Thursday, January 29, 2009

An accomplished man

How do we know an accomplished man when we see one?  He has very defined qualities.

  1. He does not harbor the feeling of hatred towards any being or thing. The word hate does not exist in his dictionary.
  2. The feelings of compassion and friendliness are natural to him.
  3. He neither has the sense of ownership towards anything nor does he have a conceited opinion about himself. He is a down to earth person. The moment you "own" something or somebody, you've enveloped yourself with the feelings of love and hate; pride and arrogance; hurt and dismay. If somebody criticizes what you own, you feel hurt. If they praise, you feel elated and proud.
  4. Though he feels pain and comfort, he does not feel joy and sorrow that emanate from them. He would feel the pain if he gets sick, but he would not be sad because of it. Similarly he would be comfortable when he is healthy but would not be joyous from it. When any good or bad thing happens they do not feel joy or sorrow because they have same emotions irrespective of whatever happens.
  5. He is very forgiving. If somebody does any misdeed towards them they have no intention of punishing the person. They do not believe in blaming anybody for any incident because they believe from their heart that only God can make things happen.
  6. He is always satisfied; at no moment and place does he feel dissatisfied. Nor can the lack of anything give rise to that feeling in him. A worldly man feels satisfied because of a thing and as soon as he gets that, he again starts feeling dissatisfied.
  7. He has his mind, body and senses under his control.
  8. His mind is determined to be devoted to God; neither pain nor any action can deter him from his determination.
  9. He immerses his mind and intellectual faculties in the service of God.

These are all great qualities and when I try to imagine a person who has all these qualities, the first thought that comes to my mind is - how lucky is he! To imbibe all these qualities in our self, is a formidable task; but I think if we were to truly follow even one of these qualities, it would bring a sea of change in what we are.  

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Choco-Vanilla cookies


When I was baking these cookies I realized that my mom used to make these when we were kids! So next time I’m going to get the recipe from her rather than Martha Stewart :-D.

So here’s a direct link to the recipe from MS. For my records, I’ll also jot down the recipe in this post. The cookies turned out simply delicious!! The key tip in baking these is that you should take them out when they look half done as they’ll harden when they cool down. If you wait for them to look cooked before taking out then they’ll be a little on the harder side after cooling down.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (yes it’s 14!)
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar (I used ordinary sugar – didn’t see any problem with that)
  • 1 large egg yolk (I used a full egg – don’t like wasting it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder


  1. Sift flour and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (I used the regular hand mixer), and mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Mix in egg yolk and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture; mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
  2. Remove half of the dough; set aside. Add cocoa powder to remaining dough; mix on low speed until well combined. Turn out chocolate dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a two 10-inch log, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Repeat with reserved vanilla dough.
  3. Press a vanilla roll on a chocolate roll and roll then together to have single roll with half chocolate and half vanilla. You should now have 2 such rolls.
  4. Wrap each log in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut log into 1/4-inch-thick rounds; space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. If dough becomes too soft to slice cleanly, return to freezer until firm.
  6. Bake until firm to the touch (this didn’t work for me – the batch which was little soft when taken out turned out to be nicer than the one that was fully cooked when taken out), 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Heavenly job

The man who offers all his actions to God is different from the man who performs all actions for God and they're different from the man who sacrifices the fruits of his labor in the name of God,

The one who offers all his actions to God believes that he's simply a puppet in the hands of God; that he alone does not have the ability to perform any action but it is the power of God due to which he can do anything and everything. His senses, mind and body - all in the hands of God and they work according to what God wants them to do. Such a person can never have any attachment or sense of ownership over his actions or the results of his actions. Whatever he gets in life, be it joy or sorrow, he takes it as a gift from God.

The man who performs all his actions for God does not believe that he's a puppet in His hands; but believes that God is the supreme one who loves him and is his friend. He feels that it is his duty to serve God and to follow his orders. Thus he performs every action according to God's commandments and with the sole purpose of serving Him. Again such a person can never bear attachment towards either his actions or the results of his action.

The man who sacrifices the fruits of his labor believes neither that God is the power behind all his actions nor that he does everything for God. He believes that is the duty of mankind to work and that a man's right is limited to the performance of the work and not the outcome; that one must keep doing work in accordance with the scriptures and for the sustenance of the body but never get bound to its outcomes. Thus he sheds any attachment towards the worldly objects.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Different ways for different men - Part 2

On reading Part 1, one gets the impression that the methods advised are in some order of difficulty; but that it not true. Every man has a different belief, nature and belong to different sections of the society, hence a method may appear easier to one and difficult to another. Nor do they lead to different ends; they all have the same end - achieving God.

