Despite the fact that I spent my childhood in Rameswaram – Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam

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“Despite the fact that I spent my childhood in Rameswaram, an isolated island in the south of India, I could get educated, find a job and overcome many obstacles to become the President of my country. If I could overcome all the hardships and achieve what I have, so can you or anyone else. It does not matter where you start from or what you have achieved till date, the important thing is that from this point onwards, you decide what you want and work towards creating your own future. This is the message I want to convey through this book and if it can inspire even one young person to achieve his or her dream, I will feel that my effort has been truly worth it.

In the last fifteen years I have interacted with more than 16 million youth, in face-to face meetings, through emails and over Facebook, and wherever I go I am asked questions. Everyday I receive about 300 emails and spend two hours reading and answering them. This book is based on the questions that I have been asked over the years. In their questions, people are mostly seeking solutions to problems that they are facing in their lives. Answering these questions, I realized that what we call problems may probably be a result of the way we ‘process’ events and situations in our lives and everything that happens in our world. ‘Process’ means the way we perceive and think about them. If we could change the way we ‘process’, then we could possibly change the way we think about our problems and hence also about their solutions. I believe it is possible to do so and that is the underlying theme in my answers.

My answers are based on what I have learnt from my own experiences of life, and from reading books and my interactions with political and spiritual leaders. The replies in my book are presented in a way that they provide a generic message for any one who may be undergoing a similar problem in his or her life.

Your life should be a manifestation of your dreams. That is why I always call upon the youth to dream lofty dreams and invoke in them a vision of their future. And in achieving your dreams, you are bound to face difficulties and obstacles, but with determination and discipline you can always overcome them, just as I have been able to do.” -From the Introduction of the book

It is remarkable that how, APJ Abdul Kalam, the 11th president of India continues to be such a popular public figure even seven years after demitting office. Much sought, much admired, he is an inspiration for the Indian youth and they turn to him for advice, guidance, inspiration, or simply just seeking to be in touch with him. The mentoring, the solutions, the direction, the philosophy he provides are based on the wisdom of his own experiences, as he knows well the trials and tribulations of the hard rocky road of life that he has walked from Rameswaram to the Rashtrapati Bhawan. This book is like a roadmap for life which one can to turn to when needed, and come away reassured that there is always a way out of any situation and that we will be able reach our dream destination. Inspiring and intimate, it provides an insight into the mind and heart of one of the most remarkable leaders of contemporary India. A leader, who at the age of 84 continues to inspire young Indians towards living the life of their dreams.

 

– Amazon , on Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam’s New Upcoming Book.

 

You Can Pre Order Your Book of Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam Online on Amazon on the given link Below :

 

http://www.amazon.in/gp/product/9350642794/ref=amb_link_183049087_3?pf_rd_m=A1VBAL9TL5WCBF&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=165B20A35462W4VQ0PJN&pf_rd_t=1401&pf_rd_p=526142807&pf_rd_i=1000825283

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The True Story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

A guy named Bob May, depressed and brokenhearted, stared out his drafty apartment window into the chilling December night. His 4-year-old daughter, Barbara, sat on his lap quietly sobbing. Bobs wife, Evelyn, was dying of cancer. Little Barbara couldn’t understand why her mommy could never come home. Barbara looked up into her dads eyes and asked, “Why isn’t Mommy just like everybody else’s Mommy?” Bob’s jaw tightened and his eyes welled with tears. Her question brought waves of grief, but also of anger. It had been the story of Bob’s life. Life always had to be different for Bob. Being small when he was a kid, Bob was often bullied by other boys. He was too little at the time to compete in sports. He was often called names he’d rather not remember.

From childhood, Bob was different and never seemed to fit in. Bob did complete college, married his loving wife and was grateful to get his job as a copywriter at Montgomery Ward during the Great Depression. Then he was blessed with his little girl. But it was all short-lived. Evelyn’s bout with cancer stripped them of all their savings and now Boband his daughter were forced to live in a two-room apartment in the Chicago slums. Evelyn died just days before Christmas in 1938. Bob struggled to give hope to his child, for whom he couldn’t even afford to buy a Christmas gift. But if he couldn’t buy a gift, he was determined a make one – a storybook!

Bob had created an animal character in his own mind and told the animal’s story to little Barbara to give her comfort and hope. Again and again Bob told the story, embellishing it more with each telling. Who was the character? What was the story all about? The story Bob May created was his own autobiography in fable form. The character he created was a misfit outcast like he was. The name of the character? A little reindeer named Rudolph, with a big shiny nose.

