DEEPAWALI – THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS.

Deepawali, the festival of lights is celebrated on a moonless dark night in the month of October or November every year in the whole world and especially in the Indian subcontinent by the Hindus, Sikhs, and people from all other religions who contribute to the celebrations in one way or the other. The festival has become more of a good business proposition than purely a spiritual activity. It is related to the return of Lord Ram, Sita Ji, and Laxman back to their home in Ayodhya from an exile of fourteen years during which period Lord Ram passed through different phases of life and established a proper code of conduct for all of us by creating self-examples and discipline of life(BURNING THE EVIL: DUSSEHRA). He himself underwent various difficulties and faced the challenges of life with maturity and with utmost wisdom thus setting examples for us as to how to face various problems and aspects of life in a balanced manner.

We learn a lot from the examples set by Lord Rama about our obligations to the society, family members including father, mother, stepmother, brothers, wife, friends, teachers(Guru), friends, supporters, disciples, true followers, opponents, and the learned persons.

His priority towards Mata Shabri who was a very poor lady from a lower caste, over the most learned and famous Rishis including the great Matang Rishi who were proud of their knowledge and wisdom, is a true example of the love of a Master towards his disciple. Out of this love, he ignored the feast arranged by the Rishis and chose to eat the wild berries collected by Mata Shabri from the forest and each one of which she had tasted to check the sweetness.

After winning the war against Ravana who was hurt and was about to die in the battlefield; Lord Rama directed his brother Laxman who was an angry young man to go to Ravana and approach him respectfully for a piece of advice based on his knowledge and wisdom because Ravana was highly intellectual and a learned person.

By this act, Lord Ram taught us that we should not be biased even against our foes and appreciate their good qualities.

He made Laxman shun his anger, pride of winning the war and hatred if any towards the defeated enemy. He taught everyone to eliminate only the evil and appreciate the virtues even that of an enemy.

During those fourteen years of exile, he faced all the good and bad events of his life with courage, faith, complete humbleness and with a balanced and positive approach. After successful completion of his exile, he returned to Ayodhya where he was greeted with lights, dances, fireworks and that day of victory and Homecoming is still celebrated in the form of Deepawali.

No one likes to remain in the darkness. Everyone wants to be in the light. One philosopher describes darkness as the absence of light. There is never an absence of light in this world. Sun gives us light during the day and the moon appears before the sun disappears and so the stars. The light is always there as The God never blinks. The problem is with our own attitude. We turn our back to the light and focus only on the darkness so remain deprived of its shine.

How desperately we long for the light but search it outwardly whereas God has kept the same within all of us. Being extroverts we can’t get in touch with this divine lamp to which some call Akhand jyot, some call it Noor-e-Haq or Sham-e-Allahi or by various other names. This lamp is within everyone. All we need is to be introverts and focus our attention within ourselves instead of allowing it to scatter it outside. The longing for this light is not only the domain of any particular religion. Every religion has appreciated this and has always been in search of this Divine light. Our various festivals and traditions are connected with the appearance of the sources of light such as fire,  stars, the moon, and the sun.  This is actually the light within which Lord Ram was greeted on his homecoming. This is the same light which Hazrat Moosa encountered at Koh-e Toor. This is the same light which we symbolize on the Shab-e- Raat or on a Christmas tree during the Christmas celebrations. All we need is to have a true Guru, a perfect Master, a Kamil Murshid and learn from Him the technique of becoming an introvert and focus our attention inwards and follow a simple and chaste lifestyle in order to achieve salvation.

We the humans too have been exiled like Lord Ram for a fixed time period i:e our lifespan, for having disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit. This period of exile is granted to us as a chance to purify our soul, pay for the mistakes and liberate ourselves from the shackles of wishes, anger, greed, attachment to worldly objects, and the ego/ pride. If we succeed, we will find our way back home and would be greeted with the lights which will remove all darkness from our life and liberate us from the unending cycle of birth and death thus leading us to attain Moksha, Mukti, or Najaat.

May this Diwali show us the way to the light within; the light that liberates; the light that removes all the darkness from our lives, thoughts, and the behaviors.

Wishing a very Happy Diwali to all the Readers….

HAPPINESS

Everyone in this world wants to be happy forever and for attaining happiness they resort to various practices and ways of life. Happiness is a state of mind, an aim, an essence, and in fact fragrance of the life itself. Who would not like this fragrance?. Happiness can’t be achieved in isolation as it depends upon various states of our mind functions such as level of satisfaction, stability, peace, and attitude. All these attributes or mind functions may vary from person to person and hence the level of happiness also differs from person to person despite having similar circumstances.

