Sep 28, 2013

Download links for free eBook "Sermons in the Storms"

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becoming a publisher is not easy but lots of fun

I've just completed a unique (because it was first for me) project which I’ve been working on since December 2012, so there is a feeling of satisfaction and achievement.

The project was to convert a physical book written in 1963 into an eBook and publish it to major eBook retailers like Apple, Sony, Kobo and Google.

So what is this book all about? It is collection of true experiences written in short story type of format by a saint named Swami Krishnanand. The stories (and messages) have been inspiring for me and with this effort of converting them into E-book; I hoped to make it is easily accessible and will guide others. 

As with everything first time in life there was lots of learning and challenges. I learned a lot about formatting, e-book file types, ISBN, copyright, cover image and lots of other things about e-book publication. One of the best parts was designing covers for the e-book. Going through ideas to get something on an image about what the book is trying to convey was hard work and fun. I had privilege to work with two fantastic people on this project (one in India and other one in Pakistan - a unique team indeed).

If you are curious to know about the author/saint, Life sketch of the saint is here

The book is free to download in various formats at the following page.

Please share it; there is no cost (may be 10 seconds of your time).

Hope you enjoy it ! 

The Publisher ;)

Sep 24, 2013

Life Sketch of Swami Krishnanand

Man is the superb and supreme creation of God. Among all the animals, he has distinguished himself by his sense, intelligence and awakening to the highest level of life. Even among all the human beings, there are very few who have devoted their lives for others by offering them peace, happiness and mental satisfaction. Though few in number, such Saints are welcomed and worshiped by people. Among such saints the name of Swami Krishnani is glorious, unique and worth to be proud of. Despite having a common name “Krishnanand” he was a very unique and charismatic human being. This is only life sketch of Swami Krishnanand of Shanti Ashram, Bhadran.
Biography or Autobiography is a description of man’s life right from his birth till the end, in chronological order. Swamjii never wrote or allowed anyone to write about his life. He very firmly believed that his life was not meant to get exposed in words as he didn’t want publicity. Long back in 1980 I very humbly tried to get his consent to write about him, but very quietly and peacefully he denied my request. Every person’s spiritual progress is really a personal process.  Swamiji believed, when right maturity is achieved by a human being, he does find a Guru [a pathfinder, guide and teacher] who shows path to the follower. It is now for the follower to go ahead on the path. He firmly believed, one person’s life and progress cannot lead or encourage other person to live such life. This personal belief did not allow him to write his own autobiography or allowed others to write his biography. Now that he is not with us, I try to write his life sketch for the followers and friends to quench their thirst, to know him a little bit better.

"Redemption" from Sermons in the Stroms

Once I had to go to Phandarpur, the most prominent place of pilgrimage in Maharashtra in the company of Dadaji.
We started from Bombay. As Dadaji had to make some payment in Phandarpur, he had carried Rs. 2,200/- with him. We reached Phandarpur late in the evening and straightaway went to the mutt where Dadaji usually halted during his visit to that place.
With all its popularity, even to-day Phandarpur is very dirty and there isn't sufficient and suitable lodging facilities.
Next day morning, with just sufficient clothes for bathing we went to the nearby river Chandrabhaga. Bathing over, we decided to go to the temple of Vithoba with wet clothes on. With many, it is a sanctimonious sentiment and at some places it is a general rule that one should enter the temple only with wet clothes on. We spent about half an hour in the temple and returned to our mutt.
On changing his clothes, Dadaji found his costly watch and a gold-cap Parker pen missing. They were stolen while we were away. Carefree as he was, Dadaji did not give much weight to the loss.
A little later, we went to the place of his associate. Dadaji made some payment there and we left for the station to entrain for Bombay. Somehow, on that particular day, the train was to arrive late by 2 1/2 hours. As such, we seated ourselves in the waiting room, in expectation of the train.

