Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of the Earth's near-surface air and oceans in recent decades and its predictable continuation.

Green House effect:

It is the absorption of the heat by certain gases in the atmosphere. It is real and absolutely helps to regulate temperature of our planet. It is essential for life on Earth and is one of Earth's natural processes. It is the result of heat absorption by certain gases in the atmosphere called greenhouse gases because they effectively 'trap' heat in the lower atmosphere and re-radiation gets downward of some due to heat.

Water vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas, followed by carbon dioxide and other trace gases. Without a natural greenhouse effect, the temperature of the Earth would be about zero degrees F (-18°C) instead of its present 57°F (14°C). So, the concern is not with the fact that we have a greenhouse effect, but whether human activities are leading to an enhancement of the greenhouse effect.

Global surface temperatures have increased about 0.6°C (plus or minus 0.2°C) since the late-19th century, and about 0.4°F (0.2 to 0.3°C) over the past 25 years (the period with the most credible data). The warming has not been globally uniform. Some areas (including parts of the southeastern U.S.) have, in fact, cooled over the last century. The recent warmth has been greatest over North America and Eurasia between 40 and 70°N. Warming, assisted by the record El Niño (Southern Oscillation is a periodic change in the atmosphere and ocean of the tropical Pacific region. It is defined in the atmosphere by the sign of the pressure difference between Tahiti and Darwin, Australia, and in the ocean by warming or cooling of surface waters of the tropical central and eastern Pacific Ocean. El Niño is the warm phase of the oscillation and La Niña is the the cold phase. The oscillation does not have a specific period, but occurs every three to eight years. Mechanisms that cause the oscillation remain a matter of research.)of 1997-1998, has continued right up to the present, with 2001 being the second warmest year on record after 1998.

in sea level:
Global means sea level has been rising at an average rate of 1 to 2 mm/year over the past 100 years, which is significantly larger than the rate averaged over the last several thousand years. Projected increase from 1990-2100 is anywhere from 0.09-0.88 meters, depending on which greenhouse gas scenario is used and many physical uncertainties in contributions to sea-level rise from a variety of frozen and unfrozen water sources.

The future?
Due to the enormous complexity of the atmosphere, the most useful tools for gauging future changes are 'climate models'. These are computer-based mathematical models which simulate, in three dimensions, the climate's behavior, its components and their interactions.

Climate models are constantly improving based on both our understanding and the increase in computer power, though by definition, a computer model is a simplification and simulation of reality, meaning that it is an approximation of the climate system. The first step in any modeled projection of climate change is to first simulate the present climate and compare it to observations. If the model is considered to do a good job at representing modern climate, then certain parameters can be changed, such as the concentration of greenhouse gases, which helps us understand how the climate would change in response. Projections of future climate change therefore depend on how well the computer climate model simulates the climate and on our understanding of how forcing functions will change in the future.

IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios determines the range of future possible greenhouse gas concentrations and other forcing based on considerations such as population growth, economic growth, energy efficiency and a host of other factors. This leads a wide range of possible forcing scenarios, and consequently a wide range of possible future climates. According to the range of possible forcing scenarios, and taking into account uncertainty in climate model performance, the IPCC projects a global temperature increase of anywhere from 1.4 - 5.8°C from 1990-2100. However, this global average will integrate widely varying regional responses, such as the likelihood that land areas will warm much faster than ocean temperatures, particularly those land areas in northern high latitudes (and mostly in the cold season).

Precipitation is also expected to increase over the 21st century, particularly at northern mid-high latitudes, though the trends may be more variable in the tropics. Snow extent and sea-ice are also projected to decrease further in the northern hemisphere, and glaciers and ice-caps are expected to continue to retreat.

24th November 2008

Chennai, Pammal

Thousands of devotees thronged the famous Ganesh Temple, one of the progeny of the goddess Amman, to witness the 'Bharani Deepam' and 'Maha Deepam' as part of Karthigai Deepam festival.

