Sunday, May 22, 2016

"Excerpt 1.4"

It is easy not to be inspired albeit rather head for the shadow. Eventually, the shadow will fade away. The lights will remain as it is. The day before yesterday, the JCILP committee called for the 38 hours statewide bandh in Manipur. That day, we were suppose to be in Imphal to meet our local MLA Manga Vaiphei (Henglep constituency). By ‘we’, I meant our local youth club leaders. In spite of the bandh, we went ahead with our plan as the appointment was arranged earlier than the bandh that was planned later by the JCILP committee. We already knew that people who supports the bandh will stop us on the road and will tell us to return back or even worse. In fact, we were stopped more than 10 times but we reached on time for our appointment and back safely. 

Ever wondered, how did we overcome the stringent bandh that day when we could have cancel the appointment? A boy stopped us for a lift before we hit the main road at Ningthoukong gate or popularly known as Loktak gate. We decided to give the boy a ride. Fortunately, the boy turns out be a college student who have an examination at Imphal that particular day. I’d say it was a blessing in disguise for us. Whenever we come across the bandh supporters, we told them we were dropping the boy for his college examination. In fact, we dropped the boy right at his college examination centre. Also, we had a successful meeting with our local MLA as per the appointment. On our way back, I put up a sticker written as ‘EXAM’ on my car front mirror and we managed to escape the bandh. 

I guess ‘karma’ has it own wonderful work ethos. Moving on to the title Excerpt 1.4, “Citizens live with heroic spirit”. Excerpts from Inaugral address (April 27, 1980) by Swami Ranganathananda. 

It is the heroic spirit that came to the Western people and made them great. England sent its best people to die in the oceans, in the forests and mountains, and far-away islands; and they went fearlessly and cheerfully, for the love of their country, and for the sheer love of adventure. It was that that made that country great. I shall live in ease, I shall save myself, and yet my nation will be great--that can never happen. But we have been doing that very thing. We try to avoid all difficult assignments to hilly, forest, or rural areas, we circumvent all postings to situae offering challenges to our courage and daring, and seek the maximum advantages to oneself and one’s family. In all these, we see the good grihastha, no doubt, but fail to see the quiet heroism and patriotic spirit of the enlightened citizen. 

It is the minimum of spiritual growth that enables the citizen to take care of the national interest while protecting his own personal interest. And even that personal interest is not just money and more money only, which is all what most people understand by that expression, but also honour, dignity, creative life, and heroic adventure. And these come only from the spiritual growth involved in enlightened citizen. 

When this growth comes to a person, public spirit and human concern manifest spontaneously; he or she has not to struggle for it; seeing somebody in distress on the road, the impulse comes : I will go and ask the person in distress: What is the trouble with you? In what way can I help you? If, in all situations, I move far away, thinking, I don't want to be involved, I don't want to be caught, then there is the complete absence of citizenship-awareness. Yes, I am prepared to be involved and to face the consequences in the service of my fellow-men. That is how the humanistic impulse operates in a citizen. 

Sunday, May 08, 2016

"Excerpt 1.3"

Then two women who were harlots came to the king and stood before him. The one woman said, “Oh, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house; and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house. It happened on the third day after I gave birth, that this woman also gave birth to a child, and we were together. There was no stranger with us in the house, only the two of us in the house. This woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on it. So she arose in the middle of the night and took my son from beside me while your maidservant slept, and laid him in her bosom, and laid her dead son in my bosom. When I rose in the morning to nurse my son, behold, he was dead; but when I looked at him carefully in the morning, behold, he was not my son, whom I had borne.” Then the other woman said, “No! For the living one is my son, and the dead one is your son.” But the first woman said, “No! For the dead one is your son, and the living one is my son.” Thus they spoke before the king.

Then the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my son who is living, and your son is the dead one’; and the other says, ‘No! For your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one.’” The king said, “Get me a sword.” So they brought a sword before the king. The king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.” Then the woman whose child was the living one spoke to the king, for she was deeply stirred over her son and said, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him.” But the other said, “He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him!” Then the king said, “Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him. She is his mother.” When all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had handed down, they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.

The story is from the old testament 1 Kings 3:16-28(New American Standard Bible). The king is praised and feared for the wise judgement he administered but the real mother offering her son to the other woman in order to save him is the undying love, and I received that love everyday from my mom.

Happy Mother's day!

Sunday, May 01, 2016

"Excerpt 1.2"

The campaign to save our planet earth we usually see on social media. I am not against the campaign to save our planet rather very intrigue to know how many of us really got the message? By the way, the campaign messages we received on WhatsApp and on Facebook account are without doubts beautifully structured with facts and figures.

I wonder if our solution to the message is just to forward it again to another friend. If that's the goal of the message, then we are just trying to save our planet by words not by deed.

Awareness is good. There are 1.65 billion monthly active users on Facebook and WhatsApp has a user base of 1 billion. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the scale of the figures and to think, can we really make a difference? Is there anything we can do as individuals?

This spring season I have planted few trees. Hopefully by next year, all the trees will grow up another feet and so on. Nelson Mandela said, ‘It's not the kings and the generals who make history but the masses of the people.’

Moving on to the title Excerpt 1.2, “Citizens live through positive contribution”. Excerpts from the prologue by Swami Budhananda.

The first point to remember is the glory of man. That was one that Swami Vivekananda, time and again, taught us: ‘Never forget the glory of man’. When we all live for ourselves, think that the whole universe is accountable to us and we are not accountable to the universe, we are at the wrong end.

