Vision for 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. But as India’s bustling urban centers fight to join the ranks of global metropolitan megacities, the basic developmental needs of its villages are being neglected, with many of them still lacking essential affordable social services and infrastructure (e.g. education, healthcare, clean water etc.). Unfortunately, the charm of countryside living is slowly fading away. Recently a shift noticed as peoples suffering and suffocation in the city and the fear of the pandemic has prompted migrants to try to rebuild their lives in their villages…

For reading further

Kincardine to mark International Yoga Day, June 21

https://www.kincardinerecord.com/story.php?id=13267

By: Chandra Tripathi

June 18, 2022

Yoga for Humanity is the theme of the 8th International Day of Yoga, to be observed in Kincardine and globally, on June 21.

This practice brings people together to spread the awareness of physical and mental health, foster a sense of unity, and build resilience. 

Yoga (or yog), which literally means union in the Sanskrit language, is an ancient Indian tradition of Sanatan culture/dharm comprising a lifestyle that has physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. It is an essential science to bring the understanding and experience of the self (turning inward and being one with the self).  

On this day, thousands of yoga events will be hosted worldwide. Everyone is invited to participate in a free yoga marathon with Kalpanaji, Tuesday, June 21, at 6 p.m., at Station Beach, Kincardine.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted an India-led resolution declaring June 21 as the “International Day of Yoga.” It provides a holistic approach to health and well-being. 

I have been practicing yoga for the past 10 years and can testify that it brings joy, health, and peace within. Whether you are a seasoned practitioner or just beginning your yoga journey, join us on June 21 and show your solidarity to exercise mind, body, and spirit through yoga.

Also mark your calendar for Saturday, Aug. 13, when Indo-Canadians are showcasing Sanatan Hindu culture at Victoria Park, Kincardine. Similar to the Multicultural celebration, this open house is free to all and displays diversity within Hindu culture, music, dances, food, traditions, dharm, ayurved, yoga, and meditation.

It is an opportunity for all to interact and become aware of the diversity of Hindu culture and dharm, as well as explore roots, beliefs, and values by interacting with knowledgeable people. For more information visit sanatancentre.com/.

Comment on this story? Click here.

Environmental Ethics & Harmony with Nature in Sanatan Dharm

Note from the presentation on the World Environment Day 2022.

I will focus my presentation on Environmental Ethics and Harmony with Nature in Sanatan Dharm which will lead to how personally we can make a difference. प्रकृति, संस्कृति एण्ड विक्रति.  

2. I will cover that nature worship is an integral part of Sanatan dharma with some examples from the scriptures, conservation, and awakening aspects to save the planet and how individuals and together we can revive our ancient practices and restore the earth.

3. Environmental ethics are deeply rooted in Sanatan scriptures and most contain messages for preservation of the environment and ecological balance.

Nature, or Earth, has never been considered a hostile element to be conquered or dominated.

In fact, human is forbidden from exploiting nature and taught to live in harmony with nature and recognize that divinity prevails in all elements, including plants, animals, mountains, rivers, and nature. This has been well described in Shrimad Bhagavad Gita where Shri Krishna state that my material energies are divided into earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence, and ego.  भूमिरापोनलों वायु खं मनो बुदधिरेव च अहंकार एतियं मे भिन्नः प्रकृति अष्टधा॥ Interconnections between the elements and life forms make us all a part of one family.  This Vedic vision of unity is the basis for an ecological approach in which we honour the entire universe as part of our own higher Self. वसुधैव कुटुंबकम।

Ancient scientists/Rishies perceived that all material manifestations are a shadow of the spiritual. Our scriptures advised to start the day with a prayer to mother Earth:

ॐ पृथ्वी त्वया धृता लोका देवी त्वम् विष्णुना धृता। त्वम् च धारय मां देवी पवित्रं कुरु चासनम्।।  समुद्र वसने देवी पर्वत स्तन मण्डले, विष्णु पत्नी नमोस्तुभ्यं पाद: स्पर्शं क्षमस्वमे।

O Mother Earth, the worlds are maintained by you. Oh, goddess, you are upheld by Lord Vishnu. Kindly purify this seat and maintain me.”   

In the Vedic literature mother, Earth is personified as the Goddess Bhumi or Prithvi.  

