SENIOR ALIEN PRAYS FOR BLESSINGS OF WHOLE PATIENCE ON GOOD FRIDAY – WHOLE PATIENCE: TO KNOW, TO UNDERSTAND THE QUALITY, THE ABILITY, OR THE FACT OF PATIENCE, I PRAY TO MAN KNOWN AS JESUS, A NATIVE OF NAZARETH, GALILEE.
Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday. It is observed in commemoration of the crucifixion of Jesus. Friday, April 10, 2020, is observed as Good Friday. I pray to Son of Man, a native of Nazareth, Galilee to know, and to understand the quality, the ability, or the fact of “PATIENCE.” I am using the phrase “WHOLE PATIENCE” for Jesus clearly demonstrated His other supernatural abilities. Jesus had several options if He chose not to wait, not to tolerate, not to succumb, and not to experience the horrors of pain and humiliation imposed on Good Friday. Today, Senior Alien is beholding the Son of Man to learn the Art of Patience. I am “alien” for I have not yet entered the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
WHOLE CHRIST – WHOLE LOVE – WHOLE REDEEMER:
GOOD FRIDAY – SENIOR ALIEN – WHOLE PATIENCE: GOSPEL IS OF VERY SPECIAL INTEREST TO MAN AS IT REVEALS GOD’S COSTLY PLAN FOR MAN’S REDEMPTION THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.
Good Friday is of very special interest to man for it reveals God’s costly plan for the redemption of man. The word redemption means to release, or freedom from payment of a price and man’s freedom or deliverance, or liberation involving the greatest possible depth of suffering. The price paying concept lies at the heart of redemption and hence it is a costly action. For man is a “SLAVE” to sin, to set him free, a ransom-price is paid. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Gospel According to Saint Mark, Chapter 10, verse#45) The emphasis is on the giving of Life as a ransom. Good Friday is a completed act for Jesus paid the ransom-price. Jesus performed this action with Whole Patience. It is immaterial as to whom Christ paid this price. For man, the only concern is to experience the results of this full redemption by receiving God’s grace and mercy through Christ and His Love. On Good Friday, Jesus had gone through the whole of human experience including the worst horrors of pain and humiliation.
Endurance is the ability to stand pain, distress, and fatigue; it is the ability to resist and withstand suffering and hardship with fortitude and patience.
SENIOR ALIEN – GOOD FRIDAY – WHOLE PATIENCE: THE TRIAL AND EXECUTION OF JESUS ON GOOD FRIDAY. IT IS A LESSON TO HUMANITY, A TEACHING TO KNOW AND UNDERSTAND THE QUALITIES OF PATIENCE AND ENDURANCE. ROMAN GOVERNOR PONTIUS PILATE THOROUGHLY SCOURGED JESUS AND ASKED PEOPLE IF HE NEEDS TO PUNISH MORE.
Endurance speaks of the ability to hold up under pain, to tolerate, to put up with, to bear pain without flinching. It is the Will, ability, quality, or fact of waiting without complaint. It demands steadiness, perseverance, self-control, resoluteness in the face of grave provocation. This ability to bear suffering results from firm sustained courage and it is a mistake to interpret endurance as cowardice. Jesus remained calm and unperturbed while people angrily shouted demanding his crucifixion.
On Good Friday, the Son of Man was a picture of STOICISM displaying grit, and courage that refuses to succumb under any circumstances, courage that involves utmost indifference to personal pain and suffering.
SENIOR ALIEN – GOODFRIDAY – WHOLE PATIENCE: “THEN SOME BEGAN TO SPIT AT HIM, THEY BLINDFOLDED HIM, STUCK HIM WITH THEIR FISTS, AND SAID, ‘PROPHESY!’ AND THE GUARDS TOOK HIM AND BEAT HIM .” BOOK OF MARK, CHAPTER 14, VERSE#65.
SENIOR ALIEN – GOOD FRIDAY – WHOLE PATIENCE: TO WHICH LAND AND TO WHICH KINGDOM DOES THE SON OF MAN TRULY BELONGS? IF JESUS BELONGS TO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, WHO HAS GIVEN THE AUTHORITY AND POWER TO MAN TO DEFINE HIS TERRITORY AND HIS DOMAIN?
SENIOR ALIEN – GOOD FRIDAY – WHOLE PATIENCE: IF THE SON OF MAN WAS CRUCIFIED ON GOOD FRIDAY, IT ONLY SPEAKS ABOUT HIS WILL TO REFRAIN FROM RETALIATION, AND FORBEARANCE. PEOPLE TAUNTED JESUS TO SAVE HIS OWN LIFE AND TO COME DOWN. HIS FORTITUDE IS NOT TO BE MISTAKEN OR MISINTERPRETED AS WEAKNESS.
SENIOR ALIEN – GOOD FRIDAY – WHOLE PATIENCE: ON GOOD FRIDAY, ROMAN GOVERNOR PONTIUS PILATE OR HIS SOLDIERS POSTED A WRITTEN NOTICE ABOVE THE CROSS ON WHICH JESUS WAS CRUCIFIED.
On Good Friday, Jesus was repeatedly taunted, mocked, and ridiculed by people, by criminals, by officials, by soldiers, by the high priest, King Herod, and Roman Governor Pontius Pilate. The ultimate act of indignity was that of calling Him, “THE KING OF THE JEWS” showing utter contempt for His failure to save His own life and get away from the Cross on which He was nailed.
SENIOR ALIEN – GOOD FRIDAY – WHOLE PATIENCE: ON GOOD FRIDAY, JESUS DID NOT EXPRESS ANY THOUGHTS OR FEELINGS OF SELF-PITY. JESUS SAID, “FATHER, FORGIVE THEM, FOR THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING.”(THE BOOK OF ST LUKE, CHAPTER 23, VERSE#34).
On Good Friday, Jesus did not rebuke the people who offended and punished Him. Jesus did not express any desire to retaliate against them and did not express any thoughts or feelings of Self-Pity. Jesus after His crucifixion said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”( The Gospel According to Saint Luke, Chapter 23, verse#34)
ECCE HOMO – “BEHOLD THE MAN”:
There is no easy cure, and there is no easy remedy for man’s problems for man’s problem is that of alienation or estrangement from his own true or real nature that God implanted in man while making man in His own image. Man lives as an ‘alien’ for man has lost his connection with his own LORD God Creator. The divine nature of the Son of Man becomes self-evident when man learns the Art of Patience and Endurance. I ask my readers to ‘Behold The Man’ and see His Patience, Fortitude, Forbearance, Perseverance, Calmness, Steadiness, Strength, Self-Control, and His resolute Endurance.
On this Good Friday, I am sharing a collection of images that depict Jesus when Roman Governor Pontius Pilate presented Him to a mob of people who gathered outside the palace shouting to crucify Jesus. SENIOR ALIEN has no access to care or comfort while he faces the difficult problems of his simple, mortal existence. Senior Alien understands the proverb that instructs man to endure problems that cannot be cured.
