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Showing posts from October, 2006

8-yr-old Boy takes charge of police station

Mahak Kothari, 8, got his appointment as station house officer (SHO) of Jubilee Hills police station on Tuesday. The young officer smartly saluted the director-general of police and took his orders.

On the “orders” of the DGP, Mahak was “posted” at the Jubilee Hills Police Station and he even got to interrogate a petty offender.

The boy was deliriously happy. Even his apprehensive parents didn’t stifle their smiles.

“I am very happy,” said Mahak, sitting stylishly in the chair of the station house officer. “I will always protect people and tackle the bad guys.” The eight-year-old is battling a life-threatening disease(Cancer). Thanks to the generosity of director-general

Mega Deal - With reported $7.6 million, Hrithik Roshan is Bollywood’s highest paid star

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Actor Hrithik Roshan has gone beyond any actor’s pricing after signing a deal with Adlabs, a Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group company, at a reported price of a whopping Rs. 350 million ($7.6 million).

Adlabs Film Ltd. has apparently signed the ‘Krrish’ star for a three-film deal. While Roshan’s father Rakesh Roshan says “negotiations are on,” other reliable sources say the deal has been signed, sealed and delivered.

The deal makes him the highest-paid star in Bollywood, outpricing every other actor, including Aamir Khan, who was reportedly paid Rs. 70 million ($1.5 million) for supethit film ‘Rang De Basanti.’ Roshan’s reported price would change the entire pricing system in Bollywood, spiralling star fees out of control.

A famous filmmaker, who wanted to be anonymous, said: “If true, this is a very unhealthy development. Hrithik is no doubt a fabulous hard-working actor. But star prices have constantly been the bane of Bollywood. Often more than 65 percent of the budget for a film g…

Now, Disney movies on tiny screen

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WARREN BUCKLEITNER

With the recent flurry of devices that play both digital music and movies, it only makes sense that content companies like Walt Disney get into the act, wrapping their branding, or in this case mouse ears, around the gadgets themselves.

The Disney Mix Max Personal Media Player is slightly larger than an iPod Nano and can play MP3 or WMA music files. But the hallmark of this player is the 2.2-inch screen, created especially to display TV-quality Disney videos and movies. The movies, including High School Musical and Ella Enchanted, are available on specially formatted memory chips that sell for $15 and slip into a side port that also accepts standard SD memory cards.

US Army monitors blogs by its soldiers

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From the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan to at home, soldiers blogging about military life are under the watchful eye of some of their own.

A Virginia-based operation, the Army Web Risk Assessment Cell, monitors official and unofficial blogs and other websites for anything that may compromise security. The team scans for official documents, personal contact information and pictures of weapons or entrances to camps.

In some cases, that information can be detrimental, said Lt. Col. Stephen Warnock, team leader and battalion commander of a Manassas-based Virginia National Guard unit working on the operation.

In one incident, a blogger was describing his duties as a guard, providing pictures of his post and discussing how to exploit its vulnerabilities. Other soldiers posted photos of an Army weapons system that was damaged by enemy attack, and another showed personal information that could have endangered his family.

“We are a nation at war,” Warnock said by email. “The less the enemy k…

Rare photos of well known people

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1) Tim Berners Lee -- Founder of the World Wide Web


2.THIS PICTURE WAS TAKEN WHEN SUPERHIT SHOLEY WAS STARTED...... They were looking at ashrani when he was doing practice first time with his funny Jailer's dress... ALONE on one rock...


3) Picture taken when microsoft was started

4) Ken Thompson (L)and Dennis Ritchie(R) ,creators of UNIX.
Dennis Ritchie improved on the B programming language and called it 'New B'.
B was created by Ken Thompson as a revision of the Bon programming language (named after his wife Bonnie)
He later called it C.




5) Steve Woznaik(sitting) and Steve Jobs of APPLE Computers.
He was three months late in filing a name for the business because he didn't get any better name for his new company.
So one day he told to the staff: "If I'll not get better name by 5 o'clcok today, our company's name will be anything he likes..."
so at 5 o'clcok nobody comeup with better name, and he was eating APPLE that time...
so he keep the name …

Now read newspaper pages on cellphones

INDIA: In a first of its kind service, cellphone users will be able to read their morning newspaper on their mobile phones. The services called M paper would be launched nationwide in December.
Every morning the reader would receive the paper of his or her choice in the form of an MMS. Unlike the news alert in the M paper the reader would be able to get the whole news report, with pictures on mobile phone. The electronic paper will have different sections and the reader will be able to scan it without any time delay.