"Matricide" from Sermons in the Stroms

In this complex earthly life, many uni-magineable incidents take place and baffle us.
Here is one such true incident.
By profession, he was a popular Medico enjoying a lucrative practice in a semi-City where he lived with his devout wife and pious old mother. Because of his emulative maternal love, he could be fittingly called Dr. Mathruprem.
He was so dutiful and attached to his aged mother that he personally attended to her comforts-cum-conveniences. Every day at 8 a.m. this well-to-do car-owning Doctor personally drove his mother in a horse carriage to the local Vaishnav temple. In a horse carriage because, car drives dazed her. The way he drove her, helped her to get down and conducted her into the temple and back openly showed his natural love and affection for her.
In order to keep himself present during his mother's lunch and dinner time, the Doctor never left his head-quarters nor attended social functions. Night after nights he could be seen ushering his beloved mother to sweet sleep through songs of God's glory which he and his wife spiritedly sang.
The way he talked to her, sat or stood near her, fanned her, helped her in her works, or carried out her instructions, all of it, unmistakably pointed out the deep degree of reverential regards he had for his mother who was worthy of veneration. In these: days of waning love and respects for the elders, Doctor Mathruprem's conduct clearly portrayed practical lessons in parental love and service.

"Christian Hospitality" from Sermons in the Stroms

Once, while moving about in Bengal, I met one Mr. Sen of Darjeeling who in the course of his conversation with me spoke to me about one Swami Prakashdevji—who he said was a saint of admirable spiritual attainments, and that I should take advantage of meeting the sage.
For sundry reasons, however, I could not start right away. Before parting, therefore, Mr. Sen gave me his Darjeeling address and requested that I should meet him when convenient by previous intimation and that he would then arrange to bring about my meeting with the said Swamiji.
Sometime in the month of October, 1950, I reached Darjeeling—of course, after hearing from Mr. Sen. As chance would have it, Mr. Sen had to abruptly start on a business trip early that very day and was to be away for at least 5 days. Before leaving, he informed one of his neighbors about my expected arrival and requested him to receive and lodge me at his (Mr. Sen's) house and to look to my needs and comforts till he returned back. For reasons unknown to me, none came to receive me at the station. I walked the distance and traced Mr. Sen's house which was not far. The house was found locked. On enquiry from the neighborhood, I was told that Mr. Sen had left for out-station and that they knew not as to how long he was likely to be away. Perhaps—I tapped the wrong neighbour.

"A Night with a Python" from Sermons in the Stroms

Kishkindha-popularly otherwise called Humpi in Karnatak- is one of the prominent places of pilgrimage and is 8 miles from Hospet station which falls on the branch line between Guntakal and Hubli of Southern Railway.
Legend has it that it was this place in a spacious and darksome cave that Shri Hanumanji of Ramayana fame was born to the pious Anjana Devi. The holy cave from thence onwards came to be known as Anjaneya Gupha.
I can excusably pride myself of having been privileged to start my spiritual career from there.
Soon after reaching Humpi, I went round the temples and caves there. On the following day I visited the famous Pampa Sarovar some miles away from Kishkanda. On the third day, I retired to bed somewhat early due to fatigue. But sleep wouldn’t come. All of a sudden strong urge to go to the Anjaneya cave and spend the night there in unceasing repetition of japa till morning, soon took me captive. I always believed that good thoughts should be put to speedy action. And so, I made for the sanctifying cave with a pair of dhoti to cover myself with — to ward off the mosquito bites there. It was a fine moonlit night and I had no difficulty in reaching the precincts of the giant cave and with considerable efforts I groped my way in and seated myself at a point which I felt was central.

"The Leper Saint" from Sermons in the Stroms

We of the world who are more used to see things and persons externally and purely from the worldly point of view are generally deprived of the elevating privilege of having a glimpse of the inner evolution of many souls who are leading a detached and dispassionate life.
From Rishikesh in U.P. I was once going to Laxman Jhoola— some 3 miles away. Near the jhoola were many hutments where lepers live and subsist on alms which they receive from the passing pilgrims.
On the roadside near the dwellings was a vendor selling parched rice, fried grams, groundnuts and cheap fruits.
I felt like providing some eatables to those leper brethren of ours. So, I asked the vendor to give an anna worth of grams to each of those lepers—they were 28 of them. Adjacent to the bridge was also a hut and from it emerged another leper. As he was farther off and as I had to go that way, I got a packet for him also, paid up the yonder and proceeded ahead.
On reaching the hut, I found there a dirt coated and emaciated figure of a leper having sun bath. The disease had made way so deep into his body that many parts of it were eaten up.

