The station master of the local suburban station came and stood near me, “There’s an award for the best kept station,” he said spitting a wad of betel nut onto the platform.

“Interesting,” I said, as I watched the red juice flow all over the concrete surface.

“This station will win that award,” said the man with a determined glare.

“You’ll have to work hard at it,” I said, as a pair of urchins used the railway track as their toilet.

“It will be a great day for the people of this suburb,” he said

“I am sure they will be delighted,” I said and watched horrified, as an old lady slipped on the red paan juice and fell on the ground.

“Stupid woman,” said the station master as he watched the public pour water over the old woman’s face to revive her. “See, how they will dirty the platform. It is very difficult to educate people in our country. Come let us move from here and have some tea.”

The canteen boy at the tea stall poured some soapy water into a glass, rinsed it, threw it onto the platform and then grinned at the station master.

“He always washes the glasses when he sees me,” said the station master proudly. He knows I am very particular about cleanliness!”

“Then the award is yours,” I said.

“Of course it’s mine,” said the station master moving quickly out of the way of a passenger gargling after he had eaten a vada pav. Of course we will win it.”

“You better start working at it right now,” I reminded him again, as asuper fast rushed past the station raising a cloud of dust and blackening everybody’s face.

“I have already worked on it,” said the now sooty station master. “You can be assured the award is mine.”

“The cleanest station in the city!” I exclaimed, trying to wipe the soot off my face.

“All the newspapers will write about it,” he said.

“You have a lot of work to do, you should talk to all your juniors and other workers in the station immediately,” I suggested.

“They are overjoyed,” said the station master happily.

“Overjoyed”? I asked watching a sweeper woman sweeping all the garbage from the platform onto the railway tracks. “Don’t they realize they will have to work very hard to win it?”

“We have already won!” said the station master, giving me a hefty pat and laughing as I just managed to avoid slipping on a banana skin.

“But, the award will be announced only at the end of the year,” I said, holding onto the station master’s coat and nearly fainting with the terriblesmell from it.

“Ah,” said the station master kicking a mangy stray dog on its behind and putting his hand around me. “I forgot to tell you the railway minister’s brother is a close friend of my sister’s husband. What’s a small favour among friends..!”

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By Yogi Ashwini

Lord Ganesh is said to be the deity closest to the physical world; he is the god of wisdom, knowledge and prosperity. OnGanesh Chatuthri, also known a sVinayak Chaturthi, it is easiest to access the energy of Ganesh. 

The term Ganesh comes from the Sanskrit words, 'gan' and 'esh'. 'Gan' means jan samooh (general people) and 'esh' means supreme or Lord. Lord Ganesha is the supreme deity of the normal man, the guardian of the spiritual world and the first energy to grant access to the higher dimensions, also known as the pratham pujya. 

Every aspect of this energy has a significance of its own. The elephant-head symbolises supreme intelligence, the human body with large belly symbolises a reservoir of energy stored in the manipoorak chakra, which is located at the navel.Ganesh is the child of Mahadev, the supreme purush, and Adi Shakti, the mother of the creation. Riddhi (prosperity) and Siddhi (spiritual powers) are married to Ganpati, which indicates Ganpati is an energy, which bestows spiritual as well as worldly boons, confirming the philosophy given in shastras, that attainment of worldly pleasures is essential for attainment of higher realms - moksha or liberation.

This is also the reason why in yogic practices like the Sanatan Kriya, the first sadhna given to a sadhak (spiritual aspirant) is Ganpati sadhna and Ganpati jaap, which opens the doorway to lokas beyond the bhu-loka, the physical dimension in creation. The jaap and mala is received from your Guru, who channelizes the energy into mantra paving the route for its siddhi. Sadhaks at Dhyan Ashram who have been seriously practicing the various mantra siddhis, have had physical manifestations of the various gods. To master the mantra of Lord Ganesh it is important to move the maala (rudraksha beads) while chanting. When the maala moves, the shakti of mantra gets accumulated in the maala and its meru. The various tantric mantras have their prayog later in sadhna, you use them for a specific purpose and the use happens through the meru.

