Yonaguni monument

Yonaguni monument

YONAGUNI MONUMENT ( submerged site in Japan), also known as YONAGUNI (Island) SUBMARINE RUINS, refers to one of the largest features within a submerged rock formation off the coast of YONAGUNI, the southernmost of the RYUKYU Islands in Japan.

Masaaki Kimura. Professor Emeritus from the Faculty of Science at the University of the Ryukyu claim that the formations are man-made stepped monoliths.  His ideas are disputed and there is debate about whether the site is completely natural, a natural site that has been modified or a man-made artefact.

Yonaguni monument

The sea of YONAGUNI is a popular diving location during the winter months, due to its large population of hammerhead sharks.  In `1987, while looking for a good place to observe the sharks, Kihachiro Aratake, a Director of the YONAGUNI – CHO Tourism Association, noticed some singular seabed formations resembling Architectonic Structures.  Shortly thereafter, a group of scientists, directed by Masaaki Kimura, visited the formations.

The formation has since become a relatively popular attraction for divers and instructors, despite the strong currents.  In 1997, Japanese Industrialist, YASUO WATANABE sponsored an informal expedition comprising writers John Anthony West and Graham Hancock, photographer Santa Faiia, geologist Robert Schoch, a few sport divers and instructors and a film crew for Channel – 4 and Discovery Channel.  Another notable visitor was free diver Jacques Mayol, who wrote a book on his dives at YONAGUNI.

Yonaguni monument

The Monument consists of medium to very fine sandstones and mudstones of the Lower Miocene Yaeyama Group believed to have been deposited about 20million years ago.  Most of the formations are connected to the underlying “rock mass” as opposed to being assembled out of free-standing rocks.

The main feature (the Monument Proper) is a rectangular formation measuring about 490 x 130ft, and about 90ft tall, and the top is about 16ft below sea level. Some of its details are said to be :
* 2 closely-spaced pillars which rise to within 8ft of the surface.
* A 16ft-wide ledge that encircles the base of the formation on 3 sides.
* A stone column about 23ft tall.
* A straight wall, 33ft long.
* An isolated boulder resting on a low platform.
* A low star-shaped platform.
* A triangular depression with 2 large holes at its edge.
* A L-shaped rock.
YONAGUNI lies in as earthquake-prone region and such earthquakes tend to fracture the rocks in a regular manner.  On the northeast coast of YONAGUNI, there are regular formations, similar to those seen at the Monument.  John Anthony West suggests the  “walls” are simply natural horizontal platforms that fell into a vertical position, when rock below them eroded and the alleged roads are simply channels in the rock.
The existence of an ancient stone-working tradition at YONAGUNI & other RYUKYU Islands is demonstrated by some old tombs, and several stone vessels of uncertain age.  Small camps, pottery, stone tools and large fireplaces, were found on YONAGUNI, possibly dating back to 250 BCE.  However, Archaeologist Richard J. Pearson notes that these were small communities, adding, “They are not likely to have had extra energy for building stone monuments.

Yonaguni momument

The flat parallel faces, sharp edges and mostly right-angles of the formation have led some to conclude that the features are man-made.  These features include a “trench”, that has two internal 90degree angles, as well as the twin megaliths that, according to Kimura, appear to have been placed there.  These megaliths have straight edges and square corners, however, sea currents have been known to move large rocks on a regular basis.  Some of those who see the formations as being largely natural, claim that they may have been modified by human hands.

Other evidence, presented by those who favour an artificial origin, include the two round holes (about 2ft wide) on the edge of the Triangle Pool feature, and a straight row of smaller holes that have been interpreted as an abandoned attempt to split off a section of the rock by means of wedges, found in ancient quarries.  Kimura believes, he had identified traces of animal drawing and people engraved into the rocks, including a “horse-like” sign, he believes resembles a character from the KAIDA SCRIPT.  Some have also interpreted a formation, on the side of one of the monuments, as a crude mole-like face.

