आनंदवन प्रयोगवन: एकदा वाचाच.

 

Anand wan prayogwan

झेपावणार्‍या पंखांना क्षितिजं नसतात,
त्यांना झेपेच्या कवेत येणारे आकाश असते.
सृजनशील साहसांना सीमा नसतात,
त्यांना मातीच्या स्पर्शाची अट असते.
अशी सृजनशील साहसे हवी आहेत,
जी बीजे पेरून बाट पाहू शकतील,
जी भाग ठेऊन भविष्य आखतील,
अन् बेभान होऊन वर्तमान घडवतील…..
–बाबा आमटे.

२०१४ हे बाबा आमटेंचं जन्मशताब्दी वर्ष. याच वर्षी आनंदवनास भेट देण्याचा योग आला. आनंद्वनातले ते दोन दिवस म्हणजे एक खराखुरा आनंदानुभवच होता. आनंद्वना विषयी अनेक समज गैरसमज मनात होते, पण इथे आल्यावर कळले की आनंदवन म्हणजे एक आश्चर्य. हे तर आधुनिक तीर्थक्षेत्र. इथे वेदना साजरी होते. इथे दररोज कितीतरी वंचित एक नवे आयुष्य सुरु करतात. इथे दररोज चमत्कार घडतात. इथे अशक्य ते शक्य होतांना दिसते. कुष्ट रोगाने खंगलेले हात जेव्हा नवनिर्मितीचं स्वप्नच बघत नाहीत तर ती प्रत्यक्षात उतरवतात. इथे कितीतरी फिनिक्स पक्षी गगन भरारी घेतात. खरच आनंदवन म्हणजे स्वप्नवत वाटावे असे ठिकाण. बाबांच्याच शब्दात सांगायचं तर:

कोंडलेल्या वादळांच्या ह्या पहा अनिवार लाटा
माणसांसाठी उद्याच्या, येथुनी निघतील वाटा
पांगळ्यांच्या सोबतीला, येऊ द्या बलदंड बाहू
निर्मितीची मुक्त गंगा, द्या इथे मातीत वाहू
नांगरू स्वप्ने उद्याची, येथली फुलतील शेते
घाम गाळील ज्ञान येथे, येथुनी उठतील नेते
ह्याचसाठी वाहिली ही सर्व निढळाची कमाई

दुःख उधळायास आता, आसवांना वेळ नाही

आनंदवन भेट पूर्ण होत नाही तेच बातमी कळली की, डॉ. विकास आमटेंचं आनंदवनावर एक पुस्तक प्रकाशित होतंय आणि त्यात आनंदवनाची गोष्ट खुद्द त्यांच्या शब्दात लिहिली आहे. त्याच दिवसापासून पुस्तकाचा शोध सुरु केला आणि दुकानात उपलब्ध होण्याच्या आगोदर एक प्रत मिळवलीच. नुकतच पुस्तक वाचून पूर्ण झालं आणि वाटलं आपल्या परीने काहीतरी लिहावं पुस्तकाबद्दल, आनंदवनाबद्दल. म्हणून हा प्रपंच.

खरं तर डॉ विकास आमटेंचा जन्म आनंदवनाची स्थापना होण्यापूर्वीचा, म्हणजे ते स्वतः आनंदवनाचे पहिल्या दिवसापासुन साक्षीदार आहेत. म्हणजे आनंदवन त्यांच्या डोळ्यासमोर उभे राहिले आणि फुलले.

हे पुस्तक वाचतांना आनंदवनाची प्रत्यक्ष भेट झाल्यासारखी अनुभूती येते.

पुस्तकाची सुरुवात बाबांच्या पूर्वायुष्या पासून होते. एक सुखवस्तू घरातील तरुण समाजातील दुःख पाहून बेचैन होतो आणि त्या बेचैनीतून सुरु होतो नवनिर्मितीचा ध्यास. टागोरांची गीतांजली समजून घेण्यासाठी त्यांनी बंगाली शिकून घेतली. गीतांजलीने प्रेरित होऊन ते थेट शांतीनिकेतनाला पोहोचले. नंतर ते क्रांतिकारी चळवळीत सामील झाले. नंतर गांधीजींच्या विचारांनी प्रेरित होऊन त्यांनी आपल्या वकिलीचे ज्ञान समाजाला मिळावे म्हणून त्यांनी सहकारी तत्वावर वकिलीचा प्रयोग केला. हे सर्व चालू असतांना त्यांच्या मनातला प्रयोगशील, नवनिर्मितीची ओढ असलेला तरुण शांत बसत नव्हता. तो दररोज प्रगल्भ होत होता. समाजातील असमानतेमुळे, विशमतेमुळे तळमळत होता. आपण यासाठी काय करू शकतो हा विचार करत होता. आणि त्यातूनच श्रमिक संघटना, श्रमाश्रम असे कितीतरी प्रयोग त्यांनी केले.

