April 2011 Archives

Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II X

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The reign of Elizabeth Windsor spans my lifetime. I was eighteen months old and just learning to talk in sentences on 2nd June 1953, the Coronation Day of Queen Elizabeth II. To mark the occasion, I received a commemorative mug and small Union Jack. I remember sitting in my push chair at a beach on the Isle of Wight, waving my flag proudly and shouting over and over, " Hurrah the  Queen!" (my mother says I pronounced it 'Huwaa de keen').

As a child I spent many happy hours in the tiny house where my nursemaid's  mother, Mrs Alder, lived. A typical English working class home of the day, the house had a cold front parlour with carefully draped chairs nobody ever sat in and elegant Stafford china nobody ever used, a comfortable back kitchen where we sat by a cozy fire, and two cramped bedrooms upstairs. It also boasted a fine collection of the Illustrated London Weekly. I loved to sit and look at the pictures of Royal galas and banquets in this magazine, admiring diamond-studded tiaras and satin ball gowns.

I was about eight years old when my father took me to Leicester to see the Queen. An innocent child, I expected to have some kind of mystical experience. I saw Her Majesty in the royal car, she waved at me--and nothing happened. I was just the same! I can still remember the shock of surprise.
Later, we inherited a television from Great Granny Ruchel. On state occasions such as Armistice Day and the Trooping of the Colour,
we gathered round the black and white TV, while the inimitable Richard Dimbleby reverently narrated what colour outfit Her Majesty was wearing. And as a medical student I finally got a face-to-face meeting with Elizabeth II when she visited our medical school. This time, I did not expect a mystical experience!

It is perhaps because one of the first sentences I ever spoke was, "Hurrah the Queen," that, despite my generally progressive and radical approach to life, I  remained loyal to Her Majesty. While my siblings espoused the  Republican cause, I, from the safety of the United States, was still a Royalist. Still, that is, until the Arab youth shook me out of any remaining sentimentality. Although the Crown Prince of Bahrain has chosen to decline his invitation to the Royal Wedding, the fact is, he was invited, as is the King of Swaziland. It was an invitation that placed the supposed Divine Right of Kings above the human rights of the people of Bahrain. And it was also a violation of the rights of the British people, who clearly did not want a prince with the blood of his people on his hands at the Royal wedding. The  invitation list showed me that the monarch is indeed not the servant of the people, but rather, still sees the people as subjects whose wishes and desires are of little import. And that in Royal eyes the colour of a man's pedigree is of more significance than the content of his character. It's time to switch from Hurrah the Queen to 'We shall overcome". Long live the noble citizens of Bahrain! 


  



      

 
 


 

 


 

 
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Support for Hunger Strikers

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Gandhi fasting at Rajkot

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As a medical  doctor, Ayurvedic practitioner and someone who has done fasts before, I'm offering this blog entry especially for the dear daughters and sons, sisters and brothers in Bahrain, as well as for everyone who is non-violently protesting injustice through hunger strike. Don't hesitate to tweet, DM or email if you need specific guidance for your situation. It's the least I can do!

During your hunger strike
Conserve your energy! Talking can be exhausting, so limit your conversations to gain the endurance to fast longer. Fasting plus silence is a powerful statement.  

Also limit your EMF exposure by staying away from the computer as much as possible. if you have a support person, it's better if they tweet or blog on your behalf.

Stay away from the sight and smell of food. Exposure to food smells can cause you to secrete digestive juices which could lead to ulcers.

Drink according to thirst. Drinking too much water may lead to hyponatraemia (low sodium) causing dizziness and feeble pulse.

Do not smoke. Smoking while fasting could cause severe ulcers and other digestive disturbances.

It is not recommended for nursing mothers to fast, therefore, if nursing please be extremely cautious!

After four days of fasting you may start to gain energy from subtle sources. To support this, prayers, quiet wasifas, mantras, arrow prayers etc.  according to your faith tradition is good. Strolling very gently and exposure to fresh air, running water and nature also support energy if your situation permits this.

Breaking your Fast
There are two systems for fast-breaking, the Nature Cure system and the Ayurvedic system. I have had good success with both.  If you typically have difficulty with grains (common mostly in Northern and Eastern Europeans), use the Nature Cure system. Otherwise you can use either method according to availability and your needs.

Ayurvedic System:
1. For each four days that you fasted, take one day of only vegetable broth.
2. Next day: Cook rice or barley in eight parts water to one part grain for several hours and then drink only the broth and discard the grain.
3. The following day, cook rice or barley in four parts of water until very soft and eat all of it, broth and grain.
4. The next day, use the same recipe but either substitute chicken or meat broth for some of the water or add lentils or mung beans to the mix (half as much lentils as grain). DO NOT use large beans or chickpeas which are hard to digest.
Do this for a day and a half before step 5.
5. Cook rice or barley with two parts water.
6. Repeat step 5 adding either chicken or meat broth or lentils or mung beans and some ground cumin.
7. Start adding cooked vegetables and slowly add one more food a day until your normal diet is resumed.

To support digestive fire
Eat half-stomach i.e. stop when you feel you could eat as much again. This will build up digestion.
Make tea from cumin, coriander and fennel seeds, one third teaspoon of each per cup. Boil until seeds sink, strain and drink.
Grate fresh ginger, add a little salt, squeeze on some lemon or lime juice. Take half a teaspoon of this mixture five minutes before eating.

