Lunar Power & Full Moon Meditation

14 Oct

The sight of a Full Moon in the night sky strikes you with awe. Its mesmerising. Its romantic. It has inspired poets and writers over thousands of years. Most of us see it by chance – but its a calming and soothing effect to connect with the moon on a Full Moon Night in tranquility , by yourself or in a group of like minded people. Its pure coincidence but most of my holidays seem to happen during the Full Moon phase ( The effect of the full moon is there is 2 days before and after the Purnima) – and I have spent long hours staring at the moon  from a mountain,  a riverside, a calm peaceful resort or a beach in solitude

Since the Sumerian, Ancient Hindu and Chinese Civilisation the Lunar calendar has been in force and many of the popular festivals like Holi , Buddha Purnima, Guru Purnima, Guru Nanak Jayanti, Karthik Purnima are celebrated on full Moon days. Buddha was born on a full moon day. His renunciation took place on a full moon day. His Enlightenment, the delivery of His first sermon, His passing away into Nibbana and many other important events associated with His life-span of eighty years, occurred on full moon days.


A lot of stories , facts , myths are associated with the moon – and one should follow their own belief and faith as scientific data may be limited.

A lot has been written about how the Moon impacts the human body and that makes an interesting read for believers.

Some scientific data on how the Moon was formed and its impact on Earth 

The moon was formed ~4.5 billion years ago, about 30–50 million years after the origin of the Solar System, out of debris thrown into orbit by a massive collision between a smaller proto-Earth and another planetoid, about the size of Mars.

The Earth would be a very different place if the moon did not exist. Not only did the Earth slow down the Moon’s rotation, but the Moon is slowing down the rotation rate of the Earth. Since the moon’s formation, the Earth has been slowing its rotation due to the friction of the tides caused by the moon, and in reaction to this exchange of energy, the moon has been moving farther away from the Earth. In fact, at the time of the moon’s formation the Earth rotated much faster than it does today; a day on early Earth was only a few hours long. But the Moon, being small in relation to Earth, will take more than twice the age of the solar system to slow Earth’s spin rate to the Moon’s orbital rate.

Gravity – Lunar Tides 

Tides are created because the Earth and the moon are attracted to each other, just like magnets are attracted to each other. The moon tries to pull at anything on the Earth to bring it closer. But, the Earth is able to hold onto everything except the water. Since the water is always moving, the Earth cannot hold onto it, and the moon is able to pull at it. Each day, there are two high tides and two low tides. The ocean is constantly moving from high tide to low tide, and then back to high tide. There is about 12 hours and 25 minutes between the two high tides.

Can a Full Moon impact the human body – How ?  

The effect on the Human Body by the moon is probably driven by the fact that 75% of what constitutes the body is water. Hence the force of Gravity during a full moon night tends to be more powerful. The contrary view to this is that water in the oceans and seas is not bound but the water within the body is bound hence the impact may not be the same. But grandmother tales talks about how the full moon is a time of positive opportunity if you use it correctly. It can increase your positive energy or conversely, it can wreak havoc on your emotions. Since the full moon pours down a tremendous amount of energy, you must be in a calm state of mind to receive a positive effect. Remember that whatever is going on in your body, mind and spirit will be amplified. If you are angry, you will feel angrier or if you are happy, you will feel happier. Crazy energy as well as loving energy will be intensified. Knowing this is a huge opportunity for your emotional and spiritual growth.

This is probably the reason that a group meditation of like minded people is beneficial on a Full Moon night.

Connect between Moon & Emotions 

Furthermore because of the moon’s astrological characteristics and effects on mind and emotions, often during the full moon period people tend to get more sensitive and often witness more emotional and relationship problems compared to normal times of the year. That is one of the reasons why insanity is also called lunacy ! Lunar & Lunacy have the same word root.

Moon in Vedic Astrology 

The Moon represents the mind and, accordingly, it indicates a person’s thinking, feeling, and willing processes. Emotions and sensitivity may be understood by the position of the Moon in a person’s chart. The moon’s nature is tender-hearted and wise. It rules peace of mind and gives a general sense of comfort and well-being. The Moon reflects understandings and sense of purpose, intuitive ability, sensuality, love for fine arts, music and jewels. It also rules our moods, emotions and sensitivity. A powerful moon gives emotional strength, makes for good relationships and love for others. It will give good intuition, purpose to life, an attraction for the fine arts and make a person attractive to others.

If the Moon is weak in the chart you may be subject to mental anxiety. There may be emotional instability and an inability to relate well to others. If badly aspected, the Moon can make one unfriendly and unable to share intimacy, or will cause you to lack contentment or peace of mind. An ill-placed Moon may make for inclinations to moodiness and feelings of depression, with an unclear mind. Depending on how severely afflicted it is there may be a tendency towards neurosis, hysteria, or insanity. It can make a person feel a lacking of joy or satisfaction, therefore bringing about acute realization of the sufferings felt in this material world. There may be indications towards ill health of the mother, or difficulties in social advancementIt is very good to meditate on a full moon day.

Gemology claims that Pearl is to be worn to strengthen Moon in the horoscope. It has an extremely calming influence on the mind and increases feelings of love, and compassion for other people. The pearl may increase peace of mind and enable the practice of spiritual meditations with greater concentration. PEARLS SHOULD NOT BE DRILLED. They should be set only in silver, so that the pearl comes into contact with the skin.

Kundalini & The Lunar Connect 

Nadis are the astral tubes made up of astral matter that carry psychic currents. The Sanskrit term ‘Nadi’ comes from the root ‘Nad’ which means ‘motion’. It is through these Nadis (Sukshma, subtle passages), that the vital force or Pranic current moves or flows. The body is filled with innumerable Nadis that cannot be counted. Different authors state the number of Nadis in different ways, i.e., from 72,000 to 3,50,000. Again Ida, Pingala and Sushumna are the most important of the Nadis. The pingala channel is the carrier of solar energy. It is full of heat and drive. It begins on the right hand side of the Root chakra and ends in the upper area of the right nostril.  The ida channel is the carrier of the cool and calming lunar energy. It begins on the left hand side of the Root chakra and ends in the left nostril.



