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First Anniversary of Launching of this Site

SUNDAY, AUGUST 23, 2010. Although I hardly worked on this website since January, it would be disingenuous on my part not to write something on this anniversary day of launching this site. One year ago, I launched this site with lots of enthusiasm. I wanted to let interested viewers know about Vedanta as I understood it studying the Holy Trio's teachings for many years.

When I began working on this site, everything was perfect during the first two months. I designed the site's simple structure and its layout. I registered for the site's hosting server. I launched the site and then began posting daily meditations on its Home page. I posted the first two articles (see Archive on the menu bar). And I also received many feedback emails from viewers who said they liked it.

But then all that came to a standstill. In October, my wife and I left USA and arrived in Jabalpur, my home town in India, for a five month vacation. Soon I realized that it was my wishful thinking that I would get some leisure time in Jabalpur, and I would be able to add more material to this site. Within a couple of weeks, my expectation turned into disappointments. For I found myself using all my time and energy chasing people handling the day-to-day household errands done. This is because nothing works in India smoothly on time. Whether it's getting the gas cylinders for kitchen or the Broadband Internet connection, or getting a landline or a mobile phone, or getting furniture or a refrigerator delivered at home, or getting some minor plumbing or electrical repairs done around the house. I mean nothing. Zilch. Nada.

Consequently I became somewhat disturbed and began contemplating India's past — India known for her 5000+ year civilization and cultural heritage, a country that taught Universal Oneness of the Vedas, Satyasya Satyam of the Upanishads, service and work–philosophy of the Bhagavad–Gita, self-discipline and meditation of Patanjali's Yoga, compassion and love of the Srimad Bhagavad, sense of duty and morality of the eternal epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. And all that thinking forced me to question why? And How? Why and how a country with that kind of spiritual and cultural heritage, a country that was being touted by her political and business leaders, economists, and the media that it could be the third largest world economy by 2025, could be so corrupt, so callous, so complacent, and so clumsy in handling most simple day-to-day tasks, or in producing good quality products and on-time services for her common citizens (Aam Aadmi)?

But all that lofty idealistic emotions soon evaporated. They turned into frustration and at times into outright anger over things that were totally beyond my control. It's then as if to add fuel to the fire, the Times of India reported that according one survey India ranked 84th out of 180 countries on index of corruption. Five small countries, namely New Zealand, Denmark, Singapore, Sweden, and Switzerland topped the list as world's five most honest countries. This news didn't surprise me a bit as I was then experiencing the 4Cs (corruption, callousness, complacency, and clumsiness) everyday.

It was as if to calm me down, an article "Anger, a New Age Ailment?" appeared in Times of India. But it did not help me. I was still frustrated and angry. Sometimes on myself as to why I came to India for a vacation.

At this time, during my daily studies, I found something interesting. Interpreting verse 3.37 of the Bhagavad-Gita, which said anger (Krodha) is an enemy in human life, my guru Swami Ranganathanandaji had said: "Sometimes you need Krodha (anger) . . . human life will be very dull without this emotion called Krodha, as righteous indignation against social misbehavior." (Vol. I, p. 315)

This teaching of my guru calmed me down a lot. I concluded that my anger was justified since it was righteous indignation against "social misbehavior", which was the 4Cs in the present context.

Then I remembered the following teaching of Sri Ramakrishna:

Anger and lust cannot be destroyed. Turn them toward God ("Mode Phiriye Dao" in Bengali). (Chap. 6, p. 162, The Master with Brahmo Devotees (I))

I also contemplated on Patanjali's age old advice: Vitarkabadhane Pratipakshabhabanam, meaning: to obstruct thoughts which are harmful and hostile, opposite thoughts should be raised in the mind.(Yoga Sutra, II-33)

Blessed with these profound teachings and words of wisdom I tried to divert my attention from the day-to-day household drudgeries to the website. As I was about to start working on it again with my full energy, something happened which seems to me now after eight months, nothing but a synchronicity (I'll talk more about Synchronicity in my future postings).

In December, I received a request from a neighbor across the street to join Facebook. When I began working on this website, my daughter had suggested that instead of talking about Vedanta on a website I should take advantage of the social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. But my impression about these new toys on the Internet wasn't positive then. I thought they were only for casual chat and socializing, and for posting of photos and videos on the net. So, when I received my neighbor's request to join Facebook, I was a little skeptical about it, but to make him happy I joined it anyway. And I am glad now that I did. For within a few days I recognized the power of this new media and my outlook as to how I should handle the website changed completely. I began posting on Facebook regularly. I participated in many discussions. And I made many like-minded friends from all over the world. To make the long story short, Facebook has kept me very busy since December of last year. It goes without saying that it consumed also most of my time and energy, and I could hardly spend any time on the website except for occasional posting of daily meditations on its Home page.

To sum, where does all these lead to? What approach should I take to tell about Vedanta, which was my primary intention for this site? I have been thinking about it all these months. And the answer to these questions lies in the following comment, which I recently made on the future of Vedanta in America in the bi-monthly magazine American Vedantist:

One thing is certain and it is this: Vedanta in America in the 21st century will not be closeted within the current Vedanta Societies. . .The present generation is an "instant" or "i" generation — a generation of iPhone, iTouch, iPad, Google, eBooks, Facebook, Twitter, and Webinar, to name a few. Social media, social entrepreneurship, and cultural capitalism are the buzz words for today's computer and Internet savvy young people. Yet today's generation is not a generation of non-believers. But they want spirituality in today's format.

So, on this anniversary day for this site, this will be my four point game plan from now on for this site (I'll elaborate on the significance of the magic number four in a future article).

  1. I'll continue posting on Facebook, quotations, comments, notes, and discussions on Vedanta and related topics.
  2. These bits of information will be short, precise, and extempore meant for my Facebook sisters and brothers. By sharing such material with their sisters and brothers, it would be possible to spread them daily to a much wider audience than it would have been possible for the website alone.
  3. I'll use this website only when a topic will need to be elaborated, and detailed and well-researched articles, including diagrams, photos, video, music etc. will need to be posted.
  4. I'll also continue exploring other communication means, such as Twitter, MySpace etc. and also the Mobile technology for possible use in the future.

I hope that with Divine Grace this joint venture between this website and Facebook will be fruitful in spreading the principles of Vedanta as taught by the Holy Trio.

Oh! Yes!! What about my frustration and anger? Well, they have subsided to a great extent, since I have learned to look at problems more rationally. But once in a while they do show up in my Facebook postings!

Ramakrishna Sharanam !!

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