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- “Socialism only worksin two places:Heaven where they don’tneed it and hell where they already have it.”-Ronald Reagan’Here’s my strategy onthe Cold War:We win, they lose.’– Ronald Reagan
‘The most terrifying wordsIn the English language are:I’m from the governmentand I’m here to help.’-Ronald Reagan
‘The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.’-Ronald Reagan
‘Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.– Ronald Reagan
‘I have wondered attimes about what theTen Commandments wouldhave looked like if Moseshad run them throughthe U.S. Congress..-Ronald Reagan
‘The taxpayer:That’s someone who worksFor the federal governmentbut doesn’t have to take thecivil service examination.’– Ronald Reagan
‘Government is like a baby:An alimentary canal with abig appetite at one end andno sense of responsibilityat the other’– Ronald Reagan
‘The nearest thing to eternallife we will ever see onthis earth is agovernment program.’– Ronald Reagan
‘It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession.I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first’– Ronald Reagan‘Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases:If it moves, tax it.If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving,subsidize it’– Ronald Reagan
‘Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed,there are many rewards;if you disgrace yourself,you can always write a book.’– Ronald Reagan‘No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.’– Ronald Reagan
‘If we ever forget that we’re one nation under GOD, then we will be a nation gone under.’-Ronald Reagan(contributed by : Amr on 09.08.2012)
Varanasi (Sanskrit: वाराणसी Vārāṇasī, Hindustani pronunciation: [ʋaːˈraːɳəsi]), also commonly known as Benares or Banaras (Hindi: बनारस, Urdu: بنارس, Banāras [bəˈnaːrəs] ) and Kashi (Hindi: काशी, Urdu: کاشی, Kāśī [ˈkaːʃi]), is a city situated on the banks of the River Ganges in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, 320 kilometres (199 mi) southeast of state capital Lucknow. It is regarded as a holy city by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and probably the oldest in India.
The Kashi Naresh (Maharaja of Kashi) is the chief cultural patron of Varanasi and an essential part of all religious celebrations. The culture of Varanasi is closely associated with the River Ganges and the river’s religious importance. The city has been a cultural and religious centre in North India for several thousand years. The Benares Gharana form of the Indian classical music developed in Varanasi, and many prominent Indian philosophers, poets, writers, and musicians resided or reside in Varanasi, including Kabir, Satguru Ravidass, Trailanga Swami, Munshi Premchand, Devkinandan Khatri, Bhartendu Harishchandra, Jaishankar Prasad, Acharya Shukla, Ravi Shankar, Girija Devi, Sitara Devi, Gudai Maharaj, Hariprasad Chaurasia, and Bismillah Khan. Tulsidas wrote Ramacharitamanas here, and Gautama Buddha gave his first sermon at Sarnath located near Varanasi (Kashi).
Varanasi is home to four universities: Banaras Hindu University, Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies and Sampurnanand Sanskrit University. Residents mainly speak the Hindi and Kashika Bhojpuri, which is closely related to the Hindi language. People often refer to Varanasi as “the city of temples”, “the holy city of India”, “the religious capital of India”, “the city of lights”, and “the city of learning.”
Painting of Benares in 1890.
The name Varanasi has its origin possibly from the names of the two rivers Varuna and Assi, for the old city lies in the north shores of the Ganga bounded by its two tributaries, the Varuna and the Asi, with the Ganges being to its south. Another speculation about the origin of the name is that the river Varuna itself was called Varanasi in olden times, from which the city got its name. This is generally disregarded by historians, though there may be some earlier texts suggesting it to be so.
Through the ages, Varanasi was variously known as Avimuktaka, Anandakanana, Mahasmasana, Surandhana, Brahma Vardha, Sudarsana, Ramya, and Kasi.
In the Rigveda, the city was referred to as Kasi or Kashi, “the luminous one” as an allusion to the city’s historical status as a centre of learning, literature, and culture. Kasikhanda described the glory of the city in 15, 000 verses in the Skanda Purana. In one verse, God Shiva says,
The three worlds form one city of mine, and Kasi is my royal palace therein.
According to legend, the city was founded by the Hindu deity Lord Shiva, several thousand years ago, thus making it one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in the country. It is also a general belief that it stands on the weapon “The Trishool” of Lord Shiva. It is one of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus. Many Hindu scriptures, including the Rigveda, Skanda Purana, the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata, mention the city.
Varanasi is generally believed to be about several thousand years old. Varanasi was an industry centre famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works, and sculpture. During the time of Gautama Buddha (born circa 567 BCE), Varanasi was the capital of the Kingdom of Kashi. The celebrated Chinese traveller Xuanzang attested that the city was a center of religious and artistic activities, and that it extended for about 5 km along the western bank of the Ganges.