The Prithvi Sukta in Atharva Veda states माता भूमि पुत्रोहं पृथिव्या” (Mata Bhumi putroham prithivyah) पृथ्वी मेरी माता है और मैं उसका पुत्र हूँ “Earth is my mother I am her son” and advises to save and revere our Mother Earth, every Day.

स्वच्छ, धवल, पावन हरित, रहे अमर परिधान।  अर्थ ‘अर्थ’ का जानकर हम करें सदा सम्मान ।।

Her beauty and profusion are vividly portrayed in the beautiful verses in the Atharva Veda.  O mother, with your oceans, rivers, and other bodies of water, you give us land to grow grains, on which our survival depends. 

O mother, bearing folk who speak different languages and follow different religions, treating them all as residents of the same house, please pour a thousand streams of treasure to enrich me एण्ड all. 

The awareness of our ancient seers about the environment, and its constituents and a vision to live in harmony with the environment was not merely physical but was far wider and much comprehensive. 

The concept of 330 million gods in Sanatan Dharm permeates the entire unlimited world of nature, underlining its fundamental doctrine that God exists in the heart of all beings. Hence, India has a vast network of holy shrines – holy rivers, holy mountains, sacred places, sacred plants, and trees – a pervasive divine presence is what Hinduism emphasizes across its religious texts, be it Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Smriti, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana or Mahabharata. I recite few

अयोध्या-मथुरामायाकाशीकांचीत्वन्तिका, पुरी द्वारावतीचैव सप्तैते मोक्षदायिकाः।

गङ्गे च यमुने चैव गोदावरि सरस्वति । नर्मदे सिन्धु कावेरि जलेऽस्मिन् संनिधिं कुरु ॥

महेन्द्रो मलयः सह्यो देवतात्मा हिमालयः ध्येयो रैवतको विन्ध्यो गिरिश्चारावलिस्तथा ||

The much adored Hindu deity Lord Krishna reinstated respect for nature by honouring the Govardhan Parwat and making the Yamuna free of poisonous pollution from Kalia naag and the most versatile and respected scripture Bhagavad Gita makes various mentions of His oneness with Nature. For instance, the sloka 20 of Chapter 10 reads,

अहमात्मा गुडाकेश सर्वभूताशयस्थित: | अहमादिश्च मध्यं च भूतानामन्त एव च

I am the Self seated in the heart of all creatures. I am the beginning, the middle, and the very end of all beings. All beings have, therefore, to be treated alike.

I pervade the Universe. All objects in the Universe rest on me like pearls on the thread of a garland. Even the view that the Vṛṇḍāvana Forest is sacred because Kṛṣṇa valued it is consistent with the claim that human agents morally ought to consider it for its own sake in deciding what to do.

4. Environmental Awareness and engagement

  • Most ancient texts demonstrate the praise and respect for the nature
  • Do not cut trees, because they remove pollution (Rig Veda, 6:48:17)
  • The Hindu religion also stresses vigilance in the conservation of trees. Destruction of forests is taken as the destruction of the state. Protection of animals is considered a sacred duty of man (Charak Sanhita)
  • Most Hindus believe that all living things are sacred because they are part of God, as is the natural world.

5. Conserve Ecology or Perish

the Bhagavad Gita Ch-3 summarizes that

Life is sustained by different kinds of food; rainfall produces food; timely movement of clouds brings rains; to get the clouds moving on time yajna, religious sacrifice, helps; yajna is performed through rituals; those actions that produce rituals belong to God; God is revealed by the Vedas; the Vedas are preserved by the human mind, and the human mind is nourished by food. This is the cycle that helps the existence of all forms of life on this globe.

अन्नाद्भवन्ति भूतानि पर्जन्यादन्नसम्भवः। यज्ञाद्भवति पर्जन्यो यज्ञः कर्मसमुद्भवः ॥  

One who does not contribute to the maintenance of this cycle is considered as a destroyer of all life.

6. The Environment as Our Home

In the Sanskrit language family is parivara, and the environment is paryavarana. If we think of the environment as our home and all of its members as our family it is clear that the key to conserving nature is devotion, love—giving and serving.

Nature, Prakriti, can give and serve. But the role of humanity, Purusha, is then to protect. Nowadays Purusha is not interested in protecting but in exploiting, so nature has to defend herself.

As it is through ignorance that we destroy our relationships in the family and within the environment, that ignorance becomes the root cause of our suffering.

