uvAcha Quiz – 11

The original ‘Panchatantra’ was written by

  1. Samudra Gupta
  2. Vishnu Sharma
  3. Kalidasa
  4. Tulsidasa

 

Which of the following is generally considered as the oldest literary work in the history of the world

  1. The Rigveda
  2. The Yajurveda
  3. Mahabharata
  4. The Bible

 

Which sage was credited for organizing voluminous vedic literature into four distinct vedas

  1. Sage Jaimini
  2. Sage Vyasa
  3. Sage Vasishta
  4. Sage Yajnavalkya

 

Which of the following Upanishads contain the teaching of ‘Lord of Death’ (Yama Dharmaraja) to the little boy Nachiketas

  1. Kena Upanishad
  2. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
  3. Isavashya Upanishad
  4. Katha Upanishad

 

Tolkappiyam is a treatise on which grammar

  1. Malayalam
  2. Telugu
  3. Tamil
  4. Kannada

 

Answers for uvAcha quiz – 10

(a)  Vikram Sarabhai (b)  Prafulla Chandra Ray  (c)  Homi J Bhabha  (d)  1930  (e)  Jamshedji Tata

LITERATURES OF INDIA

The ancient literature is the crowning glory of the Indian civilization. No other part of the world has produced such voluminous literature of knowledge and wisdom.

Some of the famous ancient literatures are :

 BRAHMASUTRA

brahmasutra

The Brahmasutras are texts which establish the theory of Upanishads on the basis of logic.  The Brahmasutras were written by Veda Vyasa.  It has four adhyayas (chapters) and 191 Adhikaranas.  Each Adhikarana has a magnificent pattern.  It starts with a statement (Vishaya), then it follows a doubt (Visaya), counter argument (Poorvapaksha), reply (Uttara) and a conclusion.  The first chapter brings out the coherent importance of the Upanishads by elucidating the apparently doubtful pronouncements.  The second chapter works out philosophical defene of Vedantic stand points.  The third chapter outlines the spiritual pathway to the supreme goal of life while the fourth chapter discusses the nature of that goal itself.

 UPANISHADS

upanishad

The Upanishads are the end part of the Vedas which briefly expound the philosophic principles of the Vedas and are considered the essence of the Vedas.  The word Upanishad derives from the Sanskrit root ‘sads’ with the prefixes ‘upa’ and ‘ni’ i.e., sitting down near, which refers to groups of pupils sitting near their teacher to learn from him the secret doctrine.  The philosophy of the Upanishads is sublime, profound, lofty and soul-stirring.  the Upanishads speak of the identity of the individual soul and the Supreme soul.  They reveal the most subtle and deep spiritual truths. The instructions is given in the form of a dialogue, between the disciple and the teacher.  Sometimes the student asked questions and the teacher clarifies it through the points in philosophy.  They focus on the way of life, culture and manners, the origin of the universe, the human potential and every conceivable thought related to man and his destiny. There are total 109 Upanishads according to the Muktika Upanishad.

PANCHATANTRA

panchatantra

The Panchatantra is the best collection of stories in the world, with certain principles or ideology to be conveyed to children.  The original collection in Sanskrit contains 84 stories is a Nitishastra giving principles for the wise conduct of life.   The stories adopt animal characters which are pleasing to the children as well as grown ups.  The original Sanskrit work, which some scholars believe was composed around the 3rd century BCE is attributed to Vishnu Sharma.  Through cross-border mutations, adaptations and translations, the Panchatantra remains the most popular work of literature, especially amongst storytellers.

THIRUKKURAL

thirukural

The Thirukkural is the work of the great saint of South India, named Tiruvalluvar.  It is the most outstanding and inspiring popular work on general ethics, political principles and happy married life.  A world that lives by its teachings shall enjoy eternal peace, harmony, health, wealth, power, grace and bliss.  It is the greatest treasure-house of wisdom in Tamil, and the gift of Tamilnadu to the world.  It is on par with the Bhagavadgita and the Dhammapada.  The Thirukkural is divided into three sections dealing with the three goals of people who want to life a full life in this world.  Aram, Porul and Kama corresponding to the three Purusharthas – Dharma, Artha and Kama respectively.  There are 1330 Kural couplets, divided into 133 chapters, each containing ten Kurals.