"The Suspicion" from Sermons in the Stroms

People acting under the impulses of blind suspicion and gross misunderstanding generally create troubles for themselves and for others.
Here's a pathetic case which recorded three suicides and the death of a babe in the womb— all because of a hasty husband's suspicion.
Having lost their parents, Kumari Bharati-ben aged 12 and Sharadkumar her 8 year old young brother were living with their uncle and aunt in a small town.
One day, her brother was lost. Sufficient searches were made all over but he could not be traced.
Years rolled on and due to various reasons of safety and right succour, Bharatiben was admitted into an orphanage of a nearest city.
One Chandreshkumar, a graduate son of a wealthy brahmin family, associated himself with the humanitarian work of doing his mite for the welfare and rehabilitation of the deserted, the destitutes and the delinquents. He was loved by all for his generous services.
With a view to breaking the miscarrying caste prejudices prevalent in the society and also to infuse new light of happiness into the lives of orphan girls, he prevailed upon truly cultured boys to marry outside their castes and to select brides from amongst the inmates of the orphanages. He also promised to follow suit at a proper time.
One day, when he met my friend Shri. Girish, he made known his desire to marry a non-brahmin orphan girl.

"The Barren Betrothal" from Sermons in the Stroms

Unless they are in absolute conformity with God's scheme which we can't know except under special conditions, all our plans plus programs—howsoever meticulously chalked out, simply go to winds.
Here's an odd but true and complex incident proving the above axiomatic truth.
In the year 1952, one Rasikbhai, a son of Surendranagar Lawyer was betrothed to one Ranjanaben of Amreli and the marriage was fixed for 25th of May that year.
One Kumari Hamsaben daughter of a Surendranagar grocer was engaged to one Harendrabhai, son of a growing businessman of Rajkot. This marriage was also to take place on the same day.
On 22nd May, the father of Rasikbhai approached Kumari Ranjana's father; with just few days’ time left for the marriage, that day appeared opportune to him to press for increment in dowry through indirect threats of cancellation of the marriage. When faced with the prospects of detrimental consequences, springing from non-compliance, the brides' parties generally concede to the depressing demands at such times. For, rejection of a bride at the eleventh hour creates all sorts of doubts in the minds of the society and the chances of her absorption through marriage in a class family diminishes.

"Mount Girnar" from Sermons in the Stroms

Like electricity and sound, thoughts are also creative energy.
When we think, we let out subtle magnetic waves known as aura. Identical thought-waves collect together and form an atmosphere fine or foul.
The places where people with common object inhabit, the collective exhalations of thought-waves from their bodies spread themselves and create an influential atmosphere of high potency.
Akin to sounds, thought-waves also remain in the outer space for quite some time. For sus-tenance and permanent preservation, they need to be fed by similar thought-waves. Counter-thoughts can and do pollute, neutralize or even destroy the atmospheric vibrations.
Every place has its own atmosphere —depending upon the surroundings and type of thought-waves released there.
Sick persons' hopeful thoughts of full restoration to health augmented with the Doctors' feelings of sure, speedy and successful cure of their patients, surcharge the outer-space in the hospitals with the curative vibrations--making them the most suitable places for medical treatment.

"Collegians' Callous Conduct" from Sermons in the Stroms

Once while I was camping in a village of Gujarat during the summer, I went to a fine small orchard there for the purpose of washing and bathing. At that time, four aged boys dressed in western style were there playing cards.
The wells in any orchard or agricultural farm of any village are free, common and open bathing places for all and more so of the passing strangers. As such, it isn't customary to obtain anyone's permission to use them.
I had carried with me my water-pot and rope, but as there was a bucket and a rope near the well already, and that too, of a bigger size than what was with me, I soon became busy with bathing. One point which escaped my notice at the outset was, the withered state of the rope at the end by which it was fastened to the bucket. The pressure of about half a dozen draws by me must have added to its -earlier weak condition and brought it to the verge of breaking point. And so, when after my bath I drew the last bucketful to wash my towel and the loin cloth—no more able to bear the weight—the rope snapped and the waterful bucket went down from high-up making a boisterous noise of splash.

"Suvrata's Triumph" from Sermons in the Stroms

He was a Government Officer living in a big City with his cultured wife and children. His wife's laudable traits and temperament prompted me to address her as "SUVRATABEN" and I do so even now.
Because of his official power plus position, members of the public used to shower upon this officer gifts in kind and cash for the illegal benefits which they received through him. Many cinema houses in the City used to send him complimentary tickets and the well-to-do people always invited him and his family members for dinners and outings. Many car-owners allowed him the use of their cars whenever and for whatever duration he required them. He was wanted everywhere and entertainments of sorts were always on the wait for him.
Since he could not help others without harming many, there were also numerous persons who suffered undue injustice in his hands. At times, his ways of extortion used to be too exacting and inhuman. Inspite of their concealed hatred for him, none dared to incur his displeasure for fear of more harassment.

