Do not hesitate from visiting a sick friend, because for such deeds you will be loved. Be like a father to orphans. Not like a husband to their mother. You will then be like a son of the Most High and He will love you more than does your mother.

Be good to a godly man and you will be repaid, if not by him, then certainly by the Most High. No good will come to the man who persists in evil or to him who does not give alms.

From the dead as from one who does not exist thanksgiving has ceased. He who is alive will sing the Lords praises.

From the Good Book.

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The Science of Personal Magnetism … Starting Points …

Posted on January 2, 2011. Filed under: Personal Magnetism |

This is the basic introductory stuff of that rare subject about which not much has been written or researched. Here is the starting point of  Science of Personal Magnetism – a subject as vast as human life itself. Here then are some essential observations.

The good has to be cultivated, the bad grows by itself. Life is a highway and all roads lead somewhere. A man who stands still is not living. He may exist but he is better off buried.

All life is controlled by laws. Adoption or rejection result in harmony or penalty. Poverty is the natural penalty of indifference.

Humanity is divided into two classes – the hypnotic or controlled, who live in the negative hemisphere and the successful or controlling, who live in the positive hemisphere.

Magnetism is as old as man and it is universal. All beings, indeed all matter, is endowed with magnetism.

Interestingly the magnetic influences are greatest at night or in the waning of the year.

Down the ages the battles of life have been won by those supercharged with energy. Rank is invariably determined by the degree of magnetism and its judicious use.

Magnetism aims at emancipating you from the slavery of influences emanating from others and also from your own faults. It is a double power – aggressive and protective, the best friend of man and woman and their best defense.

When sufficiently developed magnetism will make you the equal of the greatest persons in individual power. Magnetism also perfects brainpower. Apply the principles of magnetism and develop a brilliant, tireless and resourceful intellect.

The rise and fall of the tides of magnetism are as frequent as the movements of the ocean. Magnetism depends upon moods and feelings.  Thought and will yield to influences of the day, power of circumstance and the will of others.

Magnetism is a resultant energy that is generated by life itself. Its degree of power is directly dependent upon the amount of intelligent direction the mind may give to the body and all its functions.  Or it can be developed by following a regime of careful and exact conduct.

A person able to generate electricity by controlling life’s forces within the Body, is able to retain and use this power at will.

Magnetism is produced and retained by preventing leakages from physical, mental and nervous actions. This goes towards the attainment of tremendous power and  inescapable charms.

Magnetism is fleeting in weak characters. It is an essence, a quality, an endowment that comes and goes at will and is held in one’s grasp either by habits which have been adopted by accident or by training in which mind and heart play important parts.

Magnetism is a quiet fire of the mind and heart. It is the synonym for control. Superiority is the difference between those who control themselves and those who are controlled by circumstance.

Magnetism tenses the face and broadens the features.

 

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