Vision of Progressive Rural India

With an abundance of natural beauty and charm, rural India is home to 65% of the nation’s population. Its luscious green fields, clean air, organically grown produce, fresh milk, simplicity, spirituality, and cooperation among peoples and bright sparkling stars against clear blue skies evoke memories of opportunity and boundless freedom.

Canada Day (July 1)

Canada Day, formerly known as Dominion Day, marks the historical date in 1867 when Canada gained independence from Great Britain. This important holiday celebrates the birth of Canada as an independent nation and is celebrated each year on July 1st. This much anticipated event is celebrated with parades, festivals, fireworks and widespread displays of Canadian pride.

Reaffirming commitment of respect, recognition on Women’s Day and Anti-Racism Day

By: Chandra TripathiMarch 8, 2021

To the Editor:

The month of March features the celebration of two important respect and recognition events: International Women’s Day, March 8; and the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, March 21.

Canada is among the first countries to proclaim both days, and provide an opportunity to reflect on the ongoing efforts to eliminate discrimination, and a reminder to all citizens to make a personal commitment to respect and diversity, and to end sexism and racism.

March 8 is a global day of recognition, celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women; demonstrating respect at home; and raising awareness. 

In Canada, we work to advance equality for women by focusing our efforts on increasing women’s economic security and prosperity; encouraging women’s leadership and democratic participation, and ending gender-based violence. 

Women are at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19 (Coronavirus), as scientists, doctors, and caregivers, and we should celebrate their tremendous efforts during the pandemic.
Personally, I am indebted to women as many women in my life uniquely helped to shape me, including my Wonderful wife, Abhilasha; Outstanding colleagues and friends; Marvelous daughters; Adorable sisters; and Nurturing mother.

I salute them each day for instilling in me the patience and values to deal with life’s challenges.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Chandra S. Tripathi

Creating a safe and meaningful lifestyle during COVID-19

By: Chandra TripathiApril 15, 2020

The consequences of Coronavirus (COVID-19) have many of us glued to the news, concerned for loved ones, and adapting our lives to deal with the changes the pandemic is having on our homes, schools, workplaces, and relationships.

Though it is very tough, there are many in our country and in the world to whom our compassionate help of phone calls and smiles (while keeping physical distance), emotional and financial support can make a big service for humanity. 

Based on my past experiences and spiritual upbringing – understanding the impermanent nature of everything – I have developed positive coping strategies to handle the situation at hand and may be more prepared to deal with this crisis.  

I can say that it is a good first step to strengthen yourself, ensure your safety and the safety of your loved ones, and then extend your hand with kindness to support humanitarian efforts being done by many individuals, organizations and the government. Some of us are lucky that we have paid sick leave and at our company, Bruce Power, we have the option to work from home and continue to support the generation of electricity during the crises. We should be grateful for that opportunity and sharing our resources with the most vulnerable.

Considering the closure of schools and child-care centres for the extended periods, the burden on working parents (especially low-income, single-parent or single-earner households) without flexible work conditions, are extreme. People without shelters, daily wage earners, seniors, and the very young are vulnerable, as are those who have pre-existing health conditions. Though the economy is important, right now is the time to extend help to save the life and health of the people.

The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are – and will be – defined by our own choices. Those choices should be based upon values, not value (material): compassion, courage, sharing, caring, and co-operation. Those have always been ours, but this is the time to test them. Life and death decisions are not only being made by doctors and nurses but by each and every one of us as we practise physical-distancing, ensure safety, and extend the helping hands to others. Together, let’s make the right choices.

In this global village, some of our extended families are living far away (like ours in India) and our worries are compounded by distance and by health care and crisis management systems. It is hard to find balance in the emotional turbulence. But like most of you, we find a connection when we broaden our mind and consider the whole world as a global village under one fatherhood (vasudhaiv kutumbkam in Sanskrit).

We have discovered deep soul connection through self-reflection and taking care of not just ourselves and neighbours but by extending our financial support in rural India, Fatehpura, UP (my birthplace) for the free distribution of food and essential items (flour, daal, vegetables, salt, and soap) to needy (daily wagers and handicapped) people in nearby six villages (right).

Thanks to Saudas, Ghanshyam and Vivek here in Canada and my relatives in the village (Raju, Shri Krishna, and Rajesh), we are able to feed almost 200 families daily for more than two weeks during the 21-day lock-down period (March 24 to April 14), enforced by the Government of India to prevent the community spread of the infectious virus.

