7 Interesting things about Betel nut(Tamul) In Assam.

By Keya Dutta

1. Auspicious: In Assam, betel nut are traditionally offered as a mark of respect and auspicious beginnings. It is a tradition to offer pan-tamul (betel leaves and raw areca nut) to guests, after tea or meals, served in a brass plate with stands called bota. Among the Assamese, the areca nut also has a variety of uses during religious and marriage ceremonies, where it has the role of a fertility symbol.

2. Invitation : A tradition from Upper Assam is to invite guests to wedding receptions by offering a few areca nuts with betel leaves. During Bihu, the husori players are offered areca nuts and betel leaves by each household while their blessings are solicited.

3. Refreshment: A customary Paan-Tamul (Betel nut leaf- Betel nut) is offered to guests after the end of every Bhoj[feast]. This is usually the Saadaa-Paan-Tamul-Soon (Slacked lime) with cardamom pods in it to freshen the breath.

3. Play with areca nut leaf:04310-028playing Children in most of the villages Assam, play with areca nut leaf. It’s been existed in India since Medieval time till now and many people of my age group to old age can passionatelyrelate to this unsophisticated,  unwheeled zigzag, pulling car of which is a blessing of mother nature.

4. Sarota:2017012418235726065
Sarota is betel nut cutter carries the distinct design of all time. This exquisite piece is a treat for collectors and makes for a wonderful decor accent.

5. Peek(Colourful spitting):

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PEEK

It’s little disgusting to step on or watching over the views of every walls on streets of Assam “famous spewing the gross ‘Peek’ (liquid residue) after chewing Paan (Betel Leaf and nut)”

** However,  it is a common problem in many cities and towns of Northern India too. Government and Public both are equally working on the banning of ‘Peek
6. Health Benefits : It is believed to be healthy too.  It gives people a buzz equivalent to six cups of coffee and is used variously as a symbol of love, marriage and a cure for indigestion and impotence and prevent tooth decay.
7. Employment: Assam-based natural dinnerware producer Tamul Plates Marketing Pvt. Ltd. is pleased to announce that it has received a seed investment from Upaya Social Ventures through Upaya’s LiftUP Project. Based in the Barpeta District of Assam, Tamul Plates produces and markets high-quality, all-natural disposable plates and bowls made from arecanut (palm) tree leaves under the “Tambul Leaf Plates” brand.

**Caution:

Worryingly, the International Agency for Research on Cancer lists each ingredient, with the exception of cardamom and cinnamon, as a known carcinogen – or cancer-causing agent.

The slaked lime is seen as a particular problem as it causes hundreds of tiny abrasions to form in the mouth. This is thought to be a possible entry point for many of the cancer-causing chemicals.

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How Swami Vivekanand Shaped the World Culture and Ethos

When the entire world was encapsulated with physical pleasures and materialistic race of leading a luxurious life, they needed someone to guide them to know real meaning of leading life. Hindu spirituality deals with body, mind and soul. Swami Vivekanand introduced world with the concept of oneness, soul and sole reason of taking birth as humans. The new concept thrilled the people across the globe and they got to know true realms of life through meditation and spiritual science of Hinduism.

Swami Vivekananda’s contributions in shaping the world culture is acknowledged by scholars of several countries.

Making an objective assessment of Swami Vivekananda’s contributions to world culture, the eminent British historian A L Basham stated that “in centuries to come, he will be remembered as one of the main moulders of the modern world…”

Swami Vivekananda, known in his pre-monastic life as Narendra Nath Datta, was born in an affluent family in Kolkata on 12 January 1863. His father, Vishwanath Datta, was a successful attorney with interests in a wide range of subjects, and his mother, Bhuvaneshwari Devi, was endowed with deep devotion, strong character and other qualities. A precocious boy, Narendra excelled in music, gymnastics and studies. By the time he graduated from Calcutta University, he had acquired a vast knowledge of different subjects, especially Western philosophy and history. Born with a yogic temperament, he used to practise meditation even from his boyhood, and was a and was associated with Brahmo Movement for some time.

