This is Communal Harmony in My Beloved India


.

Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

.

United We StandTHIS IS MY BELOVED INDIA!

Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis …

” And peace on Earth to people of good will …”

This is India - Merry Christmas!

This is India – Merry Christmas!

I came across the above fabulous photo on the internet. Do you like it? What message does it convey?

Here is a collection of photographs I came across while surfing the net. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

.

The vow of Hindu-Muslim unity

Talking about communal harmony on April 8, 1919, Mahatma Gandhi said:

“If the Hindu-Muslim communities could be united in one bond of mutual friendship and if each could act towards the other as children of the same mother, it would be a consumation devoutely to be wished. But before this unity becomes a reality, both the communities will have to give up a good deal, and will have to make radical changes in ideas held herefore. Members of one community when talking about those of the other at times indulge in terms so vulgar that they but acerbate the relations between the two. In Hindu society we do not hesitate to indulge in unbecoming language when talking of the Mohomedans and vice-versa. Many believe that an ingrained and ineradicable animosity exists between the Hindus and
Mohomedans.

“When both are inspired by the spirit of sacrifice, when both try to do their duty towards one another instead of pressing their rights, then and then only would the long standing differences between the two communities cease. Each must respect the other’s religion, must refrain from even secretly thinking ill of the other. We must politely dissuade members of both communities from indulging in bad language against one another. Only a serious endeavour in this direction can remove the estrangement between us.” (25:201-202)

He made the members present take a vow as under:

“With God as witness we Hindus and Mohomedans declare that we shall behave towards one another as children of the same parents, that we shall have no differences, that the sorrows of each shall be the sorrows of the other and that each shall help the other in removing them. We shall respect each other’s religion and religious feelings and shall not stand in the way of our respective religious practices. We shall always refrain from violence to each other in the name of religion.”

.

.

RELATED ARTICLES

.

About these ads

Black Friday and the United Stupids of America (USA)!


.

Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

.

Last year when I was in the United States, a friend from India called me over the phone a week before Thanksgiving Day. He requested me to buy a laptop for him on Black Friday. He said that he had heard that on Black Friday electronic goods could be bought at bargain prices. Little did he know about the madness that inundates the United Stupids of America (USA) on Black Friday.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday of November. Also, traditionally, the beginning of the Christmas shopping season starts in the United States on Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving Day.Most major retailers open their sales outlets extremely early on Black Friday to kick off the holiday shopping season and offer promotional sales.

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States and people celebrate the day with religious fervor.

Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner.

Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner.

People get together with their loved ones, invariably devour large amounts of food centered around an enormous roasted turkey, and like angels and saints praise and thank God for all that they have.

Black Friday - People waiting outside a mall.

Black Friday – People waiting outside a mall.

But on the following day, the Black Friday, they become United Stupids of America by transmogrifying from angels to demons. They stubbornly gather outside malls, some from midnight on. They while away their time chattering and shivering, undaunted by the bitter winter cold, and wait for the shops to open.

As soon as the doors open, the stampede begins.

Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.

Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.

Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall (isource)

Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall (isource)

Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.

Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.

People behave like crazed animals. They barge into the malls like raging bulls. They trample and maul one another to buy more stuff that they already have or absolutely do not need; just 24 hours after offering thanks for how much they have.

That is Black Friday for you in the United States of America. No other country in the world can boast of such a frenzied day.

Though Black Friday is not an official holiday, many non-retail employers give their employees the day off, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers.

Earlier, retailers opened shop on Black Friday at 6 am. However, in the late 2000s, many retailers opened their retail outlets at 5 am, and some opened at 4 am. Big
names including Target, Kohls, Macy’s, Best Buy, etc. open at midnight. Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, broke the Black Friday tradition in 2011 by opening its store on Thanksgiving evening.

Here is a video clip depicting the madness of the United Stupids of America for you to decide whether you too want to join these berserk folks and avail bargains on Black Friday.

.

.

Related articles

.

Add this anywhere

Deepavali: The Festival of Lights


.
Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

.

Glow of joy! Women lighting traditional lamps on the eve of Deepavali (Photo:  K.C. Sowmish)

Glow of joy! Women lighting traditional lamps on the eve of Deepavali (Photo: K.C. Sowmish)

The people in India, belonging to culturally diverse and fervent societies celebrate various holidays and festivals. The different states and regions in India have their own local festivals depending on prevailing religious and linguistic demographics.

Deepavali (also known as Diwali, Dīvali, Dīpāwali, Dipabali, etc.,), is one of the most sacred festivals of the Hindus.

Deepavali is a “festival of lights,” symbolizing the victory of righteousness over spiritual darkness. All over the world, the Hindus celebrate Deepavali jubilantly with their families in their homes, performing traditional spiritual activities. In India, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia, people belonging to other religions as well join the Hindus in the celebrations.

Goddess Lakshmi is the most significant deity during Deepavali Puja. Several other gods and goddesses are also worshipped. Various religious rituals are followed during the five-day festivities.

