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Friday, August 3, 2012

Anna- post Aug kranti developments

After declaration by Anna for an alternative to fight corruption in a way of political way by forming/ supporting political party(ies) standing to this cause has a mixed reaction today. Most of the people went with the decision of Anna whereas some found it disheartening. These unsatisfied lots lodged their protest and even raised slogans to show their anger.

To take a public view on the matter some TV channels invited votes for the same. The outcome of the poll results was in favour of Anna's decision taken today.

The fast has been broken and line action s being decided to implement the today's decision resorting to contesting polls and addressing the corruption and Jan Lokpal issues.

The nation is watching the next developments, lets hope a solution is found and everything goes well.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dr. Abdul Kalam's Letter to Every Indian..

Dr. Abdul Kalam's Letter to Every Indian
APJ Abdul Kalam at Speech

Why is the media here so negative?

Why are we in India so embarrassed to recognize our own strengths, our achievements?
We are such a great nation. We have so many amazing success stories but we refuse to acknowledge them. Why?
We are the first in milk production.
We are number one in Remote sensing satellites.
We are the second largest producer of wheat.
We are the second largest producer of rice.
Look at Dr. Sudarshan , he has transferred the tribal village into a self-sustaining, self-driving unit. There are millions of such achievements but our media is only obsessed in the bad news and failures and disasters.
I was in Tel Aviv once and I was reading the Israeli newspaper. It was the day after a lot of attacks and bombardments and deaths had taken place. The Hamas had struck. But the front page of the newspaper had the picture of a Jewish gentleman who in five years had transformed his desert into an orchid and a granary. It was this inspiring picture that everyone woke up to. The gory details of killings, bombardments, deaths, were inside in the newspaper, buried among other news.

APJ Abdul Kalam at Speech1
In India we only read about death, sickness, terrorism, crime.. Why are we so NEGATIVE? Another question: Why are we, as a nation so obsessed with foreign things? We want foreign T.Vs, we want foreign shirts. We want foreign technology.
Why this obsession with everything imported. Do we not realize that self-respect comes with self-reliance? I was in Hyderabad giving this lecture, when a 14 year old girl asked me for my autograph. I asked her what her goal in life is. She replied: I want to live in a developed India . For her, you and I will have to build this developed India . You must proclaim. India is not an under-developed nation; it is a highly developed nation.
YOU say that our government is inefficient.
YOU say that our laws are too old.
YOU say that the municipality does not pick up the garbage.
YOU say that the phones don't work, the railways are a joke. The airline is the worst in the world, mails never reach their destination.
YOU say that our country has been fed to the dogs and is the absolute pits.
YOU say, say and say. What do YOU do about it?
Take a person on his way to Singapore . Give him a name - 'YOURS'. Give him a face - 'YOURS'. YOU walk out of the airport and you are at your International best. In Singapore you don't throw cigarette butts on the roads or eat in the stores. YOU are as proud of their Underground links as they are.. You pay $5 (approx. Rs. 60) to drive through Orchard Road (equivalent of Mahim Causeway or Pedder Road) between 5 PM and 8 PM. YOU come back to the parking lot to punch your parking ticket if you have over stayed in a restaurant or a shopping mall irrespective of your status identity… In Singapore you don't say anything, DO YOU? YOU wouldn't dare to eat in public during Ramadan, in Dubai .. YOU would not dare to go out without your head covered in Jeddah.
YOU would not dare to buy an employee of the telephone exchange in London at 10 pounds (Rs.650) a month to, 'see to it that my STD and ISD calls are billed to someone else.'YOU would not dare to speed beyond 55 mph (88 km/h) in Washington and then tell the traffic cop, 'Jaanta hai main kaun hoon (Do you know who I am?). I am so and so's son. Take your two bucks and get lost.' YOU wouldn't chuck an empty coconut shell anywhere other than the garbage pail on the beaches in Australia and New Zealand ..
Why don't YOU spit Paan on the streets of Tokyo ? Why don't YOU use examination jockeys or buy fake certificates in Boston ??? We are still talking of the same YOU. YOU who can respect and conform to a foreign system in other countries but cannot in your own. You who will throw papers and cigarettes on the road the moment you touch Indian ground. If you can be an involved and appreciative citizen in an alien country, why cannot you be the same here in India ?
APJ Abdul Kalam at Speech2
In America every dog owner has to clean up after his pet has done the job. Same in Japan ..
Will the Indian citizen do that here?' He's right. We go to the polls to choose a government and after that forfeit all responsibility.
We sit back wanting to be pampered and expect the government to do everything for us whilst our contribution is totally negative. We expect the government to clean up but we are not going to stop chucking garbage all over the place nor are we going to stop to pick a up a stray piece of paper and throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to provide clean bathrooms but we are not going to learn the proper use of bathrooms.
We want Indian Airlines and Air India to provide the best of food and toiletries but we are not going to stop pilfering at the least opportunity.
This applies even to the staff who is known not to pass on the service to the public.
APJ Abdul Kalam Wings of fire
When it comes to burning social issues like those related to women, dowry, girl child! and others, we make loud drawing room protestations and continue to do the reverse at home. Our excuse? 'It's the whole system which has to change, how will it matter if I alone forego my sons' rights to a dowry.' So who's going to change the system?
What does a system consist of? Very conveniently for us it consists of our neighbours, other households, other cities, other communities and the government. But definitely not me and YOU. When it comes to us actually making a positive contribution to the system we lock ourselves along with our families into a safe cocoon and look into the distance at countries far away and wait for a Mr.Clean to come along & work miracles for us with a majestic sweep of his hand or we leave the country and run away.
Like lazy cowards hounded by our fears we run to America to bask in their glory and praise their system. When New York becomes insecure we run to England . When England experiences unemployment, we take the next flight out to the Gulf. When the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by the Indian government. Everybody is out to abuse and rape the country. Nobody thinks of feeding the system. Our conscience is mortgaged to money.
Dear Indians, The article is highly thought inductive, calls for a great deal of introspection and pricks one's conscience too…. I am echoing J. F. Kennedy's words to his fellow Americans to relate to Indians…..
Lets do what India needs from us.
APJ Abdul Kalam E-Mailing
Forward this mail to each Indian for a change instead of sending Jokes or junk mails.
Thank you,
Dr.. Abdul Kalam
I humbly request you to forward this to every Indian……