Yonaguni monument

Kimura first estimated that the monument must be at least 8,000BCE, dating it to a  period when it would have been “above water”.  In a report given to the Pacific Science Congress in 2007, he revised the estimate to 2,000 or 3,000 years ago, because the sea level then was close to current levels.  He suggests, that after construction, Tectonic Activity caused it to be submerged below sea level.  He believes he can identify a pyramid, castles, roads, monuments and a stadium.  Kimura also surmised that the site may be a remnant of the MYTHICAL LOST CONTINENT of MU.


KINDNESS is an inner desire that makes us want to do good things, even if we do not get anything in return.  It is the joy we receive that drives these simple acts.  When we perform acts of kindness, driven solely by an insatiable desire to love one another, there is kindness in everything we think, say or do.
Here are some quotes on KINDNESS :
(1) We change the world a little each day with our kindness.  ——- Tom Giaquinto.
(2) Kindness is a magical spell ——- performed by enlightened beings ——- meant to enchant hearts and lift weary souls that they might fly. —— Richelle E Goodrich.


(3) The little unremembered acts of kindness and love are the best part of a person’s life. —— Wordsworth.

(4) Be kind, be kind, everyone you meet is carrying a heavy burden.
(5) A little kindness from person to person is better than a vast love for all humankind. —— Richard Dehmel.
(6) We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us, and make us kinder. —– Dalai Lama.
(7) How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it. –George Elliston.
(8) Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness.  Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. ——- Scott Adams.
(9) Never get tired of doing little things for others.  Sometimes little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts.

Kind act

(10) Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world …….. it is the only thing that ever has. —- Margaret Meade.
(11) Kindness, like a boomerang, always returns.  —— Anon.
(12) A little spark of kindness, can put a colossal burst of sunshine into someone’s day.
(13) If we all do one random act of kindness daily, we just might set the world in the right direction……..
(14) Be kind to everyone ——– including yourself.
(15) Have you had a kindness shown ?  PASS IT ON.
‘Twas not given for thee alone.  PASS IT ON.
Let it travel down the years
Let it wipe another’s tears
‘Till in Heaven the deed appears.  PASS IT ON.


Tirupati Balaji

TIRUMALA is the combination of two words : TIRU —— Holy or Sacred and MALA ——- Hill (in Tamil), translating to HOLY HILL.

TIRUMALA is a census town in Chittoor District in Andhra Pradesh.  It is a hill town, where Lord Venkateshwara Temple, the abode of Lord Venkateshwara, is located.  It is located 3,200ft above sea level and covers an area of approximately 26.8km.  Surrounding the hill are seven peaks, namely SESHADRI, NEELADRI, GARUDADRI, ANJANADRI, VRUSHABADRI, NARAYANARI & VENKADRI.


At the 12km point on the Tirupati – Tirumala Ghat road, there is a major discontinuity of stratigraphic significance that represents a period of remarkable serenity in the geological history o the Earth.  This is referred to as EPARCHAEAN UNCONFORMITY, which was declared to be one of the 26 Geological Monuments of India by the Geological Survey of India in 2001.

In ancient literature, TIRUPATI is mentioned as AADHI VARAHA KSHETRA.  The Puranas associate the site with Lord Varaha, one of the DASHAVATARA of Lord Vishnu.  In Varaha Purana, VENKATADRI is believed to be a part of Mount Meru, which was brought to earth from Vishn’s abode by his mount Garuda.  The seven peaks represent the seven heads of ADISESHA.  TIRUMALA  is one of the 108 DIVYA DESAMS.

Tirupati Balaji

(1) SRI VENKATESWARA SWAMY TEMPLE is a landmark Temple.  It is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara , an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who is believe to have appeared here to save mankind from the trials and troubles of KALIYUGA.  Hence, the place is also known as KALIYUGA VAIKUNTHAM, and lord Venkateswara is known by many other names : BALAJI, GOVINDA & SRINIVASA.


(2) SILATHORANAM, a natural arch and a distinctive geological wonder, is located in the Tirumala Hills, at a distance of 1km from Tirumala.  The arch measures 8metres in width and 3metres in height and is curved out of quartzite by weathering agents like water and wind.