Deepavali is celebrated as a five-day festivity that starts on Dhanteras, celebrated on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna paksha (dark fortnight) of Ashwin and ends on Bhau-Beej, celebrated on the second lunar day of Shukla paksha of the Hindu calendar month Kartik. However, in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat, the Deepavali festivity begins one day earlier on Govatsa Dwadashi, and is a six-day festivity.

The month of Ashvin begins with the Sun’s exit from Virgo in the solar religious calendar. In the Sanskrit language ‘Ashvin’ means light. It is the seventh month of the lunisolar Hindu calendar.

In many cultures, people use the lunisolar calendar where the date indicates both the moon phase and the time of the solar year.

In the Tamil sidereal solar calendar, used by Tamils all over the world, Ashvin is known as Aipassi (ஐப்பசி). In the Bengali sidereal solar calendar, officially used by the Bengali people in West Bengal and Bangladesh, it is the sixth month and is called Ashbin (আশ্বিন).

The Five/Six Days of Deepavali

Deepavali celebrations is a five-day festivity spread over from Dhanteras to Bhau-Beej. In some places like Maharashtra and Gujarat the celebrations begin with Govatsa Dwadashi. All the days except Deepavali are named according to their designation in the Hindu calendar. The days are:

Govatsa Dwadashi or Vasu Baras (27 Ashvin or 12 Krishna Paksha Ashvin):

In Sanskrit, Go means cow and vatsa means calf, Dwadashi or Baras means the 12th day. On this day the cow and calf are worshiped.

King Prithu chasing Prithvi.

King Prithu chasing Prithvi.

According to Hindu mythology, Prithu was a king, from whom the earth received her name Prithvi. The epic Mahabharata and the Hindu text Vishnu Purana describe him as a part Avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu.

Prithu was the son of King Vena, a tyrant. Due to the lawless rule of Vena, an appalling famine engulfed the earth making it barren. King Prithu went after Prithvi, the earth goddess, who fled from him transforming herself into a cow. After being caught, Prithvi agreed to yield her milk as the world’s grain and vegetation that brought prosperity to the world once again.

.

Dhanatrayodashi or Dhanteras or Dhanwantari Trayodashi (28 Ashvin or 13 Krishna Paksha Ashvin):

In Sanskrit, Dhana means wealth and Trayodashi means 13th day. This day falls on the 13th day of the second half of the lunar month Ashvin, and usually eighteen days after Dussehra.

Dhanventari,  physician of the  devas, and god of  Ayurvedic Medicine.

Dhanventari, physician of the Devas, and god of Ayurvedic Medicine.

According to Hindu mythology, Dhanvantari is an Avatar of Vishnu. He appears in the Vedas and Puranas as the physician of the gods devas, and is the god of Ayurvedic medicine. He is depicted as Vishnu with four hands, holding medical herbs in one hand and a pot containing rejuvenating nectar called amrita in another.

In the myth of the Samudra or Sagar manthan (Churning of the Ocean of Milk), Dhanavantari emerged bearing the pot of nectar after the Devas (demi gods) and Asssuras (demons) churned the ‘Ocean of Milk’ using the Mount Mandarachala, also known as Mount Meru, as the churning rod and Vasuki, the king of serpents, as the rope.

The Hindus pray to Lord Dhanvantari seeking his blessings for good health for themselves and others, especially on Dhanteras, his Jayanti (Birth Anniversary), along with Goddess Lakshmi, the provider of prosperity and well-being.

Lakshmi and Kuberan

Lakshmi and Kuberan (Source: amritsartemples.in)

Lord Kubera, the God of assets and wealth is also worshiped on this day by the Hindus. Dhanteras is very significant among business communities since it is customary to buy precious metals on this day.

.

Naraka Chaturdashi (29 Ashvin or 14 Krishna Paksha Ashvin):

Chaturdashi is the 14th day (Tithi) of the waxing phase or waning phase of the moon.

This day signifies the victory of good over evil and light over darkness, because on this day the demon Narakasura was killed by Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu. . This day is also known as Kali Chaudas, Roop Chaudas or Choti Diwali.

In one source in Hindu mythology, Narakasura is the asura son of the earth goddess Bhūmī-Devī (Earth) and Lord Vishnu in his Varaha (boar) Avatar. In other sources, he is said to the son of the asura Hiranyaksha. It was foretold that he would be destroyed by a later incarnation of Vishnu. So, his mother, the earth, sought a boon from her consort Vishnu for a long life for her son, and that he should be all powerful. Vishnu out of love for Bhūmī-Devī granted these boons.

Narakasura, knowing himself to be unrivalled in prowess became evil, and subdued all the kingdoms on earth and brought them under his control. Next, he set his eyes on Swargaloka (the heavens), the abode of the devas. Unable to withstand the powers of Narakasura, the mighty Indra, the lord of the devas, fled from Swargaloka. Narakasura became the overlord of both the heavens and earth. Intoxicated by power, he stole the earrings of Aditi, the heavenly mother goddess, and usurped some of her territory, while also kidnapping 16,000 women.

The devas, led by Indra appealed to Vishnu, asking him to deliver them from Narakasura. Vishnu promised them that he would help them when he would be incarnated as Krishna.

Narakasura was allowed to enjoy a long reign because of the boon granted by Vishnu.

