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pace and blissful tranquillity co-exist in Tokyo
Buddham Sharanam Gacchaami
Did you know that:
The Full Moon Day of the month of Vaishaakha (May) is the:
The Birthday of Gautama Buddha
The Renunciation day of Gautama Buddha
The Enlightenment day (Nirvaana) day of Gautama Buddha.
Buddha was born near Kapilavastu in Nepalese Terai.
associate Mansarovar with the legendary Anotatta Lake, where Buddha’s mother,
Queen Maya, conceived him. Legend says that the Queen, while in a dream state,
was transported to Mansarovar by the Gods and bathed in the lake’s holy waters.
When her body was purified and her womb thus ready to receive Buddha, he
appeared from the direction of Kailash riding a white elephant.
birth-site stands an engraved pillar, erected by Ashoka proclaiming: ‘Here the
Buddha was born!’ Here Siddhartha lived a life of luxury up to the age of 29
years. After the young prince witnessed ‘old age’, ’sickness’ and ‘death’, the
future Buddha renounced his princely life in search of the key to ‘freedom from
After 7 years of severe austerities, Buddha went into a state of
deep meditation and attained ‘Nirvaana’ (Enlightenment) under the shade of a
peepal tree in Bodh Gaya, 6 miles south of Gaya in Bihar.
‘Budh’ means ‘knowledge’
Buddha attained Supreme Nirvaana in his 80th year after
spreading his wondrous message to so many. When Buddha was asked if he was
enlightened, he replied: “I am awake”
Vivekananda considered Buddha to be a great seeker, probably the
Though Buddha was fearless and bent to neither caste nor
traditions, he was extremely kind and loving.
Today, on the full moon day of the month of Vaisaakha, let us
pay homage to the man who taught humanity to follow the ‘Middle Path’ (Not too
much austerity, not too much indulgence)
Who expounded the theory that Desire is the root of all
And who preached and urged man to practice compassion and to
have love in their hearts for their fellow beings on earth. Probably some of the
qualities that one must aspire for in excess.
the rise of Kalki, Buddha is considered the 10th or final avatar of the
The Four Noble Truths that the Great Buddha pondered upon are:
1 The existence of suffering.
2 The causes of suffering
3 The cessation of suffering
4 The path that leads to the cessation of suffering - this is known as the
Noble Eightfold Path and is divided into Shila - moral discipline comprising
of Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, then Samatha or developing Mental
Discipline by meditation. It is made up of Right Effort, Right Right
Awareness and Right Concentration. Finally there is prajna or wisdom that
comprises Right View and Right Thought.
There are three dimensions ordinarily available to approach truth.
The first dimension creates the scientist…the scientist
works with analysis, reason, observation…
The second dimension, …the poet functions through the
heart…the Sufis Bauls-they all have an aesthetic approach…hence they have so
many beautiful mosques, churches, cathedrals, temples…
(M L Varadpande also states that Indian tradition
considers all art to be of divine origin. Art is spiritual in nature and is a
blissful way of reaching and staying with God)
The third approach is that of grandeur. The old
testament prophets – Moses Abraham Islam’s prophet Mohammed; Krishna and Ram
– their approach is through the dimension of grandeur…the awe that one feels
looking at the vastness of the universe. The Upanishads, Vedas, they all
approach the world of truth through grandeur. They are full of wonder. It is
unbelievably there, such grandeur that you simply bow down before it—nothing
else is possible…the rarity of a Buddha consists of this—that his approach is
a synthesis of all the three and beyond the three.
No belief is required to travel with Buddha…first he
convinces your mind…by and by you start feeling that he has a message which is
beyond mind…Because of this rational approach he never brings any concept
which cannot be proved…Because he has never talked about God, many think that
he is an atheist—he is not. He has not talked about God because there is no
way to talk about God.
Excerpted from Dhammapada
It is night when I get into Tokyo from the airport. I reel at the
sight of giant-sized billboards and bright neon lights that greet me
when I step out of the Shinjuku subway station. “When in Tokyo, take
time to stand on the street and absorb the sights and sounds around
you,” is my husband’s attempt at being helpful when he sees my baffled
A wave of black-suited men crosses the street, most murmuring on
their cell phones. When motorbikes come to a grinding halt in front of
us at pedestrian crossing, my daughters gape at the riders — teenagers
with coloured punk hairstyles, wearing torn leather jackets and
dangling earrings and hard rock music blaring from their earpieces.
