Kate and Anthony

 

Suicide rates in the US have gone up by 25% from 1996 to 2016. Contrary to common misconceptions, a lot of them cannot be attributed to Mental Health Problems. NY has long abandoned its old Mental Health Institutions and come to a more modern solution to the problem. The recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, have brought these suicides to our world’s attention. Our public has to suddenly look beyond the public persona of famous people, to their personal persona. What we are forced to see is that even in publicly successful people, there is a strange loss of soul. Even at the pinnacle of public admiration, one can still falter and fall very deeply, into the very depths of human despair. This is not a subject I would bring up at a jolly dinner table, but it is something that each one of us has to acknowledge, as something that needs to be discussed.

Our new media society is very successful in connecting us digitally day and night. Now one is always connected and social media and other makeups of our digital signature, builds a new world only for each one of us. We can be whatever we want to be, on our World Wide Web. It is just a matter of putting out the right ideas out there, which connect more people. Popularity numbers are suddenly very high, with millions of followers for some social celebrities. Success now is almost instantaneous for some people, but to sustain it over a period of time, means the person is personally gifted. Very few people have the charisma or the opportunity to present themselves uniquely and with their full life force, to our world. They open new horizons for us, through their ideas and actions. They expand our way of thinking and in the end ourselves as a race. We have to just do a better way to resolve issues that arise, out of our modern digital always on life, a little better.

We can use our social and digital media to bring peace and closure to such issues. We can use our community to make an effort, to address the root cause of some of these problems.  We need to do a better job in tackling substance abuse and physical health problems.  We have other societal needs like the war against poverty. Approximately 1-in-5 children in the U.S. are living in poverty today(1) , and even though this represents one of the highest childhood poverty rates among developed nations worldwide, almost half of Americans (49 percent of those surveyed) are unaware of the prevalence of childhood poverty in the U.S., based on a new national survey from Walgreens. It is a combination of social and economic causes that lead to suicide and until we get a better understanding of the cause, we cannot find a solution to the rising rates. Our compassion has to go towards building a society where people want to live and prosper.

It’s far better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone. -Marilyn Monroe, actress (1 Jun 1926-1962)

A big deal!

The photo shows a century old electric alternator from the Budapest hydroelectric station. India is entering the second Industrial revolution a century later, due to inertia, ineptitude and inadequate resources of its ruling elite.  A World Bank report recently pointed out that India was doing electrification of over 30 million homes per year, between 2010 and 2016. “India is doing extremely well on electrification. We are reporting India about 85 per cent of the population has access to electricity,” Vivien Foster, Lead Energy Economist at the World Bank, said. This means that the Modi Government will have enabled almost all the accessible villages, and majority of households in India with access to electricity.

The World Bank report went on to explain that India was in the last leg of its electrification project, with over 80 percent of the population having access to electrical energy. This, the report said, meant that the efforts to provide electricity to the remotest households would have to be more pronounced, as reaching those places would prove challenging. The report also looked into global cues and pointed out that Bangladesh and Kenya were faster in electrification than India. This is a remarkable turnaround for India with over 1.2 billion people in a very short time. Political questions of whether it could have been faster, cheaper, earlier are being asked? The work completed to date, is most welcome, and should be celebrated by the millions of citizens, who have been enlightened.

I left India due to a shortage of electric power, to run my factory, many decades ago. It is amazing to see the bold steps being taken to increase energy production, via all means available. Indian Government owns the coal mines, the rail used to transport coal, the thermal plants that produce power. The State transmission systems, then deliver it to eventual consumers. It is all starting to come together, in a cohesive whole, under a hard working party and civil service, which is encouraging greater transparency and productivity. New auctions have been largely digital and productivity based, whether for mining, green energy, infrastructure or telecommunication. Privatization is the eventual answer for smart cities under development, and may help bridge the last mile problem.

