Food For Thought

Sunday, October 07, 2018

  • ‘ World - Rich and Poor ' - P.Natarajan.
    A nation’s wealth is the total sum of value of nation’s assets minus its liabilities. It refers to the total value of net wealth possessed by the citizens of the nation at a set point of time.  It also signifies the nation’s ability to take on debt and sustain spending.
    The 32nd annual Forbes list says that there are 2208 billionaires which includes 256 women compounding for a net worth of U.S.$ 9.10 trillion in the world. It is reported that Jeff Bezos of Amazon(54 years) is the richest person with U.S.$112 billion as net worth followed by Bill Gates (62 years) of Microsoft with U.S.$ 90 billions. ( Bill Gates was in the first position during 2014 to 2017 ). The 3rd, 5th, 8th, 9th and 10th richest persons in the world are in U.S.A., thus boosting the number of richest billionaires in America to 7 out of the first 10 in the world. The forbes list gives the name of 3rd richest as Warren Buffet of USA and 4th as Bernard Arnault of France. 585 billionaires are in U.S. and 476 in China and the youngest one is Mark Zuckerberg (33 years) of Facebook (US $71 Billion).

    The richest country is Luxembourg (GDP. US$:105803, followed by Switzerland 80591), Macau (77451), Norway (74941) and Ireland (70638) in this order. USA’s GDP , it is reported stands at US.$59501 (7th in the order).  The richest 20 countries in the world include 15 European Nations, the U.S., Canada, Bermuda and Australia. Ethiopia is the world’s poorest nation where the annual income of a person is stated to be US$100. The poorest 20 include 15 African Nations, Gaza, Nepal and Tajikistan. A great many nations are poor because they depend on one crop which if harvest fails brings disaster. 80% of entire world’s wealth is owned by only 12% of the people and most of them are citizens of U.S. and Europe.

    The countries which are fortunate enough to have very rich oil and gas reserves have been able to become very wealthy in spite of having only one raw material to trade. The classic example is South Arabia which is proud of being home for 10% of world’s known oil supplies and has prospered despite of having a harsh climate. Oslo has the highest cost of living and Tehran lowest, in the world. The factors contributing favourably for wealthiest countries can be grouped as:- (1) Having rich natural resources, (2) politically stable, (3) climate suitable for agriculture and industry, (4) educated population, (5) political will.
    As we see the world as rich and poor, it would be interesting to analyse the world population contributing for its wealth. If we could shrink the world’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, it would look like this:- 0.61 Asian; 0.13 African; 0.12 European; 0.09 south American and Caribbean; 0.05 U.S.A. and Canada. Whites 0.75 and non whites 0.25;  16 people as illiterate, 16 lack access to safe drinking water, 14 suffer from malnutrition, 47 live in town or cities, 1 will have college education, 8 will have internet at home, 17 under 18 years of age and 25 will have shelter to live. Thus emerges the picture of inequalities in many respects in the world.
    Having reviewed the inequalities in wealth for the different countries in the world, it would be refreshening to know 'why' of it and therefore, need arises to study the fundamentals of economics. Economics is a science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which has alternate uses. (Adam Smith’s definition who is known as father of Economics). (By way of illustration:)- Step into a big store or Supermarket like Walmart or Target. The store stocks a variety of stocks in large quantities. What we need to buy is limited and further limited by the resources and living space, what we can afford.. In other words, a decision what not to buy becomes essential. It involves choice. Economics is the study of scarcity and choice. We may need to buy, say, bananas. A banana grower in Costa Rica has to match his production of the fruit that is being demanded. Similarly a farmer in Iowa provides the corn which is wanted for breakfast by many. Many important economic relationship can be understood by the theory that each one of us depend upon many others and they intern depend on us.
    In the simplified economics model, Total Income = Total Spending.

    There is bound to be some savings when we adopt the policy of mixed economy. The equation can be rewritten as :-

    Total Income = Consumer Spending + Savings.

    Consumer spending also includes investment spending, Hence the equation is revised as:-

    Total Spending =  Consumer Spending + Investment Spending.

    Putting these together, we can arrive at:-

    Consumer Spending + Savings = Consumer spending + Investment  Spending

    Simplifying. The final equation becomes:-

    It is a basic accounting fact that savings equals Investment spending for the economy as a whole. Household sector can invest their accumulated savings into bonds, Loans, loan based Securities, Equities in the Stock Market. Owning a diversified portfolio would reduce risks.

