Monday, April 14, 2014

Popular Indian Customs - A Rationale....

Popular Indian customs & the rationale -
Our fore fathers, through generations have prescribed & practiced some interesting customs with fervour & faith. Each one of them have significance even to this day, although we have been following them....using & abusing them without really understanding the rationale. 

Given below are a few with a possible explanation. Hope this is useful : 

Throwing coins into a river - 
The general reasoning given for this act is that it brings Good Luck. However, scientifically speaking, in the ancient times, most of the currency used was made of copper unlike the stainless steel coins of today. Copper is a vital metal very useful to the human body. Throwing coins in the river was one way our fore-fathers ensured we intake sufficient copper as part of the water as rivers were the only source of drinking water. Making it a custom ensured that all of us follow the practice.
Joining both palms together to greet - 
In Hindu culture, people greet each other by joining their palms - termed as “Namaskar.” The general reason behind this tradition is that greeting by joining both the palms means respect. However, scientifically speaking, joining both hands ensures joining the tips of all the fingers together; which are denoted to the pressure points of eyes, ears, and mind. Pressing them together is said to activate the pressure points which helps us remember that person for a long time. And, no germs since we don’t make any physical contact!
Why do Indian women wear toe rings -
Wearing toe rings is not just the significance of married women but there is science behind it. Normally toe rings are worn on the second toe. A particular nerve from the second toe connects the uterus and passes to heart. Wearing toe ring on this finger strengthens the uterus. It will keep it healthy by regulating the blood flow to it and menstrual cycle will be regularized. As Silver is a good conductor, it also absorbs polar energies from the earth and passes it to the body.
Applying Tilak on the forehead - 
On the forehead, between the two eyebrows, is a spot that is considered as a major nerve point in human body since ancient times. The Tilak is believed to prevent the loss of "energy", the red 'kumkum' between the eyebrows is said to retain energy in the human body and control the various levels of concentration. While applying kumkum the points on the mid-brow region and Adnya-chakra are automatically pressed. This also facilitates the blood supply to the face muscles.
Why do temples have bells - 
People who are visiting the temple should and will Ring the bell before entering the inner sanctum (Garbhagudi or Garbha Gruha or womb-chamber) where the main idol is placed. According to Agama Sastra, the bell is used to give sound for keeping evil forces away and the ring of the bell is pleasant to God. However, the scientific reason behind bells is that their ring clears our mind and helps us stay sharp and keep our full concentration on devotional purpose. These bells are made in such a way that when they produce a sound it creates a unity in the Left and Right parts of our brains. The moment we ring the bell, it produces a sharp and enduring sound which lasts for minimum of 7 seconds in echo mode. The duration of echo is good enough to activate all the seven healing centres in our body. This results in emptying our brain from all negative thoughts.
Why do we worship ‘Tulsi’ plant - 
Hindu religion has bestowed ‘Tulsi’, with the status of mother. Also known as ‘Sacred or Holy Basil’, Tulsi, has been recognized as a religious and spiritual devout in many parts of the world. The vedic sages knew the benefits of Tulsi and that is why they personified it as a Goddess and gave a clear message to the entire community that it needs to be taken care of by the people, literate or illiterate. We try to protect it because it is like Sanjeevani for the mankind. Tulsi has great medicinal properties. It is a remarkable antibiotic. Taking Tulsi everyday in tea or otherwise increases immunity and help the drinker prevent diseases, stabilize his or her health condition, balance his or her body system and most important of all, prolong his or her life. Keeping Tulsi plant at home prevents insects and mosquitoes from entering the house. It is said that snakes do not dare to go near a Tulsi plant. Maybe that is why ancient people would grow lots of Tulsi near their houses.
Why do we worship 'Peepal Tree' - 
‘Peepal’ tree is almost useless for an ordinary person, except for its shadow. ‘Peepal’ does not a have a delicious fruit, its wood is not strong enough for any purpose then why should a common villager or person worship it or even care for it? Our ancestors knew that ‘Peepal’ is one of the very few trees (or probably the only tree) which produces oxygen even at night. So in order to save this tree because of its unique property they related it to God/religion.
Start with spice, end with sweet - 
Our ancestors have stressed on the fact that our meals should be started off with something spicy and sweet dishes should be taken towards the end. The significance of this eating practice is that while spicy things activate the digestive juices and acids and ensure that the digestion process goes on smoothly and efficiently, sweets or carbohydrates pulls down the digestive process. Hence, sweets were always recommended to be taken as a last item
Applying Mehndi/ henna on hands -
Besides lending color to the hands, mehndi is a very powerful medicinal herb. Weddings are stressful, and often, the stress causes headaches and fevers. As the wedding day approaches, the excitement mixed with nervous anticipation can take its toll on the bride and groom. Application of mehndi can prevent too much stress because it cools the body and keeps the nerves from becoming tense. This is the reason why mehndi is applied on the hands and feet, which house nerve endings in the body.
