Wednesday, November 30, 2011


A winner is not one who never fails...... 
But one who never quits!

At some point or the other in the various journeys we embark on in our lives, we get to a part where we feel like giving up. Sometimes we give up before we even start and other times we give up just before we are about to make that huge break-through that we have been putting so much effort in to achieve.

Believe In Your Dreams
Don’t sell yourself short. In life there are going to be many people who will try to bring you down and tell you what you want to achieve is not possible. Don’t let anyone destroy your dreams.

 As Long As You live Anything Is Possible....
The only valid excuse you have to give up is if you are dead. As long as you are alive... and healthy ....and free  you have the choice to keep trying until you finally succeed.

Be Realistic
The chance of mastering something the first time you do it is almost non-existent. Everything takes time to learn and you will make mistakes. Learn from them.

I have compiled this catalogue of reasons why you should never give up and I hope that you will find it before you give up, so that it can inspire you to keep going!

In LIFE, remember that we pass this way only once!

These are  some Real Life Stories... of real peple who never gave up!!

A candidate for a news broadcasters post was rejected by officials since his voice was not fit for a news broadcaster. He was also told that with his obnoxiously long name, he would never be famous. 

He is Amitabh Bacchan. 

A small boy - the fifth amongst seven siblings of a poor father, was selling newspapers in a small village to earn his living. He was not exceptionally smart at school but was fascinated by religion and rockets. 

The first rocket he built crashed. A missile that he built crashed multiple times and he was made a butt of ridicule. He is the person to have scripted the Space Odyssey of India single-handedly - 

        Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. 

In 1962, four nervous young musicians played their first record audition for the executives of the Decca recording Company. The executives were not impressed.While turning down this group of musicians, one executive said, "We don't like their sound. Groups of guitars are on the way out." 
 The group was called The Beatles

In 1944, Emmeline Snively, director of the Blue Book Modelling Agency told modelling hopeful Norma Jean Baker, "You'd better learn secretarial work or else get married."
 She went on and became...........Marilyn Monroe. 

In 1954, Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, Fired a singer after one performance. He told him, "You ain't goin' nowhere....son. You ought to go back to drivin' a truck." 

He went on to become Elvis Presley. 

When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876, it did not ring off the hook with calls from potential backers. After making a demonstration call,President Rutherford Hayes said, "That's an amazing invention, but who would ever want to see one of them?" 

When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, he tried over 2000 experiments before he got it to work. A young reporter asked him how it felt to fail so many times. He said, "I never failed once. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a 2000-step process." 

 In the 1940s, another young inventor named Chester Carlson took his idea to 20 corporations, including some of the biggest in the country. They all turned him down. In 1947, after 7 long years of rejections, he finally got a tiny company in Rochester, NY, the Haloid company, to purchase the rights to his invention -- an electrostatic paper-copying process. 

Haloid became Xerox Corporation

A little girl - the 20th of 22 children, was born prematurely and her survival was doubtful. When she was 4 years old, she contracted double pneumonia and scarlet fever, which left her with a paralysed left leg. At age 9, she removed the metal leg brace she had been dependent on and began to walk without it. 

By 13 she had developed a rhythmic walk, which doctors said was a miracle. That same year she decided to become a runner. She entered a race and came in last. 

For the next few years every race she entered, she came in last. Everyone told her to quit, but she kept on running. One day she actually won a race. And then another. From then on she won every race she entered. 

Eventually this little girl - Wilma Rudolph, went on to win three Olympic gold medals. 

A school teacher scolded a boy for not paying attention to his mathematics and for not being able to solve simple problems. She told him that you would not become anybody in life. 

The boy was Albert Einstein. 

Lance was diagnosed with serious cancer that had spread throughout his entire body. He had cancer cells the size of golf balls in his lungs. Despite all odds he overcame the cancer and set out to win the Tour de France 6 Consecutive years in a row.

That is Lance Armstrong

 Lastly but definitely not the least....The Nelson Mandela..... He Campaigned for justice and freedom in his South Africa. Spent 20 years in jail for his opposition to apartheid. On release he healed the wounds of apartheid by his magnanimous attitude toward his former political enemies.

