Love transcends religion, caste and other manmade barriers! Much prose and an equal number of lines of poetry have sprung from the hearts of writers and lovers expressing this emotion called love! But, the greatest symbol of love is the Taj Mahal in Agra! Millions fly across the ocean, to gaze in awe at the magnificent structure a grief-stricken ruler built for his beloved dead wife. The moonlight glaze, the marble sheen, the minarets all speak of an eternal love, that lives on through this spectacular structure, But,

In the state where the Taj stands, a bachelor Chief Minister finds a sentiment, which in his mind is greater than love, “The Taj,” he says, “should remind us of thousands of laborers who built it!”

He sees not love. He feels not grief, but hears the sound of pickaxes on stone, craftsmen on marble, and the monument in his mind is dedicated to those workers.

Not to love.

“Sir,” says a local as a foreign couple get their picture shot with the Taj in the background, “What do you feel as you stand over here?”

“Love!” says the tourist, “A love I would strive night and day to ignite into our relationship!”

“Sir, but this is about Kishorebhai the mason!”

“Who’s that?” asks the tourist, as his eyes and those of his wife gleam with love for each other.

“Kishorebhai, was the one who worked under Prakashbhai!Kishorebhai carried the stones to Prakashbhai, and Prakashbhai cut them into blocks, which Kishorebhai carried back and laid as the foundation!”

“Very good!” says the foreigner as he asks someone to take another picture of his wife and him, hugging.

“And sir, those tombs you saw inside..”

“Ah, we cried to see those graves of Shah Jahan and his wife, together even in death!”

“Was made by Kishorebhai’s brother!” continued the local, “In fact Prakashbhai it is rumoured also had his brother-in-law working with Kishorebhai’s brother on the tombs!”

“Oh really!” said the foreigner as he disengaged himself from the loving embrace of his wife and they both looked adoringly at the Taj. “Beautiful!” whispered his wife, “Will your love for me be like this!”

“I wish I could pluck a flower from these gardens and give you my beloved!”

“Ah sir, meet Harishbhai, the gardener!” says the local, “It is his gardening labour, you have come to see isn’t it?”

The tourist and his wife walk arm in arm towards the edifice of love. They do not see masons, nor hear artisans, but only what true love is. A love which they feel is available for every couple, and who’s expression in its majestic awesomeness is found in the Taj.

“Did you tell them about Kishorebhai and Prakashbhai?” asksthe local’s wife to him that night.

“But they were only interested in love!” he sighed wearily. “Somebody should tell the chief minister that..!”

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“Terrible! Terrible!” shouted a senior official of the government, “We can’t implement any projects without people complaining!The bullet trainis in a controversy because commuters want to first make the existing railways safe!We can’t build metros in the cities, because people say buildings are shaking!”

“And sir, in Mumbai, they don’t want the metro to run under a Fire temple because it will upset the magnetic waves!Another line has activists fighting against trees being cut!””

“Trees, people, temples! All are conspiring against us! Even roads can’t be widened because there are crosses or temples which can’t be shifted! People are coming up with all sorts of reasons and at this rate we will not have anything ready by 2019!”

“Is that an auspicious year sir?” asked his junior.

“That’s election year dammit, and if we can’t show bullet trains and metros, we are doomed!”

“Maybe we should think different sir!” said his junior.

“How different?” asked the senior government official, “People want to travel, we have nothing to offer them! Not even river transport!”

“Let them stay at home sir!” said his junior.

“Stay at home?” asked his senior, “You want the whole country to stay at home?”

“Yes sir, if they stay at home they will not want new means of going from place to place!”

“But why should they stay at home dammit?”

“Because it’s unsafe outside!” exclaimed his junior with a smile, “It is so unsafe, people will be afraid to come out!”

The senior government official looked at his junior closely, and wondered whether he had misjudged the young man till now, there was something clever in his argument. “So what you are saying,” he said slowly, “Is to create such tension outside that people won’t venture out and won’t see we’ve not made any progress?”

His junior nodded brightly, “We encourage murders, rapes, stone throwing and all sorts of violence outside. We make it unsafe for women, have gangs threaten them, strip them for love jihaad and some flimsy reason like that, kill journalists, and sir soon doors will be locked and boarded with everybody safe and immobile inside!”