Pineal Gland – Bindu Chakra & the Moon Effect

The Pineal Gland has been the source of much research in Yogic and Medical science. Its considered to be located in the Bindu Chakra that is at the back of the head – directly in line with the centre of the forehead.

The symbol of the Bindu Chakra is the MOON; therefore it is also known as Chandra Chakra (Moon Centre). In the inner Cosmos, which is seen by our inner eye in meditation, the Bindu Chakra appears to have a circular opening with a lid almost completely covering it, and from this some light shines forth through a small gap. This glimmer of light that is the emanation of the radiance of the Self in the Sahasrāra Chakra is similar in appearance to the slender crescent of the new moon. If the Bindu Chakra is fully awake and open it shines brightly with a silvery sheen, like the Full Moon.

The moon is a symbol of perfection, nectar and energy. Nature receives life-sustaining Prāna from the moon allowing everything to grow and thrive, as moonlight is also essential for the growth of plants and the ripening of fruit – not only sunlight.


In most Yoga books the Bindu Chakra is not mentioned, but in Tantra Yoga great importance is attached to the healing and rejuvenating effects of this Chakra.

Whilst this energy centre “sleeps” it is similar to a dot, but when awakened its energy begins to flow or to “drip”. The Bindu Chakra produces truly astonishing effects. It is a “health centre” that brings about improved physical, psychic and spiritual health, and is therefore a valuable aid on our spiritual journey. It also helps to quieten our emotions and brings harmony and a sense of wellbeing.

With the help of this Chakra we are able to control hunger and thirst and overcome unhealthy eating habits.

Concentration on the Bindu Chakra can also be beneficial for depression, nervousness, feelings of anxiety and an oppressive feeling within the heart. A slight pressure with the fingernail on the site of the Bindu Chakra gives rise to a spontaneous feeling of happiness that spreads to the heart. When a child is restless and will not go to sleep it helps to gently massage the Bindu Chakra with soft circular movements for a few minutes – the child will soon become quiet and sleepy.

But the most outstanding effect of the Bindu Chakra is the production of AMRITA, the nectar of immortality.

At the beginning of the Peace Mantra it is said:


Lead us from unreality to reality
Lead us from darkness into light
Lead us from death to immortality.

On the physical level this means that with the awakening of the Bindu Chakra the Pineal Gland, which is connected to this centre, becomes active. This gland emits a hormone that has a “fountain of youth” influence on both body and mind. This is why the Rishis gave it the name “Amrita”, nectar of immortality. The more active the Bindu Chakra becomes, the more plentifully this precious Amrita flows. It is said in the ancient scriptures that just one concentrated drop is sufficient to make new shoots grow on a piece of dry wood, and bring the deceased back to life.

In Āyurveda this life-giving nectar is known as Sanjīvini Bhuti . There are Yogis who eat no food and are nourished exclusively by the nectar from the Bindu Chakra. If we were able to utilise this life elixir for our body we would not only prolong our life but also enjoy perfect health. But, unfortunately, this precious nectar normally drips straight down into the fire of the Manipūra Chakra (Jatarāgni) and is burnt before its effects develop. Through certain Yoga practices we can be successful in catching the drops of nectar in the Vishuddhi Chakra and supplying the body. The Vishuddhi Chakra is responsible for the purification and detoxification of the body if an imbalance occurs in the body due to harmful substances.

In the Gheranda Samhitā (Verses 28-30) it is written:

“The Sun is in the navel and the moon in the head. The nectar that comes from the moon is consumed by the sun, and the life force is gradually used up in this way.”

Here the moon stands for the Bindu Chakra and the sun for the Manipūra Chakra. Because the nectar from the Bindu Chakra is constantly being destroyed in the fire of the Manipūra Chakra our body is susceptible to illness and continues to deteriorate with advancing age.

In fact the Ātmā is immortal, but in this earthly existence we are bound to the mortal body. Only in this very fragile body can we attain spiritual realisation and liberation (Moksha). Therefore Yogis endeavour to keep their body healthy for as long as possible to enable them to complete their spiritual development in the current lifespan.

And this is why the Rishis, in ancient times, sought methods by which this valuable nectar could be gathered within the body and its benefits utilised. They found that they could control the flow of nectar with the help of the Vishuddhi Chakra and the tongue. The tongue possesses subtle energy centres, each of which connects to a specific part of the body or organ. Udāna Prāna, one of the five main Prānas (vital forces), works within the Vishuddhi Chakra and this Prāna Vayu activates the muscles in the throat that control the swallowing of food. Udāna Prāna also directs energy to the head. When the nectar is held firmly in the Vishuddhi Chakra and influenced by Udāna Prāna its effect is set in motion. The way it works is similar to Homeopathy; and like homeopathic medicine its beneficial effects are spread through the whole body via the outgoing energy channels in the tongue.

But how are we able to catch this precious nectar with the tongue? Through a technique known as Khecharī Mudrā , which is described in the Hatha Yoga Pradipikā. In this the tongue is rolled back as far as possible until the tip of the tongue reaches deeply into the Pharyngeal cavity. Then the nectar that drips down from the Bindu Chakra can be caught.

In order to be able to roll the tongue back far enough some practise is essential. Yogis achieve this by carefully stretching the ligament beneath the tongue, gradually lengthening it through gentle pulling. In this way the tip of the tongue can finally reach the Uvula.

The benefits of Khecharī Mudrā are strengthened when it is performed together with Ujjāyī Prānāyāma and Jālandhara Bandha (Chin Lock).

Ujjāyī Prānāyāma is a breathing technique with concentration on the process of breathing in the throat. The throat is contracted slightly so that the air flowing through it produces a soft sound, as in deep sleep. Through Jālandhara Bandha the flow of energy is briefly interrupted and the Prāna is held in the throat .

Another very effective practice is Viparitkaranī Mudrā , which has been translated as “The Energy Regeneration Pose” in the system of “Yoga in Daily Life”. The reason for this is that the nectar flows towards the throat in this inverted position and is therefore prevented from being burnt in the Manipūra Chakra.