I almost stumble when a kimono-clad woman brushes past me, her
wooden clogs clacking on the pavement. I hadn’t yet been an hour in the
city. We then make our way to the famous Ginza shopping district. The
ever-present neon signs seem to throb with the pulse of the crowds that
throng the thoroughfares and side streets. Young people and those
working jostle one another as they catch an evening meal or drink sake
and sing karaoke.
Garishly-lit Pachinko parlours and the sound of the pachinko
machines add to the cacophony. Everywhere around the Ginza station, the
sounds, sights and smells of a giant party permeate and stay with me
all the way to my hotel.
The next morning, we head out to catch Tokyo by the day. As we walk
through the Shinagawa district, I marvel at neatly laid out gardens
between giant skyscrapers — an unexpected oasis in the midst of a
mostly concrete landscape.
Walkways connect the buildings several stories above ground level
and I find myself enjoying the window-shopping offered by stores at
either end of the walkways.
It is with some reluctance that I allow myself to be torn from the
shops of Tokyo to head out for a short trip to the countryside. The sun
is slowly headed towards the Western horizon as our train pulls into
Kamakura, an old town barely an hour from Tokyo.
We hail a taxi for the short ride to Kamakura’s most famous
landmark. Large hands folded in a meditative pose are the first thing
that I see. I have to lean way back to look up to the serene face of
the giant bronze Buddha of Kamakura, the Daibutsu. I stand transfixed —
everything seems to fade into the background.
Set against the backdrop of the wooded hills in Kamakura, the
Daibutsu with its tranquil expression and mammoth size is the most
popular tourist sight in Japan. At a height of nearly 12 metres, it is
the second largest Buddha in Japan.
Originally housed in a temple, the Daibutsu remained untouched,
though the temple was destroyed in a tsunami in the late 15th Century.
The cherry blossom trees at dusk, the devotion of the monks and slight
twitter of birds transport me into a meditative state.
The statue radiates a serenity that envelopes all. My daughters’
tugging at my arm brings me back to reality. I realise that we are the
only visitors remaining. I reluctantly trail behind the family to our
Back on the train to Tokyo, the frenetic pace of the previous two days in the city seems but a distant dream.
Two worlds, so close and yet such contrast, I think. Yet, somehow
the bustle of Tokyo seems a perfect foil to the serenity of the
Dalai Lama hints at retirement
Dharamsala: Hinting that he is planning to retire, the Tibetan
The Buddha statue is the largest in south India
Bangalore: President Pratibha Patil will inaugurate the Buddha
Tibetan Buddhist religious leader the Dalai Lama would inaugurate an
A Buddhist monastery, a prayer hall and a meditation centre would be opened at the vihara.
S. Harpal Singh
Devotees from all over the world are flooding the city for the
The Hazur Sahib Gurdwara was built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh between 1830 and 1835
35 ‘langars’ which can feed about 5 lakh people a day now functional
NANDED (MAHARASHTRA): Centred around the Sikh shrines here, the most
sacred of them being the Takhat Sachkhand Shri Hazur Abchalnagar Sahib
Gurdwara, the growth of Nanded city has remained steadfast for the last
300 years as was visualised by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of
Sikhs. He had christened Nanded as ‘Abchalnagar’ or the steadfast city
in October 1708 at the time of elevating the Adi Granth, the holy book
of Sikhs as their perpetual Guru.
A steady flow of devotees and pilgrims from all over the world is
flooding the city, now hosting the tercentenary celebration of this
event and also the one marking the departure of Guru Gobind Singh to
his heavenly abode on November 3, 1708.
Guru Gobind Singh had also raised the status of the gurdwara at
Nanded to that of a Takhat or throne symbolising the seat of authority.
The Sachkhand Hazur Sahib Gurdwara became one of the five Takhats, the
others being the Akal Takhat at Amritsar’s Golden Temple complex,
Takhat Keshgarh Sahib at Anandpur, Takhat Damdama Sahib in Talwandi
Sabo and Takhat Patna Sahib. The first three are in Punjab and the
Takhat Patna Sahib, the place of birth of Guru Gobind Singh is in Bihar.