    Rule of 70 is a mathematical formula that tells us how long it takes real GDP per capita or any other variable that grows gradually over time, to DOUBLE.

    Approximately No.of years to double = 70/annual growth rate of variable. If the real GDP per capita grows at 1% per year, it takes 70 years to double, if the rate is 7%, it will double in 10 yrs.
    India’s average annual growth rate of real GDP per capita is at 4.3% (1980-2010 ) ; China @ 8.9%; Ireland 3.2%; U.S.A. @ 1.7%; France @ 1.2% ( Source IMF; World Bank ).
    Let us now look how markets operate:-
    In the context of a Free Market, the price gets fixed where the demand and supply curve intersects. In a competitive market, no participants are large enough to have the power to set the price line. Markets often experience imperfect competition in the real world.
    In the virtual market, individual buyer and seller are not present while the trade takes place via intermediates and through electronic media /internet. The growing importance of e-commerce and electronic business is the order of the day.
    The industrial revolution has set the phase of economic growth in mining, construction, manufacturing industries. Commerce occupies more significant role due to the need for improved exchange and distribution of produce throughout the country as customers insist that timely delivery is the essence of the trade.

    Macro Economics ( the german word Macro means large) examines aggregate indicators of GDP, unemployment rate, national income, price indices and  inter relationship among the factors of economy. They also develop models to study the relationships between such factors as National Income; Output; Unemployment; Inflation; Stagflation; Savings; Investment; International trade and International Finance.
    Economics do has a say in our way of living. Let us not forget that our life is made of days. It is only in the days of our lives, we find peace, joy and healing.
    Just as a life is made of days, so as days made of moments. A life well lived is planted in the sweet soil of moments.
    Having the Life You Want by
    Being Present to the Life You Have

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

' Maker Faire '

‘ Maker Faire ’
  • P.Natarajan.

It is now almost a month since our arriving U.S. We find time running on high speed race as we build a schedule of visiting places, people and participating in events. Sunday, the 29 July 2018 saw us taking part in ‘Detroit Maker Faire’ at Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. The exhibition (Dearborn MI ) was open on July 28-29, 2018. ' Maker Faire ' is a gathering of tech enthusiasts, hobbyists, crafters, educators, tinkerers, commercial exhibitors and so on. All of these ‘makers’ come to ‘ Maker Faire’ and show what they have made , and to share what they have learned. Maker Faire was launched in 2016 in the Bay Area and in New York and later round the globe. About 200000 people annually visit the two flagship ‘Maker Faire’ places.

GE Digital is one of the proud participants, others include Henry Ford Motor Company, 3D Printing, Mathematica, Young Makers and Coding (Robotics) Ham Radio, Camp Pencil Point,  Viva Amiga, Modern Quilts, Tesla Coil Quartet, to mention a few.  The motivation for us to visit the Maker Fairer was GE Digital where our son works in Detroit MI.     
GE Digital, being a genius at play, exhibited a stall of  Virtual Reality on VIVE plus Aviation Technology, and related technological areas. Software development for VR System is their expertise or speciality.

We observed visitors to GE Digital Stall stood in a long queue to wear the Vive head system to see and wonder how much virtual reality show it was. The show carried the visitors on move across the blue ocean where number of Wind Mills creating a 12 MW power appeared as a virtual reality. There were such number of themes creating a wonderful display providing a memorable feast to the eyes with a refresher rate of 90 HZ and 110 degree field view and 1080 X 1200 pixels revolution for each eye.

Virtual Reality headset uses room scale tracking technology allowing the user to move in 3D space and use motion-tracked hand held controllers to interact with the environment. Access is available to an exclusive support line and a deluxe auto strap. A front facing camera allows the user to observe the surroundings without removing the head gear. The software used identifies the moving or static objects in the room and acts as a part of a chaperone by creating a virtual wall display to shield the user from any obstacles.
Vive base stations, which serve as lighthouse tracking system, consist of 2 black boxes and create a 360 degrees of virtual space to a 15 feet by 15 feet radius.
As we were about to leave the pavilion, good news was received that GE Digital was adjusted as the best stall in Make Faire and my son being one of the key players in the ‘ VR Show’ was doubly happy for the sustained efforts put in by their team. A piece of information I may say here was that our grandson (8 years old ) sat in the 3D printing stall and got his name ‘ NEEL’ printed with the help of the coaches in the stall.

