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Exclusive: Chinmaya Mission to organize Harry Potter themed camp to ignite Dynamic Spirituality in Youths
Chinmaya Mission is a spiritual organisation that consists of various study groups, bal vihar, CHYK classes, etc. The motto of is Harness maximum happiness to maximum people for the maximum time. Cord unit of Chinmaya mission works in the rural areas and helps the poor and uneducated whereas in urban cities ,to achieve this goal they take help of scriptures as they believe knowledge to be the greatest source of happiness. While the principles of the Hindu sacred text, Bhagavad Gita forms the base of the organisation, the organisation also believes in all Gods and scriptures.
The CHYK (Chinmaya Yuva Kendra) wing of this organisation in Mumbai is coming up with a Harry Potter themed camp for youth, to make them understand the significance of spirituality.
NewsGram brings to you an exclusive interview of Br. Ved Chaitanya and Vaidehi of Chinmaya Mission with reporter Rasika Iyer.
Rasika: We all know about Chinmaya Mission and that CHYK is a part of it. Can you tell me what actually the purpose behind CHYK ?
Vaidehi: Chinmaya Mission’s founder, Swami Chinmayananda, felt “what I got, everyone should get”. He was an atheist, went to the Himalayas to expose the sadhus. He discovered that what we feel might be wrong and there is much more to it. He believed youth is not useless, they are used less. His disciples thought there should be an organised way to deal with it and that is when CHYK (Chinmaya Yuva Kendra) came into being.
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CHYK is the youth wing of Chinmaya mission that includes people from the age group of 13-30. Our motto is harnessing youth potential through dynamic spirituality. The majority population of India is young. By changing the mindset of these people, the whole nation can be changed. Spirituality is considered to be passive but for youth, it should be dynamic. The study group is our base. Through this, we understand our own positive and negative nature. We also arrange programs where youngsters learn.
Rasika: What motivated you to be a part of this organisation? Are you part of it by chance or by choice?
Vedji: Everybody is trying to find peace, answers to some questions. One of my questions was, why am I here and what am I supposed to do? During my college years, when I came in contact with Yuva Kendra, the knowledge appealed to me more. Here the Scriptures are given more importance than someone disseminating knowledge in person. This is what I felt good about and it brought me closer to the organisation. After that, I took the residential Vedanta course in Gurukul system to learn Scriptures, Upanishads, Bhagwatam, and 40-50 other texts.
Rasika: What motivated you to include Harry Potter theme for the camp?
Vedji: In the 2nd year of the college, I read all the books of Harry Potter. It had a great impact on me. As a series, I find J.K. Rowling the best. I was astonished by the idea of how she has woven all the stories together. When she was writing the first book of the Harry Potter series and figured out how it was going to end. Such a huge series of 7 books and she connected it so well. Though at that point, I did not find any relevance with spirituality. Later on after studying Vedanta and teaching, I started taking quotes Harry Potter as examples.
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Like in the series 3, we see Harry and Sirius Black are about to die but he sees Patronus charm which drives away the dementors. When he goes back through time travel he tells Hermoine that he saw his father is coming to save him. Hermoine says there was no one coming and he realizes that it is he who have to save himself. We all should know that whatever we make of our life is because of our actions and deeds and we have to save ourselves. Harry Potter can be connected to the highest point of self-realization. It is hard to believe as I do not know if the author knows about Hindu spirituality but still managed to write something that is so much connected to it.
Rasika: How did the Harry Potter theme help you achieve your purpose or objective?
Vedji: During my interaction with parents, I realized that they want their children to learn so much in a way they have been taught, but somehow children dislike the method. This is due to generation gap. Children have to be taught in a way so that they can relate to it and find it interesting. The motive is to get them inspired to lead a noble, righteous and happy life.
Rasika: What will the camp all about? What are your expectations?
Vedji: Not everyone has watched the Harry Potter movie series, we have organised a movie screening. Some of the sections of the book, which are not a part of the movie will be read. Games inspired by the book like Quidditch will be played in a modified version.
Vaidehi: The main highlight will be the sessions during the camp. I love Harry Potter but I do not know the connection between Harry Potter and my life. I don’t know what to take from it and what to leave behind. We all secretly wish to live his life but we somewhere or the other, we know our lives are similar.
Rasika: If Horcruxes were qualities, what would be the 7 real life ones?
Vedji: This concept has similarities with Indian folktales. There is a famous story where a princess’ life is stored in a parrot. You can break your soul into parts and store it in other living or non-living objects. This is another effort of human beings to go towards immortality. In Harry Potter, unless you destroy 7 Horcruxes, Voldemort cannot be destroyed. Voldemort in a way, represents our eternal enemy here. We are ignorant about our own self. Ignorance is our greatest enemy. In Vedanta, the concept of Shad Ripu (6 enemies) forms a close link with 6 of the Horcruxes and the 7th being the ego.