In the Bhagavad Gita (15/13) Lord Krishna says:

“When I come onto the earth, I preserve all beings through my life-giving power. When I become the nectar-giving moon, I nourish the vegetation.”

The moon is the symbol of Lord Shiva, and the Mantra of the Bindu Chakra is AMRITAM – I am immortal. At the end of the Peace Mantra we sing the Maha

Mrityunjaya Mantra

Om Tryambakam Yajamahe |
Sugandhim Pushti-Vardhanam ||
Urvarukamiva Bandhanan |
Mrityur Moksheeya Maamritat ||

OM my adored One, the three-eyed Lord Shiva , who is omnipresent

May He nurture us and bless us with health
May His blessings liberate us and lead to immortality.

This Mantra is known as MAHĀ MRITYUN JAYA MANTRA – the glorious Mantra of victory over death.

May the light of Shiva fill our consciousness. May the nectar of immortality spread through and expand our inner space (Chidākāsha). Through this nectar all Chakras are brought into harmony. Fear, sadness, anger, resentment and other disease-producing emotions are released in the healing vibration of this Mantra. May it spread fragrance, melodiousness, love, happiness and contentment through the entire world.

( In References section visit the Video that has a music at a certain frequency that activates the Pineal Gland)

Chandra Namaskar 

In Hatha yoga, the first half of the word hatha i.e, ‘ha’, refers to the sun or fiery energies, while ‘tha’ refers to the moon or cooling energies.

Although, the Chandra Namaskar can be done at any time of the day, the best time to practice this asana is in the evening, around sunset, when the moon is up. Just as mornings are good time for sun salutations, evenings are best for moon salutations.

Benefits of the pose

Practise of moon salutation on full moon days can help in balancing fiery energies and helps in calming down, if you feel stressed, hyper-excited or over-stimulated. It helps channelize creative energies. Moon salutation is best practiced outdoors on moonlit night.

The physical benefits of the pose include stretching and strengthening of the thigh muscles, calves, pelvis, and ankles, mainly the lower body. It also helps activate root chakra. Moon salutation is beneficial to people under any form of stress. It helps balance your energy before you reach a point of exhaustion, as it is a quieting practice. In School of Yoga, it is practiced with a meditation at the beginning and at the end, and offers the option of chanting a different mantra related to lunar energy for each pose.

Among the specific health benefits of the pose are, it promotes balance, digestion, tones the spine, expands lungs and opens the Heart Chakra. It improves good blood circulation, keeps abdominal tract well regulated and healthy, stimulates spinal nerves, stretches leg muscles and back, cures sexual ailments and improves flexibility prior to childbirth. It also relaxes sciatic nerves, improves confidence, tones pelvic muscles, regulates functioning of adrenal glands, relieves constipation, anger, sciatica, helps in maintaining balance on both sides of the body, and helps develop a healthy sense of poise and respect for mind and body.



Chandra Namaskar – Moon Salutation –



Trataka And The Amazing Benefits Of Candle Gazing

Chandra Namaskar – Moon Salutation –,%20Menstruation,%20and%20the%20Moon%22.pdf

Taj Coorg @Madikeri – Embedded in Nature

12 Oct

When I start writing a blog the Title comes naturally – the Title represents in a few words the essence of what I carried back from the trip , but this time I struggled – there is so much to talk about at the Taj Coorg its difficult to capture it in a few words . This is both good and bad – good because there is so much to talk about and not so good because its missing its core positioning.

Coorg has transformed – 8 years back when I made my first trip to Club Mahindra the drive time was 4 1/2 hrs and the notable resorts were Orange County & Club Mahindra  – today the drive time from Bangalore is 6 – 7 hrs and there are many more properties and home stays that have mushroomed. With all the crowd you tend to stay away from the town and the sights outside and prefer staying in a resort – for that the Taj is a great property.


The property at Madikeri is embedded in greenery. Its a 180 acre property (built up area of 30 acres) at an elevation of ~ 4500 feet on a lush verdant rainforest valley. The design is harmonious with nature and from every where – the lobby , restaurant , rooms you get an unobstructed view of the green , misty valley and the hills beyond.


The property has 63 spacious rooms in 4 varieties (Superior Charm, Deluxe Delight , Premium Indulgence Cottage , 5 Pool Villas and the Presidential Suite) – We stayed at the Premium Indulgence Cottage – a well laid out 1400 sft room that could easily accommodate 2 adults and 2 children. Room rates are from 18 – 35 K / night inclusive of breakfast.


The Main Lobby is an impressive building that rises above 200 feet , built in a simplistic Zen Design it has an aura of great energy balance . Its open, large, spacious and has an excellent view of the valley.


This main complex  houses the plunge pool , a small activity centre , the well designed Jiva Spa that offers a wide variety of treatment including some that are very local (Gudda Bath) and a well equipped Gym. The plunge pool is a big hit – its a heated pool with a mind boggling view of the rain forests and hills – and the kids never want to leave its premise.


Rooms are designed along the hill slope so a walk up to the main lobby / restaurant can be a tad tiring – but the electrical buggy service is always around to pick you up. The pavements / foot paths are concrete , well finished and have the stamp of perfection – so no fear of slipping on rocks and rubble as you walk up & down. img_0968

The best things to do here is soak in the nature and go for long treks. The hotel organises two good treks to the nearby hills – easy 2 hr treks. Our guide Abhishek was exceptional – very knowledgeable and friendly. The highlight was our discussion on the Kurunji Flower – the rare blue flower that blooms once in 12 years and covers the hill slopes ( that why the Nilgiris are called the Blue Mountains) – its famous in Munnar but close to the Taj the hills we trekked are also full of Kurunji Flowers – so Sep 15 – Oct 15 , 2018 you may want to book a package at the Taj Right now.