We do search for happiness in the possessions of wealth little realizing that even the wealthiest of all in the world are more worried than the paupers. We hope to get happiness out of high authority at our command and once we get it we realize that the authority gives more pain than the pleasures. The higher you go, you will not feel cozier, instead, you will feel cooler. ‘Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown’, is an old saying and is very true. Did the great kings or rulers had sound sleep? They were always in constant fear of being dethroned or invaded.

Happiness is therefore neither in wealth, nor in power, nor in high authority or more of possessions, because with every incremental increase in all these worldly things, a corresponding dose of fear of losing them is added to our store of worries.

To attain happiness we seem to be knocking at the wrong doors and treading a slippery path. We, therefore, need to change our attitude and way of life

Since happiness depends on our state of mind so we need to condition our mind and try to keep it stable. We need to learn from those who are happier than us and explore the causes of their happiness. We could hardly find anyone completely happy. Everyone is in search of complete happiness and he tries to derive this from different sources but each source itself is temporary and anything of temporary nature can’t provide a permanent solution for permanent happiness. The only person happier than anyone seems to be a child especially an infant. He has no worries. He gives a smile the moment anyone makes an eye contact with him. When in a mood he will not bother for anyone. He will cry when hungry and will never hide or suppress his feelings. As a child, he will be happier and more satisfied with a candy or a chocolate as his wishes and wants are limited whereas we would fail to derive the similar amount of happiness even if big fortunes are bestowed upon us.

We, on the other hand, have a lot of worries many of which we unnecessarily keep firmly attached to our mind. We are too miser in passing a smile and are biased while sharing the same. We bother too much for everything little realizing that many of them are not within our control and we are worried for them as a matter of habit. We are not open-minded and suppress our feelings. We are never contended with whatever we get and always try to have more. Our wants far exceed( LIFE ) our capacity to fulfill them thus making us unhappy. Hate, prejudice, biases, greed, fear, and feelings of insecurity and the absence of someone who could support us through thick and thin are the main causes of our worries and unhappiness. We do need someone to whom we can look for help. No one will help us without a purpose or a cost. Nothing comes free in this world then how can we expect help or support free of cost or free of an obligation?

The only ONE to whom we can trust for help and support is the CREATOR ie. our UNIVERSAL FATHER. We need to completely surrender before HIS will like a child surrenders before his mother. We must have complete faith in HIM as he will give us whatever is good for us. He will never give us anything which is not to our benefit. Pleasure or pain both come from his will, then why to worry. We should possess a helping attitude COMPASSION. towards everyone without any prejudice as it gives us a lot of satisfaction and happiness.

If there is only happiness in life throughout, we will lose its value and life would become monotonous. Some moments of worries or distress make us understand the values of happiness in a better way. So, do enjoy life with full faith in the CREATOR and always keep a positive mental attitude by avoiding every negative thought. Try to inculcate the attitude of expecting less and giving more as it will keep us more satisfied and happy. We should always think of and focus more on the good things in our life rather than paying more attention to a few worries which come in our lives in a normal routine. If we sincerely count and list out good and bad things in our life we will find that the Creator has given a lot of good things in comparison to the bad things which are very few. Since we pay more heed to and remain constantly focused on the bad things because of our negative mental attitude, so we remain unhappy. On the contrary, if we focus more on positive things in life which outnumber negative ones and ignore these negative ones, we will be happier.

DEVELOPMENT: A PERSPECTIVE

Development is happening in every field around the world for making the life more comfortable for the humans. There is no end to the development as there always remains something more to be achieved. It appears that man wants to achieve complete perfection beyond which there is no further scope for any development.

In order to achieve perfection and complete satisfaction, he is restlessly toiling day and night and running after a mirage; an illusion of satisfaction. This directionless effort is, in fact, making him more and more dissatisfied thus making him wander in the wilderness.

If we just compare the development made during the last few decades, we find that lot of infrastructure such as highways, roads, airways, waterways, railways along with utilities have been developed. More houses, buildings, transport, industry, huge projects are being added to take care of the increasing human population. A lot of development has happened in the agriculture and food industry, power sector, defense, space, energy, education, and health sectors.

Despite all development, we have not been able to eliminate the miseries of this world. Still, people in some part of the world are dying of malnutrition, hunger, and lack of Medicare although there is no shortage of food, medicines, and doctors in this world. We don’t lack resources, we lack compassion and will to help others( COMPASSION ) . We live in very narrow contours of compassion and don’t share our possessions with those who are in need, although every religion of the world teaches us to help the needy.

Unplanned and excessive mining, construction of huge tunnels and roads, railway tracks, over the ground as well as under the ground have definitely disturbed the environment, ecology, and so, the balance of nature. Our planet has an abundance capacity to bear the load and shocks of development but that capacity is not unlimited. It does have a limit, and once we exceed the limit, there is bound to be some reaction and which has started happening.

