Birds.

My most enjoyable time every day is the half an hour or so that I spend having my morning mug of tea while watching the flowers, butterflies and birds that visit our garden. This has been so ever since we moved into this home over thirty one years ago when in fact, the bird population was as large as it is now thanks to the lockdown and absence of traffic and humans on our roads.

I have recently been unable to name some of the birds that I see in the mornings and remembered that for the same reason, I had bought a book thirty years ago and I went searching for it in my library a few days ago. I couldn’t find it and then I remembered that I had given it away some years ago to someone else with the same problem. I could not recollect that person’s name, a sure sign of my not being a spring-chicken any more.

I therefore, sent for another copy and it arrived this morning.

This book reminded me of Salim Ali, its author and my visit to SACON, which was on the way to ArshaVidya Gurukulam that I used to visit during 1999 and 2001.

I have already identified two birds that I could not name and am yet to find two more. I am sure that I will find them sooner than later.

I find birds and butterflies fascinating.  Do you?

Philosophy And What It Means To Me.

“Philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.”

Despite having written before about my tryst with philosophy  in my blog, it is still nice to be able to revisit my story from a different perch as it were.

I approach the topic with a historic perspective highly personal in nature as, I am deeply involved in the study of philosophy.  I was not always so and hence this approach.

I was burning both ends of the candle in the late seventies of the last century when a dear friend, concerned about my well being put me in touch with Transcendental Meditation. I learnt it and started practicing it in earnest with amazing results. While practicing, I also studied the first six chapters of the Bhagwat Gita translated and commented on by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

This continued till 1983 when on a dare, I attended a ten day Vipassana camp and got hooked to that form of meditation which I continue to practice till today.  That little adventure also led me to study Buddhist philosophy.

Two  more synchronistic developments that led to further incidents that got me thoroughly involved in Indian philosophy.

While on a business visit to Chennai, another dear friend insisted that I accompany him to a lecture on Vedanta by Swami Paramarthananda. That got me further interested and when the same friend on a visit to Pune requested me to take him to a colleague and fellow Sanyasi of the Chennai Swamiji, I did and met Swami Satswarupananda of Pune.

I not only met him, but became his student and studied Vedanta under him in our Guru Shishya Parampara for fifteen years.

He finally retired to full time sanyasa to Rishikesh after instructing his students in Pune that Shravanam. (Learning) and Mananam (Internalising the learning) were over and the time had come for them to focus on Nidhidyasanam. And that is what I have been doing since the last many years.

In the meanwhile, I also had the privilege of meeting Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the Guru to both the Swamijis mentioned earlier, both at Anaikatti, his head quarters and in Pune during two of his visits.

Having bored my readers with that background, let me now explain what Vedanta, means to me.

In the Vedantic system, one goes through various stages of life with four goals called the Purushartha.. Having crossed the first three fairly successfully, I am at the last stage of my progress to achieve Moksha.

End of my story.

To understand the contents of my post, please do use the links given for various words without which, it will be difficult to.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 4 On 1 blog posts where Conrad, Sanjana, Shackman and I write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been suggested by Sanjana. Please do go over to the other two blogs to see what they have to say on the same topic. Thank you.

A Special Treat.

My irrepressible daughter in love procured from somewhere a new root vegetable which I had never seen or had before.
She informed me that it is a popular vegetable from Indore which by chance, she found in the market during her foray there and brought for us. It is called Garadu and is so rare that it does not feature in wikipedia or any other source to enable me to give a link to it.

It is essentially a member of the yam family.

I had it roasted and we had it earlier today for lunch.
Needless to say, I over-ate taking the chance of some suffering later in the day but, as I write this, no ill effect has occurred.

I could not resist the temptation to share the news of my lunch with some friends from Indore and they were all surprised that it was available in Pune where we live and complimented me for having had the good taste to have it.  Having tasted it once, I look forward to having it more during the next season which I am told is normally between October and March.  Perhaps what we procured was from a cold storage facility.

Doing The Wrong Things At The Right Time.

I am not a great fan of Tony Blair but, this quote from him resonates with me in our current pandemic situation.

India is in the midst of a rampant second wave of the pandemic and unfortunately this has coincided with state elections in some of our states as well as the Kumbh Mela.

Our politicians have been holding rallies in the states that went to the polls and attendance was simply mind-boggling. Likewise, the Kumbh Mela saw huge crowds of people taking the holy dip and this too was scary.

As I was writing this post, I also came to know that the Government of Kerala has regretted their inability to cancel this year’s Thrissur Pooram.

From these huge gatherings, people could become carriers of the pandemic and contribute to further aggravating the already severe conditions in our country. Hospital beds and oxygen are in short supply as well as shortage of vaccines.

I for one am appalled at the lack of civic sense shown by our leaders as well as common people who have allowed tradition to overrule common sense.

“Against stupidity the very gods themselves contend in vain.”

~ Friedrich Schiller.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 4 On 1 blog posts where Conrad, Shackman and I write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been suggested by me. Please do go over to the other two blogs to see what they have to say on the same topic. Thank you.

Friends.

If yesterday, I had an opportunity to write about siblings, today, I write about friends.

The first story starts with my daughter in love’s mother who is a Bengali calling me to wish me a happy new year on Bengali New Year day on the 15th inst. She regretted that she had to do so late in the day as she was under the impression that it was on the 16th inst. It was only when her relatives called her that she realised that it was on the 15th. She regretted not having a Bengali Calendar.

I decided to surprise her and requested a friend MLB in Kolkata, to obtain one and send to me which he promptly did. It arrived yesterday and when I get the next opportunity, I shall present it to K. In the meanwhile I have sent her a PDF version to her on WhatsApp.

The second story starts with my daughter in love getting me some palm fruit. While talking to my cousin in Navi Mumbai I shared this news with him and both of us went very nostalgic for it as, it used to be available in plenty during the summers in our childhood at the place where he grew up and where we used to go for our vacations.

He had not had it for over six decades and I decided to surprise him with some through the good offices of a friend of mine SST,  who lives close to him in Navi Mumbai. I rang my friend up for help and he promptly went shopping for it in the morning and got a dozen delivered at my cousin’s place at 11.00 am. My cousin was zapped and over the moon and I was happy that I was able to do that for him.

The next story goes back to last June when I wrote about Jack Fruit Seeds. The same friend KVP, from Kerala who features in that post sent me about a kilogram of the seeds which arrived this morning , thanks to the restrictions on movement of goods being less stringent now,  than they were last year this time. I am now set for the next couple of weeks till our own season for the fruit starts when I will be able to get as much of the fruit and the seeds as I want.

So, three friends from three different places helped me give some joy to others and myself thanks to modern communication methods and courier services.