Tag Archives: Religion

Janmashtami 2020 – The Celebrations of Krishna Birth

Krishna Janmashtami is an annual Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu. It is observed according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, on the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha in Shraavana or Bhadrapad, which overlaps with August or September of the Gregorian calendar.

This year – Janmashtami falls on 12-Aug-2020

The celebrations are being done on family level and most of them either celebrating with a Krishna idol in cradle or dressing their little kids as young Krishna.

Overall ambiance has uplifted due to the celebrations and it is going to increase with more festivals in line.

Krishna is considered to be the avatar of Vishnu, one of the Trinity – other two being Shiv and Brahma.

The Purpose of Birth

Krishna’s avatar was responsible for curbing the evil spread by Kansh who happens to be his maternal uncle. The birth story of Krishna involves lot of hurdles which his parents being put in prison and how he escapes it in a magical way. The Leela of Krishna starts from early childhood and continues until he plays a crucial role in the Kuruskshetra war between Pandavs and Kauravs.

Krishna has provided baseline lessons regarding every phase of life and also preached about the right way to live :

  • He has shown by example of his life.
  • He overcame his situations and became the master of it.
  • He faced innate difficulties yet always showcased positivity.
  • He was a guide in true sense.
  • He was a warrior in his own life.
  • He was a musician – playing beautiful music on flute.
  • He was a king. He was a ruler of Dwarka. He was a good friend to Sudhama.
  • He was a charmer in love and relationships.

He has so many names based on his Leelas and roles he has taken in his life. And he has left behind a blueprint for living social life. He has given his teachings in the form of Geeta – The Bhagavad Geeta – one of the finest lessons of life. It is said that all answers lie within it. One who seeks will find it.

Krishna belief has transformed India in ways that has never happened. Places like Mathura, Vrindavan and Dwarka are associated with Krishna. These places are considered to be Religious spots and are revoured deeply by the people of India.

Dwarka is considered to be one of the “Char Dham” – places of prime religious importance. The Char Dham are located in different directions of India forming a logical geographical boundary. Badrinath in the North, Jagannath Puri in the East, Rameshwaram in the South and Dwarka in the West.

The disciples of Krishna are huge and follow various interdisciplinary ideologies based in location and the era they belong to. Similar one modern belief group of Krishna – ISKCON is internationally famous and followed across countries around the world. The people who seek peace and harmony, find the answers and way through the consciousness.

The beauty of the Life of Krishna has lessons which are timeless, priceless and very much relevant in modern times. We can seek and find ways to uplift our social, personal and professional lives.

May you find the path you seek – by consciousness.


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Festivals in August

This year festivals are flying by like a blink of eye. One day you wait for a week to come by and then it’s already a week over. August is the month of festivals in India. Below are festivals of 2020. Though there is not much celebrations outside homes due COVID19 pandemic, within the hope and energy for people is slowly starting to rise.

1 August Bakri ID

3 August Rakshabandhan

Festival of Bond between Brother and Sisters. Analogous to modern day friendship bands. A Rakhi (band) is tied by sister on the right hand wrist of Brother, symbolising promise, power and bond. Sweets are exchanged. Brother gifts sister usually some clothing, ornaments, money or anything she may like. Even after marriage, women visit her maternal home and celebrate this festival.

11-12 August Janmashtami

Festival of fun, energy and joy. It is the festival celebrated in the memory of Shree Krishna birthday. It is believed on this day at midnight Krishna is born. People fast whole night with hymns and kirtans to welcome Krishna. During the next day, many places celebrate Duleti where they mimic the Krishna playing with his friends and breaking butter filled pots by creating a human pyramid.

15 August Independence Day

India got independent on 15 August 1947. This year the parade and all the celebration will be minimal. No schools or colleges are open yet so no celebrations at those locations. However FLAG hosting and ceremony will be done.

16 August Pateti – Parsi New Year

22 August Ganesh Chaturthi

29 August Muharram

31 August Onam

Stories | The Sermon at Benares

The Sermon at BenaresCBSE 10th English Textbook

Kisa Gotami had an onl son, and he died. In her grief she carried the dead child to all her neighbours, asking them for medicine, and the people said, “She has lost her senses. The boy is dead.”

At length, Kisa Gotami met a man who replied to her request, “I cannot give thee medicine for thy child, but I know a physician who can.”

it is the fate of men, that their lives flicker up and are extinguished again

And the girl said, “Pray tell me, sir; who is it?” And the man replied, “Go to Sakyamuni, the Buddha.”

Kisa Gotami repaired to the Buddha and cried, “Lord and Master, give me the medicine that will cure my boy.”

The Buddha answered, “I want a handful of mustard-seed.” And when the girl in her joy promised to procure it, the Buddha added, “The mustard-seed must be taken from a house where no one has lost a child, husband, parent or friend.”

