Medley

Respect for nature key to Hinduism

Respect and reverence for nature underlies many Hindu practices and rituals. Yet, many Hindu places of worship face huge environmental problems.

Medley Respect for Nature key to Hinduism 2

Hindu texts and scriptures are full of references to the worship of the divine in nature. And they continue to be relevant today. Millions of Hindus recite Sanskrit mantras daily that revere their rivers, mountains, trees and animals. Many also follow, for religious reasons, a vegetarian diet and oppose the institutionalized killing of animals for human consumption. The Earth, depicted as a Goddess or “Devi”, is worshipped in many Hindu rituals. For instance, before the foundation of a building is dug, a priest is invited to perform the “Bhoomi (earth) Pooja” to seek forgiveness from mother earth for violating her. To many Hindus, the concept of environmental protection is not separate from religious teaching. That’s seen in several local practices among rural Hindu communities such as the Bishnois and the Bhils to protect forests and water sources. Despite the deep-rooted reverence for nature in Hinduism, there’s no disputing that many Hindu places of worship – from pilgrimage sites high up in the Himalayas to the Ganges river system – face major environmental challenges.

THE KRISHNAMURTI SCHOOL

Padmanabhan Krishna – India

Medley The Krishnamurti School 2 P
The author, P. Krishna

Several persons, both in India and abroad, have expressed an interest in starting a `Krishnamurti School ' in their town. Since Krishnaji did not specify any particular technique of education, the question arises, “What are the essentials of a Krishnamurti School?” It is not easy to answer that question and one needs to inquire deeply into this. Through this article I wish to share a few thoughts with those who feel interested in education. To me, a Krishnamurti school represents an experiment in right living, without anyone dictating to anyone else what that means and without accepting any formula, any prescription, any authority that must be followed unquestioningly. It means to live rightly, not just accept the answer from someone else and try to practice it or repeat it. Unless we learn to live rightly, we cannot teach the children to live rightly; therefore it is our first and highest responsibility to find out what it means to live rightly. One can learn if one begins with saying,” I do not know but I am going to find out.” Then one can learn along with the student – not merely hand down words by way of teaching. So that is the first thing – not to have one's mind filled with conclusions, with answers, with certainties and not to attach too great an importance to one's own opinion, one's own view-point. To doubt it, question it and be willing to learn at all times; never to be so sure that one cannot even listen to another or consider a different point of view. That is being receptive and not just tolerant.

Read more: THE KRISHNAMURTI SCHOOL

Is the Brain Just a ‘Wet Computer’? – Part one

Edi Bilimoria – UK

Medley Brain 2 Just a Wet Computer
The author

It should be clear to anyone who can think that whereas the brain does display some of the mechanical functions and characteristics of a digital computer, then to declare as the majority of mainstream neuroscientists do that the brain is nothing but a ‘wet’ computeri is patently ludicrous (as ludicrous as saying that just because a concert pianist displays some characteristics of an office typist – the use of fingers on a keyboard – that a pianist and a typist, are one and the same thing, or a piano and a typewriter are the same instrument because they both have keyboard.) For a start, it is minds and brains that created and produced computers, not the other way round. The product stands hierarchically on a lower plane than the producer of the product. Brains therefore must stand hierarchically at a higher level of sophistication and subtlety than computers. The fallaciousness of equating the brain with just a computer has been pointed out in no uncertain terms by some of the world’s greatest philosophers, psychologists, as well as scientists, such as David Gelernter, professor of computer science at Yale University. In his article, appropriately titled The Closing of the Scientific Mind,ii he demolishes what he appropriately calls the ‘master analogy’ unquestionably accepted by the vast majority of mainstream scientists that minds are to brains as software is to computers; to put it another way, the mind is the software of the brain.

Read more: Is the Brain Just a ‘Wet Computer’? – Part one

Hinduism and Food


Hindu sacred scriptures give instructions on diet and various food restrictions

“The saintly persons get relief from all kinds of sins by partaking the food that has been first offered to gods as sacrifice. But those who prepare food for their selfish ends eat but only sins.” (Bhagavad
gita 3:13)

“All beings come into existence from food. Food comes from rains. Rains originate from the performance of sacrifices. And sacrifice is born out of doing prescribed duties.” (Bhagavad gita 3:14)

“I speak the truth, it is indeed his death. He who nourishes neither the god nor a friend, he who eats alone, gathers sin.” (Rig Veda X. 117)

“From earth herbs, from herbs food, from food seed, from seed man. Man thus consists of the essence of food.” (Taittiriya Upanishad)

“From food are produced all creatures which dwell on earth. Then they live by food, and in the end they return to food. For food is the oldest of all beings, and therefore it is called panacea.” (Taittiriya Upanishad)

Read more: Hinduism and Food

Ayurveda, Hinduism and the Holy Cow

Millions of Hindus revere and worship cows. Hinduism is a religion that raises the status of Mother to the level of Goddess. Therefore, the cow is considered a sacred animal, as it provides us life sustaining milk. The cow is seen as a maternal figure, a care taker of her people. The cow is a symbol of the divine bounty of earth.

Lord Krishna, one of the most well-known of the Hindu deities is often depicted playing his flute amongst cows and dancing Gopis (milkmaids). He grew up as a cow herder. Krishna also goes by the names Govinda and Gopala, which literally mean “friend and protector of cows.” It is considered highly auspicious for a true devotee to feed a cow, even before eating breakfast oneself.

Read more: Ayurveda, Hinduism and the Holy Cow

Judaism and the Red Cow

The Red Heifer (Hebrew, parah adumah), was the cow whose ashes were used in the purification rites for one who had been contaminated through having come into contact with a corpse.

The procedure

As described in the book of Numbers (19:1-22), the cow had to be slaughtered outside the Israelite camp and its blood sprinkled in the direction of the holy of holies in the Tabernacle (in Temple times, the holy of holies in the Temple).

The cow was then burned whole together with cedar wood, a crimson thread, and hyssop. The ashes were mixed in a vessel containing spring water.

Read more: Judaism and the Red Cow

Focus

Leo Babauta – USA

A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part nine

The value of distraction

Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing,
of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t
hear, and not bothering.”

 A.A. Milne

Reading this book, you might get the idea that distractions are evil and that we must strive to be focused at all times. Not at all. Distraction is natural, it’s fun, and interestingly, it’s valuable.
Distraction, in most cases, is the enemy of focus, and so if we want to get anything done, we must learn to find at least a modicum of focuses, some of the time. But that’s not to say we should banish distraction, every minute of the day. What’s needed is balance.

Read more: Focus

Shared pain brings people together

[This story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science; follow this link: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/.]

What doesn't kill us may make us stronger as a group, according to findings from new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

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Going through painful experiences together can change a group’s behavior, promoting bonding and solidarity.

The research suggests that, despite its unpleasantness, pain may actually have positive social consequences, acting as a sort of “social glue” that fosters cohesion and solidarity within groups:

“Our findings show that pain is a particularly powerful ingredient in producing bonding and cooperation between those who share painful experiences,” says psychological scientist and lead researcher Brock Bastian of the University of New South Wales in Australia. “The findings shed light on why camaraderie may develop between soldiers or others who share difficult and painful experiences.”

Bastian and colleagues Jolanda Jetten and Laura J. Ferris of the University of Queensland examined the link between pain and social bonding in a series of experiments with undergraduate students.

Read more: Shared pain brings people together

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