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Monday, July 13, 2020

Book Review : Radiate Confidence by Shubha Vilas


Radiate Confidence is the fifth book in the series of Ramayana – The Game of Life by Shubha Vilas. The author has written Roar with Courage, Conquer Fear, Adopt Patience and Stand Strong based on Bala Kanda, Ayodhya Kanda, Aranya Kanda and Kishkindha Kanda of Ramayana epic respectively. Radiate Confidence is the modern retelling of the Sundara Kanda of Valmiki’s epic Ramayana. According to the author, the Bala Kanda covers a period of almost 13years, the Ayodhya Kanda almost a year, the Aranya Kanda stretches over roughly 13years, while the Kishkindha Kanda describes a period of a little over two months. But the Sundara Kanda covers just five days and more than three-quarters of the book covers a two-day period when Hanuman leapt to Lanka.

Sundara Kanda is about Hanuman’s journey across ocean to Lanka in search of Sita, Lord Ram’s wife. Hanuman was fondly called ‘Sundara’ by his mother Anjani therefore Sage Valmiki (author of Ramayana in Sanskrit) named this Kanda as ‘Sundara Kanda’. It tells the adventure of Hanuman and his selfless service, strength and devotion to Lord Rama.

Sundara Kanda is about our purpose of life – our own search for a goal in life. Hanuman shows is that the goal of life is Sita, who he is searching for in this kanda. For a gyani, Sita is shanti or peace. For a devotee, Sita is bhakti. For a yogi, she is adishakti or subtle energy. The truth is that everyone is in search of Sita.

The language is lucid and simple to understand. It guides readers to find out easy solutions to the complicated problems and teaches the art of ‘being patient and finding success’. The narration is mesmerizing and motivates one to overcome obstacles in one’s journey. It helps in expanding one’s steadfast focus and faith to accomplish mission.

Author has embedded the story with beautiful gems. Some of the quotes which I liked are as follows :
1.      When a leader plants the seed of encouragement on one’s mind, it grows into a tree of hope for many minds.
2.      One must keep on going toward one’s goal and not be perturbed by people’s reactions and treatment.
3.      Enthusiasm is the chemical that keeps the milk of life from turning sour.
4.      Winning wars is about breaking confidence. Winning hearts is about building trust.
5.      The highest form of compassion is kindness shown to a person one hates.
6.      Those who live in the past are often blind to the present realities.

The author is a TEDx speaker, lifestyle coach, storyteller and author. Ramayana : The Game of Life is his bestselling series. He is also the author of Open-Eyed Meditations and Perfect Love : 5.5 Ways to a Lasting Relationship. The focus of his work is the application of scriptural wisdom in everyday living, addressing the needs of corporate and youth through thought provoking seminars. Curious to know more about him, then visit his website – www.shubhavilas.com.

It is an excellent read for mythological readers. The best part of this book is the ‘Lessons from Hanuman’s Jump’. I am sharing a part of it here. To read it full you can buy this book from the link given below.......

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Guru’s Blessings


On Facebook, I have subscribed to various pages about movies as I love to know more and more about movies. I can watch anything and everything – drama, comedy, action, romance, thriller, historical fiction, philosophy etc. One day, while surfing on Facebook, I came across this clipping about Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa. It was from Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna, a Bengali movie with subtitles in English.

In this movie clip, Totapuri, an itinerant Naga sannyasi initiated Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa into sannyasa. Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa experienced Nirvikalp smamdhi. Totapuri said, “How strange! What I have attained after 40 years of strenuous practice, you have achieved in only 3 days.” (T-11.15) Guru’s blessings can reduce 14600 days of hard work to only 3 days. I liked this clipping so much that I not only watched this whole movie but also decided to write a post on it.  

My personal experience is also similar to it. I have committed thousands of mistakes while chanting and hundreds of errors while meditating. Many times I am not able to pronounce the mantra correctly, numerous times I am devoid of bhakti (devotion), several times I am not able to focus on the deity even then just because of Guru’s blessings I have divine experiences in my meditation.

On this auspicious occasion of Guru Purnima I want to express my gratitude to my Guru by humbly saying, “Thankyou ji!”