A special mention needs to be made about the exhibition by Ford Motor company  for the fantastic row of cars aligned in rows where they had drawn the attention of the visitors by boldly displaying the special security devices built into the ‘  LINCOLN ’ limousines for use by different Presidents of United States of America from time to time.

There were other attractions in the ‘Maker Faire’ like magic show, circus events,’ Fireball Emission’ through tall chimneys erected specially for letting the fire and smoke high into the sky.This game was played by a group of children by throwing a ball at the same time targeting the center of concentric circles placed in front of them, As the ball touched the individual targets, ‘a ball of fire’ emanated from the respective chimney with a thud while the boys applauded for the success of their combined group actions.  

We moved to the lunch area earmarked for the Makers and had a refreshing lunch with soup, pizza, salad and a soft drink. We left home by 9am. and it was almost 6pm. when we returned home. A good day and a good outcome to share with my friends.



Tuesday, July 17, 2018

'Harmony is Virtue'

‘Harmony is  Virtue’
  • P.Natarajan.

A day before, we had been to IKEA in Canton MI and the first thing attracted me was the slogan board welcoming the visitors. It read “ Welcome to IKEA, It is great to see you”. As we went around shopping, we entered a ‘model living room’. Two other apt displays struck me one reading as “ The Living room is a Place where Life Happens”. and the other “ A Big Sofa to Bring Us All Together”. A quote immediately transpired in my mind. It is about harmony and I remember it right “ Harmony is when the sum is greater than its parts”. Pythagoras, the renowned mathematician, has written
“ Virtue is Harmony”. Visit to IKEA has prompted me to take up this essay titled as “Harmony is Virtue”. Pythagoras saying reminds me that maths and music have harmony and when you play music, you feel like solving a maths problem.

The Universe is complete and whole. The people are just a microscopic part of the Universe. Each of us is complete and whole as well, as we are, who we are and where we are.  We live with integrity. We live in harmony with fellow human beings. We are conscious about what we say and what we do.

How we lead our inner life is reflected in our outer life also. Negative energy and such associated thoughts block the harmonious path. Course correction is imperative for success.

Balancing act is another requirement of keeping harmony. There are ups and downs, success and failure in the journey of life. We learn by experience the balancing act and not to get disheartened or cowed down. We may have to go for counselling in extreme cases to overcome depression.

Change is the order of the day. The Sun rises and falls. The Moon waxes and wanes. The seasons change periodically. We learn to live with the changing patterns and time to live in harmony with the nature.

Harmony is to live in Einstein’s time. As work expands, Time also expands. We can expand time by doing what we love and condense by doing the opposite, This mantra when faithfully followed keep us in harmony without remorse. We realize that we live in the present moment, neither in the past nor in the future. The present is a gift to us, To survive in peace,harmony, united and strong, we must have one people, one nation and one flag. Each gift of nature possesses its own radiant energy and bound together by cosmic energy. In work places, man and machine need to be in harmony.

Living in harmony is a conscious choice of how we want to live. Happiness is when what you think, what you say,and what you do are in harmony. When we abide by law we create beauty and harmony. When we don’t, disharmony and chaos bound to prevail. For instance harmonics in power system in current or voltage arises with non linear loads and heats up the equipment, conductor, and the likes.

Accord, amity, agreement, peace, amiability, unity, rapport, like mindedness are synonymous to harmony. Harmony helps the healing process.

I wish to remember two quotes to sum up the significance of harmony:-
  1. “ When there is righteousness in heart, there is beauty in character. When there is beauty in character, there is harmony in home. When there is harmony in home, there is harmony in the nation. When there is harmony in nation, there is peace in the world.” - A.P.J.Abdul Kalam.
  2. “ Music creates harmony out of the chaos, rhythm imposes unanimity upon the divergent, melody imposes continuity upon the disjointed and harmony imposes compatibility upon the incongruous” - Yehudi Menuhin


Friday, May 11, 2018

The Time Dimension


'The Time Dimension'

The future, however, different may be, can be reached only from the present. It is imperative to consider both the present and the future as an entity for analysis. It will not be wise to risk disaster this year for the sake of grandiose future. Time dimension becomes important when there is an impending task on hand. This phenomenon is set forth by no less a person than Lord Krishna himself who declares he will take avatars by pronouncing " SAMBHAVAMI YUGE YUGE " in Bhagavad Gita (4.8). He thus makes 'sankalpa' to protect the good and destroy the evil, as and when required.

