Taking your blessings for granted?

Everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving : for then it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer–1 Timothy 4. 3-5.

O my Father, Great Elder, I have no words to thank you.  But with your deep wisdom I am sure that you can see how I value your glorious gifts–Kikuya Prayer, Kenya.

Offer your gratitude to God.  Then you will feel inside you a sweet, fragrant and beautiful lower is growing.  That is the flower of humility.–Sri Chinmoy.

God gave you a gift of 86,400seconds today.  Have you used ONE to say THANK YOU ?–William A. Ward.

ThankyouHere is an excerpt from an article sent by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan.

I was invited to deliver a lecture in Kashmir.  The venue was an open place in front of the stage, stretching before us, we could see the great Himalayas.  The topic was SHUKR —‘BEING THANKFUL TO GOD’—referring to bounties given to us by God.  I asked, “If an angel comes to you and says. the whole of the Himalayas will be turned into gold and given to you on condition that both your eyes will be taken away.  Will you accept this offer ?”  A senior in the audience stood up and said with great sincerity, “What is the use of mountains of old, if we don’t have eyes to behold them ?”  Responding to him, I said, “It means our eyes are more precious than mountains of gold”.  Every individual is blessed with numerous and precious bounties in nature which are given by God, yet seldom would you find a person who acknowledges this fact and offers gratitude to the Divine from the deepest recesses of his heart.  This is because we tend to take divine blessings for granted.

It is the culture of ingratitude that has ruined people’s sense of morality.  If you are ungrateful to God, you will be ungrateful to man as well.  Gratefulness is directly related to moral values.  A society lacking in gratitude is also bereft of moral values.  When you receive a benefit from someone, you say, “Thank you”.  It is a tragic situation that the ‘thank you’ culture exists in form, wheras the ‘spirit’ of the thank you culture does not exist.  It is nothing more than lip-service or a social courtesy.  Acknowledgment leads to gratefulness, which is a source of positive thinking.  Positive thinking results in all kinds of positive human values like love, patience, honesty and compassion for all.

New Years Resolution

We all make resolutions don’t we? But how many of us actually look back and see if we achieved what we started out at the beginning of the year?

Veraiconica's Blog


A promise to start doing something good
An oath to stop doing something bad
On the first day of the year
and maintain the same for the entire year.

Making resolutions are definitely good
If they are properly understood
And we follow them
as much as we could.

There is no compulsion
to make a New Year Resolution,
But can be definitely tried for a ‘Self Evolution’
and help in achieving our long term vision.

So my dear pals, let’s welcome the New Year
By burying the past, as it brings tears
By forgetting the future, as it brings fears
Lets Live this Moment with a Smile
As it brings Cheers!

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Light and Darkness


There is a spiritual organization that has roped in an MBA to give lectures on T.V.  She pronounces ‘atma’ as AT  MA and ‘shanti’ as SHANTY.

DHWANI ( sound, pronunciation ) is the basis of all spiritual sciences.  Every sound is a vibration which corresponds to a specific energy.  If you change the frequency of that vibration, the energy changes and so does the effect.  So the spiritual guide should not adulterate the science with an ACCENT.

Truth is the first step to spirituality.  Satya is the first Yama as given by Sage Patanjali.  Others include detachment, non-violence, non-stealing and celibacy.  These are the elementary purifications to open up the NADIS (energy channels) to access the realms of energy.  Till one is tied to MAYA, it is not possible to experience holiness.  The sages have clearly written in the ANCIENT TEXT, that in KALYUG, gurus will become corrupt and sell the Vedas for personal gains.

So, in today’s time, spirituality works in accordance with the Law of SUPPLY & DEMAND.  The physical path is the path to DARKNESS, and the spiritual path is the path to LIGHT.  One has to choose between the two paths.  YOG is the journey from darkness to light.  One needs to get rid of one’s EGO.  Only then can one reach light.——YOGI ASHWINI.

Peace Quotes

Christmas is a festival of ‘PEACE TO MEN OF GOOD-WILL’.  So here are a few Peace Quotes :-

(1) When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.—-Jimi Hendrix.

(2) Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable.—-John F. Kennedy.

(3) If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy.  Then he becomes your partner.—-Nelson Mandela.

(4) Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.—-Ralph Waldo Emerson.

(5) A Peace is of the nature of a conquest; for then both parties nobly are subdued and neither party loses.—-William Shakespeare.

(6) The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart.  The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of Peace.—-Carlos Santana.

(7) Peace and Friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.—-Thomas Jefferson.

(8) Peace is its own reward.—-Mahatma Gandhi.

(9) Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time.—Lyndon B. Johnson.