Cellnext Solutions that has introduced M Paper has carried out its soft launch with Idea Cellular. Currently the paper is sent to some one thousand customers of Idea to get customer’s feedback. “The feedback is very encouraging,” says Mr Ajay Vaish navi, COO, Cellnext Solutions.

Cellnext is talking with major dailies to launch their newspapers on cellphones.

A subscriber of the M paper will have to pay only Rs 50 per month for the service. M paper will contain 25 new items bu…

Kurt Cobain is richest dead star

Twelve years after his death, grunge rocker Kurt Cobain is making millions upon millions. He is even richer than Elvis Presley.

Cobain, who raked in an estimated $50 million between October 2005 and October 2006, has edged Presley from the number 1 spot on Forbes.com’s list of “Top-Earning Dead Celebrities”. Presley, who sat atop the list each year since 2001, ranks second with earnings of $42 million. Presley died in 1977. He is followed by Peanuts cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, John Lennon and so on.

Australia plans world’s biggest solar power farm

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Australia on Wednesday announced plans to build the world’s biggest spaceage solar power station as part of a $500 million radical rethink on climate change.

The government said it would contribute $75 million towards the cost of the photovoltaic solar power plant in the first of a series of projects aimed at reducing the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.

The move comes as the government, which like the United States has refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, tries to contain the political impact of the worst drought in living memory.

Treasurer (finance minister) Peter Costello said the plant near Mildura in the southern state of Victoria would be the biggest of its kind.

“The project aims to build the biggest photovoltaic project in the world and this is by using mirrors which concentrate the sun’s rays on a power plant,” Mr Costello told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The 154 megawatt power station will cost a total of $420 million and will be b…

12 century Tikkanna pen stand proves Telugu age

An exquisitely carved sandal sheath which held writing implements used by great poet Tikkanna Somayaji in the 12th century is still carefully preserved by his descendant Paturu Harihara Sarma.

This is not just a precious artefact but also living proof of the classical status of Telugu, which the Andhra Pradesh government is lobbying hard for.

It is believed that Tikkanna used this iron stylus (Gamtamu) to translate the great epic Mahabharata on a mandap in the banks of the Pennar river.

Tikkanna, one of the trinity of poets who translated the Mahabharata, was born in Nellore in a Saivaite Brahmin family. He was known as Vikrama Simhapuri and lived in Paturu, a small village about 10 km from Nellore.

It was at the Siddeswara Swamy temple in this village that the poet composed parts of his great epic. Though a Saivaite, Tikkanna’s poems give the clear message that Lord Siva and Lord Vishnu are the same.

Unfortunately, no serious effort has been made by either the archeology department or th…

SPECIAL - Software to sniff out terrorist mails

Intelligence sleuths are planning to use sniffer software to trace the activities of Maoists, their sympathisers and ISI agents on the Internet.

The sleuths have decided to go snooping in the Internet after realising that the Maoists and their sympathisers have turned cyber-savvy and were using emails and chat to transmit key messages.

Police had also come across several instances of ISI suspects using cyber cafes to communicate with their bosses in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Dubai and Saudi Arabia.

Intelligence agencies have now decided to scan Internet traffic at the local gateways of service providers to sniff out the cyber communication of extremists.

A committee of cyber forensic experts has been set up to filter emails, coded messages, chat and other communication. The sniffer software will also help intelligence agencies track extremists and their operatives in the city.

Special Intelligence Branch (that deals with the Maoists) is in fact the first State police agency to go for sniffer s…

Five ways to improve your love quotient

To all you men out there, single, married or about to enter a relationship, before you ask your partner out or make more mistakes adding to your misery, here are a few ground rules you need to check up on or brush up with …


Five things you should never tell a woman


1. Honey! You seem to have put on weight!
2. Don’t you think you are shopping and spending too much money these days on items that are not necessary?
3. The food is excellent, but you know my mom used to add something that is missing in this, maybe you should ask her.
4. I need a break so I am going off on a holiday with my buddies and will keep my phone switched off.
5. I think you should change your style of dressing - this does not suit you any longer.


Five things you must remember about your girl


1. Her birthday.
2. Your anniversary.
3. Valentines Day.
4. Her favourite flowers and perfume.
5. Her contact number by heart, even if she has bought a new cell 10 minutes back!


