You are one of the reasons why Appammaa and I look forward to growing older each day.
If there’s one thing your Appamma and I want to do today is to give you a big, wide hug and to wish you a very happy birthday. Unfortunately, the oceans separate us from you, dear one!
There is so much that I want to say about a loving grandson like you. But it would certainly take me awhile to finish. I just want to let you know how much you mean to us.
The day your Appa was born, we thought our life had become full. But when you were born, our life became almost complete.
From that moment we first saw you, a huggable and cute grandson, at Elkridge in Maryland, just before your first birthday, we knew right then and there that you will bring so much joy into our lives.
Most people of our age love to show off their wealth. But for us, we just love to show off our young and smart grandchildren. The last chapter of our lives is sure to be the finest and that is all because we have lovable grandchildren like you,
Excitement and happiness – that’s what we feel every time we get to see you, Rohan. Whoever knew that the few years of being your grandparents would bring us so much joy and happiness than the many decades of our lifetime? We feel so blessed to have you our prince, our hero, our light in our lives. Thank you for coming into our life and for giving us the opportunity once more to become proud grandparents.
May every minute and every second of your life be filled with lots of joy!
In 1951, a person named G.R. Josyer founded the “International Academy of Sanskrit Research” in Mysore. In 1952, he came across the Vaimānika Shāstra manuscripts written in Sanskrit. In 1959, a Hindi translation of Vaimānika Shāstra was published.
In 1973, Josyer published an English translation of the text along with the Sanskrit text titled VYMAANIKA-SHAASTRA OR SCIENCE OF AERONAUTICS.
The Vaimānika Shāstra contains 3000 slokas in 8 chapters. The 1973 edition came out with illustrations drawn by T. K. Ellappa, a draughtsman at a local engineering college in Bangalore, under the direction of Pandit Subbaraya Shastry.
The book Vymanika-Shastra gained favour among the proponents of theories about space travel by ancient Indians.
In the foreword to the 1973 edition of Vymanika-Shastra, Josyer wrote:
On 25-8-1952 the Mysore representative of the Press Trust of India, Sri N.N. Sastry, sent up the following report which was published in all the leading dailies of India, and was taken up by Reuter and other World Press News Services:
“Mr. G. R. Josyer, Director of the International Academy of Sanskrit Research in Mysore, in the course of an interview recently, showed some very ancient manuscripts which the Academy had collected. He claimed hat the manuscripts were several thousands of years old, compiled by ancient rishis. Bharadwaja, Narada and others, dealing, not with the mysticism of ancient Hindu philosophy of Atman or Brahman, but with more mundane things vital for the existence of man and progress of nations both in times of peace and war.
“One manuscript dealt with Aeronautics, construction of various types of aircraft for civil aviation and for warfare. He showed me plans prepared according to directions contained in the manuscript on Aeronautics of three types of aircraft or Vimanas. namely, Rukma, Sundara and Shakuna Vimanas. Five hundred slokas or stanzas dealing with these go into such intricate details about choice and preparation of metals that would be suitable for various parts of vimanas of different types, constructional details, dimensions, designs and weight they could carry, and purposes they could be used for.
“Mr. Josyer showed some types of designs and drawing of a helicopter-type cargo-loading plane, specially meant for carrying combustibles and ammunition, passenger aircraft carrying 400 to 500 persons, double and treble-decked aircraft. Josyer showed some types of designs and drawing of a helicopter-type cargo-loading plane, specially meant for carrying combustibles and ammunition, passenger aircraft carrying 400 to 500 persons, double and treble-decked aircraft.
Each of these types had been fully described.
“In the section giving about preparation and choice of metals and other materials that should go into such construction of aircraft, details were specified that the aircraft, (these metals are of 16 different alloys), must be “unbreakable, which cannot be cut through, which would not catch fire, and cannot be destroyed by accidents.” Details as to how to make these vimanas in flight invisible through smoke screens are given in Vimanasastra of Maharshi Bharadwaja.
“Further description and method of manufacturing aircraft, which will enable pilots not only to spot enemy aircraft but also to hear what enemy pilots in their planes were speaking, on principles akin to radar, have all been given in elaborate detail with suitable explanatory notes. There are eight chapters in this book which deal with the construction of aircraft, which fly in the air, go under water, or float on water.