7. Only One earth Protect and Conserve

Sustainable or living in harmony with nature will merely be a paper exercise unless our lives become reconnected and in balance, cooperation, and harmony with nature.

Climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste –evidence that Earth is “code red” is all around us and growing more ominous every day. This year’s campaign, #OnlyOneEarth, highlights the need to reset the balance with nature through transformative changes in how we eat, live, work and move around.

Though government can make stringent regulations, we know that success will depend on our personal decisions to effect change and push for actions and reactions.

Many Vedic hymns are songs that identify the man as part of his environment.

Dharm imbibes and encourages ecological ethics and responsibility to care for the earth and nature. A country as ‘Mother land’ and nature’s five elements – Air, Fire (Agni), Water (Jal), Space (Vyom), and Earth (Prithvi) – as the constituents of the body and foundation of an interconnected web of life of all living beings. The swadharm instills an innate sense of oneness between all things. This lays a strong foundation for vegetarianism and the preservation of ecological sanctity.

Wilderness is the favourite abode of the divine and Banyan tree is the holy tree where saints and seers like to sit in a state of trance to attain union/ yog with supreme knowledge and enlightenment.  Varah Purana says,

Varah Purana, Padma Puran, Bhagavat Puran, Matsya Puran all have specified reverence and importance of tree plantation and caring for the earth and other key elements.

दश कूप सम वापी, दश वापी समोहदरह दश हृद समय पुत्रों, दश पुत्रो सामो द्रुमह – One tree is equivalent to Ten kids.

“A person who plants Neem tree, Peepal tree, Banyan tree, two Pomegranates, five mangoes, two oranges, and any ten flowering shrubs, including creepers, shall never go to hell.”

The Panchvati concept of preserving five types of trees is well described in the Ramayan.

According to Padma Purana, A person who is engaged in killing creatures; polluting ponds, wells, and tanks, and destroying gardens, goes to hell.”

In the Arthaśāstra, Kauṭilya suggests that rulers should fine people who mistreat nature.

All these references simply show that ancient Indians were concerned with the protection of their environment and preached respect for all forms of life and emphasizes on preservation of bio-diversity.

Many indigenous cultures and the old pagan traditions of Europe have a similar understanding of all nature as sacred and recognize the special sacred places in their environment.

However, in modern times we have forgotten our traditional sacred approach to nature. Under the compulsions caused by overpopulation, lack of education, and the need to develop the economy, nature in India and everywhere in the world is suffering.

We are so used to the urban lifestyle and lost our ecological vision in competition to have a better economical vision.

The environment became the victim of the empire, and like all empires, it dresses things up in the language of morality and duty. When we turn wilderness over to agriculture, we speak of our duty to feed the poor. When we industrialize the wild places and cut forests out of greed, we speak of our duty to modernization. When we spear whales, we speak of our duty to science. When we raze forests and mountains, we speak of our duty to develop. We alter the atmospheric makeup of the entire world: half of us pretend it’s not happening, and the other half start looking for new machines that will reverse it. This is how empires work, and environmental degradation continues.

Material growth is so integrated into a life that most people are unable to understand the effect of their consumer choices, traveling behaviour, recycling efforts, and lifestyles on climatic change.  

The environment falls prey to compulsive market behaviour. Without the intervention of united social forces, the current economic system simply will not safeguard our planet.

Our ancient traditions need to be honored and their practices be revived. It is important that we reclaim the ecological vision inherent in our religion and ancient cultures. This means bringing nature back into our lives, not only through rituals, and conferences but the reality on the ground.

Protecting nature is our duty and, it is important that we strongly put our vision before western thinkers and compel to examine the profound philosophy of Vedanta which sees the unity of all beings in the Self.

As we try to raise awareness about the wide-ranging consequences of climate change, let us be inspired by visions of old and remember to protect the one thing we all share in common — our planet, your planet, and no one can advocate for it like you and I can. No one can protect it like you can. There is OnlyOneEarth….

Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned that ‘We are proud of our long history and tradition of harmonious existence between man and nature. He launched the ‘Lifestyle for the Environment (LiFE) Movement’, a global initiative, and asserted that its vision is to live a lifestyle that is in tune with our planet and does not harm it. He said India is ready to lend its support to actions to make the environment better and improve global wellness.