Further to pass my time, I have also taken this crisis as an opportunity to use technology to teach communication skills (listening, reading, writing, comprehension and speaking), math, philosophy and strategic thinking to a few high school students in my village in India. Here in my home in Canada, besides being self-isolated, I have found a way to support some needy families by giving emotional comforts, giving to charity and donations to food banks.

Some of these new experiences of giving and sharing are fulfilling along with my daily routine of scripture studies, yoga, meditation, trail walks with my wife, Abhilasha, and working from home, as well as routine conversations with my children in the city and  families in India. It all helps to make my day go by very fast and to feel a sense of achievement every day.

I hope this information may be useful to others. We are only a call away to support or provide any help to needy within the regulation.

Reflections of life lessons imparted from my Mother – Part 1

As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the world (wave 1 to 3), it is inducing a considerable degree of fear, worry and uncertainty and impacting relationship/ connectivity. All these factors causing psychological to elevate stress or anxiety. To positively handle our mental health and to commemorate my mother, I would like to share some valuable lessons from my book “Maa aur Motherhood” that may be useful to others.

  1. My mother had the remarkable ability to tolerate and forgive and to accept others as they were. Her eagerness to love unconditionally and to provide support without the need for appreciation has helped me understand that unhappiness is rooted in our expectation of others and inability to accept our unique differences. My parents always accepted us, forgave our failures, overlooked our shortcomings and allowed us to live free from judgments.

The Shri Bhagavad Gita teaches us that happiness is in our hands, cultivated by our choice of actions, reactions and thoughts. Being true to ourselves and believing in our abilities has the power to strengthen our inner core and respect for life (“All power is within you. You can do anything and everything. Believe in that” by Swami Vivekanand). We have a unique set of ideals and beliefs which determines how we live life. Often, we see what we believe rather than believing what we see. At times we struggle to understand others, getting impatient, frustrated and even angry when they disagree with our perspective. The sooner we accept that gaining the approval of everyone is a losing battle, the sooner our lives and relationships improve; we become more resilient and content. Our selfish and egocentric minds want to believe that our arguments are more rational, and accomplishments more impressive. The trick to relieving ourselves of this burden is to constantly remind ourselves that we all live in our own separate realities, crafted by unique circumstances and experiences (just agree to disagree). When I catch myself in an argument and can set aside my urge to engage, thereby eliminating the fuel it needs to grow, I rarely end up disappointed or unfulfilled. It isn’t easy, and despite constantly training my mind to be more aware, the ever-ready ego becomes easily agitated when confronted by the argumentative behavior, especially of loved ones. These are the moments we can practice patience, acceptance and forgiveness. Is this true for you? Happiness is within our reach if we stop blaming others for our anger, frustrations and stress, and are more mindful of our actions and reactions. We cling desperately to a false sense of control, to keep everything and everyone in order (expect it to spill that will result in issues – deal with patience). Life is an unpredictable journey filled with both darkness and light, advanced by the choices made between each inhale and exhale (stepping stone to progress or slippery slope to fall). Accepting things as they are, gracefully, and seeking perspective rather than control, is the way forward. Perspective facilitates compassion and faith, and can make a big difference in relationships, helping us prioritize the feelings of others. I decided to try new relationship with loved ones by exploring my contribution to the problem instead of continuing to focus on their reactions. I discovered that the problem was, to a larger degree, me. I have reduced my blaming tendency and backed off from my expectations. The reward is sweet and certain, we became more accepting of other and our relationship strengthened. The nice part of it is, no one has to change except me. I encourage you to give this some genuine consideration.

  • My parents were the embodiment of the ancient nugget of wisdom, this too shall pass, and always navigating the tumult of difficult times and mounting responsibilities with a sense of calm. When we felt overwhelmed they provided assurance and motivation by way of a simple, “just do your best” (“sab theek hue jai hai, bhagwan ki jaisi marji, tum to upno kaam karo, unki unpe hi chhod do, my mother would say in the provincial Bundelkhandi dialect of central India). These mental tools, of equanimity and of courage, were used in our household to overcome everything from minor annoyances to managing severe, potentially life-altering, challenges.