The Moral of the above Stories: 

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet comfoert......Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened....... vision cleared.........ambition inspired and success achieved. 

We  gain strength, experience and confidence by every experience where you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you cannot do. And remember, the finest steel gets sent through the hottest furnace. 

Let The Haters Hate
There will always be haters. There will always be plenty of naysayers  and people who try to tear us down. Don’t pay attention to them and don’t take what they say to heart. Let the haters hate and you keep believing in yourself.

You Deserve To Be Happy
Don’t ever let anybody tell you otherwise. You deserve to be happy and you deserve to have success. Keep that mindset and never give up until you reach your destination!

 Inspire Others
Be an inspiration to others by refusing to give up. Who knows what someone else can achieve because you never gave up and in turn inspired them not to give up.

You Are So Close
Often when you feel like you want to give up and you are about to give up you are so close to making a huge break-thru. .... at any given time we may be  just a heartbeat away from success.

 "Failure is the pillar of success......They are our stepping stone!" 

"Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win."

Monday, November 28, 2011

Virasat e Khalsa....A Heritage Complex

It was in the year 1999, the tercentennial year of the Birth of the Khalsa that the dream process start build a Khalsa Heritage Complex at Anandpur Sahib to commemorate the epoch-making event. The Virasat-e-Khalsa stands at a site that is the birthplace of the Khalsa Panth, which. It was here in 1699,onVaisakhi Day, that  Guru Gobind Singh, founded the Khalsa Panth.
It had to be an inspiring tribute to the laudable and poignant saga of the people of Punjab unfolding Sikh history and tradition like never before.

Hailed as a "wonder in the making", the Khalsa Heritage complex had been conceived on a scale with global perspective and located amidst rolling hills on a sprawling 100-acre estate inspired by the nearby Himalayan Mountains

In its grandeur it has no precedent, no comparison..... Conceived as a repository of the rich heritage of the Khalsa, showcasing the history and culture of Sikhs and their homeland, Punjab, the heritage complex enshrines the eternal message of Guru’s

Hype on Heritage
 The clarity of creative mission was to create a concept in architecture shaped like hands ascending as if in a subliminal act of offering a prayer

The Heritage complex.... Virasat e Khalsa is located in the state of Punjab and is sited overlooking the town. Divided into two sections that straddle a ravine, the memorial is joined by a 540-ft long pedestrian bridge over a network of reflecting pools. The western side, which is connected directly to the town, features exhibition galleries, a two-level library centred around a grand reading room that overlooks the water gardens, is a facility for storing rare archival materials, and a 400-seat auditorium.

The eastern side houses permanent exhibitions presenting Sikh history, religion, and culture. Rising from the cliffs below, the building is clad with locally-sourced sandstone and evokes the fortress cities of Rajasthan, Gwalior, and Punjab.
The galleries are arranged in groups of five and reference the Five Virtues of Sikh religion. Themes such as the earth and sky, mass and lightness, and depth and ascension are represented in the museum’s sandstone towers and reflective, dramatic sweeping roofs.

The credit of design and structural plan goes to Moshe Safdie, the internationally acclaimed Boston-based Israeli architect.

Safdie began designing the museum way back in 1999 and finally saw his efforts come to fruition at the inauguration.
A button to unveil the museum’s inaugural plaque as theVirasat-e-Khalsa monument rose out of the Shivalik hills of Punjab. 

Nihangs astride horses and on foot along with ‘gatka’ troupes dressed in blue with saffron colour turbans dotted the hillocks, adding to the backdrop.
Asha Bhosle started the function with a soulful rendition of the shabad, Mera Sahib, Mera Sahib, followed by Jaspinder Kaur Narula's rendition of ‘Deh Shiva Var Mohe Ihe’.
The programme ended with an ardaas.
A glider then cascaded confetti and flower petals on the throng crowd.
Then a finale, a fireworks display......and illumination.
Born in Haifa, Israel, in 1938, Moshe Safdie  must be proud  of his creation...He.moved to Canada with his family at age 15. He graduated from McGill University in 1961 with a degree in architecture. After apprenticing with Louis I. Kahn in Philadelphia, Safdie returned to Montreal to oversee the master plan for the 1967 World Exhibition and realized Habitat ’67, pioneering example of prefabricated housing and launched the 29-year-old Safdie on his illustrious career.

