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  • Priya 3:33 pm on May 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Germany, , privacy, safety,   

    The need for cyber awareness 

    During my summer vacation last year, I joined the Ayudh youth camp in a small village in Brombachtal, near Frankfurt, Germany. It was a summer camp for young people with various workshops in areas ranging from sports, music, arts and science. I was very excited to be part of the anti-cyber bullying workshop. It is very important to be aware of various cyber threats to stay safe online and maintain privacy. This is even more important for children, who are always connected to the internet with lot of gadgets all the time without being aware of potential dangers.
    As a part of the camp, we went to the Theodor Litt Schule, a middle school in the nearby town of Michelstadt. I joined the four day workshop for the school kids conducted by youngsters like me (20-30 age group). I must say that it was a great experience to be part of the Ayudh group. Lucia Rijker, former world champion in boxing was also part of the workshop. Lucia is called by the press as “The Most Dangerous Woman in the World”. It was indeed an awesome experience to spend time with her. She conducted sessions on “respect” stressing on the need for self respect as well as respect for others. Some of the discussions and informal sessions were so invaluable. Students opened up and shared private incidences from their lives. I got to know that the incidents happening on the cyber space leave deep imprints on the minds of children. Online identity is given more importance than necessary, having a huge impact on the self confidence of a child. There were multiple incidents where children use cyber space as a platform for bullying a friend/classmate by abusing with public posts/pictures/videos. There are even instances where the victim ended up suiciding unable to bear the shame, due to their videos/post becoming viral. Before we share or click like on a funny video of someone (could be even a stranger), we must think twice what we actually gain out of it. If the content makes fun of someone, we can decide to participate in harassing somone or not with a click. It is very important to realise this sense of responsibility for every action we do online. The workshop in total served as an enriching experience awakening respect for myself, fellow friends and others. We even made a small act (drama) to spread awareness against cyber bullying.


    After the camp, I went to India, my home country. I got to know about an incident near my village. A 9th grade child committed suicide due to a fake relationship that he made online. I felt very sad about the incident. This tragic incident shows that there is an important need to make children aware about their activities online. I was very happy when I got a chance to go to Amrita Vidyalayam school, Kollam, Kerala and talk about the relevance of cyber security and privacy to about 150 school kids. In both the schools, in Frankfurt and Kollam, at different sides of the world, I noticed that it is a growing concern among teachers and parents about their kid’s safety online. It is alarming to know about more and more bad incidents on cyber bullying/cheating happening around the world. I will make use of every opportunity that I get to spread awareness regarding this issue. It is a collective responsbility of everyone to be aware of the pitfalls in cyber space. Being a student in computer security, I find the relavance of safety and security online as a strong motivation to continue in my field. Computer securty is a lot of fun as far as the technical studies are concerened. But it gives immense satisfaction to study computer security for me mainly because,  it also serves a strong social cause for serving the society today.

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  • Priya 9:00 am on June 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dhanushkodi, , Lanka, Ramayana, Rameshwaram, sea,   

    My visit to Dhanushkodi 

    As a part of the Students forum for Indian heritage tours, this time we visited many temples of Tamil Nadu including Madurai, Rameshwaram, Srirangam, Tanjavur , Kumbakonam etc.  Danushkodi is an island between India and Srilanka. 31 km from here via sea takes you to Srilanka. It is for the first time in my life that I am visiting  a place like this. We visited two places. One is the town of Danushkodi that was totally devastated in the cyclone on 1964. Second is the Sangamam (joining) of Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean.

    It took more that twenty minutes to reach the Sangamam. The island is away from the main road. You find only sand on all your four sides. We traveled in a rickety tempo that moved a little faster than a bullock-cart. The tempo/van had two benches nailed to the vehicle. As the vehicle moved, even the bench jumped out of it. There was no road. Only sand. You find flat earth covered with grey sand everywhere. No landmarks  (Might be there. but I found everything the same). Occasionally you find water across your way from the sea. But I didnt see the sea too.

    The tempo couldn’t bear the weight of the mighty 14 youths of Amrita who were placed inside, that one of  the bench broke and got detached from the truck. Some sat down on the truck and we continued the journey. It made the trip a bit adventurous. The strong wind  blowed  into my face that I felt  if I release the hold on the truck, I would fly away. In between, one of the guy lost his mobile down on the sand. He jumped out of the van and ran. The van took a reverse and followed him. After a search of few minutes, he came back with the smile of a warrior who won the war as he got his mobile back. We continued the travel. I imagined if my house was at this place. Completely deserted, away from the mainland, with no one around. No bus, or communication. No shops. I don’t know whether there is some resource for drinking water even. I was amazed to think about the village that was wiped away in the cyclone. I was curious about their lifestyle. There must have been some shops then. But you need to import thing from a distant place in the mainland. I thought about the time when the cyclone came. You find sand surrounded by sea everywhere. Where would you run to for an escape. It was sad to imagine about the helpless people of the village who died in cyclone. Sometimes the mother earth is a bit cruel to us. But anyways not as much as we do to her.

