Showing posts with label Morals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Morals. Show all posts

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Faith vs Doubt

James 1:5-6 If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudging, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 
Once upon a time a teacher along with his disciples lived in a hermitage. One day, one of the disciples had to go to the marketplace by crossing a small stream. There were stepping stones in this stream and one has to walk carefully in order to cross safely. As he started his journey, not too far into it, rain came pouring down heavily. He returned to his teacher and reported the problem. The teacher said, "You should have faith in God, as He will save you from all your problems."

The disciple obeyed his master and and resumed his journey. He kept reciting the name of God and while stepping on each stone, cleared all his hurdles and reached his destination safely.

After couple of days, the teacher himself had to go on the same route. When he reached the stream, he doubted whether or not God would save him. In his doubt, the teacher got drowned.

Moral: Faith saves us and doubt drowns us.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Workers Wanted


A rich executive announced at his church one Sunday morning that he was going to give up all he owned so that he had to depend on his faith in God for everything he needed. He sold everything, gave it to the poor, and moved into a rented home down on the bad side of town. That first night, he prayed that God would furnish him with some food. The next morning, he went outside on the porch and there was no food.

That night, he again prayed for food. The next morning - nothing.

The 3rd night, he prayed again, saying, "Lord, if you do not feed me, I will surely die of starvation." The next morning...nothing. Then, in a near panic brought on by hunger, he fell to his knees and cried out, "Lord, I have put my faith in you on the line. Why are you ignoring me like this?"

In the quietness of that rented house, he heard the Lord tell him that his prayers had been answered, but he was not looking at the answer. The Lord told him to go back out on the porch, which he did. Then, the Lord told him to look up! A large sign on the building across the road, in bold letters, said, "WORKERS WANTED - LUNCH WILL BE PROVIDED."

Moral: We not only should have faith that God will provide, but also need to actually listen very closely as to what God is trying to tell us!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Empty Jar


Once an old woman found an empty jar which had lately been full of perfume and which still retained the fragrance of its former contents.  

She placed it several times near her nose, drawing it backwards and forwards. After few tries, she exclaimed, "Oh most delicious! How nice the perfume itself must have been, when the vessel which contained it has so sweet of a fragrance." 

Moral: The memory of a good deed lives on.

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Memory is a good thing which Lord has provided. It's not perfect as memory gets erased over time. We tend to remember and treasure those wonderful moments we enjoyed with others. It's memory of the past that gives us hope and courage to carry on forward in our lives. Jot down your memory in a scrap book, album or so, enabling you to recall those moments in your lifetime while viewing life in the rear view mirror.

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

The dove and bee



Once upon a time during a warm summer day, a little bee felt thirsty. It flew towards a stream to drink a mouthful of water. In a hurry, the poor little bee fell into the stream and wet it's wings. The current in the stream was too strong for the bee. It tried to hold on something dry so that it won't drown. Unfortunately, the bee could not find anything in it's vicinity to hold on and let itself flow with the current.

A dove sitting on a tree branch saw the bee wearily struggling in the stream. With the sole goal of saving the bee, the dove hurriedly flew to pick a leaf and dropped it into the flowing stream.

The bee caught the leaf and climbed on it. “Thank you very much for saving my life, I will never forget,” the little bee told the dove.

Some days later, while the little bee was looking for food, it saw a hunter aiming his arrow at something high above. Then it saw the kind dove sitting on a branch of tree, unaware of the situation. The bee immediately stung the hunter’s hand making the crossbow fall off his hand. The dove was out of danger because of the bee whom she had saved his life.

From that day, both became close friends and helped each other ever after.

Moral: A friend who does good will receive good in return.


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Today, how many of us will make an attempt to help others in distress. Most of us tend to think, "It's not my problem and let me not risk anything." If you've found a friend who has done good to you, and felt the warmth of such goodness, consider yourself blessed and try returning that goodness to someone else and share your love.

Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount said, “When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

But just a little earlier, Jesus says, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Now here comes the tough question - Are we supposed to do our good deeds secretly, so that only God can see, or publicly, so that others will see and praise God?

My take: As long as our motive for giving is genuine, we will know when to give in secret and when to glorify God. The Holy Spirit will guide us during the process to take appropriate step(s).

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Recipe for poison


After marrying the man she loved dearly, a young beautiful woman lived together with her mother in law. In just a short time, she realized that there were clashes and difference in opinion between them. The mother in law always managed to find flaws in almost everything that her daughter in law did. Debates and arguments  took place almost everyday. Unfortunately, the husband could not do much to improve the situation.

The daughter in law had reached her patience limit. Day by day, revenge and anger poisoned her mind and thoughts. Thus, she went to her  father's best friend who was a medicine man. She told him all about her sadness and grieved in tears. She desired him to prescribe a strong dose of poison so that she can take revenge on her mother in law. After being in deep thought, the uncle smiled and said, "I will give you the poison medicine but you have to administer it precisely as I instruct you to."

The woman agreed and was willing to do anything to get her revenge.

The uncle asked the woman to return in couple of days while he prepared the poison. When she returned, he said, "My dear, I wont let you use a quick reactive poison. People around you will be very suspicious of you with her sudden dying. Instead, I suggest you use slow poisoning. Mix the poison I give you little bit by bit into her meals. And do not forget, you have to cook the meal yourself. Just to make sure nobody will suspect you later on, you must treat your mother in law better in the days to come. Treat her with love, respect and show your big heart by not arguing, just give in to her. Treat your mother in law as if she were your own mother. Not to mention, hide this poison at a safe place."