Mahatma Gandhi talked about a zero-carbon lifestyle. In our daily life choices, let us pick the most sustainable options. Let us follow the principle of reuse, reduce and recycle. Our planet is one but our efforts have to be many. Plants and trees can be called the youngest members of this family, as they are always connected to earth, like babies who cling to their mother. A little ‘elder’ to them are the animals, which move on all fours, like slightly older babies. Humans, who walk upright, are the eldest members of this family. It is our responsibility to take care of our younger ‘siblings’ and ensure that everybody in the family has the opportunity to explore and bloom.

If we want to teach the kids about protecting the planet, we’ll want to exhibit behavior that matches these values. By living what we preach, we’re able to get the point across, therefore we have to seriously investigate and change within.

8 – Summary

In the end, I will leave you the Native American Proverb that We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

  • There is a great role played by dharm in protecting the environment.

Our individual decisions shape how our next generations and societies impact the environment. As well as making our personal lives more sustainable, as individuals, we can press for and support faster and more far-reaching environmental change from larger entities like governments and businesses.

  • Human is considered as part of nature not apart from nature.

We truly do have the power to build a future in which nature and people can thrive together. We need to broaden our definition of personal action beyond what we buy or use. Let us be more aware and concerned about protecting our environment.  

  • Environmental ethics ask human not to exploit but to establish a correct view of nature, respect and live in harmony with nature.
  • Interconnections between the elements and life forms make us all a part of one family. Hindus considered the earth as the mother and have articulated the need to sustain and promote ecological balance.

Sarva bhuta hita – the common good takes precedence over individual advantage including protection of the environment.

  • We should investigate and change within – Life style – food, living, clothing, shelters, movement and energy usage.
  • Ancient traditions need to be honoured and their practices to be revived and restored to protect the environment.

Since divine presence is everywhere all things coexist and have a connection with others. This inspires to maintain harmonious relations between human beings and nature.

Coexistence is vital and requires recognition and respect of other species in nature

All-pervading divine force and see divinity in everything. Therefore, take only what you need (Isa Upanishad)

  • Messenger is the proof of the message. We environmental professionals should become true ambassadors and role models.

यद्यदाचरति श्रेष्ठस्तत्तदेवेतरो जनः। स यत्प्रमाणं कुरुते लोकस्तदनुवर्तते ॥३-२१॥

Whatever a leader does, that other man also does (imitate) ; whatever he sets up as the standard, that the world (people) follows.

To have a balanced, peaceful life, let the human world create less disturbance to our surroundings. Substantial efforts in planting trees, conserving soil, protecting biological diversity, and finding new ways of producing natural energy could help to a greater extent in maintaining a balanced environmental harmony in our present world.

धन्यवाद --

Mother’s Day – Let’s connect and instil qualities of Motherhood within

My great salute to all mothers! It is a day that makes people remember the importance and significance of mothers in their lives and building stable families. The day should be observed by making a true connection with mothers and motherly figures around us.

My mother is no longer with me, but every day I thank God Krishna for my mother, and I’m sure you do the same to your mothers. We all can celebrate and salute mother and motherhood that is always wanting the best for her kids and sees her kids as a part of herself (true inclusion). Mother is a true example of spirituality that sees all existence as part of one larger Self. This is what we honour in our mothers.

My mother Mankanthi Devi Tripathi was loving, hardworking, and deeply rooted in dharma and karma. My mother’s exemplary living life with discipline, selflessness, love, and complete surrender to God’s will has transpired in me values of holding a strong character, caring for relationships with compassion, and loving and respecting others. My wife Abhilasha and I have three children and my sisters, Aruna, Kiran, and Uma each have two children. When I observe my wife’s and/or my sister’s selfless love, sacrifice commitment, and readiness to help, I am inspired to give more.

In today’s society, the important role of a mother is not as highly esteemed as it should be. I disagree with those who refer to raising children as just stay-at-home moms and considered a waste of a woman’s potential. They are missing the point and have not well understood the value of motherhood, sacrifice, determination, and love that are required to make that tough decision.

A good mother epitomizes selfless love and sacrifice. In Hinduism, we honour mother and father as God (Matru devo bhav, Pitru devo bhav). Mother’s Day is a good time to remember our mothers and thanks mothers for their selfless love, all the service she does behind the scenes, and how she is always there for us. I salute my mother and all mothers on the earth!  Happy Mother’s Day!

