AUROVILLE: A unique city

Auroville, a young city lying around 10 kilometres from the former French colony of Puducherry (Pondicherry), now an Indian union territory, is an important hub of Hindu spirituality, which draws in thousands of people from all over the world. Set deep in the forests straddling the border of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, Auroville’s buildings are laid out in a unique formation reminiscent of the stars of a galaxy. Designed by architect Roger Anger, Auroville takes its name from Sri Aurobindo, a great philosopher and was established in 1968 by The Mother, also known by her birth name Mirra Alfassa, who was a close disciple of Sri Aurobindo and who hailed from France. Auroville came about as a haven from the religious and political strife of the time, and its whole mentality is geared towards serving God and realising the inner self.

 

 

One of the main ideas that governs the city is the improvement of personal relations among people, at a time when there was much strife and rivalry, and nowadays it encourages the perfection of people collaborating together as one humanity, and the devotees of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo courageously work together to improve relations between different groups of humanity. Auroville even received recognition in this dynamism from once Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi, who spoke of the commune’s work in promoting harmony between different cultures and furthering understanding of how coexistence among human beings can help promote spiritual growth.

According to the Census of India 2014, only around 2,300 people live in Auroville, tiny by Indian standards. Around two-thirds originate from India, France and Germany. They are all governed by the civic cardinal rule, unique to Auroville, which states that no political, religious or spiritual organisation should use Auroville as a platform to proselytise for their faith or recruit followers. As a result, there are no political parties or political operations in Auroville, and there is also no concept of private property or money, with the land and homes held under a communal basis, via the auspices of the Auroville Foundation. Auroville also engages with intra-community activities with neighbouring villages and social outreach work.

Unlike the mayor’s office and local councils found in mainstream cities around the world, Auroville is administered by a committee elected by the locals, and residents can support or veto any measures put forward by the committee without having to deal with council red tape. In return, residents are expected to engage in daily programmes of work, for at least five hours a day, seven days a week, either on their own or collectively. When not working, many of Auroville’s inhabitants like to congregate at the Matrimandir to meditate and pray to and honour God, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother of Pondicherry.

 

SOURCES:
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
Tecnología GM‏, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/TecnologiaGM
“Esta es la ciudad más extraña del mundo: Auroville” – GrandesMedios.com – Cultura/Grandes Medios (21 February 2016) https://www.grandesmedios.com/esta-es-la-ciudad-mas-extrana-del-mundo-auroville/
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Auroville puducherry.jpg” – sillybugger/Ian.A, Flickr via Wikimedia Commons (1 May 2008) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Auroville_puducherry.jpg  This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

HEM: Diwali 2016 wallpaper

 

 

The Half-Eaten Mind wishes all its readers and community a very happy Diwali.

 

 

IMAGE CREDITS:
“File:Traditional Aakash Kandil, Diwali, Pune India 2013.jpg” –  Ramnath Bhat, Wikimedia Commons (24 October 2013) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Traditional_Aakash_Kandil,_Diwali,_Pune_India_2013.jpg
“Wish Happy Diwali To Your Website Visitors!” – Mehul Mohan, Happy Diwali http://diwali14.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/happy-diwali-blog-widget.html
Canva https://www.canva.com/

ANGKOR WAT STEGOSAURUS: Cambodian Hindu temple shows possible ancient knowledge of prehistoric life

Krong Siem Reap, CAMBODIA
VIJAY SHAH via Hawkfeed

If you visit the 800-year-old Hindu temple complex of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, you will be immediately be taken aback by the immense building and intricate carvings of deities and old Khmer kings of was once one of the most powerful and expansive empires in south-east Asia. However take a closer look, and you will notice something very peculiar among the images of soldiers, local wildlife, royalty and apsaras (sacred nymphs).

Via Hawkfeed

On one of the walls of the main temple at Ta Prohm, there is a carving of a lizard-like creature, stockily-built and four-legged with a series of small sails running along its back. To many modern observers, it resembles a stegosaurus, a herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the late Jurassic period, some 155 to 150 million years ago in what is now the western United States and Portugal. Eight centuries later, it would be impossible to interview the carver of the main temple wall with its prehistoric embellishment, but this may be a sign that the ancient Khmer Hindus knew of the existence of dinosaurs, which were not fully understood in Europe until the archaeological discovery of dinosaur fossils that began in the 19th century. It is possible that they may have unearthed a dinosaur skeleton while constructing the temple and figured out what kind of dinosaur it was, before carving its supposed likeness into the temple wall of Ta Prohm as a sort of homage.

The story of the Khmer stone dinosaur has been noticed by various scientific, obscure discovery and religious websites, including Hawkfeed, which specialises in Indian and Hindu news stories and features and is the source for this article. The dinosaur has also attracted attention across the religious divide from Biblical proponents.

The Angkor Wat temple complex was built around 1140 CE by the emperor Suryavarman II and dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Khmer people has previously come into with Indian traders who introduced them to Hinduism. The temple was also built as a show of imperial strength as the Khmer empire was making inroads against the neighbouring Thais. The Ta Prohm temple, where the carving is said to be found, was built by later king Jayavarman VII sometime in the late 12th century. The complex eventually fell into disrepair and was swallowed up by the surrounding jungle until, ironically, French archaeologists rediscovered it and it is now the world’s largest surviving religious monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Yet, at least judging by the mysterious stegosaurus carving, the Khmers may have themselves possessed advanced archaeological knowledge at the time.

While many have cited this as evidence that the ancients were far more advanced in scientific understanding than they are usually given credit for, and some Christian creationists have clung onto the idea that the Angkor Wat stegosaurus is proof that humanity and dinosaurs co-existed, therefore invalidating the theory of evolution, opponents say that in fact the stegosaurus is probably more likely a depiction of a rhinoceros or a chameleon with exaggerated features. A report by the Smithsonian Institute suggests that if viewed head-on, the carving does not appear prehistoric at all. As the report itself states “The head is large and appears to have large ears and a horn. The “plates” along the back more closely resemble leaves, and the sculpture is a better match for a boar or rhinoceros against a leafy background.” Leaves are a common motif as a background design on many of Angkor Wat’s stone carvings.

The Smithsonian also suggests that the carving may be have been added much more recently, perhaps by a visiting film crew or a local artisan with a strange sense of humour. Others have compared the carving to a baby Asian rhino or a local species of mountain lizard which both bear a strong resemblance to the carving. Nevertheless, the temple has become a source of pride for Cambodians, Hindus and humanity the world over, regardless of whether it was a stegosaurus on that wall or not.

 

SOURCES:
Resurging Hinduism, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/ResurgingHinduism/?fref=nf
“Shocking : Ancient Hindus Knew about Dinosaurs 800 years before Modern Science” – Hawkfeed http://hawkfeed.com/ancient-hindus-knew-about-dinosaurs-800-years-before-modern-science/
“Stegosaurus, Rhinoceros, or Hoax?” – Brian Switek, Smithsonian.com/Smithsonian Institution (12 March 2009) http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/stegosaurus-rhinoceros-or-hoax-40387948/?no-ist
“DINOSAUR OF TA PROHM” – ilbonito, Annetta Black, mrobscurity, wythe and Allison, Atlas Obscura http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/dinosaur-angkor-wat
“Stegosaurus Carving on a Cambodian Temple?” – Glen J. Kuban, Glen Kuban’s Web Sites http://www.paleo.cc/paluxy/stegosaur-claim.htm
IMAGE CREDIT:
“Shocking : Ancient Hindus Knew about Dinosaurs 800 years before Modern Science” – Hawkfeed http://hawkfeed.com/ancient-hindus-knew-about-dinosaurs-800-years-before-modern-science/

DIWALI 2015: New HEM festive graphic unveiled

In celebration of the festival of lights, Diwali, which arrives this year on the Wednesday, 11th of November and which coincides with Armistice Day in the UK, the Half-Eaten Mind has unveiled a special commemorative graphic.