Bob finished the book just in time to give it to his little girl on Christmas Day. But the story doesn’t end there. The general manager of Montgomery Ward caught wind of the little storybook and offered Bob May a nominal fee to purchase the rights to print the book. Wards went on to print Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and distribute it to children visiting Santa Claus in their stores. By 1946 Wards had printed and distributed more than six million copies of Rudolph. That same year, a major publisher wanted to purchase the rights from Wards to print an updated version of the book. In an unprecedented gesture of kindness, the CEO of Wards returned all rights back to Bob May. The book became a best seller. Many toy and marketing deals followed and Bob May, now remarried with a growing family, became wealthy from the story he created to comfort his grieving daughter.

But the story doesn’t end there either. Bob’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, made a song adaptation to Rudolph. Though the song was turned down by such popular vocalists as Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore, it was recorded by the singing cowboy, Gene Autry. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was released in 1949 and became a phenomenal success, selling more records than any other Christmas song, with the exception of “White Christmas.” The gift of love that Bob May created for his daughter so long ago kept on returning to bless him again and again. And Bob May learned the lesson, just like his dear friend Rudolph, that being different isn’t so bad. In fact, being different can be a blessing!

Nose of Surpanakha

Humanity has always killed for peace. The First World War was dubbed as the ‘war to end all wars’. The atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to stop all wars. Now, Obama has killed Osama for peace. What do we kill actually? We kill that which cannot be controlled.

We cannot control the terrorist; we cannot make them see sense, so we feel justified in killing them, before they kill others. This killing is done in righteous indignation. It feels right. But why does the terrorist terrorize? If American psychologists have to be believed, they are all psychopaths and sociopaths, with genetic predisposition to violence. Such explanations conveniently enable us to deny our role in creating these monsters.


illustration/ Devdutt Pattanaik

In the Ramayana, Ravan abducts Ram’s wife, Sita, only because Ram’s brother, Lakshman, cuts the nose of his sister, Surpanakha. One can condemn Ravan but his actions can be seen as a reaction to the mutilation of his sister. Likewise, Surpanakha can condemn Ram and Lakshman but their actions are a reaction to her very own abrasive and uncontrolled sexual advances. Every victim likes to believe they are innocent. Unfortunately, every victim is the mother of his or her own tormentor.

According to the karma theory, nothing in life happens without a reason. Every thing that happen to us are actually reactions to actions we have performed in the past. Thus we are never innocent: our karma creates our fortunes and our misfortunes, everything we experience every moment. So we have no one to blame, or thank, but us. We may not remember our past actions, we may not be able to trace the source, but there is no escaping our responsibility.

Karma is often accused of making people fatalistic and not taking responsibility. But not taking responsibility is also action, which has reactions, whether good or bad, only time will tell. But the modern world order rejects karma, and prefers to take action, do something about the terrorist, an action based on the Greek model of heroism.

For many people around the world, America is the monster. So they cheered and danced when the Twin Towers was blown up. For America, the Jihadis are the monsters. So New Yorkers cheered and danced when news came of Osama’s death came. Both believe in their personal righteousness. No one asks: why did the terrorist seek to terrorize?

Today the world has three types of terrorists: the economic terrorist, the environmental terrorist and the cultural terrorist. The economic terrorist fights for jobs that are created only when there is industry and development, which unfortunately comes at a cost to environment. The environmental terrorist fights to save the environment and so is opposed to any kind of industry and development. As new markets are created to sustain industry and ensure development, old habits have to be changed; this threatens cultures and identities creating the cultural terrorist who fears all change, and clings to the past tenaciously.

Thus terrorism is not created in a vacuum; it is closely linked to our growing economic needs. We are a world where everyone is cutting the nose of Surpanakha and is crying foul when Ravan abducts Sita.

The author is Chief Belief Officer of the Future Group, and can be reached at devdutt@devdutt.com

By: Devdutt Pattanaik Date:  2011-05-08 Place: Mumbai

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – Review

Hello,

I Just read the book, the alchemist by Paulo Coelho, I began reading the book since yesterday and just completed it today, and at the end I realized just one thing, as the author suggested throughout his book, ” When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. ” (Page  22, The Alchemist , 1988) .

This is true, but yet it may be perceived in many ways. Throughout the story, the boy, “SANTIAGO”  has one thing in himself, “faith” , “hope”, “dreams” & “Courage” to achieve them.

He was just a normal shepherd boy who had visited an old Gypsy woman, then an old king, then an englishman , fatima his love and then finally the alchemist.

The journey to find the ultimate goal, made the true qualities of gold be revealed from within himself. Each and every person starting from the gypsy woman till the alchemist brought him closer to his dream, and he ultimately achieves it.

I found this book really inspiring because the way how a normal shepherd boy is shown to achieve what he wanted through his will and determination, and following his inner soul and heart.

I recommend this book a must read for everyone who has dreams and is working to achieve those dreams.