TRAINING OF PILOTS
“A few slokas deal with qualifications and training of pilots to man these aircraft. These ancient types of aircraft are provided with necessary cameras to take pictures of approaching enemy planes. Yet another set of slokas deals with the kind of food and clothing to be provided for pilots to keep them efficient and fit in air flying conditions.
There is an enigma in this tale of Vaimānika Shāstra.
In 1974 five young Indian scientists – Mukunda, S.M. Deshpande, H.R. Nagendra, A. Prabhu, and S.P. Govindaraju – from the departments of aeronautical engineering and mechanical engineering of the prestigious Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore conducted a detailed study of Vaimānika Shāstra. The same year they published a paper titled “A Critical Study of the Work Vyamanika Shastra,” in the journal Scientific Opinion. They gave the reasons why the Vedic airplane theory according to Vaimānika Shāstra was not viable..
The Scientists concluded that the aircrafts described in the text were “poor concoctions” and that the author showed a complete lack of understanding of aeronautics. In fact, none of the technologies documented in the Vaimānika Shāstra would allow an object to lift off from the ground except one. The study stated:
“The Rukma Vimana was the only one which made sense. It had long vertical ducts with fans on the top to suck the air from the top and send it down the ducts, generating a lift in the process.”
The young scientists debunked the claim that this text is ancient. They said it was actually written between 1900 and 1922 by Pandit Subbaraya Shastry.
According to the young scientists from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, Pandit Subbaraya Shastry was born in a small village in Hosur Taluk. His parents died when he was young. As a destitute, he contracted diseases and wandered from place to place.
One day he met a great saint at Kolar. The saint initiated him into spirituality. He revealed to him several Shastras, including the Vaimānika Shāstra.
After Subbaraya Shastry settled into normal life, he started uttering slokas (verses) when inspired.
Subbaraya Shastry had no formal schooling and learned to read and write only after meeting the saint, so, it is unlikely the text was his own invention.
In the early 1900s, Pandit Subbaraya Shastry dictated the text of Vaimānika Shāstra to his aide G. Venkatachalam Sharma and completed the work in 1923. The Pandit claimed that the text was psychically delivered to him by the ancient Hindu sage Bharadvaja. The Vaimānika Shāstra contains 3,000 slokas in 8 chapters.
Though some described Pandit Subbaraya Shastry as “a walking lexicon gifted with occult perception,” he was unsure of the practicality of the ideas found in the text he had dictated.
Pandit Subbaraya Shastry died in 1941. His aide Venkatachala Sharma kept the manuscripts in his custody. By 1944, the Vaimānika Shāstra manuscript appeared at Rajakiya Sanskrit Library in Baroda.
When a Dr. Talpade of Bombay tried to make models under Shastry’s guidance, none of them flew.
I saw the following video posted on Facebook without any description, leaving viewers to speculate.
As of today, this video on Facebook has 4,310,649 views, 7.7K likes, 8,784 shares and 23 Comments.
The first comment that I saw at the top said, “What the hell is going on.”
This video of a woman stirring the contents in the pot over a fire was followed by a video that shows an easterner recycling plastic using machinery that produces rice-shaped plastic pellets for manufacturing plastic products.
After the above videos followed the image of a packet of Thai Milagrosa Scented Rice with Chinese letters displayed prominently .
Putting three and three together, almost 95% of the Facebook readers deduced that the woman in the first video was making plastic rice.
One wise person popped up the question, “What is happening in the world today?” and another, weak in geography said, “Read your labels at all times. If it was made in China leave it on the shelf.” And a ‘know-all’ person from Oba, Nigeria wrote a lengthy comment on “How to Identify Plastic Rice or Fake Rice“.
By the way, not all Facebook members are fools. A woman from Nassau City, New Providence, Bahamas, said, “There is fake plastic rice, however, that’s not what the lady is doing in this particular video… Yall so silly I would explain what that is but nah it’s so hilarious. ” But she never revealed what she knew. Maybe she herself did not know what it really was.
Finally, a comment by Shana Wiltshire from Brooklyn, New York who said, “Lol.. this is how rice goes from brown to puffed white rice… nothing wrong with this… and it’s an Indian method not Chinese“, assuaged my curiosity.
Yes. The woman in the first video was making popped puff rice.
Here is a video showing the indigenous method of making popped puff rice for sale in India.
Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?”