The graphic is part of a long tradition on the blog for what is termed in the business as ‘homemade graphics’. Every Diwali since 2013, HEM’s blogger and editor Vijay Shah uses his graphic designs skills to produce special edition graphics which serve as not only a bit of fun and celebration, but also as a tip of the hat to the talent that goes on behind the scenes.

This year’s image is derived from a wallpaper offered by HappyDiwaliGreetings.in and created via image design site piZap. It features three symmetrical and stylised diyas (lamps) arranged over Paisley patterns in a nod to traditional north Indian art. The design carries the official HEM branding as well as a QR code which when scanned with a suitable app on a mobile phone, can take the viewer to the blog.

The graphic will be featured on the HEM social networks nearer the occasion.

The Half-Eaten Mind would like to wish our readers, supporters and the Community a very happy Diwali in advance.

IMAGE CREDITS:
“Beautiful HD Happy Diwali Greetings Images of Diyas” – Celebrate Diwali With Us/Kopasoft (14 August 2015) http://happydiwaligreetings.in/beautiful-hd-happy-diwali-greetings-images-of-diyas.html
“Vector – Pattern” – CanStockPhoto/Can Stock Photo Inc. http://www.canstockphoto.com/pattern-7404553.html
piZap http://pizap.com/

PHOTO MOMENT: Happy Hindu New Year 2072

This Saturday marks the Hindu New Year V.S. 2072. This new year’s day is most keenly celebrated in north India and Nepal, although some peoples such as the Gujaratis, Tamils and Bengalis mark their new year’s on a different date. This new year also marks the beginning of spring and the agricultural season in the northern parts of the Asian subcontinent. It also marks the beginning of the nine-day festival of Navratri, in honour of Goddess Durga.

The Hindu New Year 2072 or Vikram Nav Varsh Samvant,is celebrated on Chaitra Shukala Pratipada (March – April).
In 2015, the Nav Samvat begins on March 21. The New Year is first day after the Amavasi (No moon) in the month of Chaitra. The current year is known as Keelak Samvatsar.” (Sanwaliya Seth mandir, Chittorgarh)

According to the Vikram Samvat calendar in use by those celebrating New Year’s today, it is now the year 2072, fifty-seven years ahead of the Gregorian calendar used in the West.

Vikram Samvat, also alternatively termed as Vikram Samwat, Vikram Sambt, Bikram Samvat, Bikram Samwat and Bikram Sambat, literally means “Vikram’s era”. The Vikram in question was an emperor of ancient India, whose full name was in fact Vikramaditya. He ruled over Ujjain in the Malwa region of central India. This powerful local emperor created the calendar to mark his victory over the Sakas (nomadic invaders from the eastern reaches of Persia) in 56 BC (1 VS). The calendar is a solar year with lunar months.

Celebrations have begun in earnest across much of India and Nepal, where the Vikram Samvat era is official. The governor of the Indian state of Bihar, Keshri Nath Tripathi, extended greetings and warm wishes to celebrants, remarking “I earnestly wish may the New Year bring happiness, peace and prosperity in everyone’s life..” India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi also gave greetings to the communities celebrating today. In a temple (mandir) in Udaipur, western India, dedicated to Lord Ram, priests presided over a two-hour long puja prayer ceremony using holy water from seven sacred rivers across their country.

For Kashmiri Pandits, an exiled community from the Kashmir region, it is ‘Navreh’. For Maharashtrians, today marks ‘Gudi Padwa‘. The Sindhis know it as Cheti Chand and for the southern state of Karnataka, it is Ugadi, while eastwards in the state of Manipur, the locals get down to marking the occasion of Sajibu Nongmapanba. Some Buddhists and Parsis also mark festivals around about this time.

In the spirit of the new year, the Half-Eaten Mind brings you a gallery of cool and fun images from around the web marking the first day of 2072 V.S….. “Nutan Varsh Abhinandan”  !!!

(c) Nepali Association of Western Australia
Via YouTube.
(c) Greater Rushmoor Nepali Community
(c) AstroDevam.com
(c) ImNepal.com
(c) suvichar.co.in
SOURCES:
“Vikram Samvat” – Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vikram_Samvat
“Governor greets people on 2072 Vikram Samvat eve” – UNI, webIndia123 News/Suni Systems (P) Ltd. (20 March 2015) http://news.webindia123.com/news/Articles/India/20150320/2557325.html
“Sanwaliya ji New Year Vikram Samvat 2072 special, Shri Sanwaliya Seth Temple Rajasthan Chittorgarh | Bhadsoda | Mandpiya | Sanwariya” – Shri Sanwaliya Seth Temple http://www.shreesanwaliyaji.com/sanwaliyaji-new-year-vikram-samvat.php
“Nav Samvatsar-2072 festivity begins with Jyoti Kalash Pujan” – UdaipurTimes Team, Udaipur Times/UdaipurTimes.com (19 March 2015) http://udaipurtimes.com/nav-samvatsar-2072-festivity-begins-with-jyoti-kalash-pujan/
“PM greets people on various festivals, including Navratras” – Day & Night News/Kansan News Private Limited (21 March 2015) http://www.dayandnightnews.com/2015/03/pm-greets-people-on-various-festivals-including-navratras/
IMAGE CREDITS:
“NAWA NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS 2072” – Nepali Association of Western Australia/NAWA Inc. http://nawa.org.au/nawa-new-year-celebrations-2072/
“New Year Calendar 2072” – Pema Chhiring Sherpa, YouTube GB (21 February 2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biEAOHoJ3G4
“Happy Nepali New Year 2072” – Greater Rushmoor Nepali Community (3 March 2015) http://www.grncommunity.com/
“How to Celebrate New Year (Vikram Samvatsar 2072)” – AstroDevam.com (20 March 2015) https://astrodevam.com/blog/2015/03/20/how-to-celebrate-new-year-vikram-samvatsar-2072/
“Happy New Year 2072 Wishes Shayari in Hindi Language” – Nepal Nepali (1 February 2015) http://www.imnepal.com/happy-new-year-wishes-shayari-hindi/
“Nav Samvatsar 2072 – Happy Navratri 2015” – suvichar.co.in, Google + (17 March 2015) https://plus.google.com/+SuvichaarhindiBlogspotIn/posts/NfeFCQmmsMh

VEDIC ASTROLOGY: My Kundali shocked me!!

Astrology is rather like Marmite. You either believe in it fervently, enunciating the characteristics of every star sign from Aquarius to Virgo, or you consider it a load of fairy dust splattered wish-wash that you wouldn’t touch with a barge pole. As a student of the media and an avid reader of the printed variety especially, it is a well-known fact that I can assure you of, that newspapers and magazines love publishing horoscopes, at least from my experience in the United Kingdom. Astrologers such as Mystic Meg and Russell Grant have been shown on UK television for years as household names, and funfairs here seem incomplete without fortune tellers (inevitably Romany or pretending to be) with their tarot cards and crystal balls, glimpsing mysterious visions of a punter’s future for the price of a cinema ticket.