In 1970, Safdie established a Jerusalem branch office and was responsible for major segments of the restoration of the Old City of Jerusalem and, the new Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and the Rabin Memorial Center. During this period, Safdie also became involved in the developing world, working in Senegal, Iran, and Singapore

Design Philosophy of the Virasat e Khalsa.

Moshe Safdie is the leading architect, of the project .....He embraced a comprehensive and humane design philosophy, guided by a strong set of values and without succumbing to current trends. Safdie philosophy is committed to architecture that supports and enhances a project’s program; that is informed by the geographic, social, and cultural elements that define a place; and that in turn responds to human needs and aspirations of the community.

—and in conjunction recognize its responsibility to contribute richly to its setting and enduringly contribute to its community.

Contemporary architecture often lacks the qualities of ritual and ceremony that have historically been fundamental to civic, cultural and religious life. ...but this was not so for the Khalsa Heritage Complex.Safdie  was able to achieve  his  central objective  to create unique spaces and forms that introduce a sense of ceremony appropriate for the Virasat e Khalsa.

Through his buildings Moshe Safdie has been especially adept at realizing our aspirations. For us he has created buildings where heritage is forged, memory is enshrined, and identity is created in built form. Few architects would have been able to so fully realize their philosophies in practice and in such diversity of project type and geography. 
Virasat e Khalsa

The two main complexes are joined with a connecting long ceremonial bridge. The canopy on this bridge is an architectural experiment and is situated in the opposite direction of the sun and does not provide any shade. 

The western complex houses an auditorium with a seating capacity of 400 with temporary exhibition galleries and a library, housing all journals, magazines, books and periodicals on Sikhism. 

The eastern complex has the Flower Building and a wing called the Boat Building or the Heritage Section. 
The experience begins at ‘Panj Pani’ —The Boat Building of the complex houses the largest hand-painted mural in the world, depicting the past and the present of Punjab, as seen in its villages and towns and cities ....It took almost three and half years to complete the interiors which includes paintings, murals and around 400 artist were involved in it including designers.

Contrary to the tradition of domes which crown the sacred Sikh sites, the roofs of the Museum are concave-shaped receptors facing the sky. Sheathed in stainless steel, they reflect the sun’s light towards the Gurdwara and the Fort.

The roof of the Flower Building is shaped in the form of five petals - representing the Panj Piaras . Each petal will house an exhibit tracing the life history of all the Gurus from birth to attaining salvation/ martyrdom. These will be permanent exhibits. The petal at the highest altitude will have information and exhibits on Guru Granth Sahib. 

At night, the entire building will be illuminated with its large silhouette being reflected in the seven acres around of water around it. It will also illuminate the night skyline of the historical city of the birth of the Khalsa.

The museum, is truly Virasat e Khalsa  .....Not only will the visitors be impressed by just the majestic structure but the multi-media galleries at the complex as well. They bring alive the Sikh history and culture. Out of the total 25 galleries, 15 are ready to greet the visitors. The rest will be made in the second phase of construction at the complex.

For the remaining galleries, visitors will be guided by the auto-trigger audio guides, available in English, Hindi and Punjabi. ‘Auto-trigger’ implies that as you walk into any gallery and the audio guide plays content specific to the area. The voiceover has been rendered by actress Divya Dutta, Surjeet Pattar and Kabir Bedi respectively. The first five galleries depict the spiritual aspects of the Panth by making use of research material, stories and technology.

Next, I am told the visitor is greeted with the thought-provoking concept of Ik Onkar. The Mool Mantar will echo all around this exhibit. 

This exhibit, with special sound effects, is situated in a drum-like building where lights will create an image of Ik Onkar and an audio message will highlight the core principles of Sikhism. 

Then starts a mesmerizing journey into the lives of the first Five Gurus in the five petals of the flower building. These five petals tell tales from Guru Nanak to Guru Arjan. 

The first petal will have the milieu of the times Guru Nanak was born in, tracing his life through the far-flung travels (udasis) he undertook. Further, there will be galleries depicting the lives and contributions of Guru Angad and Guru Amar Das. 

One of the galleries is divided into two, by recreating a baoli in the middle, to highlight the latter‘s life work. It will have leather and shadow puppets with painted murals in background. 

The gallery in the fourth petal contains exhibits on the contribution of Guru Ram Das, including the construction of the city of Ramdaspur, adding 11 ragas to the existing corpus of Gurbani, and the Laavan. The city of Ramdaspur has been recreated in an embroidered form. 

The gallery in the fifth petal showcases key events in the history of Sikhism: the construction of Harmandar Sahib, as well as the compilation and investiture of the Adi Granth. A pathway leading to the gallery will have a replica of Harmandar Sahib. The gallery also has an ethereal, glowing representation of the Parkash Sthan - the place of the Adi Granth in the Harmandar, in the centre. 

Around this central installation are shown stories related to the Adi Granth. Four doorways around it recreate different scenes describing the life and times of Guru Arjan. 

There is another gallery depicting Guru Arjan's martyrdom in the form of a sculpture on the terrace. Here, the events around the martyrdom have been narrated in an evocative manner

There is also an exhibit, which will suggest the coming together of five elements - fire, earth, water, air and space. 

The petals in the crescent building will cover the lifespans of Guru Hargobind, Guru Har Rai, Guru Harkrishan, Guru Teg Bahadar, Guru Gobind Singh andGurta Gaddi.

The galleries at the lower level will chronicle the trials, tribulations and triumphs of the Khalsa, from Banda Singh Bahadar to immediately after Partition, when Sikh dynamism helped revive a trifurcated Punjab with its flamboyant energy and resilience. 

Is it a Tourist Hub in Making 

TheVirasat e Khalsa has a great potential to attract a large number of visitors, as the town already attracts millions of pilgrims from around the world to the many historical gurdwaras and Sikh forts in the region. 

The Punjab and Himachal Pradesh Governments have proposed a joint ropeway project from Naina Devi - the site where Guru Gobind Singh first recited "Chandi ki Vaar" - the Ode to the Sword - to Anandpur Sahib. Currently, a survey of the area is underway for this project. 

Besides these attractions, the Bhakhra-Nangal project and the Nangal wetland offer perfect features for developing this area as a major tourist hub. 


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Kal Taran Guru Nanak aaya.....Happy Gurpurab!!!

"Be pure," said the Guru, "and Truth would reveal itself to thee. Have love of God uppermost in thy heart and hurt not the feelings of His creatures."........

Like the teachings of most messiahs, even the beliefs & philosophies of Guru Nanak Dev, the first Guru of Sikhs, were not very popular in the beginning. But, today, it is those very teachings of Guru Nanak that are the basic tenets that guide the lives of Sikhs. The three teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji are known as nam simran, kirt karo, and wand chako. The term 'Nam Simran' means think about God. Kirt Kaara preaches people to lead a normal life by earning their living through hard work and honesty. 'Wand Chhako' means to share whatever spare things you have with poor and needy people.

Guru Nanak philosophy & teachings can be summarized as:
  • There is only one God, who is known by different names in different religions.
  • Strive hard and make a whole hearted effort to help others, because service to mankind is the biggest service to God.
  • Follow the path of honesty.
  • In the eyes of God, all are equal, irrespective of the caste, age, creed or sex.
  • Be compassionate towards all living beings.
  • Lead a simple life.
  • Don't get scared of anything and just keep performing good deeds.
A few weeks ago I read a very succinct and emotive brief essayed by ... Ram Lingam....A non Sikh by faith yet a true, yet a true sikh ...a shishya of Guru Nanak in life....
I had to share this with you on my blog....

This small piece of writing is simply inadequate to do any justice to the standing of Shri Sat Guru Nanak Devji or his teachings. To get to know the life story of this great Guru and his teachings is a journey that helps recognise the trivialities of life and acquire the knowledge of our true divine nature which we seem to miss constantly. 