The first method is apt for a man who has feels the love for God straight from his heart; one who has an ardent desire to know the essence of God and would love to spend his whole life looking for the ultimate truth. This is what is natural to them.

Then there are men who have faith in God and want to engage their mind in the thoughts of the Supreme one. Such men should practice the said exercises.

Another type of men is who like to pray regularly, make donations and perform rituals. The third method is for these people. This is what is inherent in their nature.

The last method is for men who believe that God does not take any particular form and they believe in doing something for the welfare of one and all.

As we can see one must do what is natural to them; but do it from the heart, with all their faith and completely believe in what they're doing. Now that I've written it, I can see that this applies to our everyday life also. If we do some work, with complete faith and whole-heartedly we will always succeed in it. Once again I can see how Gita gives you principles for everyday life.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Different ways for different men

To unite with Him in the end, one must devote one's mind and feelings to Him. To submit your mind to God, one must understand the essence and secrets of His virtues, influence and power; and keep them in his resolve always and everywhere. To immerse your feelings Him and Him alone and nothing else one must detach oneself from all objects of senses; and at all times of only Him.

However, due to attachments resulting from ignorance men are involved in attachments to worldly objects and hence are unable to perform the exercise above.

Since not everybody has the same nature, they can't unite with Him using the same method. For different kinds of men there are different ways to achieve God.

If you can't devote your mind and feelings to Him do not despair. One who tries can also obtain Him. In whatever form of God you have the most faith and love for, you must try to devote your mind to that form. There are various means to do this and some of the most appropriate ones for common man are the following:

  1. You must resolve to make an effort to devote your mind and feelings to God.
  2. You must try to see God wherever your mind goes and whatever your eyes see and hence think about him.
  3. You must try to steer your mind away from all other objects and concentrate on the idol/picture of the form of God that you love the most.
  4. Chant "Omkar" and meditate.
  5. You must try to chant his name as often as possible.
  6. You must try to read scriptures again and again to understand the essence of his virtues, influence and power
  7. Perform pranayama.

Any of the above performed with true faith and love will clear you of your sins, destroy all the hurdles and lead you to God. If one doesn't obtain results soon then one must not loose heart. Instead, try with increased effort.

If all the above exercises are beyond you, then all you have to do is perform every action for God and for nothing else. Behind every action of yours, there should be no self-interest, no attachment and no sense of ownership. Perform every action from your heart and to please the God; serve God through your mind, speech and actions; perform yagya, make donations and do prayers - all in the name of God and as your duty towards him.

If you think that it is difficult for you to selflessly perform every action, then all you need to do is take control over your mind and feelings and sacrifice the fruits of your actions. If you don't have control over your mind and feelings, then you'll be entrapped in indulgences and when this happens one can't escape from the desire to indulge in the fruits of one's actions. These actions include the rituals that you perform, the donations that you make, the prayers and service that you and all other actions performed as part of your duty or for your body to survive. Relinquish any attachment, any sense of ownership and any interest in the results of these actions. The actions do not include such actions as stealing, lying, infidelity, violence or any action not sanctioned by the scriptures because these are the actions that result from a man's attachment and sense of ownership.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I got an award!!

My mom gave me an award!!! :)


This award is about "acknowledging the values that every blogger shows in his/her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary and personal values every day." If your mom gives it to you, then I believe it’s truly an honor!

Thank you mom!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Teacher Man

Author: Frank McCourt

Frank McCourt is the author of the bestseller "Angela's Ashes" and "Teacher Man" is a book in the same vein as the former. It is an autobiography and talks about his life as a teacher. I didn't find anything spectacular about the book but there are times when I find him [as a teacher] very creative. He comes up with unique ways, depending on his students' background, to make them understand the concepts. At times he's a very untraditional teacher and it would've been good to know whether his maverick ways of teaching led to successful students or not. Alas, one doesn't come to know of that. In general one also gets to know the life and plight of a teacher. While reading the book, I could relate his annoyances towards his profession with what I've heard from my aunt who's also a teacher (in India).

Bottomline: It's ok.