Trupti Desai should wait to visit Sabarimala till final Supreme Court verdict

Trupti Desai, an Indian gender equality activist and the founder of the Bhumata Brigade, a Mumbai based social activist organization, is in the news for her statement that she will enter the Sabarimala temple, Kerala, India which does not allow visits of young women of specified age group in January, 2017. She and her brigade have campaigned to get entry for women to religious places like the Shani Shingnapur Temple, the Mahalakshmi Temple and the Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple, all in Maharashtra, India and she wish to continue her activities in the most visited place of worship in the state, creating unrest among devotees and local communities.

Sabarimala is a Hindu pilgrimage centre located at the Periyar Tiger Reserve in the Western Ghat mountain ranges of Pathanamthitta District, Kerala. It is one of the largest annual pilgrimages in the world, with an estimated over 100 million devotees visiting every year. Ayyappan’s temple is situated amidst 18 hills. The temple is situated on a hilltop at an altitude of 1260 m (4,133 ft) above main sea level, and is surrounded by mountains and dense forests. The dense forest, (Periyar Tiger Reserve), around the temple is known as poongavanam and is considered auspicious by devotees.

The shrine at Sabarimala is an ancient temple of Ayyappan also known as Sasta and Dharmasasta. It is believed that in the 12th century, Manikandan, a prince of Pandalam dynasty, performed strict spiritual practices at Sabarimala temple and became one with the divine. Unmarried and completely withdrawn from worldly life, he was leading the life of an ascetic. On request of the King of Pandalam, he allowed spiritual seekers to come to visit him and also explained how the Sabarimala pilgrimage shall be undertaken, emphasizing the importance of an ascetic way of life. Traditionally, asceticism is considered to be a male domain and a very few women endeavored the hardships of such a demanding lifestyle. Naturally, the pilgrimage to Sabarimala became exclusive for men who could undertake such rigorous penance. Read more

Play YouTube videos on Android even when the screen is off

YouTube is good for videos but it is equally good for great music for free. It offers a subscription service called YouTube Red which enables us to listen to audios from videos played even when the screen is off. The YouTube app will then play in the background and we can continue listening to the music while working on other apps or when the screen is turned off completely The downside is that YouTube Red is a paid service and it is not available in all countries at the moment.

The easy and free solution is to use Mozilla Firefox Browser for Android. You must be familiar with Firefox, if you have used the desktop version and the Android version is also an excellent alternative browser for Google Chrome for daily browsing on mobile phones and tablets. For  playing YouTube videos in background, you simple open the Firefox browser in your Android device and navigate to Once the page loads, search for your favorite music or playlist and let the video start playing. Now you can simply use your device’s home button to return to the main screen and start using other apps or let the device screen to turn off either by itself or by pressing the power key once. The video will continue playing in the background and you can use your device’s internal speakers or the headphone to listen to the audio. Whenever you want to return to the app, you can either use the recent apps list or open the Firefox browser from the menu.

Download Mozilla Firefox from Google Play Store for Android mobiles and tablets

Happy listening!

Swami Vivekananda on true religion

“True religion is not talk, or doctrines, or theories, nor is it sectarianism. It is the relation between soul and God. Religion does not consist in erecting temples, or building churches, or attending public worship. It is not to be found in books, or in words, or in lectures, or in organizations. Religion consists in realization. We must realize God, feel God, see God, talk to God. That is religion.”

Swami Vivekananda
Complete works Volume 4, Lectures and Discourses, My Master

Man, the maker of his destiny

Swami Vivekananda

There was a very powerful dynasty in Southern India. They made it a rule to take the horoscope of all the prominent men living from time to time, calculated from the time of their birth. In this way they got a record of leading facts predicted, and compared them afterwards with events as they happened. This was done for a thousand years, until they found certain agreements; these were generalized and recorded and made into a huge book. The dynasty died out, but the family of astrologers lived and had the book in their possession. It seems possible that this is how astrology came into existence. Excessive attention to the minutiae of astrology is one of the superstitions which has hurt the Hindus very much.

I think the Greeks first took astrology to India and took from the Hindus the science of astronomy and carried it back with them from Europe. Because in India you will find old altars made according to a certain geometrical plan, and certain things had to be done when the stars were in certain positions, therefore I think the Greeks gave the Hindus astrology, and the Hindus gave them astronomy.

I have seen some astrologers who predicted wonderful things; but I have no reason to believe they predicted them only from the stars, or anything of the sort. In many cases it is simply mind-reading. Sometimes wonderful predictions are made, but in many cases it is arrant trash.

In London, a young man used to come to me and ask me, “What will become of me next year?” I asked him why he asked me so. “I have lost all my money and have become very, very poor.” Money is the only God of many beings. Weak men, when they lose everything and feel themselves weak, try all sorts of uncanny methods of making money, and come to astrology and all these things. “It is the coward and the fool who says, ‘This is fate'” — so says the Sanskrit proverb. But it is the strong man who stands up and says, “I will make my fate.” It is people who are getting old who talk of fate. Young men generally do not come to astrology. We may be under planetary influence, but it should not matter much to us. Buddha says, “Those that get a living by calculation of the stars by such art and other lying tricks are to be avoided”; and he ought to know, because he was the greatest Hindu ever born. Let stars come, what harm is there? If a star disturbs my life, it would not be worth a cent. You will find that astrology and all these mystical things are generally signs of a weak mind; therefore as soon as they are becoming prominent in our minds, we should see a physician, take good food and rest. Read more