Friday, January 29, 2010

'2 fact'

I blog.
You read.
Stop thinking.
No comments.
Aah, fun!

Inspired by Foiled!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hindu Shaastras

Saw this calendar that Papu had and fell in love with it. I wish I get to read all of these some day - ved, upanishad, brahmasutra, upaved, puraan...

Here is a glimpse to each:


संगच्छध्वं सं वदध्वं सं वो मनांसि जानताम् ।
देवा भागं यथा पूर्वे सज्जानाना उपासते ।।

Come together! Speak together! Let your minds be in harmony, as the devas of old sat together in harmony to worship. - Rig Veda 10-191-2


ईशा वास्यं इदं सर्वं यत्किंच जगत्यां जगत्।
तेन त्यक्तेन भुज्जीथा: मा गृध: कस्यस्विद् घनम्।।

The whole world is pervaded by its ruler and controller [God]. Enjoy or accept that which has been set apart by Him. Do not desire another's wealth. - Ishaavaasyopanishad 1


धृति: क्षमा दमोऽस्तेयं शौचमिन्द्रियनिग्रह:।
धीर्विध्या सत्यमक्रोधो दशकं धर्मलक्षणम्।।

Patience, forgiveness, austerity, non-stealing, purity, restraining one's senses, intellect, knowledge, truth and non-anger - these ten are teh characteristics of dharma. - Manu Smruti 6.92


सत्यमेवेश्वरो लोके सत्ये धर्म: सदाऽऽश्रित:।
सत्यमूलानि सर्वाणि सत्यान्नास्ति परं पदम्।।

In the universe, God alone is truth. Dharma can sustain irself only on this truth. This truth is the root of everything. There is nothing higher than this truth, and nothing higher to be achieved. - Vaalmiki Raamaayana (Ayodhyaakaanda 109.13)


सत्येन रक्ष्यते धर्मो विध्या योगेन रक्ष्यते।
मृजया रक्ष्यते रूपं कुलं वृत्तेन रक्ष्यते।।

Truth protects dharma. Repeating [what one has learnt] preserves knowledge. Bathing sustains beauty. Character preserves one's lineage. - Mahaabhaarata 5.34.39


स्वधर्मान् परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज।
अहं त्वां सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुच:।।

Resigning all your dharma [duties] to Me, take refuge in Me alone. I shall deliver you from all sins; [so] do not worry. - Bhagvad Gitaa 18.66


प्रसंऽगमजरं पाशमात्मना: कवयो विदु:।
स एव साधुषु कृतो मोक्षद्वारमपाव्रुतम्।।

If a person maintains profound love towards the Ekaantik Sant of God just as resolutely as he maintains profound love towards his own relatives, then the gateway of moksha opens for him. - Shrimad Bhaagavata 3.25.20


अनादिमूर्तिमान एष: साकारो दिव्यविग्रह:।
द्विभुज: कोटिसूर्येन्दुप्रभ: पीताम्बरधर:।।

God is always with form. His murti is divine, having the effulgence of millions of suns. He has two arms and wears a pitaambar. - Kanvasamhitaa 5.27


अथातो ब्रह्मजिज्ञासा

Now then [let us have] an enquiry about Brahman [God]. - Brahmasutra 1.1.1


नगरी नगरस्येव रथस्येव रथी यथा।
स्वशरीरस्य मेधावी क्रुत्येष्ववहितो भवेत्।।

Just as a sentinel guards the gates of a city or a charioteer a chariot, an intelligent person should take care of his body. - Charaka Samhitaa 5.103


ચાર વેદ, પુરાણ, ઈતિહાસ, એ સર્વેમાં એ જ વાર્તા છે જે, 'ભગવાન ને ભગવાનના સંત એ જ કલ્યાણકારી છે.'

In the four Vedas, the Puraanas and the Itihaasa scriptures, there is but one central principle, and that is that only God and His Sant are the means to moksha. - Vachanaamrut Gadhadaa II-59


ગમે તેવી મુશ્કેલીઓમાં પણ આપણે ટકી રહ્યા છીએ, તેનું કારણ કે આપણી પરંપરામાં શાસ્ત્રોના શબ્દો છે. આંતરિક શાંતિ અને સુખ માટે શાસ્ત્રોનું વાંચન રાખવું.

We have sustained ourselves through difficulties and challenges because of our scriptural tradition. For inner peace and happiness we must read our shaastras. - Pramukh Swami Maharaj


Source: Hindu Shaastras 2010 Calendar from BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Gold - Bhaktiyog

When Sayesha asked me: "Kanan, Sheesh! How much gold will you take?? :D", the first thing that came to my mind was this story and so I took this as an opportunity to share this gem of a story.

It is not about how much gold I will take, it is about gold - the real and true gold of these times, our times.

