This month’s Kaleidoscope is a water crystal and is dedicated to the immensely useful and powerful element of life – Water. Water is the food of life, and essential for life, for all things arose from the sea. It quenches the thirst of the earth made barren by fire and air. Water is serenity. It is blue, clear and passive, yet seeps through the cracks of our defenses. It flows with our mood, and cannot be held, for it slips through the hands. It is the swift current of a brooding storm, the heavy foam riding rough on the tides of the ocean. It can erode and drown. Yet too it is the gentleness of ripples on a crystal pool. It moves, it ebbs, it flows, it cleanses, it soothes. It is about love, and above all the love of giving for its’ own sake, and without conditions.
June 2011 begins with a partial solar eclipse on 1st June which will be visible only in the North Polar Region, followed by a total lunar eclipse on 15th June 2011 which will be visible in almost all of Asia, Africa and some parts of Europe. Though known as a purely astronomical spectacle, eclipses affect our environment to quite an extent as you will read in some of the articles on astrology in this month’s issue. Sun and Moon’s effect is well known and proven even by scientists. Sun is of course the life giver and source of possibly many kinds of energies on Earth. Moon causes changes in the water levels in the oceans, water bodies as well as human body (humans are also water bodies with almost 75-80% water) as Moon is directly associated with the Water element. Therefore, it is essential that all of us should work according to the lunar cycles to maintain a balanced water level in our body. You will find many techniques to balance the water element in your body in this month’s issue.
The so-called ‘superstitions’ behind the eclipses might not be superstitions after all as is being proved by many scientists all over the world. Indian tradition and Vedic Astrology has always considered the time of eclipses as not very auspicious. Sun and Moon being the planets which govern our life to quite an extent; during eclipse their rays do not reach us in their true form and hence are considered harmful for humans and things which have to be consumed. Therefore, it is customary to use Basil (Tulsi) leaves in the objects which are to be consumed especially water. Any auspicious work should not be done in the moments of eclipse. These few little things can go a long way in maintaining balance in our lives.
A very important day, Nirjala Ekadashi, also falls in the month of June on 12th June 2011. (Nir means without and Jal means Water). It is customary to observe a fast on every Ekadashi (i.e. the 11th date of every lunar month). Nirjala Ekadashi is a special fast that is done without taking any water for the whole day. During the hottest season in India when the temperatures reach 40 degrees Celsius, if one can perform a fast without water one is performing a great feat. It is said that fasting on this day alone gives benefits equivalent to all other fasts taken together. All fasts are purification rituals and help cleanse the past karma. While it is good to fast, if one is unable to do so, one can also make donation and do good deeds on this day.
This month also celebrates the birthdays of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay (27 June) and Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis (29 June).
Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay born on 27 June 1838, most famous as the composer of Vande Mataram, the national song of India, was one of the most celebrated Bengali novelists. His first Bengali novel Durgeshnandini written between 1862-1864 and published in 1865 ushered in a new era in Indian literature. He dispelled superstitions with reason, mythology with history and dogmas with scientific principles. Krishnacharitra, in which the author traces available classical literature to establish the historical existence, or otherwise, of the Shri Krishna persona, shall remain as the best testimony to his immense intellectual ability to dissect fact from fiction, history from legend and truth from imagination. Bankim’s Bande Mataram, the greatest patriotic hymn that aroused the entire nation to fight for their freedom – one which unfortunately fuelled the Muslims’ anger – which in turn caused congress to drop it from its most favoured position as the national anthem of free India, is the single most important evidence of the author’s ability to read and understand the great Indian people and its way of life.
Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis (June 29, 1893-June 28, 1972) was an Indian scientist and applied statistician. He is best known for the Mahalanobis distance, a statistical measure. He did pioneering work on anthropometric variation in India. He founded the Indian Statistical Institute, and contributed to large scale sample surveys. He introduced the concept of pilot surveys and advocated the usefulness of sampling methods. His name is also associated with the scale free multivariate distance measure, the Mahalanobis distance. He founded the Indian Statistical Institute on 17 December, 1931. As a science organizer (and a thinker on organization of science), Mahalanobis was one of the very best of the twentieth century. The fact that Indian contributions to statistics have been so noteworthy is due to him, more than to anything else.
Hope you enjoy reading this month’s Kaleidoscope. Keep pouring in your comments, suggestions and contributions to the magazine at Meetu.firstname.lastname@example.org .