Friday, August 29, 2008

.....and so it is

“Lady the waters are choppy
Do not step in”
The lifeguard cautions

He does not know
Across a thousand miles
The stormy seas
Have beckoned me

To teach me
Their lesson of salt
And grit

To tell me
Not to take the turning of

To show that
The rough waves meet
The same fate
As the smooth ones

Both are but passing spray
Dashed upon the shore of
In froth and foam

Both joy and sorrow
Are ephemeral

Mere ruffles on the
great ocean
of Being

My sorrow I surrender
To the sea
As I walk away

Memories of joy too
I have cast upon the breeze

I know now
The great vastness
In its depths
Is churning up
New experiences
Specially for me.

- By The Shores
- A poem by Manjul Bajaj

….and so it is with life
Cast upon this earth
An ocean composed of many drops
Of waves of laughter and joy
Followed by the ebb of tide
Where sorrow resides

….and so it is with life
That sorrow and joy are partners
One following the other
Oft times

…and so it is with life
That the only permanent is
Impermanence itself
They come and go.
What is, isn’t
What isn’t, is
Or is yet to be
But surely will.

Sitting by the shore
Trying to catch each wave
Between the fingers
Alas! It ne’er will be

…and so it is with life
Giving birth to the new
At the same time
Shedding what is old
Yet, the point of beginning
And the end
Are same.

All is in the passing
This life; this death too
One moment birthing the next
All are illusions.

One strung to the other like beads
In a mala
One after another
A continuous process
No beginning, no end
Just a wheel, a chakra

Forever moving….
Forever moving….

.... and so it is with life
Forever moving

- …and so it is - By Julia Dutta, a poem inspired by By The Shores

Poet Manjul Bajaj writes in English, Urdu, Hindi. She has edited and co-edited respectively, two volumes of poetry, which include, among many other poets, verses by Julia Dutta as well. The two volumes, In Many Voices (Price: Rs 125) and Here And Now (Price: Rs 495) can be bought through DelhiPoetree Email: Mobile 91-09313120050

To view By The Shores on YouTube and listen to the sound of the ocean :

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

In Bad Faith

“The entire Kandhmal district has been placed under indefinite curfew and the government has issued shoot at sight orders.

The order was issued after violent clashes between the Vishwa Hindu Parishad workers and local Christian groups over the past few days.

Atleast 14 people are reported dead in the district although the official number stands at ten. There have been no further clashes on Wednesday but a retired DGP's house was attacked near Raikia.

Hundreds of policemen have been deployed to prevent any more violence from taking place.

The trouble started after VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati was killed on Saturday night. The saffron group then retaliated by setting fire to an orphanage killing a worker and injuring a priest.

The police say there is no conclusive evidence that Maoists were involved in the attack on Saturday.

Two people have been arrested but their identities have not been revealed. Many others including Christian activist leaders are being interrogated.” ( )

No evidence, no proof, just blind faith that VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati, who was speaking against Christian conversion policies in the state of Kandhamal District in Orissa.
However, in Face The Nation with Sagarika Ghose, on the night of 26th August, 2008, a fiery RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav, who was infuriated at allegations that Hindu groups were targeting missionaries and Christians in Orissa said - “The situation is quite different. Hindus are at the receiving end. A highly respected saint was killed. There is enough evidence to prove the complicity of Christian organisations in the murder.”

Reverend Dr Richard Howell, general secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India rejected Madhav’s claim. He said conversion has become an excuse to attack Christians and malign them. “The VHP gets the maximum amount of money India than Christians. Christians have used money to serve and empower the poor and marginalized. Not a single case has been proved till date in the courts of forced conversion (by Christian groups),” he said.

The issue is not religion but poverty, said Professor Mohanty. “Kandhamal is one of the poorest regions in the country. Seventy per cent people here are below the poverty line; 51 per cent are tribals and 16 per cent are Dalits,” he said.

“It is a situation of poverty and landlessness, both among Hindus and Christians. Orissa has become the experiment ground of globalisation, economic reforms, mega projects and Hindutva politics.”

Hindu groups are not to blame for the violence and the state is in turmoil because of Christian missionaries, alleged Madhav. “Every conversion in Orissa has to be registered with the local police or magistrate but no such thing happens. Where is the chance for Hindutva politics when missionaries are going about aggressively and alluring people,” he said.