TOLKAPIYAM

tolkapiyam

‘Tolkapiyam’ the name signifying the ‘ancient books’ or ‘the preserver of ancient institutions’, was written by Tolkapiyanar.  It is the oldest Tamil grammar dating back to 500 BC.  Iyal is elucidated clearly and systematically in Tolkapiyam containing about 1610 suttirams (aphorisms), in three parts – ezuthu (orthography), sol (etymology) and porul (literary conventions and usages).  Each of which comprise nine sections.  While the first two parts are interesting for both linguistic and philological points of view, the third poruladhikaram is most valuable as it gives a glimpse of the political, social and religious life of the people during the period, when the author of this treatise lived.

 

 

 

 

Involving the Children in Nation Building

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to school children on 5th September on occasion of Teachers’ Day is a pioneering and welcome initiative to involve children in nation building.

The enthusiasm and interest with which the children participated and in the way the Prime Minister grabbed their attention are positive signs.  Teachers’ need to follow this gesture and engage children to educate and also help them handle their current challenges.

The Prime Minster had also called upon students to save electricity and maintain cleanliness as part of nation building activity.  Small steps make a big difference.  It makes the child feel proud by taking a small step like saving electricity and gain the satisfaction of contributing to nation building.  It makes them feel involved.

We wish schools, teachers and parents follow up on this and engage them in more number of activities.

A determined Nachiketas…

Ankur picks up a twig and places it on the branch of a tree.  There is a breeze and the twig falls down.  He and his friend Kala, the crow were trying to place the twigs on top of the tree to make a nest. It has been three hours since they have started this effort but could not place even one twig on the branch.

“Ankur, see this! see this!” exclaimed Kala.

He had been finally able to place the twig in the right position so that it does not fall.  They quickly started gathering more twigs and started giving the nest a shape.  Finally, by the dusk they were able to complete building the nest.

nest

Rishi had been silently observing this all through the day.  He was amazed by the effort taken by these two little birds to build a nest.

He congratulates the friends…  “Ankur and Kala, Congratulations. You both have done a wonderful job.”

They both smiled in acknowledgment.

“Where is Ankita?  She is not to be seen.  Why did you not call her for help?” asked Rishi.

“She is off to a picnic along with her friends” replied Ankur.

“Oh! I See. Why you did not join her?” asked Rishi.

“I stayed back to help my friend, Kala build the nest.  She wanted to start her family soon.”

“Wow!  This is wonderful.  You remind me of Nachiketas” Rishi expressed happily.

“Nachiketas?  Who is this?”, Ankur enquired.

“He is a small little boy. The hero of Kathopanishad”

“Whaw!  So, he is a young hero.  I would like to know his story” Ankur expressed interest. Rishi started narrating the story.

“Nachiketas is the son of Vajrashravas, a great sage.  Once he performed a great yagna. At the end of the yagna, as is customary, he invites the poor and needy and starts giving away his cows and other wealth. Little Nachiketas was observing all this with great enthusiasm.  He observed that his father is giving away only old clothes, unusable things, old and dry cows retaining with him all the new and healthy ones.  Nachiketas was worried.

nachiketa2

He felt this type of donation would only invite worry and misery to his father.  He somehow mustered courage to question his father. He went and asked him “Whom would you give me away to?”

His father laughed, kissed his son on the forehead, hugged and said “You are my dearest son.  Whom would I give you away to?  You would be always with me.  You don’t worry” said Vajrashravas.

“But father, you are supposed to give away all your possessions.  I am also your possession.  So you need to give me away” Nachiketas insisted.

“Oh! stop this nonsense Nachiketas.  I am not going to give you to anyone” shouted Vajrashravas.

“But father, if you do not give me away how will you get the benefit of performing this Yagna” Nachiketas doesn’t relent.