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fasting – Best Natural Indigestion Remedy

Our world is flooding with food – breakfast buffet, lunch buffet, dinner buffet, tea buffet, dessert buffet and so on. Together with our fast-pace lifestyle and stress, many are suffering from digestive problemsto certain extent, such as indigestion, fullness, heartburn, constipation etc. Fasting is one of the cheapest, easiest and yet safest way to relieve these syndromes. It is also one of the most dependable natural curative methods for digestive problems.

Fasting is not something new. In fact, it is one of the oldest therapeutic methods known to man. Man (and animal alike) instinctively stops eating when feeling ill and abstained from food until his health is restored. Great thinkers and philosophers such as Plato and Socrates both practiced fasting to attain mental and physical efficiency.

Nowadays, people are practicing fasting in different ways. Some do juice fasting, some do water fasting. Some go to Koh Samui in Thailand once a year to do a 10-day fasting and cleanse program. Some go on a 24-hour fasting once or twice a week, so call intermittent fasting. I personally go on 24-hour fasting on a continued basis, i.e., eat once a day. My feeling of fullness, slow in metabolism and lack of energy all gone. In fact, if you ask anyone who has tried any kind of fasting, you will see one thing in common – these people are happier and not looking back to their old misguided ways of eating.

Preparing for Fasting
Before you practice fasting of any kind, please note these two important things:
First, ABANDON these theories which you might have been told a million times.
(1) Eat smaller and more frequent meals through out the day.
(2) Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like a beggar.

I am not saying that these won’t work, but if you are suffering from digestive problems, fasting is proven to be a dependable natural remedy. I have been suffering from slow digestion, fullness sort of problems since 1989 and had tried all and everything without any success. Eventually I relieved my pain by a 6-day juice fasting followed by intermittent fasting. I am feeling great and have decided to feel that great for the rest of my life.

Second, be DETERMINED. This is the most important factor to determine whether you are going to succeed or not. The first two days of fasting is going to be difficult, as you need to suppress your natural desire for food. You would need determination to survive through these two days. Once you are up to the third day, you are fine. I’m sure you won’t look back to your old ways of eating.

NOTE: Please seek professional medical advice prior to initiating any form of nutritional program.

Unplugged: Goodbye cables, hello energy beams

LET'S face it: power cables are unsightly dust-traps. PCs, TVs and music players are becoming slicker every year, but the nest of vipers in the corner of every room remains an ugly impediment to true minimalism.