The senior officialnodded smugly, “You know something, that’s exactly the situation in the country now, there’s anger, rage, communal tension and fear! Give me the phone please!”

The junior officer handed the phone to his senior obediently, then heard him telling all departments to stop work. “And to win the elections,” continued the junior, “We could have hourly‘mannkibaats’by the PM to keep people glued to new promises, which anyway they will never venture out to see if implemented or not!”

His senior shook his head in wonder, patted his junior on the shoulder and decided to transfer the young fellow to a remote area, as is done in our country, before the junior had aspirations of taking his place..!

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By Yogi Ashwini

There is more to us than what meets the eye, the physical body is only an aspect of our existence which is directly controlled by the etheric layer, some called it the aura, vedic rishis called it the Pranamaya kosha. Chakra Beej kriya, the preliminary practices of which were introduced in the previous article taps into this layer by means of sounds and asans to stimulate the chakras.

There are six major chakras in the body, each responsible for specific functions, needs and desires. As we progress in the Chakra Beej asans, we move from the grosser to the subtler chakras, understanding and balancing them as we move along.

Having performed the basic joint rotations and spine asanas in the earlier articles, we move to the kriya for the Mooladhar chakra. Corresponding to the location of base of the spine, it is at this chakra that the phenomenal power of kundalini energy rests. Mooladhar is the base chakra for humans; it is the highest in animals. It controls the survival instinct. Ruled by the earth element, it governs the skeletal and muscular system in the body. The beej mantra for this chakra is LAM.

Take your awareness to your breath at the tip of the nostrils. Watch the rhythmic pattern of breath at this point and with every subsequent inhalation, make your breath longer and deeper. Maintaining the awareness of Mool chakra, start with the chant of LAM. For the correct chant, visit Continue with the chant as we graduate into the asans for Mooladhar.

Vrikshasana (Tree Pose): Stand tall with arms by the side of your body. Bend your right knee, bringing the right foot high upto your left thigh, such that the sole of the foot rests firmly near the root of the thigh. Find yourself a perfect crevice where your foot can firmly hold itself there. Ensure the left leg is straight and not bent. As your body is in balance, gently raise your arms over the head and join your palms in a Namaskar position. Maintain the awareness of mool chakra and the chant of LAM. With every exhalation, relax your body. Gently bring your hands down and your right leg. Repeat this posture with the other leg. This asan should not be attempted by people with problems of knee or sciatica.

Utthanasana: Bring your left leg down while holding the hands above the head. Spread your legs apart with toes pointing outwards. Keeping the back and neck straight and buttocks squeezed in, bend the knees to go down by about ten inches. Maintain Ujjai breath and the chant of LAM. Hold this posture for a count of seven and then go down another ten inches. Once again hold for a count of seven and go further down so as to squat. The heels stay on the floor and the back does not bend. Stay for a count of seven.

The asan must not be practiced in case of uterus prolapse and after three months of pregnancy.

Naukasana: Next, lie down on the back. Exhale, raise your legs (joint together) to about twenty-five degrees. Also raise your upper body and your arms (the arms will point forward) to twenty-five degrees. Maintain the posture for as long as you can. Ensure that your back is straight and knees do not bend. Inhale, come back to the starting position.

As you progress into these asans and mantras, the glow of the body increases, breath becomes slower and gentler. The effect of all these asanas becomes manifold when practiced under the guidance of your Guru who channelises energy into each asana. It is advised that you visit your nearest Dhyan Foundation center to learn the practice.

Yogi Ashwini is the Guiding Light of Dhyan Foundation and can be reached at

It wasn’t often the secret service heard the first lady screaming. “Theeseeese all your fault Donald!”

“What is my fault?” asked the President.

“Theese man shooting all those innocent people in Vegas!”

“Whoa! Whoa!” shouted the President, “I had nothing to do with that! Some madman starts shooting, and you blame me?”

“It’s from those sounds you make all day! The whole nation can only hear them sounds from theese White House!”

“What sounds?” asked a slightly bewildered president.

“Throughout the night I hear them sounds, and it keeps me awake, and them same sounds are making the whole country edgy!”

