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Tamil Software
அழகி மென்பொருள்
  
Tamil-English bilingual webmagazine dedicated to education of the masses through E-books, articles, worldwide informations, Slideshows,
Presentations on various subjects, photographs and images, moral and objective oriented stories and Lectures including audio and video

Dear Mr. Aiyar, // THE GREATEST YOGA GURU

Courtesy: PS Chennai

Dear Mr. Aiyar,

I dont know if I can even address you, as I have not studied in St. Stephens, I was born in a small nursing home in Tirunelveli, my great grandmother sold Idlis to make ends meet, my father-in-law was just a teacher, my husband didnt have shoes when he went for his first job interview, I had just two pairs of clothes while growing up, I studied upto my 2nd standard in a school that no longer exists, Krishnans school also is no longer in existence, my father wrote accounts in a temple so he could fund his education and eat one meal, both my father and father-in-law started working at the age of 14 My husband and I currently live in a suburb of Delhi called Gurgaon, I am very worried if you wont let me be here because we dont fit, we arent from Doon school, Tripos college besides being from St. Stephens, we also have not been in the Indian Foreign Service for 26 years and we certainly dont count Nehrujis grandson amongst our friends, I dont think we can speak English as well as you do, we will have to manage in Tamil, the local language and your forgotten mother tongue, in your constituency, Mayiladuthurai.

Some things that we might have in common, either your friends family or your daughters would have used a LOreal shampoo, my husband Krishnan was part of the team that launched LOreal in India Hmmm, I am racking my brains for some other connection. Krishnan started his career with Cipla, the Indian pharmaceutical company, setup on the behest of Gandhiji, the original Mahatma, not your friends father and you might have taken some medicine that they manufactured, but I doubt that. So we will continue to worry about not being in the same league. Mr. Aiyar, did you know that our second prime minister Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri was almost adopted by a milkman ? I guess by your standards he should not have become the PM, but should have supplied milk perhaps to all the Congress party workers. Mr. Aiyar, am sure you have travelled to Uruguay as you are a well travelled person, so I would like you to read about their president on this link Worlds poorest president..

Shocking, how can a former revolutionary become the President of a country and on top of that remain poor?? Giving away 90% of his earnings maybe if he was in India, you would have wanted him to grow the vegetables that Congress party workers could eat.

Mr. Modi unfortunately didnt know that if he sold tea in his younger days, he should have just continued doing that and not ever dream of being the PM of this country. Forgive him, Mr. Aiyar, he didnt study in Doon school, he didnt serve in the IFS, so he doesnt know the protocol that only one family, that of your esteemed friend is deserving of being the PM of this country because they dont sell tea in their growing up years, they study in Doon school, and they have the ability to reduce a Cambridge educated man into a puppet PM, they also marry into families that are mysterious, they have fat Swiss bank accounts, and well, they probably dont drink tea even. Mr. Modi, did you get it ? Dont worry Mr. Aiyar, someone will translate this blog into Hindi or I can even, as I speak and write Hindi very well, it is my first language. I wrote it in English so you would understand. Mr. Modi understanding or not doesnt matter, he after all can just supply tea to Congress party workers.

Mr. Aiyar, a question for you, can a person like me, who didnt sell tea, or milk or any other food product, dream of being the Prime Minister or President of India ? Now that I think of it, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, one of our well known Presidents, also is from the non-existent school that Krishnan studied in and so is President V V Giri. Guess, both were mistakes according to you.

Now Mr. Aiyar, if you still drink coffee that your forefathers drank at home, smell it, and find the first flight out to a country of your choice, because Mr. Modi will sell tea to the Congress party at a premium and from 7, Race Course Road as the PM of India soon, if not him, some other chai wallah or jhadu wali will be the prime minister, not the twit that your friend had for a son !! Just get out we have had enough of your snobbery, and your corrupt partys ways and really enough of your friends family. Maybe they can sell Cappuccino in Italy and try becoming the PM there and leave India to tea drinking and tea selling Indians.

With best regards

Bindu

Incase anyone was wondering which Mr. Aiyar I refer to in this letter, its Mani Shankar Aiyar.

=============================================================== THE GREATEST YOGA GURU

B.K.S. Iyengar in Karnataka, India. Photograph by Dinodia/Corbis

On Feb. 1, the Nobel Committee will close nominations for the 2014 Peace Prize. The list of eligible nominees (there were 259 last year) will be huge, partly because the question of what constitutes enduring work for peace allows for so many convincing answers. The Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai was strongly tipped last year, and will have many backers again. The names of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden will be considered. Even Vladimir Putin appears to have become a contender.

Curiously, although India is often associated with ideas of peace and tolerance, no Indian has ever been awarded the Peace Prize. (Mahatma Gandhi remains the most prominent of those denied it.) Is there an Indian today who deserves it? There certainly is, and its curious that his claim on it has apparently never been taken with the seriousness it merits, when one might say he hasn't just advanced the cause of peace in the world, but considerably enlarged its meaning.

After all, although the Nobel Prize tends to be associated with a political interpretation, the arts of peace certainly go beyond conflict resolution or resistance to state power. As the Dalai Lama, the winner of the Peace Prize in 1989, has said, World peace must develop from inner peace. And theres perhaps no man alive who has taught humanity as much about inner peace and its many dimensions -- peace as a physical science, peace as a state of self-awareness and power -- as the great Indian yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar.

This would be a good year to award the prize to Iyengar. He turned 95 in December. Remarkably, he continues to keep up an exhausting schedule, radiating the positive effects of yoga practice for both body and mind. Two years ago, he travelled to China to start an Iyengar yoga institute there. He can still do the sirsasana, or head stand, for half an hour at a go, the Indian journalist Sanjukta Sharma wrote in a profile last month. This is the longest a yoga guru has sustained his or her practice to perfect more and more. To millions of practitioners who have passed through Iyengar yoga schools in 72 countries, or have deepened their understanding of yoga poses through one of his books (most notably the 1966 classic Light on Yoga,) Iyengar is the face of yoga.

More than any other yoga teacher in the last century, its Iyengar who has taken the practice both forward and outward, developing his own version of the art while also making it accessible for millions without any sacrifice in depth or rigor. Even Indians previously conversant with the nuances of yoga acknowledge his leading role in the systematization and conceptual advancement of an ancient spiritual discipline, and it was on his watch that the yoga movement became a revolution in the U.S. and Europe. If yoga is ubiquitous in the U.S. today, much of that can be attributed to Iyengars remarkable efforts over a lifetime. (The advance of yoga in the U.S. from fringe movement to multibillion dollar industry is told well by Stefanie Syman in her 2010 book "The Subtle Body.") Whats the connection, though, between yoga practice and peace?

To be sure, for millions of yoga practitioners today, it is valuable for its fitness and wellness benefits or as a source of relief from stress. But no one who has ever practiced seriously and reflected on its experience of dynamic stillness cannot have seen a glimmer of what the ancient Indian sage Patanjali asserted about 2,500 years ago in the opening sentences of the "Yoga Sutra," a set of penetrating aphorisms (a sutra is literally a thread) about yoga and the human condition. Patanjalis wide-ranging treatise remains the classic exposition on yoga as a science of the mind and the body as a pathway into self-awareness. It is a book that can be read profitably by anyone, even if you never get close to doing a warrior pose or headstand.

Patanjali's deeply challenging opening sentences are (I quote from the late American scholar Barbara Stoler Millers 1996 translation of the "Yoga Sutra"): This is the teaching of yoga. Yoga is the cessation of the turnings of thought. When thought ceases, the spirit stands in its true identity as observer to the world. Otherwise, the observer identifies with the turnings of thought.

As Iyengar, who has written an acute commentary on Patanjalis text, explained in an interview: "When you cannot hold the body still, you cannot hold the brain still. If you do not know the silence of the body, you cannot understand the silence of the mind. Action and silence have to go together. If there is action, there must also be silence. If there is silence, there can be conscious action and not just motion." These words contain a powerful argument about the ascent to a higher form of selfhood and equipoise, through a detachment that isn't a turning away from the world, but rather a renewed engagement, only cleansed of the distorting lens of egotism and the instinct for violence. In our distracted age, flooded with sense stimulation and frenetic, unfocussed activity, the practice of yoga (as many already know) can lead to a radically renewed awareness of the self as an agent that controls its own experience of the world.

For this reason, Iyengars trilogy, "Light on Yoga," "Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali," and "Light on Life," are among the greatest self-help books. They take a line contrary to the worlds major religions, which hold that the body is inferior to the invisible (and hypothetical) soul, and is a transient vessel that breeds selfishness and egotism that can only be transcended by submission to God.

Iyengar demonstrates instead that the body can itself serve as an instrument of transcendence through hatha yoga, or the disciplined practice of physical postures. Body and mind typically hold human beings captive in a net of illusions, desires, appetites and memories, but even by momentarily detaching ourselves from what Patanjali calls chitta-vritti, or the turnings of thought or mind chatter, we can achieve a disinterested, compassionate point of view upon ourselves and the world -- a revelatory state with enormous ramifications for the way we pursue our lives.

As Iyengar writes in "Light on Life," Yoga does not just change the way we see things; it transforms the person who sees.

By turning a daunting and often rarefied philosophical system with many divergent internal strands and arguments into a universal program of education available to anyone who seeks it out, Iyengar has ensured that yoga has become Indias greatest export to the world, the brightest example of its abundant soft power. To be sure, many others have merit as Peace Prize candidates, with work involving courageous resistance to power, which Iyengars doesnt. But I cant help thinking that Iyengar stands for a much more foundational notion of peace, one greatly relevant to our times.

Followers of Iyengar like to quote his saying, Before peace between the nations, we have to find peace inside that small nation which is our own being. Perhaps the Norwegian Nobel Committee should look more closely this year at the astounding work of a man who has over the course of 80 years forged for himself and millions of others a durable peace inside that "small nation of the self.

(Chandrahas Choudhury, a novelist, is the New Delhi correspondent for World View. His novel "Arzee the Dwarf" is published by New York Review

Books. Follow him on Twitter.) To contact the author of this blog post:

Chandrahas Choudhury at Chandrahas.choudhury@gmail.com.

To contact the editor responsible for this post:

Max Berley at mberley@bloomberg.net.Enter body

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