The story starts when the noble King Parikshit, who is the son of Abhimanyu and grandson of Arjun, goes hunting one day. On his way to the forest, he meets Kaliyug, who has just descended to the earth because his time has come. Parikshit challenges Kaliyug to fight against him as he can not arrive when Parikshit is alive. Kaliyug replies back saying the movement of time can not be changed as it is the nature and since it was the end of 3rd epoch (yug) "dwaapar". He then adds that if Parikshit and Kaliyug can not coexist, then the time has come for Parikshit's departure.

Parikshit had taken a vow to protect his kingdom and people so he decides to fight against Kaliyug. Kaliyug asks the king for shelter and suggests that he be given some places to stay until the end of Parikshit's life, this way his vow will not be broken and the principles of nature will also not be broken. Kaliyug accepts to limit himself to certain boundaries until Parikshit's lifespan. He asks for shelter where he can stay/dwell.

The king gives Kaliyug four places to stay: gambling (juaa), alcohol (madyapaan), lust for a woman (par-stree-sang), and violence (heensa) as these places have untruth (asatya), intoxication (mad), lust (kaam), and cruelty (nirdaytaa). Kaliyug is disappointed and says these are very limited places and that he be given some more places to stay in. King then decides to let him stay in gold as there is greed (rajogun) in wealth (dhan). The king was wearing a golden crown so that is the first place Kaliyug decides to stay in.

Right after this, the tired, hungry, thirsty king arrives near Shamik Muni's aashram but finds him in meditation. Kaliyug riding on his crown does the king no good and he eventually loses his temper and misbehaves. He throws a dead snake around the Muni's neck and goes away from there. Shringi, Shamik Muni's son returns to the aashram only to see this humiliating gesture, an insult of his father and in anger, without knowing who has done this, he curses the king that in 7 days, the Takshak snake will bite him and he will die.

When Shamik Muni finds out about the curse, he gets very disappointed at his son's actions and scolds him for being irresponsible and for using his powers to hurt someone instead of helping. He tells how such actions and the death of such a king will bring bad times to the world. The times when the "vedic aryan religion (dharma) will seize to exist, improper/bad conducts (anaachaar) will increase and there will be an increase in confusion of castes, which will arise through intermarriages". He quickly rushes to the king to tell him what has just happened. The king welcomes the Muni respectfully and listens to him. When he finds out that he is going to die within 7 days, he goes to meet Shukdevji. A wonderful conversation takes place there. Since I listened to this in Hindi, I am writing it as it is. Also, I feel that translating would not do justice to the richness of this beautiful language. Here goes:

परीक्षित: हे ब्रह्मऋषि, आप योगीओ के परम गुरु है
इस लिए मैं आप को अत्यंत महत्वपूर्ण प्रश्न करता हूँ।
जो पुरुष मृत्यु के द्वार पर खड़ा हो ऐसे मरणासन पुरुष को क्या करना चाहिए?

शुकदेवजी: परीक्षित, यह प्रश्न जो तुम ने किया है, इस में लोक हीत भी छुपा हुआ है।
क्यों की वास्तव में सभी मनुष्य मृत्यु के द्वार पर ही खड़े होते है, हाला की वोह इसे जानते नहीं है।
तुम्हारा प्रश्न है की मृत्यु के द्वार पर आया हुआ मनुष्य क्या करे?
हे राजन, इस का उत्तर सुनो...
मृत्यु का समय आने पर मनुष्य घबराए नहीं।
मृत्यु के आक्रमण से पहले ही वह वैराग्य की तलवार से शरीर की ममता को काट दे और ॐ रूपी प्रणव का मन ही मन जप करे।
प्राणवायु को वश में करके अपने मन का दमन करे. बुद्धि की सहायता से इन्द्रियों को उनके विषयो से हटा ले, और मन से भगवन की मंगलमय मूर्ति का ध्यान करते करते प्रभु के श्री विग्रह में पूर्ण रूप से लीन हो जाए।
तब मनुष्य को तुरंत ही भक्तियोग की प्राप्ति हो जाती है।
इस लिए शास्त्रों ने कलियुग में सब से सहज एक ही साधन बताया है - भक्ति।
इस लिए, हे राजन, मैं तुम्हे भगवत पुराण की कथा सुनाऊंगा जो भक्ति रस की ऐसी गंगा है की जो प्राणी एक बार उस में स्नान कर लेता है वोह फिर भक्ति रस की उस नदी से बाहर निकलना ही नहीं चाहता, उसी में डूब जाता है। वोही उस का मोक्ष है।
तुम भगवन के परम भक्त हो इस लिए मैं तुम्हे वोही भगवत कथा सुनाऊंगा जिस में श्री कृष्ण की सगुण लीलाओ का वर्णन है।
तुम्हारे अंत समय में कृष्ण-लीलामृत का सेवन ही सहाय होगा।

Source: Ramanand Sagar's Shri Krishna, Episode 2

Monday, January 18, 2010

When you are angry...