(10) He that would live in peace and at ease must not speak all he knows or all he sees.—-Benjamin Franklin.

Ten things you didn’t know about Christmas!


It’s  the festive season, I mean Yuletide.  The aroma is RUMMY and the taste is PLUMMY.  It’s the time for puddings, loads of baking, family time and decorations.  Here are some fun facts :

(1) YOUR CHRISTMAS FEAST TAKES 295 DAYS TO GROW :—- According to a research study, it takes seasonal vegetables and turkey ten months to grow before it is ready for the festive feast.  On the other hand, it just takes 30minutes to polish up the grand feast.

(2) 47 YEARS TO THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS DINNER :—-Burnt your turkey ?  Fret not. A study says that it takes 47 years to master the culinary techniques for cooking Christmas dinner, owing to the techniques being tricky and challenging.

(3) The largest turkey on record weighed 86pounds, about the size of a large dog.  According to statistics, 22 million turkeys are consumed each year during Christmas, compared to 45 million at Thanksgiving.

(4) WATCH YOUR SALT INTAKE :—-On an average, the salt RDA is 5 gm, but on Christmas Day, dinner contains about 8.87 gm. of salt.

(5) CHRISTMAS COLOURS :—-Always wondered why Santa is RED and the Christmas Tree is GREEN with GOLD and SILVER ORNAMENTS ?  Well, these traditions come from Western and Northern European customs.  GREEN is the colour of HOLLY & MISTLETOE which symbolises LIFE & REBIRTH.  RED is the colour of LOVE & ENERGY which symbolises the Blood of Christ and GOLD represents LIGHT, WEALTH & ROYALTY.

(6) ON A SILVER DISH THE CHRISTMAS PUDDING REPOSED IN ITS GLORY :—-According to folklore, the pudding was traditionally made with 13 ingredients to represent JESUS & HIS DISCIPLES, and is always stirred from EAST TO WEST in honour of the 3 WISE MEN, who visited Baby Jesus.  The tradition says, Christmas pudding should contain 4 tokens to foretell the future :—-a COIN, a THIMBLE, a RING and a BUTTON.  It was believed, if you got one of the latter two, YOU’RE DOOMED TO BE SINGLE FOR ANOTHER YEAR.

(7) STIR-UP SUNDAY :—-The last Sunday before the season of Advent, is traditionally the day for families to make Christmas Puddings, giving the pudding plenty of time to develop flavours before Christmas.  Traditionally, members of the family take turns and stir the pudding, whilst making a wish.

(8) SWEET CANDY CANES :-Christmas candy canes originated in Germany about 250 years ago.  A story says that a choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral handed out the sugar sticks among children to keep them quiet during the ceremony.  He wanted to remind them of SHEPHERDS who visited Jesus at the 1st Christmas, so he made them into a ‘J’ shape.  According to age-old tales, the WHITE of the cane represents the PURITY OF JESUS CHRIST, the RED STRIPE symbolises the BLOOD SHED WHEN HE DIED ON THE CROSS and the PEPPERMINT FLAVOUR represents the HYSSOP PLANT that was used for PURIFYING the Bible.

(9) RUDOLF, THE RED_NOSED REINDEER :—-Like the ENERGIZER BUNNY, Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer got his start in advertising in 1939.  Copywriter ROBERT MAY created him for MONTGOMERY WARD department to attract shoppers.

(10) BUCHE de NOEL :—-A traditional cake, BUCHE de NOEL, is of French origin. The name translates to CHRISTMAS LOG, symbolising the belief that a large log should burn continuously on Christmas Night and if it goes out, it means BAD LUCK IN THE COMING YEAR.  Traditionally, the next morning, ashes from the log is scooped up and kept as a GOOD LUCK CHARM to heal sickness and to guarantee success in business.

Credit: Anisha Bhatia.


The CRAVAT is a neckband, the forerunner of the modern TAILORED NECKTIE and BOW TIE, originating from 17th century CROATIA.

From the end of the 16th Century, the term BAND applied to any long-strip neck cloth that was not a RUFF.  RUFF = a starched, pleated white linen strip, originated earlier in the 16th Century as a NECK-CLOTH, as a BIB or as a NAPKIN.  It is possible that CRAVATS were initially worn to hide shirts which were not immaculately clean.  Like most men’s fashions, it was of MILITARY ORIGIN.  The traditional CROAT military kit aroused Parisian curiosity about the UNUSUAL, PICTURESQUE scarves, distinctively knotted at the Croat’s necks.  The cloths that were used ranged from the COARSE CLOTH of ENLISTED SOLDIERS to the FINE LINENS and SILKS of the OFFICERS.

il_fullxfull.313963051The sartorial word CRAVAT is derived from the French ‘cravate’, a corrupt French pronunciation of CROATE.  The French switched from old-fashioned STARCHED LINEN RUFFS to the new LOOSE LINEN and MUSLIN CRAVATES.  The military-styles often had BROAD, LACED EDGES, while a gentleman’s cravat could be of FINE LACE.  During the wars of Louis XIV of 1689 – 1697, except for court, the FLOWING CRAVAT was replaced with the more current and equally military STEINKIRK in 1692.  It was popular with men and women until the 1720s.