(And if you are wondering whats the khaki covering on our shoes – those are cloth flaps for leech protection)

The restaurant is  multi cuisine – serves a wide variety of dishes form India, to Local , Continental – there are 4 restaurants FernTree , Nelliki (Local Cuisine), Grill (Outdoor BBQ) , Dew a Small health Food Cafe and the Hive Bar – but we ended up going to the main one Fern Tree most of the time. Service & Food is good and dinner for a family of 4 is about INR 200o – INR 3000 (Without Liquor)


They have a few more activities – Sat evening Local Dance, Mountain Biking , Zip Lining , a well maintained but small conservatory, Pottery Studio , Baking & art classes for Kids , Archery , Virtual Golf ….  A large olympic size outdoor pool , an amphitheater for holding functions / marriages. 3G Network is available all across the property and Wi Fi at decent speed is also complimentary.

Unlike most properties in Coorg & Chickamagalur the Taj is not a coffee estate,  Its not a Spa /Yoga Retreat like Ananda or Shreyas or Swaswara, Its not a honeymoon Corporate Offsite location like Tamara – so the question – What is it ?

And thats the question I carry back with me – is the Taj Coorg becoming an upmarket Club Mahindra catering to the weekend family traffic from Bangalore – that would be sad and not doing justice to a property of this stature. Are noisy kids spoiling the peace and the harmony of the place ? Can you enjoy the divine view from the plunge pool when you have a few brats noisily tossing the ball around. Can you have a relaxed romantic candlelight dinner or a peaceful breakfast with a howling baby in the next table and a hassled mother desperate to calm it as the husband is busily taking photos.

We went on the Dushera weekend and the hotel was full – barring one Foreign Couple the entire crowd was Bangalore families with 1 – 2 kids each. I would urge the Taj to revisit their positioning and decide what is the clientele they would like to attract. Many properties today have a Kids above 12 only rule – maybe the Taj should explore something like that.

Running a property like this in the hills is not easy and the staff , the general manager do a great job …. but I would like to leave them with a  few suggestions

  1. Entertainment every evening – Live entertainment like light music , a Sat evening local dance is good but you need something 7 days
  2.  Nelliki needs something more than authentic local cuisine – its looking empty
  3. You need more restaurant space
  4. Too late but would have been good for the rooms to have been designed with a His / Her basin and a Powder room – with large rooms that can accommodate 4 , you need more bathroom space
  5. The Treks could be longer
  6. Yoga session starting at 8AM  is a no go – I normally attend Yoga sessions in all the properties that I visit but missed it out here – I don’t think you are attracting people who will do Yoga at 6 AM  – also with such an amazing property the Yoga sessions needs to be done outside in the midst of nature – not in a closed room
  7. I think you are underpriced – there are high end Homestay’s in Chickamagalur and Binsar that charge over 20 K / Night ( Primrose, Mary Buden estate etc) – yes its true that money does not buy class , but for a property of this stature if you want to target the right audience you need to relook at your rates.

As the friendly GM said – maybe I should come back when its not so crowded on a weekday , and I definitely will. Having been to Club Mahindra, Orange County, Windflower and now the Taj – I would strongly say that when it comes to the beauty of the property and the rooms – the Taj is the best in Coorg.


Few More Snaps














The old order Changeth … impact on the next generation

16 Aug

I started this exercise a few months back  during a discussion with my daughter about possible career streams that she could consider.  As I started researching I can only say that massive Change is round the corner … you can sense it.

Lets look at a few things thats happening in the world

  1. My engineering college project was on Alternate Sources of Energy – after 25 years Solar power finally seems to be a reality. It is estimated that by 2040 – 60% of the worlds energy will come from renewable zero emission sources. Its threatening Oil / Coal / Fossil prices the world over – Clean energy seems to be round the corner. Oil prices are at a historical low and the Middle East could be facing a huge threat.


2. Which is great – given the way we have polluted the environment. Our Cities are full of smoke, our seas are full of trash, our lakes are disappearing, the glaciers are receding….  – in the last 50 years mankind has damaged the planet the most in its 5 Billion years of existence -We are on the edge of collapse. Animals are becoming extinct and we are thinking of having drones to replace bees to pollinate the flowers.


3. A lot of the pollution is driven by the rapid growth of population – with 7 B people we are bursting at our seams and we are expected to grow to 9 B soon. Every year 77 M people are moving to Urban Cities – we now have 29 Cities with population of over 10M ( that was 14 in 1995) – a lot of the population growth is driven by lesser deaths and longer life spans – thanks to the development in medicine. By 2020 for the 1st time the world will have more people >65 years of age than those below the age of 5. Today there are 8 working people supporting every pensioner , by 2050 only 4 people will support that pensioner.


4. Nobody wants to work in farms and food and meat will soon be developed in the lab. Yes, it does save a lot of resources – given that animals and farm produce consume a lot of natural resources. ( Did you know that producing 1 kg of rice needs over 3000 litres of water and 1 KG of Beef needs over 15,000 litres of water). The machines are already replacing the farmers and with technology evolving the new age robots may be even be able to pluck vegetables and fruits.

5. Add to this Technology revolution continues unabated. This year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos focused on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a term coined by Klaus Schwab to describe the new generation of technological advances – sensors, robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, precision medicine – coming together to define the next wave of progress. These new technologies have the potential to transform our lives – but in the near term they will cause massive unemployment. Robots are developing sensory and perception power – a large part of not just mundane jobs but even intelligent jobs are being threatened. Driverless cars, ships , buses, trains  are already being tested.


6. All this could threaten jobs and cause massive unemployment. Indian IT industry could lose over 6.4 Lac jobs by 2020. Average real salary of the working class has hardly gone up in the last 20 years and the 1% rich control more than 90% of the worlds wealth. Class inequality is on the rise. An idle mind is a devils workshop – so we see misguided youth joining ISIS and fomenting trouble all across the world.


7. We are seeing the impact of this in Trump & BREXIT. When jobs and livelihood are threatened borders close down. The world is no longer a Global Village. The world is suddenly seeing the emergence of very strong national leaders in Putin, Abe, Merkel, Modi … and we may be surprised with who the next President of the US is.

