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Old 07-08-2003   #1
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Articles one must read.

Dear almostsmart members.
You neendnt post in this thread, but make sure that you read thru all of the articles in this thread. I had created a thread called Touching Article & I have included some articles in that too. But i think that there must be some thread where one can just read and make oneself feel more proud to be in this world & also be inspired.
In this thread you will find articles and some techniques to improve ones self. Like, when I said improving oneself, it all depends on what you decide after reading some inspiring articles or some techiniques in here.
You might encounter some word in Sanskrit, either you can find the meaning by searching it in the net or i might clear it if i am aware of the meaning.

Hope this might be benificial to all.
Do take care.

Heres the 1st article.
Quote:

Mind - Your Best Friend.
by - Swami Tejomayananda


In Sanskrit, manah means mind and shodhanam means purification. Purification of Mind, the title of this composition, is a topic which has relevance in all walks of life: secular or spiritual, individual or communal. Impurity of mind is the cause of sorrow and agitation in us, and this, in turn, is reflected in the society as well. In modern life particularly, we give too much importance either to our body, (via tasty foods, comforts, and physical appearance) or to our intellect (through the gathering of secular knowledge, information and the pursuit of many academic degrees). However, between the physical and intellectual aspects of our personality, there exists another factor – the mind – which we tend to neglect to a great extent.

According to Vedanta, the mind is the seat of emotions. Unfortunately, the only time we seem to pay attention to the mind is when we are told by someone else that our problem is a psychological one. We do not understand the cause of our problems, which is why there is so much of depression and conflict at every level of our society, national and international. One must finally see that these conflicts are born out of our own likes, dislikes, passions, hatreds, racial discriminations, and other prejudices.

War and strife exist because we cannot tolerate a different skin colour, a different religion, or a different political ideology. Although we may generally be very rational beings, our sense of reason disappears, when our mind gets clouded by such narrow prejudices. Sometimes we are very patient and helpful towards the rest of the world, but not at all towards our immediate family members. Let us consider these problems of the mind more deeply.


Power and Purity of Mind.

Social leaders who have a great deal of knowledge, but not enough purity of mind often misuse or abuse their knowledge. Without purity of mind, political power becomes tyranny. Whether a society is democratic, doctoral, or has any other form of government, the purity of thought of its leaders plays a vital role in bringing happiness to its members.


We may gain physical, financial, political, or intellectual power, but how many of us use our respective powers for the welfare of society? The jungle law of “might is right” still prevails, and though people suffer under such a system, the leaders tend to use or abuse their powers as long as possible. Consequently, a vast amount of sorrow is created in the society not by poor but by the rich, not by the uneducated but by the learned, not by the powerless but by the powerful.


There is nothing wrong in having money, education, power or intellectual accomplishments, but we must realize that they are not ends in themselves. They become meaningless and, even harmful, when there is no purity of mind in the one who possesses them. In contrast, there have been great people whose minds were so selfless and pure that whatever power they had they used for the welfare of all.


In the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanisad-s, it is clearly said that the mind alone is our best friend and our worst enemy. The mind is the cause of our bondage and is also the means of our liberation. One should not think of either fighting or of conquering the mind, for such ideas inherently make it one’s enemy. What we really need to do is make the mind our friend, which, in reality, it already is; we just do not realize it. All ideas of fighting, winning over, or conquering the mind are nothing but attempts to understand it. When we do understand it, all impurities vanish. The person possessing a pure mind will be the most successful in any given field of life. Therefore, as spiritual seekers, we need to pay much more attention to this fact.

One thing which I have learned from my own experience is that every aspect of life demands attention; nothing happens automatically. We may study Vedanta, the Upanishad-s , or other scriptures, but if we do not pay any attention to our physical health then we will definitely suffer from physical problems. Just because one is a Vedantin does not mean one is physically healthy. Similarly, if one pays a lot of attention to the physical body and not to the mind, one may be physically healthy but not necessarily mentally fit.

It is generally true that when we pay attention to any particular aspect of life we gain success in that field. For instance, there are those who are excellent sportsmen, but have no intellectual accomplishments because they have not paid attention to that aspect of themselves.


Similarly, India is traditionally considered to be a very spiritual or religious country, but it is materially poor because so little effort has been directed toward material advancement. In contrast, in other parts of the world where people primarily seek material prosperity, they gain wealth, but lack inner mental peace. Thus, wherever one’s attention is focussed, there there is sure to be achievement.