SENIOR ALIEN – GOOD FRIDAY – WHOLE PATIENCE: IF PROBLEMS HAVE NO ANSWERS, IF PAIN AND SUFFERING CANNOT BE CURED, MAN TO KEEP HIS EXISTENCE HAS TO LEARN THE ART OF PATIENCE.
SEPTUAGENARIAN CELEBRATES SEPTUAGINT PROPHECY ON APRIL 05, 2020 PALM SUNDAY
PALM SUNDAY – WHOLE GOSPEL Welcome to the Celebration of Palm Sunday on April 05, 2020. Septuagenarian celebrates Septuagint Prophecy on Palm Sunday for Jesus fulfills Prophecy revealed by The Old Testament Prophet Zechariah.
I am inviting my readers to reflect upon the choice made by Jesus Christ when he rode into Jerusalem riding on the back of a donkey.
PALM SUNDAY – WHOLE GOSPEL. GREETINGS FROM SEPTUAGENARIAN CELEBRATING SEPTUAGINT PROPHECY ON HAPPY PALM SUNDAY, APRIL 05, 2020.
PALM SUNDAY – WHOLE GOSPEL. Greetings from Septuagenarian Celebrating Septuagint Prophecy on Happy Palm Sunday, April 05, 2020.
PALM SUNDAY – WHOLE GOSPEL. Greetings from Septuagenarian Celebrating Septuagint Prophecy on Happy Palm Sunday, April 05, 2020.
#PALMSUNDAY – PALM SUNDAY – #WHOLEGOSPEL – WHOLE GOSPEL. THIS ARTISTIC CREATION CORRECTLY DEPICTS THE CELEBRATION OF PALM SUNDAY DESCRIBED IN THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO APOSTLE MATTHEW . PALM SUNDAY – WHOLE GOSPEL. GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SAINT MATTHEW.
Palm Sunday – Whole Gospel. The Gospel According to Saint Matthew is the First Book of The New Testament. Its historical account of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday differs from the other three Gospels. The Gospel Story that I am sharing describes vision of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SAINT MATTHEW:
The Gospel of Matthew was written in Greek language; is the most highly valued, most popular, and widely read of the four Gospels. This is revealed not only by its position in the canon, it is found in first place in most of the known lists of the Gospels but also by the fact of its widespread citation and for it is by far the most often quoted Gospel. Matthew, the Apostle (The Book of Matthew, Chapter 10, verse 3) was eyewitness to the most significant events of Christ’s life and mission. Matthew(Greek. Maththaios) was initially known as Levi, a tax collector(telones) whom Jesus met at the tax office (Matthew, Chapter 9, verse 9). Levi changed his name to Matthew ( Hebrew. “Gift of Yahweh”) and it may mean “Amittai” or “True”, when he became a disciple of Jesus. He carefully recorded all the teachings and sayings of Jesus and the Book of Matthew is the teaching Gospel par excellence. Matthew’s Gospel is also the Gospel of fulfillment and it is especially concerned with showing that Christ is fulfillment of the Revelations of The Old Testament. Matthew’s Gospel is the historical record of Jesus Christ, the King of Jews. It describes the birth of the King, preparation of the King, the Law of the kingdom, the power of the King, proclamation of the kingdom, rejection of the King, the growth of the kingdom, the Mission of the King, the fellowship of the kingdom, the Triumphal entry of King into Jerusalem, consummation of the kingdom, the death and Resurrection of the King, and finally the great challenge of the kingdom. I would like to focus upon the most important event of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as a King in a ceremonial procession.
CROSS AND DONKEY CROSS – THE SYMBOLIC REPRESENTATION OF REDEMPTION: Cross(Greek. Stauros) : There are three biblical uses of the term: first, the wooden instrument of torture; second, the Cross as a symbolic representation of redemption; third, death on the Cross, i.e., Crucifixion. The English word ‘Cross’ is derived from the Latin ‘Crux’. The Cross existed in different forms, the most important form is known as ‘The Crux immissa’, the type of Cross usually presented in Art in which the upright beam extends above the cross beam, and traditionally this depiction of Cross is held to be the Cross on which the ‘Redeemer’ suffered and died. It is often called the ‘Latin form of Cross. Because of the sacrificial death of the Savior on the Cross, it is presented as the medium of Reconciliation (The Epistle of Apostle Paul to Ephesians, Chapter 2, verse 16) between man and God. In The Epistle of Apostle Paul to the Colossians, Chapter 1, verse 20, states that Peace is effected through the Cross and Chapter 2, verse 14 also claims that the penalties of the law are removed from the believer by the Cross. The Epistle of Apostle Paul to the Galatians, Chapter 2, verse 20 says that man is crucified with Christ and lives by faith of the Son of God. Crucifixion is a dreaded event, and in common usage, the cares and troubles of life are often compared to a Cross. Kindly examine the connection between Cross and the humble Donkey which man uses as a beast of burden.
Palm Sunday – Whole Gospel. The ‘Cross’ is a symbolic representation of redemption, it describes the act known as Crucifixion or death on the Cross on which the Redeemer suffered and died. Donkey, Equus africanus asinus has a dark stripe from the mane back to onto the tail and a prominent crosswise stripe across the shoulders. Donkeys are domesticated descendants from African ass ( true ass ) known as Equus asinus which belongs to the Horse family of Equidae. Donkeys derived from Nubian and Somalian subspecies of African wild ass have served mankind since 4,000 B.C. It is tamed and trained for work. It is sturdy, surefooted, known for its endurance and for its ability to carry heavy loads. Donkeys were a fundamental part of economy, they undertook heavy work on the farm and sometimes used for personal transportation. In the southwestern United States, the small donkey is known as ‘Burro’, the word for donkey in Spanish language. Many Americans are very fond of eating ‘burrito’, a Mexican dish consisting of a flour tortilla wrapped around a filling of meat, cheese, refried beans, etc. However, most Americans are not familiar with the crosswise stripes on Donkey’s back that could be termed as ‘Donkey Cross’. Donkey is frequently mentioned in the Books of Bible; Prophet Abraham’s journey of testing, with his son Issac, was made with a donkey (The First Book of Moses, Genesis, Chapter 22, verses 3,5), Balaam’s donkey was given the temporary power of speech in order to rebuke the foolish prophet (The Fourth Book of Moses, Numbers, Chapter 22, verses 21-33), Israelites captured some 61,000 donkeys from the Midianites (The Fourth Book of Moses, Numbers, Chapter 31, verse 34). Mule is the offspring of a male donkey and a horse mare and it is sterile. King David introduced the use of mule for riding. In the Biblical times, mules were used by kings, officials, and army officers for personal transportation. Jesus Christ, the one coequal with God descended to agony and torture of death due to Crucifixion by riding on the back of a donkey to fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9
PALM SUNDAY – WHOLE GOSPEL. GREETINGS FROM SEPTUAGENARIAN CELEBRATING SEPTUAGINT PROPHECY ON HAPPY PALM SUNDAY, APRIL 05, 2020.
“Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you. Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.”
