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HAPPY PARENTS’ DAY

There are many people in our life. They are our friends, brother, sister, spouse, guru (teacher), cousins and many more who have had some impact in our life. They might have helped us in building our career, at the time of a need or building us as a complete human being. Who do you think to be the most selfless person in your life? Who do you love the most? You may say i have equal love for everybody and all of them have helped me in my development. This is true as we should not discriminate as everybody plays their role at some point in our life. Have i missed anybody here? Let’s be honest. Don’t you now think of your parents?

We celebrate parents’ day on the fourth Sunday of every July. We celebrate father’s day and mother’s day separately to express our love to them independently. But i think the concept of parent’s day is unique as it has gone one step further beyond discrimination. Their love, affection and care are unconditional and should not be compared with one another. When we reflect our memory we should remember both of them together. The fathers’ and mothers’ day too should stay independent of each other without losing its essence. Everyday has its own significance. On a father’s day you may tell your mother to wait for her turn when you gift your father. If you think of buying a gift on parents’ day I’d suggest you not to choose separate gifts. We can think of something special that will unite them with you in the bond once more. They will be happier about you and come closer to your heart.

How do you feel about your childhood? All of you must have some pleasant and few bitter memories. I have a pleasant memory I’d like to share with you. When i was kid i remember guests visiting us at our home. They used to bring sweets for everybody and chocolates for me. They often ask me who loves you the most – papa or mama? I have been asked this question on several occasions in my childhood and it made me puzzled what to reply. I just looked at them and again at my parents as they both were present and one can feel bad if i tell the other as good. I could play safe in the presence of only one of my parents. These are childhood thoughts. At that age if i am right children only look for favourable conditions, a reward/praise in return. That reward could be in the form of chocolates/sweets/stickers/colour pencils/erasure or something else that entice them.  And that time i was just looking to get chocolates and praise as reward for a decent job. Money never came into picture as i had no knowledge what those papers all about. Whenever i ask they used to say it’s coming from government and you will also get that when you grow up. I noticed my father counting money several times but always felt like he was playing with something as i used to play with paper boats.  It’s having absolutely no significance to me.

Though we should not compare our parents still some personal liking reside in our mind. Love of one should not be compared with that of another. You ask a person and she/he will reply as 50:50 to be impartial. I don’t know if we ever had any survey of this kind. If you still insist on a choice to know the person more close to one’s heart, majority may opt for their mother i guess. I too agree nobody can take the place of a mother and that’s of universal acceptance. That does not mean your father is anyway less important in your life.

My niece now five years old reminded me of my childhood on several occasion. This is probably the reason i like children the most and always try to keep myself connected with them whenever i get an opportunity. She used to be very happy finding me at home whenever i visit my sister’s place. Her first job was to search my bag if i have something for her. If she doesn’t find anything of her like she used to take my money purse form pocket and count notes and coins. I never scold her for such act and used to observe her in her act. She’d keep all that in her little purse carefully and put that in her school bag. I just tell her not to tear off those papers and she used to respect my words. When she feels satisfied with all her play, she used to return everything to me in the evening. I’ve never lost a single rupee in this process.

I’ve noticed a very caring attitude in her at an early age. She could easily trace my mood whether i am happy or sad. Whenever she felt me sad, she used to come and ask about that. If she can’t get over my mood, she used to divert my attention somewhere else to make my happy. She’d show me her notebooks, sing rhymes and used to play with me. Children love to play more and study less. They seek love, affection and above all time from their elders to spend with them. Time is too scarce these days with working people. We should never neglect children. Parent’s responsibility is to engage them in constructive activities when they are way from school and try to spend as much time as possible at home. Those are golden days when our mind is free of all impurities. Our childhood days shape our future life.

Birds and animals too love their children. Unlike human beings they attend children till a certain age and then set them free to face the difficulties in life independently. They learn to face obstacles at an early age so that they can lead a life on their own later. Mothers play a big role in this teaching process. This is a big difference to human beings who seek love and attention throughout their life. It has both good and bad repercussions. While too much love and attention can hamper their learning process, too little of it can take them away from the society. They’ll become self-centred by this process. A perfect balance is necessary so that they learn the basic skills and become responsible citizens to lead a life conducive to the society.

When our parents grow old and become dependent on others for their basic livelihood they behave much like children. They insist for things they like and get angry with us at times. We can observe this kind of behaviour if we try to remind our childhood days. I remember this sort of behaviour with my grandmother who i cared for till her deathbed. She had a very sharp memory i remember till her last days. She loved me the most in our family and often called me to talk with me about all her feelings/need. She was very humble and never shouted at me. Whenever she observed me moving here and there at home, she used to come to me to know about the cause of my tension. She was such a good friend to me who could help me solve all my problems calmly.  She had a calming effect in her talk, gesture and was an ever-pleasing personality. I was at a very young age when she passed away. During her last days i observed her losing a bit of memory but not me till the last hours of her final day when she wanted me to be with her and expressed her feelings with her body language.

