Habitually we remain picking holes in others’ pocketing without realizing that there may be umpteen holes in our own pockets. Therefore knowledge about our own self; our positivity and negativity is a must.


             It should never be forgotten that our Creator, with whatever name we call Him is very benevolent to all. In His scheme of things all His creations are very dear to Him. Humans have evolved themselves because of the characteristics of differentiation unlike other forms of lives. All humans are alike in anatomy; physiology and emotional upsurge that we experience. All have the common origin/evolution though with lingual and cultural diversity because of distance involved or nationality factors. We humans have the freedom of exercising our freewill and set ourselves according to norms in consonance with the norms of the society in which we live. It is also a reality that all individuals are endowed with distinct traits. 

            I feel perplexed and dismayed by the behavior of some people who differentiate between humans on the basis of caste, creed, colour or any other considerations. Or those amongst us, who wish to enslave other living entities (animals/birds etc) and wish to keep these on their mercy?   On the other hand our Creator gives us His most precious bounties (air, water and sunshine) without which our existence cannot be even conjectured and that too without asking anything in return! All these invaluable gifts are given without any bias whatsoever to His creations – animates and inanimate alike.


          This is so despite knowing that we do not know whether tomorrow will dawn for us or not! We mortals should never nurture any idea that we are infallible or perfect in all respects. Contrarily, this uncertainty of our own life should make us think that this life of ours is given to us by our Lord and we have to think and act according to His wishes. He wishes us well and expects us humans to give their due place to other creatures. All the living and non-living are created by our Creator and are a piece of fine work and should be loved as such.


              All said and done, therefore, it is a must that we ponder; are we aware of our own self before belittling others and be aware about our own self before denigrating others. We live in the world of duality. Human beings have good and bad qualities; an emancipated one distinguishes between good and bad like a swan can extract milk from a mixture of water and milk. Our own personality has conflicting characteristics. Sometimes we act nicely but on other times we just lose the plot and act just opposite. When negativities predominate in a person that person is called bad by those who come in contact with that person. This divergence in qualities and subsequent dealings with that person give rise to unpredictable results. Hence it is essential that before knowing others and their drawbacks we should be self aware; know our own propensities (good and bad) should have knowledge of our own self then and then only we can know about others. Those people who know themselves are bereft of any vanity or pride/greed/rancor/jealousy etc. They live more for others than for themselves.


               All our afflictions are due to our forgetfulness of our relationship with our Creator. He loves us immensely but for that to happen we have to remember Him at least! He is all bliss. Shadow of a tree resembles the tree. When we become averse to Him we are devoid of our own existence and also devoid of long standing happiness (bliss). We should never forget that all the material cosmos is non-eternal. Only our soul is eternal. And if we contemplate on eternal we gain everything that we aspire for. Knowledge of the eternal self is hence very important. Real self is the eternal servant of the Supreme Lord and to know Supreme Lord we have to know the real self. 

With this intention in view, I have penned down a poem, about SELF KNOWLEDGE or SELF AWARENESS.




Humans are endowed with traits so divergent

With Referee-in-Chief our Lord Omnipotent

To monitor conflicts of opposites aptly

Good and bad

Rigid and timid

Doer or an idler

Silent and talker

Creative and destructive

Some are activity oriented

Others are rank shirkers.

Sometimes mood swings

Other times our conscious mentality

May not register wants of our unconscious mind

Resulting in attitude swings

Create conditions so conflicting

We churn water to get butter

Instead of churning yogurt!

Thus seeing result of any effort

The Chief Referee takes over thence

Fine-tunes our mode of actions

Exhorting us to take Middle-course

Thereafter total self knowledge gives rise to

Total confidence

Of what are our wants

Inculcating increased awareness

In the form of inquisitiveness

Happily! With answers of same – in abundance

Then creative self takes charge of our lives

We traverse a path of our own making

Power of freewill infusing

Thus far all these remote controlled by our Lord

Yet, some think they are the doers!

Let the ego-centric features given adieu

For when ego surrenders to our strong self

Freedom from ups and downs

Of our lives are too given ceremonial burials

Providing synergy to each of our efforts

Upshot of it all

Hold thy breath O humans!

Our sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve systems work in tandem!