The future looks kind of grave from a 16 year old’s point of view. Where do you focus? Many European countries are seeing 50% unemployment as robots and intelligent computers take over. Law Grads in the US are struggling to get jobs and pay back their loans as the research work has been taken over by robots and intelligent computers.

8. As jobs get fewer – its difficult to sustain work life for more than 25 years , 45 – 50 is the new retirement age not 60 ( Unless you are lucky to be working in a Government Job). Yes the folks in European Countries with their excellent social support system can manage – but what happens to emerging countries if you work for 25 years but need to live till you are 100. Will your savings sustain ?

9. All this confusion and chaos is seeing the slow but steady rise of spirituality. Yoga and vegetarian food is growing in popularity the world over. Pranic healing , Reiki , Meditation, Naturopathy …. are all gaining ground. People are tired with excess and everyone is looking for some peace and solace.

What does this mean for generation next. A few tough questions that the young generation needs to answer to determine their future – 90% of the jobs of today may not exist 10 years from now as the 4th Industrial Revolution starts accelerating

  1. Is the future brighter in Emerging Markets or in developed Countries ? Do we stay in countries like India which is expected to register 8% growth for the next 20 – 30 years or do we go to the US for higher studies.
  2. Programming and Computer Science – is that a career – or does every job need coding , do we go Applied Science or Pure Science for our Undergrad
  3. Should we struggle for 10 years to be a Doctor or be a Bio Tech Scientist working on the next set of new tech medicines. For all you know the doctor of tomorrow may well be a robot.
  4. Can environment sciences really evolve as a serious career option
  5. Is the current educational system geared for equipping the students for the 4th Revolution – as the colleges in India are clearly still teaching content from the 80’s.
  6. The last 50 years have seen the emergence of large corporates – will this trend continue? Will the tech revolution continue? Or is there a new Microsoft / Google / Apple waiting to emerge?
  7. What are the skills we need to succeed in the near future?



These are some hard questions for which we need to find answers. Change is always difficult to absorb but the youth have the resilience to adapt. Those of us in the 40’s will be lucky to see yet another massive wave of change after the Internet / Smart Phone boom, but will we be able to digest this new change? Of that I am not entirely sure. Only time will tell.

How Colours impact Humanity : Kushi Athreya (3rd – Spark Mentor Essay Competition, Battle of the Words)

11 Jul


How Colours Impact Humanity?

Kushi Athreya – 8th Grade , Sri Kumaran 


Take a minute and imagine the world around you without colour , how boring and unexciting life would be!… Colours play a vital role in our daily lives and it is scientifically proven that our activities and responses are influenced by colours. Kenneth Fehrman, co-author of the book, Color The Secret Influence, states that most people are unaware of the profound effect of color has on their Behavior.

Let us unravel the secrets of colours. Did you know that our eyes can perceive seventy lakh colours? Colour is a powerful and important communication tool, and it is tied to religion, political, and social life. Most of us have a favorite colour or prefer some colour over others. This is because the colour affects our moods so we surround ourselves in the colours that have positive impact on us. A research by the University of British Columbia has proven that the colour blue enhances the creativity whereas the colour red helps us focus and has a positive effect on our memory. Just like smell, taste, touch and sound influence our emotional reaction, colour is also another such stimulation that creates emotional Reactions. Tetrachromats are people who have more receptors in their eyes, their brains are wired the same way as a person with normal vision but they can see many more colours. Like if one of them saw a leaf then they will observe other pigments other than green.

Wassily Kandinksky was one of the first pioneers of colour theory. He was a renowned Russian painter and theorist, who is often considered to be the founder of abstract art, believes that colours communicate many qualities. According to him, black signifies grief, dark and unknown, white signifies harmony and silence, while green signifies peace, stillness and nature. In different parts of the world, colours are associated to different meanings. For example yellow represents courage in Japan, mourning in Egypt and hope in the West. In politics, red is often linked to socialism and communism, and white has links to surrender and pacifism while black is linked to anarchism .The effects of colour differ between people. Factors such as gender and age can influence how an individual perceives colour. Colour expert Faber Birren carried out many studies and he found that children like long wave hues (red, yellow, orange) while after maturity the prefer short wave hues (blue, green,purple).

In particular the colour red has been found to influence sports performance. During the 2004 Summer Olympics the competitors in boxing, taekwondo, freestyle wrestling, and Greco-Roman wrestling were randomly given blue or red uniforms. A later study found that those wearing red won 55% of all the bouts which was a statistically significant increase over the expected 50%. The colour blue is said to have calming effects. In 2000, when the company Glasgow installed blue street lights in certain neighbourhood in order to reduce the crime rate.

Our sense of taste is often fooled by our sense of sight. This is because humans have certain expectations of how food should look. When the colour of food is off or is different than what we expect, our brain tells us that it tastes different too. Supported by scientific studies, we use visual cues from colour to identify and judge the quality and taste of what we eat.To give the impression of a certain taste, flavour, or quality, food colouring or dyes are added to processed, packaged, and even fresh foods. For example adding a red colorant to the skin of an apple, may influence consumers into believing the apple is sweeter in taste. In a study published in the Journal of Food Science, researchers
found that people confused flavours when a drink did not have the appropriate colour. A cherry- flavoured drink manipulated to be orange in colour was thought to taste like an orange drink, and a cherry drink manipulated to be green in colour was thought to taste like lime.

Colour therapy is the use of colour in a variety of ways to promote health and healing. The different colours we see in the world around us are the result of the eye perceiving light vibrating at different frequencies. Sunlight, or full-spectrum light, holds all the wavelengths of colour in the visible spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, and magenta) as well as infrared and ultraviolet light, which cannot be seen. Used to treat both physical and emotional problems, colour therapy may involve exposure to coloured lights, massages using colour-saturated oils, contemplating and visualizing colours, even wearing coloured clothing and eating coloured foods.

