This section serves random thoughts, highs and lows of homo sapiens sapiens civilization, some ill-formulated ideas, twilights of time and space and holy visions. Bon appetit!

Lassi – popular cold yogurt-like drink, which is served either plain (think drinkable yogurt with pieces of curd), salty, sweet (my preferred) or mixed with fruits. It’s Indian version of milkshake, inexpensive and very delicious.
Chai – black tea with milk and masala spice, usually drank in small cups, like espresso.
Beedees (bidis) – handmade Indian cigarettes, made of eucalyptus leaves and tobacco. Extremely cheap (a pack of 20 beedees coss 10-20 rupees, i.e. 0,15-0,3 EUR.

Wherever I was in India, these 3 elements were always there with me. They will epitomize the taste of India for me, when I leave.

10-Jan-2013 @ Madurai, India

Today I finished reading The Odyssey. I mean the original one by Homer. Wow, what a painful book! It’s written in very, very lengthy manner, and most of the time, all male characters are crying, weeping and lamenting about their dreadful life and request help from the gods. The book has 3 parts: 1st - Odysseus’s son and wife are crying for their lost father/husband and pray for his return, 2nd - Odysseus’s travels (this part is the “real Odyssey”, but it’s also the shortest one), 3rd – Odysseus arrives home and slays all his enemies.
If you enjoy reading about crying, weeping and lamenting men (not one man, whole group of them), I strongly recommend reading this book. Otherwise, read some short summary instead. And to aid this, I prepared for you the shortest version of The Odyssey, actually two versions, to allow you to chose your level of briefness:

Ultra-short version:

Odysseus who had left Ithaca to conquer Troy, is missing for 20 years, during which he helped to conquer Troy (10 years), then got lost, sailed around Mediterranean sea, shipwrecked couple of times, lost all his crewmembers, who were killed in battle, eaten by evil monsters or they drowned, and apart from attempting to save his comrades, most of the time Odysseus eats and drinks heavenly food and wine and fucks heavenly nymphs (8 years), and ALL THE TIME he cries, weeps and laments like a little girl about his miserable destiny, until he reaches home, kills all his enemies and comes back to his wife and son. Amen.

Short version:

First part:
1. 20 years ago, Odysseus, king of Ithaca, left with rest of the Greek army to conquer Troy and has never come back (the battle of Troy took 10 years and he’s been lost ever since)
2. His wife is molested by tens of suitors who want to marry her, to become rulers of Ithaca. In the meantime they are ruining Odysseus’s wife (Penelope) and son (Telemachos) by feasting and partying every day