The maccoronis ( the macaroni or formerly MACCARONI in mid 18th Century, England, was a fashionable fellow who dressed or even spoke in an outlandishly affected manner.  He was the precursor to the DANDY ) reintroduced the flowing cravat in the 1770s, and the manner of a man’s KNOTTING became indicative of his TASTE and STYLE, to the extent that after the Battle of Waterloo (1815), the cravat itself was referred to as a TIE.

Croatia celebrates CRAVAT DAY on the 18th of October.

It is the festive season!

wallpaper_gratitude_p78de1Yesterday was Christmas Day.  It brought to mind what Christmas meant for me when I was a child.  Every year on the 24th of December, i.e. Christmas Eve, we were allowed to paint our nails with natural coloured nail polish.  We always waited for this time of the year, because that was the only time we had nail polish on our nails. The rest of the year, the nails had to be clean, trimmed and bare.  Then we prepared to go for the Midnight Mass in our new dresses and straw hats (the same colour as the dress ).  All the little children, who were also our friends, looked so cute.  Christmas carols were sung, and the Organ was played.  Of course the Mass was in Latin, the language of the Liturgy of those days.

Today, I miss that beautiful Christmas Service and the ‘Silent Night’ and ‘O, come all ye faithful’.  Those carols have given way to other carols that do not sound like carols.  Even the Liturgy of the Church(Latin) has been replaced by the vernacular, and does not give me a high when I listen to them.  I still feel that the true spirit of Christmas has been lost somewhere in transition.

santa-claus-true-spirit-of-christmasThe importance of the Birth of Christ is lost in the glamour and din of today.  Christmas, as I understand it, is a festival of HAPPINESS, PEACE and SHARING.  As children, we were taken to the Cheshire Homes of the Aged, where we shared eatables, like cakes, biscuits, chips, marzipan and other goodies.  We were asked to bring whatever we could afford, and we were not compelled to do so.  We did that out of our own free will.  There were a few children who could not contribute anything, but they were also include in the group that visited the Cheshire Homes.  It was a Community effort.  No child was debarred if he or she couldn’t contribute anything.  Such a child was not singled out.

We all went happily and sang carols danced with those old people, I mean at least those who were able to do so.  At least at Christmas, we learnt that it was a good time to share whatever we had, be it goodies, laughter, hugs, kisses and thus we brightened the day for these people who had no one to make them happy.  Most of them had been abandoned, maybe by their own children.  We never knew or were told about their lives, but we, as children do, instinctively knew they were in need of a lot of love.  This was an important part of Christmas for us ————spreading cheer and love to those who needed that most.  Of course, we had our families and friends with whom we could always celebrate Christmas, but spending our time with those inmates of the Cheshire Homes gave us a lot of satisfaction.  This is the Spirit of a true Christmas.  Today, the materialistic aspect has taken over ——-eating rich food, cakes going for the Christmas dance (at night) instead of the Midnight Mass, and we forget those who are not so well-off.

mormon-lds-ideas1The lord Jesus, came to us as a little child.  We ,too, have to become childlike, not childish.  We should retain that awe and wonder of a child and also the unfettered spirit that enables a child to love all, without any bias.  Thus we will capture the Spirit of Christmas.

Here is a Christmas Meditation:

If we but had the eyes to see God’s face in every cloud

If we but had the ears to hear His voice above the crowd

If we could feel His gentle touch in every stirring breeze

And find a haven in His arms beneath leafy sheltering trees

We would not need to ponder or ask to understand

For we’d know He held the answers in the Hollow of His Hand.

—Helen Steiner Rice.

Mirza Ghalib

Mirza Ghalib Asadulla Baig Khan ( 27/12/1797 —15/02/1869).

He was a Persian and Urdu poet from the Mughal Empire during the British Colonial Rule.  His pen-names were GHALIB (Dominant) and ASAD (Lion).  His honorific was DABIR-UL-MULK, NAJM-UD-DAULA.  He wrote several ghazals during his life, which have been interpreted an sung in many ways, by different people.  GHALIB, the last great poet of the Mughal Era, is considered to be one of the most popular and influential poets of the Urdu language.  Today, he remains popular not only in India and Pakistan, but also amongst Diaspora Communities around the world. The idea that, life is one continuous painful struggle which can end only when life itself ends, is a recurrent theme in his poetry.  The PRISON OF LIFE and the BONDAGE OF GRIEF are one and the same.

