The Candid Eye

August 15, 2010

Happy Independence !!

Filed under: Art of Living,Bharat Gyan,India,Yoga — Abhay @ 1:01 PM

Happy Independence to all Indians and all good wishers of India!! :)

Enjoy the freedom and breathe easy. And recall all those who breathed their last for this moment.

Don’t celebrate only this day today, but every moment of freedom in this country.

May this be the moment of freedom for the entire mankind too, from misery, poverty, ignorance and illness, as India is the stronghold of spirituality and epitome of harmony in diversity.

May all those be free, who want to be.
Bharat Mata ki Jay !!
Vande Mataram!
Vande Mataram!
Sujalam suphalam,
malayaja shitalam,
Shasyashyamalam, Mataram!
Shubhrajyotsna pulakitayaminim,
Phullakusumita drumadala shobhinim,
Suhasinim, sumadhura bhashinim,
Sukhadam, varadam, Mataram!
Saptakotikantha kalakala ninada karale
Dvisaptakoti bhujair dhrita-khara karavale
Abala kena ma eta bale
Bahubala dharinim, namami tarinim,
Ripudalavarinim Mataram!
Tumi vidya, tumi dharma,
Tumi hridi, tumi marma,
Tvam hi pranah sharire!
Bahute tumi ma shakti,
Hridaye tumi ma bhakti,
Tomarayipratima gari mandire mandire!
Tvam hi Durga dashapraharana dharini,
Kamala, Kamaladalaviharini,
vidyadayini namami tvam,

Namami Kamalam, amalam, atulam,
Sujalam, suphalam, Mataram,
Vande Mataram!
Shyamalam, saralam, susmitam, bhushitam,
Dharanim, bharanim, Mataram!
Vande Mataram!
Mother, I bow to thee!
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
bright with orchard gleams,
Cool with thy winds of delight,
Dark fields waving Mother of might,
Mother free.
Glory of moonlight dreams,
Over thy branches and lordly streams,
Clad in thy blossoming trees,
Mother, giver of ease
Laughing low and sweet!
Mother I kiss thy feet,
Speaker sweet and low!
Mother, to thee I bow.
Who hath said thou art weak in thy lands
When the sword flesh out in the seventy million hands
And seventy million voices roar
Thy dreadful name from shore to shore?
With many strengths who art mighty and stored,
To thee I call Mother and Lord!
Though who savest, arise and save!
To her I cry who ever her foeman drove
Back from plain and Sea
And shook herself free.
Thou art wisdom, thou art law,
Thou art heart, our soul, our breath
Though art love divine, the awe
In our hearts that conquers death.
Thine the strength that nerves the arm,
Thine the beauty, thine the charm.
Every image made divine
In our temples is but thine.
Thou art Durga, Lady and Queen,
With her hands that strike and her
swords of sheen,
Thou art Lakshmi lotus-throned,
And the Muse a hundred-toned,
Pure and perfect without peer,
Mother lend thine ear,
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
Bright with thy orchard gleems,
Dark of hue O candid-fair
In thy soul, with jewelled hair
And thy glorious smile divine,
Lovilest of all earthly lands,
Showering wealth from well-stored hands!
Mother, mother mine!
Mother sweet, I bow to thee,
Mother great and free
Translation by Shree Aurobindo

July 13, 2010

Kathewadi – A village from another time !

Sangeeta Anand visits Kathewadi village in Maharashtra’s Nanded district to see an amazing transformation.

Image: Radha Bai and Anjan Bai, residents of the village

We are finally in view of Kathewadi, a tiny village in the back of the beyond in Nanded district in Maharashtra. It’s been a six-hour journey from Hyderabad across two states to satisfy our curiosity about this village and its people having turned their lives around. I wonder if things can change. Is it possible in today’s times to run a shop unmanned by a shop keeper? To believe that goods bought would be paid for, without supervision ?

When we reach Kathewadi, I pass a woman sitting in the tiny portico of her gaily painted hut and as I make eye contact she smiles and motions me to come in. Smiling, she offers me water and shows me around her home. With gestures I convey that we are here to visit their village and take pictures. She offers to accompany us and we head off through the main street. We walk through a surprisingly clean village with clusters of homes neatly painted in a uniform shade of soft pink, soothing our eyes under the hot glare of the sun.

The Art of Living Foundation has adtoped this village and converted it into a model of village life. It founder, Sri Sri Ravishankar’s teachings arer painted on the walls of every home in the village. Says writer Babu Patil Biradar, who has now joined us. “We live by Guruji’s teachings.”

Radha Bai my guide tells me in Marathi, “All our homes have a toilet. We have all collected money and built one outside each house.” The pride is evident in her face.

We come to the main temple of the village alongside which is the famous shop. Men and women have come out of their homes to gather for the satsang that they all participate in every evening.