Astrologers tend to think of their craft as a science. A science, which in its basic principle, looks at how the heavenly bodies (moon, constellations, planets etc.) affect people’s fortunes, lives and futures. In some ways it is, if you look at the complexity of it. You would have to know a fair amount of interstellar science, at the very least, what planets and constellations are. Of course, it then ventures into a realm that most space scientists would regard with a large dose of suspicion. Wholesale detractors in any case are more inclined to see astrology and related fields like palmistry and numerology, as the preserve of quacks and charlatans – not to be taken seriously in the slightest. A pseudo-science that gives succour to bored homekeepers and hyperactive teenagers, if not a malaise that sups away the life savings of gullible old ladies (and a few men perhaps). It doesn’t help that most horoscopes printed for public consumption tend to have such gloriously vague gems as “You will come into a lot of money” and “Things look good for this month as a new life opportunity makes itself known”. Well, that could mean anything really. More often than not, nothing really happens. You’re still struggling with bills, childcare and that loan from a shady geezer in a car park that won’t go away. Life opportunities seem to be thin on the ground when you’re reading the horoscope from your hospital bed. Of course, most people see it as a bit of harmless fun and not to be taken too seriously. Could there ever been any truth to astrology’s claims, even if a little? This article might just help offer at least some evidence either way.

Most of our readers will be very familiar with at least the basics of western-style astrology. Things like star signs, birth charts, magic crystals and other tools of the astrological trade have passed into popular culture, at least since the Victorian era. Originally descending from the soothsayers of Babylonia and passed on via the Greeks, the Western form of astrology is big business, with Italians alone spending £5 billion a year on astrology and fortune tellers, according to the Telegraph newspaper. Ironic, as not even four hundred years ago, soothsayers and fortune tellers were often marked as ‘witches’, with often fatal and fiery consequences. However, fewer of our readers will be aware that there is an Indian version, with similar characteristics to its Euro-American cousin but which works and is respected on a whole new level. It isn’t just a dusky lady with strong eyeshadow and a round glass globe. It’s something that has stood the test of time for millennia and has become interwoven with an entire set of closely-related cultures and the societies that maintain them.

English: Astrological clock at Venice
English: Astrological clock at Venice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Known as ‘Vedic astrology’ and alternatively, ‘Hindu astrology‘, its proper and native name is ‘jyotish‘. In ancient India, around 3,000-5,000 years ago, the sages and learned religious figures who helped lay down the foundations of Hinduism as a world religion were highly versed in both astrology and astronomy, which they combined into a single science – jyotish. They concerned themselves with not just simply observing planets and the like, and writing down their observations. They also were hypothesising on what effect the planets and stars had on people on Earth. Considering that even they must have seen how, for example, the Moon had an effect on our world’s tides, they must have been intrigued whether humanity too, could be under some sway by the heavenly bodies revolving in the night sky above our heads. Jyotish was mentioned in the Vedas, one of Hinduism’s foremost and venerated scriptures, as well as in the Ramayana and Mahabharat, where even the Gods relied on astrology for certain deeds and activities. Vedic astrology or jyotish was largely codified in the Brihat Parashara Horashastra, a religious scripture which many Indian astrologers take on as required reading at the start of their careers.

Nowadays, jyotish still plays an important part in Hindu religion and culture. Unlike Western astrology, which existed outside the established religion there and was considered diabolical by many churches and priests, its Eastern variant is an integral part of Hindus‘ religious life. Horoscopes and astrologers are consulted with regularity for such matters as religious events, inaugurations of new businesses and selecting auspicious days on which to hold weddings. Some families are fervent believers, so much so that when it comes to marrying off a daughter or son, they will have a check done on the bride and groom’s horoscopes to see if they are astrologically compatible. While many more scientifically-minded people dismiss all forms of astrology as pointless hocus-pocus, to say that in front of such families would earn one a few looks of stern disapproval.

Jyotish is not just for people who are about to be hitched. Newborns in orthodox families will be named according to their star sign. Each star sign has a number of letters from the alphabet (usually in the Devanagari alphabet used to write Hindi and the sacred language of the Vedas, Sanskrit). The parents can choose one of these letters and therefore a name which begins with said letter. Moving home may also need the guidance of a jyotish pandit, or priest specialising in the craft. Astrology is respected as a science in India, even though there are many rationalists there who believe that it doesn’t deserve that status. You can study it as a university course and many people go into astrology as a full-time vocation. In any major decision in a Hindu’s life, an astrologer acts as a guide and predictor of outcomes to ensure that things run smoothly as per the person’s fortune, therefore their decision is often consulted, if the family place faith in astrology, that is.

Many Hindus believe that heavenly bodies, including the planets, have an influence throughout the life of a human being, and these planetary influences are the “fruit of karma.” The Navagraha, planetary deities, are considered subordinate to Ishvara, i.e., the Supreme Being, in the administration of justice. Thus, these planets can influence earthly life” – Wikipedia

The importance of astrology within Hinduism is reflected by the presence of jobbing astrologers in my maternal home country Mauritius, home to a significant population of Indian descent, and usually devout Hindus. Here in London, you can go to Green Street, in Upton Park, where one astrologer/palm reader operates from a first-floor flat, and another, named Meera, is a female astrologer who has been active for several years and regularly advertises in local newspapers. In India, astrologers can be found on direcotry websites like Justdial, and nearly every village has someone who performs the role.

Some basic elements of Vedic astrology are as follows:-

Rashi – a division of the zodiac chart. Like as in Western astrology, there are twelve of these rashi. Each corresponds to a different constellation in the night sky, the same as with the Western version. The rashis are Meshh (Aries), Vrushhabh (Taurus), Mithun (Gemini), Karka (Cancer), Sinh (Leo), Kanyaa (Virgo), Tulaa (Libra), Vrushchik (Scorpio), Dhanushh (Sagittarius), Makar (Capricorn), Kumbh (Aquarius) and Meen (Pisces). Each rashi is associated with a tattva (element) such as fire, earth, water or air, and also with a ruling planet.

Nakshatra – known in English as a ‘lunar mansion’ – nakshatra is a division of the sky. There are 27 of them on a chart and are identified by their prominent stars.

Dasha – a planetary period which corresponds to the state of being an individual experiences.

Graha – literally planet. There are nine planets recognised in jyotish which are said to affect the mind and decision making of a person. The planets can have negative or positive effects.

I won’t go into too much detail, as jyotish is a complicated field, but I will share with you how I first experienced Vedic astrology for myself, and how it shocked me in its accuracy on my own life, and possibly my future.

As a British Hindu myself (of white and Indo-Mauritian heritage), I’ve always had an awareness of astrology, both eastern and western, for a long time. Whether it was casually reading a horoscope in today’s papers – I am a Libra, by the way – or seeing adverts for ‘African spiritual healers’ and clairvoyants in the classifieds section of that same newspaper, astrology had occasionally popped up its head like a bewildered meerkat in my life from time to time. I never gave it much thought though. No-one in my family had any major dealings with astrologers and we never used the services of a jyotish pandit. I’m a usually open-minded person, so while I never dismissed astrology in general out of hand, I didn’t swear by it either. If anything, seeing creepy Mystic Meg on television on the National Lottery shows when I was younger probably slaughtered what respect I had for astrology for a while. On the other hand, I could see astrology was very popular. By and large, I just could not be bothered nine times out of ten. I was not entirely sceptical, because I am a bit open-minded as mentioned before, but it was not something that really held my attention. Nevertheless there was always that little thought lingering away. Surely if so many people are leafing through their glossy mags for this week’s scopes and if astrologers are able to appear on television at all in any seriousness, then there must surely be some truth to it. My knowledge on my faith was also patchy at that time, which meant I was not in a position to fully appreciate or comprehend the impact of astrology in my religion in particular. I had some learning to do, and I was in for a bit of a shock.

Fast forward to 2012. While I was doing some research online on matrimonial sites for personal reasons, I began seeing stuff about astrology, mainly the Vedic branch, things about horoscopes for marriages et cetera. I began hearing, well reading, items on something called janam kundali. A kundali is an astrological birth chart, whereas the janam part of the name literally means ‘birth’. Using the exact time and date of your birth, along with the location, it is possible to create a special chart which shows the positions of the planets on that very occasion. Armed with this kundali, you could visit a reputable astrologer and by studying the chart, they could draw conclusions from your life and possibly predict your future.