Time never poses as a constraint for the ' Achievers '. They work with a mission and are more conscious at the work when they even forget time. ' Life - Time ' awards are announced in recognition to the distinguished scholars, artists, or Sports Personnel. In contrast the lazy section constantly looks at the watch to know when the siren would blow to announce the end of the shift . The time is deemed to be idle in such cases.

'Waiting Time' is another interesting phenomenon. Clothes wait in soaps, injured wait in slings, patients in beds. The waiting time turns out to be crucial at many instances. Mothers wait anxiously for the return of the children from the place of studies, lovers wait in distress for their partners to join, expecting mothers wait longing for the birth of the new-born, new graduates wait in hope for a good placement, the farmers wait in prayer for the rain. Likewise people undergo the test of time in new circumstances. It is time that a batsman comes good lest he may not find a birth in the cricket 11 for the forth coming T20I.

Time is a great healer. People tend to forget the enmity, The patients get well and the past agony is forgotten. Sometimes 'silence' over a period of time over an issue may be interrupted as an acceptance or as a concurrence.

There is a well known magazine in the name of 'TIME'. The magazine keeps time with the 'time'.
TIME is deemed to be a chakra and is called as the 'Kala-Chakra' or  'Wheel of Time'. The cyclic nature gets reflected in the measurement of Time as 'Varsha', Yugas, Kalpa and so on. The age of the Universe, as of now, reckoned from the time of its evolution is 13.80 billion years.

Time Dimension can well be understood from the following popular quotes:-
(1) "Yesterday is gone, Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only Today. Let us begin " (Mother Teresa)
(2) "To say I don't have time, is like saying I don't want to " ( Lao Tzu.)
(3) You can have it, just not all at once. ( Oprah Winfrey)
(4) "Time you enjoy wasting is not a wasted time" ( M.Troly-Curtin )
(5) " I wish it need not happened in my time". ( JRR Tolkein )
(6) " Time heals all wounds " (R.F. Kennedy )
(7) "Never put off till tomorrow, what You can do today".( anonymous)

Time is the greatest mystery. In its lap exist all other mysteries. Time machine is eternal.
The ' Big Ben ' ticks, the music chimes, the time runs, and the day gets over. Tomorrow, a dawn again, is after all another day.


Sunday, April 29, 2018

‘Quiz involving divine/celebrity couples’ P.Natarajan.

‘Quiz involving divine/celebrity couples’
  • P.Natarajan.

Isn’t life a collection of weird quizzes with no answers to half of the questions ?. The key to wisdom is constant questioning,  for by doubting we are led to question, by questioning we arrive at the truth. The teachers who already know the answers question the student population. The question ‘ why ‘ triggers the thought process. Asking for the answers is an integral part of quizzing. Asking for what you want is a necessary part of life and one should remember the following while asking:-
  1. Ask with commitment
  2. Ask with awareness
  3. Ask without fear
  4. Ask with trust
  5. Ask without expectation
With this brief introduction, let me begin to ask the questions relating to divine/celebrity couples :- ( Answers are given at the bottom. Pl. try to answer first before looking at the answers. Here we go:-

1 I was born in Nepal, married and settled down in India. I was destined to stay for a short time in a neighboring country. SalMAN and I underwent misery for a common cause. Who am I ? and who is my divine husband ?
  1. She is the first to write a love letter in Sanskrit to the Lord. Who is she and who is he Lord ? {
  2. What Rukmini wrote to the Lord ?
    (4) They are power couple. One rules the field and the other the tinsel world. Their Milan happened recently. Who are these celebrity couples?
    (5) He was attracted to her by seeing her cover photo in a popular magazine. The difference in their height was not a matter of importance. She turned to politics in 2004 and she attends Rajya Sabha for 4 terms. Who are the celebrity couples?
 (6) I was  brought up in a hermitage, married a prince by gandharva vivaha. But I lost the signet ring in a river. A sage cursed me that the prince would forget me as I was thinking about him ignoring the sage when he visited our ashram. By a divine comedy, I was united with the Prince, Who are the famous couples in the background?
 (7) What is the famous Sanskrit play which tells the story of Shakuntala and who is its author?