PALM SUNDAY – WHOLE GOSPEL. GREETINGS FROM SEPTUAGENARIAN CELEBRATING SEPTUAGINT PROPHECY ON HAPPY PALM SUNDAY, April 05, 2020. It is very interesting and important to note the difference in narration of this event. In the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 21, verse 2, Jesus instructs two of his disciples, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a (female) donkey tied, and a colt(young, male donkey) with her. Loose them and bring them to Me.” In the Gospel According to Mark, Chapter 11, verse 2, in the Gospel According to Luke, Chapter 19, verse 30, and in the Gospel According to John, Chapter 12, verse 14, no mention was made about the female donkey which was needed by Jesus and fetched by His disciples. Many Biblical scholars are not able explain this apparent discrepancy in the four Gospel accounts and they are not certain if one or two donkeys are involved and the gender identity of the donkey(s) that Jesus used for His victorious entry into Jerusalem. The four Gospel accounts are incomplete and have not revealed the Whole Story of the Donkey and the Donkey Cross.
On March 31, 1959, I was living in Danavaipeta, Rajahmundry, East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh, India. I was a student of Danavaipeta Municipal High School which is renamed as Danavaipeta Municipal Corporation High School. On March 31, 1959, I was blissfully unaware of the fact of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s arrival in India. However, my Destiny started making the preparation for my Journey to Chakrata.
The event of March 31, 1959, the Beginning of the Dalai Lama’s Life in Exile did predetermine the Beginning of my own life in Exile. I am a Refugee. Who is My Refuge?
The Dalai Lama, fleeing the Chinese suppression of a national uprising in Tibet, crosses the border into India, where he is granted political asylum.
Born in Taktser, China, as Tenzin Gyatso, he was designated the 14th Dalai Lama in 1940, a position that eventually made him the religious and political leader of Tibet. At the beginning of the 20th century, Tibet increasingly came under Chinese control, and in 1950 communist China invaded the country. One year later, a Tibetan-Chinese agreement was signed in which the nation became a “national autonomous region” of China, supposedly under the traditional rule of the Dalai Lama but actually under the control of a Chinese communist commission. The highly religious people of Tibet, who practice a unique form of Buddhism, suffered under communist China’s anti-religious legislation.
After years of scattered protests, a full-scale revolt broke out in March 1959, and the Dalai Lama was forced to flee as the uprising was crushed by Chinese troops. On March 31, 1959, he began a permanent exile in India, settling at Dharamsala in Punjab, where he established a democratically based shadow Tibetan government. Back in Tibet, the Chinese adopted brutal repressive measures against the Tibetans, provoking charges from the Dalai Lama of genocide. With the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in China, the Chinese suppression of Tibetan Buddhism escalated, and practice of the religion was banned and thousands of monasteries were destroyed.
Although the ban was lifted in 1976, protests in Tibet continued, and the exiled Dalai Lama won widespread international support for the Tibetan independence movement. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in recognition of his nonviolent campaign to end the Chinese domination of Tibet.
In Physics, Power/Energy/Force is not associated with gender. But, when living things exist as male and female, description of Power/Energy/Force may have gender association. In Indian tradition, ‘Deva’ means God and ‘Devi’ means Goddess. Devi in Indian tradition is the personification of God’s Supreme Power/Force/ Energy or ‘SHAKTI’. To fully account for human existence, man needs two distinct or separate Principles that come together to produce the harmonious singular identity of the man. The issue is not about God’s gender. Father Principle is called Originating Principle. Mother Principle is called Source Principle, for Mother is Source of Matter, Energy, and Knowledge to establish Life. Father provides Identity to human form, Mother provides Substance, the structural and functional basis of the human form.
During 2020, Indians celebrate ‘DEVI NAVRATRI’ or ‘CHAITRA NAVRATRI’ begins on Wednesday, March 25, and ends on the tenth day, Friday, April 03. The term ‘Nav’ or ‘Nava’ means Nine. ‘Ratri’ means night. This celebration happens in the first lunar month called ‘CHAITRA’ ( March-April), during Shukla Paksha or the Waxing Phase of Moon following the New Moon Day.
Devi or Shakti is often called ‘DURGA’ for She is the embodiment of great strength. She is also called BHADRAKALI, JAGADAMBA, ANNAPURNA, SARVA MANGALA, BHAIRAVI, CHANDIKA, LALITA, BHAVANI, AND MOOKAMBIKA. During the 9-Night or Navratri festival, Indians worship nine different forms of Goddess Durga with 1,000 names. She is simply adored as Divine Mother and often addressed as ‘MOTHER'(“MATA” or “MAA”) whatever may be the name or form She assumed on different occasions.
Goddess Shakti has three Supreme Forms called DURGA, SARASVATI, and LAKSHMI. In India, traditions vary from region to region. First 3 – days of Navratri are dedicated to Goddess Durga, following 3-days are dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi and concluding 3-days are dedicated to Goddess Sarasvati or Goddess of Knowledge, Wisdom, and Speech. Monday, March 30, 2020, the Sixth Day or Shashti ‘NAVARATRI’ is dedicated to Goddess called ‘KATYANI'(legendary daughter of a devotee by name ‘KATA’).
NINE DAYS OF CHAITRA NAVRATRI 2020
Day 1, Wednesday, March 25, 2020 (Pratipada)- Ghatasthapana, Chandra Darshana Shailputri Puja
Day 2, Thursday, March 26, 2020 (Dwitiya)- Sindhara Dooj, Brahmacharini Puja
Day 3, Friday, March 27, 2020 (Tritiya)- Gauri Puja, Saubhagya Teej Chandraghanta Puja
Day 4, Saturday, March 28, 2020 (Chaturthi)- Kushmanda Puja, Vinayaka Chaturthi
Day 5, Sunday, March 29, 2020 (Panchami)- Naag Puja, Lakshmi Panchami Skandamata Puja
Day 6, Monday, March 30, 2020 (Shasthi)- Skanda Sashti, Yamuna Chhath Katyayani Puja
Day 7, Tuesday, March 31, 2020 (Saptami)- Maha Saptami, Kalaratri Puja
Day 8, Wednesday, April 1, 2020 (Ashtami)- Durga Ashtami, Mahagauri Puja Annapurna Ashtami, Sandhi Puja
Day 9, Thursday, April 2, 2020 (Navami)- Rama Navami
Day 10, Friday, April 3, 2020 (Dashami)- Navratri Parana
THE CELEBRATION OF SPRING SEASON – SATURDAY, APRIL 06, 2019.WELCOME TO THE TELUGU NEW YEAR VIKARI – UGADI CELEBRATION:
THE CELEBRATION OF SPRING SEASON: WELCOME TO TELUGU NEW YEAR “JAYA” – UGADI CELEBRATION ON MONDAY, MARCH 31, 2014:
TELUGU NEW YEAR VIJAYA: UGADI- THE DAWN OF NEW YEAR APRIL 11, 2013:
Spring is the season of the year between Winter and Summer. In the Northern Hemisphere it extends from the Vernal Equinox( day and night equal in length), March 20 or 21, to the Summer Solstice( year’s longest day ), June 21 or 22. The Seasons come with cyclical frequency at the expected time while planet Earth and the rest of the Solar system partake motion of Sun in the Milky Way Galaxy and their location in Space is never constant and is never the same.
