Category Archives: Blog

Quote about Women | Women’s rights | Patrick Stewart

Patrick Stewart, Defend the rights of women and girls

Patrick Stewart, Defend the rights of women and girls

I love this picture!  And thank you Patrick Stewart for standing up for the rights of women and girls.  But why is this true?  Why does it take an old white guy to convince the world that standing up for human rights is necessary?  Why don’t people from other cultures stand up for women and girls?

And that’s really the problem isn’t it?  It’s not popular in a lot of cultures to stand up for female rights.  So even men who do support feminine rights often won’t say anything.  They don’t want to risk their own popularity, and maybe their safety, to stand up for something that isn’t popular.  It’s frustrating isn’t it?  It’s not that there aren’t men in other cultures that believe in female rights.  It’s just that they don’t say anything.  They don’t spread the word.

I often wonder about what it would take to help these men to stand up for what they believe in.  To motivate them to create a better world for their wives, sisters, daughters, an granddaughters.  What do they need?  And how can we provide it?  What will create the change we need?

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SADHU T. L. VASWANI: A BRIEF INTRODUCTION

Sadhu T. L. Vaswani, founder of the Mira School

Sadhu T. L. Vaswani, founder of the Mira School

Sadhu Vaswani was a great Sindhi educationist and philosopher. He was born as  Thanwardas Lilaram Vaswani, on November 25, 1879, in Hyderabad, Sind. In his youth, he became a scholar of the Upanishads, part of the oldest spiritual texts on Earth. He graduated from the University of Bombay with a bachelor’s degree in 1899, and a master’s degree in 1902. His first job was as a teacher at Union Academy. He then took a professorship in History and Philosophy position at the City College in Calcutta. It was here  that Vaswani found his Guru (spiritual teacher), Sri Promotholal Sen, affectionately known as Naluda. Five years later, Vaswani moved to Karachi, in 1908, and joined the D. J. Science College as a Professor of English and Philosophy. In 1910, Vaswani and his guru, Sri Promotholal, sailed from Bombay to Berlin (Germany) to attend the Congress of World Religions. In 1920, Vaswani’s mother died. Shortly thereafter, he became a brahmachari.

In the beginning, Sadhu Vaswani developed a devout following of mostly women. They called themselves the Sakhi Satsang back then. During an age when a woman’s place was in the home, Sadhu Vaswani suggested that they be the ones to lead the country towards a brighter future. He was so committed to this belief, that he founded a girl’s college to educate women and named it the Mira School. Thus began what the world now knows as the Mira Movement.

Sadhu Vaswani was one of the first supporters of the Satyagraha Movement, a freedom movement characterized by noncooperation and nonviolence, led by Gandhi. He used his influence on the Indian National Congress to get legislation passed in favor of Indian independence. He also wrote many books about the socioeconomic and political affairs of the time, such as My Motherland and Awake Young India.

- Written by Neelam Wadhwani

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Quote about Women | Ann Richards | Fred Astaire | Ginger Rogers

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

“After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did.  She just did it backwards and in high heels.”   ― Ann Richards

I love this quote!  It’s so true isn’t it?  And it just states the obvious in such a simple way.  Women go about their days doing everything expected of them.  They often do the same things as men in their day-to-day lives.  But they don’t get recognized for their accomplishments.  They don’t get recognized for often having to work harder to achieve the same successes as men do?

And why do they need to work harder?  As much as we hate to admit it, we still live in a very male dominated world.  Men can do less and get more recognition.  And often the things that seem to warrant recognition in society are only the things that come easily to men.  The things that come easy to women are often trivialized.  Society doesn’t put as much value on being a mother, and all the work that that entails, as it does as being a businessman.

Isn’t it time that we start to highly value what women do naturally well?  Isn’t it time we gave them all the tools they need to succeed at whatever they choose to pursue?  Isn’t it time we give them the credit they deserve when they choose to compete in, and succeed at doing something just as well as a man?  I think it’s time.