Five things you must say to impress your girl


1. Oh you’re look…

This Don lacks the original punch

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Don - The chase begins again

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Arjun Rampal, Ishaa Koppikar, Kareena Kapoor, Om Puri, Boman Irani, Chunky Pandey
Director: Farhan Akhtar
Rating:
Average

All directors working on remakes of well-loved hits, might learn a few lessons from Farhan Akhtar’s Don. No matter what they do, they will invite comparisons with the original and the past always looks golden-hued in retrospect. Unless they are able to completely reinvent or reinterpret the old film, their efforts are in danger of falling flat. Farhan Akhtar trips over several wires. Even if viewers wanted to see the film with a clean slate, the use of names, dialogues and situations from the original film keep jerking them back into memories of the old Chandra Barot Don, which, with the passage of time has acquitted the patina of a masterpiece. It was actually no more than a reasonably entertaining masala film, which, with happy chance, blended the talents of Salim-Javed, Amitabh Bachchan and Kalyanji-…

Using the mobile phone as modem

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Cell phone users seeking more computing power for mobile online activities but wary of clunky laptops have a new option: the Ultra-Mobile Personal Computer (UMPC). Built-in Bluetooth wireless technology makes agopc's 1.87 lb. ago7 capable of using any Bluetooth-ready, EDGE- or EV-DO-networked cell phone to make an Internet connection.

“Our lightweight ago7 UMPC is ideally suited to using ‘phone as modem,’ or PAM,” says agopc president and CEO David Carroll, in a posting on the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based company’s web site. agopc has posted a one-page setup guide entitled “Using Your ago7 and PAM” on their website,www.agopc.com (linked from the “Buy/Specs” page). ago7 has two USB ports, either of which could be used to communicate with a cell phone’s data network via USB cable. “Using both Bluetooth wireless and USB cables, the agopc team has extensively field-tested EDGE and EV-DO networked phones,” Mr. Carroll says.


“All phone tests with the ago7 worked well and provided convenie…

Sex can help relieve stress, work as balm on tired body

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Some doctors say that as many as nine of 10 visits to the doctor may be related to stress. But how can you actually reduce stress and avoid a burnout? Instead of staying stressed, a serious attempt must be made to tackle it, so that you can get back fresh and healthy to work even after a stressful event.

To control stress, you have to first determine what is the cause. You need to list all the things in your life that you find especially stressful. After you have identified the things you can do something about, and those you cannot control and must learn to accept, you will be a lot more relieved and be able to consciously stop worrying about things you cannot do anything about.

Usually, you can find something positive even in the thing that stresses you. You will discover that it is probably not as stressful as you’re making it out to be. Begin each sentence with “at least” whenever you’re stressed out. If you work for a bad boss, remind yourself, “At least I have a job.” At the same …

False visa papers

Hyderabadis send the highest number of false documents while applying for US visas, according to Peter G. Kaestner, minister-counselor for consular affairs and consul-general of the US embassy.

This continues despite a series of initiatives over the past few years with the State government to authenticate documents especially from universities.

“It is unfortunate that cases of false documentation in Hyderabad is a real problem. Though we don’t keep track of the number of cases, I can say the highest number in India are from Hyderabad,” he said.

Explaining why the US wants to set up a consulate in the city despite the fake documents, Mr Kaestner said of the four lakh temporary visas issued in India last year, about 20 per cent were from Andhra Pradesh.

The visa demand from Hyderabad is expected to go up to between 1.25 lakh and 1.40 lakh in 2008 when the US consulate starts operations here. The consulate will have 15 visa windows against nine in Delhi and 16 in Chennai.

Mr Kaestner was in t…

Did Shoaib take drug by mistake?

Mumbai: “Shoaib Akhtar may have taken drugs accidentally,” his doctor, Tauseef Razzaq, told this paper from Lahore. “I have been treating him for the last five years and he is like my son, he never hides anything from me and has not taken this drug deliberately”, he said.

“After surgery in Australia this February, Shoaib had a stress fracture and a hakim in Pakistan is likely to have given him the nandrolone drug in herbal medicines,” he added.

Dr Razzaq has worked with the Pakistani team for several years. “Shoaib is at the peak of his career and will not take such a drastic step. He had also undergone doping tests thrice (at the ICC knockout championship, and before and after the 2003 World Cups) and had never positive.”