The temple has 3 apportions with Ganesh as the main god and Lord Muruga and Goddess Amman. It is located in the intramural of the Muthamizh nagar.

The festival, which was celebrated in the Tamil month of Karthigai (November-December) began on Bharani and was extolled for 3 days.

The ‘Bharani Deepam’ festival was celebrated in a simple manner with few lamps in and around the temple. The second day festival ‘Maha Deepam’ was celebrated in a majestic manner with huge crowds, bhajans and songs on the the almighty. The third day was a simple festival called as the Kuppa Karthigai, this day was dedicated to the trash. Lamp is lit near the garbage etc.

Chanting of "Kandhanukku Arohara" inclined the air as the Bharani Deepam was lit inside the temple in the morning, while the Maha Deepam was lit at top of the temple on 24th Nov.

Next to the temple, Maha Deepam was lit in a big cone made of dry coconut leaves, this is filled with large quantities of camphor and ghee. The Deepam was seen from miles ahead. This practice is known as Chokka Panai.

The Karthigai day which was synchronized with the full moon day.
The deity, Muruga was taken out in a procession encompassing the temple with five deepams. The Gopuram (Temple tower) was also lit with "Ahals"(earthern oil lamps) glowed with effulgence on the stratums.

Lighting festival was celebrated in all the temples of Chennai, including Vishnu temples. Elsewhere in the area, people celebrated Karthigai Deepam by illuminating their houses with Ahals.

 The diverse Indian cultures, lifestyles and traditions have lent the most vibrant and exquisite designs to the handicrafts. They come in a spellbinding variety of vibrant motifs and designs. 

The beautiful artifacts that have surfaced from the Harappan and Mohenjodaro civilization sites reveal the artistic inclinations of the ancient man.

Today, the same technique and crafts perfected over centuries continue to captivate the aesthetics of the modern person.

Handicraft, also known as craft work or simply craft, is a type of work where useful and decorative devices are made completely by hand or using only simple tools. Usually the term is applied to traditional means of making goods. The individual artisan-ship of the items is a paramount criterion; such items often have cultural or religious significance. Items made by mass production or machines are not handicrafts.

Usually, what distinguishes the term handicraft from the frequently used category arts and crafts is a matter of intent: handcrafted items are intended to be used and worn, having a purpose beyond simple decoration.

Handicrafts are generally considered more traditional work, created as a necessary part of daily life, while arts and crafts implies more of a hobby pursuit and a demonstration of a creative technique. In practical terms, the categories have a great deal of overlap.

Handicrafts include assemblage - collage in three dimensions, beadwork, bone carving, collage possibly involving seeds, fabric, paper, photographs and/or found objects, cooking, embroidery, gardening, handmade, knitting, marquetry, metalwork, modelling, mosaic, needlework, pottery and ceramics, pressed flower craft -- uses real flowers and leaves, sewing, shoemaking, spinning, puppetry, stained glass, woodworking, cabinet making, chip carving and wood burning.

Making of each handicraft item involves different type of work and various level of labour.

Marquetry is the craft of covering a structural carcass with veneer forming decorative patterns, designs or pictures. The result may be furniture, decorated small objects or free-standing pictures. Marquetry differs from the more ancient craft of inlay, in which a solid body of one material is cut out to receive sections of another.

Collage (From the French, coller, to stick) is regarded as a work of visual arts made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole. This technique made its first appearance in the early 20th century as a groundbreaking novelty, however with the passing of time it's become ubiquitous.

Embroidery is the art or handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials with designs stitched in strands of thread or yarn using a needle. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as metal strips, pearls, beads, quills, and sequins. Machine embroidery is created by using a specialized machine that can read a computerized design to automatically create a stitched design.

Knitting is one of several ways to turn thread or yarn into cloth (compare to weaving, crochet). Similar to crochet, knitting consists of loops pulled through other loops; knitting differs from crochet in that multiple loops are "active". The active loops are held on a knitting needle until another loop can be passed through them.