The woman went home, obeyed and did precisely what the uncle instructed. Everyday, she spoiled her mother in law by cooking all her favorite dishes and served her with all respect and compassion. Without realizing it, six months had passed, and a big change took place. Being treated with such respect and affection, the mother in law was touched and changed her behavior towards her. Things turned around, she started to treat her daughter in law as her own one and loved her more and more every day.

Seeing the changes in her mother in law, the daughter rushed to see the uncle, "Please uncle, give me the antidote for the poison that you gave me sometime ago. After doing what you told me, now my mother in law is treating me so well and with full of love. I also started loving her. I don't want her to die from the poison that I've been giving her everyday."

The wise uncle just smiled and answered, "My dear, don't worry a bit. The medicine that I gave you was not a poison at all. In reality, it was a tonic to enhance body strength instead."

The flabbergasted woman was speechless.

The uncle continued, "So the real poison actually is what used to dwell in your head - your attitudes towards your mother in law. And now all of that poison has been wiped away by love and affection that you have showered her."

Moral: The best way to destroy an enemy is to become his/her friend.

In Romans, chapter 12, it says,

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Cornelia's Jewels


One bright morning in the old city of Rome many hundred years ago, in a vine-covered summer-house in a beautiful garden, two boys were standing. They were looking at their mother and her friend, who were walking among the flowers and trees.

"Did you ever see such a beautiful lady as our mother's friend?" asked the younger boy, holding his tall brother's hand. "She looks like a queen."

"Yet she is not so beautiful as our mother," said the elder boy. "She has a fine dress, it is true; but her face is not noble and kind. It is our mother who is like a queen."

"That is true," said the other. "There is no woman in Rome so much like a queen as our own dear mother."

Soon Cornelia, their mother, came down the walk to speak with them. She was simply dressed in a plain white robe. Her arms and feet were bare, as was the custom in those days; and no rings nor chains glittered about her hands and neck. For her only crown, long braids of soft brown hair were coiled about her head; and a tender smile lit up her noble face as she looked into her sons' proud eyes.

"Boys," she said, "I have something to tell you."

They bowed before her, as Roman lads were taught to do, and said, "What is it, mother?"

"You are to dine with us to-day, here in the garden; and then our friend is going to show us that wonderful casket of jewels of which you have heard so much."

The brothers looked shyly at their mother's friend. Was it possible that she had still other rings besides those on her fingers? Could she have other gems besides those which sparkled in the chains about her neck?

When the simple outdoor meal was over, a servant brought the casket from the house. The lady opened it. Ah, how those jewels dazzled the eyes of the wondering boys! There were ropes of pearls, white as milk, and smooth as satin; heaps of shining rubies, red as the glowing coals; sapphires as blue as the sky that summer day; and diamonds that flashed and sparkled like the sunlight.

The brothers looked long at the gems.

"Ah!" whispered the younger; "if our mother could only have such beautiful things!"

At last, however, the casket was closed and carried carefully away.

"Is it true, Cornelia, that you have no jewels?" asked her friend. "Is it true, as I have heard it whispered by your boys, that you are poor?"

"No, I am not poor," answered Cornelia, and as she spoke she drew her two boys to her side; "for here are my jewels. They are worth more than all your gems."

The boys never forgot their mother's pride and love and care; and in after years, when they had become great men in Rome, they often thought of this scene in the garden.

Moral: Loved ones are precious than jewels.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Thumbelina



Once upon a time there lived a woman who had no children. She dreamed of having a little girl, but time went by, and her dream never came true. She then went to visit a witch, who gave her a magic grain of barley. She planted it in a flower pot.

And the very next day, the grain had turned into a lovely flower, rather like a tulip. The woman softly kissed its half shut petals. And as though by magic, the flower opened in full blossom. Inside sat a tiny girl, no bigger than a thumb. The woman called her Thumbelina. For a bed she had a walnut shell, violet petals for her mattress and a rose petal blanket. In the daytime, she played in a tulip petal boat, floating on a plate of water. Using two horse hairs as oars, Thumbelina. sailed around her little lake, singing and singing in a gentle sweet voice.

Then one night, as she lay fast asleep in her walnut shell, a large frog hopped through a hole in the window pane. As she gazed down at Thumbelina., she said to herself: "How pretty she is! She'd make the perfect bride for my own dear son!"

She picked up Thumbelina., walnut shell and all, and hopped into the garden. Nobody saw her go. Back at the pond, her fat ugly son, who always did as mother told him, was pleased with her choice. But mother frog was afraid that her pretty prisoner might run away. So she carried Thumbelina out to a water lily leaf in the middle of the pond.

"She can never escape us now," said the frog to her son.

"And we have plenty of time to prepare a new home for you and your bride." Thumbelina. was left all alone. She felt so desperate. She knew she would never be able to escape the fate that awaited her with the two horrid fat frogs. All she could do was cry her eyes out. However, one or two minnows who had been enjoying the shade below the water lily leaf, had overheard the two frogs talking, and the little girl's bitter sobs. They decided to do something about it. So they nibbled away at the lily stem till it broke and drifted away in the weak current. A dancing butterfly had an idea: "Throw me the end of your belt! I'll help you to move a little faster!" Thumbelina. gratefully did so, and the leaf soon floated away from the frog pond.