There are many promises yet to keep in India, as a lot of people live in dire poverty, on the edge of an improvised existence. Universal health care and social security is a far dream, for the poorest citizens. Housing, Health, Education and employment for the young population about to enter the workforce, is the greatest challenge. To create a million jobs a month, is not easy, and to train many more millions is harder. Skilling its resources to become more productive, will strain India’s finances. IOT and a digital world is coming and India’s challenge is to leap right from the colonial times, into the Digital Age of Cloud and goods and services delivered on demand. The world needs the services that this new workforce will supply, and it is the adoption of globalization which will help India and our world.

Entrepreneurs have to spring up in a free and democratic India, to take up these harsh new challenges. The 500,000 villages which are being electrified now, will unleash the resources of almost a billion people, who have not been truly globally engaged before. The economic contribution of such a large part of human population, will drive Indian economic growth for decades ahead. It is a country readying itself for a productivity takeoff, after centuries of oppression. Its people have been a victim of bad policy and poor execution by its leaders and was preceded by autocratic rule. Finally there appears to be a democratic government, ready to govern. It is striving to ensure that basic needs of its citizens, irrespective of class, creed, caste, religion or gender, will be met. If not wholly today, but an attempt will be made to meet the basic needs in the coming years.

There is still a promise of hope for the largest democracy in the world, as the winds of change have arrived. The ship of State is being steered by firm hands and the nation is progressing, in small but meaningful ways. Power has literally come to the people and now a new day will dawn. The Vedic wisdom will be studied again in remote hamlets, and a new compassionate citizen of this universe, will reappear. For too long has the beauty of the human mind stayed hidden, in remote darkness, neglected by us all. A light has been shown where there was none before, and with it will come enlightenment for the masses. This rising of hope and passion in people who were deprived of it for too long, to quote Joe Biden, at the passing of the Affordable Care Act is, “A big Deal!”

Magnolias, represent the profundity of our spring

Our oaks and maples are still bare

Winter’s day is not done today,

Yet there are signs of spring approaching.

Forsythias’ yellow, glows in our sunrise,

Cherry Blossoms’, waken us this morn,

It is only a passing season, and we are so alive.

 

Magnolias am I, and date ninety five million,

Am prehistoric, with tepals, I predate even bees!

Witness I stood through ice ages, and mountain formation,

My glory rises in many continents, riding this continental drift.

When spring comes, I awake from dawn prehistoric,

In a profundity of spring, rejoicing all of Earth’s seasons.

 

Magnolia I am, living in this millennium.

Young is this Earth, and younger yet is this season.

The lovers come and stare, at me and my blooms.

Captivated by my outpouring of love, for our mother.

They gaze at me in wonder, admiring Spring’s profundity.

Of nature’s shameless, as I bloom wantonly, full of color.

 

Our grass will turn green, along with our trees

Our time of love and newness, will open its buds.

We will walk in the woods and smell their sweet air

Drawn to this clearing, we will have our first visitation.

Of the profundity of spring, and Earth’s many manifestations.

Remember the Magnolia and sing in our glorious spring!

(Hope Lives! April 27, 1953).

Earth Day celebration!

Once again we celebrate Earth Day and I am reminded of the time when his first five disciples questioned Buddha, on how they could confirm that he had indeed attained Nirvana, he touched the earth and said that this earth is my witness. Since then our world has not been the same as his teachings improved the lives of millions and showed us how we can live peacefully with nature.  I am happy to read that even today Earth Day draws on astronomical phenomena in a most ancient way – by using the vernal Equinox, the time when the Sun crosses the equator making the length of night and day equal in all parts of the Earth. Earth day is devoted to the preservation of the harmony in nature and yet draws upon the triumphs of technology, the measurement of time, and instantaneous communication through space. We celebrate Earth Day with the following anthem and ringing the Japanese Peace Bell at the UN. We pledge to live in equality and harmony with everything around us on our Earth..

 “Earth Anthem” by Abhay K

Our cosmic oasis, cosmic blue pearl
the most beautiful planet in the universe
all the continents and the oceans of the world
united we stand as flora and fauna
united we stand as species of one earth
black, brown, white, different colours
we are humans, the earth is our home.

