Urdhvaretas: The WordY FrYdaY NerdY!

Celibacy is one of the cornerstones of many spiritual disciplines. Gandhi practiced celibacy beginning at an age of 36 till he lived. Monks practice celibacy. What is it, spiritually and physically? Is it simply not getting married or abstaining from sex? In english language a celibate is someone who hasn’t married. But in Yoga, a celibate is someone who is Urdhvaretas.

Azure Continue reading “Urdhvaretas: The WordY FrYdaY NerdY!”

Moosar!

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A great mystery solved today by itself as I was watching a Bollywood film “Manjhi: The Mountain Man.” I am yet to finish watching the film as I easily get bored watching it and get busy with other things. It’s a typical Bollywood bioscope-drama so it’s a given. The film is based on real-life events. Dashrath Manjhi, the protagonist was actually a person living in Gehlore village of Gaya district in Bihar, India. He worked tirelessly for two decades to break a mountain(literally) to pave a way for villagers. It reduced the time taken by villagers to reach nearby city(and all facilities like medicines and such) considerably from 55 Kms to a mere 15 kms!

Well, what more can I say, man was a legend and I have not finished watching the film to review it. Navazul Siddiqui is a great actor who is playing Manjhi. The point of this article is the word Moosar. Continue reading “Moosar!”

Parkour: The WordY FrYdaY NerdY!

Have you ever heard about Parkour? I heard about it while watching movie Cop Out. In the film, a thief uses this french technique of martial art. I have practiced it myself in my boyhood days, but of-course without having heard about its name! Parkour’s English equivalent is Free Running.

Parkour has similarities to martial arts and has a very interesting philosophy of freedom behind it. Its founder says that he was inspired by Bruce Lee’s philosophy. He says “There’s a quote by Bruce Lee that’s my motto: ‘There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. A man must constantly exceed his level.’ If you’re not better than you were the day before, then what are you doing—what’s the point?” Continue reading “Parkour: The WordY FrYdaY NerdY!”

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Yoga: The WordY FrYdaY NerdY!

It’s already Saturday. I planned on publishing a longer post with some descriptions about various types of yoga and details about harmony of Yoga but other duties( forum and we had some discussion on forum today) took my time so I am late and with a small post. My apologies to all of you!

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Yoga is one of the most popular terms which originated in India. Yoga is degeneration of word Yog which comes from Sanskrit root Yuj, which means ‘to yoke’ ( to use) as in to use animals like oxen or horse and sometimes also used to mean ‘concentrate’ or ‘combine’ or ‘add.’

Yoga is a widely used term in Sanskrit and Hindi. In West it became popularized as physical exercises which create felicity of endocrine system and hence better health but it is only a limited meaning of Yoga which was a group of practices aimed at union of soul with supersoul. Actually there is just one element, which is primordial element and you may call it by any names like God, Brahman, Self or Tao. It alone is. You are it. All the differences you see in the universe are temporary and permanent truth is just one reality and one energy. This is reasonable but you don’t know any other perspective except yours. You inhabit only one world. By this you infer that you must be that energy which is absolute. And this limited experience of yours is just that–limited experience for reasons inexplicable and unknown. The goal of Yoga is to firmly realize this truth.

Yoga is of many types such as Hatha Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Karma Yoga. These types are not totally isolated from each other-they keep overlapping and every yogi is practicing many yogas simultaneously. A devotee might be serving god but helping other people too and by seeing god in everyone his realization becomes deeper and heart become purer.

Yoga is also used in Astrology for ‘combinations’ and in Ayurveda for compounds. Addition in arithmetic is also called Yoga in Hindi.  

Samskara: The WordY FrYdaY NerdY!

It’s time for the weekly feature! I have decided to take word Samskara for this week. It’s obviously a rare word for people who are not familiar with Hinduism and Buddhism, but quite common for people living in the Indian subcontinent. Here we use Samskar for many things. Please don’t confuse it with Samsara  which is a word for world or cycles of birth and death in the theory of reincarnation in Buddhism and Hinduism.

Samskara is used for many ceremonies in Hindu families. There are 16 prime rites of passages which are performed for any native from their birth until their death. In that sense, the word means Putting together of things. Sam means to add and Kar means to do and together they make Samskar.

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In a deeper sense, Samskaras are subtle impressions on psyche. Spiritual traditions believe that a soul is bound to a body because of the conscience. Conscience is called Antahkarna in Hinduism. It’s considered to have four parts: Continue reading “Samskara: The WordY FrYdaY NerdY!”

Procrustean: The WordY FrYdaY NerdY !

Hello There!

I am going to share interesting words and their etymologies(stories behind their origins) every Friday on this blog.

Words have very interesting stories behind their origins and some of them are so peculiar that I am fond of them. This word ranks very highly when it comes to the peculiarity of its etymology.

In Greek Mythology Procrustes (Prokoptas or Damastes/”subduer”), was a rogue, smith and bandit from Attica who physically attacked people, stretching them, or cutting off their legs, so as to make them fit into an iron bed. In general, when something is Procrustean(prə(ʊ)ˈkrʌstɪən/), different lengths or sizes or properties are fitted to an arbitrary standard.

Procrustes used to offer an iron bed for relaxing to visitors who used to pass by the mountain where he lived. If the users of the bed were not fit to the bed he used to stretch them using his hammer, in turn killing them. Quite gory, I know! Nobody ever used to fit to his bed because he secretly had two of them.

In the modern sense, this word is used to suggest very arbitrary standards. You may insinuate towards social, educational or political norms of the day as being Procrustean mostly, because, no matter what you do, you will be a misfit! Education for example, has mostly been Procrustean, trying to fit students of all mental capacities into one frame–not providing for special needs of visual-spatial or ‘gifted’ students for most of the past century.