THE SPRING SEASON – A REASON FOR HOPE:
The arrival of Spring Season is celebrated with a sense of Joy in numerous cultures and human traditions. The reason for Joy is because of the Season giving a sense of Hope. The reason for Hope is that of rebirth, renewal, regeneration, regrowth, and rejuvenation. In Spring, we witness the plant and animal life getting revitalized. Things in Nature change with Time but Nature remains unchanged. Nature remains constant, immutable, unchanged, or eternal. Nature does not change as mass, energy, and momentum always remain unchanged. The Laws of Conservation stated by classical Physics state that mass and energy can be neither created nor destroyed. Each Law of Conservation signifies that Nature does not change with the passage of Time. We have hope as Nature exists without change. There is hope that we can recover and renew and restart if a process is broken or worn out. Nature’s ability to support and sustain Life is maintained by operation of The Laws of Conservation and by operation of the Fundamental Force called Gravitation.
THE LORD OF THE SEASON – MADHAVAM:
The other name for Spring Season, known as Vasant or Basant is MADHAVAM. Indian tradition describes ideas by attaching them to personalities. The person known as LORD MADHAVA is the consort of a person known as Goddess MADHAVI. She derives her name from the word MADHU which describes the nectar gathered by butterflies. Madhu is used to name the taste experience called Sweetness, the sweet substances like honey, sugar, Jaggery and any alcohol derived by fermentation of sugars. The Sweetness gives Joy and Happiness and man can get easily addicted to its powerful intoxicating effect. The sweetness has to be experienced with a sense of restraint. Man experiences a sweet sensation called MADHURYA when he experiences MADHAVI as a FORCE/POWER/ENERGY called Mercy/Grace/Compassion. Spring Season is celebrated as MADHAVAM as Lord Madhava is the Controller of the FORCE/POWER/ENERGY of Mercy/Grace/Compassion described in the Sanskrit language as KRUPA. Man exists at all stages of his life because of God’s Mercy, Grace, and Compassion.
THE CELEBRATION OF TELUGU NEW YEAR – UGADI:
The Telugu speaking people of India follow the Lunar Calendar and the first month of the year ( March-April) is known as CHAITRA.
The Telugu New Year is traditionally celebrated as UGADI festival. A traditional holiday dish, a relish called ‘UGADI PACHADI’ is prepared to reflect the tastes and flavors of Spring Season. Telugu people are celebrating the dawn of their New Year called “VIKARI” on Saturday, April 06, 2019.
World Water Day, held on 22 March every year since 1993, focuses on the importance of freshwater.
World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water. It is about taking action to tackle the global water crisis. A core focus of World Water Day is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.
Celebrating World Water Day
The stepwell that these women are climbing is an apt image to mark World Water Day. Stepwells originated in western India over a thousand years ago as way for locals in that arid climate to easily and reliably access fresh water—even during the driest months. The Panna Meena Ka Kund stepwell in Jaipur is a classic example of the beautiful, regular, geometric architecture used to produce these useful public works. Most stepwells also feature shaded side chambers where locals (primarily women) can gather to escape the heat of the day.
In this image, one can see obvious signs of previous high-water marks on the well’s walls as seasonal fluctuations and the changing climate affect water levels throughout the region. The impact of climate change on fresh water accessibility is the theme that the United Nations has chosen for this year’s World Water Day. The goal of today’s observance is to focus attention and energy not just on those problems, but on potential solutions as well.
Water and Climate Change
World Water Day 2020 is about water and climate change – and how the two are inextricably linked. The campaign shows how our use of water will help reduce floods, droughts, scarcity and pollution, and will help fight climate change itself.
By adapting to the water effects of climate change, we will protect health and save lives. And, by using water more efficiently, we will reduce greenhouse gases.
Our key messages for this day are clear:
We cannot afford to wait. Climate policy makers must put water at the heart of action plans.
Water can help fight climate change. There are sustainable, affordable and scalable water and sanitation solutions.
Everyone has a role to play. In our daily lives, there are surprisingly easy steps we can all take to address climate change.
History of the Day
The idea for this international day goes back to 1992, the year in which the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro took place. That same year, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution by which 22 March of each year was declared World Day for Water, to be observed starting in 1993.
Later on, other celebrations and events were added. For instance, the International Year of Cooperation in the Water Sphere 2013, and the current International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028. These observances serve to reaffirm that water and sanitation measures are key to poverty reduction, economic growth, and environmental sustainability.
ANTOINE LAURENT LAVOISIER(1743-1794), French Chemist and Physicist. He discovered the Composition of Water Molecule and of various other Organic Compounds.
Water Molecule looks very simple and yet it plays a mysterious role inside all living cells. It is essential to Life and its propagation. Its Spiritual nature is revealed by its pure, original, and sweet taste it imparts apart from its role as a Chemical Compound. It is the main mode of transport of many Elements that are needed by the living organisms. Water is the Agent that leaches Nutrient Elements and Compounds from rocks and soils and makes them available for use by plants, and animals.
Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 7, verse 8: I am the taste in water, O son of Kunti, and the radiance of the sun and the moon. I am the sacred syllable Om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether, and the ability in humans.
LORD OF SEASONS – WELCOME TO EARLY SPRING. CELEBRATING THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING ON THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 2020.
I wish all my readers, ‘Happy First Day of Spring’. The exact moment of the equinox will occur Thursday night at 11:49 p.m. EDT (0349 GMT on March 20), according to the astronomy reference book “Astronomical Table of the Sun, Moon and Planets” (Willmann-Bell, 2016). At that time, the Earth will reach the point in its orbit where its axis isn’t tilted toward or away from the sun. Thus, the sun will then be directly over a specific point on the Earth’s equator moving northward. On the sky, it’s where the ecliptic and celestial equator cross each other. In fact, it will be a rather auspicious occurrence: the earliest that the equinox has occurred nationwide in 124 years.
EVERY CHANGING PHENOMENON IN NATURE IS OPERATED BY UNCHANGING REALITY.
Every changing phenomenon in nature is operated by Unchanging Reality. Spring Season brings a change, and this change is possible for it is governed by Unchanging Reality. In Indian tradition, Spring Season is glorified for it symbolizes LORD MADHAVA, Lord of Seasons.
The Divine Song called Bhagavad Gita, Chapter X, ‘The Infinite Glories of the Ultimate Truth’- ‘VIBHUTI VISTARA YOGA’, describes LORD God Creator’s Infinite Divine Attributes. In verse # 35, Lord Krishna describes Himself as The Lord of Spring Season – The Flowery Season: “Rtunam Kusumakarah.”
The word ‘Spring’ describes the move upward or forward from the ground, it denotes resilience or bounce, and it means to grow or develop or come into existence quickly. Among the Seasons, the Spring Season is the time during which plants begin to grow after lying dormant all Winter. In the North Temperate Zone, the Spring Season includes the months of March, April, and May, the period between the Vernal Equinox and the Summer Solstice.