Rasika: Do you think this kind of an ‘East meets West’ concept is necessary for this generation to connect to their roots?
Vaidehi: Harry Potter is a Western concept but has relevance to the Eastern life as well. Source hardly matters, we are open to anything that will bring positivity in people. The Westerners respect Indian culture more. Both the cultures are good in their own way. But, we should know our own culture more before adapting to other cultures. We cannot protect others without protecting our own self. One can protect themselves only if they who know who they really are. Scriptures are written in Sanskrit, so hardly anyone delves so deep to understand it. Therefore with this story, people will feel a sense of belonging.
Vedji: What is special about western life is sincerity, dedication and an organized way of life. In the east, people attach a lot of significance to knowledge and culture. The way we find happiness in small things, a sense of satisfaction and that we believe the whole world is one. However, the Western culture is also rich in its own way. Everything comes with consequences- good and bad. The bottom line is the importance of family, love, friendship forms the base of our culture.
– prepared by Rasika Iyer of NewsGram. Twitter: @Rasikaiyer93
By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe
The festive season is a time of joy. Some people truly love it, but for many, it can trigger feelings of loneliness and anxiety. Feeling lonely is common and completely normal -- whether or not we're living through this pandemic. The social pressure to "be happy" can be relentless, but it is important to take a proactive approach to meet not only our emotional needs but also to maintain our mental stability and well-being. With the pandemic, holidays are likely to be challenging, instead, meet them head-on with a renewed dedication and a proactive mindset to avoid 'holiday blues'.
Kanchan Rai, Mental and Emotional Well-being Coach, Founder, Let Us Talk, mentions ways to turn your loneliness into action this season:
Say yes to socializing: When we are experiencing loneliness, it can be easy to slip into the habit of saying no to social activities. Seclusion can make it challenging to feel driven and the mere thought of physically seeing people can lead to stress. Hence it is recommended to saying yes to mingling to help build your confidence. Something as simple as going for a walk with a friend or chatting with your loved ones over the phone can make a huge difference.
It is recommended to saying yes to mingling to help build your confidence | Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
Devote your time to others: An effective way to beat loneliness amidst the holidays is by helping others who are less fortunate. The good cause will remind you of all you have to be appreciative for. This will help you to be a part of something larger, thus immersing yourself in the true spirit of the holiday season.
An effective way to beat loneliness amidst the holidays is by helping others who are less fortunate. | Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash
Make the most of technology: For those with distant loved ones, technology can prove to be an enabler in helping to keep family traditions alive. For instance, celebrate the festive cheer virtually or opening festive gifts on video calls amidst all family members. Taking a moment to network with someone, communicating about shared interests or fond memories, even if it's online, can play a major role in reminding us of the good times.
Taking a moment to network with someone, communicating about shared interests or fond memories, even if it's online, can play a major role in reminding us of the good times. | Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash
Get distracted with healthy coping strategies: Distraction can be useful when it's done with the intention of proactively giving yourself a break. For instance, it is recommended to watch a movie to take your mind off stressful thoughts instead of drinking many glasses of wine to forget aloofness. Taking a break will help prevent burnout and will enable you to deal with problems better.
Taking a break will help prevent burnout and will enable you to deal with problems better. | Photo by Johan Godínez on Unsplash
Don't be afraid to speak up: Confiding in reliable friends or relatives about how you feel can often lift the weight off your shoulders, thus making you feel less isolated. It can also be helpful to consult your counsellor if the seasonal isolation has been impacting your emotional well-being. Counselling can help in building your confidence and will facilitate you to discover coping strategies to process any issue. (IANS/ MBI)
Confiding in reliable friends or relatives about how you feel can often lift the weight off your shoulders, thus making you feel less isolated. | Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash
Keywords: Loneliness, action, socialise, technology, stress speak, share, friends
Ahead of the Windows 11 launch, Microsoft is rolling out some updates to Edge that include the addition of tab groups. Users will be able to assemble collections of tabs to make their browser a little less chaotic.
To create a group, hold the control button and choose the tabs you want to include, then select "Add tabs to new group" from the right-click menu, Engadget reported on Friday. Users can customise the label with a different colour for each group. When users hover over a tab, they will be able to see a preview of the web page as well.
Microsoft Edge is also getting some handy shopping features, the report said. The browser can give swift access to reviews and ratings for more than 5 million products. When users are on a product page, they can click the blue tag on the address bar and see expert reviews from reliable sources, as well as the average consumer star rating from various retailers.