Not surprisingly, colour has been played a role in healing for centuries. At the temple of Heliopolis in ancient Egypt, patients were treated in rooms specifically designed to break up the sun’s rays into the colours of the spectrum. People also made regular pilgrimages to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, to take advantage of the healing colours of the exotic plants and flowers found there. In India, practitioners of Ayurveda, taught that specific colours corresponded with each of the seven chakras, the energy centres that represent organs, emotions, and aspects of the spirit. (Today Ayurveda medicine continues to use colour to treat a wide range of mental and physical imbalances.)

The beauty of the world is magnified through colours. Colours play a huge and subtle role in human life. They instigate our emotions, actions and our belief, playing an emphatic role in our life and instill imagination, creativity thus, changing the way we look at the world.


How Colours impact Humanity : Anvitaa Anandkumar (2nd – Spark Mentor Essay Competition, Battle of the Words)

11 Jul


How colours impact humanity

Anvitaa Anandkumar, 10th Grade NPS Koramangla


The world of colours takes its hold right at birth. The moment the nurses swaddle a tiny child in either soft blue or pink blankets, indicating whether it’s a boy or a girl. Whether the baby has red hair or brown, blue eyes or black. What colour clothes would suit the child? What colour should the room be?

Our lives revolve around colours. They are omnipresent in every decision we make. The colour palate consists of a myriad of colours and a million hues and they all affect us in different ways.

Would you consider wearing a chirpy shade of blue to a funeral or sombre grey to a wedding? I somehow doubt it. From our childhood we have been instilled with a set of rules, what colours to wear when and for what occasions. We have been ingrained with a sense of what colours mean. But these meanings are variable.

Lets start with bright Red – it stands for so many things. Red for an Indian woman could mean marriage, auspiciousness and the colour of the goddess Kali. In china, the colour red stands for fire, and means good fortune and joy. Red can also exemplify love, passion, desire, heat, romance, strength, leadership, courage, vigor, willpower, rage, anger, danger, malice, wrath, stress, action, vibrance, radiance, and determination. It represents physical energy.

Red when mixed with white forms pink. Pink is largely associated with women, describing soft, feminine nature while blue is used to assert masculinity. This is especially true in the case of newborn babies when their gender decides whether they have a blue blanket or a pink one. I find this curious because, in the past, especially during the Nazi era, red and especially pink represented the passion of men while calm blue was used to depict the woman’s supposedly calmer demeanor. I do wonder why this changed.

Green, the color of life, renewal, nature, and energy, is associated with meanings of growth, harmony, freshness, safety, fertility, and environment. Positive words those generally indicate moving forward. In Christianity, Green is associated with baptism and the feast of the Eucharist. Green is the sacred color of Islam and is a sign of respect and veneration. Green is also traditionally associated with money, finances, banking, and ambition. It is also got a negative connotation and personifies greed and jealousy, a stark contrast to its other meanings. See what I mean when I said that the meanings varied?

Colours also hold great importance in fields like branding and marketing. They are thought to evoke different responses from the masses. Brand Managers and admen make use of this fact and pretty much manipulate you without you even knowing about it. Fast food is the latest trend, and most fast food joints have logos, buildings and signboards in either red or yellow. These colours (along with the awesome pictures of food of course) generate hunger in people. A similar trick was used when the logo of Coca Cola was created. It is theorized, that when people look at the red logo, it makes them feel thirsty and the wave in the logo is the thirst quencher. Cokes rival Pepsi on the other hand, went the other route and used blue, saying it represented the cooling effect their drink has for people. Both the meanings are different but both companies are very successful.

Perhaps the most colourful part in our world is nature itself. The flora and fauna together form a riot of colours, clashing yet complementing each other to form something truly spectacular. Spring is green with fresh leaves and nascent blossoms. Kyoto is famous for its Cherry Blossoms, the trees bursting with blooms during the spring. The summer is dry, hot and bright, the raging white sun beating steadily down on the dry, harsh and desolate plains of the Atacama. Then comes autumn, dressed in a gown of all the shades of orange, yellow and red, a surprising burst of colours. Vancouver perfectly captures the beauty of this season down to every last detail, the shape of the leaves and the apple orchards, ripe for the picking. At last, comes the winter, dull and gray in its foreboding cold in some places, white a blinding blanket of white like cake frosting in others.

The mountains, the oceans, the deserts, the forests – they are all adorned by colours that reflect their personalities.

I have always found it curious when people completely disregard black and white, not considering them colours. If they are not colours, what are they? Black and white seems so simple, but they create a world of depth. Black and white generally symbolizes two sides of a coin, the opposing forces. In most cultures, black is used to describe death, the devil, darkness and other negative forces while white is a symbol of purity, innocence and everything that is good. In Chinese culture however, this is slightly different. Black represents water and is considered the colour of heaven and the king of all colours in China. It is also the single colour that was worshipped the longest time in ancient China. White, here, represents multiple things. In the theory of ‘Five Elements’, white corresponds to gold, which shows that the Chinese people thought it to symbolize brightness. Along with this, it also stands for purity and fullness. See, generally the opposite. But together, they create a while new world of beauty and harmony, the unity of Ying and Yang.

Black and white however has perhaps been the most destructive colours in history. People were differentiated on the basis of their skin colour. The people with black skin were made slaves to the whites, denying them of their basic rights and making life a living hell. The white minority broke their spirit and treated them like animals for centuries. Almost all European countries and the USA had separate and derogatory rules for the blacks, making them inferior in every way possible. It was common to see insulting sign boards like “Blacks and dogs not allowed”. It was only in the sixties and the seventies where things started changing in most places.

Perhaps the most important part about colour is the way they impact the audiences. They are very effect means of telling stories. Famous artists like Van Gogh have created masterpieces that tell epic tales using the ever present colour palate, creating beautiful paintings that people not only see, but also read to delve deep into the world of colours and search for the layers of hidden meaning. They use colours to show emotions, depict how they are feeling what other people feel or have felt. Even poets use colours to bring their poetry to life. Famous lines like “a host of golden daffodils” use colours to actually bring the scene to life and enable readers to visualize and actually connect with the poem.

