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What is the News?

Date: Sat, 28 May 2011 19:22:58 -0000
Subject: What is the News?


                    == WHAT IS THE NEWS ==

Generally people live in this world without any definite plan or
program. Most are unaware about the greater meaning and aim of life.
They proceed onwards in a whimsical fashion. This is the common way of
human beings.

It was like this in the past and it is like this today also.

Certainly, people have short term material goals such as getting a job,
finding a spouse, buying a house, producing children, and purchasing a
car etc, but rarely do they think about getting old, and least of all
about death. These latter aspects people do not consider. Rather they
naively think they will remain on this earth forever. They think of this
place as their permanent abode.

Hence they remain basically oblivious of the reality: Just as one day we
have come onto this earth, one day we will also go. This fact no one
likes to consider. No one plans in this way - it is extremely rare.


Baba, being the Sadguru, has come to enlighten human beings and show us
the right path. And indeed in countless discourses, stories, and
analogies, Baba reminds us - time and again - about "What is the right

This idea He has given on so many occasions.

Why? Because it is the nature of human beings to get caught up in avidya
maya and take this world as their permanent residence and the entire
reality - when in fact it is just a relative truth. We've come here only
for a short while and nothing in this world is lasting. But people
forget about this fact. That is why Baba brings this point - i.e. that
human life is short - to the fore again and again.

He has given this teaching in Caryacarya (CC-II, 'Sadhana', point #8),
philosophical discourses, stories, shlokas, analogies, and in all kinds
of ways. Because we human beings constantly forget that this world is
not our permanent reality. People live as if they are going to remain on
this earth forever.

In contrast, Baba does not talk about the theory of gravity in dozens
and dozens of discourses. Why? Because already as a people we are aware
that gravity exists and we do not forget this fact. So there is no need
for Baba to remind us of this.

But about the greater meaning and temporary nature of life, people
regularly forget about this. Always we slip back into ignorance. Hence
Baba brings the point again and again.

Here following is one such unique teaching.

                       WHAT IS THE NEWS?

One day a yaks'a approached the great king Yudhisthira.

The yaks'a asked: "What is the news?"

(Note: The sense of his question was what is the real situation of this
material world.)

In reply king Yudhithira told: "The material world is like a frying pan.
The sun is the fire; the day and nights are the fuel. The passing
seasons are the stirring ladle and time is cook. All living entities are
being thus fried in this pan. This is the real news of what is happening
in the material world which is a miserable place full of ignorance."

Such was Yudhisthira's colourful and insightful reply and this is yet
one more way that Baba has brought this critical matter that we have
only come onto this earth for a short time. (Reference: AV(H)-29 chapter

And certainly in so many ways Baba has discussed this point including
during one famous discourse in Mumbai.

                       WHY THIS IS NEWS

The interesting thing about the Yudhithira's above analogy is that the
yaks'a is asking "what is the news". The yaks'a is not asking about
philosophy, ethics, nature of life or anything esoteric like that.

The yaks'a is asking the news, yet such was Yudhisthira's reply.

Why? Because that really is the news. Whenever people are told something
that they do not know then it is news.

Due to avidya maya people commonly forget that they are moving towards
their death. They do not remember the transient nature of life on earth.
People take money, prestige, beauty, attraction and all their worldly
attachments to be of a permanent nature. All their plans and programs
are based on this idea.

They see new-borns come onto this earth, but they never think that one
day they will go.

So Yudhisthira's reply that human beings are in a frying pan proceeding
towards death is indeed news.

It is just like if a coup happened years ago but just today more
revelations about the coup were reported then that would be news. Or
when archaeologists find new fossils. This is also news because human
beings were not aware about these events.

Thus the fact that slowly, slowly we are going towards death - that is
also news.

People think this place is their permanent abode. With that as their
reference point, their behavior, values, logic and reasoning becomes
skewed, even polluted. All of their priorities are based on the false
notion that they will remain here forever and ever. And indeed most live
their life in this way.

They collect cars, chase after the opposite sex, seek out fame and
fortune. They talk all these fleeting things to be the essence of life.

If they thought otherwise, people would keep away from useless
activities like harassing others, fighting, looting, and material
pursuits etc. And they would do more sadhana and help others. But this
is not the case. Just look around and see for yourself.