    The Sangamam was amazing. You find a narrow piece of land with waters of different characteristic on either side. That was the Sangamam. One side, you find the roaring sea with huge waves. The other side was calm with no waves. I compared this to the two phases of our mind. One which is full of thoughts and disturbed. The other with no waves which is calm and peaceful. The wind was very strong there. I found the sand flying in the air due to the heavy force of the wind. We walked and stood on the narrow land that marked the joining of the sea and the ocean. My legs started trembling in the beginning being afraid of the waves and forceful water. You find water on either side. One of the elders among us showed us the area of the Rama Sethu under the sea.  The bridge that Rama build with the help of the monkeys to Srilanka to get his beloved Sita back from the hands of the demon Ravana. I looked at the sea. I could see only deep blue water  everywhere. Lanka is nowhere visible. I imagined myself as Lord Rama for a moment. Looking at the endless sea and the mighty waves, where no piece of land on the other side, I doubted whether I can ever take a decision to conquer the sea and build a bridge to get back my wife. I could feel the tremendous courage required to have a will to conquer the sea. I felt like saluting the great legend Lord Rama. I felt really great to stand at the land where Rama once stood facing the sea with no sign of fear in his eyes. I bow to Rama, the hero forever..

    We started back after the sun set. While moving in the van, my mind was full of Lord Rama.  I though about the large number of monkeys carrying bricks for the bridge. I thought about the squirrel who wanted to help Rama. I wish if I could have been that squirrel so that I could have seen the legend.

    I am deeply moved by the rich culture and great souls who existed in my mother land. I am deeply motivated to see more such places of cultural importance.

  • Priya 6:38 am on April 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: festival, , kaineettam, kani, konna, krishna, , , , vishu   

    Happy New Year to all Malayalees 


    Vishu marks New Year in Malayalam Calender (Medam -1st). It comes in the second week of April.  Vishu is celebrated all over Kerala and some districts of Karnataka.

    For me Vishu is so special due to its  versatility from other festivals.  The celebrations begin one or two days before the New Year. People start setting firecrakers(Vishu Padakkam) at home during night. I remember how I used to compete with my cousins in firing the most number of crackers. Markets  will be very populated with the craker-sellers, vegitable vendors , fruit vendors, etc. It is a very good time for them as everyone would spend some money for celebrating Vishu.

    Vishu kani(first sight)  is the major element in the celebration.  The first sight that we have in the beginning of the year, the Kani,  is believed to be lucky for the rest of the year.  The Kani is made with a lot of care. Kani symbolises prosperity and richness. It includes ritual arrangements of fruits, grains, coconut, raw rice, fresh lemon, golden cucumber, betel leaves, arecanut, metal mirror, yellow flowers konna (Cassia fistula), and a holy text and coins, in a bell metal vessel called uruli in the puja room of the house. This is arranged in the previous night of Vishu.

    The next day, i.e on the dawn of Vishu, the custom is to get up and walk to the pooja room with closed eyes and see the Kani first. My mom used to close my eyes with her hand tightly as she knew I would open the eyes before and peep at something else. I used to feel tremendously happy when she open my eyes and make me look at Lord Krishna who is so beautiful and I would feel the divine energy coming into me. I remember my Grandfather who would be standing beside me already and he used to tell me to look at each item on the Kani. Then he gives a gold coin on my hand and make me look at it. Before I see it properly, he used to take it away and keep it beside the God. Then I go and see the Kani at Temple nearby. You can see all people with full joy and merry on that day in the temple praying for a wonderful newyear.

    My favourite part of Vishu is Vishukaineettam. Elders give money to children, tenants, and servants. Lot of people come to my home to collect the Kaineettam. Sometimes my dad would ask me to give the kaineettam to the people who come. I would give the money and I have seen people looking at my eyes with a such a bright smile that make me feel very happy. I go to all my relatives and collect Kaineettam. All children at home including me would then be deciding  how to spend the little money we got. We buy chocolates, fruits, dress etc and have fun.

    We play the whole day, eat Vishu kanji and roam around with friends.  The Vishu days  are among the most memorable days in my life.


  • Priya 2:44 pm on March 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    From the Upanishads 

    It is really enlightening to listen to the Upanishads. I would like to share some of the beautiful ideas from the Chāndogya Upaniṣad commented upon  by Shankaracharya.