Similarly, in the spiritual field, many of us have the idea that studying Vedanta will purify our minds automatically. But knowledge alone will not purify the mind. Special attention must be paid to the process of purification, or else there will always be contradictions in our lives. For instance, there are many people in whom Vedantic knowledge and feelings of anger co - exist. Despite scriptural studies, sometimes no change is visible in a person’s behaviour. However, this does not mean that Vedanta is useless, although some may jump to this conclusion. If a person is unable to put forth effort and improve his or her character, why should we blame Vedanta? The situation is similar to that of a patient who goes to a hospital for treatment but refuses to take the medicines prescribed to him. Then, when his health does not improve, he thinks that medical science itself is useless ! Such a logic is fallacious.

In short, if we pay attention to our body, mind and intellect equally, there will be a total and perfect integration of our personality. For this integration to take place, the only solution is to understand our own mind. When we do so, a great peace will be experienced which cannot be described in words. Once the mind is purified for the highest spiritual purpose of life, all other purposes are automatically taken care of.


Source: Guruji’s Manah Shodhanam
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Old 08-06-2003   #2
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Quote:

Meditation in Five Steps
Swami Tejomayananda


1. Seek Solitude
Through Karma Yoga, prayer and Satsang develop a mind which loves solitude. A mind that wants mothing from the world and possesses nothing. Know the nature of the Self to be Bliss and desire to experience it.


2. Relax.
Select a clean and solitary place for meditation. Place a thin and soft cushion. Sit erect in a comfortable posture. Close the eyes lightly. Relax the body completely by focussing the attention on every limb and relaxing it by auto - suggestions.

3. Have the Right Attitude.
Mentally prostrate to your teacher with reverence. Sincerely pray to God and seek His blessings. Make the mind cheerful. Bring the attitude of a sincere seeker of Truth. Drop all other identities. Determine to realize and get established in the Truth.

4. Withdraw the Mind.
First withdraw the senses from the world of objects by not contemplating on the sense stimuli you receive from the world. Through discrimination, drop all wanderings of the mind in the past experiences and future hopes. Bring the mind to the present moment. Make the mind single - pointed by chanting ”Om”, first loudly and then mentally. Remain totally aware of the chanting. Shift the attention from the chanting to the silence underlying it.

5. Fixing the Mind in the Self.
With a mind thus made quiet and single - pointed, contemplate on the Self which is the witness of this quietude. Take the help of the scriptural pointers like “I Am unattached”, “I am Pure Consciousness”, to contemplate and fix the mind on the Self. If the mind wanders, make it quiet and patiently fix it in the Self again. Once the mind gets absorbed in the Self, do not initiate any new thought.

Do not think, do not become. Just Be...!
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Old 08-07-2003   #3
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Love In Action.

Quote:
Love in Action
Swami Swaroopananda

So long as we live, act we must. It is through our actions that we make or mar our lives. Obviously, each one of us seeks a sense of joy, happiness or fulfillment as a result of our actions. Hence, a proper understanding of the nature of action is necessary for us to be able to obtain the desired results of our actions.

Action can be broadly classified under three types:

Unproductive activity.
In reality there is no action that does not produce some result. However, most of our actions in our day-to-day life do not produce any positive, substantial or long term results, nor give us a sense of achievement - for example, watching television, going to parties, visiting bars, chatting over the phone or engaging in mundane conversations, etc. Certainly, there may be an initial sense of thrill or excitement in them, but their effects are certainly not long-lasting, and we must admit that we indulge in most of these activities without any specific purpose or goal. Indeed, very often it is simply to get away from the boredom we experience in life.

Productive activity
All actions done with a specific purpose or goal in mind, planned out and executed intelligently to bring about a desired result, is called "work". Our day-to-day duties at home, in the office or in the society constitute work. Work produces results, which can be used to build our lives. There is a sense of achievement and by this we can fulfill many of our desires. But when work becomes routine, it becomes monotonous; man then seeks change and indulges in unproductive activity to escape from boredom. Work without inspiration becomes "labour". Labour is tiring and painful. The result of labour is never fulfilling. A labourer always complains that he has not got his just result. All selfish work eventually becomes labour where "more pay and less work" becomes the policy. Most of our work these days has become mere labour: children labour through school; mothers find work at home tedious; fathers find their field of their work unsatisfying and often jump into the rat race which breeds countless worries and numerous tensions.