Mankind is the only race which leaves no stone unturned to pollute the overground, underground, and in the atmosphere resources which in fact are beneficial for him, little realizing that the earth and the atmosphere also have the life which needs nourishment for their sustenance ( SAVE THE EARTH ). Disturbance and destruction beyond a point are bound to compel the earth to react. Why are we blind to these reactions which have started giving their signals in the form of change in weather, unprecedented floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, storms, volcano eruptions, wind and snow storms. Have not we seen mighty mountains crumbling like mounds of sand? The breaking of mountains can cause a temporary blockage of the rivers thus creating huge reservoirs of water and which can create havoc once these temporary blockages give in to the hydraulic pressure created by the stored water. We are unmindfuly polluting the rivers, oceans, and other water bodies which are a lifeline for the entire life on this planet.

Cruelty against nature is bound to produce negative results. We do need crops, plants, water, and trees for a living but we have to keep a balance between the development and destruction of the planet and the atmosphere(  NATURE’s EQUILIBRIUM  ). In the ancient times and even at present, in some leading religions of the world, rivers, lakes, oceans and some trees are considered to be holly and are worshiped. People used to throw coins as an offering in these water bodies. The coins used to be made of copper, silver, or gold and all these metals purify water. Watering the plants was considered as Punya( Sacred deed, virtue ). The purpose of these religious beliefs was to keep water bodies clean and pollution free. Cutting certain trees such as Peepal (Banyan), plants, even their branches was considered a sin. All this was to save and protect the environment and ecology. The love and fear of God were always kept in mind while dealing with the people and the environment. Although all days are alike yet certain days of the week were fixed to be considered as more holy and sacred for special prayers. Only pious deeds were done on these designated days. The purpose was to not let the minds of people lose sight of prayers, good deeds, and to remain connected with the lord for ensuring a blissful living.

In the name of development, we have polluted the atmosphere and made the earth a fragile planet, which is not prepared to bear more disturbance and load. The human’s population is increasing whereas the number of trees is on the decrease. With more roads, buildings, houses, and other infrastructure, the area under green cover is decreasing thus making it difficult to meet the required level of oxygen in the air. It is perhaps due to this factor that the man who considers himself as the most intelligent of all species, is trying to discover life and good environment on other planets in the universe by making huge sacrifices of resources which otherwise can be utilized for making this world as a heaven.

Perhaps we have not understood the true meaning of development. Development should ensure good health for all, a tension free life, contentment, respect, elimination of bias towards anyone, good morals, and a heart full of compassion. All these will make us true human beings and deserve to be called the ‘Top of the creation’. Otherwise, we are as good or as bad as other creatures. Have we achieved this by the way we are making development? More roads, more transport has resulted in more pollution and more accidents. There are more medicines and more qualified doctors yet there are more dangerous and fatal diseases. The number of cancer, heart attacks, and other killer diseases is on the rise. Nations have become rich and strong and have accumulated heavy stocks of weapons of mass destruction. Of what use is this development? This so-called development has changed our perceptions and ways of thinking and beliefs. Corruptions, drinking, telling lies for personal gains, cheating, adultery etc. were considered as the biggest sins but with the development, these sins are considered as a way of modern life and are recognized by the society with esteem.  Real development is an evolution of a better life. We the humans are believed to have evolved from lower species to higher species through a very long period and that is the real development.

We need to divert this direction of development towards a better life, character building and values of life. The lifeline of the human race needs to be protected. All life on this earth to be respected and protected by eliminating pollution of any type. Saving the environment is not the sole responsibility of the state. Everyone has to contribute his bit to this noble cause. Trees should not be cut unless it is extremely unavoidable. We should plant five trees against the cutting of one tree. Everyone must plant at least two trees every year in order to make good the loss already done to the environment. We have to ensure peaceful coexistence between men, animal, and the environment. That will be the development in the real sense.

 

 

COMPASSION.

Compassion is an attribute of God. It is in a way a reflection of God itself. All creatures of this universe possess this attribute of God in one way or the other of different degrees. Some are more compassionate than the others and some may be less but all have traces of this Godly attribute present in them.

Have not we seen a bitch feeding the orphaned kittens along with her own puppies, although cat and dog are arch rivals?. Or a shark taking a helpless drowning dog on her back rescuing him to the shore. This is compassion which is present in all creatures in one or the other form.

Humans who are considered as more closer to God and having this attribute in abundance, but with the over influence of the mind or the Satan or the Shaitan on him, this basic quality remains overshadowed or subdued. We do feel an urge to help the needy when they are in distress or need our help and care and at the same time something takes over on our concern for others and the whole attention gets diverted from the feelings of compassion for others. This negative tendency in the humans who are becoming more self-centred and selfish in the modern times of rush for everything is the real cause for dissatisfaction, tension, and depression in life.