Pressed flower craft consists of drying flower petals and leaves in a flower press to flatten and exclude light and moisture. The pressed items are then used for a variety of craft projects. Pressing flowers makes them appear flat, and often there is a change in color, ranging from faded colors to greater intensity of color.

Stained glass is a term that refers to both the material of coloured glass and to the art and craft of working with it. Stained glass, as an art and a craft, requires the artistic skill to conceive the design, and the engineering skills necessary to assemble the decorative piece, traditionally a window, so that it is capable of supporting its own weight and surviving the elements. While stained glass painting, beadwork, various types of collage, cooking, gardening, handmade, pressed flower craft are easy to make and any layman can do them, embroidery, knitting, marquetry, metal/wood/needle work, pottery, puppetry, bone/chip carving etc requires trained hands.
“I do a lot of glass work like emboss painting, sand painting, stain glass, fabric painting and many other hand works. All are easy to do but one needs to be efficient in free hand drawing in order to get the outline perfect”, says Prabanjani, student.

All materials for handicraft works are easily available in the market at special craft houses. Common handicraft materials include aluminium crafts, bead crafts, brass crafts, cane & bamboo crafts, ceramic crafts, coir, gems, glass, handmade paper crafts, ironmongery, ivory, jute, leather crafts, metal crafts, papier-mâché crafts, pottery, stone crafts, terracotta crafts, textile, wood crafts and wrought iron crafts.

Most houses in India are adorned with numerous handicraft works mostly done by the members of the household itself. “Though I do many hand works, I don't sell them. I do it for my pleasure and decorated my entire house with my works”, says Prabanjani.

The cultural rhythm of India reverberates in the modest dwellings of the Indian artisans for whom handicrafts are not just a vocation but also veneration.

Papier-mâché (French for 'chewed-up paper') is an art form made of pieces of paper, sometimes reinforced with textiles, stuck together using a wet paste (e.g. glue, starch, or wallpaper adhesive). The crafted object becomes solid when the paste dries.

Despite the French sounding name, Papier-mâché originated in China. Hundreds of years ago the Chinese made projects from it, which they hardened with layers of lacquer. It spread across the world and today you can make just about anything, using Papier-mâché.

Papier-mâché has turned out to be the present day medium in place of clay, which ensures longer duration of life, light in weight, elegance and easy portability. Sekar, a sixth generation artist of Papier-mâché clarifies, “Unlike clay models, the Papier-mâché has the added advantage of easy portability, less breakage chances and easy maintenance.” “The Papier-mâché dolls are easy to maintain and can be kept in glass case”, he says.

A form of papier-mâché had existed in China for hundreds of years until a much stronger version (including glue) was patented by Henry Clay of Birmingham England in 1702. It was a common technique for making dolls in the 19th century, before plastics became available. Piñatas are an example, as is one of the Papal Tiaras. Constructing papier-mâché is a common craft used to entertain children.

The professional technique of Papier-mâché involves inputs like paper powder, plaster of Paris, waste paper bits and pasting powder. Initially the original figures are made of clay based upon flight of imagination. Then the moulds are made with plaster of Paris, coir threads, cement and pasting materials. The mixture of paper pulp, sago flour and lime stone powder form the core parts of the body material.

To give strength wastepaper are pasted with adhesives like Fevicol covered by hard board, says Sekar. For joints iron wire is used whenever needed to ensure durability. As a matter of fact a delicate piece may be having 160 joints and these joints cannot be visible for layman's eyes, he adds. From the moulds any number of Papier-mâché dolls can be reproduced on commercial basis. Over the years these idols can be even repainted to give another lease of life.

According to Kalanidhi B Jayalakshmi, master carftswoman in Papier-mâché, however, the art form suffers set backs due to inadequate investment and glut in the market. Due to this she taps the potentials from abroad apart from local market for her art marvels, she said.

