And my vote goes to ….

Definitely a leader and not a party, because we have seen that the party becomes more important than the people or the country. Even though organizations are impersonal, the do tend to acquire the characteristics of the leader at the top, whether it is Apple Inc. or the Indian cricket team. So, if I want a good government for my country, then my vote will be for the right leader at the top. Or for that matter my vote goes to anyone who will help my kind of leader win.

vote for better india
And the leader that I want to see leading India is:

• Someone who will put the country and people even before his party, even at personal peril.

• A leader who definitely has proven experience in governance. Can’t take chances with a rookie given the precarious condition of our country right now.

• Definitely a leader who has a plausible road map for growth and progress of the country.

• One who is able to deal with the myriad problems that we face today as a nation.

• A leader who will give us prosperity, good governance, education, self reliance in industry and science & research, communal peace in addition to bringing this crunching inflation down and make life a lot easier for all of us.

• A leader who will ensure that our women and children are safe, who can keep a check on crime & corruption

• A leader who will make my beloved Bharat a quality finished product nation from the raw material supplying nation that we largely are today.

• I would definitely like this leader to be an able statesman and not just a politician.

• One who will make me feel proud about my country and my heritage, wherever I go in the world.

• One who is astute in business and diplomacy as well as in picking his team and bringing out the best from them.

• One who would stand firm when dealing internationally and not let others manipulate us, unlike some of our past weak leaders.

• One who is incorruptible himself and won’t allow colleagues to be corrupt either.

• Who stands firm despite the games played by detractors both within and outside the country.

• And above all a good human being who can be a role model for youngsters.

Considering all this, if we look at the choices that we have to pick leaders from this election who can lead India, we will find there really is no choice. Of course, not all choices are easy to make because in the real world, choices are not in black and white.

i love my india

But whatever our personal views and preferences, let us not lose sight of what is good for the country. I urge everybody to take their friends and family along to vote this time. Because usually, elections are a dirty game – money, power and manipulation, but for the first time in a long time, there is genuine hope as well. Let us play our part in turning that hope into reality.


Art of Living Review, Art of Living Wisdom.

A treasure box of truths so ancient, they’re new…

 Recall the last time you hugged someone dear, and felt love which your arms could not encircle. The last time you smelt a flower, and felt soaked with intoxication that your mind could not contain. The last time you heard a soulful strain, and felt a rhythm your heart couldn’t hold. The last time you saw a thing momentary, and perceived beauty your speech couldn’t express.

 Celebrating Silence 3

Each time, you were celebrating silence.

It is to deepen the relationship of a seeker with his Self, that this book by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar begins with a title that challenges the sense driven experiential norm held by man – Celebrating Silence!


The world teaches us to celebrate with sound, with light, with energy. This manifestation of celebration can be felt and be shared tangibly. However such celebration tires us, while we want it to last, and not get over. This is man’s greatest search.


Indeed the age old dilemma in front of man has been about how to keep the spirit high, how to keep the celebration going without losing enthusiasm.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Celebrating Silence


The sublime spiritual truth dawns on man when he realises, an infinite amount of celebration is available forever, but in silence. Fortunate are the ones who receive knowledge from a Guru which allows them to be able to experience the infinite celebration available inside continually.


Celebrating Silence by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a roadmap to that journey from the noise outside, created by the various emotions, such as anger, jealously, sadness, hopelessness etc. to the cool world of solidified silence inside.  Soaked in the wisdom from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, for a true seeker, celebration dawns.


The journey in the book starts from the distortions in the mind, moves to one’s own self and finally moves towards God, or simply the Beyond.

Celebrating Silence

The beauty of the knowledge in the words of an Enlightened Master is that they keep growing in depth with time, each reading after a passage of some more months and years reveals nooks and crannies of infinite beauty, never stumbled across before. Celebrating Silence contains many such moments on each page.


Sample this gem, “Knowledge is not in an event, knowledge is beyond events. For true knowledge one will have to consider the totality of all events, infinitely. Beyond the event is knowledge”.


Events create noise inside us all the time; somebody was nasty with us, something did not turn out the way we wanted. Vibrations of these could create so much noise inside us that it refuses to die, sometimes even for a lifetime. The result shows up as misplaced interpretations, traumatic impressions and painful entanglements. Whereas an event considered within infinite totality, disappears, becomes insignificant to the point of being laughable.

That leads us back to silence.


It is this journey – from the proverbial darkness to the figurative light, from untruth to truth, from that which withers, to that which doesn’t – that the ancient scriptures speak of.  Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has brought back the seemingly esoteric but profound truths through simple language and endearing stories in this book meant for today, while being timeless in their appeal.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar book

This is knowledge ancient yet forgotten, and it speaks to us directly holding us by our shoulders, our inner realisation the proof of its truth. Celebrating knowledge enlivens the deep silence in us. Sometimes it is moments such as these, which bring us in touch with the core of life, the purpose for which we were born.


Celebrating silence without awareness is to mistake the source of joy to be in the world.

Celebrating silence with intention is to merge with our selves.


 About the Author

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a humanitarian and spiritual leader, an ambassador of peace and human values. Through his life and work, Sri Sri has inspired millions around the world with a vision of a stress-free, violence-free world. He has founded courses that provide techniques and tools to live a deeper, more joyous life and he has established nonprofit organizations that recognize a common human identity above the boundaries of race, nationality, and religion.


Art of Living Wisdom.

In the Northern hemisphere, months of April, May and June mean summer. At the peak of summer, most lands look parched and dry. Availability of water in summer becomes a problem in different parts of the globe.

Perhaps, as a warning of this oncoming problem, the world observes World Water Day on March 22nd every year.

The Stark Reality – Water, a Finite Resource

Water is a renewable resource. At the same time it is a finite resource. The amount of water available globally is in fact very limited, for nearly 98 % of the water on earth is in the form of water in the seas and oceans, as salt water. This water is neither useful for industry, nor agriculture, animals nor humans.

Trying to harness this brackish sea water through the modern reverse osmosis process is not only capital intensive and costly but the annual operations and maintenance costs are prohibitive too. That puts almost 98% of water on earth, out of our reach.

Given this scenario we have to depend on the balance, little over 2% water for our water needs.
A substantial portion of this 2% of fresh water too, is locked up as ice in the 2 poles, the ice caps on snow covered mountains and the heavy glaciers in them. They form about 1.725 % of the total water on earth.

So, what is left as flowing fresh water, is hardly 0.025 % of all the water in the world.

Water on Earth

Flowing fresh water is thus not infinite, but finite and very miniscule. Human population on the other hand has been growing steadily, adding about one billion to its population every few decades.

water supply decreasing
This means that the same quantity of water has to be shared by a billion more people every 10 years, which means that there is going to be less and less water for each individual, for their needs of life, as the years roll by.
Farming, a Water Guzzler?
The major needs of water for life are not for drinking, bathing and washing, but the major consumption of water is for growing the food we eat. Hence many tend to classify farming as a water guzzler. Many city dwellers are also under the impression that animal products may be a viable alternative to growing food during water shortage.
Is that really so?
The Reality

1 Kilo of grain, be it rice, wheat, pulses, cereal, needs about 1500 liters of water. That is indeed a high volume of water needed to grow grains.
In comparison, to create 1 kilo of meat, approximately 15000 liters of water are calculated to be required. So, growing live stock for meat is actually 10 times more water intensive than growing grains for food.
This is a bigger water guzzling reality.

water needed to grow food

Vegetarianism – A Need, Not A Choice Any More

If earth has to be sustainable and water resources have to be judiciously handled for the burgeoning population, then it becomes not a choice, but a necessity, that we move away from being a meat eating population to vegetarianism, so that 9/10th of the fresh water currently lost on growing live stocks just for human consumption, is made available once again for human needs.

Food Wastage – What else is wasted?

What is even more worrying to observe, is the atrocious wastage of the food that has been produced using this limited, precious water. It is estimated that about 30% of all the food that is produced is wasted. Just imagine the amount of manual effort, land use and other resources that had gone into the production of this food for consumption. Think of the amount of the precious water that has gone into producing these foods, which literally goes down the drain when the food is wasted.

Virtual Water

The water that goes into the production of food is now referred to by the term “virtual water” of the product. In today’s world economy, there is free trade of food from one region to another. With newer technologies to keep food produce fresh during transport and genetic modifications to give them a longer shelf life and world appeal, we have now transcended the bounds of seasons, climates, geography and topology.

Non seasonal and non local foods have therefore found their way into local reach thus encouraging some regions of the world to produce in excess of their local consumption needs, so that it can be exported for more gains, to other regions of the world where this product is in demand.

Along with the produce, since there is also a virtual transfer of the water that has gone into the making of the produce, there is also a “virtual water trade” happening along with every trade of produce.

Trade Compensation

Producers get paid for their produce.
Exporters get paid for their handling.
The nation receives foreign exchange.
But what about the “virtual water” that has gone into the growing of the produce and has been traded with?
Has the land been compensated enough for the depletion of this virtual water?
Will the monies received, be able to reproduce water in excess of the finite limit of fresh water that falls on a land?
Who is to compensate for this loss in Nature? Does it really matter to us?
This question gains further significance in the context of the current, lopsided, world economy and trade.

A Man-made Global Imbalance

A careful look at trends around the world will show that most of the water intensive produce of the world is produced in and exported from the developing and underdeveloped countries of the world. Typically the countries in the tropical belt which receive more rain and shine.

These countries send out their finite amount of fresh water as “virtual water” in their product exports on one hand and complain of shortage of water on the other hand to meet the direct needs of water. They finally end up borrowing from the developed nations to find solutions for their water shortage problems, little realizing how it is being created in the first place.

As a global community, we need to become aware of this virtual truth, of an imbalance being created by mankind in the last few centuries.

A Natural Balance

Our ancients seem not to have encountered such an issue. Could be because of their prudent way of living, guided by the rhythm of seasons, climates and topology. Humans and animals consumed locally produced seasonal products – those that were adapted to be produced in their local topology, those that could be produced in that season, for their climatic conditions.
This not only kept them fit and healthy for their local conditions but also did not put undue stress on their finite amount of local water, in order to produce locally for the entire world.

Reflecting on Virtual Water

virtual water a reflection on Art of Living Blog

The overall amount of water on this earth has not changed. This earth has in the last many millennia sustained its population of people, animal life and plant life with these finite water resources. We the humans have made this free natural resource into a trading commodity in the last few decades.

How long will this help sustain the modern, commercial times that we live in? Are we, in our pursuit of satiating our taste buds with alien foods and in our greed for monetary wealth, creating imbalances in our minds, body and Nature?

It’s time for mankind to pause and think, “Do we all really need global food at our local kitchens, at the price we are all really having to pay for it?”



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