The Hazur Sahib Gurdwara with the golden dome and intricate art
work, was built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh between 1830 and 1835. Nanded
also has 10 other gurdwaras that have historical importance for Sikhs.
The Nagina Ghat, Bandh Ghat, Maltekdi, Heera Ghat, Mata Saheb, Shikar
Ghat, Sangat Sahib, Ratangarh, Gobind Bagh and Damdama Sahib (Basmat)
are located in the vicinity of Nanded. The Nanaksar, Langar Sahib and
Bhajangarh Sahib were later additions to the list of pilgrim sites.
Nanded had been a part of the Hyderabad State ruled by the Nizam
until 1948 when Hyderabad was liberated following the famous police
action. It went into Maharashtra in 1956 when the reorganisation of
States on linguistic basis was done.
One of the unique aspects of the Sikh way of life like the 24-hour
‘langar’ or community kitchen is on display here. Among other things,
the system of ‘langar’ envisages doing away with class and status
within the community.
The NRI langar facility, opened on Saturday, serves to enhance the
overall capacity to feed pilgrims during the tercentenary of the
elevation of the Adi Granth. There are some 35 ‘langars’ functional
here with a cumulative capacity to feed about 5 lakh people per day.
The tradition of ‘langar’ was started by the third Sikh Guru,
Amardas, and it has come to be one of the main activities at community
level for the Sikhs. Irrespective of the social status people eat
seated on one plane that symbolises equality among the members of the
The ‘langar’ cannot be run without the active participation of the
sevadars or volunteers who also signify the importance attached to
The Langar Sahib Gurdwara here is the largest of such facilities
and in Nanded, which can accommodate about three lakh people every day.
There are others that have been set up by people and organisations from
It is simply a matter of routine for Baba Ranjit Singh, an ageing
Nihang Singh of the Buddha Dal of Sangrur district in Punjab who ties
his 200-metre-long turban twice every day. The bulky turban, known as
the ‘sava man da damla,’ weighs about 40 kg.
The Baba is in Nanded to participate in the tercentenary
celebrations. He was spotted sauntering towards the Nagina Ghat
Gurdwara on the banks of river Godavari on Sunday, sporting on his head
the traditional but formidable head gear.
The Nihang Singhs comprised the army of Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th
Guru of Sikhs and were known as Guru di ladli faujan, the beloved
soldiers of the Guru.
They continue with the tradition of wearing the blue uniform of
which the blue or saffron turban forms a part. Some Nihangs wear the
huge sava man da damla following an incident from the life of Guru
Gobind Singh’s sons.
According to Nanded journalist Ravinder Singh Modi, Sahibzada Jujhar
Singh, the second son of Guru Gobind Singh was denied participation in
a battle by his elder brother Sahibzada Ajit Singh on the grounds that
the former was too ‘small’ or young for it. Sahibzada Jujhar Singh
tried to convince his brother that he was eligible to fight alongside
by tying a huge turban that made him look taller than Sahibzada Ajit
Singh. The Nihangs have since then sported the larger head gear as a
tribute to the young Sahibzada.
Baba Ranjit Singh bathes and washes his hair twice daily after which
he ties the long turban after combing the hair. He then attaches the
small versions of the arms that are carried by the Nihangs. There are
nine small and one big khanda, eight small kirpans, half a dozen small
spears and one simran mala or rosary visible on the turban. He also has
five small arms or shastras besides two small combs tucked inside the
turban. “This exercise takes only two hours,” quips Baba Ranjit Singh.
In 1733, the Mughal government decided, at the insistence of Zakarya
Khan, to stop the persecution of the Sikhs and made an offer of a grant
to them. The title of Nawab was conferred upon their leader, with a jagir consisting of the three parganas of Dipalpur, Kanganval and Jhabal.
After some mutual discussion, the Panj Piare (five revered Sikhs) - Baba Deep Singh, Jassa Singh Ramgarhia, Hari Singh Dhillon,
Bhai Karam Singh and Bhai Buddh Singh decided to make Kapur Singh the
Supreme Leader of the Sikhs. Kapur Singh was thus chosen for the title
and became Nawab Kapur Singh.