Second part (The Odyssey itself) – told in retrospective by Odysseus to citizens of island Phaeacians:
1. After conquering Troy (thanks to Odysseus’s idea to hide part of the army inside the Trojan horse and thus penetrate the city walls), Odysseus intends to sail home
2. Leaving Troy, he first arrives to land of Cicones and conquers their city. Next day he is driven from the city by allies of the city, few men from his crew die in the battle, and the lamenting begins
3. He sails towards Ithaca, but storm takes his ships to a land of friendly and pacifistic Lotophagos (Lotus eaters), who offer lotus to some of his crewmembers and after eating the lotus, the crewmembers are overwhelmed and do not want to return to the boats. When Odysseus forces them to return they are crying like a bunch of pussies
4. Next, they arrive to land of Cyclops, cruel ogres, and Polyphemus, son of Poseidon, captures few men, including Odysseus, locks them inside a cave, and eats them day by day for dinner, until Odysseus and his comrades manage to stick out his only eye, and escape from the cave under bellies of Polyphemus’s sheep. After the escape, Odysseus makes fun of Polyphemus (as it turns out, this was bad idea), which pisses Polyphemus off and he asks his father Poseidon to revenge him. Everybody is crying and weeping for the eaten friends
5. Next they reach island of Aeolus, whose friendly king hosts them and helps them by tying all strong winds into a leather bag (Zeus designated him as an authorized winds-keeper), which he hands to Odysseus. As only the mild winds blow, the ships easily almost reach Ithaca, when Odysseus falls asleep and his curious and suspicious comrades open the bag (assuming that there is gold inside) and the winds raise hell and take them back to island of Aeolus. The king is totally pissed off by their misconduct and drives them away from the island immediately. Total and most desperate weeping again
6. Next they arrive to a land of Laestrygonians, another group of repulsive man-eating creatures, who eat some of Odysseus’s comrades. Weeping and crying
7. After short stopover in island of Aiai, where the crew feasts on a deer, the ships land on island of nymph/witch Circe, which turns some crewmembers into pigs, but undoes this when Odysseus, with help from Palas Athena, seduces her and then for one year Circe hosts them, provides them with marvelous food and wine and Odysseus screws her every night (but of course he misses his wife very much and laments all the time)
8. After one year they leave CirCe, who tells them that they must sail to the end of ocean to find the realm of Hades, where the dead dwell. Odysseus speaks to dead prophet Tereiseras, who tells him his future and then they leave the realm of dead (good job!)
9. They sail on, and soon they sail by Sirens, heavenly winged singers, who hunt for sailors with their songs, whose lure cannot be resisted. To protect the crew, Odysseus plucks wax in their ears and covers their eyes, but because he wants to hear the heavenly songs, he leaves his own ears and eyes open and ties himself to a mast, so that he cannot jump from the board when lured by the songs. It works and no one is killed this time
10. Next they who pass Charybdis (powerful sea whirl) and Scylla – a horrible monster – who eats another 6 men
11. Sailing on and on, they land in an island where Helios keeps his herds of cows and sheep. The crewmembers don’t obey Odysseus and kill and eat some of the animals, and as a result, when they set sail, gods send a terrible storm, they shipwreck and everyone drowns except Odysseus, who ends up on Ogygia island, which is home to another sexy nymph Calypso
12. Odysseus does only 3 things for the next 8 years: he eats heavenly food and drinks heavenly wine, fucks Calypso every night, and weeps about his terrible destiny and how he misses his wife all time, except when he’s eating/drinking and screwing Calypso
13. After eight years, Calypso release Odysseus, Odysseus builds a small raft and despite another Poseidon-made storm reaches island of Phaeacians, whose friendly inhabitants (after Odysseus’s traumatic weeping, crying and lamenting) give him great treasures and promise him to take him to Ithaca, which they actually do (and for which they are severly punished by Poseidon), and it takes only 1 day(!)

Third part:
1. Odysseus talks with goddess Palas Athena and they come up with a plan how to destroy the suitors of his wife. Athena turns him into a beggar so that he can investigate the situation without being recognized
2. After finding out who is right and who is wrong, Odysseus teams up with his loyal shepherd and son and together they massacre all the suitors and Athena turns him back to Odysseus and his wife finally recognizes him and they lived happily ever after

More than 500 hundred pages and what is the moral?
Well, all I learned from the book is this:
      1. Don't fuck with the gods
      2. Be nice to strangers and guests
      3. Be smart and don't hesitate to lie, when beneficial for you
      4. Keep the faith

So this is The Odyssey. I hope that my Odyssey will contain much less weeping and lamenting.

26-Feb-2013 @ Sarnath, India

Unauthorized, unreliable and incorrect introduction to Hinduism by M. Strbak

1. Brahman
Theoretically Hinduism is monotheistic, because all things, spirits, worlds and gods come from Brahman, unmanifested, formless divine substance without any attributes, the god behind the gods. Brahman cannot be experienced, studied or worshipped, as he (it) lacks any attributes which we could describe or comprehend.

In reality Hinduism splits into 2 main sub-Hinduisms: worship of Vishnu as the supreme being by Vaishnavites, and worship of Shiva as the supreme being by Shaivites. Comprehending Hindusism, for us, the westerners, is rather difficult if not downright impossible, because the two main aspects of our lives and logic – linearity of time and principle of cause-and-effect – are very different in Hinduism. Time is more or less cyclical and the oneness and interconnection of everything defies the concept of cause-and-effect. So, open your minds wide and deep before you continue reading.