हे पुस्तक पुढील सहा भागात विभागले आहे:

झाडलेली बोटं, निर्मितीक्षम हात

या प्रकरणात आनंदवनाची सुरुवात कशी झाली ते वर्णिले आहे. बाबांचे श्रमाश्रम, सहकारी तत्वावर वकिली हे सर्व प्रयोग सुरु असतांना आयुष्याला कलाटणी देणारा तो दिवस आला जेव्हा त्यांनी तुळशीराम नामक कुष्टरुग्णाला अतिशय वाईट अवस्थेत गटारात पडलेले पहिले, आणि मग त्या वेदनेच्या, दुःखाच्या साक्षात दर्शनानंतर सुरु झाला एक प्रवास, एक आनंदयात्रा. आणि आनंदवन नावाचे एक तीर्थक्षेत्र जन्माला आले. आपल्याच लोकांनी, समाजाने अव्हेरलेल्यांना आनंदवनाने आपलेसे केले. हजारो वंचितांचे अश्रू पुसले, त्यांना नवीन आयुष्य दिले, त्या आयुष्याला दिशा दिली, एक नवी ओळख दिली. या सर्व घटनांचा साक्षीदार म्हणून लेखकाने या इतिहासास जिवंत केले आहे. अक्षरशः एका ओसाड माळरानात सुरु झालेला आनंदवन नावाचा प्रयोग काही वर्षातच एका नंदनवनात बदलला, या सर्वामागे बाबांची तळमळ, दूरदृष्टी दिसून येते. हे प्रकरण म्हणजे एक प्रेरणादायी कहाणीच म्हणता येइल. स्वप्नांना प्रयत्नांची जोड मिळाली तर हाता-पायांचे बोटे झडलेले कुष्टरोगी सुद्धा अशक्य ते शक्य करून दाखवू शकतात. कुष्टमुक्तांना परत आत्मसन्मानाने जगता यावे म्हणून केलेले प्रयत्न, समाजाने नाकारलेले कुष्टमुक्त पुन्हा आनंदवनात राहून वेगवेगळ्या कामांमध्ये झोकून देतात आणि मग उभे राहतात यशस्वी उद्योग, शेती, कलेचे विविध उदाहरणे. हे सर्व अतिशय मोजक्या शब्दात आणि नेमके वर्णिले आहे.

रोगामुक्तीचा वाढता परीघ

कुष्टरोगासोबच इतर अनेक रोगांवर आनंदवन मध्ये काम झाले. इथे डोळ्यांच्या व्याधींसाठी अनेक शिबीर घडली. अंध अपंगांना उपचार मिळाले. कुष्टमुक्तांच्या पुनर्वसानाठी त्यांचे व्यंग घालवण्यासाठी जे प्रयोग आनंदवनात झाले त्याचे वर्णन आले आहे.

हिरव्या निर्मितीचा ध्यास

आज आनंदवन आपल्या मनोहारी सौंदर्यासाठी जाणले जाते. जिकडे नजर टाकाल तिकडे हिरवळ दिसते, मुबलक, स्वच्छ पाणी, हिरवी झाडे, सुंदर रस्ते ही आनंदवनाची खासियत. आनंदवनात बारा तलाव आहेत. जिथे वर्षातून एक पीक निघणे अवघड असे तिथे आज तीन पिके सहज निघतात. आनंदवनात एखाद्या जंगलाला लाजवेल असे अभयारण्य आहे. पण आनंदवनाच्या सुरुवातीला हे चित्र असे नव्हते. या जमिनीवर बाबांनी आणि त्यांच्या कार्यकर्त्यांनी, कुश्तामुक्तांनी अपार कष्ट घेतले. सुरुवातीला आनंदवनात पाण्याची प्रचंड टंचाई होती, आणि ती दूर करण्यासाठी स्वतःचा आपला असा पाण्याचा स्त्रोत असणे गरजेचे होते. हे प्रकरण म्हणजे आनंदवनाची एका दुष्काळाकडून सुकाळाकडे वाटचाल आहे. या वाटचालीत बाबांची दूरदृष्टी, कुष्टमुक्तांचे, कार्यकर्त्यांचे कष्ट, डॉ. विकास आमटेंचे अभिनव प्रयोग या सगळ्याचे सुंदर वर्णन आले आहे. कुठल्याही शेतकऱ्यास, गावास प्रेरक ठरावी असे यशाचे किस्से आले आहेत.