Kashi Naresh and Ramnagar
Varanasi became an independent Kingdom of Kashi in the eighteenth century, and under subsequent British rule, it remained a commercial and religious centre. Varanasi suffered during the raids into India by Muhammad of Ghori, as described by Kamil-ut-Tawarikh of Ibn Asir: “The slaughter of Hindus (at Varanasi) was immense; none were spared except women and children, (who were taken into slavery) and the carnage of men went on until the earth was weary.” In 1910, the British made Varanasi a new Indian state, with Ramanagar as its headquarters but with no jurisdiction over the city of Varanasi itself. Kashi Naresh still resides in the fort of Ramanagar. The Ramnagar Fort of the Kashi Naresh is situated to the east of Varanasi, across the Ganges. The Ramnagar Fort was built by Kashi Naresh Raja Balwant Singh with creamy chunar sandstone in the eighteenth century. It is a typically Mughal style of architecture with carved balconies, open courtyards, and picturesque pavilions. The other fort of the Kashi Naresh is the Chet Singh Palace, near Shivala Ghat, Varanasi built by Maharaja Chet Singh.
Ramnagar Fort and its museum are the repository of the history of the kings of Benares and since the 18th century has been the home of Kashi Naresh. Even today the Kashi Naresh is deeply revered by the people of Benares. He is the religious head and the people of Benares consider him the incarnation of Lord Shiva. He is also the chief cultural patron and an essential part of all religious celebrations.
The city of Varanasi is located in the middle Ganges valley of North India, in the Eastern part of the state of Uttar Pradesh, along the left crescent-shaped bank of the Ganges river. It has the headquarters of Varanasi district. The “Varanasi Urban Agglomeration” — an agglomeration of seven urban sub-units — covers an area of 112.26 km 2 (approximately 43 mi²). The urban agglomeration is stretched between 82° 56’E – 83° 03’E and 25° 14’N – 25° 23.5’N. Being located in the Indo-Gangetic Plains of North India, the land is very fertile because low level floods in the Ganges continually replenish the soil.
On a local level, Varanasi is located on a higher ground between rivers Ganges and Varuna, the mean elevation being 80.71 m. As a result of absence of tributaries and canals, the main land is continuous and relatively dry. In ancient times, this geographic situation must have been highly favourable for forming settlements. But it is difficult to ascertain the original geography of Varanasi because the city’s current location is not exactly the same as the one described in some old texts.
Varanasi is often said to be located between two confluences: one of the Ganges and Varuna, and other of the Ganges and Assi, (Assi having always been a rivulet rather than a river.) The distance between these two confluences is around 2.5 miles (4.0 km), and religious Hindus regard a round trip between these two places—a Pancha-kroshi Yatra (a five mile (8 km) journey) ending with a visit to a Sakshi Vinayak Temple as a holy ritual.
A view of the Ghat of Varanasi from the River Ganges
Varanasi experiences a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cwa) with large variations between summer and winter temperatures. Summers are long, from early April to October, with intervening monsoon seasons and are also extremely hot, even by South Asian standards. The temperature ranges between 32°C – 46 °C (90°F – 115 °F) in the summers. Winters in Varanasi see very large diurnal variations, with warm days and downright cold nights. Cold waves from the Himalayan region cause temperatures to dip across the city in the winter from December to February and temperatures below 5 °C are not uncommon. The average annual rainfall is 1,110 mm (44 in). Fog is common in the winters, while hot dry winds, called loo, blow in the summers.
(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varanasi)Varanasi (Sanskrit: वाराणसी Vārāṇasī, Hindustani pronunciation: ), is a city situated on the banks of the River Ganges in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, 320 kilometres (199 mi) southeast of state capital Lucknow. It ...
Diwali is a festival, which brings a series of festivals with it. One after another we get a chance to celebrate five festivals together. Narak Chaturdashi is one of these festivals and it is celebrated on the second day of Diwali celebrations, just one day before the actual Diwali celebrations. The Narak Chaturdashi, falls on the fourteenth day of the Hindi month, Kartik is more popular by the name of Chhoti Diwali. It is celebrated with same zeal and enthusiasm as the main Diwali but it is on comparatively lower scale. Just like Diwali people light diyas on Chhoti Diwali to fill their homes with light and worship Goddess Laxmi.
One famous story behind the celebrations of Chhoti Diwali or Narak Chaturdashi is about the demon king Narakasur who was ruler of Pragjyotishpur, a province to the South of Nepal. During a war, he defeated Lord Indra and snatched away the magnificent earrings of Mother Goddess Aditi who was not only the ruler of Suraloka but also a relative of Lord Krishna’s wife, Satyabhama. Narakasur also imprisoned sixteen thousand daughters of Gods and saints in his harem.