When they do figure out what to buy, Microsoft aims to help them complete the transaction a bit faster. The new personalised news feed called Microsoft Start is integrated into the browser. Users will see headlines and articles relevant to their interests from a range of publishers when they open a new tab. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: microsoft, edge, update, tab groups, browser, shopping, address bar
When you think of the colours on your plate, do you ever think of black? Well, its time you do! As they are the new power food. We all know greens, yellows and reds are loaded with nutrients -- so are the lesser spoken about black ones too!
What are black foods? Foods with the pigments called anthocyanins are known as black foods. Anthocyanins are found in black, blue and purple coloured foods and have hidden nutrients and benefits galore. These pigments have rich anti-oxidant properties which promote health and have the potential to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke. They play a huge role in immunity. They are fun, healthy, offbeat and make for a nice visual treat too.
Abhilasha V, HOD and Chief Clinical Nutritionist -- Cloudnine group of hospitals, Bengaluru, few interesting ones and their benefits:
Cultivated in South East Asian belt, this rice has a nutty flavour and can be used in many recipes. In China this was known as the Forbidden rice in ancient times as it was reserved for only royalty. Now, some parts of north East India grow black rice too. They are loaded with lutien and zeaxanthin and promote good eye health. They have cancer fighting properties due to their high anti-oxidant and fiber content. They can be used in puddings, stir fries, risotto, porridge, noodles, bread and even makes a great idea for a good kheer!
Cultivated in South East Asian belt, this rice has a nutty flavour and can be used in many recipes. | Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash
A closer to home surprise! Indians have used black dal since ages. They are used as gravies and in mixed dal preparations. They are rich in fibre, iron, folate and protein and can be quite delicious too.
A closer to home surprise! Indians have used black dal since ages | Pixabay
With the western influence on our eating habits, it has brought along a long list of good foods. Olives are one of them and they are versatile in their flavour. They can be added to salads, pastas, stir fries and some pickles and drinks too. Olives contain monounsaturated fats, Vitamin E, Polyphenols and oleocanthal -- which is a strong anti-inflammatory and pain-killer compound found in olives. This little power-packed food can protect your arteries from clogging, maintain eye health, prevent DNA damage, promote good skin health and also hair health.
Olives can be added to salads, pastas, stir fries and some pickles and drinks too. | Photo by Robert Anasch on Unsplash
Black sesame seeds
Commonly known as Til, they come with a huge bunch of benefits, loaded with fibre, protein, magnesium, potassium, iron, calcim, zinc, copper, selenium and Vitamin E. It also contains sesamin, which helps reduce inflammation and plays a vital role in joint pain. Yes! All of that in a daily allowance of 1-2 teaspoons can do wonders for your health. They can be used in salads as garnish, in laddoos, in breads, smoothies, soups, hummus, dips and even tahini. They can be consumed soaked, sprouted, baked or roasted too.
Commonly known as Til, they come with a huge bunch of benefits, loaded with fibre, protein, magnesium, potassium, iron, calcim, zinc, copper, selenium and Vitamin E. | Photo by Lluvia Morales on Unsplash
Known for their sweet taste and popular flavour, black grapes are a favourite for many. This seasonal fruit has a host of benefits to give us. Black grapes contain Lutein, Zeaxanthin which prevents retinal damage and macular degeneration. Resveratrol in grapes are known to have anti-cancer properties and have a huge protective effect on cardiac health by lowering LDL levels too. Proanthocyanidins present in this fruit has great benefits for skin health too. Use these grapes in salads, smoothies, jams, and even good old curd rice!
Black grapes contain Lutein, Zeaxanthin which prevents retinal damage and macular degeneration. | Photo by Tina Vanhove on Unsplash
Yes you heard that right. Well these aren't naturally found, but develop this colour due to a process that turns them black and used widely in Asian cuisine. It is regular white garlic that has been fermented or aged. It possesses a caramelized, savoury richness that adds flavour to stir fries, meat bakes, rice and noodles preparations and soups too. These have properties that prevent cell damage and hence protect us from cancers. Black garlic contains more anti-oxidants [almost 2X] than its white counterpart.So why wait -add them in small doses into your meals and let your health thrive.
Black Garlic possesses a caramelized, savoury richness that adds flavour to stir fries, meat bakes, rice and noodles preparations and soups too. | Wikimedia Commons
* Advantages: As mentioned above they come with a host of benefits such as anti-cancer, anti-ageing, good for eye, heart, skin and hair health too.
* Disadvantages: Nothing in particular. There are no real toxicities associated with these foods that are reported and are considered generally safe, but always do remember, too much of anything is not the rule in nutrition.
* Points to remember: Always ensure you have a balanced diet that contains all food groups, myriad colours, nutrients and varieties -- choose in moderation and build them into your daily meal plan with the help of a nutritionist. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Black, food, nutrition, black pulses, til, grapes, garlic, sesame, olive, rice