Vajrashravas was tried with all activities related to Yagna.  He could not be patient with Nachiketas anymore.  He shouts “I would give you away to death and now get away from here”

nachiketa1

Nachiketas is happy that his father has taken the right path by choosing to give him away – his best possession, even though it means pain for Nachiketas.  He was glad that his father had taken the right path instead of a pleasurable one.  He wanted to follow the path of his father – the path of right and proceeds to Yamaloka.”

“This act of yours Ankur, reminded me of Nachiketas. You did not make a choice that is easy and pleasurable – to go with your sister on a holiday, but decided to stay back to help your friend and put in a long day of tiresome work to build the nest.  I admire your perseverance and your friend’s too”

“Thank you Rishi.  But what happens to Nachiketas after that?  Does he reach Yamaloka?  What happens over there” Ankur’s questions won’t stop.

Rishi smiles.  “I know you won’t let go, just like Nachiketas”

He continues with the story… “Nachiketas proceeds to yamaloka. At the entrance of yamaloka he comes to know that Lord Yama has gone out and would take time to be back.  Nachiketas waits near the gate for three days and three nights till Lord Yama arrives. On his arrival, Lord Yama enquires about Nachiketas and was surprised to note the strong will of the little boy.

He felt bad that a small little boy had to wait at his door steps for three days and nights.  After serving him well, he asks Nachiketas to ask for three boons which he would grant in lieu of the three days he had to wait at the gate.

Nachiketa first asks for happiness and wellbeing of his father.  Yama grants him the same.

yama-nachiketa

He then enquires about the fire rituals to be practiced to attain swarga (heaven) and be happy over there. Yama notices that the child is not asking anything for himself.  He is impressed. He then grants to him the second boon by answering Nachiketas’ doubts.

As the third boon, Nachiketas seeks to know about the secret of, ‘what happens after death’. Yama is taken for a shock. He is surprised at the inquisitiveness of such a young child. Wanting to test his determination, Yama says, “Death is a mystery even to the Gods and so cannot explain the same to you. You may ask for any other boon.”

He offers him a very long life, lots of wealth, pleasures, power, etc.  But Nachiketas is intelligent.  He knows that, all these had no value when compared to the knowledge he had sought. As a last attempt, Yama tries offering him the boon to live as long as he wants and the power to rule the entire world.

But Nachiketas insists to know what happens after death.  Convinced of the determination of the young boy to stick to the right path and not get distracted by anything that is less interesting, Yama finally shares the secret to Nachiketas.

Ankur exclaims, “Oh! So twice Nachiketa makes the right choice and on both occasions he sticks to the right decision. What perseverance!  But Rishi, my decision to stay back and help my friend is such a small thing compared to what Nachiketas has done. I think it is inappropriate to compare me with Nachiketas.

Rishi smiles again.  “I agree with you.  I said, you reminded me of Nachiketas.  To make right choices in smaller aspects of life and showing perseverance to follow through the choice, is the first step to develop determination and perseverance, like Nachiketas.

“Whaw! we started loving Nachiketas. Thanks for sharing the story Rishi. We shall strive to emulate him… Ankita should have been back by now from the picnic. Need to catch up with her. Bye! Rishi.”

P.S: Ankur acknowledges and thanks the artists of the images and the internet for making them available on-line…

JIVA VIGYAN – A Holistic LIFE-SKILLS Education Program

Life-SKILLS education in schools has become a need today to make academic education holistic and complete.

Ankur is proud to present you an overview of JIVA VIGYAN – a holistic Life-SKILLS education program for school and college students

SCAN YOUR DAY

Do you want to improve the quality of your life on a day-to-day basis?  Do you want your today to be better than yesterday?  Here is a simple technique which can help you achieve that.

Every day before going to bed, scan the events that happen during the day in half an hour intervals.  For eg:  If you are doing this at 9 pm, recollect what has happened from 8.30 – 9 pm, then 8 – 8.30 pm, then 7.30 – 8 pm.  Like this go on till the time you woke up that morning.

Note:

  1. You are just being a witness watching the events of the day like you are watching a movie.
  1. You may initially doze off to sleep without scanning the day. But it is OK.  Over time you will be able to scan the day completely before sleeping off.