Celebration and cleaning during Diwali - 
Diwali usually falls in October or November which marks the start of winter season and end of rainy season. Rainy season wasn't a good time for everyone back then; many homes needed repair and renovation after a heavy fall. That is why time before diwali was considered the period during which everyone can indulge in cleaning and beautification of their home. And also take out their winter clothes and pack the summer ones.
Sitting on a floor and eating - 
This tradition is not just about sitting on floor and eating, it is regarding sitting in the “Sukhasan” position and then eating. Sukhasan is the position we normally use for Yoga asanas. Sitting in this position while eating helps in improving digestion as the circulatory system can focus solely upon digestion and not on our legs dangling from a chair or supporting us while we are standing.
Why not to sleep with your head towards North - 
Myth is that it invites ghost or death but since says that it is because human body has its own magnetic field (Also known as hearts magnetic field, because the flow of blood) and Earth is a giant magnet. When we sleep with head towards north, our body's magnetic field become completely asymmetrical to the Earth's Magnetic field. That cause problems related to blood pressure and our heart needs to work harder in order to overcome this asymmetry of Magnetic fields. Apart from this another reason is that Our body have significant amount of iron in our blood. When we sleep in this position, iron from the whole body starts to congregate in brain. This can cause headache, Alzheimer’s Disease, Cognitive Decline, Parkinson disease and brain degeneration.
Surya Namaskar - 
Hindus have a tradition of paying regards to Sun God early in the morning by their water offering ritual. It was mainly because looking at Sun rays through water or directly at that time of the day is good for eyes and also by waking up to follow this routine, we become prone to a morning lifestyle and mornings are proven to be the most effective part of the day.
Ear Piercing -
Piercing the ears has a great importance in Indian ethos. Indian physicians and philosophers believe that piercing the ears helps in the development of intellect, power of thinking and decision making faculties. Talkativeness fritters away life energy. Ear piercing helps in speech-restraint. It helps to reduce impertinent behaviour and the ear-channels become free from disorders. This idea appeals to the Western world as well, and so they are getting their ears pierced to wear fancy earrings as a mark of fashion.
Application of Sindoor or Vermillion -
It is interesting to note that that the application of sindoor by married women carries a physiological significance. This is so because Sindoor is prepared by mixing turmeric-lime and the metal mercury. Due to its intrinsic properties, mercury, besides controlling blood pressure also activates sexual drive. This also explains why Sindoor is prohibited for the widows. For best results, Sindoor should be applied right upto the pituitary gland where all our feelings are centered. Mercury is also known for removing stress and strain.
The Scientific explanation of touching feet (charan-sparsh) -
Usually, the person of whose feet you are touching is either old or pious. When they accept your respect which came from your reduced ego (and is called your shraddha) their hearts emit positive thoughts and energy (which is called their karuna) which reaches you through their hands and toes. In essence, the completed circuit enables flow of energy and increases cosmic energy, switching on a quick connect between two minds and hearts. To an extent, the same is achieved through handshakes and hugs. The nerves that start from our brain spread across all your body. These nerves or wires end in the fingertips of your hand and feet. When you join the fingertips of your hand to those of their opposite feet, a circuit is immediately formed and the energies of two bodies are connected. Your fingers and palms become the ‘receptor’ of energy and the feet of other person become the ‘giver’ of energy.
Why should Tulsi not be chewed with teeth -
It is a popular belief that Tulsi is the wife of Lord Vishnu; therefore, chewing it will be a mark of disrespect. However, botanists, in the course of their research, found that Tulsi plant has the maximum of mercury. If raw mercury is applied to teeth, they fall immediately. That’s why in Hindu religion, Tulsi leaves are not chewed but swallowed.
Why use Til (sesame) sweets in festivals -
Tilgul is a very colorful and excellent sesame candy made of sesame seeds and jaggery. Til means sesame seeds whereas gul means jaggery in Marathi/ Hindi. Since Makar Sankranti is celebrated in mid winter ideally Tilgul recipe is a combination that helps keep the body warm due to these heat generating ingredients making it a healthy sweet to enjoy. In Ayurveda, Sesame is considered to be an extremely beneficial and strong medicine. Sesame laddu's are beneficial for those children who normally have the problem of bed-wetting in winters.
Why do Indian women wear Bangles -
Normally the wrist portion is in constant activation on any human. Also the pulse beat in this portion is mostly checked for all sorts of ailments. The Bangles used by women are normally in the wrist part of ones hand and its constant friction increases the blood circulation level. Further more the electricity passing out through outer skin is again reverted to one's own body because of the ring shaped bangles, which has no ends to pass the energy outside but to send it back to the body.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Poll - arisation ....NaMo or RaGa ??? Vote & Voice plssss...