2. Main deities
Theoretical monotheism of Hinduism turns into polytheism when the manifested (as opposed to unmanaifested), concrete (as opposed to formless) gods with attributes (as opposed to attributes-less) enter the scene. In “modern” Hinduism there are 3 main gods, together called Trimurti, the Holy Trinity: Brahma (Brahma, not Brahman) – the Creator, Vishnu – the Preserver, and Shiva – the Destroyer.

The whole family (from left to right): Ganesh, bull headed priest, Saraswati? (goddess of music), unknown, unknown, Vishnu, Lakshmi, Shiva (rarely depicted with pink skin), unknown, Brahma

Brahma is the creator of the universe, or more precisely of the universes, because there are many cyclical sequential universes, each of them created by Brahma. Brahma has 4 heads, one looking in each direction, but in statues and pictures he usually is depicted with 3 heads, because the fourth one is looking away from you, so you cannot see it. Brahma, despite his role of creator of the world (and thus on par with Jahve in Christianity/Judaism/Islam) is practically never worshipped, and I read there are only very few (less than 10) temples in India dedicated to Brahma (Vishnu and Shiva have tens or hundreds of thousands of temples). My personal speculation is that this is due to the fact that Brahma’s only role is the creation of the world, and people generally don’t real care for the past, but are interested in the present and future, so why should they worship Brahma, when he cannot do anything for them anymore – he has done his job, thank you very much and good bye! Brahma spends ages in deep mediation, and he only wakes up when a new world needs to be created (more on this later), creates it and goes into the meditation again.

Vishnu, for Vaishnavites the main god, the supreme being, is the preserver of the world, it oversees and maintains its functioning. Vishnu is most typically depicted with one head and four hands. Very often his paintings and sculptures feature Brahma sitting on a lotus flower, which grows from Vishnu’s navel. This is one of many examples of different understanding of time and cause-and-effect: Brahma, who creates the world, grows from Vishnu, who preserves it, and therefore in our western logic it’s difficult to understand how can Brahma originate from Vishnu. I warned you.
The most interesting aspect of Vishnu are his reincarnations, or avatars. From the three main gods, Vishnu is the only one who appears in the world multiple times in physical, human form. Vishnu has 24 avatars, who appeared from time to time in the course of the history to save the world, when the forces of evils prevailed over the forces of good (remember that preserving the world is Vishnu’s job). Many of the avatars had animal or semi-animal form, such as Varaha, the wild boar who saved the world from drowning by raising it from the ocean on his tusks, or Matsya, the half-fish half-human, or Kurma, turtle who aslo saved the world from drowning, but the two most important avatars of Vishnu are his human reincarnations: Rama and Krishna. Rama, the ancient prince and hero of Ramayana, who conquered Sri Lanka to rescue his princess Sita (remember Rameshwaram?) is the warrior avatar and example of how god manifested himself in great deeds and warfare.
Rama’s prominence among the avatars is surpassed only by Krishna. For most of Vaishnavites, Krishna is actually the Supreme Being, the One and Only God himself, the Ultimate Truth, the Final Oversoul, et cetera, et cetera. I suppose that this superior position of Krishna as the Final God is based on Bhagavatgita – sacred book, chapter of ancient epic Mahabharata, which captures dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, the Best Among the Men, the half-divine hero of Mahabharata - where Krishna proclaims himself to be this Superior Being and manifests his omnipresence to Arjuna to prove it. Bhagavatgita, being the most important sacred book of “modern” Hinduism has unrivalled authority, because it captures the word of god – Krishna – who explains to Arjuna how to see things in their true nature, how to live the life and finally how to unify with the god. Krishna, is very man-like avatar, sometimes he commits minor sins (such as stealing churned milk from a jar, when he was a child), he plays flute and flirts with gopi – cowgirls. Krishna is depicted with blue skin (as is Vishna) and either as a baby (usually in the moment of stealing that churned milk) or as Govinda, a cowherd, playing a flute, standing with one feet crossed over another and surrounded by enchanted gopis. Somewhere I read that the shape of Krishna’s flute and its undeniably sexual appeal on gopis has rather straightforward cultural significance :-) How could Krishna, just one of Vishnu’s avatar be the Highest of All Gods, is yet another example of how our western logic gets trapped, until you admit oneness of everything and completely surrender yourself to Krishna. Oh, I forgot to mention, that Buddha is also considered avatar of Vishnu, so that makes Buddha Vishnu's third superimportant human avatar.

