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Pope Francis' Big Bang remark: God not magician with a magic wand

LONDON, Oct 29: Pope Francis has sent ripples among believers and non-believers by declaring that evolution and the Big Bang theory are right and that God is not “a magician with a magic wand”.

At a meeting of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Sciences Monday, he said the two scientific theories weren’t incompatible with the existence of a creator. In remarks interpreted by many as putting an end to the idea of creationism, Pope Francis said, “When we read about creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so”.

“He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfilment. The Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it.”

“Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”

The church has long been held as anti-science. In the 16th century, Italian physicist Galileo was forced to retract his ‘heretic’ theory that the earth revolved around the sun.

But its position has gradually shifted. Recently, former pope Benedict XVI apparently endorsed the idea that ‘intelligent design’ underpins evolution, suggesting ‘natural selection’ alone is insufficient to explain the complexity of the world.

Yoga once in a week may relieve lower back pain, cut pain medication

WASHINGTON: Practising yoga just once a week may be enough to provide lower back pain relief and reduce the need for pain medication, a new study has found.

Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC) have found that a weekly yoga class provided similar lower back pain relief and reduced the need for pain medication as twice weekly classes in lower income minority patients.

The results of the study indicate that patients interested in trying yoga for lower back pain could benefit from attending a medically appropriate weekly yoga class, researchers said.
While previous studies have shown that yoga can be an effective treatment for chronic lower back pain, few studies have studied this among specific populations.

"Lower income patients often have worse lower back pain due to limited access to both mainstream health care treatments and complementary treatments such as yoga, massage and acupuncture," said study\'s first author Robert Saper, associate professor of family medicine at BUSM and director of integrative medicine at BMC.

In the 12-week randomised trial, 95 predominantly low-income adults suffering from moderate to severe lower back pain were divided into two groups.One group attended yoga class once a week and the other attended twice a week, and both groups were encouraged to practice the poses and techniques at home.

At the end of the 12 weeks, both groups of participants experienced similar and substantial decreases in their pain level and need for pain medications, but there was no additional benefit seen in those attending twice aweek.

Also, their ability to perform daily functions improved. "Given the similar improvement seen in once weekly yoga classes, and that once a week is more convenient and less expensive, we recommend patients suffering from lower back pain who want to pursue yoga attend a weekly therapeutic yoga class," said Saper. The study was published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

What is the real purpose of our Birth?

Well many theories and many answers by many people. Repayment of Karma ? May Be. But why is it that souls do not stick to the spirit world ? Why do they enter the cycle of birth and then enter a body. Live a life. And then get liberated with Sins and Karma back to the Spirit world.

The truth. I do not Know. But there are instances which compel me to mysticise about the truth about the real essence of birth cycle.

Imagine a day, without Sunrise and Sunset. A day, without the need to attend your daily chores. A day where there would be no hunger, no thrist and for that matter no pain and thus no pleasure. Nothing to look forward to. A day, without the feeling of spending time (and money) with your family and friends. No birthday parties and get togethers. And for the newer generation, no movies and facebook !

Well just imagine. How many of us would like to be in a world as mentioned above. And for how many days ? And if i consider the Brahm time ... How many Yugs ? Sounds utterly boring ? It is. Certainly.

We all are born, basis our Karma from our past lives, to live a Life! Lets enjoy everything that this life offers to us. The pain and the sufferings, our time with the ebbs and the time with the almighty. Be a Human. Practice Humanity. Because the end is certainly going to be spiritual - in the spirit world, if it exists i suppose.

Do not waste your time thinking about the end. About what would happen when we die? How will we shape up in the after life. The after life was certainly not so happening place, that made you take this birth. To enjoy - but a word of caution. DO NOT EXPLOIT and certainly DO NOT HARM others. Live a blissful life. A life that will make you feel proud and good. Do deeds that will reflect pleasure in the eyes of the unknoen. Rule in a way that others feel blessed with your presence. This is what is the purpose you have come to fulfill.

Well be the support of your parents, a Friend of Virtues and A King of Hearts. Then certainly, your this life and many of the after lives will be truly fulfilled.

Bless All.

Art of Solving Problems

By Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

NEW DELHI: In life, something that stops or bothers you is a problem. Everyone has similar problems like those of relationship, job/finance, health, and lastly big worries about the country. You can solve problems by, firstly, not having the problem at all. Know that life is too short to keep solving problems one after another. Just wake up and walk ahead, problems will get solved by themselves.

Second, know that the problem is not real.

Third, know that nature has provided you the solution even before giving you the problem. When it snows, there are no bacteria since no herbs to heal you grow in that season. In spring, the herbs come first and then the bugs. In summer, the shade comes before the sun gets strong.