Our cosmic oasis, cosmic blue pearl
the most beautiful planet in the universe
all the people and the nations of the world
all for one and one for all
united we unfurl the blue marble flag
black, brown, white, different colours
we are humans, the earth is our home.

The beauty of Earth Day is that we are no longer bound by man-made National boundaries or regions, we live on one warm blue planet, clinging on to precarious life, in a frigid universe. It is a celebration of life’s diversity, which nature allows in such abundance. We take time to understand what a miracle creation of life is and what we must do now, to preserve it for the future. The profundity of creation is reflected all around us on Earth and on this day, we cherish its diversity and its value. Some also play the following Anthem to the tune of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’.

Earth Day Anthem:

Joyful joyful we adore our Earth in all its wonderment

Simple gifts of nature that all join into a paradise
Now we must resolve to protect her
Show her our love throughout all time
With our gentle hand and touch
We make our home a newborn world

As we all join in this celebration we can walk around and join other likeminded folks who treasure their time on this Earth. We may find some kindred spirits, who will be happy, to walk along with us today. We can develop a camaraderie to protect our environment and our way of life, and leave it unharmed, to our progeny. All Flora and Fauna must be allowed to bloom, and we must never destroy nature, but come together, to help it prosper. We have a responsibility to our Earth Mother who sustains us, that we provide back in ways, which will ease her burden. We cannot subsist on our own, but must live in a cohabitation life, with all other creatures. We sustain each other and grow stronger with each other. We are bound to find our rightful place on this Earth, as all its creatures live and die here. We may roam the universe, but this Earth will always be our home. We have to learn to celebrate Earth day and our biodiversity with a joy, that transcends our basic human nature of self preservation!

IoT the new frontier

Some recent development shows that we can expect major advances in the Internet of Things (IoT), as major investments are being made in the field right now. SpaceX is deploying the Next set of satellites ordered by Iridium a communication player in IoT space and who wants to be a leader in the new technology. Using multiple polar orbit satellites, it hopes to cover the whole world and provide the next generation of services. By the time NEXT is fully deployed, at the end of 2018, it will include 75 satellites — 66 that are operational satellites and nine as on-orbit spares.

“All 10 new satellites have successfully communicated with the Iridium Satellite Network Operation Center and are preparing to begin testing,” the Iridium Corporation wrote in an update after the latest launch. Iridium promises better tracking than before, using L-band broadband service. L-band service is faster than the current service from satellite ground terminals. As NEXT becomes more powerful, this will generate all sorts of tracking information to benefit customers. For example, tracking shipping containers will increase delivery accuracy and security. Monitoring remote power lines from afar will reduce the time needed to check them in person, Matt Desch chief executive of Iridium said.

The reason why this is really important for the next stage of human development to take place, we will need this and even more infrastructure to track humanity and its activities. When IoT  development is augmented with sensors and actuators, the technology becomes an instance of the more general class of cyber-physical systems, which also encompasses technologies such as smart gridsvirtual power plantssmart homesintelligent transportation and smart cities. This will be a game changer as it will allow us to track and optimize major systems in logistics, energy and communications, on a scale not even imagined today. There is revolution about to happen in how we will live, work, communicate and travel in the future.

Looking in amazement at the launch of the Falcon 9 Rocket, as it took the latest 10 satellites into space I thought to myself “This a wonder and the awe of Space flight is now going to become a common sight, as nations across the globe start competing for this new race. Our Grandchildren will wonder why this is such a big deal to our generation. Their cyber-physical world will be very different from what we have today.”

My only wish is that the next generation’s times be filled with more compassion and happiness, than the world we live in today.  Hopefully as communication increases we can overcome our differences, and strive for the common good of humanity. As productivity and logistics improve, we should also expect to see a growing need, for everyone to come together. The world is going to be far better connected in the future and many things will become much easier to know. Humans will be able to live more closely with each other, by being constantly connected with the IoT. We have to learn to enjoy this new world and be happy,  as it is coming whether we like it or not.