2 Approaches to Career Planning

Success means different things to different people.  What does it mean to you?

Ramesh wanted to be successful like his cousins and other relatives.  He constantly saw them exhibiting latest gadgets, travel a lot, party, etc.  He believed once he gets enough money he will also be able to have that kind of lifestyle.

On completing 12th Std, most of his friends took up engineering, as they found better prospects. Strongly influenced by his friends he also took up the course and came out with flying colours.

While in his final year, in a career counselling session he attended, the counsellor mentioned that pursuing a management degree after engineering will give added advantage in pursuit of well-paid jobs and higher growth prospects. He found the suggestion interesting… that was something different. He completed a post-graduate program in management from a reputed management institute.

As anticipated he was among the few sought after graduates by the visiting companies during campus placement.  He was extremely happy for making the right moves at the right time.  With a starting salary package of whopping Rs. 25 lakhs per annum he considered himself well settled in life.

Ramesh is going to celebrate his 5th anniversary in the company next week.  He did not switch jobs.  He gave his 100% in the company and achieved all the financial goals he had for the 5th year of career.  But Ramesh isn’t excited about the progress.  He feels a sense of vacuüm.

This is not something uncommon today.  Despite achieving heights in career and financial goals many are left dis-satisfied.  Not to mention the status of those who have not been able to reach their goals.

Like Ramesh, many people chose their career based on the influence of the environment, peers, parents and relatives, giving limited attention to what they actually want to do in their life.  They are hardly aware of what they are good at, what are their strengths and their weaknesses, what do they really value in life.

As it is nicely put in the movie, 3 Idiots, Lata Mangeshkar wouldn’t have been successful in cricket or Sachin Tendulkar would have been a failure had his father insisted him to be a musician or engineer. Each one has a unique strength and a value they would like to stand by at all costs. Hence, there are two possible approaches towards career planning.

Vision or Goal based approach

  1. In this approach one identifies what one values the most – money, relationship, name and fame or any other value? What one aspires to be five or ten years down the line?
  2. Then identify current strengths and weaknesses vis-à-vis what one aspires to be. This may be nowhere near to the qualities or strengths required to become what one aspires for…
  3. However, it is not a doomed situation. One can always start from where they are and work towards building the strengths required to achieve their coveted goal.

Strength or Bottom-up approach

  1. In this approach one would first identify their current strengths and weaknesses; likes and dislikes; and inclinations.
  2. Then look out for career options that gel with the above.
  3. Build on the strengths and work on weaknesses to achieve greater heights in the chosen career path.

What is the cost you are willing to pay to SUCCEED?

Having achieved what you want to achieve, when you look back…

Are you like a lone pillar standing tall but your near and dear ones left behind? Are you successful like a pyramid where the fruits of your success trickles down till the bottom of the pyramid taking cognizance of the contribution of your well-wishers?

You see your children are asleep by the time you reach home. They are off to school by the time you are up in the morning. You see your children grow tall in their bed…

What is the cost you are willing to pay in terms of your relationships while building a successful career?

It is said that most people run all their life in pursuit of money at the cost of their health and in the end spend all the money to take care of their health. Irregular eating habits, poor diet, emotional imbalances, stress-filled life, sleepless nights and sleeping pills… Do these define your lifestyle?

What is the cost you are paying in terms of your health to build a Successful Career? Is it worth?

Imagine…

Your home is clean and hygienic.  The moment you step out you see a huge pile of garbage. You establish a highly successful industry. The wastage from your factory pollutes the land and water bodies around. Put all the gold and money on one side of a weighing scale and the earth on the other. Can all the gold over-weigh the earth?

Industrial revolution, technological advancements, gadgets, etc., have affected the environment to a great extent today. Global warming is posing a serious threat to the existence of many life forms and well established coastal cities and townships across the globe.

What is the cost you are paying in terms of your environment in pursuit of your financial goals?

Financial success, name and fame achieved at the cost of relationships, health and environment… Is this closer to your definition of Success?

Have you defined what success means to you?

What is your definition of success?