So, nature takes good care of you. And solutions will come to you when you are calm and collected, you use your intelligence, are active and have strong faith in the Divine law. Willingly accept the problem and see it as a challenge because there is no problem that cannot be solved. Things like doing spiritual practices, listening to people who have more problems than you and serving them can do good to you.

Problems help us move from imperfection to perfection. A seed contains the tree but the seed has to cease to be a seed to become a tree. Neither the seed nor the sapling is perfect. It has to cease to be a sapling to become a tree.

So, in life you can either see imperfection at every step, or you can see a movement from one perfection to another.

Every problem, once solved, becomes an experience and each experience completes you. In the progression of life, you will leave behind every experience saying, "This is nothing." Anything that is completed loses its importance.

That is to say it leads you to void or nothing. A sign of intelligence is how soon you arrive at this understanding. Examine everything in life and say “This is nothing”. What remains after all that is love, and that is everything.

The Five Points of Yoga

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI: The Yogi sees life as a triangle; the body undergoes birth, growth, change, decay and death. The growth period reaches a plateau at about 18 to 20 years. In the first years of life, the "youthful period", the rate of cell rejuvenation (anabolic) exceeds the rate of cell decay (catabolic). The body then maintains equilibrium from the age of 20 until around 35, when the decaying or catabolic process begins to take precedence. The body machine starts its decline, resulting in "old age" with its accompanying ills and despairs.

However, the yogis say that were not born merely to be subject to pain, suffering, disease and death. There is a far greater purpose to life. But, the spiritual investigation of life's purpose requires keen intellect and strong will, products of a healthy body and mind.

For this reason, the ancient sages developed an integral system to retard the decaying process, and keep the physical and mental faculties strong. This system of Yoga is simple, natural programme involving five main principles:

1. Proper Exercise
2. Proper Breathing
3. Proper Relaxation
4. Proper Diet
5. Positive Thinking and Meditation

Yoga is life of self-discipline based on the tenets of "simple living and high thinking". The body is seen as a temple or vehicle for the soul, and has specific requirements which must be fulfilled for it to function smoothly. The body is very much like an automobile which too requires the five things: a lubricating system, a battery, a cooling system, fuel and a responsible driver behind the wheels.

Now let us look at the human needs:

Proper Exercise acts as a lubricating routine to the joints, muscles ligaments, tendons, and other parts of the body by increasing circulation and flexibility. Yogic Asanas are designed not only to develop the body but also the mental faculties and the spiritual capacities.

Proper Breathing aids the body in connecting to its battery, the solar plexus, where tremendous potential energy is stored. When tapped through specific Yoga breathing techniques (Pranayama), this energy is released for physical and mental rejuvenation. The most important thing about good breathing is the Prana, or subtle energy of the vital breath. Control of the Prana leads to control of the mind. Pranayama thus means the control of the vital energy. All diseases of the body can be destroyed at the root by controlling and regulating the Prana.

Proper Relaxation cools down the system, as does the radiator of a car. When the body and mind are continually overworked, their efficiency diminishes. Relaxation is Nature's way of recharging the body.

Proper Diet provides the correct fuel for the body. Optimum utilization of food, air water, and sunlight is essential. The Yogic diet is a vegetarian one, consisting of pure, simple, natural foods which are easily digested and promote health. Simple meals aid the digestion and assimilation of foods. Nutritional requirements fall under five categories: protein, carbohydrates, minerals, fats and vitamins. All natural foods (fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and grains) have, in varying quantities, different proportions of these essential nutrients. A healthy motto is: "eat to live, not live to eat". A Yogic diet will help you attain a high standard of health, keen intellect and serenity of mind.

Positive Thinking and Meditation puts you in control. The intellect is purified. The lower nature is brought under conscious control through steadiness and concentration of mind.

Meditation is an experience that cannot be described. One cannot learn to meditate, anymore than one can learn to sleep. One falls into both states. If you meditate for half an hour daily, you will be able to face life with peace and spiritual strength. Meditation is the most powerful mental and nerve tonic. It opens the door to intuitive knowledge and realms of eternal bliss. The mind becomes calm and steady.

Krishna the Teacher - I

Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Lord KrishnaThough the Gita accepts the belief in avatara as the Divine limiting Himself for a purpose on earth, it also lays stress on the eternal avatara, the God in man.

The two views are not incompatible with each other. The teacher, interested in the spiritual illumination of the human race, speaks from the depths of the Divine in him.

Krishna's avatara is an illustration of the Spirit in us, the Divine hidden in gloom. According to the Bhagavata Purana, "at midnight, in the thickest darkness, the Dweller in every heart revealed Himself in the divine Devaki, for the Lord is the self hidden in the hearts of all beings."

The meaning of the birth of Krishna is the fact of redemption in the dark night. A sudden flash, an illumination and life is seen fresh and new. When the Divine birth takes place within us, the scales fall from our eyes, the bolts of the prison open.

The Lord abides in the heart of every creature and when the veil of that secret sanctuary is withdrawn, we hear the Divine voice, receive the Divine light, act in the Divine power. The incarnation of Krishna is not so much the conversion of Godhead into flesh as the taking up of manhood into God.

The teacher slowly guides his pupil. The pupil, Arjuna, is the type of the struggling soul who has not yet received the saving truth.

He is fighting with the forces of darkness, falsehood, limitation and mortality which bar the way to the higher world. The rider in the chariot of the body is Arjuna but Krishna has to guide the journey Every individual is a pupil.

With faith, God becomes the guide. As for the validity of the teaching, it is of little moment whether Krishna is a figure of history or God descended into man, for the realities of the spirit are the same now as they were thousands of years ago.


God’s symbol, according to Patanjali, is the syllable AUM. This sound is divine: it stands in praise of divine fulfillment. AUM is the universal sound (sabda brahman). Philosophically, it is regarded as the seed of all words. No word can be uttered without the symbolic sound of these three letters, a, u, and m. AUM represents communion with God, the Soul and with the Universe.AUM is known as pranava, or exalted praise of God. God is worshipped by repeating or chanting AUM, because sound vibration is the subtlest and highest expression of nature. AUM repeated with the feeling and awareness of its meaning, overcomes obstacles of Self – Realisation.

The Sanskrit word Aum, according to Sri Vinoba Bhave, conveys the concept of omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotent. The symbol AUM is composed of three syllables, namely the letter A, U, M and when written has a crescent and a dot on its top. A few of the various interpretations given to it are mentioned here to convey its meaning.

The letter A symbolizes the conscious or waking state (jagrata avastha), the letter U the dream state (svapana avastha) and the letter M the dreamless sleep state (susupta avastha) of the mind and spirit. The entire symbol, together with the crescent and the dot, stands for the fourth state (turiya avastha), which combines all these states and transcends them. This is the state of Samadhi.

The three letters also represent the dimensions of length, breadth and depth, while the entire symbol represents Divinity, which is beyond the limitation of shape and form.

The three letters A,U and M symbolizes the absence of desire, fear and anger, while the whole symbol stands for the perfect man (asthita prajna), one whose wisdom is firmly established in the divine.

They also depict the three stages yogic discipline, namely, asana, pranayama and pratyahara. The entire symbol represents Samadhi, the goal for which the three stages are the steps.

They also represent the triad of Divinity, namely, Brahma - the Creator, Vishnu - the Maintainer, and Shiva – the Destroyer of the universe. The whole symbol is said to represent Brahman from which the universe emanates.

Meditation leads to peace of mind

By Prem Sehgal

In this present environment of the world, greed and selfishness have overpowered the body, mind and intellect of man. As a result of this, he has lost the peace of mind resulting in various physical and mental problems. The solution of this problem lies only in religion and spiritualism. To achieve success in this field, control of mind, concentration and meditation are the best means. Mind torments man in the field of his day-to-day life and the worldly problems. What is mind after all? It is only a bundle of thoughts. According to the saints, the mind is like water, basically pure and divine but is made impure or coloured by our good or bad actions.

For concentration and meditation, control of mind is the first requisite. Logic and studies alone will not suffice. It requires continuous practice to bring the mind under discipline. As we are deeply engrossed in our busy living and are torn asunder by various desires and attachments, it is but natural that our mind remains restless and wanders away from one object to another. But it is possible to bring it under control during meditation by utilizing the major part of the mind for concentration and some of it as a watchful eye. It is natural with the mind to run wild with other thoughts, but watchful eye would be able to bring it back again and again and keep it disciplined.

If we are travelling in a train with a robber, knowing fully well his evil designs, it would be imperative for us to remain very careful and vigilant from this companion, apart from the act of travelling with him. There is a beautiful simile of the man walking with a cup full of milk in his hand. As the milk from the overfilled cup is bound to fall down, if the person is not careful and cautious, he has got to keep a watchful eye on the cup of milk over and above the act of walking. This constant watchful eye can play an important part in stopping the mind from fruitless wandering during the period of meditation. It is not an easy task but at the same time not impossible. With practice and effort, it can work wonder.

In the Bhagwat Geeta, the importance and practice of Meditation or the Yoga of Meditation have been very well explained by Lord Krishna during his discourses to Arjuna. In Chapter VI of the Bhagwat Geeta, the importance and practice of Meditation have been exhaustively explained by the Lord for the benefit of the humanity irrespective of caste, creed and religion. Now, the important question of the seeker would be to know what is the technique of meditation and how to practise it.