A not-so-equal equinox
On the day of the equinox, the sun will appear to rise exactly east and set exactly west. Daytime and nighttime are often said to be equally long with the equinox, but this is a common misconception — the day can be up to 8 minutes longer, depending on your latitude.
The sun is above the horizon half the day and below for half — but that statement neglects the effect of the Earth’s atmosphere, which bends the rays of sunlight (called refraction) around the Earth’s curvature when the sun lies close to the horizon. But, because of this bending of the sun’s rays, the disk of the sun is always seen slightly higher above the horizon than it really is.
In fact, when you see the sun appearing to sit on the horizon, what you are looking at is an optical illusion; the sun at that moment is actually below the horizon. So, we get several extra minutes of daylight at the start of the day and several extra minutes more at the end.
Sun overhead from the Emerald of the Equator
Astronomers can calculate the moment of the vernal equinox right down to the nearest second. This year it will occur on Thursday (March 19) at 11:49:28 p.m. EDT (0349 GMT on March 20). At that moment, the sun will appear directly overhead about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Gorontalo, a province of Indonesia — often referred to as the “Emerald of the Equator” — on the island of Sulawesi, on the equator in the Gulf of Tomini. In the days that follow, the direct rays of the sun migrate to the north of the equator and the length of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere will correspondingly appear to increase.
LORD MADHAVA–LORD OF THE SPRING SEASON:
In the Indian tradition, Spring Season is called ‘BASANT’, ‘VASANT’,’KUSUMAKARA’ or ‘MADHAVAM’. A chief, alluring feature of this Season is the flowering of plants. Mangifera indica, MANGO plant, a native of India bears flowers and promises to deliver its sweet, and delicious fruits.
The Spring Season is a time for rebirth, regeneration, renewal, and regrowth after a period of dormancy. Man derives a sense of joy and happiness when the plants start their growing process and quickly bear attractive flowers. It gives the experience of ‘Sweetness’ which is called ‘Madhurya’ in the Sanskrit language. It is a manifestation of a creative process, or operation of creative energy that makes human existence possible giving the man the sensation associated with consuming nectar, honey, or sweet wine. In Indian tradition, this creative energy is personified as Goddess Madhavi, and Her consort Lord Madhava is the Controller of Creative Energy. Today, I seek Blessings of Lord Madhava and Goddess Madhavi to renew my creative energy and to guide expression of my thoughts using sweet words and to promote the well-being of all my readers and become a source of Happiness to all people.
This story was told by Aesop, the legendary Greek story-teller. Once upon a time, a Wolf was lapping at a stream. When looking up, the Wolf saw a Lamb just beginning to drink a little down the stream. “There’s my supper,” thought the Wolf. The Lamb looked so very helpless and innocent. The Wolf felt he ought to have an excuse for taking its life. Then he called out to the Lamb, “How dare you muddle the water from which I am drinking?” “No, Master, No,” said the Lamb; “if the water be muddy up there, I cannot be the cause of it, for it runs down from you to me.” “Well then,” said the Wolf, “Why did you call me bad names this time last year?” “That cannot be,” said the Lamb, “I am only six months old.” “I don’t care,” snarled the Wolf, “If it was not you, it was your father,” and with that he rushed upon the poor little Lamb, seized him and ate him up, saying,”Well I won’t stay supper less even though you refute every one of my imputations.”
A tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny. When the oppressor is unjust, the innocent cannot get justice by reasoning. The unjust will not listen to the reasoning of the innocent.
THE BATTLE OF RIGHT AGAINST MIGHT:
Mahatma Gandhi had challenged the mighty British Empire with a Battle Strategy of his own. On the morning of March 12, 1930, Gandhi and about 78 of his followers had set out to oppose the unjust British Rule. He started marching from Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad toward the village of Dandi on the Arabian Sea.
At that time, under the British Rule, it was forbidden to make salt or even pick it up. It was illegal to collect even natural deposits of salt. Gandhi wanted to attack this unjust Salt Act. He went to the Sea to break the Law. He had inspired people to break the Law. He marched 240 miles to resist the British Power. The Salt March which is popularly described as Salt Satyagraha was one of Mahatma Gandhi’s most successful Campaigns in the Indian Nationalist Movement for Independence and to overthrow the British Rule.
When he got to the Sea, Gandhi broke the Salt Law by the simple act of picking up a tiny lump of soil with some natural salt at Dandi beach. And, he had forced the British to repeal the unjust Salt Law. Gandhi did not reach Dandi in a bus or a car. He had marched all the way on foot. He got the attention that he had wanted. He had shown the way to the people. Injustice could be resisted. Tyranny is not acceptable. People can change unjust laws and get rid of unjust rulers.
MARCH 10 – TIBETAN NATIONAL UPRISING DAY
H.H. The Dalai Lama fled into exile 61 years ago. The Tibetan National Uprising on March 10, 1959 was brutally crushed by Communist China. The illegal and unjust military occupation of Tibet should be challenged and should be opposed. The Chinese Rule in Tibet is resisted by observing ‘TIBET AWARENESS DAY’ in commemoration of ‘The Tibetan National Uprising Day’. Mahatma Gandhi had demonstrated the Power of Touch. We can easily resist Chinese military occupation of Tibet. We should resolve and refuse to touch Made in China products. Gandhi won his Battle Campaign by the sheer Power of innocent people who had peacefully joined in opposition to tyranny. Tibet’s Battle of Right against Might deserves World’s Sympathy.
THE LIVING TIBETAN SPIRITS:
I am a witness and my consciousness hosts the spirits of young Tibetan soldiers who gave their precious lives while dreaming about evicting the illegal occupier from the Land of Tibet.
Rudra Narasimham Rebbapragada,
Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.
Service Number: MS-8466/MR-03277K; Rank: Major;
Branch: Army Medical Corps/Short Service Regular Commission/Direct Permanent Commission(1969-1984);
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY #IWD2020 #EachforEqual March 8, 2020
An equal world is an enabled world. How will you help forge a gender equal world? Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.
THE DIVINE MOTHER OF LIFE, ENERGY, AND KNOWLEDGE – THE CELEBRATION OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
To celebrate International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 08, 2020, I account for human existence honoring ‘The Divine Mother of Life, Energy, and Knowledge. The Divine Principle has to be both male and female and in this article, I present the feminine aspect of Divine Principle as “Whole Angel”, the harmonious blending or coming together of Angel of Beauty, Angel of Mercy, and Angel of Knowledge.
The Father and the Mother – Principles governing Life:
MAATRU DEVO BHAVA, PITRU DEVO BHAVA – THE DIVINITY OF MOTHER AND FATHER:
Father is described as the male parent, an ancestor, an originator, and as a Controller. Very often, in the Land of India, God is considered as both the Father and the Mother of all life forms. Mother is described as the female parent and something that is regarded as a ‘Source’. In Indian tradition, Father may be viewed as the ‘Prime Cause’ and Mother is the Source of ‘Prime Energy’. Mother is the source of energy in performance of all kinds of actions and in accomplishment of all kinds of work. The Mother Principle represents the Endeavor/Work/Effort that makes action possible. If Life is defined as function at the level of biological molecules, Mother represents the Source or the Origin of these organic molecules; Mother is the Source of Energy for the synthesis of these organic molecules; and Mother is the Source of Knowledge that provides the ability of recognition and the ability to use the molecules in a sequential manner to manage the biochemical reactions of these organic molecules to function as Life.