Perhaps the most fascinating characteristic of colours is how they affect us. This is called colour psychology. It is the study of hues as a determinant of human behavior. Did you know, that in Glasgow, in the year 2000, they installed blue street lighting in certain neighborhoods and subsequently reported the anecdotal finding of reduces crime rates? And that a railroad company in Japan introduced blue lighting in its stations in 2009 that effectively reduced suicide attempts?

Colors also help us when we are depressed and sad. Research suggests that bright and cheerful colours draw us out of our depression and bring back the joy in our lives. Colours provide us comfort, and radiate beauty, which the human mind cannot ignore.

The world is full of strange colours, which makes it an exceptionally interesting place to live in. Without them perhaps we wouldn’t have had racism and slavery in the first place but we also wouldn’t have had epic works of art, not recognised the beauty of nature and simply missed out on the amazement of seeing an interestingly coloured flower or the myriad of hues in a gorgeous sunset. The world just wouldn’t be the same and I am thankful that it isn’t.

Autobiography of a Pencil – Surabhi Jain (1st – Spark Mentor Essay Competition, Battle of the Words)

11 Jul

Autobiography of a Pencil

Surabhi Jain, 11th Grade NPS Koramangla


The End

It is finally my time. I have lived a long life, longer than most of my kind at least. Now, I am but a fraction of what I used to be. My once lengthy body has been shortened to a stub and my head has been sharpened for the last time. The blue colour of my exterior has faded along with the name of my maker and my pretty red eraser has all but disappeared. This is the last story I will write before I am put down forever. This is the story of my life.

It all began when my then flat head was skimmed with the sharp blade of a sharpener. As I was turned around repeatedly, a trickle of consciousness manifested. I started to hear the shavings fall to the table, to see the black inside of the sharpener, to smell the metal of the blade. I could sense everything around me. With that came my conscience. I, as an individual, was born. And when my head was removed from the confines of the black plastic, I was introduced to the world. A world which, I would later come to learn, is both brutal and kind.

My induction into the world went in an unexpected manner. As the dark interior of the sharpener left my vision, I was met with the view of a colourful room and cluttered room. Building blocks littered the carpeted floor and along with sheets of paper and crayons. Awed by such a foreign sight, I didn’t notice I was moving until I was right in front of a human child’s face. His chubby face was lit up with a brilliant smile as he observed me lying on what I now know was his father’s hand. He clapped his hands with sheer delight and reached for me with his pudgy fingers. He lifted me up and looked up at his father with a pleading expression on his face, “Can I take it to school tomorrow Dad?” And then I was dumped in the dark space where I would make my first friends.

The stationery pouch was a scary place at first. There was no light and a fear of the unknown ran through me. I shivered as I wondered what was going to happen. Abruptly, a voice cut through the silence, “Hey everybody, we got a newbie!” And then I was in the middle of a flurry of activity. A crowd of voices started up and I was being tugged this way and that. It was a very disorienting experience, I must say. From the cacophony, I managed to discern a few names: Bob the eraser, Marty the sharpener and Penny the pen. As the ruckus grew in volume, a scream rent the air, “Silence!” All was quiet. A bulky shape came up next to me and it said, “I’m Patty the ruler. You are?” I stutteringly explained that I was new and that I didn’t have a name. After which Patty proceeded to rudely tell me to get one. So I said, “Scratch”, thus naming myself. Initially, Patty scared the living daylights out of me. She was snappy and sarcastic; traits that were intimidating to a novice like me. As time went on, I realised that she was just overprotective of her pouch mates and that I, as a stranger, was suspicious to her. Nevertheless, life was good.

The weeks following my ‘birth’ were happy. The residents of the pouch and I became family. We’d go to school with the child-whose name was Daniel- and do our work. The rest of the time we’d play and chat for hours. I began to love Daniel as well. He took care of me, making sure I was always sharp and ready for anything. He treated me with care and never threw me or broke my tip. I was content. One day, it all changed. I was shown how uncaring people can be and what a lie I was living. It was a school day like any other. We went to school and I did my work. I was lying on the table while Daniel used Penny when suddenly, I was airborne. I flew and smacked into the wall, rolling into the corner. Trying to shake off the dizziness, I realised that Daniel hadn’t even noticed. I lay there waiting for someone to pick me up and return me but no one did. I watched as the day passed and still I lay in the darkness. When the children left, I hoped that Daniel would see that I was missing and would search for me the next day. Alas, that was in vain. The next day dawned and the children filed in. When they started opening their pouches, I watched Daniel, waiting for him to rescue me. Instead, I saw him pull out another pencil with the same care that he used to show me. I saw Bob and Marty chatting with the replacement the same way they used to speak with me. The betrayal of all those I loved cut straight through my heart.

After that incident, I was transferred to the ‘Lost and Found’ box and when no one claimed me, to a big carton labelled ‘Castern’. I was put with hundreds of other pencils, most of whom had suffered the same treachery that I had. We stayed in that box for a long time with no idea of what was going to happen to us. Fear was the dominant emotion of most and we nearly drove ourselves insane pondering our fate. Finally, the day came when the lid was opened, putting all of us out of our misery. Sunlight found its way to us, warming us and reminding us of hope. Then we were picked up in twos and handed to children waiting in line. The look of joy on their faces as they received the pencils far surpassed the one I saw on Daniel’s face so long ago. Here were people who truly appreciated their belongings. As my owner, Cedric, carried me and the other pencil, Matt, into his home, I was struck by the stark difference between his abode and that of Daniel. While Daniel’s had spoken of wealth and class, Cedric’s was humble. There was no television and the furniture was plain and simple. There was no mess here though. Cedric’s room was neat and tidy. I knew that I would be genuinely loved here.

Matt and I became good friends over the years. We only had each other for company but it was enough. Cedric took good care of us, writing conservatively so that he didn’t waste our lead. He prolonged our use as much as he possibly could and now the time has come where he can extend no further. I write this story on a spare piece of paper on Cedric’s desk so that he may know how much he means to me. He restored my faith in this world and made my days happy. For that, I am forever grateful.

Sure Cure to Fatty Liver & Acid Reflux – Reiki , Physical training , Yoga + DIET

17 May

Fatty Liver, Acid Reflux  and Low Vitamin D are some of the most common ailments that Indians suffer from, given our lifestyle and diet. But in most cases, its never considered serious enough to be treated.

