Tuesday, February 21, 2017

When We Shake Off Rituals From Religions

When we shake off rituals and customs from religions the same vibration of meaningfulness and spirituality can be realized in all of them. Rituals and customs only provide architecture to a religion. In fact, all religions carry the same fundamentals of virtuous living. It is their respective devotional practices which differentiate them. The pathways to divinity are infused with words of morality and ethics, principles, and noble deeds. And these are the fundamental commonalities of all religious.
(Read more on this topic from Hinduism Beyond Rituals,Customs And Traditions, (paper edition) by Promod Puri
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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Hinduism Offers Management of Self & Society

Hinduism Offers Management of Self & Society

Seeking the divine spirit is a spiritual pursuit. And within that pursuit is the social aspects of the divinity which impact the Hindu mind to develop a personality of goodness.
Divine or divinity relates to all those aspects coming from God or god which are basically understood as heavenly and transcendental. But in social divinity it has attributes of humankind relating to ethical conduct of life toward an ultimate goal of perfection in every possible way.
The praxis of social divinity goes beyond the rituals, customs and beliefs. Also cardinal in Hindu theology is the induction of divinity in thoughts, words and deeds. Hinduism encourages spiritual believability based on knowledge and rationality. And that is where the divine spirit finds acceptable residency in every moment of life.
In creating the divine residency in an individual’s mind Hinduism offers liberal environment guided by disciplined and righteous karma.
Karma is biased by rituals, customs and beliefs. What matters most that karma is also influenced by Hindu epistemology seeking rationality in an action. And when the reasoning is established in all its sincerity Karma develops into prayer. For a practicing Hindu Karma is dharma.
Assembly of good karmas from earnest deeds over a long period can lead to moksha. It is a stage when material satisfactions are not attractions anymore. Rather in austere and ascetic life transcendental consciousness develops toward oneness with the Supreme-being.
Societal Reconstruction
The execution of karma in Hindu thought has an impact on the society as well. 
Societal reconstruction is part of karmas’ obligations to clean up the religion from discriminatory and inhumane practices. An all inclusive full empowerment of women and annihilation of castes as envisioned by Ambedkar are part of these needed corrections to institute human rights traditions in Hinduism.
Whereas religion started as management of the society, at the personal level religiosity of karma implies management of the self. This governance of the self is conducted by virtue of conscious and divine living.
Consequent to Hinduism’s democratic framework the management of self is what we call as a way of life.
From rituals to murti-puja, mantra and metaphysics, karma and moksha, to meditation and yoga, and all its recreational aspects like music, dance and drama, Hinduism in its management of individual is a disciplinary as well as a comprehensive experience of spiritual development in liberal and progressive regime.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Meditation In Sound Of Brewing Coffee


(The following excerpt is taken courtesy the New York Times)
“Approach making your coffee the same way you approach meditating. Be completely here and now in the present moment, centering your attention exclusively on what you are doing and feeling. Being mindful of how you make your coffee shows you how to be mindful in every part of your life.” — Gloria Chadwick, the author of “Zen Coffee: A Guide to Mindful Meditation.”
Smell the aroma from the coffee grounds as you put them into the coffee filter. Breathe in their deep, rich, intense fragrance.
As you pour the water into your coffee maker, notice the clearness of the water, hear the gurgling sound. Listen to the first drops of water as they sizzle into the carafe; notice the color of the coffee.
Watch the steam that rises, swirling in the carafe; be mindful of the ethereal nature of your inner self.
Smell the first delicious whiff of your coffee as it begins to brew.
Listen to the sounds the coffee maker makes as it brews your coffee.
When the coffee is done brewing, let it sit for a moment or two to attain its full flavor.
Let yourself sit for a moment or two, to obtain the full flavor of meditating.
Meditation In Hiduism
Meditation in all its varied contemplation is a much- practiced Hindu tradition from ancient to the present times.
Hindu meditation is both secular and spiritual in its practice.
Seeking enlightenment is one reverent aspect of meditation which has its Vedic roots in Hindu spiritual traditions. However, the most favored and helpful feature of meditation in our day to day lives is to procreate a tranquil temperament amidst ceaseless chaos of personal anxieties and worldly troubles.
Meditation basically is an exercise of steering the mind toward a focus during the entire meditative period. And the focus can be any chosen or guru-given mantra, thought, some auditory sensation like breath, a sacred sound like Om, or even an object. Theoretically, it is a simple discipline, and its practice leads to serenity.
Meditation is an experience in relaxed contemplation which is cultivated thru concentrative state of mind.
In this contemplative mode, tranquility can be realized which releases a kind of energy to energize both our physical and cognitive faculties while the meditator braces in calm and cool sentiments.
One goal of meditation is to have complete relaxation of mind which involves no act of worldly or temporal thinking while traffic of thoughts moves on.
This posture is called thoughtless awareness. In this disposition, the meditator’s only repetitive and cognitive activity is to effortlessly dwell in focused mind. That is where the “power of now” can be realized, and that comes with practice.
“Power of now” basically is an act of contemplation on the present moment, and its very realization energizes the action. Once the act of staying in the moment of “now” is achieved then that very experience qualifies to be meditative as well.
Excerpts from “Hinduism beyond rituals, customs, and traditions”. Kindle Edition

Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs and Traditions. Paper Edition
progressivehindudialogue.com
promodpuri.com
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Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Glimpse of Black History in U.S.A

A Glimpse of Black History in U.S.A

slavery
(Pic.Juvenile convicts at work in the fields, 1903. Library of Congress/John L. Spivak)
What happened after slavery in the United States was abolished in 1865
Here’s how it worked. Black men – and sometimes women and children – were arrested and convicted for crimes enumerated in the Black Codes, state laws criminalizing petty offenses and aimed at keeping freed people tied to their former owners’ plantations and farms.
The most sinister crime was vagrancy – the “crime” of being unemployed – which brought a large fine that few blacks could afford to pay.
Black convicts were leased to private companies, typically industries profiteering from the region’s untapped natural resources. As many as 200,000 black Americans were forced into back-breaking labor in coal mines, turpentine factories and lumber camps. They lived in squalid conditions, chained, starved, beaten, flogged and sexually violated. They died by the thousands from injury, disease and torture. Courtesy: The Conversation
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Monday, January 30, 2017

FAKE NEWS DAMAGES GROWTH OF KNOWLEDGE




By Promod Puri
Education does not stop after school, college, or university studies. Rather it continues. Pursuing knowledge in the fields already studied along with new interests of learning are part of lifelong schooling.
As the formal education ends in early part of life, the journey to explore and gain knowledge goes on. At the same time, knowledge itself keeps expanding.  Once the learning drive starts there is no stop on the knowledge track.
However, knowledge has to be followed intelligently and with open mind.
Its credibility and perception are based on truth and rationales. As our continuing education advances, it generates new studies, thoughts, theories, meanings, and interpretations. With that growth, knowledge gets enriched.
We are the seekers of knowledge as well as its creator, developer, and distributor.
It is at this helm that we can discern its traditional outlets, like books and libraries, newspapers and magazines, radio, and television, etc., are being outpaced and outdated by the surge in the internet and social media.
And this is where we alert ourselves to establish the authenticity and credibility of knowledge attained from online sources. It can prove itself to be wrong and deceptive when produced and shared thru various internet channels.
The buzz word lately is the generation of fake news or information and its circulation.
Google, Emails, Twitter, Facebook, and myriad of websites, etc. are the vehicles moved by our fingertips for mass distribution of news, views, and learnings along with fake stories and misinformation. In the latter case production of such material is so professionally done that unreal casts into real. Believability is established, and its mass circulation starts rolling.
The production of fake news, besides posing a serious threat to bona fide information and knowledge, is a lucrative business as well. A Washington Post story last November during the height of the US presidential election reveals that crooked online entrepreneurs can make about $5000 per month by generating fake news.
When a fabricated story gets viral on search engines like Google and social media like Facebook, it generates money like pouring down from a slot machine. Fake news headlines such as “FBI agent suspected in Hillary email leaks found dead…”, and “Pope Francis shocks world, endorses Donald Trump for President”, generated hundreds of thousand of clicks and shares, reveal the potential of this illicit business.
Since the blight of fake news is going to be part of knowledge gathering, the acceptance or rejection of pseudo or genuine information depends on our sensitivity and perception, empathy or apathy. Our personal preferences also play determining role to keep us informed or misinformed while we seek knowledge.
Usually, we select only that information which fits well within our interests, mindset biases, and beliefs.
The production of fake or false news or information, or creation of a thought, an ideology or a campaign, and its spread covers most topics and issues from politics to religion and culture, sciences to medicines, and economics to statistics, etc.
Fabricated information supporting a concept, cult, crusade of morally-revolting motives not only contaminate true knowledge but it is misleading and sinister as well. As of consequence, information literacy is corrupted.
When a fake story or picture on the internet and its various outlets is released, its authenticity is seldom doubted especially by those readers who share its viewpoint.
Professional “gatekeepers” like editors of newspapers or magazines, who reject, allow, or edit an incoming news story or some viewpoints in the traditional institutions, are not the norms in the receiving and delivery systems of the information technology.
Our temperaments, beliefs and even our personal motives are now the “gatekeepers” in the selection and sharing of information. When these attitudes are constantly and willingly being exposed to fake information or stories, fanaticism is created, consolidated, and validated. Convictions and extreme beliefs keep the doors of truth and rationality close.
DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM
Despite this inevitable abuse of the system, the internet provides us a democratic platform which was till now monopolized by the traditional print and electronic media. Social media are open, free, and readily available along with profusion of websites for the dissemination of information, true or false, and viewpoint, rational or irrational.
The phenomenon has led to the explosion of knowledge in its creation, presentation, and sharing. This is not anymore the domain of only professional writers, intellectuals, publishers, or editors.
The Internet and online social media offer the space to express oneself in few words or in lengthy essays without editing or cuts and censorship. A submission, rejected by conventional book publishers, newspapers, or magazines editors, finds easy alternative outlets through various internet channels and online self-publishing with much wider exposure.
Unlike the traditional sources of knowledge, the net in its brief history has spread itself into a vast field covered with mounds of information and knowledge. Personally speaking, I wrote “Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, and Traditions” by just going thru the medium of the internet carrying wealth of relevant articles, research papers, manuscripts, scriptures, and stories.
Numerous reputed and credible websites like Wikipedia are loaded with extensive knowledge to do research, study or write on any subject of interest.
The internet has liberated knowledge for its easy reach and attainment. But in this endeavor, Nobel laureate George Bernard Shaw advises: “beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance”.
(Promod Puri is Vancouver, Canada-based writer, and author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, And Traditions. Websites: promodpuri.com, progressivehindudialogue.com, promodpuri.blogspot.com).

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Life is a Dangal too





dangal

Life is a Dangal too


Film Review: by Promod Puri
Life is a Dangal too.
It is tense play of strategies, techniques and actions, excitement, and madness, defense, and offense, frustrations, and rewards. It is fight against societal wrongs. It is a game of emotions, tears, and joys.
This is the package Amir Khan has delivered on the silver screen in a two and half hour thrill titled Dangal. Life’s dynamics are well portrayed in this masterpiece based on a true story.
In the lead role, Amir Khan plays an odd patriarch who defies, protests, struggles and achieves what he wanted in life. He has a dream. He endeavors to see his daughters as world-class wrestlers. Yes, the real wrestlers, born and growing up in an orthodox and traditionally-rooted rural society, and where only boys and men enter the arena. Himself being a wrestling guru, Amir Khan wants to create space for girls in a field traditionally reserved only for men. Dangal stirs up a storm in the village wrapped in traditions, faiths, and fakes; and where a girl’s childhood is brief and abrupt.
Dangal is a message for the contemporary Indian society to recognize and seek the role of women beyond home and kitchen.
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Friday, January 13, 2017

My Companions In Solitude!




My Companions In Solitude!



Yes, I have company in my lonely abode
Just walking in, who are these folks
Arriving and departing
The door is open and revolving
Let the guests come, as they wish
Some offer bloom, others gloom
Joining the pool of
Memories, family, and friends
Karmas’ notes and reports
Complaints, compliances, and compliments
Angst, anxiety, and environments
Weapons, wars, and fights
Politics, poverty, religions and rights
Debates, discussions, and resolutions
Cherishing hopes, jokes, and anecdotes
Along with lively, spirited, and zestful rays
Consciousness also joins the meet
As an in-house voice of Supreme
And the party goes on, with
My Companions in Solitude.

 

-Promod Puri
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