The Sangh Parivar doesn’t hate conversions as much as it does Christians, alleged Howell. “An ideology of hatred has been propagated by some sections of the Sangh Parivar. They don’t hate Christian service; it is the very identity of being a Christian that is hated. There are just 2.4 per cent Christians in India and we too have contributed to the growth of the country.”

Christians are not hated, insisted Madhav. “Every religion is respected in this country but Christians criticise and attack Hindu religion. It this attitude of Christians which is leading to tension in this country,” he alleged.

The communal divide in Orissa’s tribal districts is the result of poverty and “competitive politics”, said Mohanty. “The shrinking rights of tribals over forests and land and the coming of mega projects is the economic issue there. They are all poor there and poverty is being diverted to communalism. It is competitive politics,” he said.

Madhav called such an analysis wrong. “There is a clear cut division between Hindus and Christians and it is because of their (missionaries) wrongdoing and Congress leaders. A holy person is killed and the very next day the Congress tables a no-confidence motion against the state government—what does it suggest? The Congress is a part of a larger political conspiracy,” he alleged.

Howell announced Christian institutions in the country would close on August 29 to protest against the attacks in Orissa. “I hope the civil society wakes up before it’s too late,” he said.
Madhav said Christian groups were free to shut their schools and institutions but they must also shut “proselytization” activity.

“Do not make this a Christian versus Hindu issue. We must go into the sources of violence,” said Mohant

My Observations:

This is not a problem of two religions clashing together. It is a case of caste dynamics at play. What Hindus need to do is rescue the downtrodden from their abject poverty and the influence of casteism. Rather than make it a political issue. If thousands of humans who have no food to eat and no money to spare, no education they can rely on, are turning to Christianity, where they are released from the evil grips of man-made caste divisions and are respected as humans and their children, given education and food to eat, only Hindus are to blame for this.

And in times to come, the Dalit movement in India will gain power. So will many of the poverty stricken turn to Christianity. After all, dignity is what everyone loves to have and it is a basic human right. Lets face it, at the end of the day, people need food in their stomachs, clothes on their bodies and a shelter over their heads and all these come at a cost. If to save oneself from the clenching grip of poverty, a human is willing to take on to Christianity, which promises equality, why blame it on conversion? Self respect, is not an exclusive property of the rich. It is again a basic human need.

Therefore, you bigoted mongrels, who in the name of religion will shun your own poor brethren, clean up your own home first?

If Hindus in whatever name they choose to call themselves, VHP or RSS, are unable to help the poor because their agenda is such that the vote bank is dependent on poverty and lack of education of the people in their constituency, then let them face the consequences thereof.

In the meantime, it would help them to remember the services given in the name of Jesus, by illustrious souls such as Mother Theresa. Or the Sisters and Fathers, at numerous schools and colleges across the country, where thousand of children are educated and made into proud citizens of India. Institutions we can truly be proud of, where education walks hand-in-hand with Faith, no matter, which it might be. Let them not forget that some of the best schools and Colleges are run by Christian missionaries, many of whom have left their countries to live in India.

What has been the so-called VHP and RSS contribution, if I may ask, which can match the zeal of Christian missionaries?

I am not a Christian. But have received enormously from the Christian institutions, friends and family. I love them all.

I only dislike people who say they are Christian Brahmins.

I only dislike people who say they are Christian Brahmins.

Then I know, where the disease has started from.

Blind faith? Fragile peace blown to bits in Orissa

Shoot-at-sight order issued in Kandhmal

Orissa fallout: Christian schools, colleges shut across India

PM terms Orissa violence a 'national shame'

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Doctor, Heal Thyself

Thank God it’s coming finally!

Doctors will soon get a template for treatment as the Union ministry of health and family welfare has begun drafting a set of standard treatment guidelines (STG) at the national level in an attempt to bring uniformity in medical care across the country.

Among other crucial directives, it will tell doctors which drugs to prescribe and which not to for various diseases. And in a bold move, it will recommend that doctors follow a line of treatment that doesn't involve prescribing drugs when medication is unnecessary. Or definitely too expensive when cheaper varieties, which guarantee the same results, are available.

In India, Doctors have been misusing their power over the patient starting from simple remedies to complicated ones.

As soon as a patient arrives at a Clinic, the Doctor’s mind begins to tick away as to how much monies can be extracted from the patient. By way of exorbitant fees, expensive prescriptions, unnecessary tests, hospitalization and ad-on. Patients are paranoid to visit Doctors. Add to that the regular practice – instilling fear in the minds of the patients, so that he never goes against the will of the Doctor. You never know, it might be a dangerous disease cropping up…it could be anything….etc, etc. Basically, unethical practices that go against the Hippocratic oath.