    The world around you is a combination of five great elements. These five come from ‘Sat’ (Pure existence). That is and that alone is the substratum of all the microcosm and macrocosm – “Jagatomoolam”. The five elements are called as Pancha Bhootas. They are the Sky, Air, Fire, Water and Earth.

    Our body can’t be separated from Sat. The world is a manifestation of pure existence. The true nature of a substance can’t be separated from object just like the heat or light can’t be separated from fire. True nature remains inseparable. Similarly, you can’t separate Sat from the world around you. From that level of discussion, everything is true.  Everything in the world is real if you can see the pure existence in everything.  This world is a substratum of divisions.

    There are five senses residing in you. Shabda, roopa, gandha, rasa and sparsha. But there is an undivided knowledge inside you. Knowing this and to be in unbroken peace is real meditation.

    In  waking state, it is impossible to separate the pure existence and the knowledge of the pure existence. To understand it better, consider this statement. “what ever is indicated by the term “This” keeps changing but the term “this” remains unchanged. One can get the correct point if he tries to contemplate on this.

    The Upanishads says, though you have strong notions of divisions, it is nothing but pure existence (Sat). World and the objects  are dependent on Sat but don’t think that you are enslaved by the world around and the objects around you. Nothing can ever enslave you. Realize it!

  • Priya 2:13 pm on February 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Is this world real??? 

    “One of the basic mistake about  science -It makes the assumption that the World is real.  Vedanta doesn’t make this assumption. Thus Vedanta is more scientific than our modern science!”

    This is one of the fascinating lesson that I learned after attending the sessions by Bala Sir . I pondered a lot on this statement.  Bala Sir came up with a challenge to prove that the world that we see or experience is the true world and is not a dream! The challenge might seem funny at first.
    One may ask, if this is not the reality, what else could be?
    I believed what I see and hear is real. But I now understand that I was foolish. What my eyes can see or my ears can hear are very limited. Human eyes’ vision is limited to the visible spectrum. Then how can I believe that what I see is the real form of the object that is in front of me. That can be an illusion too.
    I believed I am the combination of my body, my intellect, and my mind. But now I am taught that I am not any of the above. My body kept changing from my childhood till today. My thoughts were never permanent. I know my intellect is completely different from what I had ten years back. If all these what I believed constituted me were temporary, then how can I believe that my body is me, my intellect is me or my mind is me. I know that the feeling of ‘I’ that existed on me right from my childhood till today never changed. I understood that it is permanent. And if the body, mind and intellect of all the creatures in this world are not considered, i.e if all the temporary definitions of life are kept aside, what remains in all is the feeling of “I” which is the same for everyone.

    The idea is simply superb! It is really convincing for me to believe in the divine ‘I’ that reside in me.
    Another idea that I liked the most is how he explained that time and space as  mere illusion.
    Time is applicable only in relative planes and otherwise time cannot be measured. And he explained about how scientists have come to the conclusion that space is an illusion through  EPR paradox .
    This blend of our culture with science is truly inspiring.
    I am deeply interested in learning more Vedanta, the end of knowledge. I look forward for more and more striking ideas that the great sages of our country had discovered.

    • vicky 12:51 pm on February 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I guess that particular talk by Bala Sir will be ringing in our minds for a long time.

    • rahulkrishnan 10:23 pm on February 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Wow!! Excellent post!! Well written..

  • Priya 11:49 am on October 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply  


    It is the festival of celebration of nine days in India.  After the ninth day, the tenth day is called as Vijayadhashami. Here vijaya doesnt mean victory. It is the breaking of the shackles of the mind and the attainment of complete freedom.

    Navam also means new. We wash away all the papas in our mind and during this time and we get a new birth. During the first three days of the festival, Durga is worshiped. She is the fierce aspect of god. We worship her to remove our desires,fighting against  our own anger and all the negatives within the mind. The sword in the hand of Durga is the symbol of vairagya [dispassion]. It is the sword of knowledge. The intense desire to know God is viaragya. By worshiping Durga, we are trying to awake our indwelling shakti.

  • Priya 4:02 am on September 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: act, artform, dance, dharshana javeri. culture, , manipuri   

    Mind blowing Manipuri 

    It is for the first time in my life that I am watching a Manipuri Dance. And it was awesome.  Darshna Javeri, the great Manipuri dancer’s lecture on the dance and her experience added more color to the programme.

    Manipuri is one of the six classical dance styles of India, the others being Bharata-natyam, Kathak, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, and Orissi. Manipuri dance is purely religious and its aim is a spiritual experience.  They enacted rasaleela on stage which was so beautiful to see. I felt the nature of Manipuri Dancing is classical, traditional and scientific. They brought the gods at temples to theater without losing their divinity in a  very elegant way.