Feet of the lord Tirumala

(3) SRIVAARI PAADAMULU ( The Lord’s Footprints), believed to be the footprints of Lord Venkateswara formed when He first stood on Tirumala Hills, about 15km from the Temple.

Papa-vinaasanam Tirumala

(4) PAPAVINASANAM located about 5km from the main Temple, is a reservoir as well as a Temple.  The name originates from the legend that a bath in the water from the reservoir cleanses one from all sins (PAPAM).  Originally, a waterfall flowing from a tributary of the SWARNAMUKHI River, the river was later dammed to control the water flowing out of the area.  A part of the water flows to Papavinasanam Temple, where seven-headed channels open from  a height of Deities, where you can bathe.  A Temple, dedicated to Goddess Ganga, is located near the enclosure.


(5) AKASA GANGA is a natural waterfall believed to originate from Lord Vishnu’s feet.  The water is used daily in the Temple’s activities.

(6) FOOT STEPS :  There are two paths to travel on foot from Tirupati to Tirumala.  These paths are called SOPANAMARGAS.  Both paths are completely roofed and pass through the seven hills which are a part of SESHACHALAM HILLS.


** ALIPIRI METLU  — This ancient path starts from Alipiri and consists of 3,500 steps which make a distance of 11km.  At Alipiri, there is a Temple dedicated to Lord Venkateswara called PADALAMANDARAM.  There are four GOPURAMS (Temple Towers) on the way.

** SRIVARI METLU ——- It originates at SRINIVASA MANGAPURAM about 15km from Tirupati.  It is 2.1km long.  This trail has 2,400 steps.

Silent dialogue

Prayer is an experience of resurrection, a rebirth, the birth of a new vision, new dimension, new way of looking at things and a new way of being.  Prayer is not something that you do : PRAYER IS SOMETHING THAT YOU BECOME.  It is a state of being.  It has nothing to do with words that you utter in the temples, mosques and churches.  It is a SILENT DIALOGUE WITH EXISTENCE.  It is to be in tune with the total, with the whole.
And prayer is such a vast experience that it contains contradiction.  So, one can say : PRAYER IS SILENCE —— and he is absolutely right.  And another can say : PRAYER IS DIALOGUE —— and he is right too, because PRAYER IS A DIALOGUE IN SILENCE.  Now DIALOGUE and SILENCE seem to be contradictory.  In DIALOGUE you SPEAK, in SILENCE you HEAR.  In DIALOGUE you COMMUNICATE, in SILENCE you ARE SIMPLY THERE —— there is nothing to say.


What can be said to “existence” ?  He knows all that you can say in the first place.  you can bow down, celebrate.  But still your bowing down, celebration, festivity, thankfulness, gratitude —— they are still ways of speaking.  You are trying to say something without words, because words are very small and the heart really wants to say something.

So, it is “dialogue”, although “silent”.  It is a communication in a sense, because you are there and the whole existence becomes your beloved, the whole existence becomes a “thou”.  And yet there is no “I” and there is no “thou”  ———– BOTH DISAPPEAR.  Both meet and merge into one unity, one organic whole.  Just as the dewdrop disappears in the ocean, you disappear.  There is no separation between you and existence, so how can there be a dialogue ?
Science gives definitions, Religion cannot.  You ask, “What is water ?” and it says “H2O”  Prayer is subjective.  It is not an object that can be analysed.  You cannot show your prayer to anybody.  When prayer exists, it is not that prayer exists in you ———- on the contrary, YOU EXIST IN PRAYER.  You vibrate in that enormous dimension; that plenitude.
Prayer is a feeling of immense gratitude and thankfulness.  You are in this beautiful world, with these trees and rivers, mountains and stars, and you are pulsating, you are alive.  You have not earned this opportunity—– IT IS A GIFT.  Prayer is thank fullness for this gift of life.  Just to breathe is such a joy, just to open your eyes and see the greenery.  Just to listen to the chirping of birds, or the sound of running water or the silence of the night, or the dawn and sun rising ………. We have not earned all this.  They have been given to us, and we are not even thankful.
Prayer is a way of living, it is not something that you do early in the morning like a ritual.  If it is a ritual, it is meaningless.  A man of prayer remains in prayer 24 HOURS A DAY.  Prayer is deep down at the core of one’s being.
Man has lost many capacities, and one of the most important has been the capacity to pray ——- because it is only through prayer that we make a bridge between our tine self and the Infinite and the Absolute.
—- Abridged from THE PERFECT MASTER, courtesy : Osho International Foundation, http://www.osho.com.  (Speaking Tree).