Photo – Sketch is drawn by me.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

The hungry babies


While cooking, a morsel fell on the floor; I picked that up, opened the window and put it on the windowsill thinking that some bird would take it away. I turned back and started cleaning cooking range and slab. I went to the sink to clean the scrubber. The sink was located close to window. I looked out. I found a baby squirrel relishing that morsel. I was happy to see it. The tiny hands were holding the foodstuff very delicately and were chewing it extremely slowly as if it did not know how to feed itself. May be it was its first meal, outside the nest and out of the mother’s custody!

In the evening, I put peanuts on the windowsill. And I was amazed to see that two baby squirrels were feeding themselves. The explorer baby squirrel must have called its sibling to enjoy novel food items. I increased my frequency of keeping various food bits and pieces on the windowsill. As soon as I kept any edible item on windowsill, I did not know how but they came to know and would quickly come to the windowsill to feed themselves.

Two days went by, watching two of them growing up. In the evening, I cut the fresh watermelon for myself. I took out the seeds and put them on the windowsill for the babies. When I returned to the kitchen after feasting on melon, to my utmost surprise there were three babies on the sill. One was searching with its nose, which seed to be picked up, the other one was holding the seed in its tiny hands, removing outer cover with its recently grown sharp teeth to enjoy the soft nut inside and the third one was bewildering what to do. It could not decide, as it was the newcomer, smallest and fragile. The most active baby came near, put its mouth close to the weakest sibling as if teaching how to hold, bite, chew and swallow food. And the next moment, little one was copying its healthy siblings. Suddenly, mother squirrel came jumping on each one of them, quickly filled her mouth with seeds and hopped back. After all she was a mother, she had to stock for the rainy days!

The three hungry babies loved to eat peanuts, pomegranate seeds, watermelon seeds and muskmelon seeds. But most of the time, they were so hungry that they could just eat anything and everything!

The day before yesterday, I put some water in the bowl for them, as it was too hot outside.
Pic : Although it was very difficult to click them but somehow I managed to click one of the three babies.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Love thy nature


Place : Grass Farm Nursery, Jaipur

When I saw all the employees of the nursery are busy with other clients, I knelt down to take out the packed saplings from the seedbed. As I was about to take out the sapling, a heard a blurred and harsh voice. I looked up. An old man with not so pleasing look with his right hand close to his chest tried to stop me with his not so distinct voice along with gestures with only left hand. As he speaks, saliva was dripping from his mouth. He was wearing thick glasses on his bulging eyes. I tried to understand what he was saying to me. When he repeated it three four times, I came to know that he was offering help.

“Let me do it for you!”

I was a bit hesitant whether he would be able to do it correctly physically as the packed saplings were quite heavy and mentally as they needed to be counted. He started doing it. When I noticed that he was doing the job perfectly, I stepped back.

He helped me in collecting different types of saplings in varied numbers. He also showed me some of the fully-grown trees in the nursery of those varieties that I selected.

He accompanied me to the checking and payment desk. The officer there told me, that this very special person was a retired person from the same department and he regularly visited nursery even after his retirement and work honorary, as he loved to live in greenery.

I was amazed to see his love for nature!

Monday, September 23, 2019

Book Review : Aatma Sutra – Unveiling The Soul by Hingori


To feel Aatma (soul) one must madly fall in love with oneself. One must learn to accept, respect and revere oneself. There are several obstacles in accepting oneself like societal norms of evaluation (age, profession, physical appearance, social background, negative feedback) and things beyond one’s reach (frustrations and fate, our thoughts, an impediment, guilt, samskars-mental impressions). The magic attitudes for evolution are empathy, acceptance, vairagya or detachment, role play, pratipakshbhavana (art of creating an opposite attitude to something you do not like) and doing seva (selfless service). By changing one’s attitude one can feel Tat Twam Asi meaning you are that (supreme consciousness) or Aham Brahmasmi meaning I am Brahman (divine).

The author also talks in detail about the aura in this book. It is the electromagnetic field that encompasses all life forms. The thicker the aura, the more spiritually powerful the person is. The aura acts like a protective layer for the body. One can enhance one’s aura by chanting mantras, by changing to sattvic (purity) nature of mind, by doing seva (helping others), by spiritual healing, by greening places, by watering plants and by visiting religious places and caves.

The quotes that I like from the book are as follows:-

1.      It is only when one learns to look at divinity in everything can one lose the arrogance and ego. When we start looking at things this way, we are already divine.

