Tirukkural: The Book of Wisdom

Tirukkural

Tirukkural, the great poetic work by saint Tiru Valluvar, embodies values that are ever relevant and unchanging. The greatest classic of the Tamil language, it dates back anywhere between 2 BC and 8 AD. It comprises two parts, ‘Tiru’ and ‘Kural’: ‘Tiru’ can mean sacred, as well as beautiful, and ‘Kural’ means concise. Brevity is the charm of this scriptural text with its terse and forcible verses like sutras or aphorisms.

About the Author – Tiru Valluvar

Tiru Valluvar stands on a high moral pedestal along with Patanjali, Shankara and Buddha. He lived about 2000 years ago in Tamil Nadu, and worked as a weaver to earn his living. According to legends, he was a man of intense cognizance, enlightment, free spirit and hard work.

Universal Ethical Content

The greatest value of Kural is its universal ethical content. The scripture is divided into three books: Virtue, Wealth and Love – consisting of 1330 couplets clustered in 133 chapters elucidating different aspects of human virtues or vices. In the first chapter of Virtue, God is portrayed as Universal in content transcending the marginal line of God being Hindu, Jain, Muslim or Christian. Kural‘s primary concern is with the whole world and according to Tiru Valluvar a man’s prosperity and adversity, heaven and hell, and his present and his future are products of his own actions.

To download full version of Tirukkural, click on the link below:
www.himalayanacademy.com

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How Yoga Changes Your Body, Starting The Day You Begin (INFOGRAPHIC)

By Carolyn Gregoire / The Huffington Post

BodyOnYoga

The Eastern practice of yoga has become a modern-day symbol of peace, serenity and well-being in the West. More than 20 million Americans practice yoga, according to the 2012 Yoga in America study, with practitioners spending more than $10 billion a year on yoga-related products and classes.

The mind-body practice is frequently touted for its ability to reduce stress and boost well-being, but it also offers wide-ranging physical health benefits that rival other forms of exercise. While the scientific research on yoga’s health benefits is still young, here’s what we know so far about its potential effects on the body.

After Class

Improved Brain Function 
Just 20 minutes of Hatha yoga — an ancient form of the practice that emphasizes physical postures rather than flow or sequences — can improve cognitive function, boosting focus and working memory. In a University of Illinois study, participants performed significantly better on tests of brain functioning after yoga, as compared to their performance after 20 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise.

Lower Stress Levels
Yoga’s stress-busting powers may come from its ability to lessen the activity of proteins that are known to play a role in inflammation, according to a study published last year from University of California, Los Angeles researchers.

Alter Gene Expression
A small Norwegian study suggested that yoga’s many healthy benefits might come from its ability to alter gene expression in immune cells.

Increased Flexibility. 
A recent Colorado State University study found that Bikram yoga — a form of yoga in which a series of 26 postures are performed for 90 minutes in a heated room — is linked with increased shoulder, lower back and hamstring flexibility, as well as greater deadlift strength and decreased body fat, compared with a control group.

After A Few Months

Lower Blood Pressure
People with mild to moderate hypertension might benefit from a yoga practice, as a study from University of Pennsylvania researchers found that it could help to lower their blood pressure levels. Researchers found that people who practiced yoga had greater drops in blood pressure compared with those who participated in a walking/nutrition/weight counseling program.

Improved Lung Capacity
A small 2000 Ball State University study found that practicing Hatha yoga for 15 weeks could significantly increase vital lung capacity, which is the maximum amount of air exhaled after taking a deep breath. Vital lung capacity is one of the components of lung capacity.

Improved Sexual Function
2009 Harvard study published in the The Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that yoga could boost arousal, desire, orgasm and general sexual satisfaction for women. Yoga can also improve women’s sex lives by helping them to become more familiar with their own bodies, according to a review of studies published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, as reported by CNN.

Reduced Chronic Neck Pain
German study published in The Journal of Pain showed that four weeks of practicing Iyengar yoga (a type of Hatha yoga that stresses proper alignment and the use of props) is effective in reducing pain intensity in adults suffering from chronic neck pain.

Anxiety Relief
2010 Boston University study showed that 12 weeks of yoga could help to reduce anxiety and increase gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels in the brain (low levels of GABA have been linked with depression and anxiety disorders).

Relief from Chronic Back Pain
Researchers at West Virginia University found Iyengar Yoga to be more effective in reducing pain and improving mood than standard medical treatment among those with chronic lower back problems.

Steady Blood Sugar Levels in People with Diabetes
Adding yoga to a typical diabetes care regimen could result in steady blood sugar levels, according to a 2011 Diabetes Care study. Reuters reported that just three months of yoga in addition to diabetes care resulted in a decrease in body mass index, as well as no increases in blood sugar levels.

Improved Sense of Balance
Practicing an Iyengar yoga program designed for older adults was found to improve balance and help prevent falls in women over 65, according to a 2008 Temple University study.

After Years

Stronger Bones
2009 pilot study by Dr. Loren Fishman showed that practicing yoga could improve bone density among older adults.

“We did a bone mineral density (DEXA) scan, then we taught half of them the yoga, waited two years, and did another scan,”Fishman previously told The Huffington Post. “And not only did these people not lose bone, they gained bone. The ones who didn’t do the yoga lost a little bone, as you would expect.”

Healthy Weight
Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle found an association between a regular yoga practice and decreased weight — or at least a maintained weight — among more than 15,000 healthy, middle-aged adults.

“Those practicing yoga who were overweight to start with lost about five pounds during the same time period those not practicing yoga gained 14 pounds,” study researcher Alan Kristal, DPH, MPH, told WebMD.

Lower Risk Of Heart Disease
As part of a healthy lifestyle, yoga may lower cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar,according to Harvard Health Publications.

151st Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda is one of most admired spiritual leaders of India. The world knows him as an inspiring Hindu monk, his motherland regards him as the patriot saint of modern India, and Hindus consider him as a source of spiritual power, mental energy, strength-giving and open-mindedness.

Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda

 

Swami Vivekananda (12 January 1863 – 4 July 1902), born Narendra Nath Datta, was an Indian Hindu monk and chief disciple of the 19th-century saint Ramakrishna. He was a key figure in the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world and is credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduismto the status of a major world religion during the late 19th century. He was a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India, and contributed to the concept of nationalism in colonial India. Vivekananda founded theRamakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission. He is perhaps best known for his inspiring speech which began, “Sisters and brothers of America …,” in which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893.

Born into an aristocratic Bengali family of Calcutta, Vivekananda was inclined towards spirituality. He was influenced by his guru, Ramakrishna, from whom he learnt that all living beings were an embodiment of the divine self; therefore, service to God could be rendered by service to mankind. After Ramakrishna’s death, Vivekananda toured the Indian subcontinent extensively and acquired first-hand knowledge of the conditions prevailing inBritish India. He later travelled to the United States, representing India at the 1893 Parliament of the World Religions. Vivekananda conducted hundreds of public and private lectures and classes, disseminating tenets ofHindu philosophy in the United States, England and Europe. In India, Vivekananda is regarded as a patriotic saintand his birthday is celebrated as National Youth Day in India.

 For complete works of Swami Vivekananda click on the link below:

www.ramakrishnavivekananda.info