Search Results for: book list

5 Fun Home Based Activities for Your Kids

 

20thAre you racking your brains on how to keep your kids entertained during this enforced school break? With outings to the local park, playground, malls etc also out of the question, it is necessary to look at options to keep them entertained either [Read more…]

What To Keep In Mind While Giving Your Newborn Baby a Bath?

21stYour baby’s first bath? Here are a few guidelines that can help you make this new experience a blissful one for your little one. For the first few weeks, the newborn is given a sponge bath, the best way to clean your baby before the umbilical cord falls off.  First things first, make [Read more…]

Top 3 Parenting Apps For Simple, Timely & Hassle-Free Parenting

Top 3 Parentings Apps For Simple, Timely & Hassle-Free ParentingFinding it difficult to keep a tab on your nursing time? Looking for recommendations for a new school or a baby product?

There are a number of apps available today for parenting-on-the go! Get the latest blogs,  monitor feeding charts, become part of parent forums for advice…sounds interesting? here’s our pick : [Read more…]

How To Make Holidays Productive For Your Children

26th-blog (1)

Holidays -the most awaited time of the year! Children run out their schools on the last day of exam with inexplicable excitement. The parents, meanwhile, wonder how they will contain that excitement for the following two months!

While some take to travelling other parents enlist their children to summer workshops where various skills are picked up. To continue your daily chores & office work, without interruptions, your children need to  be occupied. They need to learn how to spend time by themselves when their parents are busy. Once you make them independent they enjoy their holidays better and you enjoy a peaceful time!

[Read more…]

Tips For Working Mothers On How To Balance Work & Home

Blog - 8th Jan

The working mother concept is not a new one anymore. With women making it big in various fields and at the same time investing in child rearing & family, they have forever put to rest the myth of ‘gender roles’-something which was created to obstruct women from working.
But a working mother definitely has more on her plate than a working woman or a mother. Being there for the little ones and managing a demanding career can be tough.

[Read more…]

A Post for Parents to Understand The Essence of Meditation

A Post for Parents to Understand The Essence of Meditation

Compilation of Social Media Ramblings on the subject by Jayaram Rajaram

This is a post for parents to understand the essence of Meditation and Oneness in Diversity. While experiencing the wonders of meditation and yoga is ideal, understanding with clarity what India has to offer is important if we are to educate our children with these core values of oneness. This post is a compilation of my comments on an international mediation post on FB which led to an insightful discussion with people from world over ( The original post is here https://www.facebook.com/NewPerspectivesByShared/videos/vb.149439235544476/221682404986825/ ). I felt there is a lot that the world needs to know about what Bharath , one of the world’s oldest civilizations has to offer. While the world is embracing meditation and yoga, it is high time we Indian parents start taking advantage of these phenomenal tools and also help our children take advantage of them for immense lifelong benefits like heightened intuition, enhanced memory, clarity of thought, understanding core secularism through an experience and feeling of oneness etc.

So here goes:

Meditation comes from Sanatana Dharma, Yoga and Vedantam which is the core of the Advaitham philosophy and school of thought. This is a gift from India (Bharath) to the world. We believe in Ekam Sat Viprah Bahuda Vadanti which means there is only one Truth but the paths are many. We do not need to convert anyone to anything. We allow people to seek the truth and believe in Vasudaiva Kutumbam which means the world is our family and the same one God resides in every creature. Loka Samastha Sukino Bhavantu – Let all creatures be free and happy, let my thoughts and actions in this birth contribute to their freedom and happiness. Sanatana Dharma now called Hinduism is timeless and is not polytheistic as propagandists make it out to be. It is pluralistic and The one God we refer to as Brahman or Paramatman can manifest in any form the worshiper can relate to and love. We accept Ganesha, Allah, Jesus, Rama, Krishna , Shiva, Saraswati, Durga or any other God or name one wishes to give the one God as manifestation of the one Truth or God. We honour God realized souls or Gurus who can guide mere mortals to this one Truth. No dogma, purely individual and not against physical / modern science. Meditate and find balance for a peaceful world that promotes oneness in diversity and not sameness. We accept all religions as true without expecting any reciprocity , as expecting reciprocity is desire and unmet desire leads to anger which is futile and removes the benefits of meditation and yoga 🙂 So we believe man and woman move from truth to truth and hence nobody is wrong or nobody is to be condemned. Even polytheistic religions of the world or schools of thought or even atheists are not to be condemned (and are not condemned by Sanatana Dharma) and they too can benefit immensely from meditation and yoga as they are for all of humanity without any discrimination. In a nutshell meditation is for every human being!