In Russia a variety of utilitarian as well as decorative objects have been fashioned from papier-mâché since the late 18th century. These items include wall plaques, trays, boxes, salt cellars, desk sets and paper knives, storage jars for tea and tobacco, album covers, beads cases, bracelets and brooches.

After the entire surface of the finished blank has been sanded smooth, several coats of black lacquer are applied to each article. It is then given to the artists for decoration. Highly complex and finely detailed miniature scenes are painted onto even the smallest black lacquered object. Russian lacquer art on papier-mâché has flourished for well over 200 years and has achieved the transition from folk art to fine art.

Papier-mâché was one of the first composite materials, and using the right techniques, it can build surprisingly strong structures. The paper of the 1800s was significantly more stretchable than modern paper, especially when damp. Papier-mâché paste is the substance, which holds the paper together. The traditional method of making Papier-mâché paste is to add water and flour in the ratio of 1:1. Some artists prefer to boil the paste, saying that it makes the consistency smoother (water to flour ratio is changed to five parts water and one part flour in this case). Other artists use a three to one or a one to one ratio of water and white glue. Still others say that starch makes a fine paste.

Presently, Papier-mâché is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance for its eco-friendly nature and is preferred to other artifacts made of resins fiberglass, latex rubber and artificial substances that are harmful to not only the craftsman, but the environment as well.

Padmapriya Manoj

One of the main attractions of a sandy beach, especially for children, is playing with the sand, with more possibilities than a sandbox. They make mountains, pits, canals, tunnels, bridges, sculptures, statues, building models etc to spend their time. 

A sand castle is a type of sand sculpture which resembles a miniature building, often (but not always) a castle. The two basic building ingredients, sand and water are available in abundance on a sandy beach, so most sand play occurs there or in a sandpit. A variant on the sand castle is the drip castle, made by mixing extra water in with the sand, and dripping this wet sand from a fist held above. When the slurry of sand and water lands on existing sand structures, the water is rapidly wicked away, leaving the blob of sand in place. The effect is Gaudi-esque. Sand castles are typically made by children, simply for the fun of making them. However, adults sometimes engage in contests making sand sculptures, in which the goal is to create structures which don't appear to be constructed just from sand; they can become large and complex.

Almost as much fun as building beach dams is deliberately breaking them to cause a flood. If the beach is at an ocean, or at a sea connected to an ocean then there can be tides. These tides add attractive dynamics: on flood-tides the rising water enters previously dry ditches and pits, and one can try to keep areas dry by dikes, etc; on ebb-tides one can try to keep water in a canal by deepening it and lengthening it, keeping it connected to the retracting sea. If one returns the next day much erosion is apparent--in fact only large excavations at all survive one excursion of the tide, and beach dynamics soon enough smooth out the surface, erasing everything.

The sand must be fine, or the wetted grains will not stick together. Dry sand is loose, wet sand adherent, except when it is too wet. Sand used in the construction may dry or get wetter, changing the integrity of the structure; "landslides" are common.

The main tools for construction are a shovel (although using the hands only is also common) and a bucket or other container to bring water from the sea to the "construction site". Also pieces of wood etc. can be used to reinforce structures.

Although not historically proved, there is an interesting story in the Orissan myths regarding the origin of sand sculpture. Poet Balaram Das, the author of Dandi Ramayana was a great devotee of Lord Jagannath .Once during Ratha Yatra (Car Festival), he tried to climb the chariot of Lord Jagannath to offer his prayer. However he wasn't allowed by the priests of the chariot to climb it and was insulted by them. With a great frustration and humiliation he came to the beach (Mahodadhi) and carved the statues of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra on the Golden sand. Then there he started praying and worshipping these statues. His devotion was so strong and deep that the original statues vanished from the chariot and appeared at that place where Balaram Das was worshipped.

Although the above stanza has no solid historical support, it is evident that from the period of Balaram Das, the people of Puri are acquainted with the carving of sculpture on sand. The period of Balaram Das as mentioned in history was 14th century AD.