I am introduced to the village elders and after a series of greetings, I ask them about the inspiration behind the shop, unmanned by a shopkeeper, where all the goods are labelled and left for the people to pick up and pay for, unsupervised. I am invited to see for myself.

The linoleum lined floor and the neatly stacked shelves impress me with their quiet dignity. Each product is labelled and marked with the prices. There is a large box in which the villagers put in the money for the items they pick up and another little one marked Daan Peti (donation box) in which they collect money for development work in the village.

Sangeeta Suryavanshi is another surprise. She is the 25-year-old is the sarpanch of this village. She says, “One member of every family in this village has done an Art of Living course: The Nav Chetna shivirs, youth leadership training programme and the basic course.”

“It has brought such a change in our society that we have become totally addiction free. There is amity and harmony amongst all of us, which did not exist before. We have learnt about hygiene and cleanliness and all the money that was spent on vices like alcohol and tobacco is now used constructively. This has happened due to Guruji’s inspiration,” she says proudly.

Image: A villager makes a payment at the shop in Kathewadi

Now we have self help groups of ten people each and these groups solve any issues and implement solutions.” An old man is being helped across the street to our side and I rise to wish him. Allauddin Sheikh heads the only Muslim family in this village of 700 people.

“My family has lived here for generations. My son has done the Art of Living Course and he is very happy with all that he has learnt. In all my 80 years I have never seen such a transformation in our village. We live in complete harmony and help each other in times of need.”

The music has risen to a crescendo and men and women are dancing in devotion, each face alight with joy, as I take my leave, children reach out to wish me as I wave to them from the bus. Babu Patil’s shared confidence echoes through my head all through the journey back to Hyderabad.

I had dreamt of a village like this, after reading about it in a book. It has actually happened. Cleanliness, harmony, trust, human values, bonding, this village with a vision surely belongs to another time.

Image: food packets labelled and on display at the shop in Kathewadi

June 18, 2010

How fruit trees in Indian village save girls’ lives

Bhagalpur, BiharSneha Surabhi (Photo: Prashant Ravi)Sneha, four, says she regularly waters the trees her father planted for herPhotos: Prashant Ravi

In India, where traditionally boys have been preferred over girls, a village in backward Bihar state has been setting an example by planting trees to celebrate the birth of a girl child.

In Dharhara village, Bhagalpur district, families plant a minimum of 10 trees whenever a girl child is born.

And this practice is paying off.

Nikah Kumari, 19, is all set to get married in early June. The would-be groom is a state school teacher chosen by her father, Subhas Singh.

Mr Singh is a small-scale farmer with a meagre income, but he is not worried about the high expenses needed for the marriage ceremony.

For, in keeping with the village tradition, he had planted 10 mango trees the day Nikah was born.

The girl – and the trees – were nurtured over the years and today both are grown up.

Dowry deaths

“Today that day has come for which we had planted the trees. We’ve sold off the fruits of the trees for three years in advance and got the money to pay for my daughter’s wedding,” Mr Singh told the BBC.

“The trees are our fixed deposits,” he said.

Dharhara village in BiharThe village looks like a forest or a dense green patch

In Bihar, payment of dowry by the bride’s family is a common practice. The price tag of the bridegroom often depends on his caste, social status and job profile.

The state is also infamous for the maximum number of dowry deaths in the country.

But the mango trees have freed Nikah’s parents of undue worries. And their story is not unique in Dharhara village.

With a population of a little over 7,000, the village has more than 100,000 fully grown trees, mostly of mango and lychee.

From a distance, the village looks like a forest or a dense green patch amidst the parched and arid cluster of villages in the area.

‘Great value’

And most residents can be spotted sitting in the cool orchards outside their homes.

“Now, we’ve stopped doing traditional farming of wheat and paddy. We plant as many trees as we can since they are more profitable and dependable,” said villager Shyam Sunder Singh.

Shatrughan Prasad Singh (Photo: Prashant Ravi)The villagers have been planting trees for generations

Mr Singh paid for the weddings of his three daughters after selling fruits of trees he had planted at the time of their birth.

“One medium-size mango orchard is valued at around 200,000 rupees ($4,245; £2,900) every season. These trees have great commercial value and they are a big support for us at the time of our daughter’s marriage,” he says.

The villagers say they save a part of the money earned through the sale of fruits every year in a bank account opened in their daughter’s name.

The tree-planting has been going on in the village for generations now.

“We heard about it from our fathers and they from their fathers. It has been in the family and the village from ages,” says Subhendu Kumar Singh, a school teacher.

“This is our way of meeting the challenges of dowry, global warming and female foeticide. There has not been a single incident yet of female foeticide or dowry death in our village,” he says.

His cousin, Shankar Singh, planted 30 trees at the time of his daughter Sneha Surabhi’s birth.

