Cleanliness is Godliness

There is a saying which goes “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”. However, in my dictionary  and in my world and in Hinduism it is the other way around Cleanliness is Godliness. There are some basic things we can actually learn from Hinduism and follow them to make sure Cleanliness is indeed Godliness.

Cleanliness #1

The very basic thing we learn as kids from our parents is to take shower as soon as we wake up. That’s cleaning the body as well as the mind since after taking shower we go straight to the prayer room, light the lamp, sit and meditate.

No matter which part of the world I have lived, this morning ritual has been a part and parcel of my life. If I have to travel 2 hours and be at a client at 8.00 AM, I wake up at 4.30- 5.00 AM, take shower, go downstairs to my prayer room, light the lamps, recite all the stotras, do namaskaras and than have coffee.

There are many reasons people give me for not taking shower/bath in the morning. I try to educate them, and if I cannot I always use the phrase ” Where there is a will there is a way, where there is no will, there is a hill“.

Cleanliness #2

The next basic place where I have seen too many arguments going on is cleanliness while cooking food. I have talked a great deal about cooking. If you missed them, below are the links for the same:

Keeping your Kitchen, utensils and hands clean while cooking is equally important. Without which you will be creating a bad environment for the whole family. Make sure you clean you Kitchen, the gas stove and utensils after each and every meal. And this is indeed a must in our religion as well.

Cleanliness #3

We as Hindus have many rituals to follow. We follow some, we don’t follow a few others right? I have not seen a single soul in this entire world who is following all the rituals as noted down by the scriptures. Yes, there are religious people in the Muttas and other temples like great Swamijis who follow, but I am talking about people like you and me.

So, when we are ourselves at fault, don’t blame other people who are following a little bit less than what you are doing. I have seen this happens in many places which have caused severe fights between Mother-in-laws and Daughter-in-laws, between brothers, siblings, and even spouses.

Don’t ever criticize other people. Don’t ever point fingers. No one is perfect. This is where we all need Cleanliness of our minds. I have seen ladies performing great festivals like Vara MahaLakshmi Vrata and other festivals, and for few simple reasons criticizing their daughter-in-laws or mother-in-laws. You think Goddess Lakshmi is going to bless you when you hurt others feelings? Take a step back and don’t judge anyone’s faith just because they are not following exactly like you are.

For those of you who missed another post on this, read here:

Cleanliness #4

Just as important it is to keep your body and soul clean, it is also important to keep our thoughts clean. We all know the famous song by our Purandara Dasaru right? Acharavillada Nalige Ninna Nicha Buddiya Bidu Nalige. If you haven’t listened to it, listen here:

There is one and only one thing I can say here ” STOP GOSSIPING”. If you cannot say good things about a person, stay quiet or change the conversation. This is very important. We all say we believe in God, right? How can you say you are faithful to God, and gossip. The two don’t work together. If by stopping gossiping you have less friends, so be it. That is exactly the logic I follow.

Cleanliness #5

Keep your surroundings clean. I am amazed by how much our Prime Minister Modi is doing for cleaning our country. This is not a job of our Prime Minister, or Sachin Tendulkar or even Amir Khan. This is something which each and every one of us should participate in. So, make sure the surroundings around your house is clean. Talk to the person who is throwing the garbage outside. Make them realize it is wrong.

Let me tell you an incident which happened at my place here in USA. Our neighbor(not Indian or even American, you can guess by knowing that they are India’s neighbor as well :)) was throwing food items which we don’t consume( non-vegetarian) into our backyard. Because of the food, there were several eagles, crows, vultures and hawks surrounding our house everyday.  The person who does the lawn kept complaining that he was scared to go back because of all these birds. Sneha and I saw the lady throwing food every day in the night. I wanted to go talk to the neighbors and told Sneha not to tell her Father because he gets really upset, not realizing that he had already talked to the neighbor 3-4 times and warned them.

