Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

From a sacred mountaintop an enthused spiritual seeker with his arms raised to the sky shouted, "I want peace!" Peace echoed back from the valley. He was so pleased. Then he hollered, "I want love!" Love echoed across the valley. Filled and thrilled he screeched "I want enlightenment now!" To his chagrin the response was, Then get back to your spiritual disciplines!

"The pot is a God. The winnowing fan is a God. The stone in the street is a God. The comb is a God. The bowstring is a God. The bushel is a God and the spouted cup is a God. Gods, Gods, there are so many, there's no place left for a foot!" Saint Basavanna, Virasaiva (1105-1167)

"Hindus are among the most enthusiastic and energetic devotees. By no means could our worship be judged idle!" A swami responding to a charge that Hindus are idol worshipers with too many Gods.

A farmer brought King Akbar a parrot. He had taught it to sing and talk. "O King," he said, "this parrot can talk excellently. Please accept it as a gift." Delighted, Akbar ordered two servants to "Look after it well. Whomever brings news of its death will, himself, be put to death." In spite of the servants' care, the parrot died. They thought, "How can we tell the King? He will kill us immediately." They remembered Birbal and told him about their problem. He felt sorry and said, "Leave it to me." Birbal approached Akbar, "I have sad news. Your parrot does not eat, drink, talk. He just lies there with eyes closed. I think he has become a yogi and is meditating." Akbar was sad. "Let us go look." When seeing the bird he exclaimed, "What is this nonsense about yogis, Birbal? This parrot is not meditating. It's dead!" "Only you can say such a thing, Your Majesty," said Birbal, reminding the King of his threat. "You said you would execute the man who brought you news of the parrot's death."

Did You Know?

Marvellous Mangoes!

The history of mango cultivation in India stretches over 6,000 years. With more than 500 varieties in many shapes and sizes, India is the world's largest producer of mangoes, both in quantity and variety. Its most prized and finest genre, the Alphonso, with a taste resembling a combination of nectarine, pineapple and rose flower, is exported to the Middle East, Singapore and Britain. Regrettably they are not yet available in the U.S., except for canned pulp. In the meantime, visit India to savor the real thing!