 (8) What is the meaning of the name Dushyant ?
 (9) She was betrothed at the age of 5. Joined her husband at the age of 18. He  revered her as a goddess. She was a great devotee of Kali Mata. Who are these worshipable couple of the 20th Century?
 (10) I am cynosure of beauty or cynosure of all eyes. My counter part holds the world of desire. Who are the celestial couple ?
 (11) It was an arranged marriage when she at 14 married him aged 13. Recalling the day of marriage her husband one day remarked “ As we didn’t know much about marriage, for us it was meant only wearing new clothes, eating sweets, bursting crackers, singing songs and playing with relatives”.  Clue 1:- They were married for 62 years and had 5 sons. The first two were born before the husband went abroad. Clue 2. She died at the age of 74 in Aga Khan palace in Pune }. Now answer who are the celebrity couples?
(12) She rides a swan . His flower is Lotus. Who are the divine couples?
Clue1; He has three heads. Clue 2 only if still needed :- She is goddess of knowledge }

(13) Husband drives a domestic animal. His consort drives a ferocious animal. Who are the divine couples? Clue :- The are Jagathou Pithorou in Sanskrit or 'Mata and Pita '(in English) of the world.

(14) This question relates to a vratam being observed by married women. In North for example Karwa Chauth is one such vratam. What is the similar one observed in South India.
Who are the characters connected with the vrtam?
(15) I am identified with the morning star.My husband with Ursa Major. I am described in the epic poems as the epitome of chastity. Who am I? Clue:- A special.ritual in the marriage ceremony after saptapadi brings me into the focus of attention by the newly weds. Who am I ?
(16) Their love story is eternal and sublime. It is symbolic of divine union between Jivatma and Paramatma or individual self and the Universal self. Their story is a legend conquering Times. It signifies a bhakti movement. They remain as lovers for ever !! Who are these spiritual two ?  
(17) He is worshipped both as a bachelor or married. His one of the consorts bless you with ‘gains’ and the other bless you with ‘ Intelligence ‘. His two sons bless you with wealth and welfare. Who is the god and his consorts and who are the sons? { Clue 1:- he is also worshipped as a bachelor God. Clue 2:- He is the first god to begin with for any puja.
(18) First part of his name means opposite of decrease and his wife shines like a Star, He has won laurels in film world and most sought after, His wife is also an actor.
(19) The ensuing two questions do not relate to couples which may be noted pl.
First one:- My father’s name starts with Shiva and my mother’s ‘A’. I changed the course of a river for the convenience of my mother. I have written many bhashyams in Badri which are well known. Who am I ?  

(20)  Second one and concluding question of this Quiz Competition in a poetic form:-
        I am He who held me
        Eons ago was I born
        Let your cattle feed on me
        And come and be sheltered from the storm. Name me ?

  1. { Ans: Sita and Rama }

2.{ Ans: Rukmini and Lord Krishna }

3.    {Ans:- Srimad Bhagavatam, Ch.52 verses 37 to 43. The first verse begins “ Sruthva Gunan Bhuvana Sundara Srinvatham te” }

( Rukmini & Krishna are made for each other )

I Heard about your noble qualities, oh the most handsome person in the world, Looking at you removes the stress, you are second to none in knowledge, beauty and wealth, Sisupala can not steal the property of a lion, I have chosen to marry you, come to Vidharpa tomorrow, there is a grand procession to worship our family deity Girija Devi. You can carry me then. If you don’t have mercy I shall simply give up my vital energy, after 100s of life time endeavors, I may obtain your mercy }

4.  { Ans: Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma }

5. { Ans: big ‘B’ and Jaya Bhaduri }

6. { Ans: Shakuntala and Dushyant }

7.{ Abhijnana Shakuntalam, Kalidasa is the author }

8. { Ans: Destroyer of evil }

9. { Ans:Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Sarada Devi }

10. {Ans:-  Rathi and Manmatha or lord of Kama }

11, { Kasturba and Gandhiji}

12. { Ans:- Brahma and Saraswathy }

13, { Ans: Parvathy and Parameswara }

(Nandikeswara carries Parameshwara)