How alighted and satisfied we feel when we are cared for by someone. How happy we are when we are assured and are confident that someone is there to come to our rescue in case of an adversity. This one-way traffic is a sign of sheer selfishness. Can someone else also hope for our help and assistance? Are we mentally and voluntarily prepared to come forward to help others? We must; in case we want to achieve happiness and satisfaction. ‘TREAT OTHERS WHAT YOU WANT OTHERS TO TREAT YOU’ is an old adage. Love begets love and hate begets hate. As you sow so shall ye reap. It is as such completely in one’s own hands to remain happy and satisfied by reciprocating the same with others.

In case you are interested to taste some abuses or get few slaps on your cheek, go and slap someone or abuse someone and see the results. The results would be surprising, as you may get your choicest abuses showered on you as well as a volley of slaps on your cheeks to your complete satisfaction. This is an example of reaction to which we all are subjected to. We don’t have or we don’t maintain our own characteristics and qualities but our life and actions have become a  mere reaction. We always react not act and this reaction produces heat, hatred, and animosity which is a cause of frustration, dissatisfaction, and depression for us. REAL PLEASURE AND SATISFACTION COMES BY GIVING, FORGIVING AND CARING FOR OTHERS AND NEVER BY HOPING AND  WISHING TO BE RECEIVING  AND BEING CARED  BY OTHERS.

Forgive and Forget is the mantra for a happy life. In the circumstances when someone abuses and frowns upon you, maybe for any reason, and instead of reacting with double the force which is bound to create a chain reaction, if you just control yourself, force a pleasant smile on your face and beg pardon from the other person, although for no fault of yours; just feel the experience. Your opponent will feel ashamed for his behaviour towards you. Embrace him and give him a warm hug and a loving pat. It may seem to be very difficult but the results are amazing. An intellectual person has said, ” If there is one fool let there be not two”. Always try to avoid situations which result in exchanging of heated arguments and ultimate quarrels. Always try to have a compassionate feeling and attitude towards others. This makes life easier for you as well as for others.

We should never fail in our duty to help others as long as we live. Compassion turns the deadliest foes into friends. We should continue increasing our area of compassion throughout our life. This would create an atmosphere of peace all around us. Kindness doesn’t cost anything but instead, it gives us a lot of satisfaction and peace of mind. There should never be any dearth of love and compassion in our heart for anyone without any discrimination of caste, colour, or race.

No one has ever achieved peace and satisfaction by amassing wealth or by owning huge stocks of worldly materials by working day and night like a slave, contrarily he becomes more greedy in the mad race of more and more material. For doing this we sacrifice the lofty principles of life and become more distressed and dissatisfied. None in this world has ever achieved peace, satisfaction, and happiness out of the materialistic possessions as the lust for the same never gets satisfied. We become slaves of the possessions and not their masters. We should never fail in our duty to help the needy and our heart should start melting with the passion of compassion for those who need our attention and help. This feeling will burn any negativity from our mind and give us a lot of satisfaction.

A compassionate heart brings us closer to God who is an embodiment of love, peace, and tranquillity. We need to behave better than any other creature in this universe only then will we really deserve to be called humans. Only compassion and love will bring satisfaction to the hearts and peace in the world.

 

 

SAVE THE EARTH

Earth is one of the wonderful planets of this Universe which is bestowed with all the ingredients and attributes for the growth and sustaining of the life of all types. No other known planet is so suitably placed in the orbit around the energy source i.e the Sun, as the Earth. Nature has created the earth in its super divine design and placed it at a distance where the energies from the Sun such as heat, light, ultraviolet and infrared rays and many other effective energies reach earth in very suitable doses thus making it a perfect habitat for the life.

The rotation of the earth around its axis makes it possible to expose all its parts to the sun in such a manner that every part of it gets energies from the sun in the required amount. Day and night are also formed by this function of the earth. The revolution of the earth around the sun in a slightly oval-shaped orbit makes it possible for it to remain at different distances from the sun which is the cause of different seasons during the year. Is this phenomena not a gift of nature for the mankind and the entire life on earth? Had this not been the case, half of the world would have been in the constant darkness and the rest in a never-ending day, as well as no change in seasons across the globe. Can one imagine such a situation? Could the life sustain on this globe in such situations? Certainly not.