Mass unemployment in developing nations

It is well known that in our 21st century there is currently huge mass unemployment in the less developed and developing economies. The more developed economies on the other hand have severe human capital shortage looming in their future, in Japan, Europe, China and the US. Due to this demographic divide between the have and the have nots, the future of a nation’s economy and civilization, may be thrown into peril. Currently there has been a huge urbanization in the developed economies, with mass movement of labor from the agricultural interior, to the large urban centers. World civilization lives and works in these new Mega urban clusters, formed by modern cities. Shanghai, Tokyo, Mumbai, New Delhi, London, Paris, Frankfurt, New York, Toronto, Mexico City, Brazil to name a few, have continued to grow bigger.

India has the greatest potential for mass unemployment, or mass growth on a scale, which can drive the world economy. The consensus from even Nobel Prize economists is, that India has to grow its Industrial base and urban centers, to provide employment to the million young people, who will join its workforce every month. This trend is likely to continue for a decade or more, as the young population enters its work force.  The new arrivals are just the tip of the iceberg, as there is a mass underemployment in its half a million villages. Most statistics indirectly say that almost 80% of the rural population, is engaged in “agriculture”.  This disguised unemployment leaves a vast labor force, available for taking up the new services, which the world will need.

Indian history does not show a goods exporting nation, but one of ideas and aspirations. The new Digital revolution suits India well, as a first mover, in the computer services industry. The Independent nation of 60 years, is finally throwing off its colonial past, and getting into its stride. There is resurgence of public works which will truly benefit its hinterland. More people are getting Highways, connecting their remote regions to the rest of the world, in this decade, than has happened in the history of the sub-continent. Similarly more people are getting electricity, sanitation, education, health services in the coming decade, than in the many decades since Independence. There is a remarkable will to overcome the past and leapfrog into a green future, and to provide services to its citizens,especially in its undeveloped areas.

On the other hand we have the economic sceptics, who question every move, and state that the implementation of truly global and far reaching reform, is beyond the capabilities of India’s people. They will plod on at their usual uneducated, undeveloped, unhealthy pace and the promise of a bright future will come, but not now, they claim. They question the competence of its democracy and the will of its public and private sector’s ability, to provide the productivity and investment needed, to provide employment at scale. They fear that a state of mass unemployment is coming, where lack of Industrial growth will hold back employment, and bring untold misery to its farmers and urban poor.

To all these naySayers I can only advise that it is time to read Indian history again. For most of human history till the 18th century, India had the highest GDP in the world. Whenever its people had a stable just and fair society, its people have prospered beyond expectations. The producer of Buddha,Ram, Krishna and the Vedas is a land steeped in time and evolution, of humans themselves. It has reinvented itself many times and still kept its culture and belief system intact. There is a secular society that has prospered in its diversity, from the time of the Greeks at tIndus. Chandragupta who was Alexander’s contemporary and ruled a huge empire left his throne, to seek salvation. His grandson Ashoka the Great renounced his prosperous empire, and started to serve humanity. His edicts and efforts spread Buddhism across the world.  The most dangerous ideas that promote all life, like non-violence, vegetarianism, salvation arose in these lands. These ideas and aspirations come only, after the basic human needs are met.

The service industries will be India’s savior, as our world moves into a new era of prosperity for all. The basic hypotheses is changing as the solution is no longer in Industry, but in the new world of communication and service. Industry is required and China, Germany and the US have mastered it, and other nations will also catch up; based on their investments, and needs. It is in the new world order of ideas, compassion, health and love that change will come. Once the basic needs are filled for the developing world, it is then that India will play its part. Whether it is in providing basic services or in art, music, philosophy and the striving for a higher life, India will have a role to play.  Its demographic dividend will become the world’s greatest asset, as the developed world will welcome Indian’s help, to become better. Currently only about 53% of India’s young people are employed, and the rest are a lotus bearing gift, which will open, when the light shines and the world opens its arms to welcome them. I say the Phillips curve shown above, is going to be severely tested in the future for the good or bad of humanity, based on what steps we take today. India is the diamond in the rough, getting ready to shine (at least it has the diamond cutters, to do so for the world)..

It is in the very nature of the capitalist mode of production to overwork some workers while keeping the rest as a reserve army of unemployed paupers.

Marx, Theory of Surplus Value

FOMO and other phobias we suffer from

Fear has been the greatest force that evolution has unleashed, amongst all living beings and is wired deep into our brains. Despite all the advancements in humans the instant reaction to our environment, is automatically triggered in our reptilian brain, where the decision is made to fight or flee. It is only after that initial knee jerk reaction, that our logical brain takes over and analyses the situation, based on personal past experience and actual knowledge. The adrenaline surge and preparation of the body to fight or take evasive action, happens in milliseconds, and only then do the force of civilization and culture kick in. Unfortunately the truth is that we remain animals first, and only with a great effort rise to becoming humans.

FOMA or fear of missing out was just called by Bloomberg to be the driving force, behind the current and future S & P index rise to greater heights in 2018. It best describes the irrational exuberance which led to the Tulip craze, or Dot com rise, in the past, and the Bit Currency mania sweeping some up today. It is a fundamental force that takes hold of large areas of our populace, and creates an unnatural state of economic and financial bubbles, unsustainable by fundamental economics. Property and commodity booms and busts are similar in nature where by the time the ordinary investor gets in, he/she is just joining the others in the late cycle of a giant Ponzi scheme, which is bound to crash. I am not advocating we stay away from markets, but trying to make the case that they can be a potent tool, for long term human development if used correctly.

Our greatest inventions and achievements were driven by our survival instincts. Humans are inherently weak creatures and there are far hardier living species, who have survived successfully for millennia, even before the arrival of the great apes. Prometheus stealing the fire from the Gods is a great example of human fear, capturing and taming a destructive force, to aid its own survival. The evolution of tools though not unique to humans, has also been driven by fear, to overcome the adverse conditions that seem to overwhelm us, in nature. Modern cities are just an example of how fear pushed us to come together, for our common benefit. Religion and cultural norms are all a result of the paranoia and fear, which we all face when faced with complex phenomena which we cannot explain. Out of fear comes resolution and mental makeup, which helps us to not only survive but prosper in a new reality.

The Hindu sages debated for centuries on what is existence, what is reality, what is our state of knowing, what is life, what is death, what is our purpose, what is the creator, what is the culmination of desire, what is truth and finally what is reality? They distilled this wisdom in Sanskrit in the Vedic and Vedanta strutis memorized and passed down generation after generation.  While the names of the sages may be often lost, the wisdom still remains. A philosophy rose not based on the fear of the unknown, but on the myriad paths to overcome the unknowns. “Agni Miley Purohitam..” starts the first verse of the Rig Veda the oldest of the surviving strutis and talks about the taming of fire by the householder for greater good. In another example “Isa Vasayamidam Sarvam… “ The creator envelops everything and all our individual moments, are only part of the universal movement. By renouncing (the unreal) we can enjoy (the real), do not lust after another man’s possessions. In only 18 verses it lays out the relationship of the soul to our universe, and forces our eyes and mind to what is truth (eternal), and goads us to not stray into the world of untruth (transitory), which leads to fear, wrong karma (thoughts\actions)and braking of our dharma (rightful duty).

I admit it is a long way from obscure Sanskrit texts to the happenings on modern day Wall Street and the state of the human mind today. We have Fire and Fury and God on our side in multiple conflicts, and potential for far greater Fire and Fury if we stay on the current path. The Jewish, Christian, Muslim divide of the Judeo-Christian world, and the destructive Shia-Sunni divide, will not be resolved in our lifetimes. The Middle East burns and each new atrocity, fans the execution of another, more severe retaliation. The Buddhist are committing genocide against the Rohingyas in Myanmar, and the recent Hindu/Buddhist war in the Pearl in the Indian Ocean, is still healing. These are all the outcome of the stroking of fundamental fear amongst communities, bring out the worst in humans. Defenseless woman and children suffer the most, while men announce new victories every day.