When Vishnu incarnated as Krishna, he married Satyabhama, an Avatar of Bhūmī-Devī. Aditi, being a relative of Krishna’s wife approached her for help. On learning about Narakasura’s ill treatment of women and his behaviour with Aditi, Satyabhama was enraged. Shr approached Lord Krishna for permission to wage a war against Narakasura.

As promised to the Devas and Aditi, Vishnu in his Krishna avatar, riding his mount Garuda with wife Satyabhama, attacked the great fortress of Narakasura. The battle was fierce. Narakasura unleashed all his army on Krishna. However, Krishna slew them all. He also killed Mura, Narakasura’s general. Thus, Krishna is called ‘Murāri ‘(the enemy of Mura).

Krishna and Narakasura

Krishna hurling the Sudarshana Chakra.

The desperate Narakasura launched his great weapon, sataghini, a thunderbolt, and then his trident on Krishna, but these weapons did not harm Krishna. Eventually, Krishna beheaded Narakasura with his Sudarshana Chakra, a spinning, disk-like super weapon with 108 serrated edges.

Before dying, Narakasura requested a boon that his death anniversary should be celebrated by all people on earth. This day is celebrated as ‘Naraka Chaturdashi’.

In southern India, this is the actual day of festivities.

On this day, the Hindus, all over the world, wake up before dawn, have a fragrant oil bath and dress in new clothes. In Tamilnadu, after the bath, a home-made medicine known as “Deepavali Lehiyam” is consumed, which is supposed to aid to overcome digestive problems that may ensue due to feasting that occurs later in the day. They light small lamps around their homes and draw elaborate kolams or rangolis in front of their houses. They perform a special pooja with offerings to Krishna or Vishnu, for liberating the world from the demon Narakasura on this day. The Hindus believe that bathing before sunrise, when the stars are still visible in the sky, is equal to taking a bath in the holy river Ganges. After the pooja, the devotees burst firecrackers heralding the defeat of the demon. As a day of rejoicing, housewives prepare elaborate breakfasts and lunches and meet with family and friends.

.

Lakshmi Puja (30 Ashvin or 15 Krishna Paksha Ashvin):

Amavasya, the new moon day, is the most significant day among the five days Deepavali festivities and the ceremonies followed on that day are known as Lakshmi Puja, Lakshmi-Ganesh Puja and Deepavali Puja. The Hindus worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and Ganesh, the God of auspicious beginnings also known as the banisher of obstacles.

Deeyas

Deeyas (little clay pots) are lit in the homes and streets to welcome prosperity and well-being.

On this day, ink bottle, pens and new account books are worshipped. Ink bottle and pen, are sanctified by worshipping Goddess Maha Kali. New account books are sanctified by worshipping Goddess Saraswati.

.

Govardhan Pooja and Bali Pratipada (1 Kartika or 1 Shukla Paksha Kartika):

In North India, this day is celebrated as Govardhan pooja, also called Annakoot.

Krishna holding Govardhan Hill to save his people.

Krishna holding Govardhan Hill to save his people.

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna taught people to worship Govardhan, the supreme controller of nature, a manifestation of himself and to stop worshiping Lord Indra, the Lord of Swargaloga and also the god of Rains. Indra was furious and directed his wrath on the people by raining on them. Krishna lifted the Govardhana hill to save his kinsmen and cattle from rain and floods.

For Annakoot, large quantities of food are decorated symbolising the Govardhan hill lifted by Krishna.

In the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the Govardhan pooja is performed with great zeal and enthusiasm.

In Haryana Govardhan Puja forms an important part of the celebrations of Diwali. There is a tradition of building hillocks with cow dung, to symbolize the Govardhan hill. After making such hillocks, devotees worship them after decorating them with flowers. They move in a circle round the cow dung hillocks and offer prayers to Lord Govardhan.

In Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, this day is celebrated as Bali-Pratipada or Bali Padyami. The day commemorates the victory of Vishnu, in his dwarf form Vamana, over the demon-king Bali.

In Maharashtra, it is called Padava or Nava Diwas (new day). Men present gifts to their wives on this day. In Gujarat, it is celebrated as the first day of the Vikram Samvat calendar.

Yama Dwitiya or Bhau-Beej (2 Kartika or 2 Shukla Paksha Kartika):

On this day, siblings meet to express love and affection for each other. Brothers visit their sisters’ place on this day and usually have a meal there, and also give gifts to their sisters.

Bhau-Beej - Sibling meeting each other on this day.

Bhau-Beej – Siblings meeting each other on this day.

This tradition is based on a story when Yama, lord of Death, visited his sister Yami (the river Yamuna). Yami welcomed Yama with an Aarti and they had a feast together. Yama gave a gift to Yami while leaving as a token of his appreciation. So, the day is also called ‘Yama Dwitiya’.

Bandi Chhor Divas (Diwali), the Sikh celebration of the sixth Nanak Guru Har Gobind’s return from detention in the Gwalior Fort, coincides with Diwali. This coincidence has resulted in celebrating the day among many Sikhs and Hindus.

Many Buddhists in India celebrated the anniversary of Emperor Ashoka’s conversion to Buddhism around the time of Diwali.

