Sunday, November 7, 2010

What is the power of the choice of our words? How should we leverage it?

a person something which upsets their balance or shocks them into grief; the words then completely drain off their physical strength and mental courage. They fall on the ground, unable to stand. On the other hand, when through speech, we communicate something happy, or cheer them, they get the strength of an elephant. Words do not cost anything, but they are priceless. So they have to be used with care. They must be employed not for gossip, which is barren, but only for pure and productive purposes.  The ancients recommended the vow of silence in order to purify speech of its evils. A mind turned inwards towards an inner vision of G od and speech turned towards outer vision - both of these will promote spiritual strength and success.

What are the challenges that spiritual seekers must overcome? Why?

The farmer, intent on cultivation, ignores even food and sleep, for he is too busy ploughing, levelling, scattering seeds, watering, weeding, guarding and fostering the crop. He knows that his family will have to subsist on the harvest that he brings home and that if he fritters away the precious season in idle pursuits, his family will be confronted with hunger and ill-health. So, he sets aside or postpones other pursuits and focuses all his attention on farming alone. He puts up with difficulties and deprivations, toils day and night, watches over the growing crops and garners the grain. As a consequence, he is able to spend the months ahead, in peace and joy, with his happy family. Students and spiritual seekers have to learn important lessons from the farmer. The stage of youth is the season for mental and intellectual culture. These years should be intensively and intelligently cult ivated irrespective of difficulties and obstacles. The clamour of the senses has to be silenced; hunger and thirst have to be controlled; the urge to sleep and relax has to be curbed.T

Clean out the closets of your life?

Clean out the closets of your life. Have you ever looked at the clothes in your closet with a critical eye: the bargain shoes in the wrong colour; the expensive suit you got on sale that never fit; the "great" shirt that was a gift from someone you love?

I had all of those items in my closet. Then a wardrobe consultant friend came over and made me clean out the clothes that didn't fit or that no longer represented my self-image. It was an exhilarating feeling. Now the clothes I wear make me feel and look great, and project the image I like.

Your clothes closet isn't the only hiding place for negative things in your life. You have a self-image closet too. Take a serious look at what you find there. Try cleaning it out. Throw out ideas that no longer fit your lifestyle or your experiences.

Clean your closet of certain old friends as well -- the ones who have become acquaintances. Too often we spend our energies with people whose interests have grown apart from ours.

Clean the negative people out of your life's closet. Some folks cannot accept your achievements, insisting it's only a "fluke" when you finally attain a great goal. Their own insecurities require them to shoot other people down. It is time to let them know you are proud of your achievements, and then move on to someone who will support you in your endeavours.

Closets may be hiding places for our outmoded clothes and ideas, but they are also where we store the building blocks for our daily lives. Don't let them get cluttered with outdated ideas.

What is the lamp we should light today?

Deepavali has to be observed as a day for getting rid of all the bad qualities in us, symbolised by the demon Narakasura. The inner meaning underlying the festival should be rightly understood. A whole array of lamps is lit by the light from one lamp. That one lamp symbolises the Supreme Effulgent Lord. The others represent the light in individual selves. The truth of the Vedic saying, "The One willed to become the many" is exemplified by the lighting of many lamps by the flame of one. Deepavali festival thus bears out the profoundest spiritual truth.  The lamp also points to another significant fact. Wherever it may be placed, the flame rises only upwards and never moves down. Likewise, the flame of Jnana(Spiritual Wisdom) leads one to a sublime level through the path of Righteousness.

Young and reckless: How stroke affects YOU

A sedentary lifestyle and smoking are two of the many causes that are leading to stroke among young Indians. Abhishek Mande finds out how real this health threat is, how to identify and avoid it.

Dr. Prabhakar Shetty found himself examining a 31-year-old comatose patient at the Columbia Asia Hospital in Yeshwantpur, Bengaluru. The young man had suffered a stroke. "The main artery going to his brain had developed blood clots," says Dr Shetty. "He had a history of previous blood clot formation in the legs and was prone to it. But his smoking habit had compounded the problem."

Young people suffering from stroke is not uncommon in India any more, says Dr Sheety. "The threat is quite real," observes Dr Shyamal K Das from the Bangur Institute of Neurology in Kolkata. Dr Das has conducted an extensive community-based study of stroke patients in Kolkata. He points out that over 8 per cent of the total stroke cases he has studied affect the young --  "largely men below the age of 40 years."

Neurologist Dr Sunanda Anand, who practices in Mumbai, agrees. "It is safe to say that one in every four stroke patients I treat are under 40," she says, adding that stroke is the most common cause of morbidity today.

All of them point to the drastic lifestyle of today's youngsters --  high-pressure jobs, smoking, alcohol and a sedentary routine among other things -- as the causes.

What is a stroke?

Simply put, a stroke or a brain attack is a sudden impairment in the functioning of the brain.

A blockage in the arteries or veins or the rupturing of a blood vessel can cause such a condition.

Dr Das says, "Strokes can be ischemic, caused by the lack of blood flow to the brain due to clots, or hemorrhagic, caused by a ruptured blood vessel."

Between the two, the more common type of stroke is ischemic, when a clot can be formed in the main artery of the brain, or if a clot or an air bubble formed in another part of the body is carried through the bloodstream into the brain.

 a.. Permanent or temporary loss of speech and/or hearing ability is one of the fallouts of a stroke. Says Dr Anand, "In case of a heart attack, you can still return to normal life. But a stroke patient does not always return to normal. It can be traumatic not just for the patient but also her/his family."
 b.. In extreme cases, a stroke can lead to paralysis. This means the patient can be either entirely bed-ridden or then largely dependent on other people.
 c.. Stroke patients are also always at risk of suffering a second attack. In a way, life can never be the same after you have been hit.

So far, strokes have usually been associated with the elderly. However, it isn't unusual for youngsters to be affected.

The causes of a stroke are many. While some of them can be genetic, others are largely self-created.

Says Dr Das: "Uncontrolled hypertension is the single most common cause for Hemorrhagic strokes. An Ischemic stroke, on the other hand, can be the result of a variety of factors:

Hypertension remains at the top of this list too.

Smoking comes a close second, because nicotine intake leads to hardening of the arteries and damages the lining of the blood vessels. This narrowing of the vessels and vessel walls leads to clots and results in a stroke.

Diabetes patients are also prone to ischemic strokes (since high blood sugar causes occlusions in small vessels), as are people with Dyslipidemia or high levels of fat or cholesterol.

According to Dr Sunanda Anand, "Strokes are not very common among young Indian women. However, this risk has increased with more of them taking to smoking or tobacco and consuming birth control pills. Young Indian women are more prone to venous strokes, or strokes that are caused by a clot in the veins, that drain the blood out of the brain (all other strokes are caused by a clot or a hemorrhage in the arteries that carry blood to the brain.) The oral contraceptive pill is one of the major contributors, as it causes blood clots in the veins," she points out.

Indians, with our apple-shaped bodies, are usually prone to obesity. Long work hours usually lead to a sedentary lifestyle. And an inactive life with little or no exercise and consumption of alcohol and smoking will only make things worse in the long run."

Add to this excessive intake of junk food and lack of fruits and veggies in the diet and you have a lethal combination.

According to some studies, sustained migraine attacks can also cause a stroke. A recent research in Iceland concludes that people suffering from a migraine problem are at a higher risk of dying from a heart or a brain attack.

As banal as it may sound, the only way you can avoid a stroke is by leading a healthy lifestyle.

Dr Puneet Saxena, an associate professor in the medicine department at the Sawai ManSingh Medical College, Jaipur, provides us with tips:

Watch your weight: High levels of fat and cholesterol are not good for your body.

Kick the butt: Smoking is one of the major reasons for stroke among young people. Besides, it isn't a healthy habit anyway.

Exercise regularly: Sedentary lifestyle can lead to multiple complications -- for stroke or otherwise.

Keep a check on your sleeping and eating habits: Adequate rest and a healthy diet are important.

Regular health check-ups: After a certain age, it is crucial that one goes in for regular medical check-ups. A routine check-up can sometimes throw up a shocker.

How we can lighten and brighten our lives from this holy day of Deepavali.

Do not get elated at the riches, status, authority, intelligence, etc., which you may possess. Consider that they have been given to you on trust, so that you may use it to benefit others. They are all signs of His Grace, opportunities for service, and symbols of responsibility. Never seek to exult over others' faults; deal sympathetically with the errors and mistakes of others. Seek the good in others; hear only good tidings about them; do not give ear to scandal. On this Deepavali day, resolve to light the lamp of Naamasmarana and place it at your doorstep, the lips. Feed it with the oil of devotion; have steadiness as the wick. Let the lamp illumine every minute of your life. The splendour of the Name will drive away darkness from outside you as well as from inside you. You will spread joy and peace among al l who come near yo

Principle of The One behind the diverse creation.

The One Divine Principle works through many forms in order to manipulate and complete the processSrishti (creation). All forms are fundamentally of the same essence. There is no higher or lower. All are equally divine. When God comes down assuming special form on special occasions for a specific purpose, He is known as Avatar. Each Avatar is born as a consequence of Divine Will and with the purpose of restoring Dharma and moral life.