2.      When you criticise someone and their qualities, even unwittingly, you magnetise a fraction of the person’s qualities. Therefore, criticising someone regularly will at some point instill within you the very qualities that you criticised. The same rule applies if you praise or admire someone.

3.      According to yogic teachings, if you want to acquire speed, meditate upon a horse. Similarly, meditate on the strength of the elephant, the courage of the lion, the patience of the spider, and so forth. The moral of the story is : what you meditate upon, that you become.

4.      Self-love has to go beyond attention seeking. If you look around, your dog is asking for it, your kids are asking for it, and many of your friends are asking for it as well. So do not join the attention-seeking club. Once you see the spark of divinity within you, you will not want attention from anyone else. You will look for vairagya and that solitude will give you a high.

The most interesting part of the book is Life Scorecard. It gives equal weightage to three main parameters of life i.e. physical, intellectual and spiritual. It motivates one to score more in these three fronts of life.

At the end of the book, there is a glossary to explain the meaning of Indian words and terms. It is very helpful in understanding the concepts related to Aatma, aura and destiny. The illustrations are thought provoking, appealing and inspiring.

Hingori Sutras has unfolded four spheres namely Dream Sutra, Aatma Sutra, Karma Sutra and Guru Sutra. You can share your spiritual experiences, comments and viewpoints with the author at hingori@hingorisutras.com. You can also take up a spiritual quiz here https://www.hingorisutras.com/karma-quest/ and can read the blog here https://www.hingorisutras.com/blog/.

Highly recommended book for those who wanted to fall in love with themselves! :)

Monday, August 19, 2019

Book Review : Karma Sutra – Cracking The Karmic Code by Hingori


All actions performed by the body, mind, senses and intellect are called karmas. There are two types of karmas – voluntary and involuntary. The actions, which are done with a desire are voluntary karmas whereas the actions done without desires are termed as involuntary karmas. Steeping onto an ant while walking is an involuntary karma. Involuntary karmas are not accounted for. The Shrimad Bhagwat Gita teachings emphasised doing actions without having the desire of the results of the actions.

According to ancient Indian philosophy, karmas are of three types – kriyaman karma, sanchit karma and prarabdh karma. Kriyaman karma is an action that is instantly fructified and exhausted at the same time without carrying forward to the future. Sanchit karma is the sum total of the assets and liabilities of your personal karmic balance sheet. Prarabdh karma are the karmas that fructify during a person’s lifetime in the form of his/her luck.

Destiny is the fructification of our positive and negative karmic stock. Several lifetimes produce several profit and loss accounts of karma. The balance sheet of an individual defines their current state of wealth. The expenditure side of the profit and loss account of a particular life are what we owe to our parents, to the five elements, to plant kingdom, to animal kingdom, to guides and teachers. It also includes the negative karmas done by us like criticising others, acts of unfairness, criminal acts that harm others, mental hurt and trauma. The income side of profit and loss account includes positive karmas like feeding others, greening places, providing shelter and medication to needy, educating poor, being righteous, being empathetic and being humble.

This book explains the causes and effects of karmic destiny and the karmic laws that govern us in a very simple way. It defines the profit and loss angle of our karmic assets and liabilities. It guides in accumulating karmic wealth by doing positive karma.

The quotes that I like from the book are as follows:-

1.      The power of mind, it is said, can move mountains.

2.      I (Author) have received several communications from people who find it difficult to plant trees since they live in densely populated cities. My recommendation to them would be to talk to friends, associates who own farm houses or are involved with institutions like schools, colleges and hospitals, and try and donate trees to be planted there, and if required pay the pro-rata cost of nurturing and maintaining the trees. There are several corporate houses across the globe that do tree plantation as a part of their corporate karma. One can also pay NGO’s to do this on their behalf.

3.      Allowing a seed to grow, investing in its space and nurturing it is considered great karma. Trees and plants provide food and shelter for birds, animals and humans; even the wood is used for various purposes. Dried leaves are also used as an effective manure, not to mention the ecological benefits. Therefore, helping to grow and sustain greenery is an inexhaustible wealth of karma as it has multiple effects and benefits. The karmic benefit of this act will accrue to the planter not just in this life but also beyond. Not a bad return on investment!

4.      When good karmas fructify, people attain wealth of different kinds like money, property, status, fame, glory, well-paid jobs and thriving businesses. They are also gifted physical wealth like good looks, good health and physique. Some get wisdom, intellectual and spiritual wealth and a lot more!