Then there is the inconvenience of charging phones, MP3 players and PDAs. A minor hassle, admittedly, but it is easy to forget to top up the batteries and before you know it you have left the house with a dead gadget. Wouldn't life be simpler if power was invisibly beamed to your devices whenever you walked into a building with an electricity supply? Wireless communication is ubiquitous, after all, so why can't we permanently unshackle our electronics from power cables too?

Poor transmission efficiencies and safety concerns have plagued attempts at wireless power transfer, but a handful of start-ups - and some big names, like Sony and Intel - are having another go at making it work. The last few years have seen promising demonstrations of cellphones, laptops and TVs being powered wirelessly. Are we on our way to waving goodbye to wires once and for all?

The idea of wireless power transfer is almost as old as electricity generation itself. At the beginning of the 20th century, Nikola Tesla proposed using huge coils to transmit electricity through the troposphere to power homes. He even started building Wardenclyffe Tower on Long Island, New York, an enormous telecommunications tower that would also test his idea for wireless power transmission. The story goes that his backers pulled the funding when they realised there would be no feasible way to ensure people paid for the electricity they were using, and the wired power grid sprang up instead.

Wireless transmission emerged again in the 1960s, with a demonstration of a miniature helicopter powered using microwaves beamed from the ground. Some have even suggested that one day we might power spaceships by beaming power to them with lasers (New Scientist, 17 February 1996, p 28). As well as this, much theoretical work has gone into exploring the possibility of beaming power down to Earth from satellites that harvest solar energy (New Scientist, 24 November 2007, p 42).

Long-distance ground-to-ground wireless power transmission would require expensive infrastructure, however, and with concerns over the safety of transmitting it via high-power microwaves, the idea has been met with trepidation.

While we won't be seeing a wireless power grid any time soon, the idea of beaming power on a smaller scale is rapidly gaining momentum. That is largely because, with wireless communication, like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and ever-shrinking circuits, power cables are now the only limit to becoming truly portable. "The move was inevitable once wireless communication became popular," says David Graham, a co-founder of Powerbeam in San Jose, California.

With this new impetus, engineers and start-up companies have jumped at the challenge, and while beamed power is still in its infancy, three viable options seem to be emerging. The use of radio waves to transmit electricity is perhaps the most obvious solution, since you can in principle use the same kinds of transmitters and receivers used in Wi-Fi communication. Powercast, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has recently used this technology to transmit microwatts and milliwatts of power over at least 15 metres to industrial sensors. They believe a similar approach could one day be used to recharge small devices like remote controls, alarm clocks and even cellphones.

A second possibility, for more power-hungry devices, is to fire a finely focused infrared laser beam at a photovoltaic cell, which converts the beam back to electrical energy. It's an approach PowerBeam has adopted, but so far its efficiency is only between 15 and 30 per cent. While that could serve more power-hungry appliances, it would in practice be too wasteful.

The technology has been used to power wireless lamps, speakers and electronic photo frames that require less than 10 watts to function. Over time, as both the lasers and photovoltaic cells improve, the company hopes efficiencies of up to 50 per cent will be possible. "There's no reason we couldn't power a laptop eventually," says Graham. Unlike some other possible techniques, a sharply focused beam loses minimal energy over large distances, preserving its efficiency: "A hundred metres is no big deal."

Inconvenient beams

Others are sceptical that this technique would be practical for truly portable devices, which are constantly moving around and between rooms. "An infrared beam would not be convenient to charge a mobile phone - it's too directional," says Menno Treffers, chairman of the Wireless Power Consortium in the Netherlands. Powerbeam's solution is to fit a small fluorescent bulb to the receiving device so that a camera on the transmitter can track the light and steer the laser beam accordingly. Another problem is that a separate beam is needed for each device you want to power, which would be tricky to engineer, says Aristeidis Karalis at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is developing an alternative wireless power transmission system.

The third possibility for wireless power is magnetic induction - the most attractive option for beefy domestic applications. A fluctuating magnetic field emanating from one coil can induce an electric current in another coil close by, which is how many devices, like electric toothbrushes and even some cellphones, recharge drained batteries. The snag, however, has been that while efficiency is good at close contact, it can drop to zero at even a few millimetres from the transmitter.