Poor Kisa Gotami now went from house to house and the people pitied her and said, “Here is mustard-seed; take it!” But when she asked, “Did a son or daughter, a father or mother, die in your family?” they answered her, “Alas! the living are few, but the dead are many. Do not remind us of our deepest grief.” And there was no house but some beloved on had died in it.

He who seeks peace should draw out the arrow of lamentation, and complaint, and grief.

Kisa Gotami became weary and hopeless, and sat down at the wayside watching the lights of the city, as they flickered up and were extinguished again. At last the darkness of the night reigned everywhere. And she considered the fate of men, that their lives flicker up and are extinguished again. And she thought to herself, “How selfish am I in my grief! Death is common to all; yet in this valley of desolation there is a path that leads him to immortality who has surrendered all selfishness.”

The Buddha said, “The life of mortals in this world is troubled and brief and combined with pain. For there is not any means by which those that have been born can avoid dying; after reaching old age there is death; of such a nature a living beings. As ripe fruits are early in danger of falling, so mortals when born are always in danger of death. As all earthen vessels made by the potter end in being broken, so is the life of mortals. Both young and adult, both those who are fools and those who are wise, all fall into the power of death; all are subject to death.”

he who has overcome all sorrow will become free from sorrow, and be blessed

“Of those who, over come death, depart from life, a father cannot save his son, nor kinsmen their relations. Mark! while relatives are looking on and lamenting deeply, one by one mortals are carried off, like an ox that is led to the slaughter. So the world is afflicted with death and decay, therefore the wise do not grieve, knowing the terms of the world.”

“Not from weeping nor from grieving will anyone obtain peace of mind; on the contrary, his pain will be the greater and his boy will suffer. The will make himself sick and pale, yet the dead are not saved by his lamentation. He who seeks peace should draw out the arrow of lamentation, and complaint, and grief. He who has drawn out the arrow and has become composed will obtain peace of mind; he who has overcome all sorrow will become free from sorrow, and be blessed.”


Source: Betty Renshaw – Values and Voices: A College Reader (1975). An extract from CBSE 10th English Textbook

Festivals in India : Mahavir Jayanti

Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated as the birthday of Mahavir on Chaitrya Sud Triyodashi. Mahavir is consider to be the founder or proposer of modern day Jainism. Jainism is one of the oldest religions known today and its origins lie in India. Theologians often classify Jainism as a philosophy, a way of living life, rather than a religion.

Jainism is a non-theistic religion. There is no concept of God or spiritual beings. There’s no one to create, maintain or destroy the universe. The only thing which maintains the universe is, the universe itself. No one is superior to the laws of the universe. Jains believe that there were 24 great teachers, the first one named Rishabh Dev ji and the last of whom was Lord Mahavir who lived during 6th century B.C. Mahavir is regarded as the man who gave Jainism its present-day form. These twenty-four teachers are called Tirthankars– people who had attained all knowledge while living (Moksh) and preached it to the people. The Tirthankars were all humans once, they did some good deeds and were eligible for being a Thirthankar in next incarnation. Jinas are believed to reside in the top level of heaven, above the realm of the gods. Accordingly, liberated souls are revered more than the gods.

PALITANA

Jains believe in reincarnation and seek to attain ultimate liberation – which means escaping the continuous cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The ultimate goal is to get rid of one’s karma on their soul so that they may end this cycle. Once this goal is reached their soul has attained all knowledge and it rests in the heavens forever (Nirvana). This is similar to the preachings of Buddhism, but the principle and path to achieve Nirvana are slightly different. It is a matter of lot of speculations between the historians to find, if any connection between Buddha and Mahavira.

The way to get rid of one’s karma is to follow certain rules of doing good somewhat similar to the ten commandments in Christianity or the eight-fold path in Buddhism.

These include the principles of:

  • Ahimsa – To protect all life (non-violence)
  • Satya – To speak truth
  • Asteya – To not steal
  • Brahmacharya – To not commit adultery
  • Aparigraha – To limit one’s possessions

Jains uphold these principles by practicing vegetarianism, non-violence in thought, deed, and action.

The three guiding principles of Jainism, the ‘three jewels’, are right belief, right knowledge and right conduct.

In present day India, large group of Jains can be found in States of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The two prominent pilgrim centres for Jains are Sikharji located in Jharkhand and Palitana in Gujarat. Both the pilgrim centres are located on hill stations and they take the test of Pilgrims.

PALITANA TEMPLES IN GUJARAT

Jain culture is divided into 2 sects:

  • Shwetambar : Shwet (White) + Ambar (Clothes)
  • Digambar: Dig (Sky) +Ambar (Clothes).