Nature has created a blanket of different gases called Atmosphere around the earth which acts as a medium for the rays of the sun to reach earth and transfer energy. It created a cover of the Ozone layer around the atmosphere in order to replenish the shortfall of life-sustaining Oxygen in the atmosphere. Hundreds of metals and minerals, precious stones and jewels, oils and lubricants, water in streams running over and under the earth’s crust were provided with a definite purpose to support life in all forms, may it be the plant kingdom, reptiles, microbes, birds, animals, and the humans. Earth consists of 70% water in the oceans, lakes, rivers, ponds, and reserve deposits in the form of huge glaciers. Life exists in the water, may it be cold glaciers at a sub-zero temperature or warmer and salty oceans and also in the atmosphere such as germs and microbes.

Nature has provided everything to earth in order to sustain life on it as well in the water bodies and air. The beautiful and amazing marine life compels us to believe in God’s divine creativity.

It is beyond human comprehension to judge the divine Art of nature as to why different minerals were placed in different quantities at different places? Why so many minerals with different attributes were created? Why were rocks of different density formed and why were clay, sand, stones, deserts, mountains formed at some places and not everywhere? Scientists do give different theories to prove their point of view but they don’t fully convince the intellect. Every component of the earth, its density, movements, shape, and size is made with some specific purpose and nothing is without a reason or purpose. Is it humanly possible to create such a complex system and maintain it the way nature is maintaining?

If we look at the different living species on earth we find that they in one or the other form have similar attributes as the earth itself. All have solids, liquids, air, energy and sense in different proportions and require different types of environment to sustain on earth. The earth as discussed above creates a required atmosphere for every living creature out of a complex composition of its constituents. Take the example of humans who are at the top of creation. They fully resemble in many ways with the earth like a child to his mother. Humans too have 70% water in their body like earth. They have the solid mass of different densities. They have hard bones like the rocks in the earth. They too have veins running through the whole body carrying blood and other essentials like the under streams running beneath the earth’s crust. They have growth of hair almost on a major portion of their body like vegetation on the earth. They too keep moving like the earth. They have many types of chemical and saline liquids in their body like the earth which has a mixture of different oils such as crude oil in her body. Humans have the attribute to propagate life by fertilizing the seed and giving birth to their offsprings and the earth too does this by fertilizing the seed which falls in its soil during a particular season and which sprouts out of its bosom as a baby plant and grows by and by to become a grown tree.

It is perhaps because of this relationship of humans with the earth that many call it as Mother Earth.

When the earth is providing us everything for our sustenance, growth, comfort, and development, then, is not this our prime responsibility to keep it neat, clean, and healthy in our own interest? Are we sincerely contributing a bit to keep the earth in a perfectly healthy condition? The answer is a big ‘NO’. Instead, we are leaving no stone unturned to destroy the very delicate balance of nature to satisfy our various tendencies such as greed, superiority complex, taste, and sadistic pleasures and the like. There is no dearth of anything which we actually need on this planet, but still, we extract various items from the earth’s body in order to fill our stores. We are continuously extracting all known metals and minerals, oils, even rocks(marble, granite etc), coal, and precious stones etc. etc. from the body of the earth thereby disturbing its very composition. Although the earth has the quality to slowly and slowly replenish the deficiency created by us, but not at the rate and speed at which we are damaging it. Every metal which has been placed at different locations and at different depths in the earth’s body has a particular strength and they release particular radiations to counter the harmful radiations coming from other planets. Just think,  if we have iron, sodium, potassium, or calcium deficiency in our body, can we lead a healthy life? Earth also suffers when we cause such deficiencies to it.

We are recklessly extracting crude and other oils  from earth’s body thus perhaps removing the lubricants from the bones(Rocks) of the earth with the result that during movement, its joints become stiff, crack like our bones and due to uneven movement of its plates the earthquakes happen to cause a lot of destruction on the surface as well as in the oceans thereby causing great tsunamis which in turn destroy all the development we made by disturbing the nature. We don’t learn any lesson from this and continue our tirade to disturb nature. Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, windstorms, hurricanes, cloudbursts, floods are all caused by our actions against nature and the earth.

We are polluting the atmosphere by burning coal and oil for power and transport. We risk life by producing atomic energy where any mishap can wipe the entire life from the globe. We have not learned any lesson from the great disasters created by atom bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, instead, we are continuously stockpiling atomic arsenals. We create smoke pollution by burning coal, wood and grass. We pollute rivers, lakes and other water bodies by throwing garbage and factory pollutants in them. We are polluting the oceans by throwing deadly missiles, and other bombs in them thus destroying the marine life. We are cutting the forests and building multi-story buildings thus converting green cover into brown habitats. Excessive use of electric and electronic gadgets is creating E-pollution. The hospital wastage full of infections, dangerous atomic wastage, electronic wastage, and plastic wastage is either dumped or thrown into the water bodies causing irreparable damage to the environment, ecology, and atmosphere.  We are extracting water from underground sources thereby disturbing the underground water table. All this is adding to the global warming and the air pollution which are very dangerous for all type of life on the earth. We are in a way digging our own graves. Unless we mend our ways, the day is not far when the earth will not bear this torture and will tremble out of pain and nothing will withstand the force of the great upheavals.