As we were walking during the summer, the neighbor couple crossed our path. My Husband stopped them, told them politely that he had given them several warnings not to throw food in our backyard, it was getting ugly day by day, had recorded video of the lady throwing food, and would give the video to the police if she continued throwing food in our backyard. The husband turned to his wife and asked her why she was throwing  food in our backyard, she responded by saying that she wanted the food to be eaten by birds so on and so forth, making many many excuses. That was last, from that day onwards there is no food in our backyard, nor are there dangerous birds.

The point I am making is, sometimes you need to confront people and ask them to clean up. It is our responsibility. And like they say, when nice words aren’t enough, दण्डं दशगुणं भवेत्” Dandam Dashagunam Bhavet. Doesn’t mean you have to beat up someone ten times,right? In our case talking to them and making them realize we care for our backyard was  helpful in our case. And most importantly telling them we had proof and were willing to give it to the police was the trick.

Cleanliness #6

Last but not the least, teach your kids cleanliness. I owe it all to my parents. My Mom was clean freak. I learned everything from them. So, be a role model for your kids. Don’t just say things, do it and show to your kids. A post about being a role model follows sooon.

Until than, remember “Cleanliness is Godliness”. Share your thoughts about what it means to you about being clean.

Maha Shivaratri – 17th Feb 2015

shiva_Pooja

Maha Shivaratri is celebrated on Tuesday 17th Feb 2015. It is mandatory to visit the temple and seek the blessings of Lord Shiva during this day. In many customs they do fast on this day, but in our Madhwa tradition it is a festival and we do not fast. I remember visiting the Shiva Temple at Vijaya College in Bijapur which had 1001 Lingas along with my parents every year.

Attached below are prayers to say for Lord Shiva and seek his blessings.


Vandhe Sambhum Umaapathim Suragurum
Vandhe Jagath Kaaranam
Vandhe Pannaga Bhooshanam Mrigadharam
Vandhe Pasoonaam Pathim
Vandhe Soorya Sasaanga Vahnni Nayanam
Vandhe Mukundha Priyam
Vandhe Baktha Janaasryam Cha
Varadham Vandhe Sivam Sankaram

Meaning:

I bow to Sambu the Lord of Uma and the teacher of the Devas. I bow to the Lord Who is the root cause of the entire world. I bow to the Lord, Who has the serpent as His ornament, Who carries a deer. I bow to the Lord of all beings. I bow to the Lord Who has the Sun, the Moon and the Fire as His three eyes. I bow to Him Who is fond of Mukundha. I bow to Him, Who is the refuge of all devotees and Who grants boons to them. I bow to Siva, the creator of all auspicious things.

This blog has an entire page dedicated to Lord Shiva. Check the link below to find 20 lyrics on Lord Shiva:

Astothra Pooja Paddati Book – By Shri Sethu Rao

IMG_2465Received this amazing book from Shri. Sethu Rao. Thanks sir for such a wonderful gift. There is no words to express my gratitude.

To receive a book on our Beloved Rayaru, which came to me on a Thursday, is a great sign from Rayaru.

As per Shri. Sethu Rao “Happy to announce, Our Astothra  Mandali has completed 13th year with 711 astothras & with great enthusiasm we entered 14th year with Astothra (712).”

I pray to our beloved Rayaru to help him and his Mandali complete many more Ashtotras and reach greater heights. Hopefully, during one of my visits to India, I will be able to take part in one of these programs and get blessings from our Beloved Rayaru.

 

Quick and Easy Instant Dosa

It is sometimes tough to come up with a variety of food to prepare for each and every meal. Some days you just don’t have energy when all day you have been attending meetings and working.

Yesterday was one such day which was crazy busy. At night for dinner, looked at the pantry, and saw urad dal flour and rice flour. I thought to myself, why not make Instant dosa out of this. There was leftover sambar. Had no time to grind, and no matter what I do, it will not ferment in winter.

So, quick instant dosa was a super hit. No soaking, no grinding, no fermenting, and no cleaning the heavy wet grinder.