But other dangers lay ahead. A large beetle snatched Thumbelina. with his strong feet and took her away to his home at the top of a leafy tree.

"Isn't she pretty?" he said to his friends. But they pointed out that she was far too different. So the beetle took her down the tree and set her free.

It was summertime, and Thumbelina. wandered all by herself amongst the flowers and through the long grass. She had pollen for her meals and drank the dew. Then the rainy season came, bringing nasty weather. The poor child found it hard to find food and shelter. When winter set in, she suffered from the cold and felt terrible pangs of hunger.

One day, as Thumbelina. roamed helplessly over the bare meadows, she met a large spider who promised to help her. He took her to a hollow tree and guarded the door with a stout web. Then he brought her some dried chestnuts and called his friends to come and admire her beauty. But just like the beetles, all the other spiders persuaded Thumbelina's rescuer to let her go. Crying her heart out, and quite certain that nobody wanted her because she was ugly, Thumbelina. left the spider's house.

As she wandered, shivering with the cold, suddenly she came across a solid little cottage, made of twigs and dead leaves. Hopefully, she knocked on the door. It was opened by a field mouse.

"What are you doing outside in this weather?" he asked. "Come in and warm yourself." Comfortable and cozy, the field mouse's home was stocked with food. For her keep, Thumbelina. did the housework and told the mouse stories. One day, the field mouse said a friend was coming to visit them.

"He's a very rich mole, and has a lovely house. He wears a splendid black fur coat, but he's dreadfully shortsighted. He needs company and he'd like to marry you!" Thumbelina. did not relish the idea. However, when the mole came, she sang sweetly to him and he fell head over heels in love. The mole invited Thumbelina. and the field mouse to visit him, but to their surprise and horror, they came upon a swallow in the tunnel. It looked dead. Mole nudged it with his foot, saying: "That'll teach her! She should have come underground instead of darting about the sky all summer!" Thumbelina. was so shocked by such cruel words that later, she crept back unseen to the tunnel.

And every day, the little girl went to nurse the swallow and tenderly give it food.

In the meantime, the swallow told Thumbelina. its tale. Jagged by a thorn, it had been unable to follow its companions to a warmer climate.

"It's kind of you to nurse me," it told Thumbelina. But, in spring, the swallow flew away, after offering to take the little girl with it. All summer, Thumbelina. did her best to avoid marrying the mole. The little girl thought fearfully of how she'd have to live underground forever. On the eve of her wedding, she asked to spend a day in the open air. As she gently fingered a flower, she heard a familiar song: "Winter's on its way and I'll be off to warmer lands. Come with me!"

Thumbelina quickly clung to her swallow friend, and the bird soared into the sky. They flew over plains and hills till they reached a country of flowers. The swallow gently laid Thumbelina. in a blossom. There she met a tiny, white- winged fairy: the King of the Flower Fairies. Instantly, he asked her to marry him. Thumbelina. eagerly said "yes", and sprouting tiny white wings, she became the Flower Queen!

Moral: Always have a big heart.

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Friday, May 17, 2013

The Tongue-cut Sparrow



A Japanese folktale:

There was once an old man who had a wife with a very bad temper. She did not have any children, and would not take the trouble to adopt a son. So for a little pet he kept a tiny sparrow, and fed it with great care. The woman, not satisfied with scolding her husband, hated the sparrow. Her temper was especially bad on wash days, when her back and knees were strained over the low tub, which rested on the ground.

One day while the man was gone to his work in the rice-fields, the wife was washing the clothes, and had made some starch, and set it in a red wooden bowl to cool. While her back was turned, the sparrow hopped down on the edge of the howl, and pecked at some of the starch. In a rage the woman seized a pair of scissors and cut off the tip of the sparrow's tongue. Flinging the bird in the air she cried out, "Now be off with you!" So the poor sparrow, all bleeding, flew away.

When the man came back and found the bird gone, he made a great ado. He asked his wife, and she told him what she had done and why. The sorrowful old man grieved sorely for his pet, and after looking in every place and calling it by name, gave it up as lost.

Days and weeks and months sped by, and the man was still older and more wrinkled, when one day while wandering over the mountains he again met his sparrow. "Good-morning!" he cried; and to his surprise and delight the sparrow answered him. The clipped tongue had given the bird power of speech. Then each bowed low and made mutual inquiries as to health. The sparrow begged the man to visit his humble abode, and meet his wife and two daughters.

The man went with him and found a nice little house with a bamboo garden, tiny waterfall, stepping stone and everything complete. Then Mrs. Sparrow brought in slices of sugar-jelly, rock-candy, sweet potato custard, and a bowl of hot starch sprinkled with sugar, and a pair of chopsticks on a tray. Miss Sparrow, the elder daughter, brought the tea-caddy and tea-pot, and in a snap of the fingers had a good cup of tea ready, which she offered on a tray, kneeling.

"Please help yourself, The refreshments are very poor, but I hope you will excuse our plainness," said Mother Sparrow. The delighted old man, wondering in himself at such a polite family of sparrows, ate heartily, and drank several cups of tea. Finally, on being pressed, he remained all night.