Who is our creator? You may say GOD – the ultimate creator of this universe. History tells about some people to have seen and even talked to GOD like Ramkrishna Paramhamsa – The great guru of Swami Vivekananda. I’ve not seen GOD in my lifetime so far and i am not striving for that too. One thing i can say for sure. All of us who want to realize GOD can experience that in their parents. It’s often said a human body is GOD’s abode. It’s our responsibility to take care of our parents at their old age when they need it the most. They seek love, attention and care like children. Let’s pray GOD bless everybody with loving parents and caring children.

Happy Parents’ Day to all once more!!


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MY EXPERIENCE WITH EGO

Be aware!! It can make you blind. You may fail to realise the truth even with your eyes open.

I don’t know the correct definition of ego. I don’t even know if any definition can explain it properly. What i know is i understand that well now from my personal experience. Yes, we need to experience it. We can learn it better through experience only. Why am i saying so much about ego? Is it something new that i discovered a virtue or a vice?  It does not belong to any of these categories as i can’t term a person to be virtuous or vicious having ego. Why? This is because it’s a human characteristic that no human being can escape. Sounds strange? What do i mean by saying about certain characteristic that can’t be categorized as good or bad? There is a question in my mind. Is it necessary to classify something as good or bad? Not necessarily. It’s quite possible certain quality in a person can be both good and bad. I am writing about a human quality that can’t be termed good as it’s not completely bad.

One such evil quality is our ego. I can describe ego in short as me and myself.  It talks about our self-interest. It restricts us think about others and the social need. Egoistic people distort the famous dialogue by Abraham Lincoln to suit themselves. They understand the quote as “of me, by me, for me” and not that of people. Egotists always think about their own prosperity even at the cost of the society. They forget they are too a part of the society and they can’t grow at the cost of others. By growth if they understand as material growth they can’t enjoy that forever. The only good nature of our ego is it helps us love our own self that is quite natural. People who don’t understand love or can’t develop loving his/her own self can’t generate love for his/her society and environment. This self-love can help us if we keep that limited to 1 % only. If it’s 99 % unwanted we should rise ourselves above our ego.

Till now i have not wrote anything to give a correct understanding of ego. Later in this article I’ll give example to make it clearer. You may notice i have mentioned it to be a human characteristic. Yes, i mean it. Do animals have ego? If you ask me this question my answer would be “I don’t know”. If i think about personal experience and probability, I’d say no. I love animals like my mother. I am fortunate to have close association with our pets from my early childhood. I can say i have been brought up along with them and we grew together. I’ve not noticed such a quality in them ever. Human beings are bestowed with certain special qualities that are not found in animals and few ugly qualities too like the human ego.

Do animals understand ego? I think no. They are blessed with certain qualities that help them maintain harmony in the group. Are we devoid of such qualities? No, unlike other animals we are social animals. Animals do live in their society but not like that of human beings. We have developed certain other qualities that make us distinct to animals. Those can be in the goodwill of human beings or can cause problems in the society too.

 

Somebody argued they fight with each other for territory to prove their supremacy over others in the region. So they do have ego. I agree they compete with each other, but it can’t be characterized as their ego. I’d rather say it’s a survival mechanism. Unlike human beings they don’t fight for things they don’t need. Have you ever noticed how a tiger shares food with others in the group after a kill even though all in the group were not involved in the hunting? This is because they love each other and free from ego. They care for their need and not the want. They are more concerned about their basic need only that applies to humans too. The basic need is food, cloth and shelter. Their want is love, attention and compassion in their natural state. God have fulfilled their clothing need naturally by giving them thick skin/fur/feathers which condition them in every season as per need. They are in need of the rest two for which they are dependent on their environment. Due to human activities now they don’t find their natural environment in many regions where they can have sufficient food and shelter without intervention.

Let’s analyse few signs of ego. I am the best. What i know is the truth. What i think is the ultimate and all others are wrong. Others are responsible for something went wrong with me. These kind of thought will always cripple your mind when full of ego. We have two words in English dictionary to describe people having ego – one is an egoist and the other is an egotist. As per dictionary an egoist is someone who is self-centered or selfish, often without realizing it. An egotist is an arrogant or conceited person, always talking about himself. So an egotist practices ego with full consciousness unlike an egoist.