Experiences and Insights from Twenty Years of Gita Satsang – Kincardine

I would like to share some written testimonials from participants who have been enriched by Satsang in the small town of Kincardine, Canada. This would not be possible without the spirit of selfless service that flows so generously from the hearts of participants, which continues to inspire, refine and uplift the spirit and life of Self and others. I hope you enjoy and resonate with these insights from them.

  1. From Varun Tripathi: The direct translation of Satsang is truth-community. But given there is a religious connotation to its everyday use, a more apt translation would be spiritual gathering; a gathering of like-minded individuals engaging in activities that revolve around the divine, existential/moral philosophy, and devotion. Having grown up in a religious home where prayer was as routine as any other daily ritual, I’m intimately familiar with the concept. We often sat as a family to discuss everything from the purpose of prayer to the value and importance of charity.

    So it was no surprise when my parents started a weekly Satsang in Kincardine shortly after our move. Along with preserving Hindu spiritual tradition, the initiative also helped build and strengthen the bonds between members of the Indian community. But by no means was it restricted to Indians. My dad has always taken pride in educating others on the richness of our traditions and dharm. So members of the broader community from all ages and various ethnicities joined us from time to time. 

Initially, the weekly Thursday evening Satsang took place at the local ashram – a small bungalow in a wooded area just Southeast of Kincardine, owned by a Guruji who split his time between India and Canada. But the bungalow remained largely unoccupied throughout the year, so he had graciously agreed to letting us use the property for religious or cultural activities. In those early years there were weeks when each and every Indian family would attend and the large clearing adjacent to the bungalow would be filled with people stretched out in various yoga poses – we were lucky to have a trained yoga teacher in the group, so the Satsang included a breathing and mobility component. I have many fond memories of us laying on our backs after the session, surrounded by trees, breathing in the warm summer air. The more solemn part of the evening would follow, with a reading of the Gita, a discussion, and eventually, a prayer. In the winters, or when, for a given stretch, the attendee numbers would dip, the Satsang would take place at either our house or the Malhotra household. Malhotra auntie and uncle were the elders of the community. Both emanated a calm that was matched only by the pace of the town in those early 2000s. Uncle didn’t say much, but his presence alone would put you at ease. Auntie, on the other hand, would overwhelm you with her love and kindness. Theirs was a position of tenure. My parents were the honorary elders. A title they had earned through my dad’s sheer persistence of initiatives and my mom’s authenticity and warmth.  

A decade or so later, when the ashram was sold off to new owners, our house became the primary location for the Satsang. It made sense from a practical standpoint – though they could fluctuate in any given week, the attendee numbers were a fraction of what they had been at the start. So, what was the sense in driving to a different location when a basement room at home would be more than sufficient? But more than that, it’s as though our home was always meant to be the ashram for the community. The prayers and bhajans, the Gita and Ramayan readings lasting 24 consecutive hours, the countless yajnas. If structured prayer and ritualistic purification represent the foundation of an ashram’s sanctity, then there is likely no better place in Kincardine to host these satsangs. 


When I was a teenager I couldn’t comprehend the value of these brief weekly gatherings. A few years in, when my parents became more hands-off and my attendance went from mandatory to voluntary, the Satsang was more like background noise. But despite my obvious lack of spiritual precociousness, the weekly Thursday evening Satsang left its mark. Reflecting back on its 20-year run it’s amazing to think how, at different times, it served so many different people. Inspiring, grounding, and maybe even sheltering them from the weight of everyday life. For me, admittedly not having used the opportunity to the extent I could, the Satsang is a reminder that building community and committing to it whole-heartedly has the power to change you and impact those around you, in ways you can’t anticipate. It’s the little things, done over long periods of time, that have the outsized influence we all want from our actions. Two hours, once a week, over 20 years (~ 2,000 hours). Truly amazing.

Varun Tripathi

Varun Tripathi performing Hawan

2. From Joanne Dallman: I was a member of the Kincardine Satsang Group, led by Chandra Tripathi, for two and a half years (2018-2021), and during that time I not only learned a great deal, I felt as if I was included as part of the spiritual family. Once a week our group would gather to chant prayers, sing Kirtan, and study the Bhagavad Gita. In addition, I was delighted by the chance to also study the Ramayana, the Bhagavatha Vahini, and participate in a chanting course taught by a teacher in India. Being a member of the Kincardine Satsang Group opened up areas of study for me that had previously not been available.