For several days he enjoyed the visit at the sparrow's home. He looked at the landscapes and the moonlight, feasted to his heart's content, and played checkers with the little daughter. In the evening Mrs. Sparrow would bring out the refreshments and wine, and seat the guest on a silken cushion, while she played the guitar. Mr. Sparrow and his two daughters danced, sang, and made merry until the man leaning on the velvet arm-rest forgot his cares, his old limbs and his wife's tongue, and felt young again.

But on the fifth day he said he must go home. His host was sorry to hear this, but brought out two baskets made of plaited rattan, such as are used in traveling, carried on men's shoulders. Placing them before his guest, he said, "Please do me the honor to accept a parting gift, Take either one you prefer."

Now one basket was heavy, and the other light. The old man, not being greedy, said he would take the lighter one. So with many thanks and bows and good-byes, he set off homeward.

He reached his hut safely, but instead of a kind welcome his wife began to scold him for being away so long. He begged her to be quiet, and telling of his visit to the sparrows, opened the basket, while the scowling beldame held her tongue, out of sheer curiosity.

Oh, what a splendid sight! There were gold and silver coin, and gems, and coral, and crystal, and amber, and a never-failing bag of money, and an invisible coat and hat, and rolls of books, and all manner of precious things. It seemed that they never would reach the bottom of that magic basket.

At the sight of so much wealth, the woman's scowl changed to a smile of greedy joy. "I'll go right off and get another present from the sparrows," said she.

Her husband plead with her not to go, saying that they already had more than enough to last them the rest of their lives. But she would not listen to him. Binding on her straw scandals, and tucking up her skirts, she seized her staff and set off on the road.

Arriving at the sparrow's house, she began to flatter Mr. Sparrow by soft speeches. Of course the polite bird invited her into his house, but nothing but a cup of tea was offered her, while his wife and daughters kept out of sight. Seeing that she was not going to get any good-bye gift, she made bold to ask for one. The sparrow then brought out and set before her two baskets, one heavy and the other light. She eagerly seized the heavier one, without so much as saying "thank you," and carried it back in triumph with her. When she got home she opened it, expecting all kinds of riches.

But the moment she took off the lid, a horrible cuttle-fish rushed at her, a skeleton poked his bony fingers on her face, and a long, hairy serpent, with a big head and lolling tongue, sprang out and coiled around her, cracking her bones, and squeezing out her breath, till she died.

After the good man had buried his wife, he adopted a son to comfort his old age, and with his treasures lived at ease all his days.

Moral: Greed could ruin us. 


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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Two mice


A country mouse lived on the countryside. He liked to eat fruits. He was happy. One day, his cousin came to visit him from the town.

The country mouse gathered many fruits for the town mouse, but the town mouse did not like those fruits.

“This food is horrible!” he said. “Come to the town with me, life in town is much more fun.”

So, the country mouse followed his cousin to the town. They arrived at a big house. They entered under the back door. The town mouse lead the country mouse to a dinning room. The table was covered with food. They started to eat up the food. The country mouse was surprised to see all the food.

“This food is delicious!” he said.

Suddenly, there was a noise. The mice ran to hide behind the food.

“Keep very still,” said the town mouse. The country mouse was very afraid. A cat came into the room. He looked around the room. Then the cat jumped up on the table.

“Run!” cried the town mouse. The mice ran into a mouse hole.

“Good-bye, cousin” said the country mouse. “I am going back to the country. There, it is quiet and safe and I can enjoy my fruits in peace.”

Moral: It is better to live a simple, quiet life than a rich, dangerous one.    

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Two intelligent people

There were two intelligent persons living in the same village. Both were very intelligent and clever. But one was a man, another was a woman.

One day, the intelligent woman had to marry a man. In those days, the parent arranged the marriage and their children had no right to refuse. The groom was a man that her parent chose to be her husband. They were engaged since they were very young. The intelligent woman did not agree to marry this man because he was very stupid, not as intelligent as her. 

When the wedding day came, the intelligent woman could not marry the stupid man. So, at night, she went out to commit suicide by jumping into the river. The intelligent woman learned from the text that a beautiful and intelligent woman marrying a stupid man was like a beautiful flower on buffalo dung.

The intelligent man saw that the intelligent woman went out and was very sad. He knew immediately that she was going to commit suicide. So, he ran quickly to stop her.

The intelligent man arrived the river before the intelligent woman did. He disguised himself as the old man bailing the water out of the river. Once the intelligent woman arrived the river, it was already dark, so she could not clearly see the intelligent man. She thought he was an old man. She saw that he was bailing the water out of the river. She was amazed so, she asked “Why are you bailing the water out” 

The intelligent man disguised his voice as that of old man and said “I want to cross to the other side, but I have no boat. I have to bail the water out until gets dry so that I can cross to the other side.” 

When the intelligent woman heard the intelligent man’s words, she thought that even though her groom was stupid but there were a lot people stupider than him. So, she turned back home and did not want to commit suicide anymore. The intelligent woman married the stupid man. Her husband was an honest man. He was a good child of his parents. Although he was not intelligent, she lived with him happily.

Moral:
The stupid but honest man is always appreciated
The intelligent but crooked man is always hated.

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

How to ride a horse



Once, a man went to a library. There he read a book, 'How to ride a horse'. After few days, he went to a friend who had a horse. After seeing the horse, he couldn't control himself and asked for a ride from his friend. The friend agreed.