When Satyabhama came to know about this malevolent act of Narakasur she got furious and she prayed to Lord Krishna to empower her so that she could destroy Narakasur. The legend also tells that Narakasur was under a curse that a woman would kill him. So, Lord Krishna empowered Satyabhama to fight with Narakasur and himself became the charioteer of her ‘Ratha’ in the battlefield. Thus, by the grace of Lord Krishna Satyabhama beheaded Narakasur on a day before to Narak Chaturdashi and released the imprisoned ladies from Narakasur’s harem and also recovered the precious earrings of Mother Goddess Aditi.
In order to save all those imprisoned ladies from embarrassment Lord Krishna accepted them all as his wives. As a symbol of the victory over Narakasur, Lord Krishna smeared his forehead with this demon king’s blood. Then Lord Krishna returned home with his new wives early morning of the Narak Chaturdashi day. The womenfolk massaged scented oil to his body and gave him a good bath to wash away the filth from his body. Since then, there is a custom to take bath before sunrise on the day of Narak Chaturdashi, especially in the state of Maharashtra. It is said that the mother of the Narakasura, Bhoodevi, declared that the death of her son should not be a day of mourning but an occasion for celebrations. Since then people celebrate Chhoti Diwali with joy and fun every year.
Another legend is about King Bali, who was king of the nether world. His power and increasing influence posed a threat to the security of all ‘Devatas’ so they prayed Lord Vishnu to help them out. To help Devatas and to curb King Bali’s powers Lord Vishnu went to King Bali in the guise of a short-height ‘Brahmin’, who is known as incarnation of ‘Batu Waman’, and begged to give him only that much area of land that he could cover with in three steps because King Bali was well known for his philanthropy. King Bali saw just a short-height ‘Brahmin’ asking for a little piece of land so he proudly granted him his wish.
That very moment that short-height ‘Brahmin’ disappeared and there was almighty Lord Vishnu in place of him. In his first step, Lord Vishnu covered the heaven and in the second step the earth and asked King Bali where to put his third step. Then King Bali offered his head to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu put his third step on his head and pushed him deep into the underground. But at the same time being impressed by his generosity Lord Vishnu gave King Bali the lamp of knowledge and allowed him to return to earth once a year to light millions of lamps.
Chhoti Diwali – The Narak Chaturdashi Celebrations
People wake up early in the morning break any bitter fruit and apply the kumkum-oil paste, which is called ‘Ubtan’, on their foreheads and then take bath. The breaking of the fruit represents the head of the demon King, Narakasur and the kumkum-oil paste symbolizes the blood that Lord Krishna smeared on his forehead. In the state of Maharashtra, people take the traditional early baths after applying the paste of gram flour, fragrant powders and oil on their foreheads. As long as the ritual of bath takes place, deafening sound of crackers and fireworks could be heard so that the children enjoy bathing. At dusk, people start lighting Diyas and candles in and around their house to mark the celebration of Chhoti Diwali.
(source:http://festivals.iloveindia.com/diwali/chhoti-diwali.html)Diwali is a festival, which brings a series of festivals with it. One after another we get a chance to celebrate five festivals together. Narak Chaturdashi is one of these festivals and it is celebrated on the second day of Diwali celebrations, just one day before the actual Diwali celebrations. The Narak Chaturdashi, falls on ...
(source : http://www.worldsamazings.com/2009/10/amazing-awesome-pencil-art.html)(source : http://www.worldsamazings.com/2009/10/amazing-awesome-pencil-art.html)
If you thought yoga was just about sitting in awkward positions while chanting repetitively, think again. Whether you’re looking to cure a cold, ease back pain or simply become more flexible, yoga is a discipline that’s seriously underrated. We’ve spoken to the experts to find out more about just a few of the ways yoga can benefit us all.
Due to the way in which yoga helps us to become more flexible, it’s especially ideal for those with cardiovascular problems. ‘Hatha yoga emphasises methods of doing yoga postures (asanas) and energetic breathing exercises (pranayamas) for physical health and wellbeing,’ says UK yoga instructor Kirsty Weir.
‘The benefits of this type of yoga practice from a physiological point of view include changes to cardiovascular functions along with benefits to musculoskeletal structures. For example, standing postures and forward bends are known to be sedative and can lower blood pressure, while backbends and inversions are great for stimulating and increasing blood pressure. Shoulder stands promote circulation to the neck region and are well known for their beneficial effects on thyroid conditions.’