Akhtar and Asif face hard times

Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif are long gone, but tremors of the dope scandal continue to shake Jaipur. It may not be a related development, but the International Cricket Council has introduced testing at the 2006 Champions Trophy for w…

Madonna’s plan to adopt African toddler under fire

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London:

US pop diva Madonna is under fire in Britain for her plans to adopt an African toddler, with her toughest critics dismissing her as a selfish star who could do much more to ease world poverty.

Madonna, 48, who has a family home in London, left Malawi on a private plane on Friday after a judge granted her an 18-month interim order allowing her to take David Banda, the son of an illiterate farmer, out of the country.



Mother to 10-year-old Lourdes and Rocco, six, Madonna is not the first star to expand her family by adopting children from developing countries. United States actress Mia Farrow was the first in the 1970s, she has 14 children, including 10 adopted from foreign countries. United States actress Meg Ryan adopted a Chinese girl, while the Scottish actor Ewan McGregor, gave his two children a little Mongolian sister.

However, the adoptive parent who is perhaps best known is Angelina Jolie. She adopted Maddox, four, and in Ethiopia she became mother to Zahara, almost two, bef…

Stuck for small talk? Tips on chatting with adults

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EMILIE LE BEAU

O h, yawn. Mom and dad have their friends over, and you’re stuck talking to adults all evening. Say the wrong thing and the ’rents get mad. But say nothing, and they’ll be ticked you weren’t friendly. So how can kids talk to adults?

Easy. Ask adults questions about themselves. “Many of them like to talk about what they do for a living,” suggests psychologist Tim Ursiny, author of The Confidence Plan.

Kids also can talk to grown-ups about movies. Ask what was the last good movie they saw, because people “light up” when the conversation turns to movies, Ursiny says.

Ask if he or she is into Harry Potter. It’s a topic both grown-ups and kids enjoy, so go ahead and discuss whether Dumbledore really is dead. But Ursiny suggests to stay away from the topic of video games unless you know the adult plays it.

Remember, adults were once kids, too. Ursiny recommends asking adults what school was like when they were your age. “It might be a fun discussion if you com pare your eighth-gra…

5. Why do we wear marks (tilak, pottu and the like) on the forehead?

The tilak or pottu invokes a feeling of sanctity in the wearer and others. It is recognized as a religious mark. Its form and colour vary according to one's caste, religious sect or the form of the Lord worshipped.


In earlier times, the four castes (based on varna or colour) - Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra - applied marks differently. The brahmin applied a white chandan mark signifying purity, as his profession was of a priestly or academic nature. The kshatriya applied a red kumkum mark signifying valour as he belonged to warrior races. The vaishya wore a yellow kesar or turmeric mark signifying prosperity as he was a businessman or trader devoted to creation of wealth. The sudra applied a black bhasma, kasturi or charcoal mark signifying service as he supported the work of the other three divisions.

Also Vishnu worshippers apply a chandan tilak of the shape of "U," Shiva worshippers a tripundra of bhasma, Devi worshippers a red dot of kumkum and so on).

The tila…

6. Why do we not touch papers, books and people with the feet?

To Indians, knowledge is sacred and divine. So it must be given respect at all times. Nowadays we separate subjects as sacred and secular.

But in ancient India every subject - academic or spiritual - was considered divine and taught by the guru in the gurukula. The custom of not stepping on educational tools is a frequent reminder of the high position accorded to knowledge in Indian culture. From an early age, this wisdom fosters in us a deep reverence for books and education.

This is also the reason why we worship books, vehicles and instruments once a year on Saraswathi Pooja or Ayudha Pooja day, dedicated to the Goddess of Learning. In fact, each day before starting our studies, we pray:

Saraswati namasthubhyam Varade kaama roopini Vidyaarambham karishyaami Sidhirbhavatu me sadaa

O Goddess Saraswati, the giver of Boons and fulfiller of wishes, I prostrate to You before starting my studies. May you always fulfill me?

7. To touch another with the feet is considered an act of misdemeanor. …

8. Why do Hindu's apply the holy ash on their forehead?

The ash of any burnt object is not regarded as holy ash. Bhasma (the holy ash) is the ash from the homa (sacrificial fire) where special wood along with ghee and other herbs is offered as worship of the Lord. Or the deity is worshipped by pouring ash as abhisheka and is then distributed as bhasma.