meditation
When one meditates and enters the no-thought zone they slowly realize God or the source within. We call this nirguna bhakti. This means the source has no form as is also stated in Christianity and Islam. One could call this God consciousness , Christ Consciousness, Brahman consciousness etc. The essence is that any picture of Christ, the Kaaba stone or deities in Hinduism are aids for the spiritual child to achieve one pointedness of mind and to give a personality/attributes or association to easily focus and slowly move inwards to realize the formless source within. For this one has to eliminate the mind through practice. Not easy but a slow and steady process. The breath controls the nervous system and thoughts is what some schools of yoga talk about. We only have control over our breath. In essence if we master our breathing slowly over time we can get into deeper meditative states and manage life’s situations with a better sense of balance. Slowly we will realize that we are all ONE. The division is caused by ego or what is referred to as Maya. Love , oneness and mutual respect are the need of the hour. We mustn’t just tolerate one another, we have to respect each other and our paths from our very core.

Further, Christ, The Prophet, Rama , Krishna, Buddha, Guru Gobind Singh, Sidhas, Sapta Rishis, Jagad gurus have all walked this Earth at some point and are all God realized souls who have shown the way to millions and continue to inspire them. We have to learn from all of them without getting carried away by political versions of any religion that seeks control and blind belief without seeking, as that causes huge problems for everyone. In Sanatana Dharma we are very clear that nobody is superior or inferior- we are all one despite our bodily appearances and differences in approach to the One God.

If we read and introspect on teachings by Jagadgurus (Gurus who have experienced the Truth) or all realized souls from any religion or spiritual path we would never condemn any religion. In all cases it is unrealized /ignorant people who mess up the message and meaning handed over to them by realized souls, for control and dominance or out of sheer fear and ignorance. If we seek and practice our faith without the need to dominate and control others the world will be peaceful. While Sanatana Dharma is individual with no one person starting the religion and with thousands of scriptures and timeless Vedas discovered through meditation and penance by rishis, even founders of today’s organized religions were  God realized souls who understood oneness. The issue of bigotry comes in when mere mortals and followers of any religion misinterpret texts without seeking and understanding things in perspective and context and apply it blindly to dominate others who they feel they are superior to when the message of their religion is equality and oneness. A percentage of people of all religions without exception are guilty of feeling superior to another and brainwashing others to believe so and there lies the problem. When we meditate I believe we have to keep telling ourselves that all people and all creatures are manifestations of the One God and  parts of the whole or rather the whole in parts intrinsically interwoven and connected though invisibly. I pray and meditate for this perfect world everyday .

Meditation is a great way to understand that the jivatma (body and self identification) and paramatma (our source/ God what is within and keeps us alive) is one and the same. After knowing this, one must slowly reject the body as ”Not Me’ and dwell on the source.

Having said all that I have,  I owe my very little (almost insignificant) understanding  of the subject to all the mahaans who have walked this Punya Bhoomi called Bharath. We can all learn much more from the teachings of Adi Shankaracharya, Kanchi Paramacharya, Swami Vivekananda, Ramana Maharishi, Paramahamsa Yogananda and countless realized souls who have walked amongst mere mortals and left behind a wealth of knowledge that cannot be learnt in one lifetime . Best is to meditate and slowly tap into universal consciousness.

So, whatever your faith or religion is, walk into your place of worship, whether church, gurudwara, monastery, temple , mosque, synagogue etc and slowly ‘just be’. Enter the no thought zone, focus on your breath or start by just one pointedly focusing​ on the image of God of your faith (if any image or form exists/can be given ) without asking for anything or praying for anything- You can do this at home or in a park or even in office, on the plane, in a bus- just about anywhere! Trust and be mindful of the present moment and acknowledge any thoughts and then bring back focus to the No Thought Zone. Absolutely no need to pay anyone any money and no need to convert to any other faith or religion . Stay in the religion of your birth and understand with confidence that we are all one.

The more spiritual, inclusive knowledge is shared, the more peaceful our world will be is what I firmly believe. This is not my knowledge, it is knowledge from the timeless Vedas with no one source. It cannot and must not be attributed to any human being as rishis who meditated discovered the sound of the Vedas through austerities. It is ‘Aupurusasya’ meaning no man or woman wrote the Vedas- Their vibrations exist as part of the cosmos (what modern science probably calls the Big bang). Vibrations create and sustain life and every creature and object has a vibration. As humans we have the option to tune in to the right frequencies through meditation and yoga because what is inside us (the microcosm) is actually a replica of what is there in the Macrocosm (cosmos, space, multiple universes etc) is what the Vedas say

As a parent I pray that every child learns to meditate, so at least the next generations learn that we are all one and learn to live peacefully with mutual respect, warm-heartedness and compassion for everyone.