Though not born into a Sikh family, I was fortunate to discover Guru Nanak Devji’s sublime teachings through a music album called ‘Ashram Bhajanavali’, which is a collection of devotional songs that formed part of the morning and evening prayers at Gandhiji’s ashrams. Of the many bhajans, there was Guru Nanak Devji’s song “Kaahe re ban khojan jaai…Sarab nivaasi sadaa alepaa tohi sang samaai” which caught my attention. Just reading the translation of this song, I got seriously educated on Guru Nanak Devji’s teachings and also about Sikh faith, which to me became much more than the dress code of the faithful. Even so the ‘langar’ that I enjoyed in the company of my Sikh friends at the Gurudwara certainly became sanctified.

The translation of this transforming song
Kaahe re ban khojan jaai’ goes :
“Why do you go looking for God in the forest?
Although he is ever detached, he dwells everywhere. He even abides with you.
Like the fragrance which remains in the flower, and like the reflection in the mirror, the Lord dwells deep within all.
 Therefore search for Him within your own heart, O brother.
The Guru has imparted this wisdom: outside the body and inside the body, know that there is only the One Lord pervading everywhere.
O servant Nanak, without realizing one’s own True Self, the moss of doubt i.e. ignorance of one's True Nature or Essential Being, etc, cannot be eradicated from the mind.”

Guru Nanak Devji taught the absolute unity of God; everything is God, and everything is dependent on the will of God. The Guru’s life story is full of saintly actions and divine events that teach us to lead a pure life, to be a ‘Sikh’, a sincere disciple and to receive the grace of the Guru for self-unfoldment. The word ‘Sikh’ means ‘disciple’ or student. The term "Sikh" has its origin in Sanskrit term ‘Sisya’ meaning "disciple, student" or ‘siksa’ meaning "instruction" according to the ‘The Illustrated 
History of the Sikhs’ by Khushwant Singh. The word ‘Sikh’ means ‘disciple’ and they are the disciples of God who follow the writings and teachings of the 10 Sikh Gurus.

The origins of Sikhism lie in the spiritual and social teachings of Guru Nanak Devji, which can be found in the Sikh scripture Guru Granth Sahib, a vast collection of revelatory verses recorded in Gurmukhi. Guru Nanak Devji taught that the way to connect with the Supreme is not through the mind or through rituals, but through Guru’s grace and direct personal experience. Therefore, he emphasised meditation on the Name (Naam) and Presence of God. 

Guru Nanak Devji has given a beautiful summary of his teachings in one of his hymns where he says:
“Love the saints of every faith: Put away thy pride.
Remember the essence of religion is meekness and sympathy, not fine clothes,
 not the Yogi’s garb and ashes, not the blowing of the horns, not the shaven head,
not long prayers, not recitations and torturings, not the ascetic way,
but a life of goodness and purity, amid the world’s temptations.”

Here are given some famous sayings of Guru Nanak Devji:

• "There is but One God, His name is Truth, He is the Creator, He fears none, He is without hate, He never dies, He is beyond the cycle of births and death, He is self illuminated, He is realised by the kindness of the True Guru…" (Japji)

• Even Kings and emperors with heaps of wealth and vast dominion cannot compare with an ant filled with the love of God. 

• God is one, but he has innumerable forms. He is the creator of all and He himself takes the human form. 

• I am neither a child, a young man, nor an ancient; nor am I of any caste. 

• I am not the born; how can there be either birth or death for me? 

• I bow at His Feet constantly, and pray to Him, the Guru, the True Guru, has shown me the Way. 

• Let no man in the world live in delusion. Without a Guru none can cross over to the other shore.

Tenth of November 2011 marks the birthday anniversary of the Shri Guru Nanak Devji (1469 – 1539 CE) and is known as GURPURAB.

Guru Nanak Devji was born to Mehta Kalyan Das Bedi and Tripta Devi in 1469, in the village of Talwandi also known as Nankana Sahib. This village is near Lahore in present day Pakistan. 