Bhasma is generally applied on the forehead. Some apply it on certain parts of the body like the upper arms, chest etc. Some ascetics rub it all over the body. Many consume a pinch of it each time they receive it.

The word bhasma means, "that by which our sins are destroyed and the Lord is remembered." Bha implied bhartsanam ("to destroy") and sma implies smaranam ("to remember"). The application of bhasma therefore signifies destruction of the evil and remembrance of the divine. Bhasma is called vibhuti (which means "glory") as it gives glory to one who applies it and raksha (which means a source of protection) as it protects the wearer from ill health …

9. Why do offer food to the Lord before eating it?

Indians make an offering of food to the Lord and later partake of it as prasaada - a holy gift from the Lord. In our daily ritualistic worship (pooja) too we offer naivedyam (food) to the Lord.

The Lord is omnipotent and omniscient. Man is a part, while the Lord is the totality. All that we do is by His strength and knowledge alone. Hence what we receive in life as a result of our actions is really His alone. We acknowledge this through the act of offering food to Him. This is exemplified by the Hindi words "tera tujko arpan"– I offer what is Yours to You. Thereafter it is akin to His gift to us, graced by His divine touch.

Knowing this, our entire attitude to food and the act of eating changes. The food offered will naturally be pure and the best. We share what we get with others before consuming it. We do not demand, complain or criticise the quality of the food we get. We eat it with cheerful acceptance (prasaada buddhi).

Before we partake of our daily meals we first spr…

10. Why do we fast?

Most devout Indians fast regularly or on special occasions like festivals. On such days they do not eat at all, eat once or make do with fruits or a special diet of simple food.

Fasting in Sanskrit is called upavaasa. Upa means "near" + vaasa means "to stay". Upavaasa therefore means staying near (the Lord), meaning the attainment of close mental proximity with the Lord. Then what has upavaasa to do with food?

A lot of our time and energy is spent in procuring food items, preparing, cooking, eating and digesting food. Certain food types make our minds dull and agitated. Hence on certain days man decides to save time and conserve his energy by eating either simple, light food or totally abstaining from eating so that his mind becomes alert and pure. The mind, otherwise pre-occupied by the thought of food, now entertains noble thoughts and stays with the Lord. Since it is a self-imposed form of discipline it is usually adhered to with joy Also every system needs a bre…

11. Why do we do pradakshina (circumambulate)?

We cannot draw a circle without a center point. The Lord is the center, source and essence of our lives. Recognizing Him as the focal point in our lives, we go about doing our daily chores. This is the significance of pradakshina.

Also every point on the circumference of a circle is equidistant from the center. This means that wherever or whoever we may be, we are equally close to the Lord. His grace flows towards us without partiality.

12. Why is pradakshina done only in a clockwise manner?

The reason is not, as a person said, to avoid a traffic jam! As we do pradakshina, the Lord is always on our right. In India the right side symbolizes auspiciousness. So as we circumambulate the sanctum sanctorum we remind ourselves to lead an auspicious life of righteousness, with the Lord who is the indispensable source of help and strength, as our guide - the "right hand".

Indian scriptures enjoin - matrudevo bhava, pitrudevo bhava, acharyadevo bhava. May you consider your parents and teachers as you would the Lord. With this in mind we also do pradakshina around our parents and divine personages.

After the completion of traditional worship (pooja), we customarily do pradakshina around ourselves. In this way we recognize and remember the supreme divinity within us, which alone is idolized in the form of the Lord that we worship outside.

13. Why do Hindus regard trees and plants as sacred?

The Lord, the life in us, pervades all living beings, be they plants or animals. Hence, they are all regarded as sacred. Human life on earth depends on plants and trees. They give us the vital factors that make life possible on earth: food, oxygen, clothing, shelter, medicines etc.

Hence, in India, we are taught to regard trees and plants as sacred. Indians scriptures tell us to plant ten trees if, for any reason, we have to cut one. We are advised to use parts of trees and plants only as much as is needed for food, fuel, shelter etc. we are also urged to apologies to a plant or tree before cutting it to avoid incurring a specific sin named soona.

Certain trees and plants like tulasi, peepal etc., which have tremendous beneficial qualities, are worshipped till today. It is believed that divine beings manifest as trees and plants, and many people worship them to fulfill their desires or to please the Lord.