... think of how much you are gaining or losing.

Monday, January 11, 2010

All in day's work

Now the bay area has it's own desi music radio station. Yup, it's KLOK 1170 AM!

I feel so excited every time I listen to it, specially Seema's rush-hour radio program On Air Dil Se (or ONiyeDilSe like she says ;)).

So a couple of weeks back, she had a question for the listeners: "what is a place to meet new people in the bay area?"

In response to this, a super-hyper guy calls in to the radio station to Seema and tries to make a cheesy conversation while line-maarofying little bit here and there and tells her: "people should go to Bharat Bazaar if they want to meet new people! I met this girl there and she was really good."

To this, Seema is chuckling/smiling and feeling funny, still listening to the talks of this guy who just refuses to stop talking. (I guess he was drunk when he called) So Seema tries to complete the conversation by thanking him and plays akeli na bazaar jaaya karo, nazar lag jaayegi...

As the song starts playing, she turns down the volume and adds: "aur agar akele jaaye to Bharat Bazaar jaaye... *chuckle* *chuckle*"



...of an individual, good or bad, shows who they are more than with whom they are interacting.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ever noticed....

People who earn less can spend more for others than people who earn more.

Zion National Park in Photos

I recently got a chance to visit this truly beautiful and majestic national park.

Zion is part of the Colorado Plateau that spans the four states of Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico in the Western United States.

A glimpse to the park:


Bikers on the road in Springdale

Visitor center area surrounded by trees

The rocks near the Watchman

Red colored road

Virgin River flows in the park

River & rocks

Two rocks of Three Patriarches

Area near Weeping Rock

Deer closeup

The Great White Throne

Tree branches & rock

A photographer shoots the rocks

For more Zion photos click here.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year 2010 & My Cooking Experiments...

Happy New Year 2010 everyone!

These days I'm trying to spend some time in kitchen experimenting around. Here comes one of the recent experiments.

Btw, I'm also learning a lot of the names of items in English so if I can't find the English word, I'll put in the Indian (Gujarati/Hindi) word for it until I find the English one. Here's a useful link in case you're interested in learning more vocabulary.

Hopefully, this label will get more than one post. *fingers crossed* :P

Disclaimer: Instructions are from an amateur. Please try these methods at your own risk. No guarantee of anything. Don't forget to enjoy!!!

Sambhar Recipe

1½ cup pigeon peas/tuvar daal
6-7 tsp oil (or as needed)

3 tsp white lentil/urad/adad daal
2 tsp fenugreek/methi seeds
2 tsp chickpeas/chana daal (optional)
1 tsp cumin/jeeru
1 tsp black mustard seeds/rai
2 big dry red chili peppers (cut into halves)
½ tsp asafoetida/hing
10-12 leaves curry leaves/meetho limbdo

4 tsp cumin-coriander blend/dhana jeeru
2 tsp red chili powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp sambhar masala

2 tomatoes chopped
¼ cup tamarind/imli/aambli
1 tbsp grated coconut (optional)
water (as needed)
cilandro/dhana (to garnish)

Boil the tuvar daal in pressure cooker until it’s well cooked. It’s okay if it’s a little over cooked (not burned, but more liquidy). Mix the cooked daal well with water and set aside.

Boil the dry tamarind in one cup water and after mixing it well, strain it. Set aside.

In a big pot, heat the oil and add mustard seeds, urad daal, methi, chana daal, red chili peppers, jeeru, meetho limbdo and hing. Once the urad daal turns light pink, add about 5-6 cups of water. After the water starts boiling add the following: salt, red pepper powder, turmeric, sambhar masala, dhana jeeru. Keep stirring in between to mix well. Let the liquid boil some more and add the daal that we set aside earlier. Add tomatoes, tamarind liquid, and grated coconut. Stir well and let it boil at medium heat.

Preparing sambhar
Originally uploaded by kananj

Veggies: (for Vegetable sambhar)
Note: This is optional, but I add it because it makes sambhar healthier. You can add/remove any of the veggies as you please.

½ cup chopped onions
½ cup chopped bottle gourd/dudhi/lauki
½ cup chopped ivy gourd/tindora
½ cup chopped potatoes
½ cup chopped eggplant
½ cup chopped okra/bhindi
¼ cup chopped carrots
2 tsp oil

While the sambhar is boiling, in another pot, heat the oil and add the onions, once the onions turn light pink transparent then add rest of the vegetables and cook at medium heat for 10 mins.

Add these cooked veggies to the sambhar mix. Don't just dump it in as it might make the sambhar splatter all over the place. Instead use a big spoon to move it from one pot to the other. Alternatively, you can put a little bit of sambhar in the pot with veggies and pour it all back into the bigger pan.

Let it boil some more so that the veggies are well soaked in the sambhar. Garnish with cilantro. Serve hot with idli or rice or just as soup.

Feeds: 8-10 people

Originally uploaded by kananj