- Arthaarti (अर्थाती): Those who believe that God is the only one who can fulfill their worldly desires; be it desire for wife, children, money or anything else. Since such people also believe that these worldly pleasures will be means for happiness, they are far away from understanding the essence of God. Hence they are ranked the lowest.
- Aarkt (आरक्त): Those who believe that only God can save them from their fears, humiliations, etc. Since they do not believe in worldly pleasures, they are above arthaarti; but they still are attached to the world.
- Jigyasu (जिज्ञासु): Those who want to know the essence of God. They are no longer attached to the world, hence they are above arthaarti and aarkt but they want to get nirvaana hence they're below the Gyaani.
- Gyaani (ज्ञानी): Those who know the essence of God and are in unison with him. They believe he is the only one and think of no one or nothing else. Hence they are the most superior of all devotees.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
A very interesting book, I must say! The story alternates between current events and what happened almost 1200 years back. Then: three books which contained the secret to the holy grail were being protected by a sect and there were others who wanted to use these books for the wrong purpose. Now: some people still want to protect them, some want to use them and some others want to destroy them but everybody wants to find them. Hence, they want to unravel what happened 1200 years ago to reach the books.
The story is very engrossing and at no point you would like to keep the book down. Initially, it's hard to keep track of all the characters between the past and the present; but as the story progresses their roles become clear. Though at times, the fights do get gross, so much so that sometimes I skipped reading them.
Bottomline: A very good read
Friday, September 21, 2007
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Monday, September 17, 2007
Ganesh Chaturthi is a popular festivals in the southern and western states of India, viz-a-viz: Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Why do we celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi?
Once upon a time, the Goddess Gauri (consort of Lord Shiva), while bathing, created Ganesha as a pure white being out of the mud of Her Body and placed Him at the entrance of the house. She told Him not to allow anyone to enter while she went inside for a bath. Lord Shiva Himself was returning home quite thirsty and was stopped by Ganesha at the gate. Shiva became angry and cut off Ganesha's head as He thought Ganesha was an outsider.
When Gauri came to know of this she was sorely grieved. To console her grief, Shiva ordered His servants to cut off and bring to Him the head of any creature that might be sleeping with its head facing north. The servants went on their mission and found only an elephant in that position. The sacrifice was thus made and the elephant's head was brought before Shiva. The Lord then joined the elephant's head onto the body of Ganesha.
Lord Shiva made His son worthy of worship at the beginning of all undertakings, marriages, expeditions, studies, etc. He ordained that the annual worship of Ganesha should take place on the 4th day of the bright half of Bhadrapada. Since the "4th day" is called "chaturthi" in hindi, the name "Ganesh Chaturthi". [Source: Swami Sivananda]
Delicacies for the festival
Traditionally, 21 varieties of prasad are offered to Ganesha on this day. So we also tried to complete this number. Among the home-made dishes we had: rice idli, curd rice, tamarind rice, ambode, rasmalai, nippat, kalakand, coconut laddoo, kodubale and chakli. Apart from nippat and kodubale everything turned out very good. A few I made from my own recipes and few from fellow bloggers. Here are they:
Curd rice from Latha's recipe. Even though I'm no big fan of curd rice, I must say this was the best curd rice that I've ever tasted. A big thanks to the recipe and of course to the chef, my DH.
Kalakand from Praveena's recipe. I'd halfed the quantity of the ingredients but forgot to half the heating time; but it turned out for our good. The recipe is for the milk cake version of kalakand which is white in color; but the kalakand is creamish brown and thats the texture that we got due to the overheating. So basically if you heat it for a little less than twice the time mentioned you get the brownish version of kalakand.
Rasmalai from Gits ready-to-make. I've found this to be the best way to make rasmalais. It's easy, ready ina jiffy and tastes as delicious as readymade rasmalais (in India).
Coconut laddoos from the same recipe as that used on Janmashtami.
Recipe for Ambode I'd already posted earlier. Except that since I was making this for prasad, I didn't add the onions.
I'm sending this post as an entry to the Ganesha Chaturthi roundup by Latha.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
मैं पानी मे रस हूँ, अग्नी में तेज हूँ, वेदों में ओम्न्कार हूँ, तपस्वियों में तप हूँ, चन्द्रमा और सुर्य में प्रकाश हूँ, पुरुषों में पुरुश्तात्व हूँ, पृथ्वी में पवित्र गंध हूँ और सम्पूर्ण भूतों में उनका जीवन हूँ।
I'm the essence of water, the flame of fire, the "Om" of the vedas, the ascetism of the ascetic, the light of the sun and the moon, the masculinity of men, the pure smell of the earth and the life of all living beings.
Even if he's not able to achieve "zero impact", he would at least substantially decrease his impact, that I'm sure. It would also motivate and inspire other people to take steps for the preservation of the environment. So all in all I think it's a good gesture towards the environment.
Related Links: Lighter Footsteps
I guess it's all a "setting" between the doctors and insurance providers and the consumer suffers at their hands. It's because of these costs that patients are being driven to other nations for cures/surgeries. Can you believe it: living in a developed nation and then having to go other places for medical treatment?!?! I find that outrageous!
This issue seems to be a hot topic on the election manifesto. Here's a discussion on that.
Since I started using public transportaion, I realized what a boon it is and that was the solution to all our traffic problems. Then I wondered that why do people prefer to be stuck in jams rather than using a bus/train. The answer was simple: public transportation in San Diego is expensive and time-taking most of the times; and inconvenient some of the time. That gives most people little reason to use public transportation. So why don't they spend a fraction of the billions of dollars from the transportation budget to strengthen the infrastructure for public transportation like improving connectivity; and promoting it? Wouldn't doing this
be less expensive that building roads, especially since they don't offer a long term respite? The benefits we're looking at:
- Reduction in gross fuel consumption, hence reducing dependence on foreign fuel.
- Environment-friendly in multiple ways: saves a natural resource; burns less gas.
- Eases traffic congestion.
- Believe it or not, it would reduce the stress in everybody's life. You'll agree that driving in congested conditions leads to stress on the driver and leaves him flustered. However, if one were to use the public transport, one can simply enjoy the ride.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Here's a peek into our jhoola(swing) for Krishnaji.
and the prasad...
(from left to right) Makhane ki kheer, coconut laddoos and panchamrit.
The coconut laddoos came out to be really good and the chef behind them, my DH, says that they are very easy to make. The recipe is:
What you'll need:
1 can condensed milk
2 cups of dessicated coconut
1 tablespoon sugar
- Mix the condensed milk and the coconut in a bowl.
- Add the sugar and stir on a low flame for about 4 minutes.
- Set aside till the mixture has slightly cooled down.
- Shape into laddoos(small round balls).
- Roll each laddoo in a little dessicated coconut.
- Store in airtight jars.