Enter Karalis and his colleagues. It has long been known that such mechanical energy transfer is improved enormously if two objects resonate at the same frequency - it's how an opera singer can smash a glass if she hits the right pitch. Karalis wondered whether the same idea could improve the efficiency of magnetic induction at greater distances.

The team's set-up consisted of an inducting coil connected to a capacitor. The energy within this circuit oscillates rapidly between an electric field in the capacitor and a magnetic field in the coil. The frequency of this oscillation is controlled by the capacitor's ability to store charge and the coil's ability to produce a magnetic field. If the frequency in the energy-transmitter's circuit is different from that of the receiver's circuit, they are non-resonant. The result is that the energy sent by the transmitter will not be in phase with the energy that is already held at the receiver, which could result in the two cancelling each other out, limiting a coherent build up of energy inside the receiver. But if the transmitter and receiver are resonant, the team reasoned, the oscillating fields of their two coils would always be in sync, meaning the interference is constructive and the amount of energy transferred is boosted.

They tested their theory in 2007 with great success, transmitting 60 watts across 2 metres, with 40 per cent efficiency (Science, vol 317, p 83). The team has since founded a company called WiTricity to develop the idea. Last year, the firm used two square coils 30 centimetres across, one in the receiver and one in the transmitter, to power a 50-watt TV 0.5 metres from the power supply, with an impressive 70 per cent efficiency. "In some cases, the improvement in the efficiency due to resonance can be more than 100,000 times that of non-resonant induction," says Karalis. Unlike laser-based line-of-sight energy transmission, a magnetic field is not focused and so can pass around or through obstacles between the transmitter and receiver.

The big consumer electronics companies have also been keen to investigate "resonant transfer". Sony, for example, has demonstrated a wireless TV, and Intel is investigating the technology for a range of devices. "Power transfer efficiency scales independently of power, so the same efficiency can be achieved for laptops, consumer electronics such as TVs, and smaller portable devices such as cellphones," says Emily Cooper, a research engineer at Intel's labs in Seattle. In other words, the same proportion of the total energy will be lost for a power-hungry plasma TV as for a tiny PDA

For details click here

Once There Was A King - By Rabindranath Tagore

When we were children there was no need to know who the king in the fairy story was. It didn't matter whether he was called Shiladitya or Shaliban, whether he lived at Kashi or Kanauj. The thing that made a seven-year-old boy's heart go thump, thump with delight was this one sovereign truth; this reality of all realities: "Once there was a king."

But the readers of this modern age are far more exact and exacting. When they hear such an opening to a story, they are at once critical and suspicious. They apply the searchlight of science to its legendary haze and ask: "Which king? "

The story-tellers have become more precise in their turn. They are no longer content with the old indefinite, "There was a king," but assume instead a look of profound learning, and begin: "Once there was a king named Ajatasatru,"

The modern reader's curiosity, however, is not so easily satisfied. He blinks at the author through his scientific spectacles, and asks again: "Which Ajatasatru? "

"Every schoolboy knows," the author proceeds, "that there were three Ajatasatrus. The first was born in the twentieth century B.C., and died at the tender age of two years and eight months, I deeply regret that it is impossible to find, from any trustworthy source, a detailed account of his reign. The second Ajatasatru is better known to historians. If you refer to the new Encyclopedia of History. . . ."

By this time the modem reader's suspicions are dissolved. He feels he may safely trust his author. He says to himself: "Now we shall have a story that is both improving and instructive."

Ah! how we all love to be deluded! We have a secret dread of being thought ignorant. And we end by being ignorant after all, only we have done it in a long and roundabout way.

There is an English proverb ; "Ask me no questions, and I will tell you no lies." The boy of seven who is listening to a fairy story understands that perfectly well; he withholds his questions, while the story is being told. So the pure and beautiful falsehood of it all remains naked and innocent as a babe; transparent as truth itself; limpid as afresh bubbling spring. But the ponderous and learned lie of our moderns has to keep its true character draped and veiled. And if there is discovered anywhere the least little peep-hole of deception, the reader turns away with a prudish disgust, and the author is discredited.

When we were young, we understood all sweet things; and we could detect the sweets of a fairy story by an unerring science of our own. We never cared for such useless things as knowledge. We only cared for truth. And our unsophisticated little hearts knew well where the Crystal Palace of Truth lay and how to reach it. But to-day we are expected to write pages of facts, while the truth is simply this:

"There was a king."

