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India is about 1/3 the size of the United States, India is the seventh largest country in the world, the second most populous country in the world. ● ● India is the largest democracy in the world. ● ● The Kumbh Mela (or Grand Pitcher Festival) is a huge Hindu religious festival that takes place in India every 12 years. In 2001, 60 million people attended, breaking the record for the world’s biggest gathering. The mass of people was photographed from space by a satellite. ● ● To avoid polluting the elements (fire, earth, water, air), followers of Zoroastrianism in India don’t bury their dead, but instead leave bodies in buildings called “Towers of Silence” for the vultures to pick clean. ● ● India has one of the world’s highest rates of abortion. ● ● Most Indians live on less than two dollars a day. ● ● Cows are considered one of humankind’s seven mothers because they offer milk as does one’s natural mother. ● ● Dancing is one of India’s most highly developed arts and was an integral part of worship in the inner shrines of every temple. It is notable for its expressive hand movements. ● ● Many Indian wives will never say their husband’s name aloud, as it is a sign of disrespect. When addressing him, the wife will use several indirect references, such as “ji” or “look here” or “hello,” or even refer to him as the father of her child. ● ● The Indian flag has three horizontal bands of color: saffron for courage and sacrifice, white for truth and peace, and green for faith, fertility, and chivalry. An emblem of a wheel spinning used to be in the center of the white band, but when India gained independence, a Buddhist dharma chakra, or wheel of life, replaced the spinning wheel. ● ● ● ● ● The temples of Khajuraho are famous for their erotic sculptures and are one of the most popular tourist attractions in India. Scholars still debate the purpose of such explicit portrayals of sexual intercourse, which sometimes involve animals. ● ● The earliest cotton in the world was spun and woven in India. ● ● The Himalayas—from the Sanskrit hima, meaning “snow,” and alaya, meaning “abode”—are found in the north of India. They extend 1,500 miles and are slowly growing taller, by almost an inch (2.5 cm) a year. Several ancient Indian monasteries are found nestled in the grandeur of these mountains. ● ● With 150,000 post offices, India has the largest postal network in the world. ● ● The Bengal tiger is India’s national animal. ● ● Alexander the Great of Macedon (356-323 B.C.) was one of the first important figures to bring India into contact with the West. After his death, a link between Europe and the East would not be restored until Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama (1460-1524) landed in Calicut, India, in 1498. ● ● The British Raj, or British rule, lasted from 1858 to 1947 (although they had a strong presence in India since the 1700s). British influence is still seen in Indian architecture, education system, transportation, and politics. ● ● Every major world religion is represented in India. Additionally, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism all originated in India. ● ● India has the world’s largest movie industry, based in the city of Mumbai (known as the “City of Dreams”). The B in “Bollywood” comes from Bombay, the former name for Mumbai. Almost all Bollywood movies are musicals. ● ● Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948) is known around the world as Mahatma, which is an honorific title meaning “Great Soul” in the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit. ● ● ● ● ● The lotus is sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. ● The Bahá'í house of worship in Delhi, known as the “Lotus Temple,” is shaped like a lotus flower with 27 gigantic “petals” that are covered in marble. ● ● The banyan, or Indian fig tree, is considered a symbol of immortality and is mentioned in many Indian myths and legends. This self-renewing plant is India’s national tree. ● ● Marigold flowers are used as decoration for Hindu marriages and are a symbol of good fortune and happiness. ● ● The name “India” derives from the River Indus, which most likely is derived from the Sanskrit sindhu, meaning “river.” The official Sanskrit name of India is Bharat, after the legendary king in the epicMahabharata. ● ● Indians made significant contributions to calculus, trigonometry, and algebra. The decimal system was invented in India in 100 B.C. The concept of zero as a number is also attributed to India. ● ● The national fruit of India is the mango. The national bird is the peacock, which was initially bred for food. ● ● Hindi and English are the official languages of India. The government also recognizes 17 other languages (Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Nepali, Manipuri, Konkani, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu). Apart from these languages, about 1,652 dialects are spoken in the country. ● ● India has the world’s third largest road network at 1.9 million miles. It also has the world’s second largest rail network, which is the world’s largest civilian employer. ● ● Bathing in the Ganges in particular is thought to take away a person’s sins. It is not unusual to spread a loved one’s ashes in the Ganges. ● ● Most Indians rinse their hands, legs, and face before eating a meal. ● ● It is traditional to wear white, not black, to a funeral in India. Widows will often wear white in contrast to the colorful clothes of married or single women. ● ● India is the world’s largest tea producer, and tea (chai) is its most popular beverage. ● ● The Taj Mahal (“crown palace”) was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (1592-1666) for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal (1593-1631). Made of marble it has intricate workmanship. It took 22,000 workmen 22 years to complete it. ● ● The first and greatest civilization in ancient India developed around the valley of the Indus River (now Pakistan) around 3000 B.C. Called the Indus Valley civilization, this early empire was larger than any other empire, including Egypt and Mesopotamia. ● ● After the great Indus Civilization collapsed in 2000 B.C., groups of Indo-Europeans called Aryans (“noble ones”) traveled to northwest India and reigned during what is called the Vedic age. The mingling of ideas from the Aryan and Indus Valley religions formed the basis of Hinduism, and the gods Shiva, Kali, and Brahma all have their roots in Aryan civilization. The Aryans also recorded the Vedas, the first Hindu scriptures, and introduced a caste system based on ethnicity and occupation. ● ● Chandragupta Maurya (340-290 B.C.), a leader in India who established the Mauryan Empire (321-185 B.C.), was guarded by a band of women on horseback. ● Sanskrit is the mother of all the European ● languages. Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computer software reported in Forbes magazine, ● July 1987. ● Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to humans.Charaka, the father of medicine consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago. ● India never invaded any country in her last 10,000 years of history. ● India invented the Number System. Zero was invented by Aryabhatta. ● India never invaded any country in her last 10,000 years of history. ● India invented the Number System. Zero was invented by Aryabhatta. ● ● India never invaded any country in her last 10,000 years of history. ● India invented the Number System. Zero was invented by Aryabhatta. ● ●
The Art of Giving