Both the sects have their own monks and nuns. Monks of Shwetambar sect wear white clothes with little to no stitches and Digambar monks live completely naked. This is because Digambars believe that one can only lead the life of a true monk by having no worldly possessions and by demonstrating indifference to earthly emotions such as shame. They consider themselves clothed by directions. Nuns of both the sects are white clothed.


FESTIVALS IN INDIA

HOLI • GANESH CHATURTHI • RAKSHABANDAN • JANMASTAMI • NAVRATRI • DUSSHERA • DURGA POOJA • DIWALI • CHRISTMAS • BIHU • UGADI • PONGAL • ONAM • SANKRANTI • UTTARAYAN • PARYUSHANMAHAVIR JAYANTI • RAMADAN – EID • BAKRI – EID • PATETI

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Tennis is more than just sports, it’s a religion

Tennis, lawn tennis is one of the top grossing global sports with Grand Slams, WTA tours, ATP tours, Challenger tours and friendly matches. Tennis is played between two players in singles match and four players in doubles match. It could be men’s single, women’s single, men’s doubles, women’s doubles or mixed doubles. But that’s just not all. There is more to it than meets the eye.

Tennis is a saga. There are million dollars prize money, world tours, tournaments in many countries, schedules, sponsors, umpires, ball boys, referees and fans across the world. But is tennis just about the game, sports, winning and losing, finals, tickets, tours, locations or money. I believe tennis is much more than just a game, it is a religion, like no other.

Tennis teaches you discipline. Sports often is not about the games, rounds or matches. It is about the number of hours you have put in practice and the various strategies and tactics that you have learnt. Tennis is an individual sports. It is about standing tall all through the game from the start till the end. At any moment if you slip, rest, loose focus or get carried away, then the tables can turn for you.

Tennis teaches you dedication. It is about getting up in the morning and training for hours. It is about perfecting your serve, your return, backhand, slice or your volley. It is about practicing to approaching the net or your movement across the court. You must strengthen your muscles, your legs, your biceps, your mind and your body. You cannot be lazy or late.

Image : Pexels

You must train, train and train only to become so good at it, that when you get into the court, you are most of the time feeling a natural flow. Otherwise you may win a match but you will not win a tournament. You may be a good player but you might not become a champion. As they say a champion is who has trained hard when it felt it cannot be done any more.

Tennis teaches you resilience.

Tennis teaches you simplicity.

Tennis teaches you about respect, honor and dignity.

Tennis is timeless. People from all walks of life and other sports come to witness sporting events greatest moments in the finals of Grand Slams. It is about witness history in the making. It is as if you are looking at the finest qualities of human when put through the toughest challenge. It takes the seniors to their era and make them relieve those moments. It ignites the spirit of other sportsmen. It inspires the next generation to become not just a great glorified champion but a true honorable sportsman who will live in the memories of people in the times to come. It is about becoming Immortal.

Tennis messes with your mind, it haunts you and it makes you want to scream out loud but at the same time it takes you through the silence of a river in plains, deep forests and dark nights to awaken your inner spirits about life, passion, fighting spirit, grit, compassion and humanity. It takes you to the heights of a mountain and then throws you down to the depths of oceans, teaching you to be strong and humble at the same time.

Tennis is life and life is tennis. All the noise, hate, love, pressure, challenges, race towards tournaments, matches, rivals, competitors, events and controversies create heaviness in your heart and mind. Your family comes to your rescue. Tennis families are one of the best families in the world. Your coach, your physician, your friends are your strength in good times and bad times.

Image credit : Pexels

Tennis is one man show, individual sport. You are alone in the court and it teaches about sustainability, independence and self-work. It makes you go through the tough rides in some of the greatest moments in tennis history and as you are making them, you have to hold your nerves and put on a show.

Tennis turns young boys into men. Tennis teaches you to drink through the pain of lose and rising up from failures. It teaches you to gulp through your lose in face and stand up on the podium to speak about it. It teaches you to treat both the lose and victory alike. It is like the verse from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If”.

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;   

Rudyard Kipling

Tennis is about sportsmanship and more. Tennis teaches you to be good sports person, a good partner, a good parent, a good friend, a good child and overall a good human being. It teaches you to be good friends. Tennis is about becoming the better version of yourself. Tennis teaches you about life, whether you a player, commentator or spectator. It takes you on a journey of life. It turns young boys into young men, who inspire generations of human current and past likewise. Tennis is about sportsmanship.

If good life is about living to be a good human and spreading love, care, positivity around the world. Then Tennis is one such part of life that teaches you to live it completely.


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See the Flower Full Moon from Surat, on the auspicious Buddha Purnima 7 May 2020

Enjoy beautiful experience of looking at Sunset and Moonrise back to back. As well as spotting Venus planet and Antares star.