Through my participation, I had a chance to become more adept at singing the “call and response” chants. And was challenged to not only learn some new chants but to regularly lead others in chanting. This was a very enjoyable and liberating experience, and one which gave me the confidence to lead Kirtan at the Ashram as well, when I lived there for 6 weeks in 2020.

Prior to joining the Kincardine Satsang Group, I had studied yoga for 15 years and had spent time at the Ashram participating in yoga courses and providing volunteer service in a community organized by Swamis. And even though I had been studying yoga for many years, joining the Satsang Group helped me to go much deeper into the wealth of material that is Hinduism and to admire the depth and breath of the magnificent scriptural writings and practices. I still feel as if I have only managed to “scratch the surface” of all the beautiful teachings that are Hinduism and Yoga.

I want to thank Chandra and his wife, Abhilasha, for being so gracious and inviting me into their home, weekly, to join them in their spiritual practice. They have provided me with memories that will bring me lasting joy.

Joanne Dallman (Divya)

Joanne Dolllman from Vancouver

Photos at different times of Gita Satsang

Helpful Tips (Bits of Advice) for University/ College Going Students

Going to University is a privilege. Exclusively spending time for learning, developing skills and
knowledge is a special gift for a lucky one like me and you. Once you have acknowledged this rare gift, you can wisely utilize your time, resources, and efforts to achieve your goals (focussed). You might have heard that going to university is the best time in life because; never again will live mixed with youth, freedom, energy, opportunity, and resources together in this combination. During this learning phase, your wisdom, discipline, and hard work in university can help you make the most out of your life.
Be attentive and make use of the first week of the University’s socialization period, in investing in good
friendships that pay dividends forever. But always remember your ABC (Avoiding Bad Company).
Create a positive atmosphere around you that will nurture you. Here are some of the helpful hints that I
want to share with my children, and loved ones, and I hope they are of value to you as well.