"The Gambling Ghosts" from Sermons in the Stroms

Temples dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva in the villages and towns are usually situated far off from habitation. During the Course of my wanderings in Saurashtra, I happened to come one night in one such temple in a village of Halar District.
The shrine was quite big, attractive and of massive built. Around it were some dilapidated huts, a fine well, a vacant shed and the remains of what must have at one time been a fine little garden. The inside portion of the temple was full of dust and dirt. Apparently, it was one of the numerous neglected and abandoned temples of our country.
As it was winter, to keep myself warm, I cleaned a little portion of the inside, spread my bed-sheets there, closed the half-broken door and went to sleep.
When I was a wakened by some buzzing noise outside, from the then position of the moon, which I could see through an open window, I felt that it must have been well past 2 a.m. I got up and looked out; there were six men in the adjacent shed seated round on a carpet and playing cards. The place was lit by a small size petromax. Some distance away from them were two women frying something in a large pan over a stove. It was one of those night gambling parties not uncommon in these days of ethical emptiness.
I quietly went back and lay down. After some time, the buzzing noise of the burning stove stopped and clinks of cups and saucers were heard. They were taking tea and refreshments and arguing over the disputation of stakes. All at once, however, it flared up into free fisty fight and heated exchange of terms unfit for print. Only after the incessant intervention by the women did they cool down. Thereafter, there were all preparing to leave.

"Every Grain Bears Its Eater's Name" from Sermons in the Stroms

During my wanderings in Saurashtra, late one day evening I reached a village and lodged myself in a temple which was in the outskirts. The priest of the temple who was just then leaving after his night-fall pooja, made casual enquiries and asked me if I needed anything to eat. I then required nothing, and so, I thankfully said 'no' and he left for the village.
Within an hour or so, the poojari brought hot milk for me and said that the landlord on whose behalf he did the pooja in the temple had sent the milk and that he (landlord) requests that I should lunch at his place on the next day. I accepted the invitation. In the meantime, the landlord himself came and personally expressed his desire. We talked for some time and at his request I agreed to stay in that village for some days. Before he left, he told me that he had to attend to some important work in his farm the next day and that in the event of his being unable to turn up in time, Harshad, his son, would be sent at 12 a.m. to take me to his house and that unmindful of his possible absence I should finish my meals.
On the next day, at about 11 a.m. or so though unusual, however, I had to go to the river-side to answer nature's call. That over, I bathed in the river and came back. On my reaching the temple I found a baggage-apparently of a sadhu-then lying there. A little later, a monk came and told me that he had come from a nearby town an hour back and that he was taken by someone from the village for meals. We talked little and true to the saying that "water is best flowing and saints are best moving”, he picked up his baggage and left.

"Frog in Food" from Sermons in the Stroms

One day during the closing period of my monsoon halt in a small town of Gujarat's Kaira District, three gentlemen came to extend advance invitation to me for lunch at their respective homes.
I was to remain in that town only for a further nine days and of that, seven days were already booked. Just two days, a Wednesday and a Thursday remained. Wednesday was allotted to one Shri Amarbhai and Thursday to Shri Bhanubhai. The third Shri Chimanbhai who could not be given any day offered to stay as a reserve.
Now on my part, I informed them all to come to call me at the ashram at 10-45 a.m. on the appointed day and also told them that in case none turned up in time, that I would go to the town and fetch food from five families as is incumbent upon the monks.
They left, agreeing to comply. Days passed on and when Wednesday came, Shri Amarbhai at whose house I was to lunch that day didn’t come to call me thinking that Thursday was his turn. Shri Bhanubhai forgot not that his day was Thursday. As for Shri Chimanbhai who chose to act as a reserve, he was so sure about the impossibility of his getting an opportunity to act as host in place of Shri Amarbhai, that he left for the nearby City to make some household purchases.