Jyotish Chart / carte astrologique Jyotish (as...
Jyotish Chart / carte astrologique Jyotish (astrologie indienne) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My appetite whetted, but not wishing to part with half my salary to a real breathing in-the-flesh human astrologer, I was understandably relieved when I ventured across some websites that used a computer algorithm to carry out the calculations and then give you a reading derived from the kundli. You could say it was like astrological artificial intelligence. The websites in question were the Scientific Astrology Website – which offers free kundli setup and matching for marriages, and Ask Ganesha, which does free and personalised astrology services. I also visited Astrosage.com, which is what I could describe as an online warehouse offering all sort of things connected to Indian and Chinese astrology. Just as a disclaimer I should mention I am not involved with any of these sites, so am not endorsing them commercially, but they were my first port of call, as lazy with internet searches as I can be often.

If you scroll on a bit, you can see the respective kundli from the two sites that offered computerised versions of the charts which I have placed together for comparison. There are two charts given for each reading, one for rashi (or lagna) and one for navamsa, which is also called the ninth division. This is the ninth planetary house, and considered the most fortunate and auspicious. Its strong presence of luck and dharma (faith) can counter any ‘malefic’ (negative) aspects alluded to in the rashi chart.

My place of birth is Barking, London, England. My date of birth is 4th October 1984, with time given as 11 am.

RASHI

(c) Scientific Astrology
(c) Scientific Astrology
(c) Astrosage
(c) Astrosage

NAVAMSA

(c) Scientific Astrology
(c) Scientific Astrology
(c) Astrosage
(c) Astrosage

 

You can already see that by comparing the two charts for the rashi and navamsa sets from two completely unrelated websites, that they appear almost identical in their positioning. For example both of the navamsa charts show Venus in my twelfth house. I’ll avoid describing the charts too much because then stuff gets technical and even my intelligent self has not yet got a grip on all the intricacies.

If you thought that was shocking, and bearing in mind I myself was a bit sceptical until I looked at the charts, wait till you see what the computer prediction was made based on these charts above. Before I was in for the proverbial shock of my life, let me first share some astrological facts about myself garnered from the three websites I used.

My ‘birth star’ is Shravan, which the Tamils – who use a different version of these charts – call Thiruvonam. This is the main star of my sky division or ‘nakshatra’ (see above) Shravan’s ruling planet or graha is the Moon, and it is also the birth star of the Hindu Goddess of learning Saraswati Devi – so clearly I’m in good and educated company. People who are natives of the Shravan nakshatra are said to be gifted in the arts and to have a wealth of general knowledge. I have a talent for graphic design and drawing, as well as writing and I was always fabled for my extensive general knowledge. They are also said to be honest, affable, trustworthy, often religious and bear a lot of respect towards parental figures. My rashi is Makar (Capricorn). While my Western sun sign is Libra, my Indian counterpart is Virgo! Tuesday is considered a bad day for me, while Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays are lucky days. Speaking of luck, my lucky number is 1, my lucky metal is silver and my lucky gem is a glittery diamond. A lady’s best friend…and probably mine too. Now I know why Tuesdays fill me with such dread sometimes, and why one of my favourite sayings is “Thank God it’s Friday”.

(c) GoPixPic
(c) GoPixPic

Anyways, let’s move on from the technicals and now I’m going to show you exactly how my opinion on astrology was seismically shifted.

I am going to quote directly from the text as is. This text comes from a document stored on my laptop called “Vijay’s Vedic Horoscope”, which is a direct copy-and-paste from the Scientific Astrology and Ask Ganesha sites and was created on the 24th November 2012. The predictions and analysis of the janam kundli were automatically generated by the website itself under headings pertaining to scientific positions based on planetary positions. I’m going to show chosen quotes that prove the predictions correct but also those that are completely off the mark, so as to eliminate any intent of bias for the reader. I will then explain underneath each quote from the website predictions how or not the prediction corresponds to my life. Some of the links between the predictions and my life/personality/state of being are a little tenuous, but it does make you think.

(c) R. Klee/Flickr

CORRECT PREDICTIONS :-

1. Your life will come through ups and downs regularly.

This is a bit of a characteristic astrologically vague statement, but one that is true. I have been through many upheavals in my life, ranging from escaping a violent father and battling mild depression, and being evicted a couple of times (not through my fault), but also I have seen many positives, e.g. my niece’s birth and graduation from university. I’ve had good times and bad, but then again most of us do.

2. You will get knowledge about different subjects. You can be good adviser to others.

I am quite knowledgeable about different subjects, as can be evinced from my GCSE exams results in secondary school. It is this passion for general facts and figures that has stood me in good stead for my ambition as a reporter. I am often called upon by family and friends to give advice and direction.

3. You do not like to work under the control of anybody. You love independence and respect your pride.

I actually don’t mind having a boss, at least as far as employment is concerned, but I do have a veiled contempt for authority if it is inept or prejudicial to my work or wellbeing. I like to work under my own steam though, and don’t like people watching over my shoulder or scrutinising me. I consider myself very independent (I live alone) and prefer to run my own affairs rather than expecting anything of anyone else. I’m not a proud person overtly, but maybe self-respect and self-belief might be covered by this.

4. Your financial status may not match your ability and knowledge.

I earn around £17,000 a year which is far below the average London wage of around £24-28,000. My job is relatively easy to perform and doesn’t require any special skills or anything. I’m degree-educated (undergraduate).

5. You will express good personality both in words and in your actions.

Again, a little vague, but I can answer truthfully to this as I often like to show my good side, and do good deeds. I try to always speak to other with compassion and understanding, and in return offer a sympathetic ear.

6. There is special attraction to your smile.

I wouldn’t say I have a ‘Colgate smile’ but a few people have complimented or mentioned that I have a big cheery smile. One of my colleagues even shared a photo of me with a big fat grin on her Facebook wall and tagged me in it.

7. You are known for calmness. However, you will get annoyed when something unfavorably happenes. You will get angry with others without considering how close they are.”

Indeed I am very calm and collected, but do anger easily at times. If people do annoying things or don’t get something right, my head does start to feel its overheating. I have had spectacular arguments with siblings, physical fights even, so I’ve been known to be hot-tempered.  Add to that occasional feelings of frustration as well.

8. Your spouse will be in a higher position than you finance or education.

I’m not married yet, but this can be about 50% accurate. My ex-fiancée had a masters’ in human resource management. I have a bachelors’ degree. So in theory she could have well got a higher paying job.

9. You will always be concerned about any matter even if you have everything nessecary for a luxurious and happy life. If one matter is solved, then another will arise. You must be cautious about these health problems: dental problems, urinary problems, and mental problems.

I am rather like my Mum, I worry too much and often spend a lot of time chewing over things in my head, and sometimes problems are like London buses, you expect one, and then three come along! Concerning health issues, I’ve had dental problems a lot at one point, including gum disease, wisdom teeth which grew in the wrong angle, topped off with a painful infection and extensive decay. All this required the removal of the wisdom teeth plus one molar. I have low-level autism and have had symptoms of what I could consider to be depression. No urinary problems experienced by myself, although family members have had kidney stones and urinary infections.

10. Will be very intelligent. Will be scholarly as Mercury represents academic learning. Will have high longevity. You have an original, comprehensive, adaptable and intellectual mind. Your goals are obtained through the use of your mind. Will have all sorts of enjoyments of the senses.

I have an IQ score of around 135-140 depending on what test you use. I have always excelled in my studies and I enjoy studying (to an extent) and have an active imagination coupled with concise thinking, adaptable to different situations. Whenever I aim to achieve a goal or dream, I do a lot of mental planning beforehand. I enjoy art, cinema and music, not to mention good food (one other prediction got this spot on).