Jains celebrate the anniversary of Mahavira’s (or Lord Mahavir) attainment of nirvana on October 15, 527 BC. Many Jains celebrate the Festival of Lights in his honor.

.

RELATED ARTICLES

Add this anywhere

All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day, and The Celtic Festival of Samhain


.
Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

.

All Saints

All Saints’ Day, to honour the saints, falls on November 1, and the All Souls’ Day, the day to pray for the recently departed kith and kin, falls on November 2.

The word “Halloween” was first used by the Scottish around 1556 AD, as a variant of “All Hallows’ Even,” to mean the night before All Hallows’ Day or All Saints’ Day.

The Celtic Festival of Samhain

Yours is the day, yours also the night; you established the luminaries and the sun. You have fixed all the bounds of the earth; you made summer and winter. (Psalm 74:16-17)

Even though the word Halloween has its origin from Christianity, according to some scholars it owes its origin to the pagan harvest festivals such as the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or to Parentalia, the festival of the dead or to the Celtic festival of Samhain, the Old Irish word for “summer’s end”.

The Gaelic festival of Samhain marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. It is celebrated from sunset of October 31 to sunset of November 1, halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice.

In some Gaelic languages, Samhain is the word for November.

All Saints Day, introduced in the year 609 AD, was originally celebrated on May 13. In 1835 AD, at the behest of Pope Gregory IV, it was changed to November 1, the same date as Samhain. Some suggest the change was due to Celtic influence in Christianity, while others suggest it as a Germanic idea.

Some early Irish literatures mention that many important events in their mythology happened on Samhain. The festival of Samhain observed in Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, Asturias and Galicia. Samhain, along with Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh make up the four Gaelic seasonal festivals. The Gaelic (Irish, Scottish and Manx) also held kindred festivals at the same time of the year such as Brythonic Calan Gaeaf (in Wales), Kalan Gwav (in Cornwall) and Kalan Goañv (in Brittany).

Samhain Ritual

Samhain Ritual

During Samhain, the Gaelic took stock, readied for the cold winter ahead, brought the cattle back down from the summer pastures, slaughtered livestock, lit bonfires, enacted rituals along with divination games. As a cleansing ritual, they would walk with their livestock between two bonfires, cast the bones of slaughtered livestock into its flames.

All Souls' Day  night vigil

All Souls’ Day night vigil

The Gaelic believed, that during Samhain, the door to the nether worlds or realms of supernatural beings and the dead, opened just enough for the souls of the dead and other weird entities, to enter our world. They beckoned souls of the dead kin to attend the feast by setting a place at the table for them. It has thus been likened to a festival of the dead. Lewis Spence in his book “The Magic Arts in Celtic Britain” described it as a “feast of the dead” and “festival of the fairies.”

Divination also took place during Samhain. The tradition says that in places like Asturias, “Güestia,” a group of spirits from the world of the dead, go out that night, walking in the forests and on roads. People drew circles on the floor and remained within those circles until the spirits passed them.

 

.RELATED ARTICLES

The Traditions of Halloween


.
Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

.

On October 31, the Eve of the Christian feast of All Hallows’ (or All Saints’) Day, most people in Europe, the Americas, Australia, and a few in Asia and Africa celebrate “All Hallows’ Evening.” This celebration is also known as Halloween or Hallowe’en or Hallowmas.

All Saints’ Day, to honour the saints, falls on November 1, and the All Souls’ Day, the day to pray for the recently departed kith and kin, falls on November 2.

The word “Halloween” was first used by the Scottish around 1556 AD, as a variant of “All Hallows’ Even,” to mean the night before All Hallows’ Day or All Saints’ Day.

The Tradition of Guising

The Gaels or Goidels speak one of the Gaelic Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx. Goidelic speech originated in Ireland and later spread to neighbouring regions. Celtic languages are most commonly spoken on the north-western edge of Europe, notably in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, and Cape Breton Island.

The Gaelic festival of Samhain marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. It is celebrated from sunset of October 31 to sunset of November 1.

The ancient Gaelic believed that during Samhain, the door to the nether worlds and realms of supernatural beings and the dead, opened just enough for the souls of the dead and other weird entities, to enter our world; so, they protected themselves from harmful spirits and fairies active in Samhain by taking various steps to allay or ward-off the harmful entities. One such act was the custom of Guising that influenced today’s Halloween costumes.

Were wolves and a skeleton

Were wolves and a skeleton (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

Little Red Devil (Photo: Subas Raj)

My grandson Rohan, the Little Red Devil in 2011 (Photo: V.A. Subas Raj)

My grandson Rohan dressed as Peter Pan in 2012 (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

My grandson Rohan ‘guising‘ as Peter Pan in 2012 (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

My grandson Rohan, the Little Pirate in 2013 (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

My grandson Rohan, the Little Pirate in 2013 (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

In Scotland and Ireland, during Halloween, children go from a house to house, dressed up in various costumes. They receive gifts in the form of food, coins or apples or nuts and recently chocolates.