The dosa was soft, and crispy because of the baking soda. However, it becomes soggy if you don’t eat it immediately. Good to serve hot out of the skillet(tava) and eat immediately. So, make sure someone makes it for you.

I cheated and ate one with Ghee and Sugar today. The dosa batter had fermented as well.  It brought back memories of my childhood. Don’t tell anyone…..

no-grind-dosaIngredients:

  1. 1 measure urad dal flour (available in all grocery stores)
  2. 2 and 1/2 measure rice flour
  3. 1 tsp baking powder – Eno salt will also do
  4. salt to taste

Method:

  1. Mix the rice flour, urad dal flour, salt  with enough water
  2. Beat well so there are no lumps
  3. If you wish, leave it overnight to ferment
  4. If not, add baking powder just before preparing dosas
  5. Serve with Chutney and Sambar.

Don’t Tolerate Verbal Abuse

Over the weekend, I was telling my Husband about the last few posts I had posted. He asked me to read a few comments and emails I had received. I read a selected few, which really touched him deeply. He was astonished how much impact this blog was making. He really encouraged me to keep writing.

I still remember when we visited India once, and Sneha my daughter was maybe 4-5 years old. We were traveling to Mysore, and there was an accident on the highway and a big fight. The driver of the bus was using all choice words in Kannada language. Sneha kept repeating each word and asking me and her Father the meaning of those words. We kept trying to divert her attention, and saying those are bad words and shouldn’t be used. You all might have faced similar situation.

If you are parent, make sure you do not use these words in your house. I know many movies and TV series air these words, change the channel. Turn off the TV. Let your kids know using these words is unacceptable. Be strict about anyone else using these words. If you see someone jokingly use these words also, you be the bad person and say ” I don’t think we should be laughing at these words, maybe we should tell them using these words will put them in trouble”.

I still remember the very first month I moved here to US, and one of the Managers used the “F…” word. I went straight to the HR Manager and complained. I didn’t know it was and can be used jokingly. I don’t care. Many use these words and say ” Forgive my French, please”. I say, “I will not please”.

This is one of the topics which troubles me very deeply. It has become very common to see people verbally abusing their spouses, parents, relatives, colleagues, etc etc.  In a dream world, we all  get along well, all are happy, everyone is nice to each other. However, when we wake up in the morning, the same dream is shattered and we are brought back to this earth where many use abusive language when things don’t go their way. This can happen to anyone, rich, poor, intelligent, educated, Doctor, Engineer or any other background or career. There is no cast, color or creed here.

It is OK to get angry, it is OK to argue, it is OK also to disagree and it is even OK to have a huge fight. They say healthy arguments actually can make your relationships even more healthier. Who knew, right?

However, it is not OK to use abusive language. No religion or God accepts this behavior. A few choice words used, can create a lasting impression in ones mind. So, be very careful when you are not in your good mood.

Abuse can happen at any place. At work, at home, at a shop, at a restaurant. So, there is no pattern here.

The use of abusive language is not restricted to one gender either, there are abusive men and so are woman. If you, or your loved one, or your colleague is getting abused verbally, and you are witnessing the same, here are some things to consider.

The person who is using abusive language is usually very short tempered. They have the entire abusive dictionary at their disposal. They don’t seem to recognize who is in front of them. Nothing matters to them than to start shooting these abusive words.

Do not at any cost repeat those words back. This will make matters worse. And the most important, there will be no difference between you and the abusive person. Mark this words down, no repeating.

Don’t get angry and start shouting back. Be calm, and in a soft voice tell them the language they are using is not OK with you. And tell them you will come back and talk to them when they are in a good mood. Leave the room. Not the house, just room.

Do not tell them this is their parents fault. No parent wants his/her child to be abusive. This is again very wrong. There are very rare cases where the entire family is abusive. This is very rare, so do not bring family history.

Even if it was your mistake starting the fight, you are  NOT responsible for the abusive language. At no cost should anyone use these kind of languages. So, don’t ever feel guilty.