Still, there is time to mend our ways and use the abundant resources which nature has provided us in a proper manner without disturbing its balance in any manner.

Saving the earth is the responsibility of every one of us. We can’t put it on to the governments. No government can do anything without the contribution of its subjects. We do need energy, but, it is not necessary to disturb nature for that, as it has provided us with the abundance of resources for the green energy. Hydro-power, wind energy, and solar power are the best sources of renewable energy. Some intellectuals advice us to save water for the future. Not only water, we have to save all other resources and not to waste anything. Can’t we just copy the natures beautiful water management system? How nature transports pure water from the oceans which otherwise have salty water to all over the plains and mountains. If we don’t conserve water it is our fault and not nature’s. Can’t we resort to water harvesting in a big way and conserve water bodies. Nature stores water as reserves for us in lakes and ponds as well as on the mountain tops in the form of glaciers which continue melting and providing regular supply through rivers and streams. These rivers can be used to transport goods and merchandise thus reducing vehicular pollution. There will never be a dearth of anything on earth as nature knows the art of keeping a balance by itself. It is only we the humans who disturb the balance of nature and so suffer at its hands.

All eighty-four lac species(as per scriptures) existing on the earth are contributing in one or the other way to the conservation of ecology, environment, and health of the earth except Humans. It is only the humans who always remain unsatisfied and contribute to polluting and disturbing the beautiful balance of nature.

It is in our own interest to take care of our  Mother Earth, which provides us with almost everything in a neat, clean and healthy condition. Let us do this in a mission mode religiously and with utmost sincerity. This needs to be passed on to the younger generations from the very childhood; only then we can pass on a healthy and worth living planet to the coming generations.

JAMMU AND KASHMIR. A HEAVEN ON EARTH. PART 3

The largest part of Jammu and Kashmir state is Ladakh region situated deep within the mighty Himalayan mountains. A sparsely populated region having only two districts Leh and Kargil having a combined population of about two lakhs comprising mainly of Buddhists, Muslims, and few Christians.

Ladakh is a cold desert with naked mountains all around and all along. A pollution free region deficient in oxygen and vegetation has very vast plain areas within high mountains dotted with green patches here and there on the areas which receive water from the melting glaciers in summers. Because of the absence of pollution, the view of distant mountain ranges is clearly visible and a camera can catch the beautiful pictures of the area with an amazing clarity.

Ladakh has a mixture of Tibetan and Indian culture. People of all faiths are highly religious, tolerant, very simple and gentle. Each village, town, and the city is having Monasteries, Mosques, Churches, and Gurudwaras. People of Ladakh love and respect their culture and have maintained their values till date inspite of the spicy tampering of modernization. Ladakh is full of beauty, festivity, and a colorful environment which is available nowhere in the world except this wonderland.

Places in and around Leh

leh-palace

Leh Palace situated on a hill overlooking Leh town was built by the king of Leh in the 17th century. From this nine-story high building, you can have an amazing panoramic view of the entire Leh town. The night view of the palace is very charming.

General Zorawar Fort within Leh city was built by Dogra General Zorawar Singh and was the base of Dogra rulers. A mosque and a Hindu temple exist in this fort which is a symbol of Hindu Muslim brotherhood.

Shanti_Stupa

Shanti Stupa built on a hillock in Changspa area of Leh by the Japanese Buddhist appears like a pearl on the barren hill. The view is magnificent especially after the sunset when it glows in the dark with special lights all around it and appears as if the moon has landed on the hill.

You can also see The highest polo ground in the world situated within the city itself. Local Polo teams play matches in this ground and even all public functions are also held here.

Leh airport is a unique airport which is not plane but a sliding one. Landing and take off is possible only from a particular side only; landing from the downside and take off from the higher side of the runway.

Pathar Sahib

Gurudwara Pather Sahib situated some 25 km from Leh on Srinagar Kargil Leh highway was built in 1517 AD in commemoration of the visit of Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj. It is said that earlier it was called Nanak Gompa in the memory of Nanak Lama. A saint or Faqir in the local language is called a Lama. It is said that when Guru Nanak Dev Ji visited this place it was haunted by a big demon who used to torture local people. The people requested Guru Nanak to help them. One day when Guru Nanak was sitting for his meditation the demon saw him and to finish Guru Nanak, he rolled down a huge stone rock from the top of an adjacent hill. The rock came rolling down the hill with great force but stopped the moment it touched Guru Nanak Dev Ji sitting in meditation. The demon was surprised, he came down and tried to press the rock against Guru Nanak with his foot. He was further surprised to find that the rock had melted and his foot was stuck in the melted rock. He begged pardon from Guru Nanak and promised not to harm anyone thereafter. The rock still has an imprint of Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj on it. This Gurudwara is now maintained by Indian Army. Langer Parshad is served to all who visit the Gurudwara.

