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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The call of mountains

Sami Rafiq, Hindustan Times

Mountains have always been a source of mystery and wonder for me. During my childhood, my visits to the mountains endeared me to the climate and the peace of the hills. 
I often questioned myself as to why mountains are associated with spirituality. A recent visit to the Vaishno Devi shrine gave me the answer.

We had gone to the mountains burdened with worries and concerns. But as the car climbed up the circuitous route to Katra and Vaishno Devi, it became cooler and the verdant green mountain with the shrine of the Mata began to beckon us. I felt rejuvenated and forgot my sickness because of the sacred aura of the shrine, its sublimity and etherealness everywhere. I felt attracted to read about Mata Vaishno Devi and her whereabouts. What I learnt about her was that she was actually a girl who had a mind inclined towards God since childhood.  She had set her heart and soul on marrying Sri Ram who met her when she was deep in meditation. When she told this to Ram, he said that he was already married, but if she managed to recognise him in disguise, he would surely marry her.

She was unable to recognise him but Ram did not disappoint her and promised to marry her in a future life.

What, however, left an indelible impression on my mind was her deep and boundless love for Ram. What else is enlightenment but the realisation of love at the highest level?

 The aura and tranquility of love was apparent in people who came from far and near to visit the shrine.

The long winding route around the steep mountain did not tire them or deter them.
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Hope against hope

PP Wangchuk, Hindustan Times

When Emerson said that one must hitch one’s wagon to a star, he had a telling point of inspiration. No man in history could achieve greatness without stubborn hope soaring high into the sky.

In a different wavelength, Samuel Johnson said hope itself is a “species of happiness; and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords.”

And we know that hope not only sustains life, it keeps one happy and positive under all kinds of stressful conditions. One has to hope for the best and then be carefree.  Because hope is the driving force that keeps you struggling without letting you fall a prey to pessimism.

An international researchers’ team, led by the University of Queensland, conducted studies in Australia and China for over nine years and found that those who had hopes for the future lived happier and better. With a sample of 10,000 people, the study showed that people who overestimated how rosy their future could be never had any reason for grumbling and they had all the reasons to live merrily.

Let’s admit that one who hopes against hope never accepts defeat. She/he somehow gets the best ways and means to come out successful in what earlier looked impossible. Such people may be quite rare but they are there.

We say that some people have done miracles but these ‘miracles’ are nothing but the result of their constant and sincere struggle. As someone said, such miracles are fruits of hope in spite of having all the ground lost.

One has to realise what is lost can be regained. Keep in mind that hope with action is the greatest weapon in getting one’s hopes realised.

Remaining cheerful is the key to keeping hopes alive. Before one loses hope, one should repeat Henry Wordsworth Longfellow’s mantra, “The setting of a great hope is like the setting of the sun. The brightness of life is gone.”

Let us take this opportunity to be prisoners of hope (Zechariah) so that we are masters of our own destiny and have no qualms with life.
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