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Friday, December 31, 2010

About pilgrimage

When December starts every year, some how people irrespective of religion starts some spiritual exercises. This may be because of the Christians who often start Christmas celebrations from the start of December and continue with their choir through out the month with the Santa Claus moving with them to the home of every member of the particular church.

By December Muslims would have completed their Ramzan fast and would have amply expressed their spirituality. Now it is the time for Hindus. The 45 days sanctity is to be adhered for all these purification exercises because it is believed that all the cells in our body will be replaced by new cells within 45 days.

So some one instituted the Ayyappa Temple based on some stories in epics that Ayyappa is common to both Vaishnava and Saiva cults of Hinduism. Saivaits have their own vradha in January and go on pilgrimages to Lord Muruga’s Temple.

The preparations involves rigorous exercises like getting up early in the morning and taking bath twice daily and abstaining from physical contact with woman and taking only vegetarian food.

No doubt the food we eat plays a major role in attitudes and temperament and this should have been experimented long long ago and well documented in Bhagavat Gita.

This is the physical preparation. The mental preparation is to perform Puja and Bajans singing songs of the God for whom the Vradha is undertaken. There is peculiar dress code to signal that a particular person is undertaking the vradha so as to get protected from others from offering some thing which is not in accordance with the life style followed by the devotee.

Apparently every thing looks perfectly alright since every individual has the freedom to live as he likes and develop his own faith. No doubt the vradha undertaken will purify the body if done correctly for 45 days.

What is being done is an awful manipulation. The whole exercise has been subsidised and the main focus has shifted to the tour to the Temples. This tour in case of Ayyappa pilgrimage is undertaken along with other men and women are excluded. Where as the tour to Muruga temple is undertaken by walking to the temple. The walking takes 3 to 4 days and people walk about 120 to 160 Kms.

The climax of these tours is the most thrilling one. Whether it is Ayyappan Temple or Muruga temple there will be lakhs and lakhs of people. The ultimate goal is to have a Dharshan( a respectful look) of the Idol in the Temple.

The important aspect of the exercise is the vradha. This is subsidised but in spite of the huge crowds the Dharshan is not to be omitted. The spiritual leaders thus ensure a steady increase in the crowd to the temple. By this way all devotees are under their control. If some body attempts some thing very convenient like skipping the visit to the temple, the whole spiritual fraternity will repeatedly caution the devotee that some thing wrong will happen because the God will punish. The individual devotee is thus caught to at least undertake the tour thrice.

The poojas create a slumber in the mind. This is mistaken for peace of mind. The mind becomes dull and unintelligent. The whole exercise will make one timid fearing God and fate. The belief on miracle keeps increasing. The self confidence is lost and always the individuals offer some offerings to God in return if their prayers are full filled. The offerings could be by way of material or by way of so many subsequent visits.

If one takes a rational look at it, the offerings referred to as ‘commitment to the God’ are very well orchestrated to increase the importance and revenue of the temples. Belief is built that miracles happen and people recite many stories to reinforce the belief. This goes like a network marketing and probably leaders in network marketing may have to copy cat some of the strong mechanism that is at work.

If some one is in despair and agony, he will be drawn easily by the stories about miracles and will be trapped in the band wagon of the devotees. Some times the initiation of the process is done by the astrologers and other futurists. Once a person falls into the groove of this kind of pilgrimage and develop faith in astrology, palmistry etc. he is going to be a victim for the whole of his life suffering greatly and achieving far little things.

The danger is, his followers and generations may have only two choices, either to accept his faith or to go away from him at times when he is in vradha.

Faith on God should not affect relationship. True God faith should make one understand what love is. An enlightened person is the one who is aware of himself and the dimensions of God. He can realise God in himself.

Aham Brahmaasmi

How best to utilise the services of the Doctors.

In my last article I have concluded that health is in our hands. That leaves a question in us, ' When and how best we can take the help of the doctors.

Certainly there are many occasions we are dependent on the services of the so called health care professionals. Some of the occasions one can think of is as follows.

1.At times of certain infection causing fever, rashes and acute body pain.

2.When some one has diarrhea and vomiting

3.When some one is wounded in accident and in the course of games.

4.At times of insect and reptile bite.

5.Wounds due to animal and human attack.

6.Severe pain in any part of the body.

7.Excessive continuous discharge of body liquids.

8.When some one is unconsciousness or semiconscious

9. Excessive intoxication due to drug or alcohol

10. When some one is facing difficulty in breathing

11.During emergency conditions to provide life saving care.

When we take somebody, we must be conscious not to get excited by the initial

drama of the trauma care. It could be genuine or could be a show of also. By now people are getting accustomed to these real time dramas. But if one does not have any prior experience of taking some one in emergency condition and when money is not a big issue to meet out the expenses, the patient's relatives might be taken for a ride. However we may have to cooperate because there is no alternative.