Word was sent round to Sikhs passing their days in distant jungles
and deserts that peace had been made with the government and that they
could return to their homes. Nawab Kapur Singh undertook the task of
consolidating the disintegrated fabric of the Sikh Jathas. They were merged into a single central fighting force (The Dal) divided into two sections - The Budha Dal, the army of the veterans, and the Taruna Dal,
the army of the young. Hari Singh Dhillon was elected leader of the
Taruna Dal. The former was entrusted with the task of looking after the
holy places, preaching the word of the Gurus and inducting converts
into the Khalsa Panth by holding baptismal ceremonies. The Taruna Dal
was the more active division and its function was to fight in times of
emergencies and fighting Afghan armies of Ahmed Shah Abdali.
Jassa Singh Ramgarhia and Sultan ul Quam Baba Jassa Singh Ahluwalia were then youngsters who led regiments under Hari Singh Dhillon in the Taruna Dal, reporting to Nawab Kapur Singh at Diwali and Vaisakhi.
Talking to newspersons here, he said
Oct 25: Ruling out any electoral allliance with Congress, former Prime
Minister and JD(S) National President H D Deve Gowda today said his will fight the future elections in an understanding with Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Describing the coming assembly elections in
Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Chhattisgarh and Jammu and Kashmir
as ‘mini general elections’, Mr Gowda said the results in these states
would set the trend for the coming Lok Sabha elections.
already announced its intention to field its candidates for all the
assembly seats in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. JD(S) has also
identified two to three assembly constituencies in Madhyra Pradesh and
Rajasthan, he said.
He alleged that both Congress and BJP, two
major political forces in these six states were struggling to find ways
to fight the anti-incumbancy factor. The mood of the voters was
strongly against both Congress and BJP. ‘’It is not plain sailing for
the two main political parties in these states and people want to have
an alternate political front'’ he said.
He said elections to Lok Sabha were likely to be held either in Aprll or May 2009.
Expressing solidarity with Lok Sabha Speaker Somanath Chatterjee, Mr Deve Gowda expressed concern over the attitude
of the members of the Lok Sabha during the session. He also expressed
regrets over decreasing number of sittings of the Parliament session in
a year. It was only 39 days in 2008, he pointed out.
upon all the political parties to look into the matter seriously the
former prime minister wondered whether ‘Parliamentary institution was
losing its relevance. ‘’There is a need for all the political parties
to have an intraction on the matter and find ways to restore the
supremacy of Parliament, the highest institution in a democracy'’ he
New Delhi, Oct 26 (IANS) The Bahujan Samaj Party has
‘made some changes’ in its list of candidates for the Delhi assembly
elections and the ‘final list’ will be released in the first week of
November, a party official said Sunday.
The party has made some changes in the list of
candidates and our final list will be released in the first week of
November,said state party unit chief Brahm Singh Bidhuri.
Delhi will go to polls Nov 29 to elect 70 legislators.
Inflation, statehood for Delhi, regularisation of unauthorised
colonies besides poor condition of roads and electricity shortage will
be the issues that will form part of the BSP’s election campaign.
Complete statehood, regularising unauthorised colonies besides
unemployment and poor living conditions in slums will be the main
issues on which our party will focus in our campaign,said Bidhuri.
However, the party officials are silent on whether the demand for a
judicial probe into the Jamia Nagar shootout in which two suspected
terrorists were gunned down Sep 19 will form a part of the election
Although the party MPs have raised the issue in parliament,
whether the demand for judicial probe will form a part of election
campaign in Delhi or not will be decided by our party priesident,Bidhuri told IANS.
With 16.9 percent Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa, that is, the Great
Prabuddha Bharath population, 15 councillors in the Municipal
Corporation of Delhi and 5.7 percent vote share in 2003, the BSP is
confident of recreating the success of its social engineering effort in
Behenji (Mayawati) is thinking about sarvajan (everybody). BSP
will erase other parties from the political scene. People have come to
know about the real colours of the Congress and the Bharatiya Janta
Party who have not done anything for the people, except pay lip
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