Sneha, four, is aware that her father has planted trees in her name; the child says she regularly waters the saplings.

As yet she doesn’t know what dowry is, and says the trees will bear fruits for her “to eat”.

The village’s oldest resident, Shatrughan Prasad Singh, 86, has planted around 500 mango and lychee trees in his 25 acres of land.

His grand-daughters, Nishi and Ruchi, are confident the trees mean their family will have no problem paying for their weddings.

“The whole world should emulate us and plant more trees,” says their father Prabhu Dayal Singh.

June 17, 2010

If you are a Swami and a victim, remain silent!

If you are a Swami and a victim, remain silent!

– by Swami Sadyojathah, Jun 10, 2010, 01.50pm
I think 30 years of selfless service has not attracted the eye of our media as much as a bullet. Ironically, the victim had to justify why the bullet was found close to him!

A Swami is expected to remain silent irrespective of the seriousness of offence against him whereas strong voices of support are heard for terrorists and anti-social elements. Corrupt officials are not condemned and the society’s silence implies it is fine with them.

‘Swami’, a title much revered in India in the past only raises eyebrows in suspicion now. Swamis and Sadhus were respected for dedicating and sacrificing their lives for society and now they are being condemned. This shows the unfortunate deterioration of the Indian culture. Is it not a systematic psychological warfare against Swamis?

We also see a section of the media in our country jumping to hasty conclusions especially in matters concerning swamis and spirituality.

‘You have the right to remain silent…’ is usually a warning given to a suspected criminal under arrest. However, paradoxically if you are a Swami or a Guru, you are advised to remain silent even if you are a victim. In spite of being a victim, you are perceived to have done something wrong. The overwhelming undercurrent of prejudice against Hindu swamis and Gurus cannot be underlined enough.

How strange that a culprit can walk away, but the victim is doubted, questioned, harassed and expected to prove his innocence! The Indian Constitution holds that you are innocent until proven guilty, but a swami is necessarily guilty until proven innocent.

This has been the way of the world, which has always demanded from the living legends to prove their innocence. Be it Kabir or Jesus or even Mahatma Gandhi who was called a fraud a number of times. The degradation of society is measured by its attitude towards its spiritual leaders. Is it not Kaliyuga where the onus is on the victim to prove that he is not guilty?

Usually a victim is encouraged to speak up. But if you are a swami, you are counseled to forever hold your peace, even if you are surrounded by white lies.

The other thing isthat it does not pay off in the worldly sense to keep calm and live in knowledge because the gap between the real world and a meditator’s world is far too much. A layman may not understand the world of yogis, where they remain poised, calm and there is not an iota of worry or concern in their expression, even in extenuating circumstances. This is baffling to the common man or in this case of gun shot the investigating cops.

Recently, I was at a function in Vigyan Bhavan in Delhi, where I observed the sheer reluctance of people in interacting with a Swami in saffron robes sitting in the front row of the audience. This was immediately after the scandals of some so-called swamis had hit the headlines in the media. Nobody wanted to look at him, let alone talk to him, as if he were an untouchable. It was appalling to see the prejudice against Hindu swamis. In a way it was beneficial to the swami because he need not care what the world thinks of him, but for an onlooker it looked odd how people were overtly prejudiced.

In Bollywood, in the last 15 to 20 years, since Dawood Ibrahim ostensibly started funding the film industry, a man with a tilak or in saffron robes has been systematically depicted as a villain or part of villain’s team. This portrayal has only added a mass prejudice and overwhelming bias against the swamis of India.

The two main allegations against swamis are sex and money. A true swami will never fall prey to fleeting attractions of sensual pleasures. Without adequate investigation, this kind of blanket generalization is unfortunate and highly deplorable. Every spiritual organization is supposed to do charity and one cannot do charity with an empty bowl. There is no point in taking charity and doing charity. Earning money is not a crime but doing so in a wrong way definitely is.

The idea that all spiritual education should be free, or the notion that spiritual training was free in ancient India is a fallacy. Spirituality is also an education and all education needs to be paid for. Those who know their history know that people in Vedic times had to “invest” far more to get a spiritual education than we do today!
The concept of ”Dakshina” is from the ancient Vedic times.

The vow of poverty is a concept alien to our land. Here, the primordial Guru, Lord Narayana is wedded to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Material progress goes hand in hand with spiritual growth. There are some pseudo intellectuals and historians who argue that only Ramana Maharishi and Mahatma Gandhi were genuine. They praise only the dead and abuse the living. One historian while condemning the appearance of spiritual masters in media went to the extent of saying that Sri Aurobindo never appeared on television, forgetting that there was no television at that time in the first place! Going by the fact that Sri Aurobindo had used the print media so well, I am sure he would have done the same with television had it existed then.