I remember vividly that evening in Calcutta when the fairy story began. The rain and the storm had been incessant. The whole of the city was flooded. The water was knee-deep in our lane. I had a straining hope, which was almost a certainty, that my tutor would be prevented from coming that evening. I sat on the stool in the far corner of the veranda looking down the lane, with a heart beating faster and faster. Every minute I kept my eye on the rain, and when it began to grow less I prayed with all my might; "Please, God, send some more rain till half- past seven is over." For I was quite ready to believe that there was no other need for rain except to protect one helpless boy one evening in one corner of Calcutta from the deadly clutches of his tutor.

If not in answer to my prayer, at any rate according to some grosser law of physical nature, the rain did not give up.

But, alas ! nor did my teacher.

Exactly to the minute, in the bend of the lane, I saw his approaching umbrella. The great bubble of hope burst in my breast, and my heart collapsed. Truly, if there is a punishment to fit the crime after death, then my tutor will be born again as me, and I shall be born as my tutor.

As soon as I saw his umbrella I ran as hard as I could to my mother's room. My mother and my grandmother were sitting opposite one another playing cards by the light of a lamp. I ran into the room, and flung myself on the bed beside my mother, and said:

"Mother dear, the tutor has come, and I have such a bad headache; couldn't I have no lessons today?"

I hope no child of immature age will be allowed to read this story, and I sincerely trust it will not be used in text-books or primers for schools. For what I did was dreadfully bad, and I received no punishment whatever. On the contrary, my wickedness was crowned with success.

My mother said to me: "All right," and turning to the servant added: "Tell the tutor that he can go back home."

It was perfectly plain that she didn't think my illness very serious, as she went on with her game as before, and took no further notice. And I also, burying my head in the pillow, laughed to my heart's content. We perfectly understood one another, my mother and I.

But every one must know how hard it is for a boy of seven years old to keep up the illusion of illness for a long time. After about a minute I got hold of Grandmother, and said: "Grannie, do tell me a story."

I had to ask this many times. Grannie and Mother went on playing cards, and took no notice. At last Mother said to me: "Child, don't bother. Wait till we've finished our game." But I persisted: "Grannie, do tell me a story." I told Mother she could finish her game to-morrow, but she must let Grannie tell me a story there and then.

At last Mother threw down the cards and said: "You had better do what he wants. I can't manage him." Perhaps she had it in her mind that she would have no tiresome tutor on the morrow, while I should be obliged to be back to those stupid lessons.

As soon as ever Mother had given way, I rushed at Grannie. I got hold of her hand, and, dancing with delight, dragged her inside my mosquito curtain on to the bed. I clutched hold of the bolster with both hands in my excitement, and jumped up and down with joy, and when I had got a little quieter, said: "Now, Grannie, let' s have the story!"

Grannie went on: "And the king had a queen." That was good to begin with. He had only one.

It is usual for kings in fairy stories to be extravagant in queens. And whenever we hear that there are two queens, our hearts begin to sink. One is sure to be unhappy. But in Grannie's story that danger was past. He had only one queen.

We next hear that the king had not got any son. At the age of seven I didn't think there was any need to bother if a man had had no son. He might only have been in the way. Nor are we greatly excited when we hear that the king has gone away into the forest to practise austerities in order to get a son. There was only one thing that would have made me go into the forest, and that was to get away from my tutor!

But the king left behind with his queen a small girl, who grew up into a beautiful princess.

Twelve years pass away, and the king goes on practising austerities, and never thinks all this while of his beautiful daughter. The princess has reached the full bloom of her youth. The age of marriage has passed, but the king does not return. And the queen pines away with grief and cries : "Is my golden daughter destined to die unmarried? Ah me! What a fate is mine."

Then the queen sent men to the king to entreat him earnestly to come back for a single night and take one meal in the palace. And the king consented.

The queen cooked with her own hand, and with the greatest care, sixty- four dishes, and made a seat for him of sandal-wood, and arranged the food in plates of gold and cups of silver. The princess stood behind with the peacock-tail fan in her hand. The king, after twelve years' absence, came into the house, and the princess waved the fan, lighting up all the room with her beauty. The king looked in his daughter's face, and forgot to take his food.

At last he asked his queen: "Pray, who is this girl whose beauty shines as the gold image of the goddess? Whose daughter is she?"

The queen beat her forehead, and cried: "Ah, how evil is my fate ! Do you not know your own daughter?"