Vivekananda’s contributions to world culture 
Making an objective assessment of Swami Vivekananda’s contributions to world culture, the eminent British historian A L Basham stated that “in centuries to come, he will be remembered as one of the main moulders of the modern world…” Some of the main contributions that Swamiji made to the modern world are mentioned below:

1. New Understanding of Religion: One of the most significant contributions of Swami Vivekananda to the modern world is his interpretation of religion as a universal experience of transcendent Reality, common to all humanity. Swamiji met the challenge of modern science by showing that religion is as scientific as science itself; religion is the ‘science of consciousness’. As such, religion and science are not contradictory to each other but are complementary.
This universal conception frees religion from the hold of superstitions, dogmatism, priestcraft and intolerance, and makes religion the highest and noblest pursuit – the pursuit of supreme Freedom, supreme Knowledge, supreme Happiness.

2. New View of Man: Vivekananda’s concept of ‘potential divinity of the soul’ gives a new, ennobling concept of man. The present age is the age of humanism which holds that man should be the chief concern and centre of all activities and thinking. Through science and technology man has attained great prosperity and power, and modern methods of communication and travel have converted human society into a ‘global village’. But the degradation of man has also been going on apace, as witnessed by the enormous increase in broken homes, immorality, violence, crime, etc. in modern society. Vivekananda’s concept of potential divinity of the soul prevents this degradation, divinizes human relationships, and makes life meaningful and worth living. Swamiji has laid the foundation for ‘spiritual humanism’, which is manifesting itself through several neo-humanistic movements and the current interest in meditation, Zen etc all over the world.

3. New Principle of Morality and Ethics: The prevalent morality, in both individual life and social life, is mostly based on fear – fear of the police, fear of public ridicule, fear of God’s punishment, fear of Karma, and so on. The current theories of ethics also do not explain why a person should be moral and be good to others. Vivekananda has given a new theory of ethics and new principle of morality based on the intrinsic purity and oneness of the Atman. We should be pure because purity is our real nature, our true divine Self or Atman. Similarly, we should love and serve our neighbours because we are all one in the Supreme Spirit known as Paramatman or Brahman.

4. Bridge between the East and the West: Another great contribution of Swami Vivekananda was to build a bridge between Indian culture and Western culture. He did it by interpreting Hindu scriptures and philosophy and the Hindu way of life and institutions to the Western people in an idiom which they could understand. He made the Western people realize that they had to learn much from Indian spirituality for their own well-being. He showed that, in spite of her poverty and backwardness, India had a great contribution to make to world culture. In this way he was instrumental in ending India’s cultural isolation from the rest of the world. He was India’s first great cultural ambassador to the West.
On the other hand, Swamiji’s interpretation of ancient Hindu scriptures, philosophy, institutions, etc prepared the mind of Indians to accept and apply in practical life two best elements of Western culture, namely science and technology and humanism. Swamiji has taught Indians how to master Western science and technology and at the same time develop spiritually. Swamiji has also taught Indians how to adapt Western humanism (especially the ideas of individual freedom, social equality and justice and respect for women) to Indian ethos.

Trataka -Gazing Meditation Technique – Part I.

Trataka is a meditation technique which involves focusing the eyes (and, in turn, the mind) through intent but relaxed gazing. Initially, this practice is done with open eyes on an external object. It then progresses to internal practice (with eyes closed), and to gazing the void. Sometimes it’s spelled tratak or tratika.

illusion-rotating-wheelsYou’ll notice in the beginning the wheels appear to be moving. Now look at them again, but instead focus your eyes on one of the dots in the image, and be attentively vigilant that your eyes don’t move even a bit. If you manage to do that, the movements will disappear, and you will see the images for what they are. The second image will probably be more challenging.

If you really stilled your eyes for a minute or two, you might have also experienced a stillness of your mind as well. If not, it becomes evident with a bit more practice.