Sand sculpting has been around for many decades and has become very popular more recently with hundreds of competitions held all over the world every year. It has become quite sophisticated and can be found in the book of world records as well as in many commercial and promotional applications. Some advocates are purists using no artificial materials, no forms or colouring, no adhesive or heavy machinery.

Renowned sand sculptor Sudarsan Pattnaik, who shot to fame by winning the third Berlin International Sand Sculpture Competition at Germany last year, made a giant size sand art depicting a mother with a child and a drop of polio vaccine on the Pondicherry beach in commemoration with the National Immunization Day on May 21.

The sand art measures 20 feet and 20 feet. It took more than 36 hours to create the piece with sand and water, said the artist who hit headlines in the national and international media when he created a replica of the Taj Mahal in black sand just in front of the Taj Mahal at Agra.

Hailing from coastal town of Puri in Orissa, Sudarsan grew up on the shores playing on the sand. "As every little kid I too had the natural instinct of playing with the sand and sculpting miniature forms. But the real interest came when I started carving the faces of gods and goddesses in sand with my imagination and creativity when I was around 14 years," he said.

Sudarsan said he focused more on social themes like HIV/AIDS and polio immunisation. Armed with the artistic ability of making sand arts ranging from 50 feet and a few inches tall, Sudarsan aspired to popularise the art as a professional art form.

"I wish to involve more and more young people in sand art. I travel to various countries and host workshops to give demonstrations on this art form," he said. The artist has travelled more than 27 countries in his earnest effort to popularise the art.

The artist has now set his eyes on the ensuing Berlin International Sand Sculpture Competition at Germany. "I wish to retain title in the forthcoming international competition," he said.

It can be a very relaxing experience to create something out of sand and water, on the beach. Spending time shaping and carving the sand, slowly the sculpture appears, and for a moment seems to come alive. Sand sculptors only create half of the experience; the other half is created by the viewer.

Be it an hour or a day, alone or in a group of friends or family, sand castle play is increasingly seen as a leisure time activity for beach vacationers.

Human civilization everywhere in the world is linked in some way or the other with the ancient form of art called terracotta.

Terra cotta otherwise called as 'baked earth' in Italian is a waterproof ceramic. Its uses include pottery vessels, older wastewater drains, and as surface embellishment in building construction.

Terra cotta has been used throughout history for sculpture and pottery, as well as bricks and roof shingles. The legacy of terracotta is deeply associated with original Dravidian culture. The village gods like Iyyanarappan, Subdhamuni, Vazhmuni, Veerapatraswamy, Karuppannaswamy and saptakanni (seven spinsters) were all made of terracotta before the advent of mortar lime and cement. Even today larger than life size statues of terracotta can be seen in villages like Thennampakkam and Puthupattu. A hamlet called Thirumangalam near Ulundurpet remains today the virtual treasure house of ancient terracotta artifacts.

All the terracotta works are handmade with locally available resources like bamboos sticks and wooden needles. The clay sculptures are first dried (baked) in the sun after being formed. Later, they are placed in the ashes of open hearths and fired in the traditional way to harden. The fired figures can be sold either with natural colors or can be dipped in a mixture of orange powder, red oxide, Asian enamel and terracotta paint for brightness.

The earthenware is hand-molded into various figurines, images and plaques. Terracotta is molded in many states into figures inspired by local legends and iconography, and has been practiced for centuries, since the Harappan civilization.

The rural parts of India commonly display terracotta animal figures in places of worship or in the vicinity of temples. In some parts of Indian villages, the women folk create their own forms of Gods for worship and other decorative pieces for adorning their houses.

The beautiful terracotta works are ideally used for decoration. People in states of Bihar, Bengal and Gujarat prepare clay figures to propitiate their Gods and Goddesses, during festivals. Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh is the home to exquisite clay figures of animals. The potters create the basic form by throwing separate pieces on the wheel and then joining them. They are then fired and then painted brilliant colors.

In the South India, Tamil Nadu is famous for the terracotta figures of the Aiyanar Deity. Huge figures are created as standing guards at the entrances of villages protecting the insiders from evil spirits.