At the end of the book, there is a glossary to explain the meaning of Indian words and terms. It is very helpful in understanding the concepts related to karma, gunas and koshas. The illustrations are remarkable, elucidate karmic concept, convey peace, evoke soulful energy and provide calmness.

Hingori Sutras has unfolded four spheres namely Dream Sutra, Aatma Sutra, Karma Sutra and Guru Sutra, the latest in the collection. The author spent the first half of his life as a non-believer. During his early years, he contracted arthritis and suffered it for 10 years until he met his spiritual guru who cured him in 60 seconds flat! That minute changed his life. The second half of his life was spent in philosophy, philanthropy and spiritual practice. His teachings, which are the secrets of the spiritual path, have been a closely guarded secret up until this book. If you have any spiritual queries or need any spiritual help, you can write to the author at hingori@hingorisutras.com.

Highly recommended book for those who are keenly interested to know about the age-old theory of karma in simple words! :) A book that has to be read again and again for better understanding and for better perspective and for concept clearing. :)

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Friday, August 16, 2019

Children Story Book Review : Lost and Found by Arundhati Nithiyanandhan


Reading level: 1 - 12 years
Paperback: 26 pages
Publisher: White Falcon Publishing
Published On: 24 October 2018
Language: English
ISBN:978-9388459143
Price: 199/-

Osito is Arundhati's favourite soft toy. It is white colour teddy bear. It is also one of her constant companions when she goes on vacation with her family. Both have travelled many places in India and abroad. They have been to Melbourne, Singapore, Shimla, Bekal and Udaipur. During her vacation trips, she has inadvertently misplaced it and later found it, much to her relief! This story is about one such incident that happened in Udaipur Lake Palace and how she finds her favourite travel buddy back.



In the summer holidays, Aru went to spend her vacations in a resort along with her mother. She packed her clothes, shoes and her favourite travel friend ‘Osito’, a teddy bear soft toy. She enjoyed the company of Osito very much and loved to see different places with it. One fine evening, she realised that she has lost the toy somewhere in the resort. She started crying. Her mother asked her to think where she saw Osito last time. She recalled that she forget it in the playroom. The next day, she ran to the playroom to find Osito. She was glad to see Osito near the table where she left it yesterday. She picked it. She hugged it. She promised to herself that she would never lose it again.



When I was author’s age, I loved to play with toys. I had lots of toys like block building, puzzle solving, word making, snake and ladder, chess, colourful vegetables and fruits made up of clay, different miniature animals, a bird that lays eggs, kitchen utensils and cooking range and many more. Out of these, my favourite toy was a working miniature sewing machine whose needle moves up and down on moving its handle. Whenever I started playing I checked and counted all the pieces of my game and after playing game I checked them again before putting them in the bag. This double check policy had helped me a lot and I never lost any of my toys anywhere.


One day, I was playing with my toys at my grandmother’s house. My parents left me there and went to the market for shopping as market was close to my grandmother’s house than to ours. They told me that they would return after two hours. Hardly, half an hour had passed then my parents returned. They asked me to wind up playing and came along them. They told me that they had some urgent work to do at home so we all would be leaving right now without wasting a second. I hurriedly packed my toys. And I forgot to count them before packing.



Next day, when I was playing with the same set of toys I realised that my sewing machine toy is missing. I was very sad as I liked that toy very much. In the evening, I went to my grandmother’s house with my parents. I gloomily told my grandmother about the toy I lost last evening. She patiently listened to me and then asked me to open the drawer of the table near her bed. On opening it, I was surprised to see my sewing machine in it. I picked it up and gladly thanked my grandmother. I gave lots of toys out of my collection to my younger cousins but even now I have that sewing machine toy with me in remembrance of my grandmother. Later my passion developed into my career as I did M.Sc. in Clothing and Textiles and taught Fashion Designing in a reputed college of the town.



Arundhati Nithiyanandhan is seven years old and lives in Bangalore, India. At such a young age she has authored two more books namely ‘Likes and Dislikes’ and ‘Aru’s Balcony Garden’. She loves to play in the sand. Her hobby is to paint colour sketches. She creates stories from her day-to-day incidents. She loves telling new stories to her father while they both go for a walk in the evening.