I dedicate this blog post to memory of my mother. Biological Science provides me the understanding to recognize her as the Divine Mother of Life, Energy, and Knowledge(Angel of Beauty, Angel of Mercy, and Angel of Knowledge).
ANGEL OF BEAUTY – MOTHER – SOURCE OF LIFE:
The complex, multicellular human organism begins as a single cell. That single cell is the source of life, energy, and knowledge.
I, as a human organism exist in this world as I had arrived from a previously existing ‘Mother Cell’. By repeated cell growth and cell division or replication known as ‘Mitosis’, the human organism grows and develops into a form containing thousands of billions of cells. This process of development is called ‘Morphogenesis’ which involves not only cell growth but differentiation into specialized types of cells. All the tissues and organs of which the human body is composed have originally developed from a microscopic cell known as ‘Ovum’ or the ‘Egg Cell’. This Ovum or Egg Cell may be regarded as a perfect cell and could be described as ‘Mother Cell’. All the solid tissues in the human body can be shown to consist largely of similar cells; it is true that they may differ, but they are essentially similar to an Ovum. The Ovum is a reproductive cell that is adapted to meet the nutritional requirements of the early developmental stages of the embryo. It is always a large cell because it contains sufficient cytoplasmic substance for the development of a self-sufficient embryo. Some of the substance which is packaged in yolk particles contains cell components; typically an Ovum contains sufficient quantities of components for many cells. Thus the Ovum need not grow as it divides; as the nuclei divide, the cytoplasm subdivides until the Ovum consists of a large number of normal-sized cells. By contrast, the male reproductive cells known as ‘Spermatozoa’ contain very little cytoplasm and they cannot further divide into new cells.
THE SOURCE OF LIFE – PROTOPLASM:
The most significant feature of the similarity between the cells of a man and that of the ‘Mother Cell’ from which he had arrived is presence of a soft gelatinous, semi-fluid, granular material inside the cell. This substance known as ‘Protoplasm’ is similar to that found in the Ovum. The Ovum consists of this viscous, translucent, colloidal substance enclosed in a membrane called Plasma Membrane. A small spherical body called nucleus is embedded in the protoplasm. The protoplasm could also be differentiated into cytoplasm and nucleoplasm based upon its location. Cytoplasm refers to protoplasm located outside the nucleus. Nucleoplasm refers to protoplasm located inside the nucleus. The two essential features of any living cell in the human body are that of presence of protoplasm and the nucleus.
The most striking characteristics of protoplasm are its vital properties of “Motion” and “Nutrition”. Protoplasm has the intrinsic power to change its shape and position. Motion of protoplasm is called ‘amoeboid movement’ as it resembles the movements observed in the Amoeba proteus animalcule. Nutrition is the power which protoplasm has of attracting itself the materials necessary for its growth and maintenance from surrounding matter and environment. The Egg Cell or the Ovum is the Source or the Mother of Life.
THE LAW OF INDIVIDUALITY : HEREDITY AND VARIATION:
Heredity is the sum of all biological processes by which particular characteristics are transmitted from parents to their offspring. A child inherits a genetic constitution from its biological parents. This hereditary endowment, the total of the genes that the child has received from both parents is called the genotype. The genotype of an individual is formed from the constituents of the genotypes of his parents. The genotype in a fertilized Egg Cell influences the developmental pattern of the child. Progeny is not exact duplicates of their parents and usually vary in many traits. Heredity and Variation are two sides of the same coin. The outward appearance of an organism is called the phenotype. The same individual shows different phenotypes in childhood, in adulthood, and in old age. The genotype, on the other hand, does not change during an individual’s life. Each cell in the human body contains the same total genetic information that was present in the fertilized Egg. However, the cells are not identical. In different types of cells, groups of genes are controlled ( in effect switched on and off ) by various biochemical processes, so that each cell manufactures the proteins and structures needed for it to function. Cells are regulated by the DNA in the nucleus and by the transfer of selected portions of the DNA information to the cytoplasm through the intermediate molecules of ‘Messenger RNA’. It is estimated that, on average, only about 10 percent of the genes of any cell are functional; selection of functional genes varies with the type of cell. This biological phenomenon of selective gene functioning may contribute to what I term as ‘The Law of Individuality’. Deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA accounts for the ability of all living matter to replicate itself exactly and to transmit genetic information from parent to offspring. The child maintains its individuality by selectively switching the inherited DNA on and off. The Law of Individuality applies to all living organisms. Despite the basic biological, chemical, and physical similarities found in all living things, diversity of life exists not only among and between species but also within every natural population.
The Mother Cell is the Source of Life for its child and yet the child comes into existence as a brand new and original product with its own Identity and Individuality. The Mother Cell does not manufacture the new multicellular organism called child. A child is always a created object even when it derives its life from a Mother Cell.
ANGEL OF MERCY, GRACE, AND COMPASSION – MOTHER – SOURCE OF ENERGY :
To maintain life an organism not only repairs or replaces ( or both ) its structures by a constant supply of the materials of which it is composed but also keeps its life processes in operation by a steady supply of energy.
Living systems must be supplied energy for continual synthesis of new organic molecules and to replace or to repair broken organic molecules. This functional activity; the processes of synthesis and breakdown of organic molecules by a living cell, is known as metabolism. Metabolism involves a living system’s continual exchange of some of its materials with its surroundings, principally in the process of building up or destroying its protoplasm. growth involves a higher rate of synthesis of protoplasm than a rate of breakdown of that matter.
ACQUISITION OF ENERGY:
Organisms acquire energy for their metabolism by two general methods and could be classified as autotrophs or self feeders and heterotrophs or feeders of other organisms. Plants are known as Photoautotrophs as they acquire useful free energy from the energy of Sunlight. In a process known as Photosynthesis, plants use Sunlight to break water into Oxygen and Hydrogen. Hydrogen is then combined with Carbon dioxide to produce such energy-rich molecules as Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and carbohydrates and the Oxygen is released back into the atmosphere. Humans and most other animals are known as heterotrophs – these organisms acquire energy by the controlled breakdown of pre-existing organic molecules ( food ) supplied by other organisms. Humans utilize the atmospheric Oxygen ( released by plant life ) to combine chemically with organic matter ( food ) they have eaten and release Carbon dioxide and water as waste products. Metabolic processes do not occur in one step. It is not similar to burning sugar in air.
KREB’S TRICARBOXYLIC ACID CYCLE:
The glucose, a simple sugar is broken down by a series of successive and coordinated steps, each mediated by a particular and specific enzyme. The human organism extracts useful energy by a metabolic process described as Oxidation-Reduction Reactions. The glucose is broken down in a series of about 71 enzymatically catalyzed steps. The first 11 of these biochemical reactions do not involve the use of Oxygen. These Oxidation-Reduction Reactions occur in intracellular organelles known as Mitochondria in the cytoplasm of cells.