A Witch, Maid, Imps, and a Skeleton

A Witch, a Maid, Astronauts, and a Skeleton (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

The earliest record of Guising at Halloween comes from Scotland. In 1895, masqueraders in disguise carrying lanterns made by scooping out turnips, visited homes and were rewarded with cakes, fruit and money. It predates trick or treat.

The Tradition of Trick-or-Treating

In Scotland and Ireland, the people in the households expect the children who come to their houses to perform before they receive treats. The children sing or recite a joke or a funny poem which they had memorized before setting out. Some talented children may do card tricks, play the mouth organ, or do something impressive. Often the children get a treat, even if they did not perform.

IMG_4338

Trick or Treating (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

While going from door-to-door in disguise, it has now become common for the children to pose the question: “Trick or treat?” The “trick” in this question happens to be an idle threat to perpetrate mischief on the homeowners or their property if they do not get the treat.

Trick or Treating (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

Trick or Treating (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

Trick or Treating (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

Trick or Treating (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

The earliest known use in print of the term “trick or treat” appears in 1927, in the article “‘Trick or Treat’ Is Demand,” Herald (Lethbridge, Alberta), November 4, 1927, p. 5, dateline Blackie, Alberta, Nov. 3.

Hallowe’en provided an opportunity for real strenuous fun. No real damage was done except to the temper of some who had to hunt for wagon wheels, gates, wagons, barrels, etc., much of which decorated the front street. The youthful tormentors were at the back door and front demanding edible plunder by the word “trick or treat” to which the inmates gladly responded and sent the robbers away rejoicing.

The Tradition of Souling

Soul cakes

Soul cakes

The tradition of going from door to door to receive food already existed in Great Britain and Ireland in the form of “souling”. The soulers, mainly consisting of children and the poor, would go from door to door on Halloween singing and saying prayers for the dead in return for small round soul cakes, simply called souls, traditionally made for All Saints Day or All Souls’ Day to celebrate the dead. Each cake eaten represented a soul freed from Purgatory. The practice of giving and eating soul cakes perhaps might be the origin of modern trick-or-treating.

The Tradition of Making Jack-o’-lanterns

The tradition of making lanterns during Halloween may have sprung from Samhain and Celtic beliefs. In the 19th century in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands people made turnip lanterns sometimes with faces carved into them during Samhain. The lanterns may serve three ways: to light one’s way while outside on Samhain night, to represent the spirits and otherworldly beings and entities, to protect oneself and one’s home from them.

Traditional Irish Jack-o’-Lantern Modern carving of a Cornish Jack-o’-Lantern made from a turnip. Jack-o’-lantern lit from within by a candle.

Jack-o’-lanterns derived their names from the phenomenon of strange light flickering over peat bogs, called ignis fatuus or jack-o’-lantern.

A modern jack-o’-lantern is typically a carved pumpkin. After cutting the top of the pumpkin, the flesh inside is scooped out. An image, usually a monstrous face, is carved out, and the lid replaced.

And as a passing thought I give you this Pumpkin Bowl: A cool, creative Halloween idea to hold your liquor. Thanks to Ms. Sheila Ribeiro, a mutual friend who posted this on Facebook.

A Pumpkin Bowl: A cool, creative Halloween idea to hold your liquor (Source: http://www.freshomedecor.com)

Pumpkin Bowl: A cool, creative Halloween idea to hold your liquor (Source: http://www.freshomedecor.com)

.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

.

.

.RELATED ARTICLES

.

Add this anywhere

Hindu Muslim Bhai Bhai


.

Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

.

Krishna Janmashtami - 2

Today, while Hindus all over the world are celebrating Krishna Janmashtami, I was flipping through my vast collection of photographs harvested from the World Wide Web. I came across photographs that heartened my soul with love for my country where my Hindu and Muslim brethren coexist as a closely knit family.

THIS IS MY BELOVED INDIA!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Mogul Mothers, Suppressed Sons


.

This this article appeared three years ago in Truth, Justice, and All-American Allergen-Free Apple Pie. The insidious and abhorrent mother-son relationship is a perennial problem in communities all over the world.

wildninja

.

.

.

By  wildninja originally posted on June 28, 2010

In J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy there is a character called Grima Wormtongue. Wormtongue is an advisor to the king of Rohan who is constantly pumping the king full of verbal toxins, keeping the king weak and looking aged beyond his years. When Wormtongue is finally exposed for the controlling, venomous leech he is, the king is released from a state of zombie-like submission. He is restored to his natural state and stands boldly as the fearless warrior he is meant to be.

While pondering the causes of relationship dysfunction recently, I was struck by the disturbing realization that many men who treat their partners poorly have inappropriate relationships with their mothers. Furthermore, it occurred to me that, in a majority of examples I could think of, these men have mothers who spoil them and take every opportunity to be involved in their lives. Because they have never known anything else, these men regard their mothers’ behavior as normal.

In a country where fathers are largely absent due to passivity, personal choice, or work commitments, mothers are often the primary influence in their sons’ lives. While some mothers lovingly raise their sons and set them free into the world as functional adults, others become permanently entrenched in their sons’ lives, refusing to let go of them when they reach adulthood.