"Silence Punished" from Sermons in the Stroms

In our day-to-day life, we very often see someone or the other slyly wronging someone, designing harm and committing such offences. as : - pilfering, picking pockets, picking locks, cheating, cutting the pigtail of women, someone detraining with another's luggage, someone emptying other's tiffin box, someone planning a murder, a hold-up, robbery, someone behaving unjustly or many other such acts of social evil.
On all such occasions, a vast many of us remain indifferent; viewing them all in a 'WHAT'S IT TO ME' attitude. Is this proper? Would we like others to act that much indifferently were we ourselves the likely victims to such outrageous acts? In this interdependent life, it is our moral and social duty to promptly check such vile deeds of indiscipline elements by bringing them to the - immediate notice of the selected victims or to the authorities without any fear or favor. For, otherwise, we would not only taint our souls with the stigma of silent connivance, encouraging the mischief-minded and promoting crime but also bring upon our unaware brethren many miseries. That aside, there's also the great risk of our having to pay the penalty for the offences of others should we be caught silently sleeping over what we witnessed.
In the following narration you will see how much I suffered over a similar lapse of mine.

"The Arrest" from Sermons in the Stroms

Just as in monsoon we can never say as to when the rains will come, even so, in this fast life, it can't be said as to when, wherefrom and what type of troubles will befall and harass us. Like rains, troubles too, in a fair measure, are however, necessary.
Some years back I reached Bombay on a Saturday evening. I had earlier informed my host through a letter about my arrival. But it didn't reach him. As such, none came to receive me and when I reached his bungalow in Malabar Hill, I found my host-- a barrister, getting ready to proceed to Lonavla by the Deccan Queen that very evening.
My host asked me to join him and his family in the trip. But, as I had other engagements in Bombay, I thankfully declined to accompany them. Due to many years of association, I was always treated as a family member in their house. So, they asked me to stay, made arrangements for my meals with a mutual friend in Colaba and giving me the lock and the big bunch of keys they left.
That night I took milk and retired to bed. Early morning next day I locked the bungalow and went out for the twin purpose of open air walk and easing myself. The sea being so near to Malabar Hill, I went that side and returned back after enjoying the refreshening cool breeze of the sea and answering nature's call.
In the slot of the lock which my host had given me for use when going out, was its key and so i hadn't any difficulty while locking. But because that key got mixed-up in the big bunch, I had to labor on my return trying to open the lock. Before I could lay hold on the right key, light flashed on me from a distance.
Soon a Policeman came before me and authoritatively asked as to what I was about. I told him that I was a guest in that bungalow, my host and his family members were away in Lonavla, I had gone out to the sea-side for a walk and to ease myself and that I was just then trying to open the lock- but couldn't yet get the right key from the bunch.
The Policeman restrained me from opening the lock, made me ,answer several .other questions and the last one was :- "Does anyone here know you?" Yes, the chowkidar does, said i and pointed out his room which was in the farthest end of the compound. The Police man hailed him and the chowkidar composedly came close to us.

"Novel Dream" from Sermons in the Stroms

Dream is a state of experience in which our subtle bodies fully function while the physical frame is asleep.
As is our physical or wakeful state, our dream life is also a mixture of pleasures plus plains-depending upon the nature of our activities in that subtle state.
The how and why of the sub-conscious mind's operations during sleep is difficult to explain.
All of us get dreams. Their frequency, duration and numbers may differ from person to person. The claim of total dreamlessness of some is mainly attributable to their being unable to recapitulate them after waking up.
On the basis of what we hear and personally experience, dreams can be classified into five distinct categories:- (1) dead dreams, (2) predictive dreams, (3) advisory dreams, (4) communicative dreams and (5) novel dreams.
DEAD DREAMS relate to the vision of the past events -very often in a jumbled or distorted manner-- on the memory curtain of our sub-conscious minds. These are the most ordinary type of dreams.
PREDICTIVE DREAMS are those which too very clearly intimate to us the incidents to come. This and the 'ADVISORY' type of dreams demand a fine degree of a care-free mental mould. The heavy and hard-hearted people don't get them.
ADVISORY DREAMS present us with super solutions to our knotty problems which drain and defy our brain-power during the wakeful state.