14. { Ans:- Karadayan Nonbu and the characters are: Satyavan, Savitri }

15. { Ans: Arundhati }
16. { Ans:- Radha and Krishna }

17.{ Ans: Lord Ganesha. His wives: Siddhi and Buddhi, Sons: Labh and Kshem

18. { Ans: Akshay Kumar and Twinkle khanna}

19. { Adi Sankara }

20. Ans:- { Govardhan Hills }

Saturday, February 24, 2018


Tour of Nepal - April 2017
A Spiritual Yatra to Muktinath
         ( Day 4 - Part 4 )                                                           

 अच्युतं केशवं रामनारायणम्   कृष्णदामोदरं वासुदेवं हरिम् ।
श्रीधरं माधवं गोपिकावल्लभम्    जानकीनायकं रामचंद्रं भजे ॥
Worship Vishnu in all his different forms
and all his different actions.                                                     
Sunday 16th April  2017  ( Day 4 )

We embarked at the early hours of 5am itself on 16-04-’17 from Hotel Kantipur. Our travel plan was to take the flight from Pokhara to Jomsom and then by road to Muktinath finally. Flights begin to Jomsom in batches from Pokhara and operate only in favourable weather.

We carried a small bag filled with essential items for overnight stay at Jomsom leaving our main luggage in the baggage room after vacating the rooms. We  reached Pokhara airport (2Kms) by 5:30am. The ‘TARA’ - airline counter opened by 6am.  We handed over our ids to receive the boarding passes and checked in our small bags at the counter.. Breakfast packets packed from the hotel ( pooris, sabzi, cutlets, fruit juice, and a banana) were distributed..

Sri Dasa briefed us regarding the flight schedule. Accordingly the first batch of 11 members from our group left by 6:45am  to Jomsom airport. The aircraft was very small and could carry only 15 passengers. The journey time to Jomsom is about 25 minutes  across  the Gandaki Gorge bordered by Annapurna Range of mountains. The return flight normally brings back the passengers from Jomsom who left the previous day.  Since the weather is mercurial and most uncertain, there are every chance of cancellation of flights.  In such eventuality Sri Dasa had cautioned us that the trip to Jomsom enroute Muktinath would not be possible. If such a situation arose, we would have to return to the hotel and chalk out a different plan.

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      Waiting at  Pokhara Airport                          Sri Dasa briefing the Travel Plan

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                                   watching the first batch boarding the Aircraft
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                                             In the air towards Jomsom

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                                               View of Gandaki Gorge

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         Nearing Jomsom Airport                        Dhaulagiri Peak

Since the first batch had already left by the flight, we had no anxiety and were discussing about darshan at Muktinath, the highest abode of Lord Vishnu. In the meanwhile we completed the security check and were ready to board  the aircraft “Tara’ when it returned. Seven of us lined up after sighting the aircraft landing little knowing about the tale of the first batch. We were shocked to see them alighting from the aircraft and walking towards us. We learnt  though the aircraft reached Jomsom airport, it could not land due to high wind velocity. Hence the pilot cancelled the landing as the situation became very risky. He had no alternative but to safely bring back the passengers to Pokhara. We were disappointed and looked for further announcement by ‘Tara’ airlines, keeping our fingers crossed.
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            -                                  Waiting for the Announcement

The display board flashed that the flight to Jomsom was delayed and there was no change in the status  for the next two hours almost.. The small airport witnessed  movement of more people with the other arrivals and departures.

We were in a state of stress and walked towards the coffee shop to drink strong Nescafe coffee (INR 160 /) to refresh ourselves. Our wait became futile and by 10:30am it was  announced that the flight to Jomsom was cancelled for that day. Our hopes of having darshan at Muktinath hanged in suspense. But Sri Dasa was contemplating for the alternatives. He came with a bold suggestion that  we could still make it to Muktinath Kshetra but the mode of travel had to be by road only. He also cautioned that the journey might involve about ten hours and the travel had to be endured as  the vehicle had to go through  bumpy and muddy roads. Further it might be difficult to get proper food on the way. Sri Dasa asked us to make the decision..

