April 2021

Dear Friends,

Namaskaram!

Babasaheb Ambedkar (14 April 1891 – 6 December 1956), was a jurist, economist, politician and social reformer, who inspired the Dalit Buddhist movement and campaigned against social discrimination towards the untouchables. He was British India's Minister of Labour, Chairman of the Constituent Drafting committee, independent India's first Minister of Law and Justice, and considered the chief architect of the Constitution of India.

March 2021

Dear Friends,

Namaskaram!

R.K.Narayan (10 October 1906 – 13 May 2001) was an Indian writer known for his work set in the fictional South Indian town of Malgudi. He was a leading author of early Indian literature in English along with Mulk Raj Anand and Raja Rao.

Narayan's mentor and friend Graham Greene was instrumental in getting publishers for Narayan's first four books, including the semi-autobiographical trilogy of Swami and Friends, The Bachelor of Arts and The English Teacher. The fictional town of Malgudi was first introduced in Swami and Friends. Narayan's The Financial Expert was hailed as one of the most original works of 1951 and Sahitya Academy Award winner. The Guide was adapted for film (winning a Filmfare Award for Best Film) and for Broadway.

Narayan highlights the social context and everyday life of his characters. He has been compared to William Faulkner, who also created a similar fictional town and likewise explored with humour and compassion the energy of ordinary life. Narayan's short stories have been compared with those of Guy de Maupassant because of his ability to compress a narrative.

February 2021

Dear Friends,
Namaskaram!

Neem Karoli Baba (1900 – 11 September 1973), Lakshman Das Sharma was born around 1900 in the village Akbarpur, Firozabad district of Uttar Pradesh, India, into a wealthy Brahmin family. After being married by his parents at the age of 11, he left home to become a wandering Sadhu. He later returned home, at his father's request, to live a settled married life. He has two sons and a daughter.

Neem Karoli Baba left his home in 1958. Baba lived in the village of Neeb Karori for a while and was given his name by locals. Thereafter he wandered extensively throughout Northern India. During this time he was known under many names.

He was a lifelong adept of Bhakti yoga, and encouraged service to others as the highest form of unconditional devotion to God. His devotee, named Anjani shares the following account:

January 2021

Dear Friends,
Namaskaram!

Ramana Maharshi (30 December 1879 – 14 April 1950) was born as Venkataraman Iyer, in Tiruchuli, Tamil Nadu, India. In 1895, an attraction to the sacred hill Arunachala and the 63 Nayanmars was aroused in him, and in 1896, at the age of 16, he had a "death-experience" where he became aware of a "current" or "force" which he recognized as his true "I" or "self", and which he later identified with "the personal God, or Iswara", that is, Shiva. Six weeks later he left his uncle's home in Madurai, and journeyed to the holy mountain Arunachala, in Tiruvannamalai, where he took on the role of a sannyasin.

He attracted devotees that regarded him as an avatar and came to him for darshan. In later years an ashram grew up around him, where visitors received ‘spiritual instructions’ by sitting silently in his company asking questions. Since the 1930s, his teachings have been popularized in the West, resulting in his worldwide recognition as an enlightened being.

December 2020

Dear Friends,
Namaskaram!

Guru Nanak (15 April 1469 – 22 September 1539) was the founder of Sikhism and is the first of the ten Sikh Gurus. His birth is celebrated worldwide as Guru Nanak Gurpurab on Kartik - full-moon day i.e. October–November.

Nanak is said to have travelled far and wide across Asia teaching people the message of ik omkar ('one God'), who dwells in every one of his creations and constitutes the eternal Truth. With this concept, he would set up a unique spiritual, social, and political platform based on equality, fraternal love, goodness, and virtue.

Nanak's words are registered in the form of 974 poetic hymns, or shabda, in the holy text of Sikhism, the Guru Granth Sahib, with some of the major prayers being the Japji Sahib (jap, 'to recite'; ji and sahib are suffixes signifying respect); the Asa di Var ('ballad of hope'); and the Sidh Gohst ('discussion with the Siddhas'). It is part of Sikh religious belief that the spirit of Nanak's sanctity, divinity, and religious authority had descended upon each of the nine subsequent Gurus when the Guruship was devolved on to them. In this issue, we have given some of his quotable quotes.

November 2020

Dear Friends,
Namaskaram!

J.R.D. Tata (29 July 1904 – 29 November 1993) was Indian aviator, entrepreneur and chairman of Tata Group.

Born into the Tata family of India, he was the son of noted businessman Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata and his wife Suzanne Brière. His mother was the first woman in India to drive a car and, in 1929, he became the first licensed pilot in India. He is also best known for being the founder of several industries under the Tata Group, including Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Motors, Titan Industries, Tata Salt, Voltas and Air India. In 1983, he was awarded the French Legion of Honour and in 1955 and 1992, he received two of India's highest civilian awards the Padma Vibhushan and the Bharat Ratna. These honours were bestowed on him for his contributions to Indian industry.

He was the trustee of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust from its inception in 1932 for over half a century. Under his guidance, this Trust established Asia's first cancer hospital, the Tata Memorial Centre for Cancer, Research and Treatment, in Bombay in 1941. He also founded the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS, 1936), the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR, 1945), and the National Center for Performing Arts. In this issue, we have given some of his quotable quotes.

October 2020

Dear Friends,
Namaskaram!

Nani Palkhivala (16.1. 1920 to 11.12.2002) is known as the "the conscience-keeper of the nation". He became famous because of Kesavananda Bharati case. When a Special Bench of 13 Judges of Supreme Court was constituted to reconsider the correctness of the dictum of law laid down regarding the basic structure in Kesavananda Bharati case, Palkhivala’s impassioned address made the Chief Justice to dissolve the Bench.

Palkhivala's post-Budget speeches in Bombay since 1958 has drawn national attention and the audience during his later addresses rose to about a lakh. All those speeches were delivered extempore. He was the finest intellectual and jurist of the country and received innumerable awards and honorary doctorates from several countries. His two famous books are “We the people” and “We the nation”.

In September 1977, Palkhivala was appointed Ambassador of India to the United States of America, which assignment he held until July 1979.

September 2020

Dear Friends,
Namaskaram!

Anandamayi Ma (née Nirmala Sundari; 30 April 1896 – 27 August 1982) was a Bengali Saint, described by Sivananda Saraswati (of the Divine Life Society) as "the most perfect flower the Indian soil has produced. This name was given to her by her devotees in the 1920s to describe her perpetual state of divine joy.

Anandamayi was born on 30 April 1896 to the orthodox Vaishnavite Brahmin couple in the village of Kheora, Tipperah District (now Brahmanbaria District), in present-day Bangladesh. Her father was a Vaishnavite singer known for his intense devotion. Though the family lived in poverty. Nirmala attended village schools for a few years. Although her teachers were pleased with her ability, her mother worried about her daughter's mental development because of her constantly indifferent and happy demeanor.