उद्योगातून आत्मसन्मान

कुष्टरोगातून मुक्त झाल्यावर बहुतेक रुग्णांचा बाहेरच्या जगाशी पुन्हा संबंध सुरु होणे अवघड बनते. कुटुंबाने, समाजाने अव्हेरले आणि आनंद्वनाने स्वीकारले म्हणून कित्येक कुष्टमुक्त आनंदवनाचे होऊन जातात. रोग मुक्त झाल्यावर त्यांना रिकामे बसवत नाही. हातास काम मिळणे आवश्यक असते. अन्यथा “रिकामे डोके शैतानाचे घर” म्हणतात तसे होते. या रोग मुक्त रुग्णांमध्ये पुर्वाश्रमिचे कित्येक कारागीर, शेतकरी, नोकरदार ही असतात आणि मग आनंदवनातच राहायचा निर्णय घेतल्यावर ते आपल्या परीने विविध कामात हातभार लावतात. असं करता करता आजमितीस आनंदवनात तब्बल एकशे चाळीस वेगवेगळे उद्योग चालत आहेत. आनंदवन ही जगाशी नातं तुटलेली वसाहत असता कामा नये, असा बाबांचा आग्रह होता. या उद्योगधंद्यांमुळे तोही हेतू साध्य झाला. मुख्य म्हणजे केवळ दर्जामुळे आनंदवनाच्या विविध वस्तूंना मागणी आहे. नंतरच्या काळात पुण्या-मुंबईतल्या ग्राहकांनी आनंदवनाला मदत म्हणून आमची उत्पादनं उचलून धरली. तिथेही दर्जाची खात्री हा महत्त्वाचा मुद्दा होताच. पण आनंदवनातल्या कुष्ठरुग्णांनी केवळ दर्जाच्या जोरावर आसपासच्या गावांमध्ये अनेक प्रकारच्या बाजारपेठा काबीज केल्या अन् आपली क्षमता सिद्ध केली. आनंदवन ही कुष्ठरोग्यांची वसाहत नाही तर ते रोगमुक्तांनी चालवलेलं उत्पादन केंद्र आहे, याची बाहेरच्या जगाला जाणीव झाली आहे.
दुसरं असं की कुष्ठरुग्णांनी आपण इतर कोणत्याही धडधाकट माणसांपेक्षा कमी नाही हे या उद्योगांमधून सिद्ध केलं.

कुष्टमुक्तांचे हात वंचितांच्या मदतीला

आनंदवन आपल्या सीमांनी सीमित न होता अवघ्या जगासाठी एक मार्गदर्शकाचे काम करत आहे. इथल्या कामाने स्फूर्ती घेऊन कित्येकांनी अभिनव सामाजिक प्रयोग सुरु केले. त्यातून कितीतरी समाज कार्ये उभी राहिली. आनंद्वानाने खुद्द अशा कितीतरी कार्यांमध्ये पुढाकार घेतला. त्यातून एक भरीव समाज कार्य उभे राहिले आहे.

आनंदवन म्हणजे फक्त एक सामाजिक प्रकल्प उरला नसून, ते आता एक प्रेरणा स्रोत बनले आहे. अवघ्या मानव जातीला प्रेरक संदेश देणारे एक तीर्थक्षेत्र म्हणून ते नावारूपास आले आहे. आपल्या बाहुंमध्ये बाल असो वा नसो, प्रयत्न केल्यास “पंगु लंघयते गिरिम” शक्य आहे हे आनंदवनाने सिद्ध केले आहे.

या आनंदवनाची ओळख करून देणारे हे पुस्तक प्रत्येकाने वाचावे, संग्रही ठेवावे आणि आप्तेष्टांना भेट द्यावे असेच आहे.

श्रद्धेय बाबा आमटे व साधनाताई आमटे यांचे आनंदवनातील स्मुतीस्थळ.