Reading is the fun way to go!

30th (1)

Imagine waking up to a world without the internet, which for some inexplicable reason has ceased to exist forever. For most of us, a life without Google, YouTube, and Facebook is a scenario nightmares are made of.

Those of us who grew up reading books (and those who have taken up reading recently) would probably raise our collective eyebrows one eighth of an inch, yawn politely and pick up the juicy crime thriller we had been reading before the ‘calamity’ took the surfing millions by surprise and sent them into a state of deep shock and utter disbelief! However, the book lovers would be more interested to find out who really committed the crime in the whodunit we just mentioned: was it the butler or was it the hollywood star staying at the Haveli as the Maharajah’s personal guest!

The world is divided into two groups: Book lovers, and those who regard the activity as one that requires infinite amount of patience to wade through tonnes of the written word– one solitary page at a time. For book lovers, however, it was books that kept them out of mischief in childhood, it was books that provided them with a window to the world in college, and it was books that kept them entertained when they started fending for themselves. [Read more…]

Stay at Home or Work Full Time? A Human Perspective

Stay at Home or Work Full Time? A Human Perspective

By Jayaram Rajaram

I am sure women are wondering what I (being a man) am going to say about a debate that is always highly polarized and one that has been done to death. Here I am digging into ancient Indian roots & wisdom and am going to offer a perspective for all human beings, in a gender-neutral manner.

Parents and Child

Ambition and competitive education with little or no introspection or self-awareness have harmed the human race and its peace of mind, irrespective of gender. It’s really time to move to a self-awareness, inward looking, duty-bound education system that nurtures creative thinking and collaboration while taking mental health very seriously (With an emphasis on yoga and meditation). A system that asks children what problem in the world they wish to solve and what their primary duties as sons/daughters/fathers/mothers/citizens of the world are, rather than what they want to be, with material gains, power, social recognition and bank balance being the primary objective.  Seriously, material gains and ambition are no benchmarks to judge people and it’s time society (every mother, father, grandfather and grandmother) understands this, as the damage that consumerism and materialism over the last 2-3 generations have done are already showing up in several nasty ways in most countries. Spiritually looking at things, we have to nurture a generation that is grateful and contented, but not lazy, while acting to make the world a better place. Delving into the Nishkama Karma approach, we as parents have to lead by example. As parents if we prioritize staying away from kids emphasizing the importance of earning a living and making money, that’s what our children will feel is socially rewarding and emulate us later in life. If every father and mother prioritize needs from wants and look beyond their small ego-centric lives (that depend largely on social validation) to nurture the future generation with the right values, we might have a chance of nurturing balanced, happy, confident and emotionally stable citizens of the future who are sensitive to others’ needs also.

So all this sounds good but where to start?

  • Every mother and every father currently working or not, have to assess how much time they get to spend with their children. I mean quality and quantity time with your children. We decided to bring our children into this world didn’t we? They are our purpose, duty and joy and not a distraction from our office work.   If a job demands more than 8-10 hours per day at work, start looking for a better job. Always remember that we work to live and do not live to work – no matter how fulfilling one’s job, business or career is (To put things in perspective, even a doctor has to take care of himself/herself to provide optimum patient care.).
  • Avoid taking up jobs that require late night phone calls, if you can avoid it, or work out flexi timings that let you spend time with your kids in the evening before your calls. A globalized-world is great for economics but disastrous for families. If it is a necessary evil, the least you can do is work around it without being a parent who is sleeping when your kids leave for school, and whose kids are asleep when you get back home. You will not be thinking about your American or Brit client (Or Indian or Chinese client if you are from the western hemisphere) who you never skipped a late night call with, on your death bed – I promise. 🙂
  • Schedule maximum number of days so your child gets time with his / her mother and father.
  • Ensure weekends or at least Sunday is 100% family time
  • Dedicate time for family meditation / quiet time everyday before bed time or first thing in the morning. Time for prayer / puja / God is also recommended for the parent if you wish to bring up a child who understands that there is a higher force within all of us and external rituals/routines help calm stressed minds and bring about one-pointedness of mind. The benefits of meditation and rituals include clarity of thought, focus, intuition and creativity and are today being recognized even by the so-called modern-scientific fraternity.
  • If you have all your needs and lifestyle requirements met, allow one partner to stay-at-home full time. I am not even entering the gender debate but putting kids’ needs ahead of parent-needs which is the beauty of the Indian parenting system has gotten horribly diluted along the way. This is a tough one as most of us have forgotten to be grateful for what we have and confuse needs from wants and justify all our wrong actions by looking outside for validation rather than looking inside and listening to that inner voice.
  • Reduce travel for work as much as possible. Both in terms of proximity to work place and work-related travel out of town.
  • When you attend your next work interview (whether you are a mother or father), keep your children’s needs ahead of your own. This might sound tough initially but this is where contentment begins and you will not regret the decision in the long run. Some parents say I am doing this to give my children a better life. The truth is children need us to be present more than the money (beyond basic needs and saving for their future along the way, which we must do as a duty too). Never forget that once they enter the teenage zone they won’t need you much anymore. No point having regrets at that point.
  • Travel as a family at least once a year. If possible, do short weekend breaks. None of your breaks have to be expensive and over the top for you to have a great time with your children.
  • Try to start your own lifestyle business, if your situation permits it so you have control over your time and how much you wish to earn (If your business works out well ). One partner can do this while the other brings in a steady income at first.
  • Stop trying to keep up with the Jones’, Jagans, Janes or Janakis as they might be looking at you and trying to keep up with you in some aspects of life. So stop! This gets people nowhere. Use Facebook only for entertainment and don’t worry if you can’t do an international holiday every year like some of your friends. They probably have hardly anytime with their families. Even if they do- STOP thinking about others except when you can do something to help a fellow human being. Even when you help someone do not expect quid-pro-quo and give for the sake of giving like it is your blessing from God that you have been given an opportunity to help someone.
  • Stop hoarding things and buying unnecessary stuff. Minimalistic living helps using resources (time and money) in experiences with your loved ones. Order of priority (Most important left to Least Important right) that we should aim for, work on, live daily and teach our kids is :

(Most Important) People–>Food, Shelter, Clothing–> Simple Experiences –>Money to impact ones family and world positively (even if it is in a small way like educating one underprivileged child)–>Bigger Experiences–>Things (Least Important)

 

  • Take care of your and your spouse’s ageing parents and show your kids that this is how India works and that’s why the whole world looks to India for its solid family support system. You should not ask the kids to take care of you, but do your duty towards your parents (the child’s grandparents) and allow your child to watch it happening day in and day out. Nishkama Karma at every stage- where we do our duty without expecting anything in return. Very tough but this attitude has to be work in progress on a daily basis for all of us.
  • Last but not least, nobody can have it all and nobody is 100% right or 100% wrong so stop comparing yourselves with others and do what works for you. Whether you choose to stay at home or work full time, always remember to find a job that helps you to spend more time with family. Indra Nooyi said women can’t have it all. I say nobody can have it all (Not men, not women because what does all mean? One has to sacrifice something to gain something else. Isn’t this the law of nature?). If we are to nurture a better future generation and really cherish the process, we have to spend more time with our children (This applies to mothers and fathers).  If you don’t like what someone else is doing, or it irritates you, it probably means you haven’t come to terms with some aspect of your own personality and are allowing another’s actions or lifestyle to affect your mental peace.  Introspect, meditate and course correct.

So what’s the essence of this entire article from an ancient Indian Wisdom and Sanatana Dharma standpoint? In two words – Reduce Desire!

Unfulfilled desire leads to anger and then disillusionment and depression (Kama – desire, Krodha-Anger, Moha – Maya/Disillusionment). Desire fulfilled leads to more desire or greed (Lobha).

I will leave you with a lovely piece on Maturity by Adi Sankaracharya:

*What is maturity? – by Adi Shankara*

1. Maturity is when you stop trying to change others, …instead focus on changing yourself.

2. Maturity is when you accept people as they are.

3. Maturity is when you understand everyone is right in their own perspective.

4. Maturity is when you learn to “let go.

5. Maturity is when you are able to drop “expectations” from a relationship and give for the sake of giving.

6. Maturity is when you understand whatever you do, you do for your own peace.

7. Maturity is when you stop proving to the world, how intelligent you are.

8. Maturity is when you don’t seek approval from others.

9. Maturity is when you stop comparing with others.

10. Maturity is when you are at peace with yourself.

11. Maturity is when you are able to differentiate between “need” and “want” and are able to let go of your wants.

and last but most meaningful,

12. You gain Maturity when you stop attaching “happiness” to material things !!

Writing for other parents helps me introspect and course correct as a parent myself. I learn by writing and am in no way perfect. Let us all cherish every moment of the journey rather than hanker after some fictitious destination.

Image Credits: http://www.stockphotosforfree.com/

Make small changes in your life and reap big benefits

18thjune

Most of us like to think we are without faults, but the honest truth is each of us has our own share of shortcomings. Recognising and acknowledging them is a first step in the way of overcoming them. There is always room for improvement. A bunch of small but significant refinements, taken up one at a time can make a big difference to our lives.

As Confucius, the great Chinese philosopher, says… [Read more…]