11. You are a solitary kind of person who likes to enjoy all the pleasures of life.Pleasures are enjoyed in secret or behind the scenes.

I do often keep myself to myself and am not the greatest of social butterflies, but I do enjoy the good things that life sends my way. Most of those pleasures are usually done solitarily, but not always.

12. There is a tendency to keep relationships with the opposite sex a secret. You seldom reveal your innermost feelings.You are clever,Mean-minded ,miserly and will have eye trouble.”

Relationships are rare on the ground for me, and I’m a marriage-oriented person anyways. But I am not one to suddenly run around and tell everyone the moment I do find love. I do tend to keep it quiet until I’m positive of the outcome so I can comfortably inform friends and family. I guess this comes from being a man, but it is true I tend to hide my emotions and keep a lot of feelings under lock and key. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I’m miserly. Not at all. But I am a prudent spender who saves a lot and doesn’t like financial wastage.

13. You must control your speech as you are suspectible to speak harshly.You tend to end up in quarells herefore it advisable to keep your anger in check.

I have been known to have a razor-sharp tongue! When I do lose my temper, words, and harsh ones can pour out of my mouth like molten lava. Ashamedly, I have said things to people in the past that were offensive, and said on the spur of the moment. I do have a quick temper and it has gotten me in hot water before. Now I just breathe..one…two….three…

14. Jupiter in the second house favours you to become a astrologer, poet ,a great writer or even a scientist.Will have scholarship and learning. You will have a gift of impressive speech and will have a a quality of attracting people towards you.You will have a big family and will always be surround with people dear to you.You will have good family surroundings.

When I was younger I had aspirations of becoming a veterinarian or working in natural sciences. I was also very good at science, enabling me to be in the higher stream at school. In the end I settled for journalism, as I also had good writing skills. My mastery with the pen was, and is especially evident, with short prose and factual articles. I have done a little poetry, but it’s not my strongest form of writing. I do have amazing conversations with friends sometimes, but do not have the ‘gift of the gab’ and the thought of making a stirring public speech a la Martin Luther King unsettles me. Orator I am not. I come from a family of seven siblings so I always have a family member on call…and don’t get me started about all the cousins, nephews, aunts etc. I have in Mauritius!

15. You will be fickle minded and will not stick to one work.Changes in occupation are indicated . You possess intellectual curiosity and may well express your true feelings through speech, poetry or writing. Intellectualizing your feelings is probable. There is a strong need for communication and for gathering information, which is later shared with people in general or women in particular. You have a fine sense of humor and like to joke and play around.”

I couldn’t say I was fickle-minded. Perhaps indecisive at times, but the prediction is bang on accurate about ‘changes in occupation’. In my life I’ve worked in a pharmacy, a shipping agency, a leafleting company, an electrical hardware store, a post office and now a conference and events firm…and I’m still job-hunting!. Most of these jobs however were temporary from the outset, either part-time jobs when I was a college student or helping out at family businesses. In fact, I have been at my current position for more than seven years. I do tend to analyse things a lot and that includes feelings. As a journalist/blogger, communication and information gathering is the lifeblood of what I do on this blog, and even in my regular day-to-day activities, I often do research on something I have little knowledge on, and sometimes even just for the fun of it. A large proportion of the HEM community are female, some of whom are my firmest supporters. I love horsing around with friends and have an infectious laugh. I crack jokes at a mile a minute, and have left whole rooms of people in side-splitting hysterics.

16. You feel a need to search for truth and wisdom so that you can understand life. Perhaps life has enslaved you in some way and you are searching for transformation or regeneration. Occasional upheavals in your life come about in order to bring you back to the correct path. There is a desire to retreat from society in order to re-analyze your life. You can become a champion of the downtrodden masses. Serving others in this life may be important for you. You enjoy working behind the scenes.”

I have had a very difficult life and have endured a lot of pain and abuse. Now I’m free of a lot of that and there is something inside me that drives me to wonder why this has happened to me. I do feel sometimes like I need to revamp or make some significant changes to my life, i.e. settling abroad or some other radical change. I sometimes imagine myself to be a loner, completely cut off from society and doing my own thing, but I’m not really planning to do that. There are times though, when things are getting me down and I need to retreat into my shell, switch off the mobile and just pore over things and solve issues. I do care about others, especially those who are less fortunate. I have considered volunteering, and admire those who do. I also regularly donate to charities and have strong belief in social causes and making at least a small stand against social injustices such as the persecution of disabled people by the austerity state in the UK or the plight of Kashmiri Pandits in India, for example. I don’t like to be the centre of attention and prefer to work quietly and away from the spotlight.

(c) Reflect, Rejuvenate & Rejoice!

INACCURATE PREDICTIONS:-

1. You will be a good& welcoming landlord

This may well be true in the future, but at the moment I’m just a humble renting tenant. Certainly no house of my own yet, never mind one to rent out. I have no desire to be a residential landlord either. The good and welcoming part does sound more accurate though.

2. You are Bold and courageous and fear none. 

Far from it, I’m a mouse in a giant’s body. But jokes aside, there are some people I’m nervous of. I also have a fear of spiders and heights. Not a big sissy cry-baby fear, but they too make me nervous. I have been known to be fearless at times.

3.you (sic) will gain wealth from government or from your father.”

Very unlikely I’ll get any wealth from my father, as firstly he was not rich or even moderately wealthy, and secondly, I’ve been estranged from him for more than two decades. As for government, that will only happen if I get a highly-paid civil servant’s job. Although I am open to positions in the civic service, it seems unlikely this prediction will ever come true.

4. Will be hedonistic and strong. This dominance of Sun on the Meridien is capable of conferring regal status, knowledge and valour.

I am far from hedonistic, far more straight-laced I’d imagine. I’m not one for carefree behaviour. I doubt I would receive any kind of regal status, as the UK has a hereditary monarchy – therefore you would to be born in it to win it.

5. You will be founder of institutions and can have successful military or political career

Unless you count the Half-Eaten Mind as an institution, that founding of institutions is yet to happen, and I have no interest in joining the military either. Ironically another prediction calls on me to avoid top positions in politics. Confused.com, I am.

6. You may have trouble controlling your spending habits and are likely to be an impulsive shopper.

This is the opposite of another prediction which said I would be miserly. I am actually very careful about my spending and do not like shopping, unless it’s necessary, for example weekly food shopping or the occasional shoparound for new clothes. I rarely buy anything ‘on impulse’ and that usually happens on eBay.

7. Routine of any kind probably bores you and you are constantly looking for variety.

I do actually have no problem with routine at all, indeed I follow daily routines almost religiously, but this prediction is also right in the sense that I sometimes tire of doing the same old thing every day and then I desire a bit of change. I do wish to have a more varied life than the nine-to-five slog sometimes.

8. May also be tormented by many illness.

Although I have had my fair share of health issues, and am currently overweight (but losing it bit by bit), I am rather healthy and rarely experience any major scares. In fact, I’ve never had to stay in hospital. Not even for a day.

(c) har012/peperonity.com

Looking back on the predictions, the shock for me is how accurate a lot of them were, even if a bit tenuously. While some things were wildly inaccurate, even contradictory, there were some predictions, that when I first read them, I was stunned into silence. Aspects of my personality in particular, rang out at me from the page. I straight away identified with them. It is mind-blowing when you consider that I did not speak to a human astrologer but instead relied on a computer algorithm from two different websites, so there was no probability of a human astrologer observing me and then predicting those personality traits based on what they observed, which would clearly be cheating. Neither of those websites could see who I was and the only details they were given were the birth details needed to generate the kundli. Yet, I was able to see things mentioned which matched up with events in my life (from a generalised point of view), past experiences, and even hobbies and behaviours that I engage with. 