Mirza-GhalibBefore the onset of death, how can man expect to be free of grief ?  In 1850, Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar II, bestowed upon Mirza Ghalib, the title of DABIR-ul-MULK.  He also added to it the additional title of NAJM-ud-DAULA.  He also received the title of MIRZA NOSHA from the Emperor, thus adding MIRZA as his first name.  As the Emperor himself was a poet, Ghalib was appointed as His poet-tutor in 1854.  He was also appointed as tutor of Prince Fakhr-ud-Din Mirza ( eldest son of Bahadur Shah II ) and appointed by the Emperor as the Royal Historian of the Mughal Court.  His fame came to him, posthumously. During his lifetime, he had himself remarked that he would be recognised by later generations.

He started composing poetry at the age of eleven.  His first language was Urdu, but Persian and Turkish were also spoken at home.  He received an education in Persian and Arabic at a young age.  he was prouder of his poetic achievements in Persian, but is today more famous for his Urdu Ghazals.  Before Ghalib, the Ghazal was primarily the expression of ANGUISHED LOVE, but Ghalib expressed PHILOSOPHY, the TRAVAILS and MYSTERIES of LIFE, and wrote ghazals on many other subjects, vastly expanding the scope of the ghazal.  He was a gifted letter-writer.  Before Ghalib, letter-writing in Urdu was highly ornamental.  He made his letters—–TALK, by using words and sentences as if he were conversing with the reader.  Sau kos se ba-zaban-e-qalam baatein kiyakaro aur hijr mein visaal ke maze liya karo ( from 100s of miles talk with the tongue of the pen and enjoy of meeting even when you are separated ).

His original TAKHALLUS (pen-name) was ASAD, drawn from is given name ASADULLAH KHAN.  At some point, he also decided to adopt the pen-name of GHALIB ( meaning ALL CONQUERING, SUPERIOR, MOST EXCELLENT )

Merry Christmas!

getimage.dllWe all love gifts. The more, the merrier! And thats why Christmas holds such a special place in our hearts, it is the season of joy, of celebration, of gifts and pastries, of togetherness. When we were kids, we waited eagerly for the night of the 24th, when Santa would drop his goodies in the sock (although personally speaking, I would prefer hanging up a big bag instead…why give Santa a smaller bucket eh? hehe). When we woke, the first thing we would do is to rush to the tree, and open the gifts with glee!

Most of us are grown up now…(although we all secretly wait for Santa anyways)…So maybe its time to relive the dream, in a different way. Lets all bring a smile to someone who needs it, to children who look forward to Santa but may not feel his presence. I’ve learnt during the years that getting a gift is a great feeling, but giving one is more satisfying…

This Christmas, visit the Sri Rakum School for the Blind (www.rakum.org) and light up the faces of the kids there…make them smile…give them something that brings them joy and happiness…

This Christmas…BE THE SANTA 🙂



I have ever been guilty of causing

Knowingly, someone else pain,

Then, in this solemn moment of pausing,

I ask forgiveness again and again.


If I ever, through any action,

Humiliated one soul,

Then, there is no satisfaction

Will heal, and make that hurt whole.


Have I caused anyone to resent me,

For any reason at all ?

Then, Heaven preserve and prevent me,

From another such grievous fall !


Did I seeds of false hope, ever nourish,

By design, the harvest for my gain ?

Did illusion take brief root and flourish ?

For my sake, did Hope live in vain ?


Has anybody shed tears,

In grief, and because of me ?

Have I conjured up baseless fears,

Or made someone beg on their knees ?


Now, Heaven look down, I confess,

By these wrongs have I brought myself low,

Right those I have wronged and bless me,

And grant me fresh Graces, that will grow.

Cleone Nag.


Here is another poem :


unspoken-love-sam-siddersLet few dangling words be unsaid,

Let them remain unspoken, unexpressed by the doubting lips,

For, if all is spoken, all revealed

What will remain ?

Let few pregnant tears be unshed,

Let them remain like pearls, cloistered in oyster-like eyes,

For, if all is shed, all scattered,

What will remain?

Let a few half-ajar doors be sequestered,

Let them remain withdrawn, gently closed, from prying eyes beyond,

For, if all is unfolded, all unbarred,

What will remain ?


Let feelings flow unbidden, unencumbered,

Let them remain untouched, coyly fresh, by clinical cynicism,

For, if all is dissected, all probed,

What will remain ?

Amit Paul.