Nature Cure Method
1. Break fast with vegetable broth. Gandhi used orange juice but veg broth is safer.
2 .For each four days of fasting, take one day of vegetable juices. This requires a juicer. If you don't have a juicer, keep doing veg broth.
3. Start well steamed veggies, one veggie at a time. Do this for two days.
4. Add fruits, one fruit at a time.
 Then start the grains in similar fashion to Ayurvedic method.

Troubleshooting
1. Hyponatraemia: If you have developed symptoms of low sodium includiong dizziness and feeble pulse, then when breaking your fast, when thirsty drink oral rehydrationfluid instead of water.

one level teaspoon of salt
eight level teaspoons of sugar
one litre of clean drinking water

2. Hypocalcaemia: If you have developed symptoms of low calcium such as muscle aches, jitteryness, confusion, tremors,  hand spasms, tingling sensations ,slow or irregular pulse, you should take a liquid cal-mag supplement if available. 

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Violence has many faces

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MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18:  Protesters run...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

When innocents are shot in a school or shopping mall, we feel great devastation, and rightly so. We search for the causes and cures for such senseless violence. Yet violence has many faces--and some of them are our own.
 
When peaceful protesters are shot by dictatorial regimes, we may deplore the violence. But do our governments speak out for us? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Consider Yemen and Bahrain. What have we done to help? Who sold the dictatorial regimes the weapons they turned against their people? Who supported their decades-long rule in the name of 'stability'?
Why, to this day, do we, do our governments, act as if people in Bahrain and Yemen do not have the same right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that we have?

When residents of the Fukushima district must leave their ancestral land, never to return, is not this violence? When did their right to live on their lands become less important than the military-industrial complex's lust for nuclear energy? When did "probable safety"  become an adequate measure of environmental impact?

When 14,000 barrels of oil spill into the Ecuadoran Amazon, sickening the residents and destroying a pristine environment; w
hen lives and livelihoods are lost in Louisiana due to the BP Deepwater oil spill, is this not violence? Who decided that the lives of Shiwaiar tribes or Louisiana fishermen were of less value than oil profits?

When children in Kenya go without food and drinking water because of drought, is this not violence? Eight million in Somalia face death by starvation, a direct result of our emissions of greenhouse gases. It is easy to weep for the funerals of thirteen children killed by a gunman in Rio. Our capacity to weep fails us when faced with the enormity of the African famine, the death of children whose names we do not know, whose funerals we will never see on television. 

 As Jesus makes clear in the gospel, in the end we shall be judged not just for what we did, but also for what we did not do. "I was hungry and you did not feed me, naked and you did not clothe me... sick or in prison and you did not visit me." In the violence of omission and apathy, our faces appear more often than we imagine.
The hungry we did nothing to feed have in some sense died by our hand. The protesters and political prisoners we do not speak out for will speak out in our hearts during  our final hours.

The problems are overwhelming but the solutions are close at hand. By giving alms to organizations such as Oxfam, who both feed the hungry and tackle the roots of poverty through environmental advocacy, we can feed the hungry and clothe the naked. By using our right of free speech, and by supporting human rights organizations, we can speak our for protesters and political prisoners in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria and around the world. Violence has many faces. Le them not be our own.
 

In this talk, Ma introduces the unique teachings of Sant Jnaneshvar, who revealed the Secret Yoga of the Nath Yogis within the meditation instruction given in Bhagavad Gita.

http://alandiashram.org/audio/Bhagavad Gita 8.MP3

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Bahrain is a small country, as I have discussed in previous blogs. In population size it mirrors a rural county. Yet in this small country, a drama is being played out that impacts the entire human family.

If, in one small country, doctors can be arrested for doing their job and ambulances can be attacked, nobody is safe, anywhere in the world. If, in one small country, people can be shot with live ammunition for peacefully expressing their views, nobody is free, anywhere in the world.
If, in one small country, children can be shot at  by special forces police, no parent can sleep peacefully, anywhere in the world.

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The martyrs of Bahrain have not died for Shia Islam, have not died for Sharia law, have not died because of a sectarian quarrel in a far away country. The have died for the sake of the basic liberties of civil society: free and fair elections, right of peaceful assembly, equal protection under the law, freedom of speech, freedom of the press. We take these liberties for granted every day. In Bahrain, demanding these same rights has led to torture, wrongful imprisonment and death. And yet our governments, bound to afford us these civil liberties, have failed to offer strong condemnation of Saudi Arabia's occupation of Bahrain to defend a despotic regime against its own citizens.

The martyrs of Bahrain are not fanatics or fundamentalists but ordinary citizens from all walks of life. Their cause is our own cause-- the cause of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our world is beset with many problems, from nuclear accidents to hunger to global climate change. It is not governments but people who will resolve these problems. And the first step in tackling the immense challenge that awaits us is the creation of an  empowered global citizenry.

The people of Tunusia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain are sacrificing their lives for the world as a whole by claiming their voice and their rights as citizens on the world stage.  If they become free, they will help to free all of us from our rush to planetary destruction. If their cause does not succeed, we may be the next to loose our basic rights. If one of us is not free, none of us is free. I salute the martyrs of Bahrain, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Syria who have sacrificed their lives for values that matter deeply to all of us as a human family!



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http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/about

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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