On the other hand there were the obvious contradictions and incorrect predictions, although as they are predictions, they may not have been fulfilled yet. Some however, were blatantly wrong, and could easily put off a sceptic or an undecided observer. 

From someone who was sitting on the fence as far as the truth and legitimacy of astrology was concerned, this kundli analysis exercise has actually strengthened my belief in astrology, to a greater extent. Of course, there are errors, as you can note above, so my opinion of astrology nowadays is that though it is not an exact science in the sense that chemistry is, for example, there is quite a bit of truth to it, if you are prepared to take time to understand the prediction with an open mind and maybe read between the lines a little. However, there are many things that can affect life and luck besides the movement of planets and that a crystal ball (or janam kundli) alone does not determine your whole life. It’s a guide, a bit of helpful advice. Ultimately you are in charge of your own destiny and have to travel along your own life road. The kundli and jyotish is merely a generalised tourist guide.

….and I suppose I owe Mystic Meg an apology too.

ADDITIONAL SOURCES:
“Italians spend £5 billion a year on fortune tellers and astrology” – Nick Squires, The Telegraph – Home – News – World News – Europe – Italy/Telegraph Media Group Limited (7 February 2010) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/7181353/Italians-spend-5-billion-a-year-on-fortune-tellers-and-astrology.html
“Hindu astrology” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_astrology
“Navamsa” – Kundalini Shastri, Jyotish Vidya http://jyotishvidya.com/navamsa.htm
“Shravana Nakshatra – General Info, Characteristics & Compatibility” – ProKerala Astrology – Astrology/ProKerala.com http://www.prokerala.com/astrology/nakshatra/shravana-nakshatra.php
IMAGE CREDITS:
“File:Venice ast sm.jpg” – Zachariel, Wikimedia Commons (20 July 2011) Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedicationhttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Venice_ast_sm.jpg
Getty Images via Zemanta.
“File:Jyotish chart.jpg” – Equinoxius & Kõan, Wikimedia Commons (2 April 2008) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jyotish_chart.jpg
“astrology is too complicated” – Romana Klee, Flickr (8 March 2011) https://www.flickr.com/photos/nauright/5549292239/
“Planetary Push and Pull” – Madhavi Rathod, Reflect, Rejuvenate & Rejoice! (7 April 2012) http://vedichealing.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/planetary-push-and-pull.html
“Swami Samarth Photos Swamis Original …” – GoPixPic http://www.gopixpic.com/1024/swami-samarth-photos-swamis-original-from-1860s-picture/http:%7C%7C1*bp*blogspot*com%7C-vWtxjV85I30%7CTxAhBv2Dr7I%7CAAAAAAAAArI%7CeiOm8SsgP58%7Cs1600%7Cswami%20samarth%20palakhi%20at%20siolim%20photo%20JAYESH%20NAIK%20(50)*jpg/
“Aum – Animation & wallpaper – har012” – har012, peperonity.com (6 May 2012) http://peperonity.com/go/sites/mview/har012/39513981/39544831

DIWALI 2014: Festive family photos

Yesterday, on Diwali day itself, I was able to spend time with my family at my mother’s house. It was a beautiful and magical occasion of enjoyment with some of the most special people in my life. There was lots of hugs and smiles as we greeted each other “Happy Diwali”. Mum treated me to a dish of her very delicious vegetarian chilli-con-carne and tasty Indian sweets. We had a quiz game on my brother’s PS4 (out of five players, I came top with a final score of 4,000 points) and later went around the house lighting diyas (lamps) in honour of the festival of lights.

Prompted by a blogging friend who saw my previous post on this year’s HEM selection of animated images on the theme of Diwali and suggested I post up pictures of the event, I here present a gallery of photos of Diwali in the Shah household. Many, many thanks to Anjali and Arjun for contributing pictures to this gallery, and to Suraj, who offered me a chance to take some pictures after he had lit some candles on the mantelpiece.

You can find full-resolution versions of the images in this gallery on the Half-Eaten Mind. Just look out for the square moving Flickr icon on the top of this page. Once you’re on the Flickr site, search for the “Diwali 2014/2070” album. Images refined and watermarked with piZap.

May thousands of lamps light up your life
with endless happiness, richness, health & wealth forever
wishing you and your family a very
“HAPPY DIWALI“

diwali64
ADDITIONAL SOURCE:
“[*Deepavali*] Happy Diwali Messages In English 2014 *[Msgs*]” – Happy Diwali/Happy Diwali 2014 Wishesms http://www.happydiwali2014wishesms.org/2014/09/deepavali-happy-diwali-messages-in-english-2014.html

GIF MOMENT: HEM’s special GIF selection + wallpaper – Diwali 2014

For the Gregorian year 2014 and the Vikram Samvat year 2071, the festival of lights, Diwali, will fall on Thursday, October 23. It will be a time to welcome the Goddess Lakshmi Devi into our homes to bring Her divine graces and blessings on our families and homes. Lamps (diyas/divas) are lit to welcome Her into our humble abodes and bestow upon us her gifts of prosperity and wellbeing.

Diwali also means spending time with the family, exchanging gifts and wishing each other well. Plates and thalis laden with sweets beckon hungry stomachs and sweet teeth over, while living rooms and courtyards across the world see shadows and smiling faces flicker under the glow of a thousand flames. The skies become a rapturous applause of bright colours, sparks and bangs as a million fireworks launch themselves far into the night sky. Everyone gets out their best sarees, dresses, sherwanis, kurtas and suits because for millions of people across the world, the joyous festival of lights comes but just once a year.

Here in London, the days are getting shorter and the cold is creeping in. As the last of the summer slowly drains away into recent memory, Diwali offers a unique occasion to get away from the darkness and bathe ourselves in holy light. To replace the biting cold winds with the warm scent of freshly made pakoras and roti. A festival of colour being the perfect antidote to the grey and unforgiving climes of late October.

I look forward a lot to this festival…especially as I get to raid my mum’s trays of what us Mauritians call gato Diwali…otherwise known as mithai or Indian sweets… 😛

There are many stories from Hinduism that tell of how Diwali (Deepavali) came as a gift from God to humanity. The most well known is of course from the epic Ramayaan (Ramayana) concerning the return of Lord Ram and his consort Sita to their kingdom of Ayodhya after a long fourteen years’ exile and a battle of good versus and evil against the mahasur or great demon Ravana. It is said that the citizens of Ayodhya lit lamps along the main road out of the forest of Lord Ram’s exile towards his earthly home to guide Him back to his rightful place on the throne.

Diwali also represents the celebration of the incarnation of Lakshmi Devi. She was given the grace of God to appear during the churning of the primordial ocean that begun the world, the Samudra Manthan, which is one of the few occasions where Gods and demons co-operated. The Goddess of prosperity and wealth soon established the special Lakshmi Puja, or prayer, which is now a standard part of the religious angle of Diwali. The festival also commemorates the destruction of the thieving demon Narakasur, the hellish one, by Lord Krishna, in which the God also liberated 16,000 captives from the demon’s dastardly clutches.

Since the Half-Eaten Mind brought its own brand of news reporting and colour to the blogosphere just over two years ago, we have developed our own unique way of celebrating Diwali as well as many other festivals. With the help of a bit of regular internet research and a flicker of creativity, we have established a tradition of sharing with our readers a selection of our best GIFs to mark the Diwali season as well as a wallpaper/poster image designed especially for the occasion.

For Diwali 2014, the Half-Eaten Mind brings you our top-class, top-rated Diwali GIFs gallery and a special wallpaper. On behalf of myself, and my family, I would like to wish you and yours in advance a very auspicious, happy and prosperous Diwali.