Ganesh Chaturthi is the day when the energy of Lord Ganesh is most easily accessible to human beings. A yagya invoking the energy of the Ganesh performed on this day under the guidance of Guru with the purity of thought (bhaav), chant (uccharan) and offerings (samagri and samidha), unlocks the doorways to the subtler dimensions, enabling one to realize his/her true potential. Such a yagya has the effect of purifying the home and the karmas of the participants, stimulating the process of manifestation of thoughts and desires, as experienced on a daily basis by Sanatan Kriya practitioners at Dhyan Ashram.

Yogi Ashwini is the Guiding Light of Dhyan Ashram and can be reached at

Yogi Ashwini

In this series we have been discussing about asans for giving the desired shape to the body. I would like to warn the reader that yog is not about twisting and turning your body or breathing abnormally, it does not tie you to any particular religion, ritual, lifestyle or diet. Yog sets you free and this can definitely not be given by one who is himself tied in the bondages of maya and charges a fee/favours from you.

Hence any Yogic practice needs to be done under the Guidance of a Guru and there is no monetary or material exchange between the Guru and the Shishya. Asans when performed correctly activate the higher centers of the brain as a result of which a practitioner can change their physical form as per their desire. One attains complete control over the five senses and the physical body. Many such demonstrations have been given by practitioners at Dhyan Ashram and are documented and validated by the medical fraternity.

Note:  While performing asans ensure that you are wearing comfortable clothes made from natural materials; avoid deodorants, perfumes, aftershave...basically anything artificial. Keep your eyes closed and maintain internal awareness of the body part that is being worked upon. Maintain ujjai breathing and synchronise the movement with your breath.

Shoulder Push in Utthanasan: Stand with legs apart, toes pointed outward. Keeping the back and neck straight and buttocks squeezed in, bend the knees to go down by about ten inches. This is utthanasana. Bring your hands in front of your chest, palms open facing outwards in a pushing stance. Inhale in ujjai, expanding your stomach as much as you can, and then as you exhale push swiftly in one go, using not hands but the strength of the shoulder. It is imperative to keep your spine erect. Repeat seven times. This asana must not be practiced in case of uterus prolapse and after three months of pregnancy.

Torso Circles in Utthanasan: Maintain the utthanaasana. Raise your arms above the head, palms rolled into a fist. Moving clockwise carve a circle with your upper body – bend forward with a flat back, pivot to the right, from here to back and through left come back to centre. This makes one circle. Do this seven times clockwise, inhaling half circle, exhaling half circle. Repeat seven times anti-clockwise. Remember to keep the spine erect at all times.

Plank posture: Lie on your stomach, bring your elbows close to the chest, forearms resting on the ground and palms rolled into fist, to attain a push up posture. Inhaling, gently raise your body parallel to the ground, balancing it on your forearms and toes. Keep your body in straight line, elbows directly under your shoulders. The body looks like a plank. Gently, exhaling lower the body flat on the ground. This completes one round. This asan is to be done seven times dynamically. This asan strengthens the arm and leg muscles and gives a stretch to the stomach too.

The breath rate or heart rate should not should not go up while doing any yogic kriya. These asans are to be done dynamically, and the count can slowly be increased in multiples of seven up till 49 repeats of each asans, as the body grows in strength and stability.  It is advised that you visit your nearest Dhyan Foundation center to learn the correct way to practice asans.

Yogi Ashwini is the Guiding Light of Dhyan Foundation and can be reached at

The wife, nearly came bouncing into my study, where I pretended to write an article while actually looking longingly at some online shopping clothes, “There’s some government officials to see you!” she said.

“Oh no!” I said, “Have they come to arrest me?”

“They’re not cops,” she said, “I think they’re going to give you some award!”

“Award! Me!” I said, “Awards are only given to people with political contacts!”

I wandered into my sitting room, and watched as two obviously government officials, rose and extended their hands in my direction, “We are honouredto have you on board sir!”