Another much-misplaced conception is that a true spiritual person should remain poor and that Gandhi never associated with the rich. They conveniently forget that Mahatma Gandhi has lived and died in Birla House, one of the most affluent people of that time.

Of course, every field will have people who are not genuine. However, that doesn’t warrant every one being painted with the same brush. It is as foolish as saying that because you unearthed a quack one day, we
should shun all doctors.

It was Pandit Nehru who said in the assembly debates, “If I was asked what is the greatest treasure which India possesses and what is her finest heritage, I would answer unhesitatingly—it is the Sanskrit language and literature, and all that it contains. This is a magnificent inheritance, and so long as this endures and influences
the life of our people, so long the basic genius of India will continue”.

It was Babasaheb Ambedkar who had proposed Sanskrit as the first language of India and who had great reverence for sadhus of this country, Kabir being his most favorite. It was Mahatma Gandhi who would read the Bhagawat Gita every day and meditate and do satsang with people from all religions.

The father of our nation is a saint. The architect of the Indian constitution, our first Prime Minister and countless others have sung praises of the spiritual knowledge of our saints. Then, I do believe, a sensitive and responsible Indian should take a proactive role in reinstating these values and arrest the prejudice drive against the swamis and saints of this holy land.

(The author is director, international affairs, The Art Of Living)

April 15, 2010

Zinc Production in Ancient India

Many believe that technology was not advanced in India, and was all imported from Europe. On the contrary, science in Ancient India was a beacon of knowledge for the rest of the world. Here is an example of Zinc Production at Industry level by India, when Europe hardly had any clue:-

Zinc Production in Ancient India

The difficulty in Zinc production arises from its close melting and evaporation points. It melts at 950 deg C, and evaporates at 1000 deg C. While all other ores are dealt with by heating the ore from the bottom and then extracting the metal, this cannot be done for Zinc. when you heat it from bottom, the liquid goes on top and evaporates as temperature touches 1000 C.

Indians were clever to supply the heat from the top, and give a cooling platform for collecting molten drops of zinc! So the moment Zinc melts, it is collected from the bottom and solidified.

The Iron pillar of Delhi still stands as a marvel for advanced Chemistry, and Scientists are yet to figure out how to make a rod that will not rust away!

The Technology of spirituality was the driving force behind these and many more discoveries, including Medicine and Astronomy. Check out this series of videos for more details.

December 11, 2009

The Genesis of Creation!

Filed under: Art of Living,Bharat Gyan — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
Tags: , , , , , ,

When did it begin? How did it all start? What holds it together? are some of the fundamental questions about our universe which a film on Creation from the Art of Living and Bharath Gyan alliance is set to address, using wisdom from ancient Indian texts. Dr. Archana Sharma, a senior physicist at CERN, Geneva, Switzerland will lend a ‘parallel track’ to the film with views from the modern scientific perspective.

“I was amazed at the vast amount of detail on the subject of Creation available in ancient Indian texts. I could see a lot of parallel between what these texts have to say and the findings unearthed by us scientists so far in our quest for the ‘Instruction Manual of the Universe'” said Dr. Sharma.

Creation Timeline Chart : Image courtesy - Creation Timeline Chart : Image courtesy -

DK Hari and DK Hema Hari of Bharath Gyan who have for over 10 years, been researching and compiling the ancient knowledge of India on various subjects said, “The kind of detail we find in our ancient texts offer information on stages of creation not only starting with the Big Bang but also even before the Big Bang. Could it be that the ‘Instruction Manual of the Universe’ is hidden in our texts – if only we care to see!”

The shooting for this film has commenced and it is set for launch towards the end of January 2010. It is proposed to follow this up with the setting up of a museum to showcase this ancient knowledge along with its convergence with modern scientific view. Forums will also follow to encourage open-minded discussions between traditional and scientific communities at local and global levels.

Creation of Light : Image Courtesy -

Bharath Gyan is a 10+ year research compilation initiative of the couple, DK Hari and DK Hema Hari in over 100 subjects on the knowledge of India. They have already come out with path-breaking films such as Historical Rama and a book Triple Eclipse 2009 – Ominous? Or Promising? More about Bharath Gyan can be viewed at

CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most reputed centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. CERN is in the news now since a few weeks when the Large Hydron Collador or LHC started being operational and has made world records in high energies.

Dr.Archana Sharma, is an Indian experimental physicist and a permanent staff member of CERN. She has been working in CERN since 1987 and is presently working on the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at the LHC project in Geneva Switzerland. Since the successful launch of the operation of the LHC, she is one of the senior physicists visiting India, Bangalore. Dr. Sharma holds a PhD in Nuclear Physics from the University of Delhi and a Doctorate in Sciences, Particle Physics, from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. Dr. Sharma’s credentials can be had at:

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