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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Peace through creativity

Bhanumathi Narasimhan, Hindustan Times

There are over seven billion people on this planet and an equal or greater number of thoughts and ideas born every moment. One can only wonder how an idea comes and creativity is created. For creativity, time is not a factor. Our brain has two hemispheres --- right and left. Science says that the left brain is associated with analysis and logic, whereas the right brain activity is connected to music, emotions and creativity.

In our normal day-to-day life, we tend to use our left-brain more often as we try to understand, question, judge people and situations around us. This creates an imbalance in the way we perceive the reality. Similarly, if we spend the entire day listening to music or singing songs, even that can make us dull and tired.

Creativity cannot arise in a mind that is out of balance or tired. This is where meditation helps. Spiritual practices like meditation take us to our inner realm, which is the basis of creativity. Meditation restores balance, brings centeredness, calms an agitated mind and refreshes and re-energises it.

Meditation creates a perfect field for ideas to flow. When all thoughts are in harmony with nature, such a mind is intuitive. This alignment needs to be nurtured through meditation. Even a creative person will find that the quality of his or her ideas change and improve as one meditates. When our mind is calm and relaxed, creativity wells up from within.

Often, a person in love experiences a surge of creativity. He writes poems, draws paintings and the like. And, when the attachment towards the subject of love subsides, the creativity also takes a downward trend. The secret is to make our attachment bigger. Refining and expanding our love to include the entire cosmos, sustains and nourishes our creative abilities.

Furthermore, the ideas that are born are beneficial for humanity. When this connection to the inner-net is firmly established, we become agents of peace with the ability to creatively find win-win solutions to the challenges that confront every individual and society.
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Fable but true

PP Wangchuk, Hindustan Times

Fables are not useless, imaginary stories. They may or may not be true accounts of happenings of miraculous things, but they do help one achieve miracles. For instance, the whole point in the power of faith, as Voltaire had said, is believing in what is beyond the power of reason to believe.

That means faith enables one to go beyond the so-called impossible means. No wonder, sages through the ages have told us that only the faithful can be the winners and the rest are left to rue. One can have faith in anything, not necessarily only in God. Having faith in one's own ability to overcome problems and do things with vision and determination can be as good as having faith in God. If you believe in the existence of God, then surrender yourself completely to God. But be sure that faith alone won't help you; you have to act too to please God! 

If faith can move mountains, then why can't the faithful achieve even the most impossible things? The logic: Faith keeps you always on the positive track and your action and behaviour are directed towards an end that not only gets you success but also a great sense of achievement.

Take this 'faithful' story. Legend has it that saint Thirunavukkarasar changed his faith and turned a Shiva devotee and faithful. The king, a Jain, did not like it and got so angry that he threw the saint into a burning lime kiln. But the saint came out unscathed. He was then thrown into the deep sea with a heavy stone tied to his body. This too failed as the stone turned into a boat to take the saint ashore. Though a fable, it makes one thing sure that faith helps one in all kinds of situations, particularly when one is in deep distress and finds all doors shut.

One must have faith to keep one's dreams alive.
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Thank you Lord

Kiran Sabharwal, Hindustan Times

Mahashivaratri is the most important festival for millions of devotees of Lord Shiva who offer special prayers to the lord of destruction on this day. It has a lot of significance in Hindu mythology. Mahashivaratri, the night of the worship of Shiva, occurs on the 14th night of the new moon during the dark half of the month of Phalguna (Feb / March).
It is celebrated to give reverence to Shiva. The important features of this religious function are fasting for 24hours  and meditating through the night.

There are many legends regarding this festival: On this day, Shiva was married to Parvati. So Shiva devotees celebrate Mahashivaratri as the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. During Mahashivaratri, Shiva Tandava (Dance of Lord Shiva) is performed which symbolises union of Nature and Divine. Natraja holds fire in one hand which represents the fire element and his open hair represents the air element.

It is said that 'abhishek', which is performed during the Puja of Lord Shiva on the day of Shivratri, destroys thousands and millions of sins and our bodies and minds become pure and we get ready for salvation.

At night the celebration reaches its peak. Devotees stay in temple premises throughout the night and perform Keertans. After every three hours, the Shiva Linga is worshipped by the temple priest and chanting of the mantra 'Om Namah Shivaya' and ringing of temple bells creates a religious and devotional atmosphere all around. Then on the next morning, the devotees break their fast by having 'prasad'.

It is also believed that on Shivratri, Lord Shiva became 'Neelkantham' or the blue-throated by swallowing a deadly poison that came up during the churning of 'Kshir Sagar' or the milky ocean. The poison was so deadly that even a drop in His stomach, which represents the universe, would have annihilated the entire world. Hence, He held it in His neck, which turned blue due to the effect of poison. Shivratri is, therefore, also a day of thanksgiving to the Lord for protecting us from annihilation.
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