Monday, January 5, 2015

The Benevolent Kali, The Violent Man

A little girl of age five was visiting her maternal grandpa's place in Kolkata. One day she accompanied her mother to the market. She was holding her mother's hand as they walked passed different shops. They came across a small temple in the market. The little girl's mother stopped there and told her that it was Goddess Kali's temple. The mother bowed to the Goddess and offered prayers as the little girl looked on with curious eyes. Just then a priestly man brought a goat inside the temple with garland around its neck. People started to assemble and the mother realizing what would happen next decided to leave. The curious little girl wanted to know what was going on and wanted to stay like all the other bystanders. The mother briefly explained that the goat will be sacrificed. The little girl couldn't comprehend and questioned the sacrifice of the innocent goat, why was it punished, what had it done. The mother quietly walked away tugging the little girl behind her but the girl had her head turned back as she saw the goat tethered and mercilessly murdered. She had a tear running silently down her cheek as the heart cried 'why mom, why'.

There is this concept called 'Wonderfull'. Yes you read it right and no spelling mistake here. It simply means 'full of wonder'. We often follow religious rituals that are passed on to us by our elders, social institutions and to sustain traditions. No harm to keep up traditions as long as we are being 'Wonderfull'. It is important to wonder about what we are doing/following and why.  

It is believed that animal sacrifices end sin, evil and bring prosperity. To fathom this, let's consider the story of the little girl who witnessed the scarring ritual of a goat sacrifice to Goddess Kali. 
Goddess Kali is worshiped as one of the incarnations of Parvati who is the consort of Shiva. At first look, her image is terrifying depicting absolute power. However, if we further wonder, we will realize that Goddess Kali is the destroyer of demons in the form of demonic thoughts, actions and ego. The word Kali stands for black and time. This denotes that she is unconventional and infinite. She fights the dark to bring about enlightenment. There is nothing in her image that asks for animal sacrifice. 

It was appealed to the Nepal government to ban the mass animal killing in the name of ritual sacrifice that takes place every 5 years. The government responded saying that they cannot end a century old tradition. The point is how can an animal atone for the sins of a person. Also, the idea of sacrifice is to willingly offer or surrender and not coerced. But animals, just because they cannot speak the human language, are owned up and forcefully slaughtered. This is not sacrifice. Ever wondered, if animals could speak, they would have shown people whole new perspectives. 

Animals exist to sustain nature. We need to be more 'wonderfull' so that we can realize that the change and prosperity that we want to bring about is right within us, in our mind and heart. God is benevolent, there is no reason for man to be violent.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Please Please Please...Protect the Cow

The following pictures and messages are extracted from the site - ISCOWP (International Society for Cow

Awareness and realization is the most important and first skill we need to develop in order to achieve growth. Not only self awareness but awareness of others and of the environment are equally essential. The next best thing we can do after being aware is to spread it. And how do we do that? There is no other way but to model it in our actions and words. Writing for the need to protect cows and animals, having a veg diet, driving carefully, feeding stray animals and working with animal rights societies is the least that I could and we can do to help promote awareness. There is so much more we can do. Please join me and many others to act towards the betterment of the plight of cows and animals in our country and the world over.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Life Lessons from the Sea

- by Brad Alexander

Being at sea is like living in a different world. It is beautiful, dangerous, fascinating, awe inspiring and endless. I have spent a few years at sea, but in that time I have learned some life lessons that only the sea can teach you.

When you are steering a course on the open ocean your senses cannot tell you where you are or where you are going. The horizon stretches far away in every direction. You have to rely on other means of knowing whether you are on track. GPS or astro navigation is all you have to guide you.
But you have to trust in these tools. And trust that if you follow your course you will eventually reach your destination.
So often in life it is easy to get disheartened when attempting goals because you sometimes cannot see any progress being made. You cannot see yourself getting any closer to your destination. But with a little bit of faith in the journey and you will always reach your goal.

Our culture is fascinated with controlling things. As technology improves we seek to wield more and more control over the natural world. At sea you realize that nature still rules.
Even in a large steel ship we are no more significant to the sea than a lone albatross, a dolphin or even an insect. It doesn’t treat us with any dignity or respect because we are human. It will try and break us and it will take our lives.
Life is precious and fragile. You can die in an instant anywhere you are but this reality is heightened at sea.
A close call at sea will give you a sharp reminder of your mortality. We live in such a modern bubble that we often forget that we are always very close to death. We should live with joy and passion because we never really know which day will be our last.

Once I was sailing up the coast with 60 knot winds and a very heavy following sea. This was rough weather but we sailed quite comfortable. We didn’t have to fight the sea, because of the fact it was astern of us it was of assistance. In rough weather it is easier to go with the flow.
Only a few days later we were pounding straight into the teeth of 35 knot winds and a moderate sea and it was incredibly lumpy. While the weather was not quite as terrible as the days previously it affected us a lot more because we were trying to go directly in the face of it.
In all things in life there will be times where things happen easily and other times where you really have to fight and suffer to get where you want to go. Sometimes it is circumstance; sometimes it is the manner of your approach.
Accept that sometimes the conditions will favor you and sometimes they won’t. But know that they will always change. If you stick to your course be prepared to be battered around from time to time but stay true and you will eventually reach your destination.