They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over. (Matthew 26:14-16)
The greatest American country music artist of all time, Hiram Hank Williams Sr., a singer-songwriter and musician, was country music’s first superstar. He earned fame with songs like “Cold, Cold Heart,” “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “Hey, Good Lookin’,” “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive,” “30 Pieces of Silver” etc.
Hank Williams loved the music broadcast over radio and the hymns sung by the church choir. He learned to sing folk and country music. His mother presented him his first guitar. It cost her $3.50 which she paid fifty cents a month. Young Hank, determined to play the guitar, contributed to the cost with the money he made as a shoeshine boy and selling peanuts on the street.
Along with this early success Hank’s behavior became erratic. He often showed up at live performances drunk. Later he became a regular on the “Louisiana Hayride,” a regular Saturday night performance hosted by a radio station in Shreveport. His performance on this show greatly increased his popularity. In 1949, the release of “Lovesick Blues,” carried him into the mainstream of music.
Hank Williams died suddenly of a heart attack in the back seat of his Cadillac in the early morning hours of New Years Day in 1953 (January 1, 1953) at the age of 29.
Despite his short life, Williams has had a major influence on country music. In all, Hank Williams recorded 35 singles. Of these, 11 songs ranked number one in the Billboard Country&Western Best Sellers chart. With five of the 35 songs released posthumously, he earned a place in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
In 2010, 57 years after his death, the Pulitzer Board awarded Williams a special citation for song writing.
As an ardent fan of Hank Williams, I used his song “30 Pieces Of Silver” to create the following video clip as a tribute to him.
Lyrics – 30 Pieces of Silver by Hank Williams, Sr.
Tis’ a sad but true story
From the Bible it came
And it tells us how Judas
Sold the Savior in shame
He planned with the council
Of high priest that day
30 pieces of silver
Was the price they would pay
30 pieces of silver
30 shekels of shame
Was the price paid for Jesus
On the cross He was slain
Betrayed and forsaken
Unloved and unclaimed
In anger they pierced Him
But He died not in vein
‘Twas on there on the hillside
The multitude came
And found our dear Savior
Then took Him away
They bruised and they mocked Him
Thorns was crowned around His head
And His garment of purple
Showed the blood stains of red
Far off in the mountains
With his face towards the sun
Judas begged mercy
For what he had done
He gave back the silver
For his heart filled with strife
Then there in the mountain
He took his own life
30 pieces of silver
30 shekels of shame
Was the price paid for Jesus
On the cross He was slain
People in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday of November. It is a national holiday in the United States and people celebrate the day with religious fervor.
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.
Traditionally, the beginning of the Christmas shopping season starts in the United States on the following day, the Black Friday. Most major retailers open their sales outlets extremely early on Black Friday to kick off the holiday shopping season and offer promotional sales.
The name “Black Friday” originated before 1961 in Philadelphia, after the disruptive movement of pedestrians and heavy vehicle traffic on the day-after-Thanksgiving Day and used broadly in other regions around 1975. Later, a new explanation of the term started circulating: “Black Friday” indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit and are back in the black.
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.
Four years ago when I was in the United States, a week before Thanksgiving Day, a friend from India called me over the phone . He said that he had heard that on Black Friday electronic goods could be bought at bargain prices in the United States and requested me to buy a laptop for him. Little did he know about the madness that inundates the United Stupids of America (USA) on Black Friday.
On Black Friday, the American people unitedly become stupids by transmogrifying from angels to demons.
They stubbornly gather outside malls, some from midnight on chattering and shivering, undaunted by the bitter winter cold, and wait for the shops to open.
When the shops open their doors, the stampede begins.
They 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 already 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.
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.
Shraddha Shukla from Kanpur’s Cantonment area swam 10 km from Ganga Barrage to Siddhnath ghat at age six and a year later she swam 6 km from Kanpur to Unnao. On August 11, 2013, when she was eight, she covered 16 km downstream in just 80 minutes nipping 10 minutes from her earlier best. The following year, Shraddha swam to Allahabad from Massacre ghat in less than a week.
On Sunday, August 28, 2016, the 12-year-old Shraddha Shukla was ready to set a record by swimming 570 km in the swollen Ganga from Kanpur to Varanasi in 10 days. She plunged into the river Ganga at Massacre Ghat, Kanpur at 11:10 am and scheduled to reach Varanasi on Tuesday, September 6, 2016. According to her father and coach Lalit Shukla, she would set a record by swimming about 70 km a day with breaks after every four to five hours. The total distance covered would equal 13 Olympic marathons.