We unanimously decided to go with Sri Dasa’s proposal to travel by road to Jomsom. We were united in this as we did not want to retreat in disappointment.. We could not think of another chance of visiting Muktinath. It was a rare opportunity and we accepted the proposal.

Sri Madhavananda Dasa was in smiles as he was able to conclude arrangements with a private transporter with the help of Tara Airlines officer . In a very short time, the local bus with an experienced driver ( who proved to be an asset), was ready to take us..

11:30am --We finished our lunch at  Lakshmi Marwadi Bhojanalay at Prithvi Chowk- Typical Nepali Roti meal-hot rotis, rice,dal, mooli aloo mixed sabzi, tomato chutney, pickles and mishti dahi. Everyone was relaxed with the final arrangements and relished the tasty food and enjoyed the good service at the restaurant..

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                                       Bus to Jomsom in front of Bhojanalaya

By 12 noon we got into a mofussil bus exclusively booked for our trip up to Jomsom. The driver stopped a few times to accommodate the waiting passengers on the way and the process slowed down the journey. We felt hot as there was  no air conditioning and became aware of an arduous journey ahead. There were remarks from our group members that the path to  ‘ Mukti ‘ or ‘ ‘Liberation ‘ is filled with challenges and sacrifices ..

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                                   I Love not Man the less, but Nature more

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                                                       Amidst wilderness
By 4pm.  we reached Beni (70Kms) and stopped at Pulaha Ashram. We crossed Jada Bharata Ashram on the way. We entered Sripada Ramanuja Mata. Pulaha Ashram is connected with  Bharata Maharaja  after whom our country is called as Bharata Varsha.. Before that it was known by the name Aja Nabha Varsha..

King Rishabha and his wife Jayanti had 100 sons, Bharata  was the eldest of them all. Bharata accepted the responsibility as the next king after his father Rishabha renounced the world. Bharata ruled the country for a long time in the most notable manner upholding the traditions and encouraging dharma. Eventually he gave up all his possessions, material opulence and attachment for worldly life. After apportioning his kingdom among his sons he relinquished the royal life to embrace sanyas. He came to Pulaha Ashram to perform penance and engage in spiritual pursuits. He  was totally involved in tapasya and worshipping of the Lord ..

One day as he was meditating he happened to see a pregnant deer being chased by a ferocious lion. The deer was crossing a waterway and delivered a fawn in water and died.  Bharat felt pity for the newborn  and took the young deer under his care. He was happy to feed the infant with his own hands. He became more and more occupied with caring and tending to the needs of the young and enchanting deer - thus got attached to it totally..

One day when he was engaged in his regular prayers the deer started disturbing him. He pushed it aside and the deer went away, He felt sorry and began to search for it frantically.  Even when he was dying he thought of the deer only and requested the Ashram people to take good care of it.

यं यं वापि स्मरन् भावं त्यजत्यन्ते कलेवरम् I
तं तमैवति कौन्तेय सदा तद् भावभावित: II   BG 8:6
(Krishna says to Arjuna)
Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kunti, that state he will attain without fail.

In his next birth Bharata was born as a deer ( ref: BG 8.6 above ) and he could remember the mistakes of his past life. Whatever goodness he had acquired  spiritually made him realise his weakness and attachment for mundane things. He stayed away from his group and remained totally  detached  from all worldly affairs. He came to Pulaha Ashram and spent the time in the company of sadhus.

In the next birth he was born as the son of a brahmin.. He stayed aloof  without  uttering even a word. So he was called Jada Bharata. Finally he attained mukti because of his tapasya and total devotion to the Lord. ( The story is really long to accommodate here ).

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Pulaha Ashram Galeswardham
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We had  hot and sumptuous Kichadi and pickles as maha prasadam. Sripada Ramanujacharya, one of the greatest advocates of the Hindu Philosophy  and propagator of Vishishtadvaita Vedanta had visited this place long long ago. We were fortunate to be  there just a few days before the 1000th year celebration of his birth anniversary. We thanked the people for their hospitality and continued our journey towards Jomsom..