MODICA (Sicilian : MUORICA ; Greek : MOTOUKA ; Latin : MUTYCA) is a city and commune in the Province of RAGUSA, Sicily, southern Italy.

According to THUCYDIDES, the city was founded in 1360 BC and was inhabited by SICELS in the 7th century BC.  It was probably a dependency of Syracuse.  MODICA was occupied by the Romans after the battle of the EGADI ISLANDS against the Carthaginians in the PUNIC WARS (241 BC), together with Syracuse and all of Sicily.  MODICA became one of the 35 DECUMAN (spontaneously submitted) cities of the island and was oppressed by the praetor VERRES.  It became an independent MUNICIPIUM, and apparently a place of some consequence.  The city is also mentioned among the island towns both by Pliny and Ptolemy, and though its name is not found in the itineraries, it is again mentioned by the Geographer of Ravenna.


In 845, MODICA was captured by the Arabs during the Muslim Conquest of Sicily.  They referred to the city as MUDIQAH.  The year after its capture, the Arabs fortified its citadels and it, subsequently, prospered under their rule.  In 1091, the conquest of MODICA and the entire VAL di NOTO, ended the long-lasting war of the Normans, led by Roger of Hauteville, against the Arabs.

On Assumption Day (August 15, 1474), Christians wrecked brutal havoc on the Jewish dwellers of the CARTELLONE area of MODICA, the so-called STRAGE dell ASSUNTA (Massacre of the Assumption).
Later, an earthquake of 1693 destroyed the entire VAL di NOTO, and to a slighter lesser extent, in MODICA.  Annexed to Italy in 1860, MODICA remained the District Capital until 1926, when it was included in the Province of Ragusa.
MODICA consists of two urban centres : MODICA ALTA (Upper Modica) and MODICA BASSA (Lower Modica).  The older upper part is perched on the rocky top of the southern IBELI Hill, the lower part is built on the lower slopes and valley below.  The walk down from MODICA ALTA to MODICA BASSA reveals vistas of the lower town and involves many steps, and not many attempt the reverse journey on foot.

Modica San Gieogio

During the last century, the city has extended and developed new suburbs which include SACRO CUORE (or SORDA), MONSERRATO, IDRIA, these are often referred to as Modern MODICA, and both old and modern quarters of the city are today joined by one of Europe’s high bridge, the GUERRIERI Bridge that is 980ft long.

Despite being ravaged by earthquakes in 1613 & 1693, and floods in 1833, MODICA has retained some of the most beautiful architecture in Sicily.  Much of the city was rebuilt after the 1693 earthquake with imposing and conspicuous urban monuments in the Sicilian Baroque Style.
The large Baroque Cathedral of SAN GIORGIO, is dedicated to Saint George.  While the Cathedral was rebuilt following the earthquake of 1693, like many other parts of the city, its roots are in the Middle Ages.  From the front of the Cathedral, a staircase of 300 steps leads down towards MODICA BASSA.

Palazzo Mercedari

Another notable Church is SAN PIETRO, dedicated to Saint Peter, featuring a principal façade, crowned by a typical Sicilian Baroque bell-tower, 161ft high.
MERCEDARI PALACE or PALAZZO MERCEDARI is a Palace and civic ethnographical museum, built in the 18th century, as a place for the Fathers of MERCEDARI, attached to the S. Maria del Grazie Sanctuary.  Today, the Palace contains the Library and Museum.  It often hosts Classical Music Recitals.