WHERE
In Surat, India
Co-ordinates are 21.1 ° N latitude 72.8° E longitude

WHEN
7th May 2020

WHAT YOU CAN SEE

Sunset, Full Moonrise, Venus, Antares.

WHAT YOU NEED
Sense of DirectionObservation Skills & Patience a lot of it.


DATEMOONRISEMOONSET
05-May5:00 pm 93° E4:30 am 271° W
06-May6:03 pm 99° E5:14 am 264° W
07-May7:08 pm 105° E5:58 am 258° W
08-May8:13 pm 110° E6:45 am 252° W
MOON RISE n SET TIME IN SURAT

Moon rises almost an hour late than the previous night.

DATESUNRISESUNSET
05-May6:05 am 72° E7:05 pm 288° W
06-May6:05 am 72° E7:05 pm 289° W
07-May6:04 am 72° E7:06 pm 289° W
08-May6:04 am 72° E7:06 pm 289° W
SUN RISE & SET TIME IN SURAT

Day length is 13 hrs.


To get the best experience of full moon, observe the position of Moon and Sun, from your location today onwards. Once you get the hang of the position when the Sunrises and Sunsets, while at the same time knowing the position of Moon in the sky from your location helps in getting the first glimpses of Moon as it comes out of the horizon. If you are lucky, you will see orange-red shining Moon, that looks just like the Sun.

On 7th May 2020 Moonrise happens right after the Sunset. This is because Moon is exactly opposite to the Sun in it’s orbit around the Earth. This happens on every Full Moon. Hence it is the best time to enjoy Skygazing as you will be able to see, Sunset, Moonrise, Stars and Planets in the span of 1 to 2 hours, covering your quest for a total experience.

SUNSET FROM FLYOVER IN SURAT

As you look at the Sun from 6:30 PM in the west, sky will change it’s colour from blue to orange to red to dark blue and then eventually turning black. As the Sun goes down the horizon or in our case of being in urban city like Surat, it will be behind some buildings. Only near the Tapi river or in the outskirts of city, do we have the luxury of being able to see the horizon.

Sunset between building in Surat.

Patience is the key.

Wait and watch for the Moon. It’s time to face east now. If you have observed the Moon on 5th and 6th May, you will get clarity on where it rises from in your location. If there are buildings obstructing in your vicinity, it’s better to position yourself on top of a building or move somewhere so that you can see the horizon.

Moon isn’t visible right away. Even though Moon comes above the horizon, it is not visible to us due to pollution in city as well as the luminance is not at it’s maximum. Once it goes up around 10° above the horizon, it can be easily spotted. If you are lucky to be in the right place and have keen observation, you may be able to see it below that point as well.

Moonrise in Surat

Moon is magic. Once you see the first glimpse of Moon rising behind the trees or dark clouds or some far off houses, you will be captivated in the magic. It takes around 15-20 mins for the Moon to be clearly visible. So in this case it will be around 7:30 PM you can be sure to get a clear glimpse. To be able to see before that luck is needed.

Feel spiritual vibes while skygazing on Buddha Purnima.

Moon changes it’s colour as it comes up in the sky. When you first see the Moonrise, it may shine bright red, dark red or pinkish in colour. As it goes up it certainly changes from being red to being yellow and then as it goes up in the sky it changes to its popular full moon white bright colour. If you cannot see the Moonrise, you just have to wait until it has gone around a building or rise past some obstruction for it to be visible from your balcony, window, terrace or house.

Look for planets and stars as well. As you wait while Moon is rising or once it has been seen until your heart is filled with joy, happiness and serenity, you can look for VENUS which will be visible in the West. Also you can look a bit towards the South-East near the horizon or a bit high up by 9pm, to be able to see ANTARES.

Feeling hungry is common. You may get tired by constant gazing of sky from 6:30 PM till 8:30 PM, so it is better to keep some light snacks with you as well as sufficient water. It is best accompanied with some light music. By the time you are done with looking at all the shining objects in the sky, you will be hungry for your dinner, so go and grab something to eat.

Wonderful experience. Looking at the sky on any given day or night is a beautiful experience but when you have a lot happening on a single night within a span of hours then it’s the best experience. Enjoy sky gazing with your friends or young children.

Looking at Moonrise on a Full Moon is captivating experience that you can never forget.

SUPERMOON

On 7 May 2020, the distance of Moon from Earth is around 3.59 lakh km, while on 15 May 2020 it goes far off 4.0 lakh km. Moon comes close to Earth that’s why it appears bigger than usual and the Full Moon is sometimes referred to as super-moon.


Let us know how your experience was in the comments section below. Feel free to ask any questions related to Full moon or sky-gazing in general. Share your view and share it with your friends.