’Tis a cold winter here in America where I’ve been the last month. The snows been thick and heavy, covering every square inch with a harsh white carpet. The winds have raged and blown cold air into heated homes leaving locals wrapped up all the time. The air’s so thin one breathes in the ice, and at one time while outside with my daughter with temperatures at -27CI thought my ears and nose had fallen off. The cold was bitter and piercing and as we both searched for the car that was supposed to pick us up, we wondered how anyone could last in such temperatures.

’Tis a cold winter indeed!

But its not the cold of the winter I find difficult to take, it’s the new cold of the people. Suddenly, words of hate, the pointing fingers of suspicion and the jeering glances of their leader, has percolated into his followers.

This was always a friendly country, and other than stray incidents from the uneducated and less informed, there were hardly any incidents one was made to feel different. But one crass man told his citizens they were different, and to look with distrust on those who’s skins were a tad different or accents dissimilar to that of them.And them same ones whose ancestors had come from various shores, who’s forefathers had been immigrants in this a foreign land, and who’d fought racism, now succumb to it.

’Tis a cold winter in the world!

Oh yes, it’s cold in the rest of the world too. In India, a snow white bearded leader blows cold winds into the hearts of people who lived in peace for thousands of years. With words that strike with more ferocity than bullets, jibes like igniting missiles, he pokes fun at those who’s faith is different, or with deathly silence ignores the cries and pleas of people who’s lives he be responsible for.

’Tis a cold winter!   

People shiver, not with cold but fear, as angry words replace harsh winds. Lynching mobs roam streets in search of some flimsy reason to string a fellow neighbor onto treeand pole, or strip women and rape them, all because they worship in ways different from theirs or maybe,that food on their tables seem not the same as theirs.

’Tis a cold winter all over the world. The snow’s been thick and heavy, covering every square inch with a harsh white carpet. The winds have raged and blown the cold even into heated homes leaving locals wrapped up all the time. The air’s so thin one breathes in the ice.

But ‘tis not cold winds that makes this winter cold, but bitter coldof hate and intolerance that’sentwined itself around the very soul of mankind!

’Tis a cold winter..!

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With horror, I watched mobs pillaging and rampaging down the streets of Mumbai! Stoning cars with innocent passengers in them, overturning buses, looting shops, and destroying the stability and security the city offered to its citizens.

I shuddered at the destruction, then found this remark on my whatsapp group, “Decimate these bloody worms!” This from a fellow who spent most of his working day, deriding, ridiculing and insulting those from other faiths and communities. He was a refugee from Kashmir, and the shame of running away from his home state had obviously scarred his mind enough to being reduced to a raging, ranting jabber mouth!

Not too different from another gentleman, all of eighty years and more, a luminary of the church, who’s lovely blue eyes sparkled with humour till perchance the conversation veered onto a community he had no love for, and then suddenly, same soft eyes blazed with anger, words of venom spewed forth from aged mouth and destructive, words filled the ears of those who sat around.

Like, I said, with horror, I watched mobs pillaging and rampaging down the streets of Mumbai! Stoning cars with innocent passengers in them, overturning buses, looting shops and destroying the stability the city offered.

But as I saw the stones in the hands of boys and young men, stones that smashed and shattered metal, glass and windshield, I realized the words that came out of the mouths of these two gentlemen I’d mentioned weren’t too different.

The stones hurled were like the words spat from their hate filled minds and came equally heavy with anger, disdain and dislike.

But destroyed.

The stones in the hands of the mob destroyed cars buses, trains and my sense of security.

The vile words from same persons destroyed the beautiful tapestry and delicate fabric that keeps my country together.

Even as police now round up those miscreants who took law into their own hands in the city of Mumbai, even as righteous citizens ask the government why nothing was done to stop such violence, I wonder who will stop those who destroy with weapons worse than the stones thrown that day?

Who will stop this vile mouthed refugee, who knowing he is safe behind a whatsapp group vomits his violence everyday! Who, the eightyyear old who’s sudden spurts of stone throwing words inflict harm beyond measure on communities he dislikes?

But even as I look at them, even as I turn away from TV screen and other pictures of violent mob, I turn to look in the mirror, at myself, and ask, “Am I one of them?”

Do the thoughts in my head and words from my mouth cause destruction? Are those words sharper than the stones that broke those windshields?Am I like those two and the mob causing destruction?

You and I together, are we destroying our country, then blaming the mob?

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With so much cricket being played in the Indian sub continent, other sports are beginning to suffer and a secret meeting was called to address this issue.“I call the meeting to order!” shouted the Chairman, who it was believed could beat anybody in a game of Monopoly, “Order! Order!”  he shouted again, but the delegates representing other sports and games hardly listened to him. “Sit down everybody!” he shouted. The delegates finally sat down, looking gloomily at the chairman. “Today we need a solution to topple cricket from its pedestal!” he said. “Any suggestions?”

There was pin drop silence in the hall, “There’s a political party in Bombay that has much practice in digging up pitches!” said the Scrabble delegate.

“They’ve turned rusty!” said the chairman, “Haven’t dug one up for twenty years, after Pakistan stopped playing in Bombay!”

There was another sigh of despondency in the room.

“I have an idea!” said the representative for football, “We could do for cricketers what was done to Indian captain Virat Kohli!” 

There was a buzz in the room, and even though nobody knew what he was talking about, there was now an air of expectancy in the otherwise hall of despair, “And what may we ask sir, was done to Virat Kohli?” asked the chairman.

“He was hooked into marriage by an actress!” said the footballer.

“So?” asked the scrabble delegate who looked down at football and outdoor games with an air of intellectual superiority, “So how would marriage bring cricket down?”

“Look!” said the footballer opening a newspaper, “What is Virat doing?”