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Magnetic Hill is believed to have magnetic properties. You keep your vehicle with the engine turned off without brakes on the road, it starts moving uphill slowly. It is believed that the hill nearby having magnetic field attracts the vehicles and they start moving.

confluence-zanskar-indus-rivers

Indus and Zanskar river Confluence between Pather Sahib Gurudwara and village Nimmo can be seen from the national highway itself. One with crystal clear blue waters and the other with brown muddy waters merge together to be one at this place. The site is really worth seeing.

Stok Palace and Stok monastery are in Stok village across Indus river opposit Leh. The King of Leh shifted to this palace after he left Leh palace.

Hall of fame near Leh airport portrays war heroes of Indo Pak and Indo China wars as well as those who laid down their lives in Saichin and Kargil Wars.

Ladakh is filled with Buddhist monasteries which are centers of cultural, spiritual, and traditional values. These heritage places have existed for centuries and are well maintained by local priests called Lamas. These beautiful places have grand idols of Buddha and his incarnations. The grand Tanka paintings on the walls of these monasteries with shining and bright colors are a masterpiece work of local art.

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The main monasteries are, Hemis Monastery is also known as Hemis Gumpa, Thiksey monastery on the hillock at Thiksey village, Likir monastery, Spituk monastery, Stakna monastery, Dikshit monastery, Alchi monastery, Phayang monastery, Takthok monastery, Sumda Chun monastery, and Lamayuru monastery in addition to other numberless monasteries spread all over this heaven.

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Pangong Lake

Two world famous lakes in the Himalayan region exist in Ladakh; Tsomoriri lake and Pan gong lake which is about 80 km in length with blue waters, half is in India and half in China. To reach Pan-gong lake one has to cross Chang-la pass which is second highest motor-able road in the world; the first being too in Ladakh known as Khardungla pass at a height of 17582 feet from the sea level.

Sand Dunes Nubra Valley

White sand dunes at village Hunder in Nubra valley are a wonder on such heights in this Heaven. Double hump camels exist only in this valley in the country. A ride on the double hump camel is an experience worth enjoying and remembering for life.

Moon land on the Lamayuru hills on Kargil Leh national highway is a wonder on earth. These moon lands are situated on the mountains at Lamayuru village which resemble moon’s surface.

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The original Aryan race existed on the banks of Indus river known as Indus valley civilization. This race is believed to still exist in two distinct villages Dah and Hanu in Leh. They have maintained their distinct culture, character, and traditions. They don’t mix with other cultures of Ladakh and have a separate distinct identity. Their appearance is different from the Buddhist/Mongolian race. They have long face and long nose and they support a unique cap fitted with flowers.

During the summers there are very nice local vegetables available in Ladakh such as Turnip, local Reddish, Cauliflower, Peas, Knoll, Broccoli, and Spinach. Generally, ladies sell these fresh vegetables in the market on the footpaths. Turnip and peas of Ladakh are very famous.

The hot springs in this sub-zero zone at Chumathang village in Leh district is a wonder in the area.

Ladakh is also famous for the best Apricots which grow in plenty in the entire region. Leh barries is another wild fruit known for its rich contents of vitamin C.

Chiru

Ladakh is known the world over for the production of famous Pashmina, as well as ShahToosh. Shahtoosh is obtained from a Tibetan Antelope(Chiru), which is now banned because of the danger of extinction of this Antelope. These Shahtoosh shawls made by master craftsmen are priced between Rs 3 to 4 lakhs per piece.

Watching the Sky at night during a full moon night as well as dark moonless night is worth experiencing. During a moonless night, you can see the brightly shining stars, bigger in size than usual in the plains. The milky way which has disappeared from the scene due to a lot of pollution and smoke in the plains is very clearly visible from Leh area. Nights are colder, silent, and free from any disturbances. With sufficient warm clothes or sleeping bag, you lay during a night on the ground in a vast field away from the village or a town and experience the pleasure and tranquillity of silence. Only you and The God and no one else in this world to disturb you. You cant have such an opportunity to really enjoy nature like this anywhere except in Ladakh. During a moonlit night, you feel as if you are really in the heavens. The size of the full moon is much bigger at this altitude and it shines more brightly. You can read a book in the moonlight. The mountains changing colors with the change in the position of the sun during day and moon during the night present a unique beauty of these barren heights.