From left to right: Balarama (Rama's brother), Rama, Shiva Lingam, Sita, Hanuman

Shiva, the destroyer of the world, could easily be misinterpreted as Satan by the western cultural background, but nothing could be more far from true than this. Just like Brahma and Vishnu, sweet lord Shiva (often spelled Siva) is a loving god. Shiva has one head, long matted hair (Shiva is the grandfather of all rastas and hippies) and two hands, blue skin and wears a tiger skin and holds a trident. Now, what we need to understand to appreciate Shiva’s job, is that without destruction there is no creation, and therefore Shiva’s role as the destroyer of the world is fundamental for its creation. This oneness is best manifested in two most popular depictions of Shiva (apart from the human-like form in meditation pose, described few sentences ago): Nataraja and Shiva Lingam. Nataraja – literally Lord of the Dance (Mike Flatley, you are a copycat!), or King of the Dance – is that famous sculpture (usually bronze casted) of a dancing figure, with one leg stepping over a demonic dwarf, other leg lifted and crossed over the other one, with drum in one of his hands and circle of fire all around the scene. If you thought that it was supposed to be some sexy dancer, than you were completely wrong. It’s Shiva, performing his cosmic dance of creation and destruction, and beat of this dance (now you know what that drum is for) maintains the universe (which seems to me like if Shiva is messing around Vishnu’s job, but it’s just another fault of my western logic). Shiva Lingam, is quite plainly a phallus. Shiva is never worshipped in his human form, he is always worshipped only in the form of Shiva Lingam, making Shiva Lingam the most common object of worship in India, and India is just flooded by Lingams. There can be several hundreds of them in a temple. This is the land of the phallus. As everywhere else in the world, phallus represents fertility. And you thought that Shiva’s destruction of the world was negative? Think again!

Fairly typical sculpture of Shiva

3. Other deities
There are heaps of minor deities in Hinduism (somewhere I read number 330 million), so I will mention just a few most important ones, that I know.
By far the most popular of “minor” gods is Ganesh (also Ganesha), the elephant-headed son of Shiva, remover of the obstacles (with his trunk), provider of wealth (look how fat he is), good luck, patron of scribes (he wrote down Mahabharata with one of his tusks, that’s why it’s broken). Hanuman , the monkey god, ally of Rama in Ramayana, comes second in number of paintings and sculptures. Ganga, is the most important river goddess (descending onto the earth through Shiva’s hair), the giver or life. Durga, the many-handed goddess of strength sits atop of lion or tiger.
As Hindu gods are aware that even god means nothing without a woman, they have their wives, or consorts to be more precise: Vishnu has Lakshmi and Radha, Rama has Sita, Shiva has Parwarti and Shakti. From this ensemble of girls, only Shakti is a proper goddess, but you will do no wrong by giving your respect to all of them. Apart from consorts, all gods have also their celestial vehicles: Vishnu has giant eagle Garuda, Ganesh rides on a tiny rat, Brahma flies on a swan and Shiva rides Nandi, white bull, the most holy of the vehicles and often worshipped rigorously in temples.
I mentioned couple of times “modern” Hinduism. What I mean by this, is that before reign of Brahma, Vishu and Shiva (Puranic deities), there were other, older deities, so called Vedic deities. These gods were pretty similar to the Greek pantheon – Indra, Zeus’s Indian cousin, the highest god reigned from heavens and speared the earth with thunder, Varuna dominated rain, rivers and oceans, Surya personified the Sun, Soma the Moon, and Agni, Indian version of Hermes, messenger of gods, god of fire, provided the link between human and gods, by burning, i.e. purification by the fire. There were many, many other gods, but only Agni managed to keep at least part of his glory, due to purification characteristics of the fire – that’s why the dead bodies are burned, and that’s why robes of Hindu sadhus are orange, color of the fire.
Now you should be well equipped for a visit of a Hindu temple :-)

