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Guru or God?

September 11, 2016 1 comment

I have been seeing some very odd things in a section of the Iyer community these days. And what I am saying here would surely stir a hornet’s nest, if not understood properly.

The Kanchi mutt has a significant following… and some families are ‘fanatic’ followers… and I don’t mean that in a bad way. The late pontiff, HH Chandrashekarendra Saraswati, the 68th head of the mutt, is revered as a Jagadguru even among non brahmins as Paramacharyal or Periyavaa. There are so many blogs, articles, books etc. on the life of Paramacharya and the list of ‘miracles’ attributed to him keeep growing.

The odd thing I mentioned is this: nowadays, there seems to be a growing (or becoming more vocal) group of people who claim to be devotees of Paramacharya, and worship him as a god. They hold namasankeertanams in his name, compose various slokas and songs on him… all that can be explained away, but now some even have begun claiming him as an incarnation and propagating the idea that he is God himself. I won’t be surprised if in a few years time, someone comes up with some pramanas from the vedic scriptures purporting their claim to be right!

Worship of Guru is pretty standard in Sanatana Dharma. There are numerous instances where importance of Guru has been indicated in our scriptures. But all those are done only with Guru in the status of the Lord’s representative.

Paramcharyal can be revered as a Guru (by those who accept him as such), as a Saint (by the masses, no need for any papal seal on this one!!)… and even as a powerful yogi endowed with mystical potency (by all the anecdotes). But to claim him to be God is completely ridiculous. In doing this, this group of ‘devotees’ are setting the stage to legitimizing the claims of people like Nithyananda, Kalki, the various babas etc.

When Sanatana dharma and it’s traditions are facing the onslaught from other forces, this type of new fangled practices will only weaken it.

Ada kadavule! Oh my Isha!

August 27, 2016 Leave a comment

Isha Foundation has been in the news for wrong reasons lately. Parents are filing complaints with the police claiming that their ‘children’ (all aged 18+) are being brainwashed and are being held against their will.

If an adult, major citizen, wants to be part of an organization and get deep in to it, I think his/her parents have no fricking business saying otherwise. They need to stop being ‘protective’… and also stop thinking about this as ‘lost money’ or ‘economic support’. I might sound harsh… but seriously, if those guys and gals want to be that way, mind your business and let them be.

Of course, all the above can be ignored IF and ONLY IF there is HARD proof that they are being physically abused, raped, or getting drugged or forced in to illegal stuff.

But, as a general advice, Dear parents, stop interfering with your childrens’ lives! You had a chance to bring them to a path that you considered ideal… now that chance is gone. So stop fretting about them. Look forward to spending rest of your life well and fruitfully.

That being said, dear children of parents, in your quest for knowledge and bliss, don’t forget that you have an blood obligation to those who have sacrificed their lives for your good. In your quest to find the truth (be it Isha, Krishna, Allah or Christ), don’t ignore your parents when you have the chance to serve them well. Once they are gone from this world, no amount of self realization will help bury the guilt.

Things I would like to see banned in India… a wishlist

July 17, 2015 Leave a comment

  1. Pictures, busts, statues of political leaders in government offices. They belong in museums or memorials… may be separate rooms. This is a huge culture issue, I acknowledge that. Nevertheless… the point stays.
  2. Political party flags – Ban them without exception, especially those that get put on a flagpole or on the car bonnets or held in rallies (which come later in the list)
  3. Vehicle Horns – no further explanation required. May be once these sonic triggers are removed, people would be forced to drive more carefully (would be a disaster, you say? may be for a starting period)
  4. Wall posters – High time we rid this country of this disease… putting up wall posters for everything ranging from puberty functions (yes you read that right… or in a more subtle wording… “coming of age” functions), sexual disease cures, job offers to the ever present menace of political posters.
  5. Flex boards (at least those on the side of roads, low height) – some are ads, many are just mega sized wall posters.
  6. Rallies (religious, political, strikes, protests, support… anything) which disrupt public transport and general movement of vehicles and pedestrians.
  7. Paid queues in temples – especially, do away with VVIP/VIP darshan.
  8. Loudspeakers in any religious organization or institution that is used on a regular basis and in events- temples, mosques, churches, prayer gatherings… whatever. Ban them or at least let them spend on some acoustics and limit the sound within their premises. Festivals might be an exception, but again within volume limits.
  9. Subsidies for pilgrimages – again, without exception.
  10. Printing pictures or paintings of Deities (no matter what the religion is) on plastic covers, paper bags, cloth bags, invitation covers, shirts, shawls etc. No exceptions. (I would have added the whole gamut of plastic, or plaster cast fancy mini idols and the millions of photo frames too, but let’s go with baby steps here.)
  11. Open air, unlicensed slaughterhouses
  12. Big shopping establishments without sufficient car parks (or licenses in the first place!)
  13. Release of more than one love story based film in a year, per language – we have an overflow of idiots flooding the cinema halls with obscenity and low grade songs/ dialogues, all in the name of contributing to “art”.
  14. Plastic or foam plates or cups, plastic packaging for hot items in food outlets
  15. Roadside eateries without clean water storage tanks or proper sinks (Oh how many times have I seen the same water in a bucket be used to clean utensils over and over again… not to mention the mess our people leave by washing hands on the pavement sides?)
  16. Marriages which cost beyond Rs. 20 lakhs (hmm… now why did I mention that here?)
  17. Hotels with rooms having toilets without a health faucet… bidet shower… bum gun… whatever. (seriously!)