Instead of becoming full-fledged men who are prepared to attract and maintain healthy, committed relationships, men whose mothers never cut the apron strings may exist as perpetual adolescents. They may never fully develop the emotional skills necessary to have productive, adult partnerships. Their mothers’ Grima Wormtongue-like control, however well-intentioned, may set them up for a lifetime of hell and heartache.

In Kenneth Adams and Alexander Morgan’s book When He’s Married to Mom: How to Help Mother-Enmeshed Men Open Their Hearts to True Love and Commitment, the authors point out that, “There is a universe of difference between a mother who loves her son dearly and a mother who makes her son the primary focus of her passion and preoccupation in an attempt to compensate for her own emptiness.”

Adams and Morgan note that such “mother-enmeshed men” frequently become involved in sex and/or relationships quickly, have trouble being faithful in relationships, or stay in a relationship for awhile without taking it to the next level. These men often experience sexual dysfunction, direct their anger and dissatisfaction with life at their partner, have a long history of being people pleasers, and have difficulty standing up for themselves.

The problems caused by overly involved mothers can manifest in a variety of ways, but at the root of these problems is a concept Adams and Morgan call The Disloyalty Bind. They say that men who are too close to their mothers unconsciously, and sometimes consciously, make their mother’s interests first and foremost in their lives.

These men are always concerned with pleasing their mothers whether they realize it or not, and so when they have trouble committing or have relationship problems, they push away their partner instead of their mother. Adams and Morgan assert that a man distancing himself from his mother causes him too much anxiety and guilt. Some men would rather destroy a relationship that is good for them than stand up to the omnipresent female power that gave birth to them.

An overly involved and controlling mother will not put up with being backed off or having boundaries put in place, so some men do the right thing to the wrong woman. They project their mommy issues onto their wife or girlfriend, forcing them to distance themselves or even to leave. Wives and girlfriends become surrogate mothers in that they get blamed for all manner of evils, from being control freaks to not wanting what’s best for their man, when they’re not the actual guilty parties at all.

When a mother makes her son a stand-in for his father (which frequently happens to eldest sons), lavishes attention and privileges on her son to keep his favor, or maintains a constant presence in his life without respect for his autonomy, she has, in a way, castrated her son. She has not taught him to have proper boundaries with other people and he may have grown up to find himself attracted to other controlling women. He may have difficulty saying no to sex or no to relationships that are bad for him. He may also be fiercely defensive of his unhealthy relationships and people who harm him.

Having a mother so tightly woven into the fabric of his life may well have kept him from maturing emotionally, especially if a mother always strokes her son’s ego and tells him he’s never wrong. As a result, he may not be able to function in a partnership or solve problems as a team, because doing so requires objective listening and conflict management skills. Such a man may not be willing to admit that he is wrong, because he can always count on mom to tell him that he’s just fine.

Unfortunately this may not just predispose men to bad choices and relationship problems, but also their children after them. A man who is concerned with his mother’s approval and whose lifestyle is a result of that will likely raise children who don’t know how to maintain boundaries themselves. Children are little sponges who learn from their parents’ behavior, and parents who live to please others will probably raise children who do the same. These behaviors can persist for generations.

Unless a mother-enmeshed man seeks help and learns how to have proper boundaries with his mother, he is unlikely to ever have a successful, lasting relationship. The only way that could happen is if he finds a doormat that is willing to go along with what his mother wants. Sadly, I know of situations in which wives placate their domineering mother-in-laws to preserve their relationships with their spouses. That is a miserable way to live, and it completely denies wives the autonomy and intimacy that they are supposed to have with their husbands.

Mother-enmeshed men who are supposedly in committed relationships may seek out soothing, mother-like voices that stroke their egos to supplement what their mothers do. If they don’t feel like they’re getting validation from their partners, they may be quick to turn to female friends or lovers who give them the same assurances that they’re doing nothing wrong. Real relationships are going to have challenges and issues to work through, but mother-enmeshed men may run to those reassuring voices instead of engaging in mutual problem-solving with their partners. They flee from reality.

Not all overly involved mothers exhibit obvious mafia don-like behavior or bark orders. Some selfish, controlling mothers disguise their intrusions by being generous, helpful, or sacrificial to excess. Their need to fill their own emptiness or feel important by maintaining a strong presence can be masked by an exuberant “benevolence.” Look deeper, though, and you may find that these same women expect a significant degree of loyalty and amount of attention in return.

These mothers will make it clear that they come before their sons’ wives or girlfriends. Breaks, holidays, and vacations should be spent with them even if that means their sons’ spouses get left behind. They call frequently or expect calls at set times, and they remind their sons’ spouses that their families already have set ways of doing things. They don’t hesitate to trivialize or look down upon their daughter-in-law’s family and their commitments.

Such mothers will seize upon problems in their sons’ relationships and use those issues to drive their sons’ partners away to maintain their control. They will ridicule suggestions that their son seek help for himself or his relationship through counseling or support groups, and continue to reinforce the belief that there’s nothing their son needs to do better. They may present their knowledge and know-how as superior to any means by which their son can better his life. Such mothers can be gasoline on the fire of dysfunction and domestic violence. They can destroy families.