If the daily commute or pressing deadlines are getting you down, yoga might just be what you need to put things into perspective. ‘Yoga has a balancing effect on both body and mind and as such it’s perfect for addressing stress-related illnesses such as insomnia, anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome and IBS,’
If you’re new to yoga but concerned about a lack of flexibility, Iyengar yoga could be a great place to start. ‘Iyengar yoga is good for people who are slightly older because it’s not so dynamic or strenuous and there’s a big emphasis on the use of props to create safe alignment – something that’s very important as we all get older,’ explains Miami yoga instructor Fred Busch,
Feel the burn
You might be surprised to learn that yoga can actually help us to lose weight and tone up, thanks to its ability to aid digestion and promote the burning of abdominal fat. ‘The physical exercises benefit the whole body, both on the muscular and inner organs level,’ explains Minakshi at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat in the Bahamas. ‘For example, the benefits of the sitting forward bend [as illustrated in the photo] include developing a healthier and more flexible lower back, the burning of abdominal fat and better digestion.’
Osteoporosis is just one example of a condition that can be helped by yoga, thanks to the focus on correct bone alignment.
‘For preventing osteoporosis, correct posture is paramount,’ explains Juliana Mitchell, a yoga instructor at . ‘This can be explained by a principal called ‘Wolfe’s Law’ which states that bone density grows along lines of stress. In good posture, we evenly distribute the body’s weight through the key weight-bearing bones, helping the body to continually rebuild bone mass. Many yoga classes emphasise a pose called tadasana or mountain pose. At first glance it can seem like just standing there. But tadasana is a master pose which can be refined for the rest of our lives – it teaches the body and mind how to distribute body weight, and works as a maintenance plan for our key weight bearing bones.’
A breath of fresh air
The emphasis on correct breathing technique means yoga is ideal for those suffering from respiratory conditions while those suffering from insomnia can also benefit. ‘Certain pranayama (yogic breathing exercises) can be very beneficial for asthma, as well as sleep disruptions caused by sleep problems,’ says Juliana at New York Yoga. ‘A yoga teacher with a strong knowledge of pranayama and of yoga therapeutics would be necessary in this regard. Certain restorative yoga poses can also be excellent for asthma.’
Get tough on toxins
It’s all too easy to ignore the damage done by a poor diet – alcohol, processed foods and smoking can all have disastrous effects on our bodies – but certain types of yoga are known for their ability to neutralise some of these poisons. ‘I find that ashtanga and vinyasa yoga, due to the high cardio nature of the practice, help to bring about a better alkaline to acidity pH ratio in the body,’ says Donnalynn Civello, holistic health coach at New York Yoga.
‘These yoga styles help to release both physical and emotional toxins in the body. Through these practices, the physical toxins (from processed foods, refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, alcohol and prescription drugs) are slowly released from storage in the fat cells and discharged from the body as sweat, etc. This enables a lower acidity level in the body as these toxins are highly acidic.’
Sort the sniffles
Feeling the first snivels of a cold? Yoga isn’t just great for getting rid of colds – it can prevent them coming back, too. ‘Colds can be repaired with yoga – that’s the good news,’ reveals Tara Stiles. ‘The even better news is the more yoga you practice the less you’ll get colds in the first place. A regular yoga practice will strengthen your immunity. Your yoga practice and these additional breathing techniques can cleanse the body and the sinuses, leaving you feeling refreshed and relieved even during the worst of colds.’
Yoga’s ability to improve the nervous system means it’s the perfect solution for a wide range of related conditions. ‘When we practice the yoga asanas (postures), they give us physical benefits such as flexibility and strength, as well as balance our parasympathetic with our sympathetic nervous systems, which in turn allows our endocrine system and our digestive system to function more efficiently,’ explains Michelle Dortignac at Unnata Aerial Yoga.
‘If your endocrine system is functioning more efficiently, you will have fewer problems with conditions such as hot flushes for menopausal women, hypothyroidism and insomnia. If your digestive system is functioning more efficiently, you will have fewer problems with conditions such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and acid reflux.’
Back to basics
If long days hunched over a computer have left you with a bad back, yoga might just be the answer to your prayers. ‘Yoga stretches can help to unravel the tension which builds throughout the day, and the impact of hours sitting at a desk, hunched over a screen,’ says Katie Mutton, a yoga instructor at London-based Yoga Team. ‘Once the body is free from physical tension it’s easier for the mind to relax, sleep improves and your immunity gets a boost, so you stay healthier.
What are you waiting for?
With yoga increasing in popularity, there’s never been a better time to find out more. ‘I’d suggest that an absolute beginner finds a qualified teacher (the British Wheel of Yoga website is a good start) and trys a beginners’ course to learn some of the basics,’.
‘Fundamentally I think you should find a good teacher that you like and that you can learn from. Keep looking until you find that person. The beauty of yoga is that the more you do it the more you want to know and your knowledge and practice will deepen over the years. Acceptance, reflection, growth and happiness can all come with a deepening yoga practice. We should all do yoga because quite simply, it makes us feel better!’.