The road was muddy and we had to close all the windows to avoid fine sand entering inside the running bus. We saw Kali Gandaki River gushing on our right with the chain of Annapurna Mountain Range standing as a strong fort wall all along the route..

IMG_1253.JPG      Photo from Parvati Natarajan (64).jpg
                                      Forests are the Flags of Nature
The Kali Gandaki River has its source at the border with Tibet at an elevation of
6,268 M in the Mustang region of Nepal. The river flows southwards through a gorge known as Kali Gandaki Gorge or Andha Galchi between the mountains Dhaulagiri to the west and Annapurna 1 in the east. This is supposed to be the world’s deepest gorge. The river is older than the Himalayas. At Devghat the river joins the Trishuli River and flows southwest of Gaindakot town . Then it curves towards southeast as it enters India where it is called Gandak. It forms a tributary of Ganges in India. Below Gaindakot the river is known as Narayani or Sapt Gandaki having seven tributaries, the Kali Gandaki, Trishuli River and five main tributaries of  Trishuli -the Daraudi, Seti, Madi, Marsyangdi and Budhi. Largest Hydro electric projects had been set up on the Gandaki basin due to the ample availability of water as the resource.

* Gandaki river is mentioned in the Mahabharata..
* Its evolution is described in Shiva Purana, Kumarkhand in the chapter of killing                Shankhachuda..
* Episode 1 of “ The Living Planet ”., David Attenborough’s Second nature documentary series is set in the Kali Gandaki Gorge..


I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery
                      Gushing Waters of Gandaki
Gushing Waters of Gandaki,
Dancing and splashing,
Twisting and rolling,
Dashing over rocks and pebbles,           
Reflecting the light above,
And the tall trees on the edge.
Mighty hills kissing the blue sky,
With Gandaki, a treat to behold.                              

Nature waves her wand,
To weave a vision so grand,
A movement graceful and enchanting,
A moment divine and inspiring..
Flowing from time immemorial,
Treasure chest of Shaligram Shilas,
Guiding us on the right direction,
Showing us the path towards ‘Liberation’.

White foam with its spray,
Enacting a musical play,
The murmuring ripples stringing the lute,
The roaring wind playing the flute,
The bubbling liquid beating the drums,
The tossing flowers nodding their heads,
The rustling leaves clapping their hands,
To the harmonious orchestral band..

Our van moves like a toy,
At the speed of a snail,
Imprisoned between deep valley,
And the Annapurna Range,
Light glistening from the silvery peak,
With the snow covered cap,
Lined by cascading waterfalls,
Along the creeks in the mountain walls..

Driving miles on the rough terrains,
The path gets tougher and dangerous,
Scenery changing dramatically,
Small villages popping their
Beautiful faces on the way,
Passing through dense forests,
We wave at an occasional trekker,
Or a bird soaring up in the sky..

As we watch the sun setting,
The darkness forming a covering,
The distant stars peeping,
Through the holes in the dark roofing.
We reach Jomsom safe at the end,
Journeying a hazardous 100 miles or so,,
Scenery Spectacular and Thrilling,
A memorable journey indeed !!,
6;30 pm- we stopped at Tatopani Checkpost for special permission to enter Annapurna Conservation Circuit area.. We came across a hot spring. The sun had set by then and it was becoming quite dark. We passed through small villages where they had literally downed the shutters . Thakkali Restaurant, the board was seen in many places. Thakalis , native of Nepal region are business people who have established Hotels serving special Nepali meals..
We were moving at 10mph speed as we had to stop  and give way for the vehicles coming from the opposite side. At some places we were crossing small rivulets or driving over stones and pebbles. Only an experienced, driver could drive in such locations and conditions. We could hear the roaring sound of the Kali Gandaki  from the valley below. At 10 pm with God’s grace we reached Seema Prahari Chowki  close to Jomsom to get one more entry permission. It was getting late and everything seemed to be dark and sleepy on the long drive and finally we stopped in front of an inn by 11 pm. We got down with our small bags when rooms were allotted for our night stay. With the instructions for the next day’s program we climbed the stairs to reach a very small room with a bed and a bath. We ordered some noodles and tea . The noodles was insipid and cold. So we drank  only the tea and retired to bed with the prayers for a  good darshan at Muktinath the next day.
We will be taking you to one of the most sacred places on earth tomorrow..