"Novel Dream-II" from Sermons in the Stroms

A mile and a half away from Sihor—a town in Saurashtra—is a fine Shiva's temple known as Gouthameshwar Mahadev situated on a hillock.
During the non-monsoon seasons, particularly on Sundays and holidays, the educated and the rich class of people visit that place for picnics.
In 1954, one such party from Bhavnagar visited Sihor. The party was made up of a couple, their eight children and three other ladies.
They had 'carried with them cooked food, and so, as soon as they reached the place, the adults immediately settled to play bridge leaving the 'children to their funful pranks.
At mid-day, they took their meals and plunged into siesta. They resumed their game after rising. .Just as their play was gaining momentum, Patikaj— aged three years—began to be troublesome. His mother silenced him by transferring a five-tola gold chain with a bejeweled pendant in it—from her neck to that of his.
By about 4 p.m., the party packed their things and left for the station and reached Bhavnagar by the train which left Sihor at 5-30 p.m.
After their dinner, they were preparing to go to bed. Only then, did Pankaj's mother find her chain missing. She looked for it in Pankaj's neck—it wasn't there. When she asked him, the little tot only-waved his hands and prattled to say that he didn't know. She then asked other children and her husband. None knew anything about it.

"The Beggar's Honesty" from Sermons in the Stroms

This happened while I was once travelling to Delhi some years back. In the gangway of the compartment which was overcrowded was a crippled beggar in dirty tattered rags.
In the morning while the train was nearing Ratlam, I went to make use of the lavatory. As it was then engaged, I waited on. Just then, a Travelling Ticket Examiner came from the next compartment. As my ticket was being checked, the above said beggar handed over to the T.T.E., a money purse which he said, he had found on his bed and added that it contained lot of money. He asked the T.T.E. to find out the owner and make it over to-him.
It was a big size green purse with an attractive picture of Lord Shiva in a dancing pose embossed on it.

"The False Charge" from Sermons in the Stroms

Whenever something good or bad is to happen, all the incidental and relative circumstances somehow present themselves and the event comes to pass.
Here is a true incident which depicts the above truth.
Once I was going to Agra by train and accommodation was reserved for me in the sleeping coach. The journey commenced from Bombay after sunset.
Generally, the space between two berths in three tier sleeping coaches is so low that upright sitting is not possible when the upper berth is in use; and since the third class compartments are very seldom treated with insecticides, bugs were plentiful in our coach. As such, I could neither sit nor recline on my berth. That apart, that night's stomach disorder also kept me awake— making me pace up-down the compartment. As for the others who were fast asleep by the time the train reached Bulsar, either they were used to bug-bites or the bugs weren't used to bad blood.
On the following morning, the train was nearing Ratlam station. Most of the passengers woke up and were getting ready for tea and breakfast. A gentleman occupying the lower berth facing that of mine, also got up. After some time, he announced that his money was lost.
On being asked by some passengers, the gentleman informed that Rs. 14/- made up of two fivers and four one rupee notes which he had kept in the left pocket of his pyjama was missing and that he suspected me of the theft. Continuing further, he truthfully said that I was the lone passenger who did not sleep that night but was found moving about in the compartment many a time. He also suggested that other passengers may as well make sure that none of their things were missing.
 Some handful of passengers thronged near me and wanted to know what I had to say to the charge. I plainly told them that I knew nothing about the amount and the theft. Explaining my voluntary wakefulness during the night, I told them that fear of bug-bites and bad belly kept me out of my berth and moving about.

"Lady Turns Lioness!" from Sermons in the Stroms

Once I had to accompany a party of Revenue Officials who were to visit several villages of Zalawad District in Saurashtra to supervise 'shrama yagna’. We reached a village and some villagers there told us that there dwelt a mataji who was a gifted person, that she remained in trance for indefinite periods and that from time to time gods and goddesses manifested in her. We were also told that once she fully fed the inhabitants of seven villages with but a meager quantity of 40 pounds of pudding.
In our company of six was a pious Deputy Collector who is well noted for his honest and upright disposition. Deservedly, he has been elevated now to the position of District Development Officer. At his instance all of us went to meet the mataji.
In the hall of her cottage which was called madhi, the mataji was seated on a raised cushion seat arranged on a pile carpet. With sunken eyes and cheeks, her slim form was somewhat emaciated. She was gorgeously dressed and appeared to be about 20 years old. Amongst others seated near the mataji was a young man fanning her. Salutations and respects over, we took our seats in front of her. One of the local men introduced the Deputy Collector Sahib to the mataji and the sahib in turn made me known as a wandering sadhu. Thereafter, we were treated with milk and tea and a little later we left for elsewhere.
On the way, the Deputy Collector Sahib, remonstrating against my silence before the mataji said to me that they all had expected me to get into conversation with her and that in my presence they themselves could not take a lead as that, according to them, would have been something contrary to ethical expectations.