The king was struck with amazement. He said at last; "My tiny daughter has grown to be a woman."

"What else? " the queen said with a sigh. "Do you not know that twelve years have passed by?"

"But why did you not give her in marriage? " asked the king.

"You were away," the queen said. "And how could I find her a suitable husband?"

The king became vehement with excitement. "The first man I see to-morrow," he said, "when I come out of the palace shall marry her."

The princess went on waving her fan of peacock feathers, and the king finished his meal.

The next morning, as the king came out of his palace, he saw the son of a Brahman gathering sticks in the forest outside the palace gates. His age was about seven or eight.

The king said: "I will marry my daughter to him."

Who can interfere with a king's command? At once the boy was called, and the marriage garlands were exchanged between him and the princess.

At this point I came up close to my wise Grannie and asked her eagerly: "What then? "

In the bottom of my heart there was a devout wish to substitute myself for that fortunate wood-gatherer of seven years old. The night was resonant with the patter of rain. The earthen lamp by my bedside was burning low. My grandmother's voice droned on as she told the story. And all these things served to create in a corner of my credulous heart the belief that I had been gathering sticks in the dawn of some indefinite time in the kingdom of some unknown king, and in a moment garlands had been exchanged between me and the princess, beautiful as the Goddess of Grace. She had a gold band on her hair and gold earrings in her ears. She bad a necklace and bracelets of gold, and a golden waist-chain round her waist, and a pair of golden anklets tinkled above her feet.

If my grandmother were an author how many explanations she would have to offer for this little story! First of all, every one would ask why the king remained twelve years in the forest? Secondly, why should the king's daughter remain unmarried all that while? This would be regarded as absurd.

Even if she could have got so far without a quarrel, still there would have been a great hue and cry about the marriage itself. First, it never happened. Secondly, how could there be a marriage between a princess of the Warrior Caste and a boy of the priestly Brahman Caste? Her readers would have imagined at once that the writer was preaching against our social customs in an underhand way. And they would write letters to the papers.

So I pray with all my heart that my grandmother may be born a grandmother again, and not through some cursed fate take birth as her luckless grandson.

So with a throb of joy and delight, I asked Grannie: "What then?"

Grannie went on: Then the princess took her little husband away in great distress, and built a large palace with seven wings, and began to cherish her husband with great care.

I jumped up and down in my bed and clutched at the bolster more tightly than ever and said: "What then?"

Grannie continued : The little boy went to school and learnt many lessons from his teachers, and as he grew up his class-fellows began to ask him: "Who is that beautiful lady who lives with you in the palace with the seven wings? " The Brahman's son was eager to know who she was. He could only remember how one day he had been gathering sticks, and a great disturbance arose. But all that was so long ago, that he had no clear recollection.

Four or five years passed in this way. His companions always asked him: "Who is that beautiful lady in the palace with the seven wings?" And the Brahman's son would come back from school and sadly tell the princess: "My school companions always ask me who is that beautiful lady in the palace with the seven wings, and I can give them no reply. Tell me, oh, tell me, who you are!"

The princess said : "Let it pass to-day. I will tell you some other day." And every day the Brahman's son would ask; "Who are you? " and the princess would reply: "Let it pass to-day. I will tell you some other day." In this manner four or five more years passed away.

At last the Brahman's son became very impatient, and said: "If you do not tell me to-day who you are, O beautiful lady, I will leave this palace with the seven wings." Then the princess said: "I will certainly tell you to-morrow."

Next day the Brahman's son, as soon as he came home from school, said: "Now, tell me who you are." The princess said: "To-night I will tell you after supper, when you are in bed."

The Brahman's son said : "Very well " ; and he began to count the hours in expectation of the night. And the princess, on her side, spread white flowers over the golden bed, and lighted a gold lamp with fragrant oil, and adorned her hair, and dressed herself in a beautiful robe of blue, and began to count the hours in expectation of the night.

That evening when her husband, the Brahman's son, had finished his meal, too excited almost to eat, and had gone to the golden bed in the bed- chamber strewn with flowers, he said to himself: "To-night I shall surely know who this beautiful lady is in the palace with the seven wings."

The princess took for her the food that was left over by her husband, and slowly entered the bed-chamber. She had to answer that night the question, which was the beautiful lady who lived in the palace with the seven wings. And as she went up to the bed to tell him she found a serpent had crept out of the flowers and had bitten the Brahman's son. Her boy-husband was lying on the bed of flowers, with face pale in death.