Books I am lucky to have read in my early twenties

According to me, if you are in your early twenties and looking for some enlightening books, you must read following books. I strongly believe ten years from now, you will attribute a lot of your success to some of these books. Having read all of them and being influenced by every one of them, I call myself fortunate that I had a company of these great books when I needed them most. I have given online link of every book from where they can be purchased.
I hope you find them useful.
Best wishes.

Wings of Fire: An Autobiography 1st Edition – If you are an Indian, in your early twenties then you must read this book.
This book is an autobiographical novel that tells the  readers a story about unlocking their inner potential. APJ Abdul Kalam does a  great deal to throw light on his journey to igniting the fire within  himself. This book is divided into seven parts. This is then followed by an Orientation, which  contains a quote from the Atharva Veda. After that, the readers are  also enlightened on the incidents that made Kalam what he is today.

  • Unposted Letter – is a collection of short articles that contains deep and profound  reflections on many topics related to life, work, situations, and  attitudes. Each page contains ideas and concepts that can change your view on many things and make your life richer and more  enjoyable. A good read recommended for young readers.

 

  • Letters From a Father to His Daughter – These letters reflect on a variety of topics. Starting from  natural history, the beginning of the earth, and evolution to the varied races of the world, the genetic make-up, the  differences in communities, and races, how these races were formed, and  why people look different. Book also touches upon the topic of civilizations. It discusses the  ancient civilizations, the great cities of ancient times, the origin of  language and religion, the growth of mankind, and the changes in  religion and its current manifestations. Nehru also elaborately  discusses the history of India, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the  great kings of the past and their kingdoms.

 

 

  • Gitanjali – One of the greatest writers in modern India, Rabindranath Tagore became  the first Indian to be awarded the Nobel Prize, which he received for  his outstanding contribution to Literature. Known for his elegant prose  and magical poetry, Gitanjali captures the essence of Tagore’s poetic  spirit. The poetry of Tagore is soothing to the spirit of the  person who reads it. These poems look at the deepest and the most  spiritual aspects of life with a simplicity and grace that touch your  soul. They encourage you to look at the world around, in a fresh light,  and experience the beauty of creation.

 

Siddhartha – Siddhartha’ is a novel by Hermann Hesse which deals with  the spiritual journey of an Indian boy called Siddhartha during the time  of the Buddha. The book was written in German, in a simple, yet  powerful and lyrical style. It was first published in 1922, after Hesse  had spent some time in India in the 1910s. The story revolves  around a young man who leaves his home and family on a quest for the  Truth. Embarking on a journey that takes him from the austerities of  renunciation to the profligacy of wealth. That leads him through the  range of human experiences from hunger and want, to passion, pleasure,  pain, greed, yearning, boredom, love, despair and hope. A journey that  leads finally to the river, where he gains peace and eventually wisdom.  This is the story of Siddhartha as told by Nobel Laureate Hermann Hesse  in his most influential work.

Suryoday Mar-Apr 2014 Drive

More information about Mission Suryoday here.
As a part of Mission Suryoday Jan-Feb 2014 drive, we visited Mohri Village. And donated ten solar lamps. Mohri is only 70 KM away from Pune (one of the developed cities in India and a major IT and Automobile hub). This village is untouched by electricity till date. Michael Faraday, Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla and countless other scientists invented electricity in 18th century with the dream that this invention would change the course of humanity and humanity will take a next giant leap towards evolution. Almost after 200 years of those inventions, they have now become an integral part of most of the humanity.

Still it is hard to believe that a significant number of humans lack an access to electricity. Rather I would say: they lack an access to basic life need. A life essential named “Light”.
Yes Mohri and countless other villagers still spend half of their time in darkness. Now it will be more appropriate to say that they “were spending” half of their time in darkness. After Mission Suryoday’s Jan-Feb 2014 drive, we promised Mohri villagers that we will come back with more lamps, with sufficient lamps to bring light to every home of Mohri Village. And we fulfilled that promise. Team Suryoday bought light to every resident of Mohri village plus an adjacent village named Singapur. By donating 24 more solar lamps on 30 March 2014, we bought light to every home of Mohri and Singapur.
When we talked with past beneficiaries, they expressed their happiness by showering blessings on team Suryoday. According to villagers, these lamps are way better than conventional kerosene lamps, chimneys etc. One lady was quick in estimating the money they saved because of solar lamps, according to her she have saved around ₹ 200 in two months. Notable fact here is that average monthly income of villagers is ₹ 500 per month. So saving ₹ 100 is as good as 20% more saving every month. Which they can utilize in more important expenses.

Team Suryoday is extremely happy to announce that, we have bought Faraday, Edison, Tesla’s innovation to two more villages.  And now ready to leap ahead for more work.

Along with Solar lamps, we carried out donation of used but usable clothes, stationary and other life essentials to the needy. Thanks to all donors, we had real hard time in lifting all those heavy bags full of clothes to the village ;) As this village does not have all motorable road, one need to leave his vehicle around 700 meters before village and need to walk.
Team Suryoday is thankful to all volunteers, supporters, donors, well-wishers and critics. It is because of them all, we are growing as a team to do more good work. And to bring light to more lives.

Click here for more photos.

List of beneficiaries (In Marathi)
1. विठाबाई किसन मोरे
2. धाकलु जाणू कचरे
3. रामा कोंडीबा कचरे
4. धोंडू लखू कचरे
5. रामा दगडू कचरे
6. चील्लू कोंडीबा ढेबे
7. भांबू रामा कचरे
8. पार्वताबाई बाबू मोरे
9. बाळू किसन मोरे
10. शिवाजी बाबू पोटे
11. गोविंद बाबाजी पोटे
12. बाळू बाबाजी पोटे
13. दगडू महिपती मोरे
14. कृष्णा श्रीपती मोरे
15. सरूबाई गेनू मोरे
16. दगडू शंकर मोरे
17. पांडू रामजी मोरे
18. विठ्ठल म्हाळू कचरे
19. श्रीपती गणपत मोरे
20. रामचंद्र गणपत मोरे
21. विमल म्हाळू कचरे
22. सखाराम सांगळे
23. चंद्रकांत तानाजी मोरे
24. शेवामा बाई मोरे

Suryoday Jan-Feb 2014 Drive

More information about Mission Suryoday here.

We are so used to our daily luxuries that, most of us can’t imagine living without them. Be it uninterrupted access to electricity, hundreds of TV channels, good internet connectivity, high config. Mobile phones, you name it. But are we aware that majority of the world population don’t enjoy these seemingly trivial things. Forget about luxuries but most of them don’t get easy access to life’s basic needs.

Through mission Suryoday we are trying to solve a problem of easy, affordable lighting for poor. And (un)fortunately we came to know about one such place which is actually a small hamlet where an access to electricity has not reached. Even after 66 years of independent and republic India these Indians don’t get an access to life’s basic needs. Yes there are villages where electricity has not reached and villagers spend half of their life in darkness.

Mohri Taluka Velhe, Dist. Pune is one such hamlet where villagers don’t know, what electricity means? Average monthly income of villagers is ₹ 500 per month. Govt. has laid down electricity wires and poles, but there is no power. Villagers use small kerosene lamps. That lamp continuously emits soot and lighting it gives is quite inadequate. Due to such low or almost absent light, half of their day is spent in darkness. Their children can’t study in the evening. And evening is often a preferred study time. Student’s entire day is spent in school. They walk 4-5 km. to and from school every day.

No lighting often means facing hazardous accidents like falling, burning, snake/scorpion/insect bites. In short an access to light is an essential life need for them not a luxury like us.

My Friend Mr. Vikram Bhimbar is an avid trekker and a socially responsible citizen. Vikram is also part of team Suryoday. While doing a trekking around Mohri village he realized the pain of villagers and instantly he advised us to donate few lamps to the villagers of Mohri through mission Suryoday. Team Suryoday agreed to arrange 10 solar lamps initially and more lamps in future donation drives if needed.

Our Jan-Feb 2014 lamp donation drive is performed at Mohri and we are very happy that we were able to bring smiles on the faces of villagers by trying to solve one small hardship they face every day.

Team Suryoday wishes all the happiness to Mohri villagers and prays for the bright future of their children.

Suryoday Jan-Feb 2014 beneficiaries.
Suryoday Jan-Feb 2014 beneficiaries.

For More photos click here.

Location: Vilage Mohri, Taluka Velhe, Dist. Pune.

List of beneficiaries: Jan-Feb 2014 drive.

  1. फुलाबाई जाणू कचरे.
  2. दगडू रामा कचरे.
  3. बाळू रामा कचरे.
  4. बबन रामा कचरे.
  5. सोनाबाई लक्ष्मण ढेबे.
  6. कोंडीबा म्हाळू कचरे.
  7. रामभाऊ भांबू थेबे.
  8. बाळू किसन मोरे.
  9. मालू भागू कचरे.
  10. बखूबाई धोंडीबा ढेबे.

Suryoday-Dec 2013 Drive

More information about Mission Suryoday here.

Our Dec-2013 beneficiaries are students from a remote part of Nashik district. Our friend Mr. Yogesh Janrao is a teacher at the school located at Dheku, Taluka. Nandgaon, Dist. Nashik. And he requested us to donate few lamps in his school.

Mr. Yogesh helped us in identifying few students who are really good at academics and do not get an access to uninterrupted electricity. So we donated four solar lamps to four students at his school.

Mission Suryoday team prays for their Bright future.

Student’s Names:

L to R: Rohit Dharma Chavan, Jivan Nivrutti Rathod A/P-Dheku Tal: Nandgaon Dist-Nashik.
L to R: Rohit Dharma Chavan, Jivan Nivrutti Rathod A/P-Dheku Tal: Nandgaon Dist-Nashik.
L to R : Jalindar bhausaheb pawar, Vikas Ganesh Chavan. A/P Jategaon
L to R : Jalindar bhausaheb pawar, Vikas Ganesh Chavan. A/P Jategaon

Books that shaped my year: 2013

So 2013 is ending and it’s time we introspect and look back at the year. Many of us read the best books/movies/etc lists. So this time I decided to compile a list of books that shaped me in year 2013. These are books which have left a deep impact on me. In my constant strive of the self enhancement, these books have helped me to reach the next level of self evolution. So here is the list:

1. Daring Greatly.

This book is a great resource which helped me in accepting my imperfections. To embrace vulnerability and encouraged me to live the life wholeheartedly.It is written by Researcher and thought leader Dr. Brené Brown. After the great success of her ted talk The power of vulnerability she compiled her work in this book. I recommend it highly to those who are looking for more and better ways of Living.

2. Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking

Susan Cain, author of Quiet is a former corporate lawyer and negotiations consultant — and a self-described introvert. At least one-third of the people who live on our planet are introverts, notes Cain in her book. Although our culture undervalues them dramatically, introverts have made some of the great contributions to society – from Chopin’s nocturnes to the invention of the personal computer to Gandhi’s transformative leadership. Cain argues that we design our schools, workplaces, and religious institutions for extroverts, and that this bias creates a waste of talent, energy, and happiness. Based on intensive research in psychology and neurobiology and on prolific interviews, she also explains why introverts are capable of great love and great achievement, not in spite of their temperaments — but because of them.

Being born, raised and grown introvert, this book greatly helped me in overcoming inferiority complex that was born because of being labeled as Introvert.

3. Willpower : Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength

For years the old-fashioned, even Victorian, value of willpower has been disparaged by psychologists who argued that we’re largely driven by unconscious forces beyond our control. Here Roy Baumeister, one of the world’s most esteemed and influential psychologists, and journalist John Tierney, turn this notion on its head. They show us that willpower is like a muscle that can be strengthened with practice and improved over time. The latest laboratory work shows that self-control has a physical basis to it and so is dramatically affected by simple things such as eating and sleeping – to the extent that a life-changing decision may go in different directions depending on whether it’s made before or after lunch. You will discover how babies can be taught willpower, the joys of the to-don’t list, the success of Alcoholics Anonymous, the pointlessness of diets and the secrets to David Blaine’s stunts. There are also fascinating personal stories, from explorers, students, soldiers, ex-addicts and parents.

4. This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking

This Will Make You Smarter presents brilliant ideas to expand every mind. What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit? This is the question John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org, posed to the world’s most influential thinkers. Their visionary answers flow from the frontiers of psychology, philosophy, economics, physics, sociology, and more. Surprising and enlightening, these insights will revolutionize the way you think about yourself and the world.

5. Swaraj by Arvind Kejriwal

Swaraj is a book published in English and Hindi by Arvind Kejriwal, a social activist-turned-politician. Kejriwal questions the present establishment of the democratic framework in India and proposes a way in which he thinks that the people, the opinion makers and the political establishment of India can achieve true Swaraj (self-rule). Book is available for free download here in English and here in Hindi.

How our body language shapes who we are.

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.

power-pose-visualization
How our body language shapes who we are.
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Suryoday Nov-2013

More information about Project Suryoday here.

Lamp 1

Mr. Balu Pawar and Mrs. Sangeeta Balu Pawar are disabled and married to each other. They live near Kopargaon Railway Station. Their disability does not stop them from living a life which is full of love, laughter and togetherness. If you meet them, their smiling faces will make you forget your own sorrows.

However, daily life of Mr. Balu and Mrs. Sangeeta’s family is full of challenges. Balu drives his 3 wheeler cycle to Kopargaon Railway station a kilometer away from their hut. He sells some readymade food items there and makes mere 50-100 Rs. a day. Mrs. Sangeeta is housewife and takes care of their two daughters Gayatri aged seven and Pallavi aged 5. She stays back at home.

With their mere income and daily challenges posed by disability they find it extremely hard to buy electricity for their hut. Their poverty have forced them to live in darkness. Their daughters don’t get access to light after school.

So we decided to donate our first Solar Lamp to Balu Pawar and his family. We hope this small contribution will help in lightening up lives of Balu’s family and their daughters will get an access to clean light for studying.

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Lamp 2

Second solar lamp for the month of November we donated to a very talented student named Keshav Damu Rathod from Dheku Khurd Tal. Nandgaon Dist. Nashik. Pin – 423106

Keshav is studious, talented and science lover. He participates in various science exhibitions, quiz competitions etc. His teachers are very happy with his academic performance.

Keshav’s village does not have access to uninterrupted electricity. They spend most of the nights in dark. Keshav always complained to his parents about not having enough light during night study sessions. Kerosene lamp they have in their home is not sufficient for an entire family. Same kerosene lamp is used for various purposes which includes cooking, other household chores, farm visit during night. And Keshav does not get access to it for his studies.With increasing prices of kerosene many families are finding it hard to buy sufficient kerosene for an entire family.

We got introduced with Keshav when his school teacher Mr. Yogesh Janrao heard about our Mission Suryoday and urged us to donate one such lamp to Keshav.

Mission Suryoday team is very happy to help Keshav in his studies and wishes him for his bright future.

Photo0353

Mind Wondering is making you unhappy.

Initially Mind wandering was thought to be a evolution’s gift to mankind. It allows us to wander wherever we want. Our thoughts travel faster than anything and we often treat this as a blessing to us. However mind wandering may have an emotional cost.

While most people think of mind-wandering as a lifting escape from daily drudgery, research shows that this may not the case. In fact, mind-wandering appears to be correlated with unhappiness. When people were mind-wandering, they reported feeling unhappy most of the times. Meanwhile, when they were focused on the present moment, they reported feeling more happy.

Live-for-Each-Moment

Happiness is one of the most complicated human emotions and there has been substantial research done on it. Matt Killingsworth while doing his PhD research at Harvard invented a smart tool: an iPhone app called Track Your Happiness that captured user’s feelings in real time. The tool alerts the user at random times and asks: How are you feeling right now, and what are you doing? Matt captured the data and analyzed it which later became the main source of knowledge for the notable paper “A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind”. Unlike other animals, human beings spend a lot of time thinking about what is not going on around them, contemplating events that happened in the past, might happen in the future, or will never happen at all. Indeed, “stimulus-independent thought” or “mind wandering” appears to be the brains default mode of operation.

Escaping mind wandering

Building focus and increasing our mindfulness are an ultimate ways to reach happier life.

Many philosophical and religious traditions teach that happiness is to be found by living in the moment, and practitioners are trained to resist mind wandering and “to be here now.” These traditions suggest that a wandering mind is an unhappy mind.

Eckhart Tolle a spiritual teacher and the author of bestselling book The Power of Now, suggests “living in the now is the truest path to happiness and enlightenment.” His book sparked a wave of awareness about mindfulness in recent days. The book talks about mind wandering; it’s relation to our sorrows. It shows how we invite misery in our lives by not accepting the present moment. Tolle says the more we escape from now the more unhappy and miserable we become. So being fully in the now is an ultimate solution to find bliss and happiness. Tolle’s philosophy is inspired by Zen Buddhism, Sufism, Hinduism and the Bible altogether.

What modern day scientists, philosophers are inventing is in fact proving to be an ancient wisdom which was practiced long ago in history. Hinduism, Buddhism teachings are focused on many advanced meditation techniques. In fact many Hindu gods are visualized as sitting in meditation postures.

Practical solution to escape the life’s miseries is a focused mind. Meditation is a scientifically proven way to decrease mind wandering and in turn our happiness levels.

In conclusion, a human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. The ability to think about what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost.

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

— Buddha

Further Reading:

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