Thus, Yudhisthira's teaching of thousands of years ago is as relevant
today as it was then. That is why this is the news.

                  HOW WE SHOULD LIVE OUR LIFE

Baba's divine guideline is that we are to complete all important works
(sadhana and service) very soon. There is no guarantee how long we will
survive on this earth. That is why Baba says do all good works
immediately because human life is short. No one decides when they will
come and no one decides when they will go.

Grhiitvaeva keshes'u mrtyurn'a' dharma'caret

Baba says, "That is, during dharma'caran, i.e. dharmic pursuits [following yama and niyama, service, svadhyaya etc] one should think that the god of death has already started pulling one’s hair – that one’s death is imminent. And accordingly one should work sincerely and vigorously; one will have to do a great many noble deeds within a short period." (Subhasita Samgraha, part 11)
Thus we have not a moment to spare. None should get caught up in the
whirlpool of maya and think this world as permanent. None should chase
after frivolous things.

All should bear in mind that we have come here for a limited period and
we have a great many works to do. This is the main outlook of any sadhaka.

One should think: My life is for spiritual practice and serving others,
not carnal pleasures. All Baba's teachings are my food for moving on the
path divine. I must not get swayed by the glitz and glamour of avidya
maya. I am to remember that I am being cooked in one frying pan and
moving towards my death. I utilise my energies for sadhana, not mundane
allurements, then I will achieve eternal life, by His grace.

                        BABA'S BLESSING

By Baba's grace He reminds us again and again that our human life is a
unique opportunity given to us by Parama Purusa. As human beings we are
to take advantage of our free will and do something great - attain Him.
That is what Baba is telling us in Yudhisthira's analogy.

Most of the scriptures of old are filled with thousands of pages of
dogmatic teachings and one has to swift through all those things in
order to find an ounce of truth. Ananda Marga is not like that.

Baba has given us only the most pertinent guidelines to get success:
Remembering the Goal of life is one such guideline. May we always
following His teachings and never get caught up in the whirlpool of
maya, thinking this world to be our permanent abode and chasing after
fleeting fancies.

If we remember the news of the day, we are bound to move on the right
path, by His grace.

Baba says, "If you are asked by God, “What do you want?”, what should
you say?"

"You must say, “O Lord, I want your blessings so that my intellect may
move along the right path.” You know that the intellect is the cause of
your downfall or evolution. So when your mind gets proper direction,
what else would you require?" (AV-21)



                                         PRABHATA SAMGIITA

"A'ka'shabhara' a'jake ta'ra'..." (P.S. 2523)


Baba, the sky of this amavasya night is filled with the stars. The
sweet, nectar-like breeze is blowing mildly. The mind is floating in
divine ecstasy from the known to the unknown world-- towards its final
destination. Baba, ensconced in Your ideation, my mind is getting lost
in Your divine bliss. Baba, the lily flower is constantly looking
towards the sky; the aroma of flowers is emanating all around. They have
forgotten themselves and lost their awareness about their own unit
existence. They restlessly move in the attraction of one call. Baba in
Your longing I am sitting alone, counting the stars. I understand that
by Your grace I have lost myself in this beautiful atmosphere and the
attraction of Your love. Baba, You are ever-gracious and You are always
remaining by my side and guiding me. Baba, on this amavasya night my
heart is yearning and longing for You. Please grace me by coming closer
and still more close...

Re: Not Commonly Known Dangers of Sports

Date: Sat, 28 May 2011 13:32:32 -0400
From: Dharmendra Deva
Subject: Re: Not Commonly Known Dangers of Sports



Yes, I have also seen how dangerous competitive sports can be; I know of many who have suffered life-long injuries. There are so many tragedies in today's sports industry. So I appreciate the initial message of this email thread. (See link appended below)

Also I would like to add points for others to consider, as well as reflect on Baba's way of including fitness into our AM way of life.


As we all know, physical exercise is a necessary component for leading a healthy life. Then one can utilise their body and mind to serve Parama Purusa and His creation.

Accordingly, Baba has designated asanas, kaoshikii and tandava as the main practices for exercising the physical body. In various discourses, Baba has clearly stated that the asanas and dances prescribed in Ananda Marga exercise the glands thereby keeping both body and mind full of vital energy and positive spirit.