 

– Mustafa Mun

 

The Daffodil Principle

 

 

 

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, “Mother, you must come and see the daffodils before they are over.” I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. Going and coming took most of a day – and I honestly did not have a free day until the following week.

“I will come next Tuesday,” I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call. Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and so I drove the length of Route 91, continued on I-215, and finally turned onto Route 18 and began to drive up the mountain highway. The tops of the mountains were sheathed in clouds, and I had gone only a few miles when the road was completely covered with a wet, gray blanket of fog. I slowed to a crawl, my heart pounding. The road becomes narrow and winding toward the top of the mountain.

As I executed the hazardous turns at a snail’s pace, I was praying to reach the turnoff at Blue Jay that would signify I had arrived. When I finally walked into Carolyn’s house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren I said, “Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these darling children that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!”

My daughter smiled calmly, “We drive in this all the time, Mother.”

“Well, you won’t get me back on the road until it clears – and then I’m heading for home!” I assured her.

“I was hoping you’d take me over to the garage to pick up my car. The mechanic just called, and they’ve finished repairing the engine,” she answered.

“How far will we have to drive?” I asked cautiously.

“Just a few blocks,”Carolyn said cheerfully.

So we buckled up the children and went out to my car. “I’ll drive,” Carolyn offered. “I’m used to this.” We got into the car, and she began driving.

In a few minutes I was aware that we were back on the Rim-of-the-World Road heading over the top of the mountain. “Where are we going?” I exclaimed, distressed to be back on the mountain road in the fog. “This isn’t the way to the garage!”

“We’re going to my garage the long way,” Carolyn smiled, “by way of the daffodils.”

“Carolyn, I said sternly, trying to sound as if I was still the mother and in charge of the situation, “please turn around. There is nothing in the world that I want to see enough to drive on this road in this weather.”

“It’s all right, Mother,” She replied with a knowing grin. “I know what I’m doing. I promise, you will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience.”

And so my sweet, darling daughter who had never given me a minute of difficulty in her whole life was suddenly in charge – and she was kidnapping me! I couldn’t believe it. Like it or not, I was on the way to see some ridiculous daffodils – driving through the thick, gray silence of the mist-wrapped mountaintop at what I thought was risk to life and limb.

I muttered all the way. After about twenty minutes we turned onto a small gravel road that branched down into an oak-filled hollow on the side of the mountain. The fog had lifted a little, but the sky was lowering, gray and heavy with clouds.

We parked in a small parking lot adjoining a little stone church. From our vantage point at the top of the mountain we could see beyond us, in the mist, the crests of the San Bernardino range like the dark, humped backs of a herd of elephants. Far below us the fog-shrouded valleys, hills, and flatlands stretched away to the desert.

On the far side of the church I saw a pine-needle-covered path, with towering evergreens and manzanita bushes and an inconspicuous, lettered sign “Daffodil Garden.”

We each took a child’s hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path as it wound through the trees. The mountain sloped away from the side of the path in irregular dips, folds, and valleys, like a deeply creased skirt.

Live oaks, mountain laurel, shrubs, and bushes clustered in the folds, and in the gray, drizzling air, the green foliage looked dark and monochromatic. I shivered. Then we turned a corner of the path, and I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight, unexpectedly and completely splendid. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes where it had run into every crevice and over every rise. Even in the mist-filled air, the mountainside was radiant, clothed in massive drifts and waterfalls of daffodils. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow.

Each different-colored variety (I learned later that there were more than thirty-five varieties of daffodils in the vast display) was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue.

In the center of this incredible and dazzling display of gold, a great cascade of purple grape hyacinth flowed down like a waterfall of blossoms framed in its own rock-lined basin, weaving through the brilliant daffodils. A charming path wound throughout the garden. There were several resting stations, paved with stone and furnished with Victorian wooden benches and great tubs of coral and carmine tulips. As though this were not magnificent enough, Mother Nature had to add her own grace note – above the daffodils, a bevy of western bluebirds flitted and darted, flashing their brilliance. These charming little birds are the color of sapphires with breasts of magenta red. As they dance in the air, their colors are truly like jewels above the blowing, glowing daffodils. The effect was spectacular.

It did not matter that the sun was not shining. The brilliance of the daffodils was like the glow of the brightest sunlit day. Words, wonderful as they are, simply cannot describe the incredible beauty of that flower-bedecked mountain top.

Five acres of flowers! (This too I discovered later when some of my questions were answered.) “But who has done this?” I asked Carolyn. I was overflowing with gratitude that she brought me – even against my will. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“Who?” I asked again, almost speechless with wonder, “And how, and why, and when?”

“It’s just one woman,” Carolyn answered. “She lives on the property. That’s her home.” Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory.