“I can’t hear any sounds!” said Donald, “Secret Service can you hear any strange sounds?”

“What did you say sir?” asked the secret service man walking towards the president.

“Didn’t you hear what I said?” asked Donald.

“No sir, can’t hear anything because of them sounds round you!”

“See I told you!” said the First Lady, “You have strange sounds coming from you all the time!”

“What does it sound like?” asked the President looking at the secret service man. “Does it sound like my pleasant voice purring to the American people?”

“No sir, it sounds like sabre rattling and knife sharpening, like bullets whizzing and cannons booming!” said the secret service man, “And my missus says she can hear those sounds from our home ten miles away!”

It was a few seconds later the First Lady dragged in the House doctor, “Can you cure my husband?” she asked.

“I can’t hear you!” said the cardiologist.

“My husband has strange sounds coming from him!” she wrote on a paper.

“Ah,” wrote the doctor, “Those are heartbeats of violence! Beating against peace, poundingagainst other communities, thumping against religions, pulsating wrathfullyagainstcoloured people. It started as a gentle tap, grew into a rap, became a thump, then a thud and now resonates like a gigantic bass drum gone mad, erupting from him and enveloping the nation!”

“What’s the cure?” gasped the first lady, slipping another paper into the house doctor’s hand.

“For the president there’s none,” wrote the doctor, “while someone with a gentle heart could heal the nation’s wounds!”

“And will thesound of sabre rattling, knife sharpening and bullets whizzing stop?” shouted the secret service man above the din.

“Yes!” said the doctor, “And if you’ll excuse me I’m on my way to catch a plane to India!”

“India?” asked the First Lady and secret service man with surprise, “What’s the problem there?”

“Same heart problem!” wrote the doctor, “But a heartbeat that’s growing softer by the day as a compassionate people slowly become heartless,killing others for their food habits, thrashing students, raping women, murdering journalists as their heartbeat grows fainter!”

“Shut Up!” shouted the president, as a thousand miles away another leader adjusted his mike and said, “Mitron..!”

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It’s a narrow bridge, which one climbs from once a lazy station, onto the road above. Elphinstone Road station was hardly used previously, except by mill workers of old,going to work or returning to their homes, and then in the last fifteen years the area changed: The old mills were demolished, towers, housing thousands of offices appeared and the area turned from a sleepy location to a business hub, but the thin narrow bridge remained, and now we hear that nearly over two score commuters were killed in a stampede today!

Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra and maybe some parts of India will mourn them today, and then go back to talking of, ah well; the Bullet Train.

We love showing off. I have seen buildings with near collapsing water tanks and columns and beams, going in for a lovely painting job, quite happy they have hidden their disastrous blemishes under clever make up.

“What a beautiful building!” say visitors as they come to visit.

“Yes,” we say proudly as we look away from cracks and faults that have been expertly covered with lambi and whitewash, we avoid the parts that our caving in, propped up by nothing more than willpower. The visitor looks at the lambi and white wash and smiles and nods. “A beautiful building indeed!”  

Lambi and whitewash is what we love using!

It’s like putting heavy make up on a sick person’s face to hide their illness. “Look!” we say, “You don’t look sick!” And the person who is sick, cries, “Take me to a doctor! I’m dying!”

“But look at yourself!” we tell the sick person, “Just look in the mirror, you look hale and hearty! Hale and hearty enough to party!”

And the sick person, who knows that inside him a fever rages, a cancer grows looks at his heavily made up smiling face and knows it’s over!

We have become adept at covering the rot inside. We have become experts at ignoring the groans and moans of the poor and sick! We have stopped becoming affected at the almost daily news items of derailed trains and falling buildings. We have become immune to a rotting country, and instead laughing and chuckling, we showcase and show off our bullet trains, our proposed islands with new statues in the sea. We point out how we’ve changed the name of the station that just saw the death of so many, from Elphinstone Road Station to Prabhadevi Station; new board, new name, bright red lipstick and fancy make up, but a narrow staircase, built maybe a hundred years ago, that hadn’t been changed and couldn’t take the rush of a changed area, and thus caused such a terrible catastrophe!

Safety and Security take a back seat, while we Show Off..!

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