My heart suddenly ceased to throb, and I asked with choking voice: "What then? "

Grannie said; "Then . . ."

But what is the use of going on any further with the story? It would only lead on to what was more and more impossible. The boy of seven did not know that, if there were some "What then? " after death, no grandmother of a grandmother could tell us all about it.

But the child's faith never admits defeat, and it would snatch at the mantle of death itself to turn him back. It would be outrageous for him to think that such a story of one teacherless evening could so suddenly come to a stop. Therefore the grandmother had to call back her story from the ever-shut chamber of the great End, but she does it so simply: it is merely by floating the dead body on a banana stem on the river, and having some incantations read by a magician. But in that rainy night and in the dim light of a lamp death loses all its horror in the mind of the boy, and seems nothing more than a deep slumber of a single night. When the story ends the tired eyelids are weighed down with sleep. Thus it is that we send the little body of the child floating on the back of sleep over the still water of time, and then in the morning read a few verses of incantation to restore him to the world of life and light.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Great Indian Stories

The Loss of Friends (Panchatantra, Part I)

nce upon a time, Amarasakti ruled the city-state of Mahilaropyam in the south of India. He had three witless sons who became a matter of endless worry for him. Realizing that his sons had no interest in learning, the king summoned his ministers and said:

“You know I am not happy with my sons. According to men of learning an unborn son and a stillborn son are better than a son who is a dimwit. What good is a barren cow? A son who is stupid will bring dishonour to his father. How can I make them fit to be my successors? I turn to you for advice.”

One of the ministers suggested the name of Vishnu Sharman, a great scholar enjoying the respect of hundreds of his disciples. “He is the most competent person to tutor your children. Entrust them to his care and very soon you will see the change.”

The king summoned Vishnu Sharman and pleaded with him “Oh, venerable scholar, take pity on me and please train my sons into great scholars and I will make you the lord of hundred villages.”

Vishnu Sharman said “Oh, king, listen to my pledge. Hundred villages do not tempt me to vend learning. Count six months from today. If I do not make your children great scholars, you can ask me to change my name.”

The king immediately called his sons and handed them to the care of the learned man. Sharman took them to his monastery where he started teaching them the five strategies (Panchatantra). Keeping his word, he finished the task the king entrusted him in six months. Since then, Panchatantra became popular all over the world as children's guide in solving problems of life.

Now begins the Loss of Friends (first of the five strategies) series. These are stories that figure in a dialogue between two jackals named Karataka and Damanaka.

Long, long ago, a merchant named Vardhaman lived in a town in the south of India. As he was resting on his bed one day it struck him that money was the axis of the world and that the more he had of it the more he would be powerful. Even enemies seek the friendship of a rich man, he told himself. The old become young if they have riches and the young become old if they do not have wealth. Business is one of the six ways that help man amass wealth. This was his logic.

Mobilizing all his wares, Vardhaman set out on an auspicious day for Madhura in search of markets for his goods. He began his travel in a gaily-decorated cart drawn by two bullocks. On the way, tired of the long haul, one of the bullocks named Sanjeevaka collapsed in the middle of a jungle near river Jamuna. But the merchant continued his journey asking some of his servants to take care of the animal. But the servants abandoned the bullock soon after their master had left. Joining him later, they told him that the bullock was dead.

In fact, Sanjeevaka was not dead. Feeding on the abundant fresh and tender grass in the forest, he regained strength and began to merrily explore the jungle, dancing and singing in joy. In the same forest lived Pingalaka, the lion.Sanjeevaka, content with his new life in the jungle would waltz and sing uproariously with joy. One day, Pingalaka and other animals were drinking water in the Jamuna when the lion heard the frightening bellow of the bullock. In panic, the lion withdrew into the forest and sat deeply lost in thought and surrounded by other animals.

Sensing the predicament of their king, two jackals, Karataka and Damanaka, sons of two dismissed ministers, were clueless as to what had happened to their king.

“What could have happened to the lord of the forest,” asked Damanaka.

“Why should we poke our nose into affairs that are not our concern? Haven't you heard the story of the monkey which pulled out the wedge from the log,” asked Damanaka.

“Sounds interesting. Why don't you tell me what happened to the monkey,” pleaded Damanaka.

“Now, listen,” said Damanaka and began narrating the story of the monkey.

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