Its been a struggle for over 10 years. Around 2005 I used to always feel tired, sluggish and sleepy. I was gaining weight. Frequent early morning flights, eating out regularly, late night dinners, oily food, the occasional drink, no time for exercise and a lot of stress at work  – all this formed the perfect recipe for Fatty Liver & Acid Reflux.

Soon, the ailment became more aggressive and the symptoms more severe – I used to feel feverish and have a sore throat. Thinking it to be a light viral attack I self medicated myself with Crocin / Tylenol and in some cases even antibiotics – but the fever persisted before dying out after a week or two. I hate going to a doctor and never visited one for a few years – thinking these were basic day to day ailments. On the advice of a friend I finally visited a GP who immediately asked me to get a Liver Scan done – and diagnosed it as Level 3 Fatty Liver. What this means was that at age 39 I had the Liver of a 58 year old. Now, I panicked.


Fatty Liver is caused by the poor lifestyle choices mentioned above coupled with bad genes ( The Punjabis are lucky ) and as such, has no cure. The liver stores some fat, but greater than 10 percent is considered abnormal. Too much fat might cause inflammation and liver malfunction.

Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease is extremely common. This is caused by stomach acid backing up to the throat causing coughing and sore throat. If left untreated, it can even result in throat cancer.

Though there is no direct linkage between Fatty Liver & Acid Reflux – I was clearly facing both these problems. Unfortunately, as mentioned above, fatty liver has no fixed cure. It can, however, be reversed   with regular exercise, a controlled diet and total prohibition from Alcohol. You need to sweat, lose weight and eat very light meals ( more on this later).

For 7 – 8 years I tried this, Rantac before meals, Gym whenever possible, a combination of Yoga and meditation , and a bottle of Liv 52 always by my side – a tight control worked , but on the days you erred a bit – an early morning flight , Flight food, The occasional indulgence with Aloo Paratha or Luchi Aloo Dum and a glass of Vodka after a stressful day at work was all that was needed to awaken the dormant Acid Reflux – and then it was 10 days of trauma, sometimes so acute that I used to throw up at night just to get relief. The best way to treat a attack is to eat very light , lots of Ginger , Buttermilk , Sugar Cane juice , fresh fruits , food with very less salt – think you have a light attack of Jaundice and treat yourself accordingly.

This is when a good friend of mine advised me to do a few yoga poses. My visit to Shreyas and the Yoga Teacher there added a few more asanas. Basically any twisting pose is great for the Liver , hold the pose for 5 – 6 breaths so that the effect reaches beyond the muscle to the glands. (Consult with a good Yoga Teacher ,  any Yoga posture that pumps or  squeezes the stomach like Kapalbhati is avoided)



This helped and that’s when I got introduced to Reiki.

Reiki is a spiritual healing art with its roots in Japanese origin. The word Reiki comes from the Japanese word (Rei) which means “Universal Life” and (Ki) which means “Energy”. Reiki is not affiliated with any particular religion or religious practice. It is neither a massage nor is it based on belief or suggestion. It is a subtle and effective form of energywork using spiritually guided life force energy. Reiki is the life energy that flows through all living things. Reiki practitioners understand that everyone has the ability to connect with their own healing energy and use it to strengthen energy in themselves and help others. It is believed that a person’s “ki” or “energy”, should be strong and free flowing. When this is true, a person’s body and mind is in a positive state of health. When the energy becomes weak or blocked it could lead to symptoms of physical or emotional imbalance.

Reiki is akin to “Prana” and a Reiki healer acts as a conductor of universal energy helping you to generate energy balance.


I was lucky to have the experience of Radhika a divine Reiki healer – when she was conducting the healing sessions in a serene setting with lighted candles and soothing music, I could feel the energy pulse through each and every inch in my body. Three direct and a few remote session created miracles – and I could see my fatty liver and Acid Reflux problem almost becoming non existent.

Add to this I enrolled with Sonali a world champion Physical Trainer and the 1 hr of vigorous physical activity she drills me to do every second morning added to solving the problem. The sheer variety of activities she makes you go through each day is fascinating.


Dr Jha a naturopath ( helped with his own useful advise – after checking for energy balance he was quickly able to identify my Fatty Liver problem without me even telling him. A few beads taped in some nerve endings on the hand immediately brings relief –  he also suggested a few simple things to do daily – I have been following this regularly

  • A glass of diluted cold milk in the morning when you wake up ( I add a spoon of ice cream to make the taste better)
  • Rice soaked in water previous night to be eaten with Curd and green cooked papaya
  • Pineapple slices soaked in honey in the evening before dinner
  • One Tender Coconut every day (Its alkaline – so solves for the acidity very affectively)

All these wonderful people with their helpful advise and professional expertise almost cured my Fatty Liver & Acid Reflux problem, I can see the change at the cellular level. Now the occasional drink or oily food does not affect me – life goes on. I guess the fat in the Liver is melting away.

A few more tips if you have Fatty Liver & Acid Reflux 

  • Don’t drink water while eating food – or 30 min before or after
  • A diet that has a lot of fresh leafy green vegetables , walnuts , avocados, Apple , Lemons & Lime + Green tea – are all great for Fatty Liver reversal
  • Leaves of Drumstick cooked with Adai or mashed up boiled is strongly recommended
  • After every meal sit in Vajrasan for a few minutes
  • Finish your dinner by 7 PM
  • Get at least 7 hrs of restful sleep
  • If you can’t make it to the Gym or for PT – walk briskly for an hr every day ( Don’t walk after dinner)
  • Try Kunjal Kriya ( Water cleansing of the stomach) – I haven’t but a friend swears by it – again needs the guidance of a good Yoga Teacher
  • In the initial stage you may need a special inclined mat in your bed – as the Acid Reflux may cause severe coughing at night.


And finally don’t go to a doctor – medicines are drugs , they don’t solve the problem at the root. They just get you addicted to the medicines without which you cannot sustain.