May this Diwali be as bright as ever.
May this Diwali bring joy, health and wealth to you.
May the festival of lights brighten up you and your nearest and dearest ones’ lives.
May this Diwali bring for you the most brightest and choicest happiness and love you have ever wished for.
May this Diwali bring you the utmost in peace and prosperity.
May light triumph over darkness.
May peace transcend the earth.
May the spirit of the light illuminate the world.
May the light that we celebrate at Diwali show us the way and lead us together on the path of peace and social harmony.
“WISHING YOU A VERY HAPPY DIWALI”

(Greeting by Naresh Gupta)

Our official HEM greetings poster….

The Half-Eaten Mind’s festive wallpaper for Diwali this year features a background of what most people know as ‘Big Ben’ but known officially as the Elizabeth Tower. The monument forms part of the Houses of Parliament here in London, and this is a landmark well-known among tourists and Londoners. Much of the initial work, including the HEM logo and initial text was done in the photo editing site Lunapic with the remainder added in via our old favourite piZap. The traditional lamp comes courtesy of ‘zeimusu’, a creator of open-source cliparts.

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…and now…our Diwali GIFs…..

SOURCES:
“Story of Diwali” – iloveindia.com Festivals http://festivals.iloveindia.com/diwali/story-of-diwali.html
“Featured Diwali Messages” – Society for the Confluence of Festivals in India http://www.diwalifestival.org/diwali-messages.html
IMAGE CREDITS (GIFs):
“Diwali GIF Animations” – Diwali Greeting http://diwali-habba.blogspot.co.uk/p/diwali-gif-animations.html
“Free Diwali animated gifs, original 3D graphics” – Dave Sutton, Sevenoaks Art http://www.sevenoaksart.co.uk/diwali_animated_gifs.htm
“Blessed Shubh Diwali” – Pictures88.com http://www.pictures88.com/comments/diwali/
“Lets Diwali Celebrate” – DesiGlitters.com http://www.desiglitters.com/glitters/diwali/
“Diwali Best Wishes – Animated Gifs – Deepavali Glitters ” – Easy Scraps, Best Greetings,e-Cards,Orkut Scraps, Glitter Graphics 4 All – Copy and Paste http://easyscraps.blogspot.co.uk/2009/10/diwali-best-wishes-animated-gifs.html
“Happy Diwali Graphic For Myspace” – PunjabiGraphics.com http://www.punjabigraphics.com/pg/diwali/
“Wishing You Very Happy Diwali Teddy Hugs” – Picdesi.com – Diwali Pictures, Images, Graphics http://www.picdesi.com/festival/diwali/
“Happy Diwali Greeting Cards & Diwali Greetings – Diwali Cards and Scraps to Share the Happiness of Diwali” – MalluBar.com http://www.mallubar.com/glitters/diwali-greetings/
IMAGE CREDITS (HEM Diwali wallpaper)
“Big Ben London New Year 2014 Fireworks” – 4HOTOS http://4hotos.com/big-ben-london-new-year-2014-fireworks/
Lunapic, Lunapic.com http://www171.lunapic.com/editor/
piZap http://pizap.com/
“Diwali lamp” – zeimusu, Openclipart (27 October 2011) https://openclipart.org/detail/164947/diwali-lamp-by-zeimusu

DEAL GURU’S DANCING SAGE: Indian retail advert accused of defamation towards Hindus

Indian online retailer AskMeBazaar.com has been condemned for religious insensitivity by Hindu groups after it recently broadcast a video advertisement on YouTube that depicts a Hindu sage (clergyman) dancing with a scantily-clad woman.

The thirty-second advert depicts an actor dressed as the sage, wearing sacred rudraksha beads and saffron coloured garments associated with religious figureheads of India’s largest faith, levitating over a CGI building buried mostly in the ground while Bollywood actress and ‘item girl Kangana Ranaut is perched on the edge of the building dressed in modern Western clothes, including a short red skirt. As the clip begins, the sage seated in a traditional meditational posture floats towards Ms. Ranaut and asks her why she is so busy. As she peers at the screen of her mobile phone, the actress, who plays the role of a ‘shopping queen’, begins to excitedly talk about the cheap shopping she can do on the AskMeBazaar.com site. The building rises from the ground to show the figure ‘70%’ – an allusion to the savings the company is offering. The clip ends with the sage and Kangana dancing in a comical carefree manner. The bilingual English and Hindi advert, entitled “Kangana Ranaut shops at Deal Guru” was made to promote the Deal Guru service, which aims to help the site’s buyers and sellers maximise their savings.

AskMeBazaar.com is an online shop selling a wide variety of goods for the Indian market, ranging from fashion accessories and jewellery to medicines and footwear, at often heavily discounted prices. Like eBay, the site enables sellers to set up shop and offer customers popular good and designer brands in one centralised location. The site’s information page describes AskMeBazaar.com as “an effort to recreate the great Indian shopping experience online“.

The AskMeBazaar advert has attracted numerous complaints over its portrayal of a Hindu priest.

While many have seen the advert as light-hearted fun, harmlessly exploiting Indian consumers’ passion for shopping and Bollywood movies, religious Hindus have registered complaints with AskMeBazaar’s owner, Noida-based Getit Stores Pvt. Ltd., for offending their religious sentiments in what they perceive as a disrespectful portrayal of a sacred figurehead, and in particular his accompanying a character wearing what many regard as inappropriate clothing. Many Hindu sages are married, but some take vows of austerity and celibacy in order to maintain a close relationship with God and to steer their souls away from earthly illusions and temptations. Many women in India‘s cities have taken to adopting Western-influenced fashions, including the wearing of miniskirts and other ‘revealing’ attire. Many argue that these new modern women are exercising their freedom to wear what they want in an increasingly globalised environment, but opponents say such clothing, often inspired by the raunchy costumes of Bollywood actresses such as Rangana Kanaut, is an affront to general Indian culture, with its emphasis on modesty in dress and actions. The resultant culture clash of two very different cultures in India’s big cities, or ‘metros’ such as Mumbai and Delhi, have seen tensions between secular and religious groups and societies – which have occasionally turned violent.

The protests are being spearheaded by the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, an organisation campaigning for worldwide Hindu rights. The Samiti also registered a complaint with Getit Stores, who have so far refused to pull the advert offline. A spokesperson for the company denied that any intentional denigration of the Hindu faith was intended, and the advert is still available for viewing, on both the AskMeBazaar site and on their YouTube channel. HJS however insists that the advert is clearly disrespectful of Hindu religion and of its saints and sages, who are held in high esteem by Hindus globally. They pointed out the irony of AskMeBazaar using Hindu religious personalities as figures of comical fun, yet they had no history of using clergy from other religions in India in the same manner. In addition to criticising the company’s perceived intentions in using the dancing sage, the HJS also warned the company that they stood to lose valuable business and customers due to the video.

An HJS activist, Shivaji Vatkar, wrote to the Noida offices of Getit Stores on the 15th August, which is India’s Independence Day. He also called in; where an office worker there denied that the advert was insulting. Vatkar’s letter has yet to be replied to by Getit Stores.