This person who is using these abusive words, usually will have some problem. Either at work, maybe inferiority complex, or some other short comings because of which they are trying to show they are above one and all. This person wants to control everything, and when they are unable to do so, use this kind of language.

When all is well, talk to person and tell them how much the language hurts you. Ask them if they need help. Ask them why they feel they need to use this language.

See if you can find a pattern. If you see the same pattern over and over again, maybe it is time for Anger Management classes or counseling. Note down what triggered this abusive behavior, see if you can avoid it.

Talk to close relatives and friends. Many people want to hide the abuse, but it only becomes worse. Make sure you have a great support of people who can help you.

This person is physically OK, but mentally sick. He/She needs to sit with a counselor and discuss the issues they are facing.

If nothing works, than you know what is the last resort? Hope it doesn’t get to this point.

Let me leave you all with some amazing quotes from Swami Vivekananda, and Buddh

Buddha – Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.
Swami Vivekananda – We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

I am humbled by the responses I received for the past two posts. If you missed them, below are the links for the same:

We all have gone through tough times in our lives. There isn’t any one family in this entire world which has everything come by easily. Many have issues with work, spouse, children, relatives, neighbors, health so on and so forth.

Many have the habit of blaming FATE. I have heard many say “This is my fate, maybe God wanted me to live like this, I will die like this.” This is the wrong attitude.

Swami Vivekananda said about Fate “”It is the coward and the fool who says, ‘This is fate'”– so says the Sanskrit proverb. But it is the strong man who stands up and says, “I will make my own fate”.

And Swami Vivekananda also said “Men generally lay all the blame of life on their fellowmen, or failing that, on God, or they conjure up a ghost, and say it is fate. Where is fate and who is fate? We reap what we sow. We are the makers of our own fate. None else has the blame, none has the praise. The wind is blowing; those vessels whose sails are unfurled catch it, and go forward on their way, but those who have their sails furled do not catch the wind. Is that the fault of the wind? “.

I can give several examples of my own life where things changed, I worked towards it and also trusted in God. Read this:

It was my first year here in United States, my very first job here, and having come from Dubai, UAE, and not being used to the accent here, even understanding what my colleagues said was a big hurdle. However, that was not the problem. Being a software engineer, I had to work with other people in my team. The one who was managing the project, was a master manipulator. Every time I talked to him about the tasks for the next week, he would write in his status report that he helped me for hours. I used to never ask him for help to complete any task, I was merely discussing with him the task to be completed that week.

Just by coincidence, one day I saw the status report he had written.It dawned on me that he was a master manipulator. I felt bad for a day or maybe two days. The next thing I did was to start changing the way I worked. I spent more time reading, writing several articles online, and changing the way I communicated with him. I did not sit back, and say this is my fate, God please come and help me. If I did that, I would not be what I am today. I made changes, looked back at how I can improve my communication skills, how I could improve my knowledge. Within few months of this change, this person was fired from the company for not doing his job properly, and completely manipulating the project.

I had sleepless nights yes, I worried yes, I maybe cried once or twice or maybe a few more times yes. But NO, I didn’t sit back and wait for God to change things. I prayed to God yes, however, I improved several of my skills , and there he was God helping me.

This might look to you as a small example, but it had a great impact on our lives here in this country. The confidence I gained, the trust I gained, the knowledge I gained has no bounds.

So, next time you see your Spouse, daughter, son, in-laws talk about Fate, stop them then and there. And remind them of the two phrases Swami Vivekananda has said and also the one and only “GOD HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES”.

 

 

 

February 2015 – Important Dates

Important dates in February 2015 are as such:

February Important Dates

  • Ekadashi Upavasa – 15-Feb Sunday

  • Mahashivarathri – 17-Feb Tuesday

  • Shri Raghavendra Jayanthi(Birthday) – 25-Feb Wednesday
    • Check this post for details.

As always, please check your local calendar for exact dates.

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