“Clicking a selfie with his bride in Italy!”

“And this?”

“Another selfie with his bride and the prime minister!”

“And this?”

“It’s another with his new bride!”

“Can you imagine what is happening?” asked the footballer as he glanced around the hall with a smile, “Virat is falling prey to the greatest addiction on earth, the selfie addiction! All we have to do is to get all the cricketers addicted to selfies and we just take over! While they click we play!”

“Hurrah!” shouted the members of the hall together, “We have finally found a solution to this cricket madness!”

There was a sudden noise as the wives of all the delegates rushed onto the stage, “What’s happening?” asked the chairman as the women pulled out their phones and posed with the delegate who was going to free them from the stranglehold of cricket.

“This is wonderful!” shouted the football delegate as he posed with one wife then another and also some of their sisters and daughters, “All of them want to take a selfie with me! How long I havewaited to be selfied like this!”

“He’s becoming addicted!” whispered the chairman into the mike, “Let us adjourn immediately, before the selfie makes not just Kohli but all of us addicts to it..!”

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BY YOGI ASHWINI

sattvam rajas tama iti gunaah prakritisambhavaah | nibadhnanti mahaabaaho dehe dehinam avyayam ||Bhagwad Gita, Chapter 14, Verse 5||

When purush (soul) combines with prakriti, in the form of three gunas of satva, rajas and tama, a being takes birth in creation. Light, happiness and gyan are properties of satva, rajas pertains to desires, attachments and resultant actions, and tama is darkness, ignorance and sleep. At all times, all the three gunas are present in a human being, one dominating the other depending on the desire and state of evolution of being.

Ordinary beings are ruled by tama, which is also the guna dominant in animals and other lower beings. When a being leaves the body with the dominance of tama guna, he/she gets the animal yonis and enters into the netherworlds, says Bhagwad Gita. So the tama guna needs to be reduced and satva and rajas increased.

As the rajas increases in a being, he/she is guided towards action (karma) driven by passion, material desires and attachment. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, every bhog has a rog attached to it. Guided by the rajas guna, a being indulges in pleasures of the senses, and goes through the pains that come along with it. There is no limit to desire, and no matter what one gets in the physical, he/she is never satiated and keeps wanting more. This ties the being in the downward spiral of births and deaths, every birth being lower and more painful than the previous. Therefore, even rajas needs to be reduced and satva increased.

With the dominance of satva guna, a being indulges in practice of dhyan and sadhna, begins the process of cleansing through service and charity, gyan and bliss follow. When a being leaves the body with dominance of satva, he/she takes birth into subtler dimensions and lokasand in the yonis of devas and rishis.

All the three gunas, pertain to physical creation (prakriti) and tie the being to it. The key to exiting the painful cycle of births and merging with the Ultimate is rising over the gunas such that whether something is there or not – whether that something is darkness and ignorance, attachments and indulgence, or happiness and light - it ceases to have an effect on you. Then you become 'guna ateet', a state achieved only through transfer of gyan (shakti) through Guru. Before this, it is imperative for one to engage in charity and service, to negate the negative karmas accumulated over so many births. Only then the gyan flows. 

Yogi Ashwini is the Guiding Light of Dhyan Ashram. He can be reached at www.dhyanfoundation.com

By Yogi Ashwini

In this article, we conclude our series on Chakra Beej Asans, where we discussed the Chakra Beej Kriya, a set of asans and dhwanis that taps into the phenomenal power of six major chakras in the body namely, Mooladhar, Swadhishthan, Manipoorak, Anahad, Vishuddhi and Agya chakras. Having successfully completed the asans and mantras for the six major chakras, we move onto relaxing the body with Yog Nidra. It is extremely important to relax the body and various energy points to distribute the energy generated in the process of kriya.

Yognidra: For this, lie down in shavasana with your body loose, feet slightly apart and palms on either side of the body, facing skyward. Close your eyes and watch your breath at the tip of the nostrils. With one deep inhalation, take your awareness to the left big toe, then all the toes in your left foot, slowly moving upwards to entire foot, ankle, knee and from here gently move up the entire left leg. Similarly then take your awareness to your right big toe and gently move upwards keeping awareness of each and every part of the right leg. Now bring your awareness on the left arm and move upwards very slowly from fingertips to the shoulder observing each and every body part. Now move to the right arm repeat the same. Next you take your awareness to the abdomen, all the internal organs, lower back, upper back, upto the top of the head, visiting each and every cell and organ and relaxing and nourishing it with the strength of your awareness. Next be aware of the weight in the body and drop this weight in the core of the earth, leaving your body light and weightless. Next be aware of a whitish blue light at the top of the head and sweep your body seven times with this light, from head to toe.

Now take your awareness to the center of the chest cavity (anahad chakra) and from here, holding the hand of your guru, drop all your awareness, let go. Let there be no thoughts or movements beyond this point. Come back when you feel like. Whenever you come back, enter the body through the agya (crown) chakra, pay reverence to the Guru and once again become aware of the entire body brimming with youthful strength and glow. Open your eyes and look at the centre of your palms first, then the whole body.

Yog Nidra has the instant effect of soothing and calming the body and also replenishing it. As you perform this kriya, gradually the glow increases and breath stabilises. The energy that has been generated is directed towards strengthening various parts of the body through these asans and beej mantras.

It is advised that you visit your nearest Dhyan Foundation center to learn the correct way to practice asans. The effect of all these asans becomes manifold when practiced under the guidance of your Guru who channelises energy into each asan. 

Yogi Ashwini is the Guiding Light of Dhyan Foundation and an authority on the Vedic Sciences. His book, 'Sanatan Kriya, The Ageless Dimension' is an acclaimed thesis on anti-ageing. Log onto to www.dhyanfoundation.com or mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more .