As explained in the Bhagwat Geeta, it is important that the place of meditation should be neat and clean since extrernal conditions have a direct bearing on the mind. In a clean place, there is more chance for the seeker to maintain a cleaner mental condition. The meditator is asked to sit steady in his seat of meditation. The body should not move at short intervals nor swing either forward or backward and the seeker should sit steady.

In order to get established in a firm posture it would be advisable to sit in any comfortable seat with the vertebral column erect, fingers interlocked and hands kept in front. The next step would be to choose a holy Mantra (or name of one's chosen Diety) or the Mantra given by your Satguru. It could be even OM or Ram suiting the individual. One has to chant and concentrate on this holy mantra or syllable with all sincerity and faith fixing your attention on the tip of your nose or between the eye-brows.

During this period of practice, the mind as per its habit, would start wandering away from its point of concentration because the mind is by nature restless and unsteady. During this practice, even though the seeker has brought his sense organs to a large extent under his control, still the mind disturbed by the memories of the past experiences would shoot out in search of its sense objects. These wanderings of the mind may be due to the memories of the past. But Lord Krishna categorically says that whatever be the reasons because of which the restless and the unsteady mind wanders away, the seeker is not to despair but should understand that it is the very nature of the mind to wander and that the process of meditation is only to stop this wandering.

The seeker is advised to bring back the mind that has rushed out into its self-appointed dissimilar channels of thinking. This withdrawal of the mind may be successful to some extent by sheer will power but ere long the seeker will find that the mind has rushed out again to another fancied line of thinking. Very rarely does the seeker realizes that the mind means "the flow of thought". Therefore, in the technique of meditation when the mind is withdrawn from the sense objects, this process of withdrawal is to be complemented by a conscious effort by the meditator in applying the same mind at once in the contemplation of the Self or God.

Krishna here wants to remove all misunderstandings from the heart of the meditators and explains to them the effects and benefits of such meditation. Through the steady and regular meditation, the scriptures promise only inner purification. Agitations in the mind are its impurities. A purified mind is that which has no agitations and when the mind has thus become pure and steady, the consciousness looking at the steady reflection of itself comes to rediscover its own real nature. It is this stage which is our true goal of life.

Overcoming desires lead to spiritual bliss

By Prem Sehgal

Of all the ills of this mundane life, desire alone is the source of terrible grief to man. According to the Vedas, the sharp edge of a sword, the dazzling light of thunderbolt, even the red hot iron are not so harmful as the heart rooted in desire. The desire in one's life ends only when the life comes to an end. The thin line that separates desires and necessity is difficult to draw. However, one should restrict one's desire only up to the level of necessities, if one wants to have a peaceful spiritual life. All physical, mental and intellectual energies are spent in fulfilling the desires by all means available. This ultimately lowers the level of consciousness.

All ideas and thoughts originate in the mind and the cravings of desire must have a mental support for the desire to create a permanent abode in the vital being. As desires get fulfilled, more desires get accumulated in the mind till the man loses the capacity to discriminate between the right and wrong. Later, there is an intense craving to satisfy all desires by piling up wrong doings. Eventually, desires turn into g reed resulting in disastrous consequences.

The greed for money, wealth, popularity and name is seen in the human race alone and arises primarily as an ingredient to feel the ego. The very belief that all these would give a feeling of happiness, comfort and security are all hallucinations. But this realization either does not come or at all when it comes, it is too late to extricate oneself out of the abyss. Desire, says the Gita, is the deadliest enemy of man. However, suppressing one's desire or yielding to it is not the way to get rid of desire. Each time a desire is suppressed; it tends to hide itself into the subconscious mind and returns with renewed force at a subsequent opportunity to fulfill the same.

The only positive way to come out of the vicious grip of desires is to raise oneself from the lower order of consciousness to a higher order. This brings forth the inherent divinity of man which helps to realize that a particular desire must be resisted. Later, all desires are weakened till he becomes a master of his will and is able to renunciate worldly desires from his very being or nature. When we have passed beyond enjoying, then we shall have bliss.

According to the Indian Rishis of yore, success in the spiritual path cannot be achieved without the help of a Satguru. The grace of the Guru can work wonders to make the path smoother. Thus the search of a Satguru is a must if one really wants to tread the path of divinity and realize peace eternal, so essential in this age of greed and selfishness. God is seen only when the mind is peaceful and tranquil. Swami Ramakrishna said: "When the ocean of mind is made turbulent by the winds of desires, it cannot reflect God and God vision".


Sathya Sai Baba passes away

'Baba's words, actions have lit lamp of love in devotees' hearts'

US Army adopts mindfulness meditation

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