We walked up to the house, my mind buzzing with questions. On the patio we saw a poster. “Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking” was the headline. The first answer was a simple one. “50,000 bulbs,” it read. The second answer was, “One at a time, by one woman, two hands, two feet, and very little brain.” The third answer was, “Began in 1958.”

There it was. The Daffodil Principle.

For me that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than thirty-five years before, had begun – one bulb at a time – to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain top. One bulb at a time.

There was no other way to do it. One bulb at a time. No shortcuts – simply loving the slow process of planting. Loving the work as it unfolded.

Loving an achievement that grew so slowly and that bloomed for only three weeks of each year. Still, just planting one bulb at a time, year after year, had changed the world.

This unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. She had created something of ineffable magnificence, beauty, and inspiration.

The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principle of celebration: learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time – often just one baby-step at a time – learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time.

When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.

“Carolyn,” I said that morning on the top of the mountain as we left the haven of daffodils, our minds and hearts still bathed and bemused by the splendors we had seen, “it’s as though that remarkable woman has needle-pointed the earth! Decorated it. Just think of it, she planted every single bulb for more than thirty years. One bulb at a time! And that’s the only way this garden could be created. Every individual bulb had to be planted. There was no way of short-circuiting that process. Five acres of blooms. That magnificent cascade of hyacinth! All, just one bulb at a time.”

The thought of it filled my mind. I was suddenly overwhelmed with the implications of what I had seen. “It makes me sad in a way,” I admitted to Carolyn. “What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five years ago and had worked away at it ‘one bulb at a time’ through all those years. Just think what I might have been able to achieve!”

My wise daughter put the car into gear and summed up the message of the day in her direct way. “Start tomorrow,” she said with the same knowing smile she had worn for most of the morning. Oh, profound wisdom!

It is pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson a celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, “How can I put this to use tomorrow?”

Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards

 


Walking the pathless path

Sometimes a lesson has to be repeated for thousands of years, not because it wasn’t learned the first time but because new people arrive on the scene.

The lesson I’m thinking of was Siddhartha’s, a prince on the Nepalese border of northern India. He dropped everything and hit the road, becoming the original, or at least the most famous dharma bum. He travelled from master to master with his begging bowl, seeking enlightenment. As Gautama the monk he became impressively austere. Instead of a loving wife, a warm bed, and feasts, he tried the opposite: solitude, sleeping by the wayside, and subsisting on whatever scraps of food he could beg for.

It’s still an appealing choice, because we equate austerity with virtue. If the stress of a chaotic world is too much, perhaps harmony lies along a different, quieter, more solitary road. But the moral of Siddhartha’s tale led a different way. Leaving home didn’t bring enlightenment, nor did austerity, poverty, starving his body, or trying to force his mind to be still. Instead, Siddhartha became someone entirely transformed – the Buddha – when he hit upon a new road, the one called “the pathless path”.

The pathless path isn’t a straight line; it doesn’t even lead from point A to point B. The journey takes place entirely in consciousness. A mind overshadowed by fears, hopes, memories, past traumas, and old conditioning finds a way to become free. This sounds impossible at first. How can the mind that is trapped by pain also be the tool for freeing itself? How can a noisy mind find silence? How can peace emerge from discord?

The Buddha offered his answer, which is a variant on an even more ancient answer from the seers or rishis of Vedic India: transcend the personal mind and find universal mind. The personal mind is tied to the ego, and the ego is forever swinging from pleasure to pain and back again. But if you look at awareness when there is no pleasure or pain, when the mind is calm while simply existing, a fascinating journey begins. You have made the first step on the pathless path.

This is not to dismiss the other path, the one that takes you away from home into a retreat, ashram, meditation centre, or holy place. They have their own atmosphere; seekers have stopped there for a long time; therefore, the mind can breathe a different kind of air, so to speak, an air of tranquillity and peace. When you arrive at such a place, two things usually happen. You soak up the peace, enjoying the contrast with your busy life at home. At the same time you notice how loud your mind is, how much chaos it has absorbed. So these holy places cannot do the work for you. They can only suggest what the pathless path is about.

Kabir sang of spiritual travellers: “There is nothing but water in the holy pools./ I know I have been swimming in them./ All the gods sculpted of wood or ivory can’t say a word./ I know, I have been crying out to them./ The Sacred Books of the East are nothing but words./ I looked through their covers one day sideways./ What Kabir talks of is only what he has lived through./ If you have not lived through something, it is not true.”

These lines don’t deny the worth of spiritual journeying, but they tell us that there is no substitute for first-hand experience. Where you go to find it is irrelevant. The true seeker after truth discovers, sooner or later, that truth was seeking him all along.

DeepakChopra.com

ALL WORLD’S A STAGE

From Shakespeare’s As You Like It, 1600:

JAQUES:
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare