Varanasi, Aug 27: As many as 51,000 women and girls in Varanasi will receive Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s gift of the insurance scheme this Raksha Bandhan.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in Varanasi have been given asked to achieve this target. The BJP workers had been asked to select women living below the poverty line for this scheme, but they are bringing the school girls under the same to achieve their target.
More than 6,000 girls filled up the insurance form in Agrasena Girls P.G college here yesterday. The girls welcomed this initiative by Prime Minister Modi and thanked him.
The insurance scheme covers an accidental insurance of Rs. two lakh for Rs. 12 per year.
Onam is the biggest and the most important festival of the state of Kerala. It is a harvest festival and is celebrated with joy and enthusiasm all over the state by people of all communities. According to a popular legend, the festival is celebrated to welcome King Mahabali, whose spirit is said to visit Kerala at the time of Onam.
Onam is celebrated in the beginning of the month of Chingam, the first month of Malayalam Calendar (Kollavarsham). This corresponds with the month of August-September according to Gregorian Calendar.
Carnival of Onam lasts from four to ten days. First day, Atham and tenth day, Thiruonam are most important of all. Popularity and presentation of rich culture of the state during the carnival made Onam the National Festival of Kerala in 1961. Elaborate feasts, folk songs, elegant dances, energetic games, elephants, boats and flowers all are a part of the dynamic festival called Onam.
Government of India has taken due notice of this vibrant and colorful festival. It promotes Onam internationally in a big way and celebrates ‘Tourist Week’ for Kerala during Onam celebrations. Thousands of domestic and foreign tourists visit Kerala to be a part of Onam.
Story goes that during the reign of mighty asura (demon) king, Mahabali, Kerala witnessed its golden era. Every body in the state was happy and prosperous and king was highly regarded by his subjects. Apart from all his virtues, Mahabali had one shortcoming. He was egoistic. This weakness in Mahabali’s character was utilized by Gods to bring an end to his reign as they felt challenged by Mahabali’s growing popularity. However, for all the good deed done by Mahabali, God granted him a boon that he could annually visit his people with whom he was so attached.
It is this visit of Mahabali that is celebrated as Onam every year. People make all efforts to celebrate the festival in a grand way and impress upon their dear King that they are happy and wish him well.
Rich cultural heritage of Kerala comes out in its best form and spirit during the ten day long festival. It is indeed a treat to be a part of the grand carnival. People of Kerala make elaborate preparations to celebrate it in the best possible manner.
The most impressive part of Onam celebration is the grand feast called Onasadya, prepared on Thiruonam. It is a nine course meal consisting of 11 to 13 essential dishes. Onasadya is served on banana leaves and people sit on a mat laid on the floor to have the meal.
Another enchanting feature of Onam is Vallamkali, the Snake Boat Race, held on the river Pampa. It is a colourful sight to watch the decorated boat oared by hundreds of boatmen amidst chanting of songs and cheering by spectators.
There is also a tradition to play games, collectively called Onakalikal, on Onam. Men go in for rigorous sports like Talappanthukali (played with ball), Ambeyyal (Archery), Kutukutu and combats called Kayyankali and Attakalam. Women indulge in cultural activities. They make intricately designed flower mats called, Pookalam in the front courtyard of house to welcome King Mahabali. Kaikotti kali and Thumbi Thullal are two graceful dances performed by women on Onam. Folk performances like Kummatti kali and Pulikali add to the zest of celebrations.
We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have. – Frederick Koenig
A short time after Steve Jobs passed away, a friend of mine received a phone call.
“We’d like to place an order for 500 copies of Autobiography of a Yogi. Do you have that many?”
It turned out that those books — eventually purchased from Self-Realization Fellowship, who had enough in stock — were needed for the memorial service for Steve Jobs, the famous founder of Apple who was inspired throughout his life by Eastern spirituality.
Copies of Yogananda’s classic autobiographywere handed out at Jobs’s memorial. This news came out recently in an interview that is worth watching:
Marc Benioff implies that Steve Jobs’s keys to success were the spiritual qualities he had developed. “He went to India,” said Benioff, “And he had this incredible realization that his intuition was his greatest gift, and that he needed to look at the world from the inside out.”
Jobs seemed more interested in the concepts of spirituality than in its outward practice, but his spiritual energy found expression, Kaye said, through his work.
He was able to take setbacks as blessings. In this talk to the 2005 graduating class of Stanford, he said, referring to his firing from Apple in 1985, “The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”
He could concentrate intensely on his work, pouring all of his energy into it. “If you don’t love something,” he said, “You’re not going to go the extra mile.”
He appreciated inner freedom. “I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good,” he said, “Then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.” Sometimes he used the thought of death to help him stay non-attached. “Remembering that you are going to die,” he said, “Is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
He deeply valued, and trusted, the power of intuition. “Your time is limited,” he said, “So don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Jobs didn’t have all the answers, though, and was unsure about God and heaven for much of his time on earth. Towards the end of his life he told his biographer, “I’m about fifty-fifty on God.” He just didn’t know. But every year Jobs would read Autobiography of a Yogi.
At death, perhaps, some things became clearer. The day before he passed away, he told his sister that he was going to a better place.
His final words, as he lay on his bed at home, were, “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.”