Plus, as we all know, Baba advocates taking a brisk walk everyday.

Baba says, "Walk in the fresh air...If the body does not work up a sufficient sweat, then you should know that you have not taken the air properly." (Yogic Treatments, Appendix E)


In addition, games and sports are also encouraged in Ananda Marga.

Baba says, "They will be able to devote ample time to such activities as sports, literary pursuits and spiritual practices." (Problems of the Day, pt #9)

By His above teaching it is clear and very evident that Baba places great value on sports. And the way Baba values sports is radically different from the way sports is valued in the present era.

Baba places value on maximum participation in games and sports so that all may get the benefit. In contrast, the commercialization of sports is based on highlighting elite athletes who play the game while the rest of the society watches. Baba does not approve of this later method.

During general darshan and DMC, Baba would select and allow all kinds of people to do tandava and kaoshikii. He would not select only the same people again and again. It is not that only the best dancers would be put on display. Baba wants that everyone should participate in their personal daily routine; and during general darshan and DMC, Baba would welcome anyone's participation. In fact He would rotate new people into the cycle. Because Baba's clear directive is that kaoshikii and tandava are for all - not just for the elite few. His aim is to encourage all the participate.

In contrast, to participate in sports in today's competitive society, such as for a school team - let alone semi-pro or even pro sports - one must train day-long to be good enough to play. In that way, only a small percentage compete in sports while most of the so-called modern world has turned into a society of spectators or "couch potatoes". They become awed watching highly-trained athletes compete and they think their job is to sit, watch, and spend lots of money on tickets and memorabilia. In that way the theme and essence of sports becomes lost. Sports has become an industry or capitalist venture.

Whereas Baba distinctly advises that sports and games are for cent-per-cent participation by all. Plus Baba wants that we practice asanas, mudras, and bandhas. In individual live everyone must do these regularly, i.e. twice daily.

At the same time, on the collective level, Baba does appreciate healthy competition with respect to sports and games. That is why there are kaoshikii and tandava competitions where Baba would even distribute prizes at DMC. Plus at SSAC camps, games and sports were organized in the form of tournaments and competitions.

Yet all along, the main message Baba has given is that everyone should exercise and keep their physical body in good condition while still striving for psychic and psycho-spiritual development.

Baba says, "Be physically fit, mentally developed and spiritually elevated." (Prout Nutshell, part 21, Nuclear Revolution)

So Baba's message is that everyone should exercise regularly and keep their physical body healthy and disease-free. Games and sports are for all - not just elite athletes as has happened with the commercialization of sports in this capitalist era.


One other clear-cut benefit of sports is what is often termed as the "intangibles", i.e. the non-physical benefits of sports. These qualities include teamwork, leadership, spiritedness, perseverance, friendship, and so much more. These qualities are not found in the rule book nor can they be tangibly measured, but these also stand as an important aspect and indeed benefit of sports. Any coach, manager or announcer will tell you that.

And for this reason also Baba fully encourages everyone - especially youths - to participate in both individual and team sports and games.


As neatly detailed in the initial letter on this topic, the tragedy is that in today's overly-competitive, commercial market, sports has become an avenue primarily for the elite where so many are fallen, injured and killed. Training is intense and big corporate sponsorships are more concerned with profit than with the health and well-being of the athletes. Unfortunately, this defective mentality has even invaded our high school level sports. So in today's environment, sports has often become a hazard. Yet, this is not what is usually reported in the newspapers and on-line; rather all the headlines glorify the top stars and overlook all those who suffered injury, illness, disability and even death.


By Baba's grace He has prescribed the perfect system for living a healthy, balanced life. Baba guides us that our human personality is three fold: Physical, psychic, and spiritual. We must not neglect any sphere; we must not neglect physical exercise. If we follow Baba's system and do asanas, kaoshikii and tandava, and keep attuned to His other guidelines like walking etc, then we will best be able to serve Him and propagate AM ideals. Then our bodies will not become crippled and incapacitated at an early or even late age.

Baba says, "...In order to march ahead on the road of human welfare, we will have to strengthen ourselves in all the arena of life. The complete seeds of welfare in all the spheres – physical, mental, moral, social and spiritual – are embedded in the sixteen points. Hence be firm on the sixteen points." (Ananda Vanii #45)



Here is the original letter on this topic...

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