It is better to take second opinion when a surgical intervention is suggested. However in case of accident victims taking a decision is difficult. Much depends on the luck of the unlucky victim. There can not be any hard and fast rule.

So in conclusion it can be stated that Doctors need not be obeyed as God's representatives but should only be given due consideration as any other professional.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Gods of Health

Most of us have great faith on God. Being pious is a comforting feeling and adds to the psychological strength. If we have some problems, we pray God and we believe that our prayer is heard. Most of the time the problem get solved or we accept the bad results as our fate.

Similar faith we seem to build on the doctors. If we are ill we go to doctors and religiously obey their words and gulp what ever they give as medicines. I have asked many of my friends and acquaintances, who are under treatment for some common ailments like fever about the medicines they take. Even well educated people are ignorant of the names of the medicines they take.

So people have great faith in doctors and this really makes doctors to behave like super human beings in charge of the life and health of living beings. In this part of the world where I live doctors want every one of their patients to patiently wait for hours in the ill equipped waiting room. Friends are no exception to this general waiting rules. The more popular a doctor is, the more is the waiting time. I have bitter waiting experience of waiting even 4 hours accompanying some of my friends.

When we get inside the consulting room, many times we can a see a peculiarly dressed person called 'Medical Representative' sitting in front of the doctor and chanting some English Mantras holding a colourful pamphlet. The doctor never lends any attention to all these comedy but is concerned about the samples he is going to get from this guy. This guy is under tremendous pressure to make the doctor prescribe his company's medicines. The gullible patients may have to shell out hefty amounts for these medicines they may not need at all.

After this ceremony we might receive a puzzling look and immediately he will ask some questions and write his prescription which only the medical store fellow can make out. The doctor will not explain any thing about medicine and all the more most of us do not want to know why each medicine is administered in to our body. We have faith and believe that the medicine is going to heal.

'Physicians rarely cure, mostly comfort but console always' wrote Hippocrates during the first century BC. Of late most of the physicians instead of consoling, simply scare the patients. If we can understand this, then we can take charge of our health.

Our health is never in the hands of the doctor but mostly in our control. The life style, food, our thought pattern, our environment, our habits and our sex life determines our health. If there is an ailment, it is because of the imbalance due to some deviations in the above aspects.

So we may have to know some fundamentals about our organs. We have to understand what an analgesic drug is and what an antibiotic is. We should also understand that any thing we eat has an action on our body.

These days doctors never take risk treating the patients based on symptoms. The radiology and laboratories are developed to such an extent that majority of the patients are referred for ultra scan, ECG, blood test, urine test and tests of all liquids in the body and finally declared that every thing is OK but the symptoms exist!

The cure happens automatically as usual and the doctors take credit. The dimension of exploitation of corporate hospitals is immeasurable. Surgical procedures are the way of treatment there. They may even find out surgical procedures to permanently cure common cold. Cardiology is a million dollar racket and most of the surgical interventions are unnecessary. Gynaecology is another money spinning industry and in the days to come there will not be normal child birth even for cattle and pet dogs.

Why do we have to take all these ways. The better way is to take charge of our health by proper life style with optimum positive stress and emotional balance.

Learning soft skills can save us big troubles with respect to health and one may not need to go to the Gods of health frequently.

A soft skill lesson a day keeps the doctor away.

We can become Gods of our own health.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Have you seriously concentrated on your communication skills.

If there is an activity which works against Newton's third law of motion viz., for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction it is human communication.

The law of communication can be defined as to every communication there is a reaction in the same direction or in the opposite direction or no reaction at all.

This makes the practicing of this trait very interesting and challenging.

If you smile you will get a smile in return.
If you smile you will be stared at sometimes.
If you smile you may get back an angry look or even get scolded!

If you advance your hand to shake hands you might receive the other person's hand or some times you might get a Namaskar.

If you shout at someone you might be returned with a shout or some times the other person may obey.

Communication is basically a stimulus. The response depends on so many factors.

Many guidelines can be suggested. But one must be willing to harness the skill rather than continuing with the habitual pattern.

Attitude is the basis of communication. Awareness of the self and the response to ones stimulus forms the next step. The purpose and retaining the attention forms the third step.

Practicing of better communication requires understanding of the human nature.

Fluency in language in verbal communication, an optimum mix of appropriate body language and correct modulation needs to be concentrated. Appropriate words make expressions more effective. To achieve all these things one should practice listening first. Listening with awareness of our reaction is an art by itself.

Using language effectively requires listening to speech in the particular language and reading regularly.

Mastering a language in a month is a myth. One can master the meanings but can not use the language to express on self. For instance any child knows very few words but the authenticity with which it uses is great. This is because as a child we were good observers and listeners. As we grow up this capacity seems to decrease and we may have to rejuvenate the capacity.

Communication mostly is one to one and some times one to many. One to many is called mass communication. Every one of us should master one to one communication. Depending on ones requirement mass communication can be mastered later. Mass communication is one aspect absolutely essential for teachers but sympathetically neglected by many teachers. Most people want to speak and write a new language but do not put enough focus and efforts. I have come across many graduates who have graduated with medium of instruction as English but very poor with respect to their capacity to communicate in English.

Why communication takes the last priority?

Lots of troubles can be avoided by good communication skills. Why not try practicing communication skills instead of feeling contended that you are right.

This only requires an attitude to re learn the skills you think you know or never bothered to improve.

Each individual can be considered to have ego surrounding the attitude. Inside the attitude the emotions reside. Inside the emotions there are three natural planes of existence Rajo, Sathva and Thamo. These three planes are overlapping giving rise to seven possible planes.

Rajo meansDominating
Sathva  means Analytical
Thamo means Lazy

So considering one to one communication, there could be 49 channels of communication expressing the three dimensional self of each namely ego,attitude and emotions. Taking control of all the forty nine lines requires awareness , analytical skill, language skills and emotional intelligence.

Once we understand the psychological fundamentals, communication in various modes becomes easy whether it is body language, verbal or written.

Then you can write your own manual on communication.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Punctuality is a trait that appears to be personal and inter personnel. Personally one could feel proud about being punctual. However when there is a phone call or some unexpected guest reaching , keeping up the time becomes difficult. In the present life, amidst the electronic boxes viz. Mobile phones, TVs and Computers, stress to maintain punctuality is high. When an individual's mind is strongly habituated to observe punctuality, ways to do things in time is automatically devised. However, compliance of the ways very much depends on people around including those who can access on mobile phones.

When one observes punctuality very strictly,some times people who have to go with us may feel comfortable and some times they may feel uncomfortable and even let down .

The stress to maintain time increases as the no. of people involved are more.

If we fail to maintain punctuality, there is huge collective interference loss of time.

For instance if three people are to leave to a place and they are getting delayed by 5 minutes due to one among them, the collective time lost is 2 X 5= 10 human minutes.

If a teacher comes late by 5 minutes to a class of 50 students, the collective time lost is 250 human minutes. If a person who is to address a large meeting of 1000 delegates is late by just 2 min. the collective time lost is 2000 human minutes.

To observe punctuality one may experience enormous stress,however the collective gain in time due to punctuality absorbs all the stress associated. One can feel proud of this trait.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My first step towards learning soft skills.

As expressed by an eager participant

The school management felt an urgent need to train us on soft skills so that we the teachers can perform better and the students excellence can go up.

It was decided to get the services of United Soft Skills to achieve this.

Twenty five teachers handling class LKG to 10th standard Matriculation stream of education were selected for the series program. On the first day there were sessions on Listening skills and communication skills. The atmosphere was cool. The faculties were dedicated to their mission. The slide presentations were colorful.

I was very happy with the sessions and when a feed back report was asked for, I was enthusiastic to prepare the best. Language was a barrier because there were better qualified among the group but my enthusiasm was up beat. Suddenly I could remember the faculty stating that some times communication can happen even with limited language skills!

Is it true ? Is this the kind of feeling one experiences when there is enthusiasm ?

I prepared the report and made it look beautiful. I underlined the key phrases. The school management has told that our feedback will be evaluated by three faculties. I expected that my response will definitely be selected in the best category.

When the faculty sat to go through the responses, I think that my report also should have scored high because the key phrases were in place and the report was beautiful. My enthusiasm should have popped up beyond the language.

It was Friday evening. Some of the teachers approached the Director of the school to schedule the program not on a Saturday which is a holiday but on a working day. I was looking at the program as a unique opportunity to develop one self and should not be mistaken as a one for improving the knowledge skills. The Director wanted the participants to come forward willingly allocating their personal time wholeheartedly. 

I was really anxious because such a representation to the director should not result in cancellation of the program. Nothing like that happened and the Director allowed the teachers to come in the dress of their liking and also offered the refreshment of their choice but wanted every one of us to come on Saturday.

I heaved a sigh of relief. The sessions will be continued and the participants were expected to be in the meeting hall exactly at 9.30 AM

On the next day I was very happy to wear a dress I liked most. I was in the meeting hall at 9.20 AM and I was the first. The Director came at 9.30 AM and was simply taken aback to see only me and a few more teachers. He was personally disturbed because the faculties who are used to large audience may not like to address a small group.

The first faculty was expected at 10.30 AM. The Director had planned to give gifts to all those who have submitted the feed back report and wanted to share his views between 9.30 AM to 10.30 AM.

He left a word with me to report to him at 10.00 AM and left the hall. When he came back there were about 20 plus participants and he resolved to start the session.

The first thing he spoke was about my report. He appreciated it heartily. I was very much pleased. The USS faculty reached at 10.30 and joined the meeting. He also appreciated my efforts.

So I was personally happy that I satisfy all the criteria to learn soft skills since I was in time, I was involved , attentive, could recollect and report what I have learnt.