Today, terracotta pot and pottery, though is not used for basic needs, a designer pot, nevertheless, has retained its pride of place for exciting interior designing and decoration. Skilled pottery work still evokes a rare affinity, not known by any other form of craft.

While retaining the aura and looks of natural terracotta, skilled Indian potters apply twists and turns, cut patterns and myriad shapes on the body to produce offbeat terracotta pots. A vast range of vases, candleholders, hanging pots, wall hangings, planters and bells are also made for home decoration and special occasions. Available in variegated designs these terracotta items seem quite popular with the international buyers.

Terracotta handmade designer decorative tiles have also gained immense popularity worldwide. Each tile design depicts a particular theme that, together with other similar tiles, makes a pattern. These terracotta tiles are used for walls and ceilings and not for floors. The designs in handmade terracotta tile range from geometric to floral and Indian folk designs.

Clay potters of West Bengal, in Kolkata and its suburbs are famous for making clay and terracotta idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses like Ganapati (the Elephant God), Durga, dancing Nataraj, Shiva and Buddha. Superior terracotta craftsmanship is skillfully used for making sculpted murals.

According to Kalaimamani V K Munuswamy an accomplished craftsman, terracotta can be utilised for creation of cinema settings and master craftsman Munuswamy is already associated with the famous directors in the film industry.
Munuswamy is also being associated with Pondicherry based toy makers' co-operative societies like Pommai and Pudhumai. “I have so far trained about 300 students in Terracotta art”, he says who is very keen in promoting the art form to the oncoming generation. Two of his students were from Thailand and Indonesia. He also taught terracotta craft as resource person for 2000 craft pictures all over India. He said that a separate school for terracotta might be started to promote the ancient art form he advocated.

The craft being very old and ancient is undergoing a complete revival and experts feel, it is still evolving.

Crafted with meticulous care the Tanjore pictures are unique. What sets them apart from Indian paintings in general are the embellishments made over the basic drawings with precious and semi-precious stones as well as the relief work which gives them a three dimensional effect.

Tanjore painting is an important form of classical South Indian painting native to the town of Tanjore in Tamil Nadu about 350 Km south of Chennai.

The art form dates back to the early 9th Century, a period dominated by the Chola rulers, who encouraged art and literature. The Chola empire was later was ruled by the Marathas in the 17th century. The Maratha rulers encouraged this art in Tanjore. In Mysore the art was patronized by Maharaja Mummadi Krishnarajendra Wodeyar. This form of art is unique.

The paintings are known for their elegance, rich colours, and attention to detail. No two paintings can be alike and no two artists can give the same effects on the work.

The themes for most of these paintings are Hindu Gods and Goddesses and scenes from Hindu mythology because this art of painting flourished at a time when fine-looking and striking temples were being constructed by rulers of several dynasties.

The Tanjore School of paintings dates back to the 16th century. However, there are only a few paintings that date back that far. The fact remains that most of the paintings that exist today are not even a hundred years old.

The paintings are notable for their adornment in the form of semi-precious stones, pearls, glass pieces and gold. The rich vibrant colors, dashes of gold, semi-precious stones and fine artistic work are characteristics of these paintings. They add beauty and culture to a variety of surroundings and décor. The figures in these paintings are large and the faces are round and divine. The pictures are of various sizes, ranging from huge works spanning whole walls to small miniatures no longer than 6-inch square.

In modern times, these paintings have become a much sought after souvenir during festive occasions in South India.

Gurubaran Tanjore art gallery has more than 30 dedicated artists who make tanjore paintings. These artists are well experienced and very quality conscious. We source all the raw materials directly and hence maintain excellent quality control, says Parthiban, owner of this famous shop in Mylapore, Chennai.

Subjects drawn here are different postures of Hindu gods and goddesses like Krishna, Ganesha, Lakshmi, Vishnu, Hanuman and others. We also make non religious subjects like raja, rani and animals like horse, elephant, peacock and others, he adds.

Materials used in this sector are good at eminence, borer and heat resistant plywood is used. We use 22ct gold foils and first quality colour stones, says Ramaswamy a co-worker.

Framed Stone Idols are made out of an alloy of lead and tin. Plated with gold and studded with swaroski stones, the subjects are Lord Ganesha and Lord Balaji. They are framed to adorn the walls or can be kept in acrylic boxes.

The art has undergone quite a bit of change, not in the style of the painting, but in the use of raw material for preparing the board and the use of painting material as well as the use of synthetic material in place of precious stones.

The use of pure gold foil of 22/ 24 carat continues and the life of such paintings is long if done and preserved in a correct manner.

Seven Steps to the Art of Tanjore Painting:

1. Prepare the board to make the painting

2. Sketch the figure and fixing the stones

3. Fill around the stone work with a thin mix of gum and chalk powder. Inlay and relief work around the stone setting with a thicker mix

4. Clean the work and fixing the gold foil over the stones and relief work

5. Cut the gold foil to expose the stone work

6. Paint the figures and the background

7. Check for flaws, correct and fix the glass and frame.

While each of the steps appears to be easy and simple, a lot of care is needed at every step to ensure that the final product is flawless and superb.


Praying has many different forms. Prayer may be done privately and individually, or it may be done corporately in the presence of fellow believers. Prayer is a splendid knack which has to be incorporated into our daily life in which one is in constant communication with god. The Vedic faith system has taught us the art of living, now we are lugging the little out of the copious works done on Vedas. In this lesson we are going to learn the procedure to pray.

The Vedic lifestyle:
Over its lifetime, it has incorporated all sorts of prayer systems from fire-based rituals to philosophical musings. Prayer was part and parcel of the Vedic lifestyle, and as such permeated its books. Indeed, the highest sacred texts of the Hindus, the Vedas, are a large collection of mantras (sacred hymns of Hindus) and prayer rituals extolling a single supreme force, Brahman. Hindus in India have numerous devotional movements. The Brahmin prayer is considered to be the highest in values, discipline and rituals pertaining to the human aspiration and highest truth, this is the essence of the Vedic system. Stemming from the universal Soul Brahman prayer is focused on the personal forms of God such as Shiva, Vishnu or Vishnu's avatars, Rama and Krishna.

The power of mantras:
A mantra (or mantram) is a religious or mystical syllable or poem, typically from the Sanskrit language. Their use varies according to the school and philosophy associated with the mantra. They are primarily used as spiritual conduits, words or vibrations that instill one-pointed concentration in the devotee. Mantras originated in the Vedic religion of India, later becoming an essential part of the Hindu tradition. Mantras are interpreted to be effective as sound (vibration), to the effect that great emphasis is put on correct pronunciation (resulting in an early development of a science of phonetics in India). They are intended to divert the mind from illusion and material inclinations. Chanting is the process of repeating a mantra.
The most basic mantra is Aum, which in Hinduism is known as the "pranava mantra," the source of all mantras. The philosophy behind this is the Hindu idea of nama-rupa (name-form), which supposes that all things, ideas or entities in existence, within the phenomenological cosmos, have name and form of some sort. The most basic name and form is the primordial vibration of Aum, as it is the first manifested nama-rupa of Brahman. Aum is considered to be the most fundamental and powerful mantra, and thus is prefixed and suffixed to all Hindu prayers. While some mantras may invoke individual Gods or principles, the most fundamental mantras, like 'Aum,' the 'Shanti Mantra,' the 'Gayatri Mantra' and others all ultimately focus on the One reality.
The procedure to pray:
The ideal times for chanting mantra are three times a day - at dawn, mid-day, and at dusk. These times are known as the three sandhyas (morning, mid-day and evening). The maximum benefit of chanting the mantra is said to be obtained by chanting it 108 times. However, one may chant it for 3, 9, or 18 times when pressed for time. The syllables of the mantra are said to positively affect all the chakras or energy centers in the human body hence, proper pronunciation and enunciation are very important. Hindus pray with their hands (the palms) joined together. The hand gesture is similar to the popular Indian greeting namaste. The following prayer was part and parcel of all the Vedic ceremonies and continues to be invoked even today in Hindu temples all over India and other countries around the world, and exemplifies this essence:

Asato Ma Sat Gamaya
Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya
Mrityor Ma Amritam Gamaya
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.
This means:
Lead Us from the Unreal to Real,
Lead Us from Darkness to Light,
Lead Us from Death to Immortality,
Aum (the universal sound of God)
Let There Be Peace Peace Peace.
The Gayatri mantra:
The Gayatri mantra is Hinduism's most representative prayer. Hindus recite it on a daily basis, not only contemplating its straightforward meaning, but also dwelling on and imbibing its sound, regarded to be pregnant with spiritual meaning. For this reason nearly all Hindu prayers and mantras are sung. Rishis selected the words of the Gayatri Mantra and arranged them so that they not only convey meaning but also create specific power of righteous wisdom through their utterance. The Gayatri was first recorded in the Rig Veda which was written in Sanskrit about 2500 to 3500 years ago, and by some reports, the mantra may have been chanted for many generations before that.
om bhur bhuvah svah
tat savitur varenyam
bhargo devasya dhimahi
dhiyo yo nah prachodayat
Western interpretation of mantra:
"Let us adore the supremacy of that Divine Sun, the Godhead, who illuminates all, who recreates all, from whom all proceed, to whom all must return, whom we invoke to direct our understanding aright in our progress towards his holy seat."
Hindu interpretation of mantra:
"O God, Thou art the giver of life, the remover of pain and sorrow, the bestower of happiness; O Creator of the Universe, may we receive Thy supreme sin-destroying light; may Thou guide our intellect in the right direction."

I strongly feel that the civic sense should be flaunted with the sixth sense.This issue has been bothering me for so many years, I dont know whether there'll be any change in our society after reading this article but atleast this can be a protest to the current occurence. When the issue of cleanliness arises we tend to blame the uneducated ones, but how many of us are willing to keep the city clean, doing a gaffe deliberately is shoddier than doing it unknowingly, even though we’ve learnt about cleanliness, health and hygiene, we fail to implement the same in our milieu in order to keep it dirt free.

We follow sanitation at home but we fall short follow the same the minute we step out of our home, do we feel that our environment is a huge dustbin? We need not take a broom to clean the roads, but we can to simpler things to keep our society clean.

Many commers are found urinating on the roads and walls, how irritating it sounds regardsless of the education this act does, infact why education is needed to keep the city clean?? we can use the government toilets instead of using the roadside, instead of throwing the squanders on the road we can put in the dustbin set aside on the road, many people vomit on the road and just move away on the contrary we can get/buy a water bottle/packets and dislodge the grime, if that’s not possible we can at least put some mud on the it so that the vomited area looks spotless.

Another major issue is we should avoid spitting on the road, how unclean it looks if we spit on the road, its not hygienic also, many people walk with bare foot, the might stamp on it. Most of us treat the waste lands as dust bins by this practice the environment gets disturbed by insects and other irritants. Above all we should treat our surrounding as our home.

Roads under maintenance are not completed properly due to tis people fall and get hurt badly, this becomes a dangerous issue in rainy season and when the water logs on road and when the pit becomes unseen and sub-merged. Only when the water gets drained we are able to see the pit being opened. How risky and hazarduos is it?

There are no srtict government officials to make this act come true, they (the govt) just leave it just like that and as a result our country turns out to be a waste silo. Animals wander on the roads, the owners leave them to go around hap haxard and finally they do dirty things. Why is our city has not woken up still?

The most important reason for not maintaining our city clean is there is no strong rule that has been imposed in our country. Our regime should take this as a serious issue and operate accordingly.

Padmapriya Manoj