MITOCHONDRIA – THE POWERHOUSE OF CELLS:
Mitochondria are typically sausage-shaped particles about 0.5 to one micron wide and about 5 to 10 microns long. They are surrounded by an outer unit membrane which controls the passage of material into and out of the mitochondria and govern their internal environment. The inner membrane is the site of the respiratory functions that make the mitochondria the so-called Powerhouse of the Cell. The inner membrane is folded repeatedly into shelf like folds called cristae which contain the enzymes that play an essential role in conversion of the energy of foodstuffs into the energy used for cellular activities.
MITOCHONDRIA AND CHLOROPLASTS – A DIVINE SOURCE FOR ENERGY ACQUISITION:
Mitochondria and Chloroplasts found in the green plant cells perform the same fundamental processes. The Chloroplasts contain the green colored pigment known as Chlorophyll. The Chloroplasts convert the energy of Sunlight into energy-rich ATP and use ATP to convert Carbon into specific organic substances. The most important equations for living things are mutually inverse. Respiration of human organisms represents the reverse of Photosynthesis of Green Plants. Both Mitochondria and the Chloroplasts are semi-independent and self-reproducing parts of the living cells. They have a degree of autonomy and they are unlike the other components of cells. Mitochondria contain DNA in the form of a Chromosome arranged in a ring. The DNA of Mitochondria has different distribution of bases from that of the DNA found in the Chromosomes present in the nucleus. Mitochondria carry the genes for their own replication and for the enzymes found in them. They can synthesize some of their own proteins and reproduce by themselves. In one respect the mitochondria function as the parts of the cells and in another respect, they behave like independent organisms that reproduce on their own.
The Mother Cell is the source of Mitochondria found in all the cells of my human body. During the Growth and Development of Human Embryo and Fetus, all the newly formed cells contain Mitochondria derived from the Egg Cell. Hence, mother as a biological parent represents the Source of Energy for all the Living Functions and activities of her children. I cannot move a muscle in my body without drawing energy supplied by the maternal Mitochondria which continue to live and replicate establishing my mother as the Source of Energy for my existence during my entire Life’s Journey.
ANGEL OF KNOWLEDGE – MOTHER – SOURCE OF KNOWLEDGE:
Life is the state of an individual characterized by the capacity to perform certain functional activities including the ability of responsiveness. Life is further characterized by presence of complex transformation of organic molecules and by organization of such molecules into the successively larger units of protoplasm, cells, organs, and tissues. Hence, I have defined Life as “Knowledge in Action.”
Responsiveness represents the ability of an organism to change in response to alteration in its environment. Responsiveness, alertness, awareness, and consciousness separates living from nonliving matter and defines life’s underlying principle. Living cells are aware or conscious of the environment in which they exist as well as the state of their own internal environment. The one very important part of environment of a cell is other cells. The ability called awareness and responsiveness is important for recognition, association, and cooperation between cells. Cells function together by exchanging chemical signals.
THE BIOLOGICAL MEMBRANE – AN ORGAN OF SENSE PERCEPTION :
Cell is the most elementary unit of Life. Cell is bounded by a Plasma Membrane which is more correctly described as a Biological Membrane. It separates the cell from the environment and from other cells. It helps to maintain a constant milieu in which intracellular reactions occur. The Biological Membrane allows a highly controlled exchange of matter across the barrier it poses, some compounds are able to pass through the membrane easily, others are blocked. Cells contain various internal structures such as the nucleus, and mitochondria, each of which is enclosed by a Membrane. Both the Biological Membrane and some of the intracellular membranes are parts of a continuous Membrane System that extends through much of the body of the cell. It serves two purposes. A compartmentalization of cell is required for many cellular activities, including uptake and conversion of nutrients, synthesis of new molecules, production of energy, transportation, and release of cell products, and regulation and coordination of metabolic sequences. The cellular organelles are protected from one another’s enzymatic activities, and those of the cytoplasm. The Biological Membrane System functions like an Organ of Sense Perception and maintains the responsiveness of the cell.
THE CYTOPLASMIC OR MATERNAL INHERITANCE:
Deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA accounts for the ability of all living matter to replicate itself exactly and to transmit genetic information from parent to offspring. While offspring inherit a genetic constitution and hereditary traits from both parents, some characteristics are inherited through the maternal line only. For example, there are no Chlorophyll containing Chloroplasts in pollen grains of ( male ) flowers. The act of Pollination does not contribute this most important characteristic known as Chloroplasts. Chloroplasts are found only in the Egg Cells of ( female ) flowers. Similarly, humans inherit the Powerhouses called Mitochondria only from Maternal cytoplasm. A Cytoplasmic Inheritance is entirely Maternal. Human functions that involve Sensory Perception, Mental Cognition, Learning, and the functions of Memory and Consciousness should be viewed as functions of the cytoplasm. Cytoplasm represents the Seat of Knowledge. Man begins Life as a single cell with its cytoplasm. The cell grows and divides while building more of its cytoplasm. Knowledge is Fact of Knowing, State of Knowing, and Act of Knowing a range of information, the Mother or the Source of Knowledge is the Maternal Cytoplasm inherited from the Egg Cell, Ovum, or the Mother Cell.
Kindly listen to this hymn “Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu” to give recognition to The Divine Mother of Life, Energy, and Knowledge.
In Special Frontier Force-Establishment No. 22-Vikas Regiment, I am often identified as the Doom Dooma Doomsayer. The concept of Doom,Apocalypse, Calamity, Catastrophe, or sudden Disaster is shared by people of various cultures apart from Tibetans.
The Great Tibet Problem is not about balancing the power of the King or the Priest. Tibetans enjoy a sense of Freedom, a gift granted by Mother Nature. Over thousands of years, Natural Forces, Natural Factors, Natural Causes, and Natural Conditions shaped the Tibetan Existence. For example, the creation of Tibetan Plateau demonstrates the Power of Nature.
I coined the phrase Tibet Equilibrium to describe a new Theory of Balance of Power in International Relations. I am describing the issue as Nature vs Man. In my analysis, a sudden, unexpected, natural calamity will restore the Balance of Power across the Tibetan Plateau to grant the Natural Freedom that the denizens of Tibet enjoyed during their entire history.
From the biography: How the Dalai Lama combines a rationalist’s view with a spiritual outlook
An excerpt from ‘The Dalai Lama: An Extraordinary Life’ by Alexander Norman.
In April 2011 the Dalai Lama announced his full retirement from office as leader of the Tibetan government in exile. Henceforth it would be headed by a democratically elected first minister. In thus handing over political power, the Precious Protector brought to an end three and a half centuries of theocratic rule – albeit that power had for long periods been vested in regents acting in the name of the Dalai Lama.
It was a reform not universally applauded by Tibetans, but it had clearly been among the Precious Protector’s plans from the moment he decided in favour of democracy on first coming into exile.