While being at sea may seem like a calm and serene endeavor things can happen very fast and get dangerous very quickly. Every person needs a high degree of self-leadership in order to ensure that they are competent and ready to perform any task when required.
When a dangerous situation unfolds at sea people must react and the person in charge must take charge effectively. There is nothing to help you apart from the people and equipment on that vessel. People need to show faith in the leadership and the leaders need to show strong command.
A lack of leadership is not life or death in most situations as it can be at sea. But strong leadership, both of oneself and of others, is a powerful tool that can be used to achieve goals. Always develop your leadership abilities because it will stand you in good stead whatever you do.

At sea you must rely on your ship mates for everything. You have to work with them, eat with them, live with them and socialize with them. You cannot isolate yourself and try and survive on your own.
People in regular society often try and be a lone ranger because they cannot trust others. Some people are so fiercely self-reliant that they cannot open up and let others help them.
Human relationships are so important to our welfare. Make sure you set aside time to nurture the relationships you have with those close to you. If you let your relationships slide you may just find that one day they no longer exist.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Saving Little Princess

This post is about a Little Princess who walked in front of my door one afternoon. She was very beautiful but hurt and very much in pain. She was crying out for help. I could see that she was limping and her left leg was completely loose, she was unable to put it on the ground and a mere touch of the leg with anything was causing her huge amount of pain. I understood that she was hit by a moving vehicle and her leg completely fractured or what else could have caused such a grave damage. I am talking about a stray puppy about three months old whose left leg was badly damaged. We immediately gave her hot milk, biscuits and rugs to keep her warm. While she slept, we called up Animal Health Care Centre, Friendicoes. They confirmed to send an ambulance. Meanwhile, we took good care of her and were elated to find that she was very friendly and loving. All she did while we waited for the ambulance was to drink milk, sleep, cry, wag her tiny tail, look innocently with her big eyes and we could not help but give her lots of love and care that she was desperately in need of. She hated to be left alone. Time just flied with her. The ambulance arrived and she was carefully taken away. She came and went but all the time spent with this new little friend gave me a few realisations. It seemed like she was god-send to us and god did his work of taking care of the little puppy through us.
Be it human or animal, touch is a life-giving thing and animals have the right to the gentle stroke of a human hand.
Love is Freedom. It is great to pet animals but what exactly do we intend by petting animals. They get shelter, food, love, care and we in turn receive love, companionship, security, but we forget that we don’t own them. Do we being parents own our kids? We are their guardians and we support and supervise them but certainly not own them. And on a philosophical level, do we really own anything? If we did, we wouldn’t be losing them then. Give it a thought. I recently read a piece of news in the paper saying that a dog went through vocal cord surgery just because the neighbours were unhappy of its barking. Now it cannot bark. Wow, I wonder if we can do the same for people who talk and shout more than they should and are a nuisance in the neighbourhood. Animals can’t sue us or can’t fight with us for the tortures we do to them. Pet but don’t curb freedom. Be a guardian, not an owner. I am personally not very much in favour of petting animals and keeping them inside the house. The only reason why I feel so is because it takes away the freedom of the animal. It loses the freedom to roam on its own, go for nature-calls as and when needed, eat as per our time, sleep as per our time, no mating, and follow other terms and conditions for getting a shelter. And why I encourage petting of animals is because they get to live. They anyways have a short span of life but they don’t get to complete that, thanks to the vehicles or rather the drivers. This planet is equally theirs as it’s ours. Just to keep the community clean or only to us, we cannot eradicate the animals. I’ll share an incident here. My dad was posted in the district called Avadi in Chennai. Army cantonments are known for their squeaky-cleanliness. You won’t believe what measures they took to get rid of stray dogs. Villagers were hired to shoot down stray dogs for a mere Rs. 100 per dog. The half-conscious dogs were carried in tractors and dumped in some garbage area. Animal care centres operate on female dogs so that they cannot produce. It’s not natural but do they have a choice. It’s the best measure to prevent animals from being shot or squashed under a vehicle just because they are high in numbers.
Let me share something called Law of Unintended Actions. A car hit an animal on the road, the driver drives away, does not get down to check and later on says ‘Oh! It was unintentional’. That’s what I call Law of Unintended Actions. Of course it was unintentional but you know what, it could be prevented. Let us keep a check on speed, be careful and generous towards these little guys.
The least I could do is tell this story so that it makes at least one more car drive carefully along the road, then I’ve done something little out of respect for Princess who is going through so much pain today.
A note of thanks to my angel family, Friendicoes (, people who pet stray dogs instead of buying breed dogs and people who make a positive difference in the lives of animals in the community.