To know how we at Ankur define success, please click the linkThe story called Success

Value Added Success

A mobile app or mobile model that is developed today lose significance in a few months.

Technology platforms for mobile applications may last slightly longer.

The concept of mobiles has still longer life-line.

Discovery of fire, wheel, time, numbers, etc., probably has longest and widest relevance.

Thinking deeper… we can infer two essential aspects of an achievement/discovery.

  • Its relevance over a time period
  • Its relevance for wider population

More generic an achievement much wider and long-lasting is the relevance. With specialisation, the relevance diminishes. Of course, we are not advocating against specialisation. Specialisation should be inbuilt within generalisation.

You come first in your class, it is a proud moment for you.

You take care of the needs of your family members, your family will be proud of you.

You build enough wealth that will last several generations, your lineage will be proud of you.

You contribute something significant in the field you are involved in, people in the field will be proud of you. All great influencers in different fields like business, sports, music, arts, etc., come under this category.

You contribute something significant to change the face of the society or humanity as a whole, humanity will be proud of your success. Great influencers like Gandhi, Lincoln, Mandela, etc., are examples of such great achievers.

Success and achievement will always begin at the personal level. As one shares the fruits of such success and achievement with more people, their circle of influence expands. By expanding the definition of “I” to include more people from the family, locality and humanity as a whole, one can think bigger, expand their goals and add more value to their success.

Let’s look at a contemporary example… Facebook was initially started for friends in a college to keep in touch. When they realised that the need to keep in touch has much wider applicability, they made continuous and progressive improvisations to become one of the largest used social networking forums globally. Attention is drawn to the fact that founders of facebook were aware and conscious of the needs of the people around. As they quickly adapted, stayed relevant and fulfilled the needs of more people around, value of their success enhanced.

Does this mean that facebook will last forever. May be not… It depends on its ability to adapt, innovate and stay relevant.

Change is the essence. Neither success nor failure is permanent. Whatever you develop or achieve, loses value over a time. As things around changes, the needs also change. For decades typewriter was a very useful tool. Shorthand and typewriting were necessary skills for employment and growth. Today they are no more relevant.

An individual/organisation/discovery should be agile and adaptable to the changing needs to stay relevant and successful for longer time period. Ability to let go is a necessary skill. One need to let go of earlier learnings, beliefs / successful products; be aware of the changing trends; relearn and adapt according to the changing situations to stay successful.

Cultures, religions and civilisations that had this attribute survived the test of time while others perished.

Where do you, your goals and achievements stand?

Envision Your Success…

Kunti with clarity in vision mothers and nurtures Pandavas, while Gandhari lacking that vision could not provide right guidance to Kauravas. Kauravas, hundred in number had to ultimately face defeat in the hands of five Pandavas.

A clear vision of what you want to be in life, an awareness of what you really value in life will help you pursue the same and plan a successful career.

An idea of where you want to reach, direction of the wind and your current location will help you steer the boat in the direction of your destination. Lack of either of the above would leave you in the midst of the ocean direction-less.

When we talk of vision there are three elements involved

  1. clear sight – the ability to see what is obvious, visible to the eyes
  2. insight – the ability to read between the lines and understand more than what is obvious
  3. foresight – the ability to see what is non-existent today. It is being imaginative and creative.

Envisioning one’s success is dependent on clarity of one’s vision.

Clarity of one’s strengths and weaknesses (clear sight); an insight into the means of building on the strengths and overcoming weaknesses are likened to being aware of one’s current location.

One’s aspirations and goals are likened to the destination one wants to steer the boat towards. In this context, foresight is extended to the ability to envision the likely direction of winds and making alternate plans (paths) to be implemented based on arising circumstances.

Agility, perseverance and endurance guided by intelligence help one to steer the boat successfully towards the destination.

Daily SWAN habit with periodic analysis helps one to develop clear sight and insight.

Visualization meditations, trataka, etc., help to develop foresight.

Creative intelligence fostered with the strength of yamas and niyamas; a clear understanding of the five forces which keep us going; consistent updation of one’s knowledge; and awareness of the changing situations around provides the required agility, perseverance and endurance.

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