The life of a Guru or a Prophet is a blessing to the disciple and becomes a message in itself. As the word (baani) of a Prophet becomes a scripture for the followers, so did the words of Guru Nanak Devji, the Adi Guru of the Sikh panth, got immortalized in the Shri Guru Granth Sahib – the scripture of the Guru’s followers. 

Writing about Guru Nanak Devji, Swami Vivekananda wrote: “Guru Nanak was born in the sacred land of India. He gave a message of love and peace of the whole world and preached the same through his teachings. He was full of affection for everyone and his arms were always outstretched as if to embrace the whole world...” 

On an auspicious day like Guru Nanak Devji’s birth anniversary, the Guru’s teachings need sincere listening to and contemplation upon, in order to commemorate the blessing of his birth - because a Guru is ultimately known for his teachings. A spiritual opportunity would be missed if the Guru’s words are not fully understood and just ritualistically chanted. 

The origins of the Sikh tradition lie in the spiritual and social teachings of Guru Nanak Devji who taught that the union with God is through Guru’s grace and direct personal experience and he emphasized meditation on the God’s name (Naam), to live with an inner awakening of God and an outer service by righteous means. 

The Shri Guru Granth Sahib the scripture of the Guru’s followers has 5894 hymns of which 976 hymns (17%) are composed by Guru Nanak Devji. Of the many teachings through his hymns, the “Japji” revered as the ‘Japji Sahib’ appears at the very beginning of the Shri Guru Granth Sahib.

The “Japji Sahib” is recited every morning by the Sikh-faithful and is considered as a concise summary of his teachings. The compilation of Japji Sahib consists of the famous Mool mantra - The symbol of ‘Ik-Onkar’ is also an emblem for Sikhs and is found on Gurdwaras. The Mool mantra ‘Ik-Onkar’ is the first series of truth-affirmations and is considered the essence and basis of Sikh panth.

All religious scriptures in the East have “Mool mantras” which hold the essence of the entire scripture. Explaining the concept of ‘Mool mantra’, the Vedanta teacher Swami Swaroopananda says: “In the term mool mantra, mool means ‘root’. Every tree has roots without which it cannot exist. The tree is sustained and nourished through these roots. They constitute the very foundation of the tree from which it grows and expands. In the same way, mool mantra means ‘that mantra in which lies the very essence of the Scripture’, the entire Scripture being an elaboration, expansion or explanation of that mantra”. 

Explaining about the mool mantra for Sikhs, in his book ‘Ik Onkar’ he remarks “Ik-Onkar Sat-Naam Kartaa-Purakh Nirbhau Nirvair Akaal-Moorat Ajuni Saibangh Gurparsaad” is considered to be the mool mantra of the “Granth Sahib”. Revealing and expounding on the Truth enshrined in this mantra is the entire “Japji Sahib”, and the elaboration of the “Japji Sahib” is the entire “Granth Sahib”.

The translation of the Mool Mantra ~ Ik-Onkar with the instruction ‘Jap’ at the end which means ‘repeat and contemplate’ is as:

Ik Onkar: The One, the Reality, Om
Sat Naam: Of Name ever True and Eternal
Kartaa Purakh: The Prime doer, the Creator
Nirbhau: Fearless
Nirvair: Without enmity
Akaal Moorat: Of Eternal Form
Ajuni: Without birth, Uncaused
Saibangh: Self-existent and Self-illuminating
Gurparsaad: Known by the Grace of the Enlightened Teacher

Jap: Constantly repeat (This word is not part of the mool mantra, but can be taken as the instruction of the Teacher to constantly repeat and contemplate on the mantra). 

Many commentaries are written expounding the meaning of eacj word of Guru Nanak Devji’s Mool mantra. Later in the Shri Guru Granth Sahib , the importance of this mool mantra is re-emphasized as “a-ukhadh mantar mool man aykai man bisvaas parabh dhaari-aa“ meaning “The Mool Mantra, the Root Mantra, is the only cure for the mind; I have installed faith in God in my mind.” - SGGS -675(1).

May Guru Nanak Devji’s teachings be contemplated upon till we get the true import and a direct experience of his teachings.