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Quote about Women | Nora Ephron | Quote about Courage

Beatiful Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”
― Nora Ephron

In many countries around the world, getting an education is an act of courage.  We saw the story of young Malala, who stood up for her right to an education and got shot in the head for her beliefs.  That’s a dramatic example of what it can take, but there are so many girls around the world that fight the same battle, but without the same drama (thank goodness) and the same visibility.  They have to fight the norms of their cultures, the inaccessibility of schools, the demands of their families on them to help in the house or nurse their elders.  They are often pressured to get married at a young age and then become mothers even before they are teens.  For these girls, education, just learning the simple skills of basic reading and addition and subtraction, is such a gift.  And for this gift they must struggle.  They intuitively know they must be the heroines in their own lives.  Against the odds, against social pressure, they refuse to be victims.  They do whatever they can to get the education that could make them who they really want to be, or give them freedom that they seek.  They are examples of what real life heroines look like.  They are the beautiful faces of courage.

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Namaste | What does it mean? | Hindu greeting

President Obama says Namaste

President Obama says Namaste

With all the depths and charms of my mind and all the love and cordiality of my heart, the Divinity in me salutes the Divinity in you.

 NAMASTE is a Hindu tradition that is both a spoken expression (mantra) and a symbolic gesture (mudra). It is used as a salutation when first meeting someone you know or as a valediction when leaving his or her company. The gesture is performed by joining the palms of your hands together with your thumbs close to or touching your forehead or heart, and bowing down to the person you are addressing.

The term, Namaste, is Sanskrit in origin and is actually made up of two separate words: namaha and te. Namaha means I bow down in recognition and reverence. And te means to you. Combined, the term literally means I bow down to you.   However, it is assumed to mean the Divine Spark in me acknowledges and salutes the Divine Spark in you.  When people see each other in this way, they are inspired to treat each other with respect, kindness, and love.  Their disposition becomes one of cooperation and engagement.  And people are motivated to find peaceful solutions to their problems.

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Gratitude | Zig Ziglar quote | Being Thankful will change your life

live in gratitude

Live in gratitude

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.  If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”  -Zig Ziglar

 When I first finished college the economy was really bad.  Like many students I struggled to get a job and finally landed my “not my dream job” about a month after graduation.  I remember feeling depressed and deflated, but I knew I was lucky to at least have a job.  My commute to work was about an hour so each morning and evening I listened to books on tape (they really were on tape in those days).  My favorite audio books were by Zig Ziglar and Leo Buscalia.  They both made me laugh and both filled my heart with love and hope.   Zig taught me all about business and sales.  Leo taught me all about love and compassion.

I don’t know if Zig said this quote exactly this way back then, but he said something very similar.  And so, because I trusted him, I started a habit of saying three things I am grateful for every morning before I even got out of bed.  Within a week my life changed.  I was happier at work.  The world looked more beautiful.  And within a month I got promoted and got to move back to a city I was very happy to live in.

I was hooked, and the habit stuck…for 20 years now.  What are you grateful for?  Please tell us below.

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Hanuman | The Monkey God – Part 2 of 2

Lord Hanuman, the Monkey God

Lord Hanuman, the Monkey God

 

(Go Back to Part 1)

Hanuman took a huge breath and slowly began to grow bigger and bigger. The heavy ropes that bound him snapped and fell away. And his burning tail grew into an awesome torch, with which he set the Island Kingdom on fire. The structures hissed and cracked as they burnt and fell, and the townsfolk screamed in fear. Satisfied, Hanuman took his leave and returned to the mainland, where Rama and Laxmana had been waiting for him.  He gave them valuable information on Ravana’s forces, and then the army crossed a bridge to Lanka that was made by the monkey leader and master architect called Nala.

During the great Battle of Lanka, Hanuman defeated the Demon Lankini, who was the principal guard of the city of Lanka.  But his greatest feat during the battle was to bring back the herb that cured Lakshman from a fatal wound. He flew all the way to the Himalayas to find it, and was harassed by many demons.  He could not find the herb and finally brought the entire mountain to Lanka.  The herb was found and Lakshman was saved.

After the battle, Rama, Sita, Lakshman, and Hanuman returned to their hometown of Ayodhya and Rama and Sita were crowned King and Queen.  When Rama offered Hanuman any boon he wanted, Hanuman asked to live for as long as men spoke of the deeds of Rama.

- Written by Neelam Wadhwani

Hanuman | The Monkey God – Part 1 of 2

Rama and Hanuman, great friends

Rama and Hanuman, great friends

Hanuman was believed to have been an incarnate of Lord Shiva, one of the three highest gods in Hindu Mythology. As legend has it, Lord Shiva descended on earth as Sri Hanuman to help Prince Rama destroy King Ravana and rid the world of his evil.