The man tried to ride the horse. But a horse always recognizes its rider. It reared up and flung the man to the ground, every time he tried to climb up.

The friend finally asked, "Where did you learn to ride?"

The man exposed his foolishness saying, "I learned it from a library book."

Moral: We cannot learn everything on our own, and sometimes we need the guidance of a teacher.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hercules and the Waggoner



A Wagoner was driving his team along a muddy lane with a full load behind them, when the wheels of his wagon sank so deep in the mire that no efforts of his horses could move them.

As he stood there, looking helplessly on, and calling loudly at intervals upon Hercules for assistance, the god himself appeared, and said to him, "Put your shoulder to the wheel, man, and goad on your horses, and then you may call on Hercules to assist you. If you won't lift a finger to help yourself, you can't expect Hercules or any one else to come to your aid."

Moral: Heaven helps those who help themselves.


Source: Aesop's Fables

Monday, December 31, 2012

Thiruvathira


Last Friday was the festival of Thiruvathira and I tried posting this article earlier. However, due to the amount of reading and learning I had to do, it took me much longer than what I anticipated.

Thiruvathira is performed by women in order to attain everlasting marital bliss. The highlight of this festival is the Thiruvathira dance where dancers move in a circular pattern around an oil lamp (nila-vilakku), wearing white or ivory colored saree woven using cotton threads, bordered with golden brocadeare (kasavu-mundu), and a matching blouse. The women tie their hairs in a bun shaped form and adore fresh jasmine flowers.  They move around the oil lit lamp by rhythmic clapping of the hands, to the tune of the Thiruvathira song. One of the performers, usually the eldest, sings the first line of the song while the rest repeat it in chorus.

Festivities begin a week before commencing from Asterism Aswathi. Ignoring the cold of the winter season, women wake up early in the morning and take bath in the river or family pond. While bathing, women sing songs in worship of Lord Kamadeva on the rhythm produced by splashing of water with their fist. In the end, women stand holding hands in the formation of a circle and sing songs. Ladies on this day worship Lord Shiva and pray for conjugal harmony and marital bliss as well.

The festival commemorates the death of Kamadeva, the god of love. It is believed that on this day, Goddess Parvathi met Lord Shiva.

The story goes like this:

Lord Indra and the gods were suffering at the hands of the demon Tarakasur, who could not be defeated except by Shiva's offspring. Lord Brahma advised Parvati to woo Shiva and their offspring, a fighter, will be able to defeat Tarakasur. Lord Indra appoints Kamadeva to break Shiva's meditation.

The appointed Kamadeva is regarded as the son of Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi, and is always at service of Lord Indira. In Indian mythology, Kamdeva refers to the Hindu god of love and desire - an Indian version of Cupid (son of goddess Venus).

Kamadeva, the most handsome gods of all, carries a bow similar to cupid made of sugarcane with honeybees sitting on it. His arrows are beautifully decorated with sweet and fragrant flowers. The string of his bow is made of a chain of honeybees. His companions are a cuckoo, a parrot, humming bees, the season of spring (March 21 thru June 20), and the gentle breeze. He shoots with his bow the five flower-tipped shafts of desire. Those five flowers at the tip are Ashoka tree flowers, white lotus flowers, blue lotus flowers, jasmine flowers and Mango tree flowers. He is accompanied by his wife Rati (the goddess of beauty and passion) and his friend Vasanta (spring), wherever he goes. Rati and Vasanta helps him select the shaft to be used on the current victim. Kamadeva likes to travel all around especially during spring time, on his vehicle - the parrot.


Rig-Veda describes Kamadeva's actions as first movement that arose in the one after it has come into life through the powers of abstraction. In one hymn of Rig-Veda, Kama is worshiped and is unequal of all gods. According to another hymn he is god of sexual love. Intermingling with the sexual tones of cupid and Eros in one hymn Kama is addressed as,” May Kama having well directed the arrow, which is winged with pain, barbed with longing, and has desire for its shaft, pierce thee in the heart.

In Atharva Veda, Kamadeva or desire is not of sexual enjoyment but of good in general - it is celebrated as great power superior to all the gods. Click here to read a glorification of Kamadeva as god of desire of all good.

To create a congenial atmosphere, Kamadeva creates an untimely spring and evades Shiva's guard, Nandi, by taking the form of the fragrant southern breeze, and enters Shiva's abode - Mount Kailash.

After Shiva was awakened by Kamadeva's flower arrow, Shiva became furious of being disturbed his meditation. Shiva could immediately manage his feelings and knew he was tricked. Without hesitation, he opened his third eye which instantaneously reduced Kamadeva into ashes.



Shiva ignored Parvati and carried on with his meditation. That story goes like this:

Parvati returned home and announced to her parents that she wanted to retire to a life of prayer and abstinence. If Lord Shiva didn’t appreciate her for her beauty and her lovely care, surely he would have appreciated the value of her sacrifice. So she left everything and dressed in poor clothes and retired into the forest. She dedicated all her time to prayer and penances - sleeping on bare floor, bathing in cold water and eating just few berries. As years passed by, her faith grew more and more.

One day, while Parvati was performing the usual rituals, a young hermit approached her and she humbly bowed to Him. The hermit asked, "How can your tender frame bear such a huge spiritual burden?”