The first question is : When should one give?

We all know the famous incident from Mahabharat.

Yudhisthir, asks a beggar seeking alms to come the next day. On this, Bhim rejoices, that Yudhisthir his brother, has conquered death! For he is sure that he will be around tomorrow to give. Yudhisthir gets the message.  One does not know really whether one will be there tomorrow to give! 

The time to give therefore is now.

The next question is 'How much to give?

One recalls the famous incident from history. Rana Pratap was reeling after defeat from the Moghals. He had lost his army, he had lost his wealth, and most important he had lost hope, his will to fight. At that time in his darkest hour, his erstwhile minister Bhamasha came seeking him and placed his entire fortune at the disposal of Rana Pratap. With this, Rana Pratap raised an army and lived to fight another day.

The answer to this question how much to give is  "Give as much as you can!

The next question is What to give?

It is not only money that can be given. It could be a flower or even a smile.

It is not how much one gives but how one gives that really matters. When you give a smile to a stranger that may be the only good thing received by him in days and weeks!

"You can give anything but you must give with your heart!

One also needs answer to this question Whom to give?

Many times we avoid giving by finding fault with the person who is seeking. However, being judgmental and rejecting a person on the presumption that he may not be the most deserving is not justified.
“Give without being judgmental!

Next we have to answer 'How to give?

Coming to the manner of giving, one has to ensure that the receiver does not feel humiliated, nor the giver feels proud by giving.
In giving follow the advice, ’Let not your left hand know what your right hand gives? Charity without publicity and fanfare is the highest form of charity.
'Give quietly!
While giving let not the recipient feel small or humiliated. After all what we give never really belonged to us. We come to this world with nothing and will go with nothing. The thing gifted was only with us for a temporary period. Why then take pride in giving away something which really did not belong to us? Give with grace and with a feeling of gratitude.

What should one feel after giving?

We all know the story of Eklavya. When Dronacharya asked him for his right thumb as "Guru Dakshina?he unhesitatingly cut off the thumb and gave it to Dronacharya.
There is a little known sequel to this story. Eklavya was asked whether he ever regretted the act of giving away his thumb. He replied, and the reply has to be believed to be true, as it was asked to him when he was dying.

His reply was "Yes! I regretted this only once in my life. It was when Pandavas were coming in to kill Dronacharya who was broken hearted on the false news of death of his son Ashwathama and had stopped fighting. It was then that I regretted the loss of my thumb. If the thumb was there, no one could have dared hurt my Guru?

The message to us is clear.

Give and never regret giving!

And the last question is

‘How much should we provide for our heirs?

Ask yourself 'are we taking away from them the gift of work'? - A source of happiness! The answer is given by Warren Buffett:

"Leave your kids enough to do anything, but not enough to do nothing!

Let us learn the Art of Giving, and quoting Saint Kabir:

"When the wealth in the house increases, when water fills a boat,  Throw them out with both hands!


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