Inspired activity.
Love transforms work into "Inspiration", with efficiency as its result. And efficiency in work naturally brings about success, no matter what one's field of pursuit. Not only is there a sense of achievement and satisfaction, but also an extreme sense of joy. Unlike all other forms of action which are fulfilled only in their results, inspired activity is a fulfillment in itself. In other words, the desired joy is gained not upon completion of the action; not afterwards, not in the distant future, but in the very action itself, as one works, there and then.

Selfishness downgrades work, making it sheer labour. On the other hand, selflessness uplifts and transforms work into inspiration. Selfishness can end only with love. Only when there is love in the heart can we be ready to give up our own selfish wants and desire in order to bring joy and happiness to others. When actions are dedicated with love to a higher altar or goal, the ego with all its selfishness dissolves. The higher and nobler the altar of our love, the greater the dedication and surrender,
and the greater the inspiration and joy. Thus, inspired work done with dedication is an expression of love. Such "love in action" alone is called "SEVA" or "service".

Swami Chinmayananda says it beautifully;
Quote:
"Everyone with knowledge exerts, sweats and toils... But only a few succeed in life. They generally forget that the mind is the 'doer' in us, and the body is but our tool. Learn to bring your mind to where your hands are working, then see the results! Actions become excellent, and success is the tribute life pays to excellence."
Such Seva not only enriches the performer materially and spiritually but also at the same time benefits many around. The wise have said that alone is living by which many others live. This, in the Bhagvad Geeta, is called the 'Yagna spirit' or the spirit of sharing. The whole universe is the expression of this giving. The sun gloriously burns to give warmth and light, the ocean sacrifices itself to become the vapours, the clouds condense into rain that gushes into streams to quench the parched earth, and
the earth in joy tears open it's breast to nourish the world with
abundance.

Thus, the universe revolves as adoration to the Universal Spirit and every Action becomes a Worship!!!

This article has appeared in Times Of India,
Speaking Tree Section on 14 June, 2000.
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Old 10-09-2003   #4
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Interesting debate...!!!

Hi members,

This is really an interesting debate.
I dont know why dint poppyat1 post it here.
'Twas he who forwarded it to me.
Please take time to read thru it. it is really interesting.
chk it out.

An Interesting Debate

An atheist professor of philosophy speaks to his class on the problem
science has with Krishna. He asks one of his new students to stand and.....

Professor: You are a Hare Krishna devotee, aren't you, son?

Student: Yes, sir.

Prof: So you believe in God?

Student: Absolutely, sir.

Prof: Is God good?

Student: Sure.

Prof: Is God all-powerful?

Student: Yes.

Prof: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to Krishna to heal
him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But Krishna
didn't. How is this Krishna good then? Hmm?

(The student is silent.)

Prof: You can't answer, can you? Let's start again, young fella. Is God
good?

Student: Yes.

Prof: Is Satan good?

Student: No.

Prof: Where does Satan come from?

Student: From...God...

Prof: That's right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?

Student: Yes.

Prof: Evil is everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything. Correct?

Student: Yes.

Prof: So who created evil?

(The student does not answer.)

Prof: Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible
things exist in the world, don't they?

Student: Yes, sir.

Prof: So, who created them?

(The student has no answer.)

Prof: Tell me, son. Do you believe in Krishna?

Student: Yes, professor, I do.

Prof: Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the
world around you. Have you ever seen Krishna?

Student No, sir.

Prof: Tell us if you have ever heard your Krishna?

Student: No, sir.

Prof: Have you ever felt your Krishna, tasted your Krishna, smelt your
Krishna? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Krishna or God for
that matter?

Student: No, sir. I'm afraid I haven't.

Prof: Yet you still believe in Him?

Student: Yes.

Prof: According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says
your Krishna doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son?

Student: Nothing. I only have my faith.

Prof: Yes. Faith. And that is the problem science has.

Student: Professor, is there such a thing as heat?

Prof: Yes.

Student: And is there such a thing as cold?

Prof: Yes.

Student: No sir. There isn't.

(The lecture theatre becomes very quiet with this turn of events.)

Student: Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega
heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don't have anything
called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we
can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is
only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold.
Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of
it.

(There is pin-drop silence in the lecture theatre.)

Student: What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?

Prof: Yes. What is night if there isn't darkness?

Student: You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You
can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light.....But if
you have no light constantly, you have nothing and it's called darkness,
isn't it? In reality, darkness isn't. If it were you would be able to make
darkness darker, wouldn't you?

Prof: So what is the point you are making, young man?

Student: Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.

Prof: Flawed? Can you explain how?