The impermanent nature of all things is a central theme in the Shrimad Bhagvad Gita (2/13). Problems arise and they disappear. We sustain an injury and the wound eventually heals, contract a disease and over time, learn to tolerate its symptoms. We stress in preparing for major milestones and in a snap of a finger, they pass us by. We lie awake, fuming after a major fight with a spouse, child or parent, unable to fathom forgiveness – we eventually forgive, every time. This undeniable impermanence – of situations, of mental states, of life – is the basis for equanimity as an essential life philosophy (Gita 2/38). It is easy to slip into a cynical or hopeless feedback loop during difficult times, so it is important to remind ourselves that, much like the seasons come and go, so too, will the adversity we face. Understanding this and cultivating equanimity gives us the perspective shift and courage required to weather any storm. We must accept the inevitable challenges, re-framing them in our minds as genuine opportunities for personal growth. The fact is, situations rarely arrive packaged neatly in the idealized versions we envision. What’s important is not stressing over things out of our control, rather maintaining a spirit of hope and gratitude. Exhausting ourselves by fighting battles which are better left alone will only distract us from a life of contentment and from building any Legacy worth leaving.

Challenges are inevitable, and they push us to dig deep within ourselves. They trigger uncomfortable sensations like humiliation, fear or grief, and require that difficult choices be made. They also reveal our true nature, evoke humility and gratitude, and test the strength of our closest relationships (dheeraj dharm, mitra aru nari, aapad kaal parakhiye chari (RamCharit Manas)). Inner peace is not achieved by avoiding challenges but by confronting them with grace and courage. We must accept the apparent contradictions of life, the dual nature, of all things (pain and pleasures, success and failure, joy and sorrow, victory and loss, profit and gain, births and deaths – Gita 2/38).

Last year was a tough year for our family. We lost our youngest brother to sudden cardiac arrest and a few short months later, lost our beloved mother. It has created a vacuum in our lives which can never be filled. This encounter with death was a sobering reminder of our fragility and, more importantly, of the relationships which we should be cherishing, every day. We all deal with our own unique challenges so there is no sense in comparing ourselves, or our situations, with one another. Any appraisal in relation to the next person will be inaccurate and incomplete. The only way forward is accepting the challenges presented to us, digging deep and doing our best to remain equanimous because, “this too, shall pass.” 

My Reflection on Father’s Day

Chandra Shekhar Tripathi

The key to Father’s day celebration means the men need to hear what a difference their love, sacrifice, and commitment makes in the lives of their loved ones. The celebration may be simple but it should be a time to reflect on the impact our fathers have had on our lives.  If you happen to be fortunate to have your dad with you in your life, lift his spirits by spending time with him: hug him or have an arm-wrestle with them and share time by sitting down and talking, reminding him of his unique traits or callings and tell him how much he is appreciated.

Your parents have performed many prayers for you, now it is the role of us, their children, to turn to God and give thanks for the blessings of our parents for their well-balanced, happy and meaningful life. A memory made together is a gift that can last a lifetime. Consider doing something unique that they would like to do with you. Your pitaji (dad) may love to do Yoga – Surya Namaskar, headstand, cooking in an ancient way and eating outside, bike riding, walking on the beach or in trail, any sports, or enjoy the sunset while savouring ice cream together.  If you are apart, surprise him with a video call or if you’re together, plan a video call with far-away family members together. Family bonding and getting together in an old-fashioned way is still the best if COVID restrictions permit.

Spend some time reflecting (discussing or reminiscing) on the legacy, they have left or are continuing. Show them what good they have taught you that you value. Remind your dad or parents that the choices you are making today are to carry on a legacy of love, service, care, respect, share, and commitment that will impact generations to come. You want to let them know how much they mean to you and as you grow, you realize more and more the importance of them. To most, the gift of loving experiences are more important than the material things.

Today, I am reading and reflecting on the book on my dad “Pramanic Jeevan and Dharm Ki Virasat” and thinking about the legacy I inherited about charity, selfless service and loving all, and how I want to live and leave as similar legacy. I am pledging to be aware of the legacy and identifying how it is affecting my life and taking the steps to rectify any negative and enhance the positive (enhancing patience and listening skills). My parents were simple and believed in me and didn’t tell me how to live or what to do; but they lived a joyful, simple, and generous life and modeled it for me and my siblings.  Our appreciations for our parents and our appreciation for our dads should be shown with simplicity and greatness.  

I truly salute them from the depth of my heart. Thank you