My fear is that in the stock market or in society, if we are driven by the basest of emotions then our humanity will be lost. We have to go beyond the boom and bust of our stock markets, or the fear of an imminent nuclear Armageddon. The stock market and our society should be used to bring progress and peace to improve our health, happiness and living standards. We should harness the forces of progress to be funded and unleashed for the collective greater good, and release ourselves from our fears and phobias. We have been given a whole universe by the creator, and our petty squabbles and fears will keep us rooted to this earth, when we have a far greater future to look up to. We all have only one life to live and our end is certain. It is how we live this life that matters, and it will determine the fate of our progeny for eons to come.

When all’s said and done, all roads lead to the same end. So it’s not so much which road you take, as how you take it. -Charles de Lint, writer (b. 22 Dec 1951)

Be Free

It is Friday night and the moon is mostly full, on this not so cold, winter night. The house is empty and quiet; once I turn off the PBS serial of Masterpiece Theater, which I am watching on the HDTV. At the end of the episode I rise and think of dessert. A ripe pear yellow and blushing red from the fridge, is ever so juicy and delicious. I follow it up with a scoop of butterscotch twirled Friendly’s extra rich and smooth Vanilla ice cream. This I top with a darkly intense chocolate, with blue berries and grapes, which adds a subtle, yet deep aroma and taste. I enjoy each bite and relish every single moment and intense flavor, as it stays on my tongue. My senses of touch, smell and taste are overwhelmed with a love for life. which only I, can experience!

I am not beholden to anyone or anything and on this night, I hold my head high and think from my life force and meditate on reality.This is the supreme existence, the sages talked about, but we ignored them, in our modern urgency. We have to slow down, to speed up, as the saying goes. Soon I am so inside myself, that I explode into eternity. This moment is stitched in the space and time continuum, and I rest in peace in a turbulent universe. What if I never existed would I have had this moment, or is this moment the cause of my existence? No one answers, as everything is only me, and I make myself to be free. There are no questions, where I have arrived..

I put away the dishes and wipe the counter clean, suddenly a very content man. My life force is still strong, yet it does not have the recklessness of youth, or the doubts, of our early attempts at life. Now I am alone in my strength and all else exists for me. I do not serve anyone and nobody serves me tonight. We have become free at last in the long history of humankind, as now we have the means to be truly independent. It is sadly an independence of decadence and extravagance of modern life, and no longer the sparse, simple garb of the ancient yogis.

The week end approaches and the choices are multiplied, if one only opens a travel site and looks for deals. We can go anywhere in days and enjoy exotic food and locations, if we so wish, at a few hours’ notice. We have become slaves of our daily habits rather than the fearless travelers and nomads, we used to be. At the end of the day I would rather live alone and not serve or be served; to enjoy the proverbial, thousand years of solitude. There is a dignity in becoming self-sufficient, but not all of us achieve this. We remain mired in our desires, fanned by our senses and memories, to enjoy the fruits of our labor.  The cycle of slavery perpetuates itself in us, as we become dependent on others, for our own happiness. This co-dependency only adds to our attachments and we can never break out, and be free.

“Here lives a free man. Nobody serves him.” -Albert Camus, writer, philosopher, Nobel laureate (7 Nov 1913-1960)

Our dying planet

The Alliance of World Scientists have issued their second dire warning about the state of our earth, 25 years after their first stern warning issued in 1992. The scientists have collected and analyzed data about our planet and things have become worse, since their initial findings published over 2 decades ago. We are killing flora and fauna and other living creatures at a furious pace, and this destruction is unsustainable, for a living planet. Billions of years of evolution of species are being wiped out, in our thirst for water, food and our own human habitation. .

“Global climate change sits atop the new letter’s list of planetary threats. Global average temperatures have risen by more than half a degree Celsius since 1992, and annual carbon dioxide emissions have increased by 62 percent.

But it’s far from the only problem people face. Access to fresh water has declined, as has the amount of forestland and the number of wild-caught fish (a marker of the health of global fisheries). The number of ocean dead zones has increased. The human population grew by a whopping 2 billion, while the populations of all other mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish have declined by nearly 30 percent.” They have reported.

