Chinmaya Vibhooti.

I was at Chinmaya Vibhooti yesterday with four dear friends, all senior citizens about to start a group to meet regularly to discuss matters spiritual. We had been to other Ashrams near Pune on two earlier occasions and since this is so highly spoken of by many visitors, we visited to satisfy ourselves. Two of us will return to attend some camps later. I wish that I could but, my physical problems come in the way.

The Ashram is 50 kms from my home and about 35 of them are yet to be repaired fully post our very heavy recent monsoon. While the spirit was very willing, the body took a beating but the visit was fully satisfying. We visited all the places that you can read about in the link given above and were amazed at the reception from every single individual inside who cheerfully helped us in our searches. The two shops that I visited too were extremely friendly and helpful and I think that they should conduct training programmes for other retailers to be so customer friendly.

Here is me in front of a giant stylised OM at the reception hall.

Life’s Questions.

Who? Who Am I? is the biggest question that a Vedantin asks himself. Till he finds the answer to that question, he keeps searching through various studies, meditation and reflection.  The first stage in this quest is to understand that the subject I is different from the objects mind, body and intellect and finding out the reality of the subject and the impermanent nature of the objects.

What? What life has to offer will always be a mystery and to treat the future with a positive attitude without being afraid.

Where? Where life takes you to go cheerfully and with excitement will make you a wonderful person, ie, a person full of wonder.

Why? Why things happen should always be allowed to be a mysterious and accepted as the reason for our being here.

When? When life deals you with eggs, making omelettes will make you strong enough to handle all the other Ws in this list.

I have suggested this week’s topic. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin, Ashok and Shackman.

Qarib Qarib Single.

I saw this film two days ago but could not publish this review as I needed to get some information which I finally got today.

I wanted to see it primarily for Irrfan Khan being in it but, when I saw Parvathy‘s acting, I was doubly happy that I went to see it. The latter is from Kerala and to the best of my knowledge she appears in a Hindi film for the first time. Her slipping into Malayalam on a few instances was fantastic and her overall handling of a difficult role is remarkable.

Irrfan is outstanding too but full marks to Tanuja Chandra for excellent direction which has brought out both talents into full play for a very satisfying experience of film watching.

Camera work in some of the most scenic places in India is outstanding and many memories of the places like Rishikesh, Sikkim and Delhi were kindled for me.

The plot is unusual and the disparate nature of the two lead characters makes it for some very intriguing situations which leads into some humourous yet perfectly keeping within the storyline situations that are very unusual. I doubt very much that some of our more popular stars could have delivered the performance that Irrfan and Parvathy deliver.

Yet another film where the female part is central to the story and the director being female has enhanced the delivery by Parvathy. I hope that these two will come together again for more movies.

All in all, a movie worth going to watch.

CRD.

I was unable to see the movie when it was originally released in the theaters close to my home primarily because the timings were very inconvenient for me. I was however quite keen to see it having read good reviews in various newspapers and also from some people who had seen it.

I saw this ad on a few occasions in my favourite newspaper and kept wondering whether to go and see it in the two theatres advertised despite both being quite far from my residence and also the timings being rather inconvenient for me.

Having given up hopes of ever seeing CRD in a theatre, I tried to buy a DVD version without any success. I located the name of the producer/director online and sent hime an email requesting that he arrange to sell me a copy on DVD a couple of days ago and was awaiting his response when a new programme near where the film was showing, Aundh, led me to plan a trip to see the 3.00 pm show of this film and go for the other programmed from there afterwards.

The other problem was to locate the theatre as nobody knew where it was and I am no good at locating anything on the google map. I however got some friends in that part of the town to find out where the theatre was and eventually went there earlier this afternoon.

The home theatre is in the residence of the producer / director and I was fortunate enough to meet his and his very hospitable mother besides being escorted to the show itself in style. I was also able to find out what CRD stood for, the name of the hero of the film, Chetan R Deshmukh!  I was also able to inform the producer/director that he should ignore my email!

I believe that the film is worth all the trouble that I had to take to see which included climbing almost three staircases. The experience was everything that the reviews had talked about and I enjoyed it. A very unusual story but very well brought out for the screen.

If you can possibly get to see it, please do so.

Mars Again.

Information about Mars does not stop chasing me!

I got this forward from a friend but instead of going to the website, you can read it here as I have been able to copy paste it here.

SCIENTIST CLAIMS THAT MARS WILL NEED A NEW RELIGION

To live on Mars you need oxygen, food, water. But one scientist is arguing that survival needs one other critical factor, religion. Dr. Konrad Szocik, a cognitive scientist, and professor of philosophy claims that a new religion will be essential for a Mars colony.

With Elon Musk claiming that a Mars colony could be underway by 2030. The drastic changes that humans would need to go through because of the untold psychological, mental and physical struggle of living on an off-world colony would require drastic changes to humans and human society. Some scientists have even suggested that humans may need to use genetic engineering to make us better adapted to the environment. But what about the cultural and societal aspect?

There has been new evidence that the basis for the sustainability of early human civilization was the creation of religion. Religion provided an organizational structure that was cemented through rituals. This enabled humans to be able to work and settle down, moving from hunter-gather societies to agriculture and settlements.

Dr. Szocik has not prescribed a specific religion, but the creation of religion generally. In fact, he has suggested that the first wave of settlers may need to create a brand new religion that integrates spaceships and the settlement itself into an origin story.

Not everyone agrees with Dr. Szocik’s theory. Dr. Henrich from Harvard has stated that the creation of rituals for group identity would be needed, but not necessarily religion. He worries that the potential of proselytizing others and it could create conflict that would disrupt the harmony of the settlers.

Religion has already been integrated into space programs. From prayers read in space by astronauts, to priests giving blessings to astronauts on trips, to religious messages being sent out into space for possible connection to extraterrestrial life forms.

The development of a Mars program is still in nascent stages, so we don’t know yet how religion will be integrated. But it would be strange for religion to not exist on a planet named for an ancient god.