Some of these women are so desperate to keep their position in their sons’ lives that they will lie, cheat, slander, and steal to preserve their “throne” when their sons forge a commitment with a partner. Whether they realize it or not, their actions show that in their world, life is all about them. They do not back off and let other women take their rightful place in their sons’ lives.

This is not love, this is slavery. Women who should be finding their worth, companionship, and self-esteem elsewhere latch onto their sons like vampires, draining their very life from them. They keep their sons from being whole people and living the life that God intends them to have. God has been very specific about what happens to a man when he grows up—“a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). But some mothers never cut the apron strings, and have conditioned their sons to cling to them instead.

Many men realize that they live with a horrifying degree of guilt and anxiety, but don’t know why. They may feel that they’re always going to fail, or they may feel that women are always out to control them. They may embark on a near-perfect relationship and then hack that relationship off like a diseased limb later when the mysterious guilt and anxiety overtakes them. They may hate their wife or girlfriend for things she hasn’t even done, and accuse her of the very things that their mother is actually doing, without realizing that their mother is the root cause.

Some mother-enmeshed men function under an illusion of self-sacrifice. Adams and Morgan have noticed that many mother-enmeshed men work in caretaking or heroic professions in which they are people rescuers or people pleasers. These characteristics may stem from their having to continually rescue or please their mothers. The self-sacrifice they display in their work is reflective of what they have always done for their mother’s sake, forfeit part of themselves to gain the admiration or approval of others.

This self-sacrifice can occur when mother-enmeshed men break off relationships. They may forego having a serious relationship for a number of reasons, including “for their kids’ sake”. They may engage in casual relationships that no one else has to know about. By doing so, they keep their relationships off of their mother or other controlling women’s radar screens, placating them and “keeping the peace” by sacrificing their own desires. While that may appear noble on the surface, no man should live in bondage to his mother or anyone else. If a man has to water down or hide his desire for companionship to avoid the wrath of other women in his life, there is something terribly wrong with that.

Men, if anything I’ve said bothers you or touches a nerve, please see a therapist or talk to a minister before you tell me that I’m wrong. I am extremely concerned about the number of men who put themselves, their mothers, or other women above their partners. No other woman should come before the one who has committed her life to you. She should be number one in your life and never blamed for the wrongs inflicted on you by other women.

If men won’t cut loose from the chains their mothers bind them with for their partner’s sake, then they should do it for their own sake or for their children’s sake. Having an overly involved mother is keeping all of you from becoming the people you were born to be. It prevents you from becoming autonomous adults with the ability to form healthy, joy-filled relationships.

You should be living in freedom, constantly learning and growing. Maintaining inappropriate attachments to your mother will keep you depressed, angry, submissive, anxious, guilt-ridden, and possibly even impotent. You were created for so much more than that.

I find it very distressing to think that millions of men may spend their entire 85-plus years living milquetoast, mediocre lives caused by their hurting or narcissistic mothers’ ideals. Thankfully millions of women have raised emotionally healthy men with a strong sense of individuality, and have remained a powerful source of love and support for those men their whole lives. But how many more have dominated their son’s existence and kept him unnaturally focused on them?

Moms, love your sons, be close to your sons, and be there for your sons, but do not impede their God-given mission to live adventurously, love passionately, and accomplish feats that no one before them or after them can. When they grow up and you refuse to let go, you are stifling their masculinity, their maturity, and their marriages. Please love them enough to let them be who God wants them to be, not who you want them to be. They—and their women and children– deserve no less.

* * * * * *

We are separate people with separate identities, and we must not be conformed into someone else’s wishes that may conflict with what God has designed for us. We must own what is our true self, and develop it with God’s grace and truth.  – Henry Cloud

* * * * * *

About the author:

Ms. H. Hiatt (wildninja) is a longtime political activist, former civilian law enforcement with B.A. in Criminal Justice and a M.A. in Forensic Psychology. She is “a Generation X woman who is proud to advocate for crime victims, including domestic violence survivors, people with food allergies, children’s issues, animals, personal privacy rights, government accountability, and ethical law enforcement practices”.

* * * * * *

©2010 H. Hiatt/wildninja.wordpress.com. This article/post is copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninja.wordpress.com.

.

RELATED ARTICLES

We Were Born In 1940s …


.
Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

.

We were born in 1940s. Most of us were born at home.

Some of my friends and relatives are still alive and kicking.

As babies, our mothers fed us at any time of the day, and when we cried.

We slept not in cribs, but with our mothers on hard beds or on mats spread over the floor.

When we fell ill, the doctor gave us aspirin tablets for fever. Our mothers powdered the tablets added honey and forced us to swallow the bitter-sweet mixture.

We never got checked for any allergies.

There were no locks on doors except the front door; and no locks on cupboards.

We did not have plastic containers since plastic was not invented then, but we had celluloid containers.

There were no child-proof lids on medicine containers.

When we were little children we rode in cars that had no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags.

We rode on rickshaw pulled by a human.

When we grew up and rode our bicycles, we had no helmets to protect our heads.

We had fun drinking water directly from the garden hose.

We shared a single soft drink bottle with several friends, without anyone dying.

We added brown sugar when we drank tea or coffee.