“On board!” I said, “I’m quite happy where I am!”

“You have been chosen unanimously as the country’s new historian!”

“Whoa! Whoa!” I said, “I am not a historian, I’m a story teller! I write fiction!”

“Yes sir, all of us in the government have read your stories sir, and felt you were best suited for the job of rewriting our history!” said the shorter of the two officials, as he pulled out a sheet of papers and gave it to me.

“What is this?” I asked.

“Just an agreement saying you accept the post!”

“You are very kind gentlemen, but I have to refuse!”

“You will be offered a post equivalent to a ministerial one.You can have a red beacon for your car!”

“Lovely!” exclaimed the wife. “Would I be able to take it to the mall and kitty parties?”

“Of course madam!”

“We liked your article yesterday about our countryman already being on the moon, and welcoming Neil Armstrong there!”

“But that was just a work from my imagination!” I cried.

“We would like our history books to carry that story!” said the taller man, “All you have to do is to give it a date, just before the Americans landed!”

“A car with a red beacon!” sighed the wife.

“Our children also need some, fighting, some bloodshed and heroes,” said the shorter man, “So let us have the freedom struggle a little bloodied, with some of our present ministers being soldiers even officers in the liberation army! You can even have a scene of these officers driving the British out of the country, singlehanded with their swords!”

“I can’t do that!” I said desperately, “It is absolutely fictitious!”

“That is why we have hired you!” said both the men as one pulled out his pen and offered it to me.

“A car with a red beacon!” sighed the wife as I reluctantly took the pen and signed the agreement.

“This sir, is your first assignment!” said the tall man giving me some notes

“What is it?” I asked wearily.

“That India won the first Olympics!” smiled the shorter man. I reluctantly took the notes, put off the online shopping site and started creatinghistory..!”

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The members of the club appeared a disgruntled lot as their President conducted their weekly meeting.A bespectacled man, normally very quiet, but today greatly agitated, rose from his traditional place near the door, his face pale and manner perturbed, “Mr President,” he said, and his voice quivered with concern, “There is not much importance given to our projects by the governor of our association!” The other members nodded vigorously, happy that one among their midst had expressed their deep anguish.  “We have planted two bougainvillea plants, given my old computer to a school, gifted a bedsheet to an orphanage, but the governor has not acknowledged or congratulated us in his communications!”

There was a murmur of disapproval, and the President beckoned for quiet, “I am well aware of the silence of our beloved governor,” said the President, “and let me assure you it has disturbed me greatly, “I think our problem is the photographs we sent him!”

The members clapped at their wise president’s observation. They had seen the pictures taken by one of the members and had quietly agreed they were not of the best quality.

“Yes,” said the member who had initially raised the point, “I agree! Our projects could compete any day with those of other clubs; why our president looked so cute planting those two saplings, much better than all those other club presidents donatingtoilets for railway stations and building classrooms for poor students! Bah anybody can do that!” The members clapped lustily.

“We need better pics!” shouted the immediate past president.

“I second that!” said the present president.

“From now on let us use only iPhones when pics are taken!” said another member.

“Samsung quality is equally good!” said the same bespectacled member, raising his phone to the ceiling.

“Order! Order!” shouted the President.

“I think I have a better suggestion!” screamed a lady member above the din.

“What is it madam?” asked the President, who preferred calling all ladies ‘madam’ so his wife wouldn’t get upset. “We would love to hear what you have to say madam!”

“I agree to the importance of good pictures that should be sent out and put up on social media!” said the lady member, “I have observed that the better the picture, the more appreciation a club receives! I propose we induct a cameraman as a member of our club! A photographer of such precise technic and expertise who’s pictures will immediately have us catapulted into the eyes of the higher ups!”

The roar of approval that swept the club, could even be heard in the parking lot and the drivers there smiled their bosses were in a good mood, “Bravo! Bravo!” cried all the club members as the club approved the motion and the members went home, determined to induct the best photographer in town, who would change their fortunes in the district, and maybe raise one of them to be a future governor..!

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