Thus starts a new chapter of our life full of agility

With full use of our potentialities

And establishing a balance in tensions

And the ability to relax

Through living a life full of purpose

By happiness in small things

Which He bestows.





Resolved Question

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Are Hindu religious festivals more social than Christian and Muslim festivals?

Such as Hindu’s Holi where every one plays with colour, Kali Puja or Diwali’s cracker explosion, Bhai fota a festival when sisters bless their brothers for good luck, are they more social?

Best Answer – Chosen by Voters

Festivals of all the religions attract all the people equally. We cannot say that one festival is more social than the other –  is our figment of imagination.

Just think of Eid or Christmas Day or Diwali; the people of all hues attach the same importance and show their social fervour and enthusiasm. The feeling can be seen on their faces. It can also be seen in the market places etc. No difference in social stature at all. All the festivals elicit equal spiritual feeling. This is really great thing.


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  • 4 weeks ago

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        There are eight stages of our life. In each stage there is systematical development and evolution of physical/mental/emotional besides spiritual development. But in actual practice do we aim for continual spiritual – transcendental development from early stages till the last stage or fritter away the chances bestowed to us by the Mother Nature.


        Unfortunately we remain procrastinating the spiritual development from one stage to another till we reach oldage when it is really too late. There should be a continuous effort by an individual to progress for Eternal Enlightenment from beginning itself over and above the natural tendencies of development in different stages of our life.


          We are living in the world of our own making thinking that spiritual development is only left for Middle Adulthood to Oldage only without thinking that next moment may or may not come for us because of non-expectancy of our life!





God is so kind to us all

In giving this body of ours

A temple with innate faculties and potentialities

And with it will to change our negativity into positivity

Thus transform situation from hell to heaven

Or make hell out of heaven

Freewill is solely ours!


In the mother’s cozy womb

Though very warm

The toddler has its world confined

Coming out of that world

Tiny tot observes the human faces

With wide open eyes!

Looks in askance

Thence mother hand caressing

The child’s tender self so charming

Putting her ineffaceable stamp

Of love – creating sense of trust

With every touch.


When early childhood dawns

Dear ones in the household just come to fore

Provide the child a sense of personal control

Over physical skills and liberty from outer control

In natural calls

Here success leads to independence

Letdown a feeling of shame and further doubts.


In preschool stage the child begins taking control

Over the environs

Through its inquisitiveness

Infusing sense of purpose if successful

A feeling of guilt

If failure knocks the doorstep.


Then approaches the period  when child is admitted in school

With too many of demands on tiny tot

Success leads to vigor

And initiatives galore

Here not meeting demands leads

To lowliness in behavior patterns.


Next is the  period of adolescence

It is the age with a bag filled with sensitivities

A stage of life when teens

Are confused lots

What to seize and what to leave?

Here establishment of personal identity

And sense of self comes to the fore

Success leads to more success & more confidence

But failure leads to mess and more confusion

And loss of face as a conclusion.


Most impressionable period of life is adulthood

When one cultivates good relations

With the peer group and others

Here maturity is the name of the game

Success leads to establishing identity

While failure leads to rank perplexity

And further isolation and anxiety.


Middle adulthood is important period

When we partly serve for eking bread for ourselves

And the family we have created

It is age in which we engender positive change

Benefiting ourselves and our dear ones

Here success leads to feeling full of satisfaction

But when faced with dilemma of failure leads to stagnation.


Thence there is a period of older adulthood

It is a period when we introspect and look back

What we accomplished in the life so lived

Success leads us to a feeling so sagacious

However failure puts us into the deep well of despair

And further pushes us to a bed full of thorns

It is a stage when we should devote in totality to our Lord

And thank Him for His mercies

Despite our miseries

Which we’ve earned because of our own follies.





If you were in a perilous situation?

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If you were in a perilous situation?

Broken down elevator, stranded on a remote island from a shipwreck, stuck out in the distant blizzardous mountains, with a group of strangers – what type of person would you be? the quiet shy person who keeps to him/herself, the panicky one freaking out causing everyone else to feel uncomfortable or the hero trying to defuse the situation and find a way out? (OR other)

Harbans Lal

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If I would be in perilous situation as you have indicated I shall act like this:-

1.       I shall not lose my balance of mind.

2.       I shall render help to others in the form of encouragement lecture first and then tell them to each one of my companions to not to lose their selves. Panicking leads to nowhere.

3.       Jointly invoke God for His help. He is all knowing and will certainly render help.

4.       Nothing is impossible I shall make the party realise.

          And finally we would be happy to get out of the predicament happily. No problems or a situation is there from which a person cannot come out with my LORD’S ASSOCIATION.


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  • 1 week ago

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I would be the one to totally freak out and start panicking, screaming and making illogical, crazy, worst-case scenarios about what could happen to us.. :P.

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Every festival is linked with some seasons

Or certain well known occasions.


Lohri a winter festivals of repute

Falls in the month of ( 13th Jan) Paush

Marks the end of winter season

And beginning of longer – a little hotter days ahead soon

For farmers it is one of the happiest occasions

They start harvesting rabi crops

Start of spring season is a Natural bounty

Adds additional spice to festivities.

(Rabi Crop: Wheat, Gram, Pea, Mustard, Linseed, Barley, Peas)


Traditionally on lohri day a bonfire is lit

People congregate around it

And reverently offer, jiggery (gur), sesame seeds (til)

Sesame coated sugar candy and popcorn into leaping bonfire

The skyward leaping fire

Too shows that it is enjoying all acts of hers

Gathering partakes the sacred offering themselves too as (parsad) offering

Satiety writ large in everybody’s face.

Offerings too is made to ‘panj tatavas’ five elements

Fire, wind, water, ether and earth

Going around the bonfire with great reverence

And singing traditional songs with dance makes much difference.

And that too in tune with beating of drums!



Folklore abound about the origin of Lohori

Legend has it that King Hirnakashap,

An evil and conceited one at that

Wanted his subjects to worship him and not the Holy Being

Had two daughters and one son

Daughters Holika, Lohri and son Pralhada

Pralhada worshiped Lord Naraina

Which angers him to no ends.


Holika had earned a strange boon

Of not being destroyed by the bonfire

Evil king put the three in the blazing fire

The ferocious fire had Holika swallowed

While Prablad and Lohri came out of it untouched

That is the glory of our Lord.


Some devout make an image of Lohri – the Goddess

Of cow-dung and sing her praises


Tradition has it that there was a very brave person of repute

Named Dulla Bhatti from lineage of warrior race the Rajputs

In the reign of Mughal king Akbar

He used to rescue poor girls from the clutches of robbers

And got them married to suitable boys

People sing Lohri songs with gust

And shower utmost whilst praising his bravery.


Thence other legend of the origin of Lohri

From the wife of Saint Kabir named ‘Loi’

Herself a lady so pious.


It is also believed that Holi originated from the word ‘lo’

Meaning light  – Holi fire so holy.


Lohri too is linked with Makar Sanranti

Which too is another winter festival very famous

Celebrated one day after Lohri celebrations

A day so fixed

14th January –  indeed very sacred

It marks the beginning of solar maagha masa

Makar Sankranti is start of harvest festival

And beginning of pleasant Spring Season

Celebrated in all parts of country.


It has its origin to the movement of the earth

Sun movement begins from (Sankranti) one zodiac sign

Into another – Capricorn zodiac (Makar) sign

Two movements  are termed as Makar Sakranti.


This day marks the beginning of warmer days

As the sacred months start from this day onwards

Makar Sankranti  is celebrated with great fervor

In western and northern India

There is a mention of this day in Mahabharata

As, it is the festival of Sun God

Who gives us light and heat

To living beings without bias

And bestows us divinity and wisdom,

Thus holding an eternal meaning.






Resolved Question

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What is meant by interdependence?

Harbans Lal

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When one person is dependent on other for fulfillment his / her need.

In economics it depends on supply and demand. Suppose person A is producing a particular product which person B requires. Person B pays legal tender in the form of money to person A for meeting his demand. Here person A is a supplier and person B meets his demand.

Before the onset of monetary system the exchange (cash) used to be in the form of kind – goods exchanged with goods – a barter system.

Here both were satisfied because they met their needs.

Similar is the case with countries exchanging their goods and services which we term as import and export. This commercial system makes the countries dependent on each other for meeting their demands and supplies.

In our homes also all the members cannot perform all the jobs. They are dependent on each other for mrryinh their needs. This is termed as interdependence in each of the households.



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  • 5 days ago

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There are certain doubts which a person may experience while offering prayers. For the prayers to be meaningful it is a must that skepticism which is a biggest impediment of our prayers is removed. Prayer to be of immense value it is must that it is done with single mindedness / concentrated and with right attitude.

Prayers to be more productive should contain answers to our own answers.  Losing totally ourselves in Him; forgetting every other thing – even the contents of the prayer is the best sort of prayer. The prayer may be in any posture – sitting or standing that hardly matters. On sincerity counts.

The following are some of the paradoxes we face in our day to day prayers:-

  1. 1.  Even Person Committing Criminal Acts/ Irrational Acts Invokes Go.: It is a strange paradox that even persons committing some unethical and immoral acts remember Him for fructification of nefarious designs. It is as though they want to associate our Creator too in their evil acts! If that act proves a failure person concerned feels despondent and if his alleged act gets accomplished that person may think that this success is due to the intervention of other forces and with it that person thinks reward from the acts as legitimate and not ill-gotten! Some people also give part of this booty to others in charity etc  – a facade of purity on impure act! Is not it a moral dilemma of highest order?


  1. 2.  Only some Days Assigned for Serious Bhakti. Then there are some special / chosen days for prayers. During these days the places of worship are overcrowded. It is difficult sometimes to properly focus on the prayers during those days due to much hustle and bustle. Contrarily on other days the places of worship have a deserted look – just forlorn. The God must be saying what sort of love is this for Him – only for a few chosen days! Sorry to say but it is am undisputed fact. Is it with the notion that our Creator is available only on the days assigned and not on other days?


  1. 3.  Comparison / Competition in Prayer. Our God loves simplicity. Simple prayers. But some people use complex prayer methods in the form of Mantras etc as if God is only pleased / impressed with intricate prayers laced with difficult and long winding sentences. Occasionally there is onemanship in this too.


  1. 4.  When prayers not Answered. The predicament of a person who prays only for getting his / her prayers answered and if the prayers just do not get answered or their task not successful due to some other reason then that person just goes haywire and even turns atheist. You must also have seen people asking different bounties from Him and not for Him and His Love. We should always know that our Creator is all knowing being; all powerful in every respect and knows everything which will happen or not happen or about to happen. Then why to go with a list of demands as if going for purchase of merchandise after having made payment.


  1. 5.   Why not have total belief? Seemingly we just pray for the sake of a prayer only. Neither it is emanated from our heart nor with right attitude associated with it.  It goes to prove that we have some selfish motive even in our prayer to our Lord. Bereft of total belief / faith / right attitude. And in the absence of these all; our prayer just passes above our head. If our prayer is lackluster then can its result be lustrous!


  1. 6.  Some have more accessibility to our Lord? Some people hoodwink the gullible by promising moon. For this they may resort to some concocted tricks in order to impress general masses to make this commercial venture a successful one. Fact remains that there are people who can transform our lives by offering us suggestions / advices for following right path for getting His connectivity.


  1. 7.  Questions asked: Then there are people who ask unreasonable questions to make the prayers and its results and to fill the people with more doubts about it all.
  • Have you seen your God in person?
  • What is His form?

For me our God is Omniscient / Omnipresent. He is our Creator and we are made in His mould. Then why to have any doubt?







In many ways than one our home and body are inter-related. Both have to be tended; attended and looked after in their entirely for keeping these fine-tuned for optimum utility. If every shortcoming is not attended too on time these two will dysfunction and that will be a dooms day for us. Both are essential for our security; for upholding of moral values; for all development – physical and spiritual.


Home is a place where we get physical and emotional security. It is a place where our love ones live together and share our good and bad moments. Here even those who cannot contribute anything financially because of certain physical disability etc too get the same respect and accommodation in every respect. It means every members of the household gets security. Even our pets are given their due place in our homes.

Every time we go out for some errand or for meeting some commitment we would like to be in our home and hearth in the company of our nears and dears. If the period of absence is short it is bearable and if it is more then we sometimes feel ‘homesick’. But fact remains we are always attracted towards it. It hardly matters if it is spacious or a small one. Ones home is a sweet home for all intends and purposes.

We pool our resources earned over a period of time in order to construct our house. First of all we sanctify the place where we want to construct our house. Here we invoke God by praying Him for His association with everything – starting from its construction to bestowing the member of the household His bounties for bestowing harmony and prosperity to the members of household. The house is then transformed into a home when we shower our love and affection for our love ones. There is a profoundest prayer to Him to to shower his blessings in order to keep the relationships between members warm for a peaceful and cooperative living.