The scientists have come up with 13 suggestions for a greener planet and more sustainable practices, which we need to adopt. We need a vigorous debate on each of their propositions now, as if we wait another 25 years, things will not magically become better. Our consumption patterns have to change dramatically to bring about a brave new world. If we shy away from this responsibility our children and grandchildren will never forgive us. The time to act is now before more waterways, forests and myriad species disappear forever. We live in a time of great scientific discovery and new technologies are developed every day. From this complexity of science we have to develop a simple method to live and let live. The 1% control our economic reality, but should we let them control the destiny of our planet also?

The self-righteousness of our super rich and inflated egos of our political leaders, are leading us down a path of death, destruction and ruin.  If a butterfly does not flap its wings in China any more, will my grandchild still see a rosy sunrise? I fear for our future and can only hope to awaken our consciousness, towards compassion and love. There is much we still have to do and only if we take a stand to do what is right and reduce our wanton consumption, will we be able to save our earth and its creatures. I want my grandchildren to walk barefoot on the dewy grass in the morning, and watch the cottontails playing in our yard. I want them to see the swans living in our lake, and not stuffed in some museum. Maybe I have too much faith in our humanity, as science does not lie.

“For all our conceits about being the center of the universe, we live in a routine planet of a humdrum star stuck away in an obscure corner … on an unexceptional galaxy which is one of about 100 billion galaxies. … That is the fundamental fact of the universe we inhabit, and it is very good for us to understand that.” -Carl Sagan, astronomer and writer (9 Nov 1934-1996)

Great Banyan story

By Biswarup Ganguly – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12679235

Long have the mystics I have studied instructed followers to stay away from Anger, Lust, Greed and things unnatural. They have all advocated that life has enough to offer without needing any artificial enhancement. In a world of plenty we need to get closer to mother nature and our origins. There are so many wonders around us that we can lead a full life, without having to travel to exotic locations. If we want to travel to exotic locations, then there is no harm, in that either. We just have to follow our own path, and not let life just happen to us. We can pick any path our heart desires, and proceed along it, to a goal, or a state of being. We must seek joy, happiness and mirth in everyday situations. If we are happy now with what we have, then start giving the extra stuff away. To live like a mystic, is to not have attachment, and hence one does not accumulate anything. One lives and discovers wonders of the world like, the Great Banyan tree as life progresses. Let me tell you a little more about the wonder of this tree:

A 255-year-old Great Banyan at the Indian Botanic Garden, Shibpur, has increased its girth by a massive two acres in a little over 30 years, from 3 acres in 1985. The Great Banyan lost its main trunk long ago after surviving two cyclones. The tree is now balanced on its growing new roots. The new roots seem to be walking east towards the sun. It is also the direction away from human habitation in the city and its pollution. 4 senior botanists and their assistants take care of the Great Banyan ensuring its health, and have built a new barrier around it. This is a remarkable tree like the Redwoods in California. They are massive and live for centuries yet this covers far more space. It continues to flourish and has grown into the largest single canopy, on earth.

We must praise nature as the more we take care of it, the more it gives back to us. We must take care of the fauna and the flora, of our native lands. Like the huge store in Norway of all the world’s seeds is good for preservation, but there is no sight like looking up from the base of tall Sequoias; and wondering how tall the trees were, as one could not possibly see the top of the trees? The real life is in our fields, our forests, our woods, our lakes, our rivers, our mountains and our oceans. They have to be nourished and cared for, by an army of people, to make them whole again. We have taken and destroyed so much, that we have to take a joint exercise, just to count the tigers, living in Nepal and India. The numbers are low, and preservation is just starting to work, and a lot of work still needs to be done to preserve the jungle species. They need their own habitats with grazing lands, rivers, woods to continue to do what nature does best. Life is to be enjoyed in its enormity and not in narrow dogmas preached for human consumption. We have become very powerful and with power also comes great responsibility. Let us use our powers wisely, to grow ourselves, and allow others to prosper also, as there is a whole universe still to explore. If we must dream then let us dream big like the Great Banyan!