He continued, “You proved to the world that beauty and purity do not nullify one another. Your action had crowned your father with a glory much grater than what he already had. Noble maiden, why did you undertake such severe penances? It is common for a lonely and anguished person living a hermit life? How is possible that you, so pure, loved and admired by everyone are doing this? Ah! Maybe it is for an un-returned love. No, this should be truly impossible! Such a priceless gem like you should not be searching, instead searched."

Shri Parvati asked for her friend’s help, who answered to the hermit, "Parvati offered her heart to win the love of Lord Shiva. She failed in conquering him with her beauty and dedication, so she decided to lead a life of penances and austerity. She often meditates him, but Lord Shiva remains deaf to her pleas.”

The hermit replied, turning to Parvati, "Is it true? Or is your friend joking?”

Then Parvati said, “Yes, it is true! I adore Lord Shiva. I am sure that I will win his love with penances and devotion!”

The hermit replied, "O my lady, I know Lord Shiva. He is covered with ashes and his body is decorated by numerous snakes and he wears those smelly hides. How can your sweet and tender self become his wife? He is rough and poor. His ancestors are unknown. He is not good for you. Let him go and look for someone more worthy.”

“Stop it. That’s enough,” said Parvati, truly furious, interrupted Him. "You need to be a great soul to comprehend a great soul!” She spoke with full of devotion and honor about her beloved Lord Shiva. All at once, the young hermit revealed himself - he was none other than Lord Shiva himself. At that point there was not doubt: Parvati succeeded in winning the heart of Lord Shiva.

Shri Parvati's penances
Despite Shiva's earlier protests, the shaft of Kamadeva did its work - the way it was supposed to be, and Shiva was unable to obtain peace until he married Parvati.

Parvati requested Shiva to revive Kamadeva and Shiva agrees to let Kamadeva live but in a disembodied form. Hence, Kamadeva is also called bodiless. During the period of Kamadeva's absence, it is said that the world was such a barren place without the seasons changing and no love to be found anywhere. On the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati, Kamadeva was revived, and the spirit of love embodied by Kamadeva disseminated across the cosmos and affected everyone including Shiva and Parvati.  Their son Kartikeya later went on to defeat the demon Tarakasur (which is another story).

Apart from Thiruvathira dance, swinging on the swing, eating beetle leaves (upto 108 numbers) to make the lips red, keeping vigil for Shiva at night, are common.

Moral: An earnest desire to reach someone/somewhere with dedication and sacrifice will bring results.
Few links to Thiruvathira Songs:
Thiruvathira Pattukal
Joel Antony Paul's Blog
Boom MP3
Dhingana

More blessed


Corinne was a little girl who was all alone in the world. Her father and mother were both dead. Corinne was so poor that she no longer had a room to live in; neither did she have a bed to sleep in. All Corinne owned were the clothes that she was wearing. As regards food, she had nothing more to eat than a small piece of bread that someone had given her.

Corinne was forsaken by all the world but hoped that God would find a way to help her.

One day she left her home village. Corinne hadn't walked very far when she saw an old man sitting by the wayside. "Oh, my dear child, give me something to eat. I'm so hungry," he murmured to her. Corinne, without hesitation, gave him her piece of bread.

When she had gone a little further and the church spire of her village could no longer be seen, she came upon ayoung child. He only had a shirt on and begged, "Could you give me something to cover my head? I'm so terribly cold." Corinne, taking pity on the child took off her bonnet and gave it to him.

Further along the road Corinne observed another child by the woods. She only wore a vest and was trembling with cold. She pleaded, "Dear girl, I'm so terribly cold without a skirt. Haven't you a little skirt for me?" Corinne, herself, only had her vest and skirt but without hesitating she took off her skirt and presented it to the freezing child and walked on.

Meanwhile it had become evening. It was dark in the woods. Then another child came towards her and asked, "I'm so cold, haven't you a vest for me?"

Corinne considered this carefully; she thought it's dark here in the wood. Nobody will see me. It won't matter if I have no clothes and she took off her vest, too, and handed it to the child.

As Corinne stood there without any clothes, the stars started to fall down from the sky. They were all hard, shining pennies and although she had just given away her vest, she realized she had new one on. It was made out of the most delicate fabric and much nicer than her own. Corinne held out the vest with both hands and collected as many of the pennies as she could.

From then on she was rich and lived without any worries at all.

Moral: It's more blessed to give, than to receive.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The triumph of the truth



It was a day or two before people were rushing everywhere making preparations. Everyone seemed to be in a hurry. It was almost dark and some streets were already lighted.

"Daily Star, Sir", called a thin lad with a bundle of papers under his arm. He was ragged and tired and hungry and he knew that very soon he must go home. Passing a well-dressed officer, he called again holding a paper up with his right hand, "Daily Star, Sir. Only eight taka, Sir...Sir...Sir"

But the officer went on without saying a word. Little Rafiq had been up the street and down the street crying, "Daily Star" until his voice was almost gone and his heart was sad. There were still twenty papers under his arm. "An unlucky day it is!" sighed Rafiq. The shops would soon close, and all the people would go home. He would have to go home too, carrying the papers instead of money. It was hard. It was really hard for him. He had hoped to sell more papers tonight than usual. He had longed to have more money tonight to buy a cake for his mother and some bird-seed for his favourite pet Bulbul which his father had given him shortly before he died. He knew his mother had worked hard all day cooking, washing and cleaning for Mrs. Zaman. He broke down as he thought of his failure to sell his papers. He had spent all the money that both he and his mother had to buy them. It was much more than he could bear, and it seemed as though his little heart had broken.

"Hello, Rafiq. Haven't you sold your papers yet? I sold mine two hours ago."

Rafiq looked up. It was Sardul, another newsboy.

"How many do you have left, Rafiq?"

"Twenty."

"Why? That’s more than hundred sixty!"

"Yes”, said Rafiq, "And I can't sell them. Nobody wants papers tonight". Tears began to flow from his deep black eyes.

"Rafiq,” said Sardul as he drew nearer to him so that no one would hear what he was going to say.

"I’ll tell you how I did it."

"How? Do tell me."

There was a wicked look in Sardul's eyes as he said, "You must run quickly up the street and shout, "Hot news, hot news. Bomb bursting in Rangpur. Many died. Scandal in high places."

Rafiq was startled. He plunged his hand into his pocket and felt the few notes that were there. Then, looking at Sardul in the face, Rafiq said, "But Sardul, that it’s not in the paper at all!"

"No, you softy, but nobody will catch you. Just run away quickly before they have time to see, and you will sell out and get your money."

Rafiq looked down; it was a new idea to him. He thought of his little Bulbul with no seed; of the money his mother had given him to help to pay for his papers; chitai that he wanted to buy for his mother. Rafiq was just a poor ragged newsboy, but he had been taught some good things. It was just a severe struggle to feed his mother, his bird and something nice to eat in one side; and on the other side a lie. He looked up and hissed out:

"Tell a lie for this? Never!" Brave little Rafiq! With tired legs, but true heart, he had to carry his papers home. His mother was waiting for him, weary herself after a hard day's work. Like the good patient mother that she was, she said not a single word about the money she so much needed. Rafiq told her all about Sardul's tricks, and to encourage him to do right always, she told him how his father had always tried, even when it was hard to do the right.

"Mother," said Rafiq. "When Sardul first told me, I almost thought I'd do it. I thought Allah wouldn't mind if I lied just once when He knew how I love you and my Bulbul. But all at once I began to go all hot and cold and to feel queer right here," and he put his hand over his heart, "And then I couldn't do it".

The boy went to bed, but no angel came to give him any money for having done the right, as stories sometimes read. In the morning he woke up with his outward rags to cover his inward righteousness. But he was happy in the knowledge that he had resisted the temptation.

That afternoon as usual Rafiq went to the office for his papers. The boys were crowding round Sardul, who was boasting that he sold six dozen the day before. Sardul added that Rafiq lost money because he would not tell a lie. The boys were shouting and pointing at Rafiq, who didn't know what to say or what to do. But while they were pushing Rafiq and laughing at him, a gentleman of 45 or 50heard it, and that was enough for him. He took Rafiq away from the crowd and into the street, and said to him, "You wouldn't tell a lie yesterday, my boy?" The man patted on Rafiq's tender shoulder. "Brave lad!" he repeated as Rafiq innocently told him about it. They walked on together, Rafiq and Mr. Iskandar, a keen, kind-hearted businessman who valued truthfulness and honesty, for on those he could always depend.

"Yes," he said to Rafiq, as though he had just finished working out his plan that he couldn't finish for long.

"Yes, you're just the boy I am looking for. When I saw you, I was just going into the office to ask the peon to find me a boy like you."

This was the Rifles Square, and a week after Rafiq started his new job, of course, in a new mood in new clothes. He lost the sale of twenty papers because he would not tell a lie, but he got a well-paid job because he told the truth.

Moral: True boys make true men.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The tale of two seeds


Once, two seeds lay side by side in a fertile soil.

The first seed said, "I want to grow! I want to send my roots deep into the soil beneath me, and thrust my sprouts through the earth's crust above me. I want to unfurl my tender buds like banners to announce the arrival of spring. I want to feel the warmth of the sun on my face and the blessing of the morning dew on my petals!"

And so she grew.

The second seed said, "I am afraid. If I send my roots into the ground below, I don't know what I will encounter in the dark. If I push my way through the hard soil above me I may damage my delicate sprouts. What if I let my buds open and a snail tries to eat them? And if I were to open my blossoms, a small child may pull me from the ground. No, it is much better for me to wait until it is safe."

And so she waited.

A yard hen scratching around in the early spring ground for food found the waiting seed and promptly ate it.

Moral: We all are seeds in the process of growing and those of us who refuse to risk & grow get swallowed up by life.

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Safe Roads


Once upon a time, an Emperor decided to walk around his kingdom to see how his people were doing. Just few steps out of his palace, his foot was injured by a sharp stone lying unseen on the road. He thought, "So the roads in my kingdom are quite unsafe. I have to get them fixed."

The Emperor then summoned all his ministers. He ordered to undertake an enormous project to have all the road in his kingdom to be paved with the best of leathers. As soon as it was ordered, the ministers started getting those necessary things ready, they arranged thousands of workers to labor, businesses soared and several people started getting into cattle business only to provide cows for the sake of leather. Analysts projected cattle sale and road construction as opportunities.

While preparations and plans were being laid out to cover the entire roads of the kingdom with leather, a wise man arrived at the palace. He consulted with the Emperor, conducted a root cause analysis for this project and said, "O Powerful One, why would you have so much leather just to cover the whole roads spreading throughout the country, when what actually you need is just two pieces of leather to protect your own feet?"

The Emperor thought for a while and the idea made sense to him. Since that momentous time he gave orders to scrap the project and make what we call 'sandals'.

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Moral: To make this world a comfortable place for us to live in, all we need to do is to change our perspectives, our heart, and ourselves, rather than changing the entire world.

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Three kernels of corn



Once upon a time, three young men were once given three kernels of corn apiece by a wise old sage, who admonished them to go out into the world, and use the corn to bring themselves good fortune.

The first young man put his three kernels of corn into a bowl of hot broth and ate them. He was happy to have a hearty meal.

The second young man thought, "I can do better than that," and he planted his three kernels of corn. Within a few months, he had three stalks of corn. He took the ears of corn from the stalks, boiled them, and had enough corn for three meals.

The third man said to himself, "I can do better than that!" He also planted his three kernels of corn, but when his three stalks of corn produced, he stripped one of the stalks and replanted all of the seeds in it, gave the second stalk of corn to a sweet maiden, and ate the third.

His one full stalk’s worth of replanted corn kernels gave him 200 stalks of corn! And the kernels of these he continued to replant, setting aside only a bare minimum to eat. He eventually planted a hundred acres of corn.With his fortune, he not only won the hand of the sweet maiden but purchased the land owned by the sweet maiden’s father. After that he never hungered again.

Moral: The more you give, the more you get.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bamboo House



Once on an island far, far to the east-or maybe to the west-there were three brothers. In those days, everyone on that island lived in caves. But the three brothers were not happy about it.

"Why must we live in a cave?" the oldest asked their mother.

"It is because of the Earthquake God," she told them. "If we built a house, he would come to wreck it."

"What if we built a house he couldn't wreck?" said the middle brother.

"No one knows how," said their mother.

"Then we should try and find out," said the youngest.

The brothers all agreed they should build such a house, but they could not agree how. So each set off to the valley to build one of his own.

The oldest brother built his house from stone and mortar. He told himself, "It is as strong as a mountain."

The middle brother built his house from wood and pegs. He said, "It is as strong as a tree."

The youngest brother built his house from bamboo and cord. He said, "It is as strong as the grass."

One day, the Earthquake God came down the mountain. On legs like pillars, he strode up to the oldest brother's house of stone.

"So!" he said. "They try to build houses, do they?"

The Earthquake God stamped his feet. And as he stamped, he shouted,
"EARTH SHAKE!
HOUSE BREAK!"

The earth shook and the house shivered. The mortar cracked and the stones fell down. The Earthquake God laughed.

Somehow, the oldest brother got out safely and ran to his brother's house of wood. But it was not long before the Earthquake God arrived.

"Another one! Well, this one won't last any longer." He stamped his feet and shouted,
"EARTH SHAKE!
HOUSE BREAK!"

The earth shook and the house shuddered. The pegs snapped and the walls leaned over. The Earthquake God laughed.

The two brothers got out quickly and ran to their brother's house of bamboo. But soon the Earthquake God arrived there too.

"Still another! But this one looks weakest of all!" He stamped and shouted,
"EARTH SHAKE!
HOUSE BREAK!"

The earth shook and the house swayed. The cord strained and the bamboo wobbled-but then it sprang back straight!

The Earthquake God frowned. He stamped harder, then harder still. But nothing he did could wreck the bamboo house.

At last, in a fury, he stamped back up the mountain.

The brothers were happy to see him go. But the oldest asked the youngest, "Why did your house stand when ours did not?" And the middle brother said, "Yes, why?"

The youngest brother answered, "You tried to make your houses stronger than the Earthquake God. But I made mine weaker. Whatever bends does not break."

And that is why, forever after, everyone on that island built their houses from bamboo.


Moral: Whatever bends does not break.


Credits: Aaron Shepard

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Meeting others


Recently at work, I was going from one building to the another and while at the lobby, I met a familiar face. She was talking to her boss and I stood there till they finished their conversation.  Then I went wished her hello and turns out that she came to this office for the first time, and did not know where to park her vehicle. For now, she had parked it in the 30 minute visitors spot. She mentioned that she was here to do a presentation for a group of project leaders and would be here for a duration of two weeks.

I volunteered to show her the parking spot, rode with her to the parking deck, and gave a quick tour of the parking deck including the nearest elevators back to the building. Her boss said that he was heading to the 12th floor meeting room. I assisted her to the 12th floor and showed her the conference room and wished her good luck with her presentation. I offered any assistance she may need while here at the office as well.

Later in the afternoon, I had a meeting and turns out that this team had come to do a presentation to few folks including myself. The group did their presentation and were here for 2 weeks to show few things they had developed. I sat there and listened to the discussions familiarizing myself with the tools and methodologies they had to offer - to make a project go smooth. This lady whom I met was none other than our Sunday school principal, Jaysee.

Meeting her, and numerous others from my past really struck a chord and made me realize - you never know who you'll run into where. People whom you've met and worked with in the past could surface into our lives at various junctures. Our perception about them as well as their's about us could very well depend upon the past association and experience we had. Healthy relationships, whether personal or professional, are formed on the basis of give and take. There is a wise saying in the consulting world, "You never burn your bridges."

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