"Horrors of Holi" from Sermons in the Stroms

Amongst the diverse legends that are current about the spring-time festival of Holi which is celebrated throughout our country, the life of the teen-aged devotee Prahlada is also associated with it.
The demon King Hiranyakashipu had a sister named Holika and it is believed that when Gods pleased with her penance appeared before her and asked her to choose a boon, Holika is said to have desired to become fireproof. Gods granted it—but decreed her that immunity would get transferred into any person allowed by her to sit on her laps. The presence of the Gods and the fructification of her austerities made her so jubilant that this specific condition escaped her hearing.
Once, the atheist monarch Hiranyakashipu ordered that his disobedient saintly son be made to sit on the laps of his sister Holika and fire be set around her—so that, he may be consumed by the flames.
But to the king's dismay and to the delight of Prahlad's devotees, the devilish plan misfired. For, no sooner Holika who sat in the midst of the unlit pyre made Prahlada to sit on her laps, her power of fire-proofness got transferred to him and she was instantly consumed by the raging fire of the pile of woods when it was lit. Prahlada walked out unharmed.
That miraculous escapade of pious Prahlada was then celebrated bv his votaries by sprinkling on one another coloured powder known as 'abhil and gulal' and by burning mock images of Holika and through other types of healthy fun and frolics marking the triumph of virtue over evil.
From thenceonwards, the festival came to be celebrated annually all over the country during the close of the first half of the Hindu month 'Phalgun'.

"True Gratitude" from Sermons in the Stroms

Feelingful remembrance of reliefs received at the time of dire need till the very last breath is the trait which the great classify as true gratitude.
Original True gratitude does not stop at just verbal thanks and outward acknowledgement of the help received. But goes ahead and when possible liberally repays without show and without being calculative about the measure.
The truly grateful don't treat help received as loans to be forgotten after repayment with interest. But in the right understanding that timely help can never be fully repaid even during one's whole life-time, exhibit their indebtedness by ever remembering their benefactors and serving them in a spirit of moral duty.
A Sanskrit verse rates the cocoanut tree as a model in high gratitude. The verse which is given below says that :—"The coccanut tree which drinks little water from the hands of man-kind through its roots, in grateful remembrance of that help bears over its head the weighty load of cocoanuts and gives back to them abundant sweet water and its energizing kernel for a life-time over and over again. Even so, the wise also act says the verse—by not forgetting till the end of living the assistance received.
 Here is a true case of a person who proved truly grateful to the very end.
Arvindkumar was orphaned at the age of 18 when he was studying in Matriculation at Calcutta. He was the only son of his well-to-do parents. But, diseases, doctors and drugs drained all their properties and they both died one after the other of heart and lung disease. And hence, after their sudden death with none to help him and with nothing to fall back upon, Arvind was stranded and in the streets.