Therefore, two things must go hand in hand. They are:

  1. Awareness of the great potential of every human being and that
  2. we have to grow towards attainment of self-fulfilment, not by each of us singly, but together.

We must also believe that all of us can be looked after well. Our sorrows and sufferings can be minimised and there can be ever so much more happiness for all, of all, if only we own all of us our own.

The important point to remember is that to help manifest everyone's great potential is the business of every advanced civilisation. Our ancient teachers taught us to set in motion within oneself a self-chastening process to go together with keen ‘other-regarding’ process. In other words, self-development and the development of everybody else should go on simultaneously. It is not enough if we have a vast land, rich natural resources, mighty rivers, highly talented people and other endowments. What is important is to learn the art and science of turning these things to good account, in the service of man. To learn to do this and to teach to do is the business of enlightened citizenship which is of supreme importance for every nation in this world, particularly, India. As the Buddha says, that which is most needed is a loving heart.

Up next, Excerpt 1.3.

Friday, April 29, 2016

"Excerpt 1.1"

Most people say love is the most beautiful thing in this world. Although I'm not a love guru but maybe in hindsight I appreciate the greatness of love which compelled me to blog about it. The truth  is that I write for those who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they are so terrified, for those who are afraid to fall in love because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves.

We've been taught that silence would save us, but it won't. Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with ACTIONS and in truth. I John 3:18

Anyway let’s come back to the topic. In my last blog, I posted an excerpt from the book “Journey to enlightened citizenship”. Today as well, it is another thoughtful excerpt from the book. Afterall I plan to post all the excerpts from the book here on my blog periodically. I hope you will like it.

Citizenship is every individual’s responsibility. Excerpts from prologue by Swami Budhananda.

When we light a small earthern lamp, without a question and with least hesitation it sheds its humble light. It does not look around to watch if any other lamp is shielding its lustre. It is not dismayed also if no other light is burning in the vicinity.

It is content to be given to shed it's own little light. It is not worried how much more darkness needs to be removed from the world. Is it a small privilege to be given to remove even a jot of darkness?

The small is beautiful. Have you not seen a tiny grass flower? Nature needed to exercise all its talents to create that tiny flower, complete in its own size of glory. If little things had no meaning they would not be there. Scientists have by now told us how much power, mystery and glory are there in the tiny atom.

Let us not be nervous about our smallness. For, without grains of sand even the loftiest monuments could not be built. In fact, the ultimate brick of the greatest monuments is the sand particle.

There are people who think too highly of themselves. They have what is called a superiority complex. That abominable thing is too bad for themselves, and not good for others.

There are, again, those who think too lowly of themselves. They have an inferiority complex. This is worse than the superiority complex. They think that they are good for nothing. By continuously thinking that way they really become so.

Such people can never become good citizens. When we discuss momentous issues concerning mankind, and the responsibility of doing our mite, they throw up their hands and dogmatically declare that small persons like them can do nothing about these great problems.

So they shy away even from discussing these problems. Taking shelter behind their so-called or supposed smallness, they take an inverse pride in declaring that they have nothing to do with the ambitious scheme of solving world problems.

We should clearly understand that even a small lamp has the capacity and the privilege to give light. Enlightened citizenship is every individual’s responsibility. That is the spirit of the times.

Up next, Excerpt 1.2.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"Excerpt 1.0"

Precisely a week ago, while I was smoking a cigarette in the storeroom, I found this old book ‘Journey to enlightened citizenship’ laying on the floor, perhaps misplaced. The rats had their own some share of the book cover but the main pages stays intake.

The book has exceprts from the speeches given by some of these thoughtful individuals. I believed the book aims at helping the reader gain yet one more perspective of the multi-faceted ideal of citizenship. In fact, it is an interesting book and it yearns me to blog about it.

And here, I feel I'm obliged to share one of the excerpts ‘Paraspara Bhava’ or mutual concern by Swami Budhananda from the book.

The very concept of citizenship presupposes that we are aware of the fact that we live in a society. In this society others also live, besides oneself. And everyone is intrinsically important. These are the basic facts.

Remember, man, by and large, has not yet proved by his conduct that considers everyone as intrinsically important as himself. In India at least we have not proved it!

It is in this context that some Vedic concepts would appear to be simply amazing. Take, for example, the Vedic idea of Paraspara Bhava or mutually of concern. This idea has its root in a highly developed social consciousness, which is not so much in evidence in our times, as it should have been good for us to have.

Cultivation of purposive mutuality of concern is entirely possible and most urgently needed in a modern  state and society. Only when honestly and wholeheartedly we respect the fundamental rights of one and all, can we be enlightened citizens. 

But psychologically, the best guarantee of everyone's fundamental rights is in the discharge of everyone's fundamental duties to others, taking into account the fact that we all live in a world of rising aspirations and dimishing natural resources.

Therefore, control of appetites is one of the individual important disciplines for the enlightened citizen. You take from the world what you barely need and give to the world as much as you can.

If you feel disquiet when you find so many high-power lights burning in the open railway yard, and go to the person concerned to request to put the lights off, you are an enlightened citizen.

If you stop to close a wayside municipal tap from which water has been flowing to no purpose, you are an enlightened citizen.

This is being great in little things, without being watched. The enlightened citizen is a concerned citizen. Wastage anywhere hurts his sense of economy. A saving anywhere improves the credit balance of all.

FYI: Excerpt 1.1, coming soon.