San Pietro Modica

The economy  the area once principally agricultural produces olives, carobs, legumes, cereals.  An extraordinary product is the famous CHOCOLATE of MODICA, produced with an ancient and original Aztec recipe.  The city now has factories producing textiles, furniture and cars.  Tourism is also an important industry, since MODICA entered the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002.

Modica chocolate

This incredible town melts the heart of any visitor, and is a dream destination for anyone who loves art, food and having fun.  It is a spot of the world in everyone’s heart.  MODICA is a place to go to in all seasons ——– charming in winter and amazing under summer’s light and whoever has the chance to pass through MODICA, will never forget the sunsets over the sea and the bars on the beach.  During the mild winters, the quaint village streets are full of young people and great music.  All year round, MODICA never disappoints its visitors., who will hardly resist a second bite.

A very happy New Year!

A New Year (2016) has begun.  Everyone receives text messages or email wishes for a Happy New Year.  There should be something new in our lives besides the date on the calendar.
Does it bring any external or internal change ?  Internal change is the change in our viewpoint.  If our vision of life does not improve, we keep living the way we always did.
Happy New Year 2016For a happy life, it is necessary to have good health, so we must ensure that we keep our body healthy. The next requirement is that of wealth.  We must have enough wealth, both in our homes and to help those in need.  The next requirement is a discriminating intellect, which helps us to distinguish right from wrong, and it also inspires us to hold on to the right path.  Goodness, purity of emotion and feeling and truthfulness of heart are the qualities that lead to true happiness.
Let us start this year on a happy note and prepare ourselves for all that the year holds in store for us.  Let us accept all the blessings with a grateful heart, and let us try and spread happiness all around.  A VERY HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR TO ALL.

Year-end rituals

Each year’s regrets are envelopes in which messages of hope are found for the NEW YEAR. ——— John R. Dallas Jr.
Take a radical reboot to get past this year’s bad memories and negative experiences, and thus free you soul.  Yearends can be the perfect time for emotional makeovers.  Wrap up your emotions —— give yourself some sort of closure as 2015 comes to an end.  It is easier said than done, but be sure to not take the emotional baggage into 2016.

letting go

Renowned German psychologist Carsten Wrosch and professor of psychology at the University of Columbia, Gregory Miller, stressed the importance of learning to ‘let go’.  Wrosch said, “Bitterness can be triggered by events that are associated with feelings of unfairness, which make people feel like the victim”.  Latching on to this feeling for too long is hazardous to the mind and body.  This, creating ‘year-end rituals’, both ‘celebratory’ and ’empowering’, becomes a necessity.

Wrap it up, de-clutter your emotions, release the bondage which perpetuates negative emotions, and release the clouds of negative attachment, and practise the art of forgiveness, and thus we can bring happiness to others and ourselves.
Japanese New YearClosure is a personal process.  So, how does one go about wrapping memories and emotions that refuse to leave us ?  Psychologist Sonali Gupta feels that the first step is to accept that we don’t have control over some things.  Next, pen down your experiences or channelize grief into an art form like poetry, dance or painting.  Be thankful for every moment, and this exercise of gratitude allows us to continuously seek and appreciate positive experiences as compared to holding on to the negative moments.  Lastly, do not forget to exhale to release the tension.
Italians throw out old things out of their windows every New Year’s Eve.  On December 31st, people walking the streets actually have to look out for falling objects.  In Ecuador, people make dummies, stuffed with straw, to represent events of the past year.  These ANO VIEJO or “effigies”are burned at midnight, symbolically getting rid of the past.  In Spain, people put 12 grapes into their wine at midnight.  The grapes represent the months of the year ahead.  At the stroke of midnight, after raising a toast, people eat the grapes as quickly as possible, making a wish on each one.  In Japan, OSOJI or “end of year cleaning and purification” in offices and homes is quite common.  This ritual welcomes the TOSHIGAMI-SAMA (God of the New Year).
——– Nona.Walia@timesgroup.com.