"The Deliverance" from Sermons in the Stroms

Whatever might have been the treatment accorded to our Hindu women in the past millennium., the period from Moghul rule has been witnessing them being treated most ironically in general and as resourceful plus responsive sexual toys in particular.
With a view to tightening the bondages of dependence and ensuring an unabating hold on women, men closed for them all the doors of education leading to higher knowledge and other reasonable freedom so necessary for greater participation in life and for fullness of an all-round happiness. Consequently, women lagged behind physically, mentally and intellectually — a pre-requisite for an effective masculine domination. With the advent of Swami Vivekananda, Swami Dayanand Saraswati and Dr. Karve, however, there has been some welcome concessions in the direction of women education.
Male births are heralded with the distribution of sweets. Whereas, the incoming of female issues is frowned upon with resentment. Unjust treatment to women begins right from their birth itself. With an assertive supremacy of masculine birth men legislated liberal laws of marriage for themselves and framed rigid and repulsive regulations for women.
Women are treated with scorn, scourge and suspicion. Exacting demands are made, of them. Their voices must be in absolute conformity with their husbands' choices. Their rejoices must be in tune with their male partners' noises. Women are hunted and haunted by sex crazy scoundrels. Loneliness is a constant threat to them. A thoughtless slip on her part or a finger falsely accusing her purity is enough to "set flames to her home, hopes, and happiness. Theirs is an insecure life strewn with thorns, thorns and thorns. Yet, by the grace of nature, even with all these odds they come out triumphantly as good, noble and beauteous mothers making the earth and earthly living lovelier and lively.
Women might pass it off as a purely personal affair of Ram who relentlessly externed the glorious Sita even after she emerged unscathed from the fire test — proving her purity. But understanding women will always harbor grouse and indignance against Shankaracharya, Ramkrishna Paramahamsa, Tulsidas, Kabir and their like who in their literary works have branded women condemning them as agents leading to hell and bondage. This is something unfair and makes a very hurtful reading. Instead of wrongly stigmatizing women as devilish lots, they could have plainy used the term LUST which in truth is to be eschewed.
All of us are feminine products and we must readily admit that in our day-to-day temporal and spiritual lives they play influential and contributory roles. The extent of profit gained by the aforementioned great saints from women in the form of their mothers, wives or both isn’t unknown to the society.
To write on the raw deal that is generally meted out to our women-folk would surely tire any HONEST writer.
Here below is a shocking case of a literate and noble lady who was subjected to shameful and sorrowful sufferings all because she wanted to be faithful to her husband.

"Ancient Ties" from Sermons in the Stroms

Those who believe in the factual theory of rebirth will readily believe also in past relationship with other souls here on this earth, with souls promoted to celestial status and / or with souls who have been demoted to satanic planes.
Because it is not given to every one of us to remember, recall or recapitulate our past lives — neither the immediate nor the distant ones, we are prone to attribute many day-to-day happenings to fanciful causes when in fact they are the effects of our past karmas. Our present lives would become a bundle of chaos if we knew all the details of our past lives.
Life here, as is elsewhere, is a series of give and take in the form of pain or pleasures depending upon the nature of our past plus present dealings with the living beings or with the reborn—irrespective of their species.
The following true experience of mine will clarify and prove beyond a!! reasonable doubts the operations of the ancient ties according to our karmas.
Sometime during the close of 1960. one Seth Pushkarbhai A. Nagori of Jamnagar (Saurashtra). wrote to me about a dream in which he saw himself and me doing japa in a Goddess's temple of Orissa and the dream ended in his being directed to visit that place.
Giving me the following details of his dream, he asked me—a wanderer that I am, if I had come by that temple during my extensive peregrination in the country. The name of the Goddess's temple, I was informed, began with the letter ‘ga' of Hindi consonants. I was given to understand that it was a popular shrine and that facing that temple is a fine lotus tank and at the back of the temple is a place of worship dedicated to the great Lord Shiva in a  dilapidated condition.
Even before this letter came to me, as is my wont, my annual Jour program was chalked out on 1st October of that year also and the itinerary included a visit to the famous Jagannath Puri. Yet, feeling that it would be no easy task for me to trace the temple in Orissa, and that apart, not knowing whether the period allotted for the visit to and stay at Jagannath Puri would be sufficient enough for me to freely move about there and locate that temple, I brushed aside Pushkarbhai's peculiar dream.

Sep 13, 2013

Australians require to work less to buy an iPhone

As usual Apple did create buzz around the world two days ago. People did have different opinion about the product so I am not writing a review or trying to convince you to buy or not buy an iPhone.

There have been few articles going around about price comparison with the USA. Some article from Canada here and Australia here.  Also few of my friends were bit disappointed (some happy) comparing the price with the USA.

I dig up some numbers and done comparison on how much a person need to work to get a 32 GB iPhone in different countries. 

The comparison was simple; I took the price of an iPhone (32gb) from various countries and divided by country's minimum wage/hour, which gave me hours required to work for an iPhone.

iphone and minimum wage comparison

Well it shows, you will be better off being an Australian. Australians are required to work almost half of our fellows in the USA or UK to get an iPhone.

This gets even better for the Aussies, if you import the iPhone from USA.

As per today's exchange rate 749 USD = 808.64 AUD. Add $50 shipping and you get and iPhone for 858.64 AUD, that is only 54 hours of work.

Someone might say you need to consider tax implications; leave etc. in the numbers but I would leave that for economist or financial analyst.

Source used:

Apple Prices from various country sites.
Minimum wages from WikiPedia.