Student: Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is
life and then there is death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the
concept of God as something finite, something we can measure.
Sir, science can't even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism,
but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as
the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as
a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it.

Now tell me, Professor. Do you teach tour students that they evolved from a
monkey?

Prof: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of
course, I do.

Student: Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?

(The Professor shakes his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the
argument is going.)

Student: Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and
cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavour, are you not
teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher?

(The class is in uproar.)

Student: Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor's brain?

(The class breaks out into laughter.)

Student: Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor's brain, felt
it, touched or smelt it?.....No one appears to have done so. So, according
to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science
says that you have no brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then
trust your lectures, sir?

(The room is silent. The professor stares at the student, his face unfathomable.)

Prof: I guess you'll have to take them on faith, son.

Student : That's it sir... The link between man & GOD is FAITH.

That is all that keeps things moving & alive.
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Old 10-12-2003   #5
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Re: Articles one must read.

thats so crazy it hurts!!!
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Old 11-06-2003   #6
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A Glass of Water? Put it DOWN!

A Glass of Water? Put it DOWN!

A lecturer was giving a lecture to his student on stress management.

He raised a glass of water and asked the audience, "How heavy do you think this glass of water is?"

The students' answers ranged from 20g to 500gm.

"It does not matter on the absolute weight. It depends on how long you hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it is Ok. If I hold it for an hour, I will have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you will have to call an ambulance. It is the exact same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

"If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, we will not be able to carry on, the burden becoming increasingly heavier. What you have to do is to put the glass down, rest for a while before holding it up again. We have to put down the burden periodically, so that we can be refreshed and are able to carry on. So before you return home from work tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it back home. You can pick it up tomorrow."

"Whatever burdens you are having now on your shoulders, let it down for a moment if you can. Pick it up again later when you have rested...."

Rest and relax.
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Old 12-17-2003   #7
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Fishing Story...!!!

Quote:

Fishing Story
The Japanese love fresh fish. However, the waters close to Japan have not held many fish for decades. So to feed the Japanese population, fishing boats got bigger and went farther than ever.The farther the fishermen went, the longer it took to bring in the fish.If the return trip took more than a few days, the fish were not fresh. The Japanese did not like the taste.To solve this problem, fishing companies installed freezers on their boats. They would catch the fish and freeze them at sea. Freezers allowed the boats to go farther and stay longer. However, the Japanese could taste the difference between fresh and frozen and they did not like frozen fish. The frozen fish brought a lower price.

So fishing companies installed fish tanks. They would catch the fish and stuff them in the tanks, fin to fin. After a little thrashing around, the fish stopped moving. They were tired and dull, but alive.

Unfortunately, the Japanese could still taste the difference.Because the fish did not move for days, they lost their fresh-fish taste. The Japanese preferred the lively taste of fresh fish, not sluggish fish.

So how did Japanese fishing companies solve this problem? How do they get fresh-tasting fish to Japan? If you were consulting the fish industry, what would you recommend?

Too Much Money
As soon as you reach your goals, such as finding a wonderful life partner,starting a successful company, paying off your debts or whatever, you might lose your passion. You don't need to work so hard so you relax.You experience the same problem as lottery winners who waste their money, wealthy heirs who never grow up and bored homemakers who get addicted to prescription drugs.

Like the Japanese fish problem, the best solution is simple. It was observed by L. Ron Hubbard in the early 1950's.
"Man thrives, oddly enough, only in the presence of a challenging environment." - L. Ron Hubbard

The Benefits of a Challenge
The more intelligent, persistent and competent you are, the more you enjoy a good problem.If your challenges are the correct size, and if you are steadily conquering those challenges, you are happy. You think of your challenges and get energized. You are excited to try new solutions. You have fun. You are alive!

How does the Japanese Fish Stay Fresh?
To keep the fish tasting fresh, the Japanese fishing companies still put the fish in the tanks. But now they add a small shark to each tank.The shark eats a few fish, but most of the fish arrive in a very lively state.The fish are challenged.

Recommendations:
Instead of avoiding challenges, jump into them. Beat the heck out of them. Enjoy the game.If your challenges are too large or too numerous, do not give up.Failing makes you tired. Instead, reorganize. Find more determination, more knowledge, more help.
(I liked this part very much. Very much relevant to what maharishi has said :))

If you have met your goals, set some bigger goals. Once you meet your personal or family needs, move onto goals for your group, the society, even mankind.

Don't create success and lie in it. You have resources, skills and abilities to make a difference.
Put a shark in your tank and see how far you can really go!
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