Getit Stores Pvt. Ltd. GYS Heights, Plot 10 and 11, 2nd and 3rd floor, C tower, Sector 125, Noida (Gautam Buddha Nagar), Uttar Pradesh – 201301

Dear Sirs,
Sub:Request to stop the advertisement of Kangana Ranaut shops at Deal Guru- askme bazaar denigratiing Hindu Saint/Saadhu
Hindu Janajagruti Samiti is an NGO doing social, religious and Nation building work. For details please refer our website http://www.hindujagruti.org where we have successfully campaigned and stopped denigrating advertisements.
Thousands of Hindus are customers of askmebazaar.com. We appreciate and buy your quality products. However we have received lot of complaints against you for hurting religious sentiments as you are showing Hindu Sadhu/Saint dancing and singing with a lady for advertising your shopping. Ref Link : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYupvWgnDVA&feature=youtu.be
As per Hindu religion we should worship and get blessings from Sadhus-Saints. There spiritual teachings and knowledge is highest gift to the world. Due to their culture, sacrifice and Chaitanya millions of people have changed their lives to lead a blissful life. Walmiki, Vashisht, Naarad are some of the examples whom we respect and worship. However you have shown a Hindu Sadhu/Saint in saffron dress & a Kamandlu in hand dancing with a lady with jokes.
Thus there is insult and denigration of our Saints. This is hurting religious sentiments of Hindus which is an offense as per Indian Penal Code section 295A.
Further please note that you will not dare to show Jesus, Mohammad Paigambr, a Moulavi or Father dancing with a lady in your advertisement. You are purposely and intentionally denigrating Hindu Dharma with malafide intentions for which millions of Hindus will protest against you. Many Hindus will boycott your shopping products.
In view of above we earnestly request you to stop the advertisement and give unconditional apology for hurting religious sentiments of Hindus.
Yours faithfully,
( Shivaji Vatkar , Tel : [redacted])
For Hindu Janajagruti Samiti

A reproduction of the protest letter sent by Mr. Vatkar to Getit Stores. The retail company has not yet furnished a reply, according to Hindu religious rights group HJS.

Several companies, big and small, Indian and international, have been condemned by Hindu religious organisations in recent years for producing goods and advertisements that use Hindu symbols in a controversial manner. An American clothes and furnishing retailer was twice complained against after selling clothing items depicting Hindu deities. Several Indian advertisers and Bollywood movies have also been slated for their depiction of gods and goddesses for commercial gain.

SOURCES/VIDEO CREDIT:
Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/
“Ask me bazaar.com remains adamant against HJS’ appeal to stop Hindu sage’s denigration !” – Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (21 August 2014) http://www.hindujagruti.org/news/20389.html
askmebazaar.com, AskMeBazaar http://www.askmebazaar.com/
“ABOUT US” – askmebazaar.com, AskMeBazaar http://www.askmebazaar.com/about.php

 

 

RAKSHA BANDHAN 2014: HEM rakhi greetings to my sisters…and for all

(c) El Sol/Flickr/Compfight

This Sunday is the Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan, which celebrates the special bond between brothers and sisters. On this day, siblings get together. The sister ties a length of specially designed string around the brother’s right wrist and prays for his wellbeing and long life, while the brother gives her gifts and sweets and re-affirms his protection and care for her. It can also be celebrated between male and female cousins and even nowadays with friends.

It is observed by Hindu, Sikhs and Jains in countries such as India, Mauritius, Nepal and in expatriate communities across the globe. In my religion it takes place on the full moon day of the month of Shravan. In the ancient language of Sanskrit, Raksha Bandhan translates as “tie/bond of protection” and has its roots in the pastimes of God as mentioned in our holy scriptures. One such story is that “Deity Lakshmi tied a rakhi onto the wrist of the king Bali thus making him Her brother and therefore helping liberate Lord Narayan i.e. Vishnu. That day as per the Hindu lunar calendar was ‘Shravan Paurnima (Purnima)’.”

By tying this wristband (raksha) onto your wrist I am binding you just like the powerful and generous King Bali was bound by it. O wristband, do not get displaced.”

The rakhi is the string adornment presented by the sister around her brother’s wrist, usually made up of silk or cotton. It can be simple or have an elaborate design featuring paste or semi-precious stones, religious symbols and beadwork inspired by Indian traditions in embroidery and crafts. They are usually coloured red, but can be of many bright colours, often in the same rakhi. There are even children’s versions that feature cartoon characters and some are equipped with miniature toys, although some feel this trivialises the sanctity of the festival.

Raksha Bandhan is a unique and remarkable festival that celebrates and highlights the unbreakable bond between siblings and between families. That even though the rakhi may eventually weaken and fall off, the importance of caring and treasuring your siblings can never fall away. The sacred bond should always remain strong. The rakhi is beautiful yet strong, just like a sister’s love, and as every sister is different and special in her own way, so is every rakhi. By seeing the rakhi firmly tied to his wrist every day, the brother is reminded that his sister is always there for him and likewise he is poignantly reminded of her love and compassion in his life and his need to support her. As a family member, as a sister, as a confidante, as his best friend.

On this auspicious occasion, the Half-Eaten Mind presents a selection of Raksha Bandhan festival themed wallpapers for you to download and send as virtual greetings for your dearest siblings today.

I dedicate this article to my sweet and wonderful sisters Sherrie, Alia, and Anjali.

 Though they don’t all officially celebrate, I want to be thankful for them being in my life and being the blossoms that bring fragrance to my happiness. I am blessed to share my life with each and every one of you xxxxxxxx

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

A Sister Like You
Someone who will understand
Who knows the way I feel
In every situation
Her concern is very real
Someone who has walked my ways
Who knows my every need
Times when she would see me cry
Her heart would nearly bleed
Everyone should have a sister
Just the way I do
Richly blessed is what I am
To have a sister like you

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

(c) Imagesbuddy.com
(c) Cute Harry via Free Images Wallpapers
(c) Cute Harry via Free Images Wallpapers
(c) theback-benchers.com
(c) CommentsKart.com
(c) original designer via R.D. Hajare
(c) Fun2Pix.com
(c) Fun2Pix.com
(c) TotalBhakti.com via India-Forums
SOURCES:
“Raksha Bandhan” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raksha_Bandhan
“Rakhi: The Thread of Love – About the Raksha Bandhan Festival” –  Subhamoy Das, About.com – Religion-Spirituality-Hinduism hinduism.about.com/od/rakhi/a/rakshabandhan.htm
“Raksha Bandhan: History, Significance and Purpose” – Hindu Janajagruti Samiti www.hindujagruti.org/hinduism/knowledge/article/raksha-bandhan-history-significance-and-purpose.html
“Raksha Bandhan Poems and Sayings – Rakhi 2014 English and Hindi Poems” – Happy Raksha Bandhan 2014 rakshabandhanfestival.com/raksha-bandhan-poems-and-sayings-rakhi-2013-english-and-hindi-poems/
IMAGE CREDITS:
El_Sol, Compfight via Flickr compfight.com/search/rakhi/1-3-1-1
“Happy Raksha Bandhan Greetings Graphic For Share On Myspace” – Imagesbuddy.com www.imagesbuddy.com/img/raksha-bandhan/page/56/
“Raksha Bandhan Wishes for Brother” – Cute Harry via Sarah [Team FIW], Free Images Wallpapers (1 August 2014)  www.freeimageswallpapers.com/raksha-bandhan-wishes-for-brother.html
“Raksha Bandhan wallpaper 2012, Happy Rakhi wishes images photos pics” – The Back Benchers Team, TheBack-Benchers.com (31 July 2012) theback-benchers.com/raksha-bandhan-wallpaper-2012-happy-rakhi-wishes-images-photos-pics/
“Happy Raksha Bandhan Graphics” – CommentsKart.com (31 July 2013) www.commentskart.com/2013/07/31/happy-raksha-bandhan-graphics-4/
“happy rakshabandhan” – Via Rajesh Hajare, RDH Sir’s Official Website (20 August 2013) rdhsir.mwb.im/happy-rakshabandhan.xhtml
“Happy Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi Wishes to Brother and Sister” – Jeetu Aneja, Fun2Pix.com/FUN2PIX (5 August 2014) www.fun2pix.com/happy-raksha-bandhan-rakhi-wishes-to-brother-sister/
“Happy Raksha Bandhan To All!!” – ‘tiny15’, India-Forums/Cyberax (20 August 2013) www.india-forums.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=3708215