I do have one last point… which may not be possible to ban, but should be made illegal. You want to know what that is?

I would like to make it illegal for people to marry unless they have a proper job and a place to stay (owned, rented… whatever… but certainly not a fish cart for a home). It is almost everyday that I see small children living in horrible, decrepit conditions because their parents don’t have the intelligence nor the sense control to keep their pants and skirts up, in the absence of proper living quarters and sustenance. No fundamental right to breed if you cannot provide for your family! There. I said it.

I will keep adding more as and when.(yeah I am just bored out!)

What are your thoughts?

Chennai road rage – being almost stupid

July 6, 2015 2 comments

I came pretty darn close to getting in to a street fight today.

I was returning from office and was almost near my home, which is in a street that is not too wide… when I saw that the road was half blocked by a construction lorry, with another car parked on the opposite side of the road.

There were a couple of vehicles which were working their way through the gap… so being the ‘courteous’ driver I was (my father loves to remind me I am not born and grown in USA), I sided up just a bit behind the lorry and made way for the vehicles in the opposite direction. Then I hear this (very irritating) blare of a car horn behind me… which even after being able to see what was going on, kept honking. I ignored it the first 2-3 times… but then it really got to me. Guess I was having a road rage moment. So, once the path cleared, I maneuvered my car through the gap, and parked it couple of houses down the street and when the honking man passed me, I looked to see who was in it… and found him glaring at me. Eyes met… he kept rolling, so then the connection broke, I decided to drop it there.

I got out, opened the gate, and then parked my car inside. When I went near the gate to close it, I noticed that this guy was parking his car right opposite to my gate. That moment, something snapped… my mistake #1. I should have just ignored and gone upstairs, but I walked over to the guy… with a small smile, asked him to roll down the window, and asked him “I would have given way if I had it in front of me in the first place, so you needn’t have honked…”. That’s it… he started foulmouthing me, got down from his car, making threatening advances… (and amusingly), even started looking for a stone to throw at me! He was a well-dressed man, an office goer, probably well educated… but the way he exploded was a bit shocking to me. Here is my mistake #2… I was being horribly and most insanely naïve… was I expecting this guy to just say “Oh so sorry”? A super dumb moment, for sure.

I had my hackles up now and got to a defensive posture (I am taller by half a finger and outweighed him as well), but he didn’t relent and still kept coming at me. Realizing that things might get out of hand, and now that he might know where I live, I started walking back with this moron taunting me. I shouted something back, don’t even remember what as I was in a haze of anger myself. I just got back in to my home, still with the haze, but the moment I looked at my little 1 yr old son who came running to me, babbling in his sweet infant language , I then realized I had actually done the best thing possible at that time… I walked away and defused a potentially dangerous situation. Should I have dug my heels in and thrown my fists, things might have gotten very ugly real fast but I am now thankful they didn’t… for the sake of my family and his too (he was picking up his kid from school I think), at the very least.

As for the other guy…I got reinforcement on the fact that looks are deceiving. Well dressed and educated guys driving fancy cars make bigger morons and a**holes than the poor taxi guys trying to make their ends meet. This jerk is bound to get in to trouble sometime or other. He will learn his lesson another day… with a bloody, broken mouth instead of just a foul one. (yes, I am being nasty now. Too bad!)

I learned my lesson… give up on trying to be reasonable with drivers on the road. May be it is all the stress from the driving that causes people to blow up… but I think I will just keep my expectation down and be more aware of situations on the road going forward.

Moving lines…

May 3, 2014 Leave a comment

கன்றின் குரலும் கன்னித் தமிழும் சொல்லும் வார்த்தை அம்மா அம்மா
கருணை தேடி அலையும் உயிர்கள் உருகும் வார்த்தை அம்மா அம்மா
எந்த மனதில் பாசம் உண்டோ அந்த மனமே அம்மா அம்மா

பூவும் பொன்னும் பொருந்தி வாழும் மழலை கேட்டேன் தந்தானவன்
நாளை உலகில் நீயும் நானும் வாழும் வழிகள் செய்வானவன்

Why doesn’t anyone write songs like these nowadays?

Almost (this being the key word) every damn movie nowadays is about some stupid love story, with some horrible, beaten path sequences, acrobatic fight sequences… can live with all that… but the songs…my god, the songs are murder! Most of them are absolutely crass, filthy and puke worthy.

Q? What Q?

May 3, 2014 Leave a comment

How many of you actually ‘fall in line’ when you have to? No, really… do you actually make a conscious effort to get in a Q and also ensure that others do the same? This phenomenon has been written to death all over the net, even getting branded as an Indian attitude problem. What a shame!

I absolutely hate it when people jump the line… and more so when they display an attitude of “its beneath me to stand in line”. But the worst of the lot are those who react as if they have heard a ‘asariri’ (disembodied, ethereal) voice when I berate them politely. They look in all directions (as if I was speaking to someone else) and make one more push towards getting further up in the line.

It pains me to see even (modern!) mothers encouraging their kids to “not stand there simply looking and barge in front to get the bill done fast”. I have lost count on the number of occasions when I gently chided kids to get back in line at the local supermarket only to get glared at by the ‘protective’ parent! I have been yelled at by line jumpers who claim ‘I was already at the counter before you… had to go back and get some additional stuff”, and my response was “you might have stood here yesterday or day before… but the line is for today”.

If the people’s attitude (culture, bringing up, whatever) is to be blamed, it also has to be shared by the commercial establishments and the counter in-charges. Lack of common sense rules related to crowd control is the core issue. “Saar, oru item thaane, parava illai”… (Sir, only one item no… its ok)… this is a statement I keep hearing so many times. The number of occasions I have been ‘side stepped’ by a counter employee in favor of another person lunging in with a single item to bill are far too many and every single time I have made it a point to give them as much as an earful possible in 10 seconds.

You don’t have to be as ‘stuck up’ as me… but please… next time, make sure you fall in line and speak up when someone doesn’t do so.

(partially inspired by the video of Mr. Chiranjeevi scolded by a voter at the polling booth for cutting the line.)

All this brouhaha about Devyani Khobragade and Sangeeta Richard

December 20, 2013 Leave a comment

Devyani Khobragade Incident– Wikipedia link.

1) The key question is did Ms. Devyani knowingly and willingly make a second agreement signed with her domestic help fixing the salary for Rs. 30K per month only, when the original agreement shown for the visa purpose was based on the minimum wage as per US law – If the second agreement is real and verified, then the US government is fully justified in taking legal action against Ms. Devyani.

2) Was the US Justice Department correct in the way it handled the case? I don’t care. I can hazard a guess that there are too many people that get arrested visa fraud or perjury… Ms. Devyani did not have diplomatic immunity at the time of the arrest, so I don’t see how the arrest was executed to be a problem.

3) This whole noise of diplomatic row drowns another key player in this mess… the domestic help, Ms. Sangeeta Richard. Looks like she just got greedy and wanted to work outside of her stipulated job on off days. And she wanted to get a change of passport, visa to settle in USA. For this it seems like she resorted to harassment, blackmailing or whatever. If this is proven true, then she deserves to be punished by USA law (and Indian law) too. No wonder USA does not have visa free travel for Indians… will never happen, I guess. But I also am wondering how an injuntion and arrest warrant from an Indian court on an Indian citizen, conveyed through the consular channels were ignored by US officials.

Agreed that the USA government is surely not “balanced” in handling such cases with other country consular officials (Russia or Pakistan, as in recent times), or for its own hurried evac of accused personnel from its consular offices on claims of diplomatic immunity… but that is no reason for India to demand that the charges be dropped. In my opinion, the reaction from the Indian government is downright childish… and moving Ms. Devyani to the UN mission post haste is now making it look even more foolish. The most funniest reaction of all came from Mayawati madam, who said “I know I should not bring caste into this but the overall conduct with this girl was inappropriate. The central government reacted late because she was a Dalit”. She just couldn’t resist playing the dalit card.

People like both the “now-diplomat level” Ms. Devyani and the domestic help level Sangeeta (and the idiots who rioted in Singapore) are few examples as to why opinion about Indians is not too great in foreign lands. I have seen too many incidents that reinforce this thought… that we Indians are given a bit too much to a sense of entitlement, ‘above the law’ attitude and not being too concerned about ethics if things can get in their favor or can be hidden from public view, in general.