14. Why do we ring the bell in a temple?

Is it to wake up the Lord? But the Lord never sleeps. Is it to let the Lord know we have come? He does not need to be told, as He is all knowing. Is it a form of seeking permission to enter His precinct? It is a homecoming and therefore entry needs no permission. The Lord welcomes us at all times. Then why do we ring the bell?

The ringing of the bell produces what is regarded as an auspicious sound. It produces the sound Om, the universal name of the Lord. There should be auspiciousness within and without, to gain the vision of the Lord who is all-auspiciousness.

Even while doing the ritualistic aarati, we ring the bell. It is sometimes accompanied by the auspicious sounds of the conch and other musical instruments. An added significance of ringing the bell, conch and other instruments is that they help drowned any inauspicious or irrelevant noises and comments that might disturb or distract the worshippers in their devotional ardour, concentration and inner peace.

As we start the dai…

15. Why do we worship the kalasha?

First of all what is a kalasha? A brass, mud or copper pot is filled with water. Mango leaves are placed in the mouth of the pot and a coconut is placed over it. A red or white thread is tied around its neck or sometimes all around it in a intricate diamond-shaped pattern. The pot may be decorated wit designs. Such a pot is known as a kalasha.

When the pot is filled with water or rice, it is known as purnakumbha representing the inert body which when filled with the divine life force gains the power to do all the wonderful things that makes life what it is.

A kalasha is placed with due rituals on all-important occasions like the traditional house warming (grihapravesa), wedding, daily worship etc. It is placed near the entrance as a sign of welcome. It is also used in a traditional manner while receiving holy personages. Why do we worship the kalasha? Before the creation came into being, Lord Vishnu was reclining on His snake-bed in the milky ocean. From His navel emerged a lotus from …

16. Why do we consider the lotus as special?

The lotus is the symbol of truth, auspiciousness and beauty (satyam, shivam, sundaram). The Lord is also that nature and therefore, His various aspects are compared to a lotus (i.e. lotus-eyes, lotus feet, lotus hands, the lotus of the heart etc.).

The lotus blooms with the rising sun and close at night. Similarly, our minds open up and expand with the light of knowledge. The lotus grows even in slushy areas. It remains beautiful and untainted despite its surroundings, reminding us that we too can and should strive to remain pure and beautiful within, under all circumstances.

The lotus leaf never gets wet even though it is always in water. It symbolizes the man of wisdom (gyaani) who remains ever joyous, unaffected by the world of sorrow and change. This is revealed in a shloka from the Bhagwad-Geeta:
Brahmanyaadhaaya karmaani Sangam tyaktvaa karoti yaha Lipyate na sa paapena Padma patram ivaambhasaa

He who does actions, offering them to Brahman (the Supreme), abandoning attachment, is n…

17. Why do we worship tulasi?

In Sanskrit, tulanaa naasti athaiva tulasi - that which is incomparable (in its qualities) is the tulasi For Indians it is one of the most sacred plants. In fact it is known to be the only thing used in worship, which, once used, can be washed and reused in pooja - as it is regarded so self-purifying. As one story goes,

Tulasi was the devoted wife of Shankhachuda, a celestial being. She believed that Lord Krishna tricked her into sinning. So she cursed Him to become a stone (shaaligraama). Seeing her devotion and adhered to righteousness, the Lord blessed her saying that she would become the worshipped plant, tulasi that would adorn His head. Also that all offerings would be incomplete without the tulasi leaf - hence the worship of tulasi.

She also symbolises Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu. Those who wish to be righteous and have a happy family life worship the tulasi. Tulasi is married to the Lord with all pomp and show as in any wedding. This is because according to anot…

18. Why do we blow the conch?

When the conch is blown, the primordial sound of Om emanates. Om is an auspicious sound that was chanted by the Lord before creating the world. It represents the world and the Truth behind it.

As the story goes, the demon Shankhaasura defeated devas, the Vedas and went to the bottom of the ocean. The devas appealed to Lord Vishnu for help. He incarnated as Matsya Avataara - the "fish incarnation" and killed Shankhaasura.

The Lord blew the conch-shaped bone of his ear and head. The Om sound emanated, from which emerged the Vedas. All knowledge enshrined in the Vedas is an elaboration of Om.

The conch therefore is known as shankha after Shankaasua. The conch blown by the Lord is called Paanchajanya. He carries it at all times in one of His four hands. It represents dharma or righteousness that is one of the four goals (purushaarthas) of life. The sound of the conch is thus also the victory call of good over evil.