We come across many people in our life. It happens at home, at our study, at the workplace and even at public places. You might have noticed people talking about others and comparing themselves with their counterparts. Everybody does that. We do it with others at school, college, home, workplace and every other place where we get an opportunity. Is this quality a boon or bane for our personal growth and the growth of our society at large? To get an answer to this question we need to understand first our priority in life. For instance my priority is my personal growth so that I’ll live a happy life. Somebody else have a priority for his society and environment like “ Anna Hazare ” who works for social welfare. Such people are very rare in our society who works for people without any self-interest so that everybody can become happy and content.

The control mechanism one need to develop on his/her own from personal experience. The first and foremost is self-acceptance of what we are. Then we need to think how we should be in the best interest of our society. This is the starting point. This will open up a channel and give us direction for change. I’ll not write more on this. Let’s rediscover our own self first and do experiment with our ego. It will help us rise above our ego.

It’s not very much difficult to gain victory over ego. It’s a basic quality inherent in every human being. Though it’s not possible to get rid of it completely one can maintain a good balance. With proper understanding and work on our ego we can maintain a ratio of 99:1. Let’s wipe out that 99 % of ego in us and the rest 1 % will help us grow as a human being. It’s important not to lose our originality and stay as a human being. One shouldn’t try to become GOD but can inherit godly qualities for a better living.

Now i am a happy person. I don’t mean i was not happy before. I am happier now. I have gained good control over my ego. It will not direct me anymore. I’ll guide it to control my thoughts and act. What benefits can i derive by this? The most important i think it will help me become more responsible in every field. A responsible person only can think about others in the society and excel in life.

** I welcome your comments to improve this article further.


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YET ANOTHER SOCIAL EVIL – THE ANIMAL SACRIFICE

I was quite helpless looking at the innocent animals brought for sacrifice before the deity. It was Bonalu (a Hindu festival of the Goddess of power, Mahakali, celebrated in Hyderabad, Secunderabad and parts of Telangana and Rayalaseema in India – source: wiki) here and i was looking to go on a morning work when i caught the site. There was a mass gathering and people were waiting with the animals in a queue for their turn to come. I was looking here and there when i caught the site of a butcher at a distance under a neem tree busy with his work. It’s a Sunday morning and i thought the place to be a temporary local meat market as i never noticed such a gathering in that place before. There was a very small temple about my height at a small distance from the neem tree surrounded by a large crowd.

I was completely ignorant of the day and the festive occasion that time. My curiosity grew big and i decided to ask people about the event. When i enquired the locals here about the gathering they looked at me suspiciously and tried to inspect me first. I don’t belong to the city and there is issue with the language i speak too. Hardly anybody understands English here and i felt it’s not the right time to tell them that Hindi is our national language which could have brought another argument. I somehow managed to communicate the massage with my ‘hinglish’ ( a combination of Hindi and english). To their comfort i told about me as their neighbour and staying in that apartment pointing my finger. One of them told people gathered here for worship on the occasion of Bonalu and when asked about the animals he tried to avoid me. Few among them stared at me with surprise when a person came to the front and told they will make a feast of the animal. He explained it’s not a meat market, as you make feast in New Year along with friends we too on a festival day. I found few body parts of animals tied to the branches of the neem tree. Nobody told me the connection of the festival with the neem tree, the temple and the animals.

We are living in a time when we think ourselves as modern and responsible. How responsible are we? What to do when law keepers break the law? I noticed a cyberabad police patrolling van standing few metres away. The officials were looking happy and busy in some discussion. I approached the van and asked one among the officials if they are aware of this event and the response was a big laughter. They told we’re all invited here. They behaved as if they don’t know the law. I don’t know the deal between the locals and police officials. I just could not help myself prevent this sorry state of affairs when well-educated locals are not ready to understand the need. Who will educate the tribal? At first i thought of explaining them the difference between killing for a living and killing for fun/superstition. Even a tiger won’t kill unless it feels hungry and in need of food. After proper analysis of the situation i preferred not to enter the spot risking my life. I had my own limitations and the major one is my inability to speak in the local language. I could not stay longer and left the place. I was feeling sorry for the animals as i could not rescue any of them.

As per my understanding, the real issue is not with our ignorance of the law but our beliefs. Because of their age old beliefs they don’t respect the law. We must understand no goddess wants animal sacrifice for our growth and prosperity. Why do they refrain from law breaking activities when law keepers give them full support? Tribal people break the law without proper knowledge of the law and the law makers. It’s the responsibility of law keepers (the police officials and all well educated people) to make them understand the law and the need. We may help ourselves prevent such gory events in some parts with the use of force but there will be no real change without a correct understanding of the need. What sort of education can help us understand the need here? I welcome the government proposal to declare Bonalu as a state festival from next year as it’s the biggest in the telengana region. I urge the government to maintain law and discipline so that people can celebrate it without any animal sacrifice. Government can think to run awareness programmes with the help of NGOs too for greater success of the cause.