Nandi, Shiva's vehicle and the greatest of all cows

4. Cyclicality and oneness
Another important aspect of Hinduism is cyclicality and oneness which lies behind it. All living persons have soul, which in principle is eternal, divine and clean. But this soul embodies again and again, in cycle of reincarnations. Cycle of reincarnation is called samsara. After death of the physical body, the soul will be born in a new body, until the person in whose body it is embodied reaches oneness with god, liberation, moksha. You have already read many options for reaching moksha in my posts: living sinless and religious life, bathing in confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati during Maha Kumbh Mela, dying in Varanasi. It is the ultimate goal of each Hindu to attain moksha and not be born again, because, first of all, life means suffering and secondly, by liberation, your soul unifies with the universal oversoul (think Krishna) and thus will reach eternal, perfect bliss and happiness, fulfill its destiny.
There is justice in reincarnation. Do good, and you will be born in higher form of life, do bad and you will be born in a lower form of life (lowest to highest, approximately: stone, plants, reptiles, insect, fish, birds, mammals, human; yes, stone is also included, and yes reptiles are lower than insect). But, this you must understand: reincarnation in the lower form of life is actually not a punishment, there is love of god behind this. I will try to explain. Let’s say that you are interested in spirituality, in reaching unity with god – then you will be born as a human, because human body and mind is best equipped for this task. Now let’s say that your highest delight in this world is eating and sex. In this case, the loving Supreme Being will try to please you, and your next reincarnation will be a pig, because the pigs can enjoy these pleasures without annoying disruptions of human brain and so they can have more fun. Got it? Do you only follow others? Ant is the best body for you. And should be enjoy solely in sleep, what better destiny could there be than being re-born as a stone? This makes perfect sense to me, and is a wonderful idea as such. But while I understand how can certain soul degrade from the higher forms to the lower ones, it’s not clear to me, how could you upgrade. How can the dog have religious aspirations, so that his soul is reborn as human? Complete failure of the western logic again. Anyway, from now on think twice about what delights you: you might be reborn as an octopus if you like diving, eagle if you enjoy getting high, or a fecal bacteria if you delight in anal sex :-)
But cyclicality is not limited to samsara. Also the time, and history of the world is somewhat cyclical. Existence of the world is cyclical in Brahma's lives, each of them taking more than 300 trillion human (solar) years, each Brahma's life has 100 Brahma's years, which are divided into days, and each Brahma's day takes 4 billion solar years. And each Brahma's day is divided into many smaller subparts and these are finally divided into 4 ages, during which mankind appears and disappears (by armagedon). The first age – Satya Yuga – takes 1,7 million human years. During this age, all beings are pure and good, it is the age of endless bliss. The secong age – Treta Yuga – takes 1,3 million human years – sees some degradation and purity is not perfect anymore. It gets even worse in the third age – Dwapara Yuga – which takes 864 thousand human years and during the fourth age Kali Yuga – takes 432 thousand human years – the world is mastered by sin and evil powers. Guess which age do we live in? Look around! Yep, this is Kali. Time is running out (but don't worry, according to Hindu astrologers we still have more than 400 tousand year left). At the end of age of Kali, Shiva burns all the filth of the corrupted world into ashes, Brahma awakens from the meditation and a new world is created. But those, who attained moksha, and reached nirvana, oneness with the God, do not need to worry, their liberation is eternal.