Indeed, most Doctors have become more diseased than the patients, with a virus, which has no cure - greed!

It is time the government woke up to the horrors of these ill practices.

Naturally, many of us have turned to the alternative medicine. While, Naturopathy, Homeopathy, Colour Therapy, even Reiki, is practiced as an alternative, one that is making headlines is Ayurvedic medicine. Yet again there is a danger. All and everyone seem to be selling Ayurvedic medicines. And nobody tells you the truth, because perhaps they themselves do not know. Mercury, which is one of the components of some Ayurvedic drugs, if not used in the correct measure can leave residue in your kidneys. This will cause further problems in the long run. No body tells you that if you take any drugs, Ayurvedic or allopathic, it is imperative to drink more water, in order that your system can flush out any residue from these drugs.

I prefer to stay with Himalaya Drug Company, whose research methodology I know and whose medicines I have tried and found effective. Plus, they lend themselves to free consultation. Or go to an Ayurvedic doctor, who has a Degree under his arm and whose Certificate I can see framed and hung on his Clinic wall. A Ramdev Baba will not do for me, thank you.

Unless a disease is hereditary by nature, diet, exercise and a few other small things can manage the disease simply. One and a half litre of water, consumed within the first two hours and before breakfast, every day, does a fine cleansing job. If the water is luke warm, even better. I, shuddered at the thought of drinking almost two litres of water, first thing in the morning, but after seven months of doing so, I can vouch for it. It is perhaps the most natural way to get rid of toxins in our body. We all know it is not only the virus outside that causes diseases, quite often it is the toxins inside which needs to get flushed out too. Or else, we might breaks into diseases.

Until 1989, I used to smoke forty cigarettes a day. After a great struggle, to quit smoking, I finally did it. Naturally, when I completed a year of no smoking, I was thrilled. But my joy was short lived, when I was told that the amount of toxins accumulated in my body over the last so many years of smoking, would take twenty years to actually get flushed out of my system. Only then could I say, that I was nicotine free!

Toxins not only flow in our blood, but they lodge themselves in our tissues as well. Hence, if the blood is cleaned, then the toxins come out from the tissues and flow into the bloodstream and get flushed out. This is a continuous process. Why not help the system then – Drink water! Abundantly!

Most of what we learn from outside is already available to us. Or we already know about it. Sample this one –

This Tibetan detox tip, for any exercise that draws a sweat, is so deeply rooted in common sense you wonder why you hadn’t thought of it yourself. You’ll be way ahead of the game in trying to rid your body of all the pollution we live with just by adding these two simple steps to your normal workout.

Rub sesame oil into the skin before exercise.

Following exercise, before showering, rub your skin with a lentil or chickpea flour to pull out the toxins that get attracted into the oil from the exercise. Shower as normal.( Health and Green Living )

Frankly, I could have slapped myself! This is exactly what I do when I have an oil bath or have a good message by the local malishwali!

Don’t you too?

Chemical Ally
Outlook Magazine August 25, 2008

Himalaya Drug Company

Note: The views expressed here are the authors only. They in no way suggest any treatment. Just what has worked for her.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gone With The Wind

Bob Dylan’s classic title “ …..the answer my friend is blowing in the wind” is truer than ever in present times when the whole world is looking for alternate renewable energy. ”

India ranks fourth amongst the wind-energy-producing countries of the world, after Germany, Spain and USA. The country’s estimated potential is around 45000 MW at 50m above ground level. By 2012, the country aims to produce 5000 MW of it. Wind-farms have been installed in more than nine states. Also, wind-solar and wind-diesel hybrid systems have been installed at a few places.

Wind power is a renewable energy source, which has no waste by-products, and causes no pollution. But it is quite ‘unpredictable’. When wind speed is low, less electricity is generated.

With such high hope, really we should have been doing much better, but for….

Maharashtra! It is second only to Tamil Nadu in terms of installed capacity to generate wind power; as on March 31 this year: 1,756 mw. The potential? A whopping 3,650 mw in 28 feasible sites. So what happened?

If you haven’t guessed yet, let me tell you what happened.

The sector has received huge incentives and tax holiday which pushed the business houses to take up the offer with the view of utilizing the above, starting wind farms and not meeting the optimum production required.“The incentives offered are a win-win situation for wind farm developers,” explains Mahesh Zagade, director general of Pune-based Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (meda), the state’s nodal agency promoting non-conventional and renewable sources of energy.

“We offer a differential wind power tariff of Rs 3.50 per unit with annual escalation of 15 paisa for 13 years. The sales tax subsidy has also helped. Central incentives—an 80 per cent accelerated depreciation, 10-year tax holiday—and indirect tax benefits, such as on custom and excise duties, altogether make it highly viable for business houses to enter this emerging business.”

Till 1993, the then Union ministry of non-conventional energy sources (mnes), now the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (mnre), provided capital subsidy to set up wind farms. Subsequently, onus shifted to state governments. The Union government, however, continued to provide accelerated depreciation (80 per cent in the first year), virtually allowing an investor to write off its capital in a year, and a 10-year tax holiday

Now you know! Business houses have been starting Wind farms for tax relief rather than wind production, which is abysmally low at only 11. 7% only. And what’s more, companies like The Pune based Suzlon Energy Ltd, demanded and got Rs 58 crore as evacuation arrangement for its three wind farms.

Not only that “In April 2006, the i-t department in Pune began investigating Suzlon’s wind-farms as part of a nationwide operation—spanning Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Daman and Diu, Pondicherry, Delhi and Karnataka—to check for false depreciation claims, and ascertain if equipment suppliers and state electricity boards connived with equipment owners to manipulate such claims. i-t authorities believe windmill owners make false depreciation claims to evade taxes; to the tune of Rs 700-1,000 crore.”

In places like Dhule where wind farming is promoted hugely, the people of the place are agitating against Sulzon Energy Ltd. Says Raghunath Chavan, a 50-year-old villager from Dahivel village in Sakhritaluka, on whose land now a wind mill stands, “Suzlon had initially promised us a clinic and power supply to the villages/hamlets wherever towers were being constructed. Also, at least one family member was supposed to get work at a minimum wage of Rs 68 per day. None of these promises has been met till date. We continue to live in the dark while we see our land being used to erect windmills to generate power for the cities.” “Government has connived with Suzlon to transfer the land. This is adivasi land and must be handed over,” says Kishore Dhamale, coordinator of a local ngo, Satyashodhak Grameen Kashtakari Sabha, campaigning for land rights of adivasis and forest dwellers for the last 40 years.Since 1980, local tribals have been demanding that land be regularised in their name. The first petition was filed in 1982; the same land, alleges Dhamale, has been given to Suzlon in a matter of days. When the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 was finally passed, it gave a ray of hope. “But it has been thwarted by allocating land for Suzlon’s wind farm,” says Chavan.Villagers allege Suzlon is using muscle power to suppress the adivasi campaign. On July 14, 2007, police burst tear-gas shells and lathi-charged protesting villagers, injuring many. 18 people, including one girl, were detained for three days.Villagers also accuse the company of malpractice such as forging signatures of village leaders. According to Dhamale, the document, which bears the sign of the approval by the gram panchayat, has the signature of the sarpanch in English, whereas she is illiterate. Further, activists allege huge tracts have been deforested; close to 35,000 trees were cut in a matter of few days. the wind farms because, wherever the farms are situated, the companies are usurping the land.

In the light of the above, while we are desperate for alternate, renewable environmentally friendly energy, even if we have the capacity to produce it, in India it seems corruption, will fan the winds more than solutions.


Gobar Times
Fanning An Alternative, Down To Earth August 12, 2008 issue
Must Watch: Clean Air Technologies
To know more about Sulzon Energy Ltd visit
Learn more...
India Environment Portal

Thursday, August 07, 2008

DDA flats: Delhi's Disaster Analysis

5,010 flats of one to three bedrooms spread across Delhi whose plinth area range from 39.39 Sq meters (393 sq feet approximately) to 158.00 Sq meters (1,580 sq feet) with a price band ranging from Rs 7.20 – 77.80 lakhs plus extra for freehold property registration, and of course additional other expenses that will be incurred before taking possession of the flat.

Besides, out of these 5,010 flats:
17.5% (877) flats are reserved for Schedule caste
7.5% (376) flats are reserved for Scheduled tribes
1% (50) for war widows
1% (50) for physically handicapped persons
1% (50) for ex-servicemen.
10%(501) of these flats 5010 in number will go to DDA officials which is never publicised

Total: 1,904 flats reserved for different categories. The rest, 3,106 flats available for others.
There is no mention of single women, divorced/separated women, or women who are living in Hostels or as paying guests/on rented premises, who desperately require accommodation of their own, living in a dreadful, dangerous, and aggressive city like Delhi.

Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) magnanimous offer will be gulped up by thousands of Real Estate Agents, booking in different names and selling it to desperate-for-housing public at a huge premium. DDA knows that. But if you are lucky, even 1% you will land a flat, which will be in shoddy state, and if you want to occupy the flat, then you will have to spend an additional 5 – 10 lakhs on the flat, before it is livable in. After all DDA has warned buyers that it is in As-Is-where-is-Basis. So be ready to face the perennial problems that will surface after possession until you have breathed your last.

Yet, thousands will flock to buy these flats on grounds that it is the best possible offer, in comparison to private builders whose constructions may be better (or at least there is a show of it), but are beyond the capacity of the common man. Please note, as of today, the common man is not to be mixed up with the middle class of yesteryears, who are now burgeoning into the opulent category.

Therefore, even if you get lucky, and you have scraped the last pai from your Bank Account to have a roof above your head, be prepared to live with people from the above categories who will be your neighbours. And you had better shut up, because for every little reason, you will be reminded that you are from the Braminical caste, or the elite classes, who have been looking down and oppressing them for centuries. You may then, raise a polite hand and whisper gently, “When is it that I oppressed you?” and pat will come the answer, “Your forefathers did! And for that you have to pay”!

The story is the same everywhere. There is a surge of the then downtrodden in every sphere of our lives. Say education, say, work, or even in the day to day life of a common man, who eyes are inundated by likes of Mayawati, whose status has begun to dot every square inch of Lucknow, I am told to. In Institutes considered prestigious in the country, like Indian Institute of Advance Studies in Shimla, the Dalits are pushing for dominant position, just by virtue of their caste.

But the purpose of this post is not about crying foul about the then downtrodden masses. I have a serious question, grimmer than the highest metaphysical query – should I, join the aspiring millions who will be handing over their application to DDA latest by 16th September 2008 in the hope of being doled out a roof over one’s head?

I used to have two flats, but now I only have one in Kolkata. I bought this three years ago, from my brother at a rather competitive rate. I work in Delhi, but have no desire to make this city my home after my working life. I am dreadfully distrustful of medical professionals here and know for sure that in the event of any major sickness, I will go to Kolkata where my family is and where my youngest brother’s wife is a doctor. And albeit Kolkata’s medical facilities and professionals may well reverberate what we see in Delhi, but I believe that I will not become a guinea pig in the hands of the doctors, as my sister-in-law is a doctor! Besides, despite having my own flat there, my brother has reserved a flat for me, right under his, in case I want to stay close to them in future.

This brings me to the next point – what about my partnership then? It continues, even if we are in two different places, as it is now. In fact, the separation has accelerated me onto the area I love most in my life – the spiritual path.

So, in the context of the above, should I join the hundreds of DDA flat aspirants? Or shall I fall back on another job I know so well – join the unscrupulous businessmen, and apply nevertheless. And if I get lucky, I know, I will be rich!

Which then is the better of the two devils that plague me at the moment, one, the extreme danger of being clubbed with Brahmins and get spat upon with vile attitude of being oppressor, or the never ending greed for more money?

Of course I forgot to say, in so far as the mind is concerned, it is Never enough, whether it is for more money or more curses from the surroundings.

The seeker of suffering the curses as well as the suffering that comes from wealth management, and fear psychosis that follows from either state, begins and ends with me. There cannot be anyone else to suffer the consequences. Including the loss of interest on the Rs 1,50,000 deposit money I have to pay, and which if I don’t get lucky will have to wait for six months to return from DDA. And if I lose it in the post, then I have had it!

It will be like looking for a needle in a haystack! Or in the 5,000 flats, even one of which did not come to me, due to the misfortune of my not being born to the then downtrodden, but now elite class.

Besides, all these flats are basically defaulters flats, I will have to hire my own Lawyer to check that the papers DDA is doling out is authentic and this is not a double sale and if I know Delhi right, I can't be sure about either, neither DDA nor the Lawyers! They are all hand-in-glove.

Therefore, if I must, it will be only at my own risk!

Rs 7 lakh to Rs 77 lakh, DDA’s housing scheme from Aug 6

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Free Soul

On the surface of things, Bengal’s elite have nothing similar to Delhi’s elite. But the three days of Vedanta classes I attended proved otherwise.

While Bengal always stood for simple living and high thinking, Delhi thrives on opulent living and low thinking.

The class led by Pravrajika Vivekprana from Sri Sarada Math, on Vedanta as explained by Sw. Vivekananda, seemed to “lack the luster” of the city in which it was held. It often happens, that the one giving the lecture, out-shines the blinding glitter emanating from the audience, from their sparkling diamonds and shimmering silks, with a personality clothed in more shine and dazzle, so much so that the audience, albeit, shining like a thousand midday suns, may be found wearing Ray Ban shades, in the middle of a late evening lecture inside a Hall!

But here was a sharp contrast – a very subdued sannyasin, emanating the personality of Sw. Vivekananda and yet so, simply dressed in her saffron, un-ironed sari with a chaddar, that in fact, she stood out for different reasons – the lack eye-blinding looks of both the Delhite and Bengalis-living-in Delhi looks. For I must warn you that the Bengali elite in the audience, shone as well, although they may have worn tater saris with large zari borders with their necks and wrists strangulated by the yellow metal – yes, all that glitters is gold, you know of course. And in that sharp contrast of matter, both of body and mind, the class went on for three days. Pearls of wisdom fell – the lectures delivered in New York, 1896 by Sw Vivekanda, The Free Soul.

“There is but one Infinite Being in the universe, and that Being appears as you and as I; but this appearance of divisions is after all a delusion. He has not been divided, but only appears to be divided. This apparent division is caused by looking at Him through the network of time, space and causation.”

At a very scientific level, we know today that all the three mentioned, i.e., time, space and causation, is merely the creation of man, because, without these we are unable to understand the world around us. We need time, to differentiate events, we need space to differentiate objects including, subject-object phenomenon, and we need causation to understand, that one thing is responsible for the creation of another. There is a cause, behind an effect. But, our ancient texts, The Vedas and today’s science have proved that all three are false premises but, we must create these in order to function.

This then brings us to a mighty problem. How then do we explain the origin of the earth and also our own selves?

The concept of Vedanta is also very simply explained in three states. Jagrat, swapna, sushupti. Awake, dreaming and deep sleep.

In the waking state, all things exist. We see the world around us, the houses, the trees, the glittering audience in the Hall, or the subdued sannyasin, in saffron clothing and high thinking. In a dream, one is even able to recreate the same and many other events, because, the mind has picked up impressions of the surroundings enough to make sometimes very coherent dreams and sometimes, fuzzy ones. But in deep sleep, which is a state we sometimes experience, when we wake up in the morning, and say, I had a dreamless sleep and I slept so well, all disappear - the house, the tree, the glittering audience or the subdued sannyasin, even the dreams! This is the state of sushupti, or what Vedantins call deep sleep. Everything disappears in this state, except one thing. That one thing is the Self. Because, in a state where everything has disappeared, even the Self should have. But no, when we wake up, from deep sleep, we are still able to remember that we had a good sleep. Who is it who remembers? Vedantins have told us, it is the Self, the soul which is eternal, without beginning and without end, that is forever there, that Infinite Being which is our true Self.

“There is but one Infinite Being in the universe, and that Being appears as you and as I”.

We are in a state of perpetual dreaming and when we wake up, we realize, just as we realize when we wake up from sleep, that it was all a dream, no matter how factual it seemed while it lasted, there is no world, we are where we have always been, at the very Source itself. We are the Absolute, the eternal, all pervading Presence. There is nothing to do, nowhere to go. There never was a beginning nor will there be an end. We are in fact, The Free Soul.

“I was once traveling in the dessert in India. I traveled for over a month and always found the most beautiful landscapes before me, beautiful lakes and all that. One day I was very thirsty and I wanted to have a drink at one of the lakes; but when I approached that lake, it vanished. Immediately with a blow came into my brain, the idea that this was a mirage about which I had read all my life and then I remembered and smiled at my folly…..the next morning I again began my march and there was the lake and landscape, but with it immediately came the idea, this is a mirage.”- Sw Vivekananda in The Complete Works Of Vivekananda, Volume 3, chapter 6, page 9-10

Likewise, this life and everything around us, the good, the bad and the ugly – It is all a mirage and only when life is no more and the last breath is gone, we will realize, we were always The Free Soul, The Absolute.

So is Bengal's elite simple living and high thinking bejewelled eye-blinders and Delhi's opulent living and low thinking shimmering silks and dazzling diamond, brain drains!

NB: All quotations in this text are from The Complete Works Of Vivekananda, Volume 3, chapter 6
I request Dr Kanchana Natarajan, Reader in Indian Philosophy, Delhi University Kanchana to throw some light in this matter.