We ate white bread with real butter and natural fruity jam.

We ate lots of chocolates. Even so, no one said that we were overweight.

We played a lot outside in the sun and never applied sunscreen lotions or creams.

On holidays, we played all day. We returned home only after the gas lamps on the streets were lit.

No one could reach us or bother us because there were no mobile phones. Even so, we were all right.

We had the following coins in circulation:

1 pie = 1/12 Anna = 1/192 Rupee
1 pice = 1/4 Anna = 1/64 Rupee (in Tamil we called this coin ஓட்டைக் காலணா / oattai kalana meaning 1/4 Anna with a hole.)
1/2 Anna = 1/32 Rupee
1 Anna = 1/16 rupee
2 Annas = 1/8 rupee
4 Annas = 1/4 rupee
8 Annas = 1/2 Rupee
One Rupee
5 Rupees

These were a lot of money at that time.

Telephones were rare and mounted on the wall or placed on desks, they were not mobile. One stood  in one spot to talk since an electrical cord connected the phone to the receiver.

Faber Castell Slide Rule

We never heard of computers? Since there were no calculating instruments, the word computer was not coined at that time. My first calculating instrument was a Faber-Castell slide rule bought in 1967.

Now, young people ask my wife and me: “How do you still manage to stay together for 48 years?” 

Our reply: “We were born in a time when if something broke we would fix it, not throw it away.

 .

22 Things Happy People Do Differently


.

By Chiara Fucarino

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

smiling-woman

There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a homeless person could be right outside, walking around with a spring in every step. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.

The question is: how do they do that?

It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …

1. Don’t hold grudges.

Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.

2. Treat everyone with kindness.

Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.

3. See problems as challenges.

The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.

4. Express gratitude for what they already have.

There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.

5. Dream big.

People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.

7. Speak well of others.

Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.

8. Never make excuses.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.

9. Get absorbed into the present.

Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.

10. Wake up at the same time every morning.

Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.

11. Avoid social comparison.

Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.

12. Choose friends wisely.

Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.

13. Never seek approval from others.

Happy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.

14. Take the time to listen.

Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.

15. Nurture social relationships.

A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.

16. Meditate.

Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.

17. Eat well.

Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.

18. Exercise.

Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.

19. Live minimally.

Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.

20. Tell the truth.

Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.

21. Establish personal control.

Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.

22. Accept what cannot be changed.

Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better..

.

Re-posted from Life’d

.

Chiara Fucarino

.

.

Chiara Fucarino - Contributing Writer at Life’d.com

Accomplished freelance writer. Aspiring entrepreneur. Deep thinker. Rocky Mountain dweller. Animal lover. Health nut. Motorcycle rider. Hiker. Amateur chef. Traveler. Those words are just a few different ways to describe me. Aside from chatting with me, the best way to get to know me in my entirety is to read my articles. They’re awesome. I promise.

.

God speaks in Volkswagen Polo ad


.

By Manjit Pahuja

.

Will God punish your child if the home work is not completed while you are out for dinner!

A Volkswagen advertisement says so in its latest ad.

GOD SPEAKS IN VOLKSWAGEN POLO AD - 01The German car maker’s TV commercial for its ‘Polo’ version shows a mother picking up her son from school. As her son sits in the car, she informs that he will have to do his home work all by himself as she will be going out with his dad. She warns him that if he doesn’t do his homework, God will punish him. The child then asks her if God would have time to notice and punish him. There comes the answer via the Bluetooth installed in the car as the child’s father changes his voice and says, “I am busy, but I am sure I can take some time to come punish you.” The child is left surprised and the commercial ends after introducing the car’s features.

GOD SPEAKS IN VOLKSWAGEN POLO AD - 02How many of us scare kids in the name of God? It could have sounded better if the mother said that you would make God and us happy if you were a good boy and do your work on your own.

GOD SPEAKS IN VOLKSWAGEN POLO AD - 03

The voice heard by the child in the car scares him and the mother has been shown happy doing that.

As parents, we always give a beautiful picture of God to our kids and by making a small child hear a forceful voice is like going back to old ways like, ‘buddha baba aa jayega’ (‘that scary man is due anytime). Why can’t TV ads show kids a better picture of lot of things and issues?

We all believe in making our kids smart, but at the same time we don’t want to scare them.

Why do kids love Santa Claus? It’s because kids see an old man with a long beard getting them gifts, which of course parents keep. Haven’t we all done that!

A twinkle and a smile on our kids face make us happy. What is God for our kids? They see us praying and they follow the same. We tell them that He will always be there for you and they believe us. Many kids remember God before and after exams or any other work.

It’s their innocence. In addition, even if they do not get the desired result, as parents we guide them by asking them to work hard next time.

The advertisement in question shows a child not more than 4 or 5 years, an age where they need a parent’s help for homework. We always teach our kids that God punishes those who do bad and evil things. Not doing homework is not a punishable act by God.

Let us deliver good messages to our young and smart generation. or would you be amused by the defence published by Business Line newspaper: “The look of awe on the face of the little one makes the film. And the innovative way of conveying the message about the new feature-laden Polo works rather well.”

.

Re-posted from g caffè 

.

Add this anywhere