Monday, May 23, 2011

Happy Graduation!

Graduation or commencement marks the completion of one level and moving on to the next level. It is a ceremony of conferring degrees or diplomas in schools or colleges. Usually, there is graduation from kindergarten to elementary, from elementary to middle school, from middle to high school and from high school to college. Then there are specialized graduations from medical school, engineering and other professional schools. Graduation process starts almost the beginning of the semester, by auditing their classes and gets approved to graduate. Ready-to-graduate students start ordering their school-approved, color-identified gowns and caps with tassel. Parents, grandparents, family and friends are invited to be part of the celebration. Colleges conduct a series of activities during the commencement week. On the day of the graduation, valedictorian addresses the fellow graduates reminding the day they entered the institution and running down the memory lane of college life. The essential part of the ceremony is to invite a celebrity to deliver a commencement speech, based on what the graduates will be up to face the “real world”, at the same time encouraging them on their endeavors. The important activity of the commencement exercises is recognizing their accomplishments and hard work of the graduates by presenting a degree and a token of memorabilia. Once the degrees are presented the tassel is moved from right part of the hat to the left side of the hat. I am not aware why it is moved to left side after the graduation; my guess is that it could be because the higher education is basically designed for left-brain processing. The graduation ceremony concludes with tossing off their hats up in the air. As you can expect close friends take pictures together with families, friends and professors. Once they are disbursed from the assembly, all the graduates say goodbye to their friends with a heavy heart and move on to their next journey.
I am proud to be in the midst of the celebration of my son’s graduation from a prestigious institution. It was difficult to leave behind all his friends who have chosen their path of journey; he came home with all the memories of the past four years. Graduation in not the end of the journey, in a way, it is a beginning to move on to another phase of life. For some it could be higher education, professional studies and for some it could be a job in the real world earning money. Whatever they choose, graduates gather with friends and family to celebrate the graduation which is a big milestone in their life. Hats off to all the 2011 graduates! 

“A milestone passed, new things begun, dreams as shining as the sun, a goal achieved, a victory won! That's Graduation!”

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

“Mathrudevo Bhava”- The universe starts with the mother. Each of us exists on the earth because of one’s own mother. Before we step on to this earth, she does not know who we are while in her womb. Yet, she shows all her love and takes care of us. To her child is the highest priority. All her love is only out of the feeling that the child is only hers. The first word we all utter is mother, whatever language we speak (amma, mom, maa, mayee, mutter, maman, mati, madre). See, every language has “M” phoneme in the word mother in their language.
For a child each day is mother’s day. She is the first blood relative. We learn relationships to others with reference to mother. She acts like a baby, friend, philosopher and guide to us from our childhood to adulthood.  In our teen years we may not realize the importance or the value of the mother. Truly, pretty soon you would realize the importance of her in your life. She is the great source of inspiration throughout our lives. There are many in the world with whom we can share our joy, but mother is the only place where we put our hurts, express deep feelings and share worries.   
Historically Mother’s day is not related to the human mother but related to spiritual mother Goddess, since ancient times. Slowly by the advent of 19th century the celebrations started personalizing with human touch. In USA, the second Sunday of May is celebrated as Mother’s day for more than a century. Off late, Mother’s day celebrations are exported to other countries from America, though not celebrated on same day. Today we wish moms by sending greeting cards, presenting her with box of chocolates, giving fancy gifts, gadgets or some mom-sake special items. It is a nice way to honor one’s mother. But what mom really wants is something different.  A few nice words would be a valuable gift for her if you speak heart to heart. Funny though, she would give the box of chocolates back to you. She knows that you like them and you end up eating them.  Helping in her daily chores, being on the bedside with her when sick and showing affection in your conversations, are a few things that you can do.  What else a mother can expect from her own child! The child may be rich or poor, famous or infamous, good or bad, high or low in social status; you are the same child to her. Mother and child relationship is a unique sublime bond that every one of us enjoys. Isn’t it?
 My childhood is unique in its own way with my childishness and prolonged illness. Each time I see my face in the mirror I remember my mom for her sacrifice and the care she took. My face would have easily disfigured without her special care. Thank you, Mom. I feel guilty if I stop here with mere thanks. Words would not be sufficient to express my deep feelings about all the good things that she did to me.
We should be grateful to God on this day, the Mother's Day, for sending an angel in the form of Mother to our life. I wish all mothers, A Happy Mother’s Day!
"Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever." 
-Author Unknown

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Vaishakha-The second month of Hindu Lunar Calendar (May 4- June1)

Hindu months, as per lunar calendar starts from the day after the new moon day (amavasya) to the new moon day. The star Visakha, one of the 27 stars, falls on the full moon day and so this month is called Vaisakha maasam (month).
Some of the important festivals of the month are:
Day 6- Akhshya Thrutiya
The word Akshaya means ‘that which never diminishes’ and the day is ideal for beginning new ventures as it is believed that all investments on this day appreciates. Thrutiya is the third day after new moon day.
According to the Puranas, the day also marks the beginning to Threta Yuga. On this day, Veda Vyasa began the composition of the Mahabharata. In Andhra Pradesh, Simhachalam temple near Visakhapatnam celebrates Akhshaya Thrutiya as grand festival. That is the only day Sri Varaha Narasimha Swamy Nijarupa (original deity form) darshanam is available to devotees.

May 8- Sri Sankara Jayanthi
Sri AdiSankaraCharya was born on the fifth day after new moon day of this month. Adi Shankaracharya, is considered as an incarnation of Lord Shiva by many people. It was Shankaracharya who had revived the teachings of Upanishads.One of India’s greatest philosopher and saint, Shankaracharya consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta. His teachings are based on the unity of the Atman and Brahman—non-dualism.

May 16-Sri Narasimha Jayanthi-fourth dasaavatara of Lord Vishnu
Narasimha, or Nrsimha Jayanthi is observed on the 14th day after the new moon day. The fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu is popularly known as ‘man-lion’ or ‘half man – half lion’. It is believed that Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of Narasimha on the day to destroy demon Hiranyakashipu to safeguard an ardent devotee, Prahalad who is the son of Hiranyakashipu and to restore the path of Dharma.

May 27-Hanuman Jayanthi
Lord Hanuman is also known as Bajrang Bali, Anjaneya and is one of the most popular Gods in Hinduism. Lord Hanuman symbolizes strength and unparalleled devotion and selfless service. He is the greatest devotee of Lord Ram and he is a Brahmachari (celibate) and humility is his hallmark. He is a Chiranjeevi – one blessed with immortality. In Andhra Pradesh, Hanumant Jayanti is observed on 10th day after full moon of the month.