The Dalai Lama effected extraordinary change with this move. When Altan Khan, the Mongol strongman of sixteenth-century Central Asia, pro- claimed Sonam Gyatso, abbot of Drepung, to be Taleh (the Mongolian term for ocean, from which the word “Dalai” is derived) Lama, the Tibetan was head of a monastery comprising several thousand monks. But although this conferred immense prestige and great wealth, the direct political power attaching to him personally was limited to the sway he held over the Gelug establishment in general and over Drepung and its sister monasteries and their estates in particular.
It was not until the Great Fifth secured the patronage of another of the Khans that the institution of the Dalai Lama attained such prestige that, in combination with his viceroy and backed by the military might of the Mongols, he could exercise political power across the Tibetan Buddhist world as a whole. In so doing, the Great Fifth forged the Tibetan people into a broadly harmonious society in a way that had not been seen since the fall of the religious kings in the ninth century.
Moreover, his imaginative recapitulation of the Tibetan empire brought the spiritual realm of gods, demons, and protectors together with the earthly realm of human beings, their landed property, and their possessions, and made both answerable to a single authority.
What the present Dalai Lama brought about with his retirement was thus not just his withdrawal from politics but the end of the dispensation whereby, in effect, the Dalai Lama united within himself the functions of both priest and patron.
This, it will be remembered, was the paradigmatic relationship whereby the priest, or lama, guaranteed the legitimacy of the king, while the king in turn supported the lama temporally. Under the new dispensation, the Dalai Lama continues to rule the supernatural realm while earthly matters are placed under the authority of a secular establishment. What is especially innovative about this manoeuvre is the elevation of the people themselves to the role of patron.
The withdrawal of the Dalai Lama’s authority from the temporal realm was almost as important for its psychological as for its political value. No longer should Tibetans look to the Dalai Lama for answers to every question of a practical nature that, in theory at least, they had hitherto been free to put to him. Instead, they would stand on their own feet.
The Dalai Lama and his successors could thus concern themselves with what they are actually trained for, namely, spiritual direction, even if, to the end of this life, he would remain a symbolic figurehead for his people.
Given that the Precious Protector’s every word is held by most of his people to have divine authority, it presumably takes considerable restraint on his part not to speak out on earthly matters from time to time. But save for his handling of the Shugden controversy, insofar as it is a political matter, the Dalai Lama has so far shown little inclination to intervene in affairs of state. Instead, the former leader has dedicated himself to fulfilling what he describes as his three “main commitments.”
These are, first, as a human being, by helping others to be happy; second, as a Buddhist monk, by working to bring about harmony among the world’s various religious traditions; and third, as a Tibetan, by helping to preserve his country’s unique language and culture. In this last, he emphasises the enormous debt the Tibetan tradition owes to what it inherited from the Indian scholar-saints of Nalanda, the Buddhist monastic university that flourished from the fifth to the twelfth century and provided the blueprint for the monastic universities of Tibet.
A major component of these commitments is the Dalai Lama’s dedication to the environmentalist cause. The destruction of wildlife in Tibet since 1950 is a continuing sorrow to him, though his attitude toward the environment generally is neither sentimental nor a function of his religiosity. There is nothing “sacred or holy” about nature, he writes in his autobiography; rather, “taking care of our planet is like taking care of our houses.”
Similarly, while he is a ready advocate of compassion in farming and has said on occasion that he would like to be the “world spokesman for fish,” he does not go so far as to deny categorically the possibility that animal experimentation might, in certain circumstances, be justifiable – provided that the motive in doing so is altruistic. It is characteristic of the Buddhist approach to avoid absolutes.
Also to the dismay of some, the Dalai Lama, though he has often spoken in favour of vegetarianism, is, as we have seen, not a vegetarian himself. Moreover, he recognises the difficulty of living in an environmentally responsible way and does not make a fetish of doing so. While eschewing baths, he admits that, in taking a shower morning and evening, there might be little difference in his water consumption.
With respect to his commitment to helping others find happiness, the Dalai Lama includes scientific research as an important component in the human search for felicity. To this end, he continues to meet and to engage in dialogue with scientists from around the world. Whether a consequence of this is that he has himself “become one of the world’s greatest scientists,” as Robert Thurman has suggested, may be open to question. It is certainly not a claim he would make for himself.
But his patronage of a compendium of Buddhist scientific texts demonstrates his wish to see Buddhist inquiry, especially into the nature of consciousness, given serious consideration by outsiders. Noting the congruence between the Buddhist and the scientific worldviews, the Dalai Lama wonders why “the impulse for helping and kindness are not recognised as drivers for human behaviour and… flourishing?” If scientists were to ask these questions honestly, he believes that they would find the answers provided by Buddhist thinkers compelling.
In the field of interreligious dialogue, the Dalai Lama has, since retiring from office, continued to meet and to pray with religious leaders and prominent spiritual figures from around the world. Setting aside his vow to refrain from intoxicating beverages, he once partook of Holy Communion administered by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. On another occasion, he donned an apron to serve food in a church-run homeless shelter in Australia.
Despite hostility from some quarters, the Dalai Lama has visited Israel more than once; in 2006, he met with both the Sephardi and Ashkenazi chief rabbis. He has also visited several Islamic countries, notably Jordan, again more than once, meeting with Prince Ghazi bin Mohammed, a leading figure in Islamic interfaith dialogue, later that same year.
Besides advocating pluralism with respect to other religions, it is evident that the Dalai Lama also wishes to strengthen his followers in their faith. As a rule, he counsels people to remain within their own faith tradition, remarking that if a person is a poor practitioner of one, changing to another will do nothing to improve matters.
Referring to his visit to the monastery of Le Grand Chartreuse, where he noticed the monks’ feet cracked with cold from wearing only sandals, he praises the dedication of followers of non-Buddhist religions. At the same time, he speaks of his concern about Tibetan teachers abroad who live luxuriously or flout their vows.
Yet his concern about behavior inappropriate to prelates is not confined to Buddhists. When Pope Francis removed a German ecclesiastic for the ostentatious restoration of his residence, the Dalai Lama wrote to congratulate the Roman pontiff. Whether or not it is true that, of all the other religions, the Dalai Lama feels closest to Catholicism is an open question.
On the one hand, for him it is given a priori that there is no creator. On the other hand, the superficial similarities between many of the liturgical practices of Rome and Lhasa cause him to wonder if there was not earlier contact between the two traditions. Both religions practice ritual eating and drinking, and both venerate the relics of saints. It is also true that the Dalai Lama has been hosted many times by ecumenically minded Catholic organisations, and if he is not mistaken, the Dalai Lama enjoys divine approval for fostering links with the Catholic Church.
On a visit to Fatima in 2001, he experienced a vision of the Virgin Mary, whose statue turned and smiled at him. In this context, it is not entirely clear how we are to interpret his remark that one of the biggest surprises of his life came when Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed the indispensability of reason to religious faith. In the Dalai Lama’s view, if people would only think hard enough, they would come to see the truth of how things really are – and thus the falsity of the pope’s position and the correctness of his own.
Excerpted with permission from The Dalai Lama: An Extraordinary Life, Alexander Norman, HarperCollins India.