In the Ramayana, Sita (Rama’s wife) was abducted by Ravana (the King of Lanka). While Rama and Laxmana were looking for her, they met Hanuman. After ensuring that the princes were who they said they were, Hanuman offered them his help. After consulting with Sugreeva (the King of Monkeys), Hanuman used his supernatural powers and flew above the land in search of Sita.

Hanuman found Sita sitting under the shade of an Ashoka Tree, within the walls of Ravana’s palace. At an opportune moment, Hanuman approached the princess and introduced himself as Rama’s messenger. To prove it, he provided her with her husband’s wedding ring. Convinced, Sita greeted him warmly. Hanuman reassured her and told her that Rama was coming to rescue her soon.

Pleased for having completed his mission, Hanuman turned to leave. But he was spotted by Ravana’s relatives and had to fight the demon Meghnaath, son of Ravana, in the gardens of the palace. He won over Meghnaath but was captured. After being tied up in thick rope, Hanuman was marched to the palace. Ravana was incensed that he couldn’t kill Hanuman without defying the norms of society. So, instead, he wrapped Hanuman’s tail in cloth and set it on fire. By this time, Hanuman had had enough. Out of respect for Rama, he had tried to play by the rules. But no more.

(Go to Part 2)

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A poem about Diwali | Deepavali

Christmas isn’t just a day in our family, chosen by Christian clerics of old, to combat pagan traditions of the common folk. It represents a whole season to us, a season full of good tidings and family relations. It begins with the coming of Diwali and ends with the first day of the new year!

Rama's return to his throne

Rama’s return to his throne

Sometime towards the end of September, arrangements begin for a season to remember, To observe the return of a king to his throne, and banish the darkness and sorrow unknown.

 

Diwali lights hung from the rafters

Diwali lights hung from the rafters

The house is cleaned and decorated after, and lights are hung along the outer rafters. Flowers and plants are strewn about, so nothing is left covered without.

 

Diwali Sweets

Diwali Sweets

Tealights and tarts are placed  everywhere. Colorful lanterns are hung with good cheer. Sweets and sauces are cooked with care, in hopes that Prosperity soon will be there.

 

Happy Diwali to All

Happy Diwali to All

Lamps are constructed from water and clay. Filled with the oil of cooking or prayer. Wicks of pure cotton are stretched and twirled, to aid in the magic soon to unfurl.

 

Diwali Lakshmi puja tray

Diwali Lakshmi puja tray

Murtis are polished and dressed anew, in reds and golds of exceptional hue. Silver is polished to a brilliant veneer, and used in the pooja, with all we hold dear.

 

Beautiful Diwali Rangoli depicts an oil lamp

Beautiful Diwali Rangoli depicts an oil lamp

Patterns and paper and petals of red, adorn every doorway and walkway and tread. Circles and angles are precisely aligned, to create a work of rangoli divine!

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What is Diwali | The Five Days of Diwali and what they mean.

Happy Diwali to All

Happy Diwali to All

Diwali is the most joyous time of year for Hindus.  It is celebrated universally, by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains, throughout the Indian subcontinent and the world. It is a 5-day event that is celebrated to commemorate the victory of the forces of Good over the forces of Evil.

Day 1: Dhanteras

This day is dedicated to the Goddess of Wealth. On this day, Hindus buy utensils or other objects made of precious metals, for good luck. Businesses owned or operated by Hindus close out their financial records for the year and start anew.

Day 2: Chhoti Diwali

This day is dedicated to the Goddess of Time, Change, and Death. On this day, Hindus indulge in fragrant baths and then dawn new clothes. They share special Diwali foods with family and friends.

Day 3: Diwali

This day is dedicated to the Goddess of Wealth, Properity, and Beauty. On this day, Hindus perform elaborate ceremonies, worshipping the Goddess. Before any such ceremonies, Lord Ganesh is worshipped. Hindus clean their homes thoroughly and decorate them by placing rows of earthen oil lamps everywhere.

Day 4: Padwa/ Govardan Puja

This day is dedicated to Lord Krishna, who saved the world from floods by lifting Mount Govardhana and allowing all the people to take shelter under it. On this day, Hindus cook mountains of food, to represent Mount Govardhana, which are later distributed to devotees and other townspeople.

Day 5: Bhai Duj

This day is dedicated to the relationship in ancient India between brothers and sisters. On this day, sisters pray for the longevity and prosperity of their brothers, and brothers bestow their sisters with gifts and eat a meal together. It is meant to strengthen the ties between brothers and sisters.

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