Lalit Shukla hopes his daughter if selected to take part in the Olympics would win a gold medal for India.
Shraddha Shukla became a star overnight.
A Mumbai-based senior Indian journalist and documentary filmmaker, Vinod Kapri, who in 2014 won a National Award for the documentary film “Can’t Take This Shit Anymore” contacted Lalit Shukla.
For two days, Vinod Kapri along with three of his associates travelled on Lalit Shukla’s boat. He noticed that most of the time Shraddha Shukla travelled in the boat instead of swimming and whenever they approached a ghat or when people were around she dropped into the waters and swam. So, according to Vinod Kapri, the girl swam only when spectators were present.
When Kapri questioned why Shraddha swam only two to three km per day instead of 70 Kms, covering most of the distance on the boat, Lalit got irritated and threatened him. Kapri then hired a motor boat for himself and his team.
While waiting near Vindhychal ghat in Mirzapur, Kapri and his team spotted Lalit Shukla’s boats and started filming. They found the girl sitting in the boat with her father. When the team started filming, Lalit Shukla hurled abuses and issued life threats.
Lalit Shukla repudiated Vinod Kapri’s claim that his daughter swam only when spectators were present. He said that after every 15-20 km they pulled the girl out of the water to apply a cream on her body and give her something to eat.
The Uttar Pradesh State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (UPSCPCR) ordered a probe into the alleged violation of rights of the 12-year-old swimmer, who is said to have covered a distance of 570 km in 10 days.
Once upon a time a man named Huan Jing believed that a monster would bring pestilence to his country. After asking his co-villagers to hide on a hill he went alone to defeat the monster.
Later, people celebrated Huan Jing’s victory over the monster on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month as the Double Ninth Festival (Chung Yeung Festival).
Since then, the Double Ninth Festival observed on the ninth day of the ninth month in the Chinese calendar has become a traditional Chinese holiday. The Chung Yeung Festival is mentioned in writings even before the East Han period (25–220 AD).
Duality is found in many belief systems, According to the Chinese I Ching, or Classic of Changes, yin and yang describe how opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interdependent, and interconnected, in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other since they interrelate to one another. So, Yin and Yang are parts of a Oneness equated with the Tao.
In the above diagram, Yin is the black side with the white dot in it, and yang is the white side with the black dot in it.
The relationship between yin and yang is often described in terms of sunlight playing over a mountain and a valley.
Yin (meaning the ‘shady place’ or ‘north slope’) is the dark area occluded by the mountain’s bulk, while yang (meaning the ‘sunny place’ or ‘south slope’) is the brightly lit portion. As the sun moves across the sky, yin and yang gradually trade places with each other, revealing what was obscured and obscuring what was revealed.
According to the I Ching, nine is a yang number. Since the ninth day of the ninth lunar month (or double nine) has too much yang the date is considered potentially dangerous. Hence, the Double Ninth Festival is also known as “Double Yang Festival” (重陽節).
To protect against danger, it is customary for the Chinese to climb a high mountain, drink chrysanthemum tea, and wear the zhuyu (茱萸) plant, Cornus officinalis, a species of dogwood known also as Japanese cornel or Japanese cornelian cherry. Both chrysanthemum and zhuyu are considered to have cleansing properties and are used to air out houses and cure illnesses.
On the Double Ninth Festival day, the Chinese visit the graves of their ancestors to pay their homage and respects by cleaning and repainting inscriptions. Incense sticks are burned. They lay out food offerings such as roast suckling pig and fruit, before the graves which are then eaten later after the spirits have consumed the spiritual element of the food. Chongyang Cake is also popular.
In mainland China, the festival offers an opportunity for the young to care for and appreciate the elderly.
In 1966, Taiwan rededicated the holiday as “Senior Citizens’ Day”.
Though Double Ninth Festival may have originated as a day to drive away danger, over time it has become a day of celebration like the Chinese New Year. In contemporary times it is an occasion for hiking. Mountain climbing races have become popular and the winners get to wear a wreath made of zhuyu.
“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”
John, Chapter 10: 11-14
I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them.d
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, …
Note: I have used the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Bible – John, Chapter 10