A tour of  Ladakh is not complete without a visit to Suru and Zanskar valleys which provide an opportunity to experience adventure tourism and white water rafting in addition to giving a very exhilarating feeling and experience worth enjoying.

A land of Lamas, Spirituality and peace is a real heaven on earth.

PARENTING AND GRANDPARENTING. PART- 2

As already discussed in part-1,(PARENTING AND GRANDPARENTING. Part- 1) parenting and grandparenting never cease to exist till we live; these only undergo a change from one to the other. The attachment (Moh) with children is responsible for the propagation of life on this planet. Just think for a while, if the parents don’t care about the new-born babies, the life will come to an end. Nature creates attachment in the hearts of parents and grandparents for the baby before he or she takes birth. From day one nature provides the new-born with two permanent and dedicated caretakers in the form of mother and father, who sacrifice their everything for the upbringing of their child. Nature creates milk in the breasts of the mother on the birth of new-born so that he can be fed till he is able to take solid food. The moment he needs solid food, nature gives teeth to the baby and when he needs more hard food, the delicate milk teeth are replaced automatically with the set of hard teeth. Nature has its own way of working and it works through the medium of its creation.

Anyway, the aim of good parenting is to shape the future of the child in such a way that he is able to face the world with courage and contribute a lot to the welfare of the future generations as well as to the nation, and to the mankind.

The initial five years of child’s life are very crucial. He makes a lot of efforts to learn to speak, sit, stand, walk, play, interact and understand many things including pre-nursery education. By nature, he is a keen watcher and a fast learner, parents have therefore to be very cautious about their child. No quarreling, no shouting, no harsh words, no punishments for and before your child. Always remain positive, friendly, and cool before him. Teach him to respect elders, socialize with people, obey elders, avoid arguments, give suitable time to his studies and playing games. He should be taught, rather encouraged to share his toys and eatables with other family members and friends. Sharing and caring can be taught only at this age. When he is to go to school, do take care of his health and hygiene. Teach him to wash hands before and after meals, clean his nose whenever required with a handkerchief. Do help him in taking bath and using the toilet till he learns to do the same.

From the sixth year onwards the child learns a lot about his family, relatives, friends, and surroundings. The child at this stage needs to be disciplined and his thought and energies properly channelized. He should be encouraged to follow a proper daily routine, like going to bed, getting up early, a little morning walk or exercise, taking a bath, getting ready for school in time, checking his school bag to ensure that all necessary books, notebooks, lunchbox, water bottle etc are properly kept inside. After school, do interact with him to make him comfortable so that before taking his meals he is off from the school fatigue. Help him in getting fresh and in changing his clothes. Give him time for playing, watching a programme of his choice on TV, help him in completing his homework. Both parents, as well as grandparents, should be quite friendly with them and understand their weaknesses and strong points, as only then they will be in a position to provide good counseling and support for the overall development in their child’s character and behavior. They should take care, recognize, and appreciate the interests and choices of their children. The children at this stage must be made to understand the difference between a good and a bad touch as well as the way to react in case of such an eventuality.

During the period of juvenility, there is an element of the immaturity of thought and conduct in the behavior of a child. This period is very crucial in the life of a child. Parents, as well as grandparents, need to keep a strict and secret watch on the behavior and activities of their child especially in the present times when everything is available on the internet with the press of a button. Give more time to the child, be more friendly with them and keep them engaged in studies, games, and other extracurricular activities so that they don’t remain idle. It is always advisable to engage the child in the decision making on small family issues and give recognition to their point of view so that they feel their importance and remain attached to the family. Please remember that an idle man’s brain is devil’s workshop. Don’t let his mind become a Devil’s workshop. This is a stage when the parents may have to be strict sometimes in order to discipline their child. The old proverb ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’ is to be kept in mind by the parents. The grandparents at this stage should not interfere with the hard decisions of the child’s parents and rather should keep cool.

Parents have sometimes to take tough decisions in the interests of their child and the child being more close and comfortable with the grandparents, may try to attract their sympathies and support in order to oppose the decision and behavior of his parents towards him. Grandparents should never support the child, instead, they should, politely and with love, try to make the child understand the point of view of his parents and support the view in the overall interests of the child.

Once the child becomes major and completes his education, do provide him support and guidance for choosing and starting his career…………… Then the marriage of the child and his life takes a new turn. Shortly the parents will become grandparents and the grandparents will become great-grandparents or the Gone-grandparents and the Life will keep on changing positions. Please keep on passing the family values and traditions to the future generations. Family traditions and the family values are the roots which must remain strong to keep the family tree growing and developing.