As the 16th General Elections gains momentum across the 543 constituencies of India, the largest electoral population in the world, pegged at more than 81 crores, is getting sucked into a cauldron of intense verbal exchanges between the political parties, ranging from rabid to reckless, brazen to bizarre, capricious to critical to communal, & from piteous to personal........the kind of ugly mudslinging that has been unprecedented.

Over the last few days, as the polling has begun full swing amidst hope & speculations, all the news channels & media houses are running full, hosting racous & vicious debates over controversies, as the political parties are busy grabbing attention & brownie has been a scathing war of words, with very little regard for prudence or polite humanity & humility.
Md Azam Khan has the audacity to say, "Kargil war was won by Muslims & not Hindus..." Mulayam Singh Yadav dares to say, "Boys will be boys, they make mistakes...will you hang them for rape??", referring to the Shakti Mills gang rape case,.... & to add further fuel to fire, Abu Azmi says, "women who were raped should also be punished" !!!!! Congress candidate from Saharanpur, Imran Masood gets away by saying that he will chop Narendra Modi to pieces.....Such dastardly & abusive thoughts are spelled out with utter disdain, .... all for cheap vote bank the Nation stands shell shocked.... is this real ????
Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi asks Shahi Iman Bukhari to encourage Muslims to vote for Congress & he responds by terming 'communalism a bigger threat than corruption' !!!, appealing to the Muslims in the name of minority card, to vote for Congress.
All this is fine & acceptable under the garb of Secularism for UPA & its allies. The rhetoric & the polarisation continues, giving very little thought to the new low that the country has tottered to, under their corrupt & scam blistered leadership !!!!

BJP, this time is focusing on good governance, development, & riding the anti incumbency wave that seems to be sweeping the country. The recent resounding victories in state elections has also consolidated this belief. Their Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, has good governance in Gujarat for three consecutive terms to demonstrate. Under his rule, the state of Gujarat has credible achievements to show.....whether it is agricultural or infrastructure or technology or tourism, or basic needs like electricity, employment,.....he has grown in stature, while his detractors continue to lambast him on 2002 riots, an allegation that he has been cleared from, by SIT set up by the Supreme Court of India. A new dig at him has sparked off now, after he declared his marital status in the nomination form.....Congress leaders including Rahul Gandhi have torn into him, leaving no stones unturned....evoking strong counter responses from the BJP. Their one point agenda seems to somehow show NaMo as communal & autocratic & play the secular card to bring him down.

The youth of India, today in particular is looking for a viable alternative to revive the economy & enforcement of strong laws to drive change & remove corruption....clearly, they are looking at capability versus mere rhetoric & vote bank polarisation. The poor are being polarised on the minority card, while the middle class seems to be firmly rooting for the NDA.....the business class & the rich also seem to have a tilt for the NDA, though some skepticism continues.
Meanwhile, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, known for his humanitarian initiatives & projects worldwide, has been canvassing strongly for "i Vote for a Better India"  through his large volunteer base. His appeal has been to encourage & educate the electorate to come out & Vote & the bring in a strong & steady government. Baba Ramdev has gone a step further to come out openly in support of Narendra Modi......However, this has evoked sharp response, as Congress has filed objections with the Election Commission & media is lapping this up for debates. It is indeed shameful that, instead of seeking their progressive advice towards educating the electorate, they are being dragged into such mindless controversies....Is this correct ?? After all, they too are citizens of the country & deserve their democratic rights to fact having worked relentlessly over years for peace & harmony, across the globe, without any bias for religion, cast or creed, Sri Sri brings in the perfect platform of trust to provide direction to the common man in building a strong progressive country. The current political bandwagon, which badly needs a facelift can do a world of good for themselves by seeking his suggestions & advice for a sustainable & long term growth....

The winds of change is evident....the country needs someone who has strong governance capabilities.....someone who has a proven track record...someone who can deliver.....someone who can inspire the voter. We need a stable government at the Centre, & not a fractured mandate of coalition. Make no mistake, it will need a Herculean effort to bring on tracks the sagging economy & the sagging morale.....& it certainly cannot be done by dramatics or dynasty !!!.... It requires Iron will & clear focus of a strong leader, who can sustain & work hard.

Well, AK has been flip flop with 49 days of Delhi rule.....a chance lost in dramatics & blame game....Aam Admi Party needs to work around a state to start with, maybe Delhi & gain respect of voters through hard work & proven capabilities, before aspiring national responsibiities; RaGa has nothing to show for himself & Congress has given us 10 years of unprecedented scams, inept & directionless governance...they certainly need to soul search & do an internal clean up act ; NaMo has three progressive terms of Gujarat to demonstrate & speaks of issue based politics.......amongst leaders, on paper he seems the best bet for India & certainly deserves a stable chance to Rediscover India....

The bane of this country has been the silence of Good men, which has allowed the Bad to raise its Ugly head time & again..... its a wake up call for everyone....Let's Vote without fail & Vote judiciously..... for a Better India.....Hum honge Kaamyaab ek Din....

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

T20 World Cup for the Men in Blue.....darker, firmer shade

I was on my way back home, driving from Pune to Mumbai.......& I was driving hard to reach as early as possible.... T20 finals between India & Sri lanka....based on current form...the best two teams in view...both the teams..."Men in Blue".....brighter vs the darker shades....vibrant & undefeated in this edition vs the jinxed but determined...... absolutely mouthwatering as a contest.

By the time I was getting off the expressway, the match had started. Tuning in the radio, I heard India lose the toss & put into bat, & immediately premonitions started clouding the mind.....somehow, this team is better at chasing, I said to myself....and when Rahane got out in the 2nd over with just 4 runs o the board, I was already thinking of the worst. Switching away to music I drove frenetically......needed to be in front of the TV & cheer (as if everything depended on it !!!). By the time I reached home, India was already in doldrums....17th over & just 115 runs on board....Yuvi struggling & Virat at the other end muttering profanities in frustration. 
Eventually, India ended at 130 runs, a good 20 odd runs short of a competing total for a final.....& everyone around cursing Yuvraj..... a sad, patchy 11 runs off 21 deliveries.

The Lankans, buoyed by a rather paltry total to chase, got their acts right & despite losing four wickets, rode the big match temperament of Sangakarra to cross over the line, with Thisera Perera hitting the winning was indeed a thumping victory for the Islanders.....fifth time lucky....finally breaking the jinx of being losing finalists for the last four times. Sending Perera ahead of Mathews in the 13th over was a master stroke....he is a fearless hitter in the Darren Sammy mould, & he clobbered 21 runs in 14 deliveries to romp home, with 13 balls to spare.....Sanga was the deserving Man of the Match for a classy unbeaten 52 off 35 deliveries. 
Earlier, despite a belligerent 77 off 58 balls by Virat Kohli, coming in at no 3, inability to convert a steady start into slog overs hitting for a formidable total cost the game for India.....& almost everyone making Yuvraj the culprit. It has been a forgettable tournament for someone known to be one of the best exponents in this format of cricket over the years. In the last 4 overs India could muster only 19 runs...Malinga 7 Kulasekara foxing the dreaded Indian middle order by bowling some beautiful yorkers slightly outside the off stump, cramping Kohli, Yuvraj & Dhoni  all alike. The wild swipes et all failed to clear the ropes. 
While Yuvi was completely out of sorts, even Virat & Dhoni struggled to get a move on....the Lankans had clearly bowled to a plan & the Indians had not factored a plan B !!! Sending Yuvi at no 4 is questionable, especially, when India had put on just 64 runs in the first 10 overs.....Dhoni should have come himself to up the ante.....Raina was more suited, in form & capable of cameos...even Jadeja could have come in....& even if Yuvi was sent, a message should have gone for him to slog or get out, allowing the next man in to get some big hits. 
Also, the belligerence & excess show of emotions from Virat, could be good for him, but at times detrimental for the team, as he cringes others rather than motivating them.....harsh words for the Man of the Tournament, but I reckon, he will burn out soon, if he does not control himself. In his mid twenties, he has the talent to go the distance & be the pivot of Indian batting line up ahead, but he will have to curb his expressive & furious gestures. 
Dhoni, was unflappable as usual, & defended Yuvi's one bad day....thats what a Cool Captain is !! Also heartening is to notice that ex players like Sachin & Saurav have come out in support of should not forget his immense contributions over the years in winning T20 World Cup in 2007 & ICC World Cup in 2011....he was the 'player of the tournament' then....

In contrast, the Lankans planned well, & despite having Lasith Malinga as the Captain on paper, it was Mahela & Sanga who were marshaling the team. The only blip being Malinga dropping Kohli in the 7th over off Herath, with the batsman just on 11 runs at that stage....going on to belt the Lankan bowling for a majestic 77 runs, run out on the last ball of the innings.

For the Lankans, it was the perfect send off gift for Sangakarra & Mahela, who had announced their retirement before the had been a long time took them 5 finals to taste a World Cup victory......The Men in Blue.....the darker, firmer shade....the time of reckoning for them...