Our body provides protection to inner organs of our body. It has rightly been said: ‘Sound mind dwells in sound body’. It means if the body is healthy the mind can function smoothly. When all five senses are functioning in right earnest it can be a big asset. This cohesive working of five senses as a unit will make difference in the working of other parts of body.

• Brain. Our brain is the controller of our thinking; our intelligence or otherwise; depends on its development. A storehouse of information.

• Heart. It is one of the important constituents of our body. It pumps oxygen rich blood to other parts of our body and purifies the used blood. It is a treasure house of our soft feelings and an Abode of our Lord.

• Lungs . Breaths in O2 and breaths out CO2 from our system besides performing other functions. These control the breathing system of our body.

• Liver. It is largest glandular organ or our body that receives 1/4th % of the blood pumped by the heart in a single beat. It has other important functions also. It is imaging that even if its 75% part is dysfunctional it can still work!

Then there are other parts of the body like kidneys; stomach; intestines; digestive system; testicles; veins besides our skin which protects our internal system of our body etc.

It can rightly be said that our home and our body are essential for our day-to-day functioning but also are important for our spiritual forward march.

With this intention in mind; I have penned down a poem entitled:


Our home is our habitation
We’ve our own hand in its construction
Erected brick by brick put together
Emotions and toils admixture
With money earned honestly
Weathering every moment stormy
To make a home sweet home
It provides us security and comfort
Whilst emotions get frayed
With the onslaughts of our own
Who knows our soft vein.

Home is that holy place where we dwelt
Which is every inch closer to our heart
The most prized possession of our life time
It gives the feeling of belongingness
A pain healer for our tattered emotions.

Feels homesick when away from it
A man feels its necessity the most
Whence he possesses it not

Living entities are part of Lord’s potencies
Inferior potencies and superior ones
The superior potency is spiritual in nature
Connected with Atma or our real character
Inferior potencies are gross
Related with earth; water; fire; air & ether
And subtle constituents
Are mind; ego and intelligence.

Our body is made up of different organs
Each one performing different functions
If of these one malfunctions
The others feel its pangs.

Mind controls the five senses
If one sense goes astray
The other ones get disarray.

Heart pumps oxygenated blood
To other parts of body non-stop
And takes back deoxygenated blood
For purification and thence reuse.

Heart which is filled with soft feelings
It knows how to heal the hurt
Being centre of Divine Love
Get eternal peace
If we surrender ourselves unconditionally


Western Desert Journey, Egypt

Geometry & Silence

These photographs document a trekking and 4×4 journey through the Western Desert of Egypt. Starting at Bahariya Oasis we travelled through the Sahara Suda (Black Desert) and Sahara Beida (White Desert) ending up near Farafra. As a compliment to these images I produced a second, more abstract series of photographs entitled “Sahara Sands” from the same trip.

The journey was undertaken with desert explorer Sam McConnell who runs highly recommended adventure travel expeditions to the region in collaboration with Abou Anis of Sub Sinai, off-road driver Khaled, and the bedouin of Bahariya Oasis

Signed limited edition prints of this series are available at £195 each (60x40cm). To purchase please contact me. Larger sizes also available

Edit: I’m delighted that this post is featured in Freshly Pressed. Check out “Glimpses Of Iran” which was Freshly Pressed last year. Thanks for all your likes and comments and follow my Facebook…

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Editors’ Picks of the Year: The Best of in 2013 News

This week, our editors dove into the archives to find and rediscover notable posts published this year on, from nonfiction to poetry, and photography to illustration. These posts have been especially resonant to us and the community, and represent the diversity of voices of our users all over the world.

An Open Letter to the Girl I Pretended to Have a Crush On in Eighth Grade at Rottin’ in Denmark

You were the first girl I pretended to have a crush on so no one would know I was gay. I didn’t intend for it to happen, for it to be you, for it to be so easy. But it did, and it was.

From the opening lines of his epic open letter to Tracy Dolan, Michael Hobbes at Rottin’ in Denmark mesmerizes readers with his sharp and thoughtful storytelling, describing his strategy for surviving adolescence as a gay teenager…

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