Conclusion: Distractions in the mind translate to micro movements in the eyes or eyelids, and vice-versa. Stillness of eyes brings stillness of mind, and vice-versa.

In all forms of trataka, you can integrate breath awareness or the repetition of a mantra if you find it helpful, although it’s not commonly taught this way.

There has been very little scientific research in this practice. So what we know in terms of its benefits is mostly all anecdotal evidence from practitioners that have devoted years to its practice. In this context, trataka is attributed to have the following benefits:

  • Improves concentration, memory, and willpower
  • Improves visualization skills
  • Improves cognitive function
  • Cures eye diseases
  • Makes the eyes stronger, clearer, and brighter
  • Helps with insomnia
  • Clears accumulated mental/emotional complexes
  • Brings suppressed thoughts to the surface
  • Increases nervous stability
  • Calms the anxious mind
  • Balances the activity in the two hemispheres of the brain
  • Improves vision in the dark (if practiced on a candle flame)
  • Soothing effect on the cranial nerves
  • Enhances self-confidence and patience

Technique I :

The first level of the practice is external gazing. The object can be almost anything, though the most popular choices are a candle flame, a black dot in a white wall, or an image with particular significance for you. Other objects used are your image in a mirror, transparent glass, a needle, a current of water, the moon in the sky, or the first minutes of the rising sun.

Set your gaze on the object, and keep it there without blinking and without letting your eyes move. After 1 to 3 minutes, your eyes will be tired or tears may be coming. Then close your eyes for a few minutes, and gaze at the afterimage of that object in your mind, if you can see it. When you are ready, open your eyes and go for another round. At the end of your practice, gently wash your eyes with cold water.

Some more practical considerations:

  • Using a candle is a often preferred because the flame has a natural attraction for many people.Fire is like magnet for the eyes and mind. Also, it leaves a very clear after-image in the mind.
  • Don’t practice external trataka for more than 10 minutes (especially the candle-gazing version), unless you have the guidance of a teacher experienced in this technique.
  • The trick in mastering trataka lies in relaxing the eyes as much as possible – otherwise your vision will soon blurr and the eyes will flicker. Don’t worry if all you can do is 10 seconds without blinking; with time you will be able to go long periods without blinking.
  • Place the object at eye level on a little talbe or support ahead of you, in a way that it’s level with your eyes. As to the distance from you, some teachers recommend an arm’s length distance (this works for me), while others recommend up to 5 feet away. Experiment and see what makes most sense.
  • Be sure you can see the object clearly, without blurr. If needed, wear your glasses.
  • If you are using a candle, make your room completely dark, and make sure there is no wind (as the flame ideally needs to be still). For other objects, dim light is preferred, and the source of light should be behind you.
  • Gaze with purpose, as if you are looking for something. Moment after moment, all you are doing is watching that point, without thinking about it.
  • Some Yoga texts mention trying to “pierce the object with your gaze”; others say that it should be a relaxed gaze. Probably a matter of experimentation to see what’s best.
  • Try not to blink, but don’t try too hard. The less thought you give to not blinking, the easiest it is.
  • Don’t strain your eyes. If you feel discomfort, then blink the eyes and continue the practice. But don’t move the pupils.
  • Don’t do trataka on a candle if you have cataracts, glaucoma, myopia, astigmatism or epilepsy.

Accepting the hard truth “The Perfect Partner Doesn’t Exist” makes life easier.

Many people dream of the perfect romance and a partner that will sweep us off of our feet and into the sunset of an eternally happy ever after. In fact, most of us are probably guilty of daydreaming about our “perfect match” sometimes. But how can it affect our real relationships when our partners don’t meet our picture perfect dreams? This doesn’t mean we should settle for someone we’re miserable with, but it does mean that we should always expect to put work into a relationship. Think of it as an artistic masterpiece; you and your partner are the tools and you have to work together to make the canvas beautiful. We can be happy and fulfilled in a relationship, but not if we expect the canvas to paint itself!