Another well-known purpose of blowing the conch and the instruments,…

19. Why do we say shaanti thrice?

Shaanti, meaning "peace", is a natural state of being. Disturbances are created either by others or us. For example, peace already exists in a place until someone makes noise. Therefore, peace underlies all our agitations. When agitations end, peace is naturally experienced since it was already there. Where there is peace, there is happiness. Therefore, every one without exception desires peace in his/her life.

Hindu Rituals and Routines Why do we follow them?

However, peace within or without seems very hard to attain because it is covered by our own agitations. A rare few manage to remain peaceful within even in the midst of external agitation and troubles. To invoke peace, we chant prayers.

By chanting prayers, troubles end and peace is experienced internally, irrespective of the external disturbances. All such prayers end by chanting shaanti thrice. It is believed that trivaram satyam - that which is said thrice comes true. For emphasizing a point we repeat a thing thrice. …

20. Why do we offer a coconut?

In India one of the most common offerings in a temple is a coconut. It is also offered on occasions like weddings, festivals, the use of a new vehicle, bridge, house etc. It is offered in the sacrificial fire whilst performing homa. The coconut is broken and placed before the Lord. It is later distributed as prasaada. The fibre covering of the dried coconut is removed except for a tuft on the top. The marks on the coconut make it look like the head of a human being. The coconut is broken, symbolising the breaking of the ego. The juice within, representing the inner tendencies (vaasanas) is offered along with the white kernel - the mind, to the Lord. A mind thus purified by the touch of the Lord is used as prasaada ( a holy gift). In the traditional abhishekha ritual done in all temples and many homes, several materials are poured over the deity like milk, curd, honey, tender coconut water, sandal paste, holy ash etc. Each material has a specific significance of bestowing certain benef…

21. Why do we chant Om?

Om is one of the most chanted sound symbols in India. It has a profound effect on the body and mind of the one who chants and also on the surroundings. Most mantras and vedic prayers start with Om.

All auspicious actions begin with Om. It is even used as a greeting - Om, Hari Om etc. It is repeated as a mantra or meditated upon. Its form is worshipped, contemplated upon or used as an auspicious sign.

Om is the universal name of the Lord. It is made up of the letters A (phonetically as in "around"), U (phonetically as in "put") and M (phonetically as in "mum"). The sound emerging from the vocal chords starts from the base of the throat as "A". With the coming together of the lips, "U" is formed and when the lips are closed, all sounds end in "M".

The three letters symbolize the three states (waking, dream and deep sleep), the three deities (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva), the three Vedas (Rig, Yajur and Sama) the three worlds (Bhuh, B…

Why do we do aarati?

Towards the end of every ritualistic worship (pooja or bhajan) of the Lord or to welcome an honored guest or saint, we perform the aarati. This is always accompanied by the ringing of the bell and sometimes by singing, playing of musical instruments and clapping. It is one of the sixteen steps (shodasha upachaara) of the pooja ritual. It is referred to as the lighted lamp in the right hand, which we wave in a clockwise circling movement to light the entire form of the Lord. Each part is revealed individually and also the entire form of the Lord.

As the light is waved we either do mental or loud chanting of prayers or simply behold the beautiful form of the Lord, illumined by the lamp. At the end of the aarati we place our hands over the flame and then gently touch our eyes and the top of the head. We have seen and participated in this ritual from our childhood. Let us find out why we do the aarati?

Having worshipped the Lord of love - performing abhisheka, decorating the image and offer…

How much do you know about Ramzan?

Ramzan is the time when, many Muslims believe the angel Jibril (Gabriel) began his revelations to prophet Muhammad in the seventh century. These revelations became the Quran, the Islamic holy scripture.

During Ramzan, Muslims seek to deepen their faith by abstaining from worldly pleasures — including eating, drinking and smoking — from sunrise to sunset. Like Lent for Christians and Yom Kippur for Jews, Ramzan is also a time of contemplation and introspection. COMMON PRACTICES During Ramzan, Muslims wake up before dawn to have or sahar, a pre-fast meal. It consists of plenty of fluids, fruits, grains and other foods that are harder to digest and will sustain them throughout the day.

Even if they do not eat a full meal, Muslims are encouraged to follow in the tradition of Muhammad and at least drink some water and eat a date. Following sahar, Muslims say fajr, the morning prayer, and begin their fast. Following a day of fasting, families break the fasting together with an evening meal fo…