  1. Academic. However you try to rationalize it, grades are important. Realize that a successful
    school career requires hard work, dedication, sacrifice and a balanced approach (Kaak Cheshta, Bako Dhyanam, Swan Nindra Tathaiwa Cha...). Make study and learning a top priority.
    a. University is a big step up and if needed, don’t be shy about getting academic help, right
    help can get you on the right track. Take advantage of all the professors, TAs, support
    workers you have at your disposal as a university student. When you e-mail a professor,
    do it respectfully and for a good reason. Group work, study sessions and other academic
    collaborations are the norm in University. Find homework/study buddies. Being study
    buddies is a two way street. Don’t be the guy that just always asks for notes & help.
    Complete your coursework smartly and in advance, don’t wait until the last minute.
    Seek advice from upper classmen. People love feeling wise.
    b. Go to class prepared enough to ask insightful questions or make useful comments. Do
    your best to attend every class session and don’t sit in the back and don’t socialize
    during classes. Turn off your cell phone and do not text during class.
    c. Few hours of quality studying beats a draining, distracted all-nighter any day.
    d. Take a draft of your essay to a TA or professor for review; once graded work has been
    handed back, go back and ask for advice on how to improve it. These people will be
    your references, advocates, and even friends later in life; you want them to remember
    your name. If your professor is giving a talk or performance, show up, and make sure he
    or she knows you did. Always remind your professor, adviser, or TA of your name when
    you encounter them; they will be eternally grateful.
    e. In each course, the instructor has a certain amount of material that must be covered,
    and students have a certain amount of work they must do. It is your responsibility to fit
    the course work into your busy life, not your instructor’s responsibility to change a
    course so that it fits your schedule. You don’t need to buy all your books right away.
    Avoid those long lines to buy books. Search and try to buy used book, online or borrow
    from Library.
    f. University is also unique opportunity to take extra enrichment classes; you’re actually
    interested in (i.e. Sanskrit, Programming, new languages, Religions, community/ social
    work, finances etc.). Take advantage of what campus life has to offer – clubs, events,
    service trips, religious groups, language classes and campus jobs. Research shows that
    students who are affiliated with a campus group are more likely to progress well.
    g. Classes are great at teaching you what’s been done and how to do things. But find your
    passion and be willing to start small and early on your own time because making ideas
    realized is a different than knowing the stuff.
  2. Temptations: Important to know that you are now in a place where alcohol, drugs and many
    illegal temptations are legally forbidden but implicitly available. The only thing that stands
    between you and a bad experience is your own good judgment and values that you have
    learned and nurtured through life. Wise are those who learn from other’s mistakes.
  3. Communications: Do not fool yourself that you are now adult and you can deal all problems
    yourself. If you have a problem, talk to your parents, who have more experience in almost every
    aspect of life. Your parents and friends are only a phone call away. If you are feeling lonely or
    homesick, you are not alone; all of the first year students around you are making the same
    adjustment. Continue to adjust but always keep your support system – friends, family in place,
    and communicate with them regularly. Communication with you will mean more to your
    parents than you think. Surround yourself with good people, the type that celebrate your
    victories, push you often, support and laugh generously.
  4. Finance: Manage money & resources wisely by careful spending and avoiding any impulse
    purchases. Keep track of your financial budget and dates when you have to pay your bills/fees.
  5. Stress: During your university life, you will encounter several challenges and changes that may
    increase your stress. But don’t let that happen and never get disappointed or think that you
    have failed. If your intentions are clear and good and you act smartly with full attention you can
    achieve anything, believe that all power is within you. Failure is only short term; if one door
    closes another door will open for you. Remember that nothing can make you unhappy, if your
    mind does not want to be unhappy. Continue to learn ways to control your mind and your
    reactions through breathing, silence, smile, walk and meditation. If you encounter negative things
    (e.g. anger, jealousy), try to balance them with good and beautiful things.
  6. Team or Group: Find groups, clubs or teams to join early, something you are passionate about.
    The earlier you meet people and find a place to belong the sooner you will enjoy school. Find a
    workout and study buddy and keep each other on track. Also, find something to hold on to
    throughout school (e.g. playing some instruments (tabala, guitar etc.), music, yoga, readings,
    going to temples, volunteerism etc.); this will help you to relax and ease your stress.
  7. Balance: Always make a balance and don’t neglect your health (physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual). Eat well, sleep well, have fun, study hard, communicate with parents and use campus facilities to enrich your life (I learned my swimming at IIT and UofT Swimming Pools).
  8. Cleanliness and Personal Hygiene: Regularly wash your sheets and clothes, keep things
    clean and tidy around you and care for the environment around you.
  9. Social Media: You will be better off by keeping the embarrassing stuff off of Facebook/
    social media. Discipline yourself on social media usage; this is the biggest time killer.
  10. Carelessness: Don’t leave your laptop, phone or valuable unattended. Someone might steal it,
    but even worse someone might mess with your e-mail / Facebook status. Be good, feel good,
    act wisely and always spend your time and resources wisely.
  11. Self-Reliance: Don’t defeat yourself. Always give your best. I remember a moment, when a
    course seemed too hard in my Ph.D. degree at UofT, when the work ahead of me seemed too
    much, but then I decided that if I was going to be defeated by something, I was at least going to
    give it my best effort. I did not want to live with the regret that I did not succeed at something
    because I did not even give myself a fair chance to succeed. Work hard but be practical in
    your expectation to accept the outcome and choose your workload and subjects accordingly (practice to give your 100%). Having tool kits and capable of fixing things is a great way to break the ice and makes you a useful friend. Help others when needed with your skills, help friends move.
    This is also one of the most emotional times for parents, especially if their oldest or youngest child is
    going to school that is what is referred as ‘empty nest’, a difficult transition. Be calm and use this time wisely. Each child only starts university once. Therefore, this moment give us as parents an opportunity to say things to our children that will stick with them not only because of what is said, but because of when it is said. This is a time to impart your wisdom and experiences that have guided you in your life and ways that you hope they will live. As parents, we should help kids stay focused on school while balancing the rest of what life throws their way.
    It is a big transition and it takes time for youth to learn how to be a university student, how to be wise in study, how to eat on time, how to do laundry and clean their room, how to handle money and how to keep a balance in social media and achieve their goals. All that takes some time, therefore, wait with patience and try to facilitate their smooth transition with full support. Help them grow properly with their potential and provide the advice, help and encouragement when needed. Thank you.
Sharing wisdom with University going students and their parents