5. Om
Om, and it would be more appropriate to spell it as AUM - you will see why – is the most powerful Hindu sound. The Great Unifier (of Indian people) as Sri Vivekananda said. There is philosophy and physiology behind it. Let’s start with the physiology. OMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. Just chant it. Feel it? If chanted sufficiently loud, and the lower the tone the better, the sound of "o" turning into “m” vibrates your whole body. Relaxing, isn’t it? M is a wonderful sound, and my personal suspicion is that, it was the first sound that human species could articulate. I don’t think it’s coincidence that “mama” – sound full of M – is the first word of babies around the whole world (in which language word for mother, doesn’t start with M?). Now the philosophical part. AUM composes of 3 letters (and each of them is basically a vowel on its own), which together produce one sound. This is the unification quality of AUM, and Hindus extended this 3-to-1 to almost every thinkable aspect: AUM unifies Brahma Vishnu and Shiva into One Supreme Being, it unifies past, present and future, it unifies 3 layers of man: body, mind and spirit, … Christian Amen, is nothing else than slightly transformed AUM. The power of this sound is simply irresistible. And I guess that “hail”, “holy” are nothing else than “hare”, just look at composition of “Hallelujah” and you get “Halle lu Jah[ve]”, alias “Hare Jahve” and we are back to Maha Mantra: “Hare Krishna, Hare Rama, ….”.

Symbol of Om, notice that it is actually represetnation of our character for number "3"

6. Worship
And now almost the last part: worship (puja) and devotion (bhakti)
Hinduism is based on individual worship. There is no Sunday mass or other mandatory meeting to attend. Important is to be devoted and perform personal worship. The main means of worship are sacrifice and hailing God’s names. Sacrifice is simple – you come to temple and sacrifice flowers, milk or banana (typically by putting it on top of Shiva Lingam or other sacred object). No megalomaniac sacrifices are needed. Flowers and a banana will do. But you need to sacrifice with devotion. Apart from this, the second fundamental element is hailing names of gods – and there are many names of god. Shiva alone has 108 names. So, you enter the temple and scream: Om Naham Shivaya! (literally “Om, name of Shiva” or “Hare Krishna!” (“hail to Krishna”). The best thing about Hinduism is that these names of gods and various words of respect were turned into mantras, and by chanting this mantras you worship the gods and at the same time, acquire peace of mind, because chanting is very relaxing for your mind. So, sit down in lotus position, and let’s go: “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare, Hare! Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare, Hare! …”.

"Home made" Shiva Lingam with flowers, coconuts and banana sacrifeces at Rameshwaram beach

There are multitudes of holy men in Hinduism: sadhus, babas, swamis, brahmins. Frankly speaking I don't really know the difference between them, but all of them basically sit around, do nothing at all, beg and give blessing to others. I would lie if I said that I find their conduct very sympathic. They reveal the down side of Hinduism for me: they might have attained wisdom and liberation, but the detachment from everything - from possessions, actions and people - makes them completely useless for the rest of us. What we worship we shall become - and as Hindus worship cows, they often themselves resemble a lost herd of cows, gathering in giant numbers, peaceful but actionless, uncooperative, often uninspiring, not minding the dirt which they produce and which they live in. I don't paint all Hinduism in pink in my perspective.

7. Bhagavatgita
And the truly last part of description of Hinduism: Bhagavatgita. As already mentioned, Bhagavatgita (meaning “The Song of the Holy One”) is a chapter from Mahabharata, but it’s printed and read mostly separately as a holy book on its own. It contains Krishna’s revelation of the most secret secrets of life, and Krishna addresses them to Arjuna, his great friend, who although being demigod, represents common mortal man, but of great spirit and mind. I strongly suggest you to read Bhagavatgita. It’s pretty short, I think it has less than 80 pages, I read it in a single day in English, so in your mother tongue you can do it as well. But to get most of the book (this was second or third time that I read it), read it carefully, don’t hurry too much. It is great philosophical masterpiece. Don’t worry, you will not read about holiness of cows, or how to best place banana atop of Shiva Lingam. This is true philosophy with tremendous meaning for all of us (even atheists like me).
It’s really stupid to attempt to summarize this great book in few words, but I will give a try, just to give you some teaser and to make you read it yourself. I will be extremely short, read the whole book to get more, really!