    The dancers enjoyed each and every movement and they were so involved and dedicated in their dance. Their energy and grace was reflected on the viewers too . They played  the dolak  jumping around the stage with beautiful movements. And it showed their practice and confidence while they did the art . I felt proud about the nation’s enormous culture and art forms. Thanks to Spicmacay for arranging such a great opportunity  for us.

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  • Priya 2:37 pm on September 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Amma’s Birthday 

    Amritapuri is now getting ready for the celebration of Amma’s Birthday on 27th September.  All here are in the celebration mood. It is the most biggest fest we have at Amrita. We all enjoy it like anything.  People from all over the world come here to celebrate the great day.  This is one of the moment when I feel proud of coming to Amrita seeing such a huge crowd, all to see Amma just a glimpse. The atmosphere is so divine here with Amma’s presence. The main highlight of the event compared to any other fest is that people does selfless service during Amma’s Birthday.  All  will be whole heartedly doing seva and will be busy with their duties trying to do it with maximum perfection.

    I am lucky to be here for the Amma’s Birthday for the last year. It was for the first time in my life that I stayed back to do some service. Apart from tremendous satisfaction, the joy of being together with Amma doing service to the people who had come to see Amma cannot be expressed . We students are given responsibilities that generate leadership qualities among us.  Last time I did security job and I did the job with whole heart.  The other jobs assigned were plate washing, accommodation arrangements, crowd control, food arrangements etc.

    Cultural events filled with beautiful songs and dances add colors to the celebration.  I am eagerly looking forward for 27th september.

    Om Amriteshwaryai Namaha…

  • Priya 2:09 pm on September 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: concentration, , meditate, , truth   


    I am always very  much fascinated about the great Rishis who knew everything about the universe not by wandering around the world and studying the outer world, but by going to the deeper ocean of the inner self. Meditation is always a magic to me. I first thought that what I see when I look into a mirror is what I am. I knew I was not my hand, nor my leg, nor my head or fingers.. Then how can a combination of them be me.  This thought led me to the conclusion that I am not the body. I found a substitute that it is my thoughts. It is in my culture class that my sir taught me that “I” am not the mind nor the thoughts.

    I understood that I was wrong.  “I” am  the mere consciousness that I feel that I am alive. That was a superb explanation which convinced me with many of my doubts.  It is superb to hear about diving deep into ourself and to find out of our real nature. As I am not a rishi, I knew I wont be able to meditate like that. But the advantages of meditation is tremendous.

    If we look into the physical benefits, some of the features can be pointed out as such :

    • Increased flexibility
    • Lubrication of joints
    • Toning of muscles
    • Increased oxygen in blood
    • Removes toxins
    • Strengthens immune system
    • Lowers heart rate
    • Lowers cholesterol
    • Normalizes blood pressure
    • Lowers cortisol and lactate

    Mental benefits:

    • Relaxation
    • Improved concentration
    • Better concentration
    • Better time management
    • Better relationship
    • Improves learning ability
    • Improves memory
    • Increases creativity
    • Decreases  depressions
    • Decreases irritability
    • Decreases moodiness

    Meditation keeps you healthy, both mentally and physically. But it is not an easy task.  To watch the mind as an external person is difficuilt as the thoughts dont take permissions while entering. But still, I love to meditate. And I meditate till I realise that I slept off… 🙂

    • soumya 2:22 pm on September 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      article about meditation is excellent…

    • aishwarya9 12:08 pm on December 25, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      gr8 thoughts…expressed beautifully.. 🙂

  • Priya 9:02 am on September 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   


    This is an article which really made me think. I used to think previously that to say that I am a hindu or  to speak about our religion is not suited for a person at this modern world. But now I realise the value of religion. I realize the importance of being in a community. I bow to my religion which is the most unique and pure in this world.

    Have you ever heard of any church or mosque being controlled by the government in any country?? But why only temples??

    Non-Muslims would never be made trustees or guardians of mosques.
    Non-Christians would never be made trustees or guardians of churches.
    Non-Sikhs would never be made trustees or guardians of gurudwaras.

    So why should non-Hindus be allowed to be trustees or guardians of Hindu temples ?

    Without understanding the necessity to protect our religion,  educated young Hindus are going behind westernisation  in the  name of secularism.  Of course India is a secular country. But that doesn’t mean that Hinduism can be exploited by anyone in any way. I am sure that the article will definitely give all Hindus at least a thought about where are we moving to.. Our religion Hinduism is India’s identity.  We must preserve it. Hindus must awake and demand their rights.

    Read the article…

    Click here

    • vicky 3:47 pm on September 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I completely agree with you. In fact only Hinduism and Buddhism tell that all the religions are the same but none of the other religions do. We are not ready to understand the greatness of our religion and we are not either supporting it. See when a Hindu monk was arrested, we did not support but chose instead to suspect his involvement in the crime.

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