Monday, 18 May 2015

Gifts we received- Datuns!

Our kids recently gifted us a lot of different local varities of ‘Datuns’ that their elders use at home. The varieties include ‘Banaa’, ‘Tirmira’, ‘Akhrot’ and ‘Kadi Patta’. The gifts came after we shared the health benefits of going natural and avoiding synthetic toothpastes available in the market. We were having the discussion as a part of our Ayurveda lessons in the classroom.

Our discussion majorly revolved around the health impacts of ‘Sodium Lauryl Sulphate’ that companies like Colgate, Pepsodent use in their toothpastes. The chemical is infamously known for causing many health problems including reduction in saliva. The following video and weblinks helped us to clear our concepts before we spoke to children about the issue.

Digging deep on the type of datuns we received, we also came to know that ‘Banna’ (Scientific Name: Vitex negundo) has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, bronchial relaxant and hepatoprotective properties.

And Akhrot Datun (Juglans regia) also comes with Numerous health benefits.

Friday, 10 April 2015

The Last Frontier

A Reflection Note from Manoj K Sharma:

The silence in the cremation ground broken by the sound of the cricket calling its mate, the sound of water flowing in the stream, the yellow flowers in full bloom, the overflowing fields of paddy stretched out till where the twain meet, are all so full of life, so vibrant, so alive that it  makes me wonder does life actually cease? Does it end? I know not. 

Seemingly a life ends; the wailing of dear ones is audible. Next door maybe the first cry of a child is heard, the people are joyous. Is it the end of one life and beginning of another or the continuation? I know not.  Let the Gunijans,  Gyanis, Dhyanis, ponder over it, let me live this present moment for this is what life is about. 

Why should death be sad? One day it will surely come. So let me live life to the fullest. Let me eat, drink, be merry, dance, flirt, build  and break relationships, make and break hearts, love and  be  loved, cry and laugh and why not? Why be scared? Live life consciously, conscientiously, make mistakes, make corrections, do para gliding, river rafting, climb trees, swim in the  ocean, run on the beach,  share a  peach, live out fantasies. A log house covered with snow, the sound of crackling wood in the fire place, soft music, piano playing waltzes, the smell of freshly shampooed hair, the bright smiling eyes, the tinkling laughter, the roses strewn all  around, the  beautiful  smile, the warm embrace. And why not? Let me love, let me live. 

Let me be with my people, the communities I work with, help them, make them smile, wipe their tears, walk with them, hold their hands and assure them that I will be there for them! 

If I have not loved and lived, why on earth have I come in this world for?

Sometimes I reflect back  over the times I have lived through, who have I hurt, what  had I said, what I shouldn’t have said, what  I should  have listened to, what I should not have not  listened to? I feel like a bird out of a cage sitting on the branch of a  tree looking  at the yonder hills where the wind seems to be flirting with the leaves. Reflecting back on the previous day, previous week, months, or years left behind, far behind, travelling through the journey of my life.  It is a strange feeling, a strange indescribable phenomenon. How far have I come, how far have I left to go, sometimes come into  my mind, but then softly like a gust of wind passes over as if whispering “this is what life is about”. A journey seemingly directionless at times, seemingly moving in a direction, but slowly with soft footsteps like ripples in the stream it carries on and on.  

Even this too shall pass and then……. 

It has happened before and will continue to happen when I have prayed lifting my hands above, “Oh lift me as a wave, as a leaf, as a cloud, I fall upon the thorns of life I bleed”. At times I have felt as if I am floating like a cloud, a leaf, a wave experiencing bliss.  

I do not know but if I could I would put a tomb stone on my grave to say “Here lies a  man who lived his life to the hilt. Who loved and was loved. A satisfied man. A happy man. A crazy man”.

Sunday, 15 February 2015


Friday, 12 December 2014

Discovering my SENSE of SELF

Why Modi’s Swatchh Bharat Abhiyan will not succeed? Because we Indians do not consider our public spaces as our own. Like a natural, normal human being, we only care about what we consider our own, and our ‘sense of self’ does not include regions outside the boundaries of our homes. You talk about public spaces, we Indians have lost our touch with our own siblings. We no longer consider our brother’s family as ours; we are living in nuclear age, an age where our nieces are no longer equal to our daughters. Forget extended families, some of us do not even consider our parents as our own. But yes, we are super possessed with our own ‘Selves’, we care a lot about our houses, we want them to have latest designs and marbled floors, we want our kids to pursue high quality education and we want to shop all latest stuff for our families. So we are normal, we are normal for people and objects that come within the sphere of our ‘Self’.

Any movement of national importance shall not succeed unless people include it in their ‘Sense of Self’. We Indians are individually smart to work for our own ‘Sense of Self’, but are collectively dumb to work for something that fall outside the sphere of our concern. Our ‘Sense of Self’ has changed dramatically in past couple of decades. Earlier, during Independence struggle, we used to think our nation as our own, and were willing to give up our lives for it. Gradually our sphere of ‘Self’ started shrinking, excluding our nation, societies, communities and families one by one. Today, we only care about our immediate nuclear family and live for its well-being.

How has this happened to us and what can we do now to heal the situation? When I reflect on it, the only answer I come across is ‘meditation’. I believe that we have lost touch with ‘other’ human beings because we have lost touch with ourselves. We have lost spiritual touch as a society. We have lost ourselves so much into sense objects that we now live primarily to fulfill our desires of owning royal mansion, luxurious car and latest gadgets. 

Meditation, I believe, can heal our connections and can help us to move beyond physical and emotional wants to intellectual and spiritual pursuits. It can certainly help us to connect with people on human level without getting lost in our selfish interests. Unless we feel connected with all of us, unless we consider our country as our home, there is no hope for any movement that requires us to act outside our sphere of ‘Self’. 

Therefore, the prescription is to meditate for an hour at least once a day, and we can certainly switch off our TVs in the evening to find time for the same.