Krishna in his omnipresent form - having thousands of heads, thousands of hands - which he revealed to Arjuna to prove his Divinity

There is no way how to fulfill your craving, desires and passion. They are endless and bottomless. If you want to be happy, you have to overcome your craving, desires and passion. Do not crave. Do not be possessive. Be detached from your possessions and from results, consequences of your actions. Do your duty and actions which you ought to do, but do not care for the success of your actions or for their consequences. Do the task because of the tasks itself, not because of what it may bring you - do not be attached to fruits of your labor. Dualities such as pleasure and pain, friend and enemy, love and hate are only caused by cloud of ignorance which surrounds us. Uplift your spirit and mind, and you will overcome these dualities, you will realize oneness of everything. Your body is mortal, your soul is immortal. It has always been and will always be, there is no way how to destroy it. Live sinless life, and your next reincarnation will be of higher status than the current one. Commit sins and you will be degraded to lower level of being. Keep on reincarnating, until you completely unify yourself with Krishna, the Supreme Being, the Final Truth, the Oversoul, the One. Love Krishna, think of Krishna all the time, do your tasks for love of Krishna. Think of Krishna in moment of your death and you will become one with Krishna, your cycle of reincarnation will end. Om.

OK, and now you ask, what did I write this for? Why did I even bother to spend so much time on writing how many hands has Vishnu and how many years has age of Kali. It’s a bunch of oriental fairytales anyway, right? Well, I wrote this for 3 reasons. First of all, and this is least important, to provide some guidance for the references to Hindu religion which I made before, to make my posts more understandable (yes, maybe I should have done this at the beginning, but naturally, I did not know all of this before I came here, and it would be less fun). Second reason is that I hope it will, in some of you, spark a little interest in Hinduism and maybe make you learn something about it. And the third and the most important reason is, that by writing this, I simply wanted to pay my homage to this great, wise and fascinating religion, which truly enriched my life and vision of the world and of the people. Hare Krishna! Om Namah Shivaya!

There are some great lessons in Hinduism for all of us. In my opinion, Hinduism went much further in investigation of human mind, spirituality and human nature as such than Greek-Roman culture which we are descendants of. Hinduism says, that each man is composed of 5 parts: body, passions, mind, spirit and unity with god. And that by calming our bodies, we can explore and calm our passions. By calming our passions, we can explore and calm our minds. By calming our minds, we can explore and calm our spirit. And by calming our spirit, we may reach unity with the god. Even if you are not looking for unity with the god, the previous steps will be amazingly useful, because you will reach unity with yourself. Remember: “Mind is like a monkey!”. To calm down your mind, start with calming down your body: start to meditate. It will take some time, and lot of frustration, but the results will come. At least partial :-) If there is one word that goes like a golden thread through Hinduism with all its chaotic perplexity it is “Oneness”. This concept of oneness, of unity, is the great lesson that Hinduism can give us.

My sources: Bhagavatgita by Krishna, On Education by "Mother", Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, Hidden Glory of India by ISKCON, The Returns by ISKCON, Introduction to Hinduism by ???, Upanishadas, Lonely Planet India and inscriptions and pictures in temples. No Wikipedia at all! I read most of this stuff long time ago, before I came here and I don't remember everything correctly, that's why I admit, that my description is surely incorrect and unreliable. I could have looked at Wikipedia and make it more correct, but I intentionally didn't do that. Here in India, I was mostly experiencing Hinduism, not really studying it.

   Appetizer: American hotdog in Bratislava

   1st course: Vegetarian thali in India

   2nd course: Rice and curry in Sri Lanka

   3rd course: Lassi, chai and beedes in India

     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak