R Venkataramanan

R Venkataramanan

R Venkat's Blog

R Venkat's Blog
"To be an Inspiring Teacher,one should be a Disciplined Student throughout Life" - Venkataramanan Ramasethu



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Gayatri Mantra - The Incomparable Divine Force - The 24 letters of Gayatri Mantra

Brahma conceived the Gayatri Mantra consisting of 24 letters before he created the gross world.Each letter in the mantra has hidden in itself a great potential force.The mantra takes the form of the four Vedas.

Whatever sound comes out of the mouth is the outcome of the interaction of various organs such as the wind pipe,the toungue,the teeth,the lips etc.The different organs or parts of the mouth are interconnected with the various parts of the bodythrough tubulur organs known as nadi.In those areas of the body whereever the nadis are,the six chakras are related to the sushumna nadi,there are lots of ganglia or granthis and the effect of vibrations of different parts of the mouth,place of sound organs have a pressuring effect on these ganglia.The spiritualists know what power is contained in each of the ganglia.The various sounds produced through the organs of the mouth have their effect on these ganglia.They cause the ganglia to activate and discharge their stored power.The wordings of the mantras are arranged on the basis of of their sounds and intonations.The Gayatri Mantra contains 24 letters and all these 24 letters have a direct relation with the 24 ganglia in the human body.When the ganglia are activated they energize the power that yeilds the right kind of knowledge.The repetition of Gayatri Mantra or Japa produces notes which mingle with similiar sounds existing in the nature,prakriti.This is what one can expect from the Gayatri Sadhana.Those well versed in the science of sound know what potency sound waves contain and what effects they produce.Sound works in it's own sphere and even controls Nature.Thus Nature functions through the power of the word sound.Gayatri Mantra is composed of selected sounds and due to their very order in the mantra a very powerful current or wave is produced and made to flow.While uttering the mantra whichever organs of the mouth come in to play,activate their corresponding ganglia also.When the ganglia are activated thus,a musical,which is also spiritual sound resembling the Vedic Mantra spreads in the air,returning to it's base again carrying along with it a powerful force of similiar sounds already spread in nature to help acheive the desired end.The musical effect of the vibrations or the current occasioned by the utterance of the mantra on the already existing current created by the five elements and the subtle soul force,atma shakthi,ether,air,fire,water and earth,and also by the intensity of piety,sincerity and earnestness of the prayer offered,make the Gayatri Mantra forces powerful as a Divine Blessings.

The 24 powers of Gayatri awaken in the sadhak certain qualities and along with this awakening he starts getting success and prosperity,meaning siddhi.Many feel that these benefits are showered by some God or Goddess.They do not realise the developement of the subtle force in themselves.If they are able to know the subtle force working in them,they will realise that such benefits do not accrue of their own accord and that all of them are the results of the interplay of spiritual forces in them.Gayatri sadhana or upasana is not blind faith,but a scientific process whose developement and progress are sure to yeild to desired fruits.One can establish ones contact through ones spiritual powers with the subtle all pervading Gayatri.One can use ones own spiritual power for attainment of all or a particular benefit - material,psychological or spiritual.This is Sadhana.

Gayatri is the desire yeilding cow kamadhenu.One who recites Gayatri and engages one self in her sadhana is blessed by Mother Gayatri.He / She remains outside the purview of ignorance,incapacity and want of things and gets the desired things.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Vedas form the bedrock of the Bharatiya Culture and Civilization and are the fountain head of all that is pure and sublime in the human way of life

The Vedas form the bedrock of the Bharatiya Culture and Civilization and are the fountain head of all that is pure and sublime in the human way of life. They are ANAADHI (timeless, without a beginning and APAOURSHEYA (not emanating from any Individual living being). They are deemed to be the life-breath of Bhagavan Sri Maha Vishnu. "Yasya Niswasitham Vedaha".

SANATHANA DHARMA, which connotes the way of life for all humanity, is based on the VEDAS which furnish guidelines on all subjects necessary for the well being of humanity and is applicable to all times. Vedic Chanting, according to the prescribed rules, leads not only to collective prosperity and individual well being, but also avoids natural calamities and mitigates evils . Invocation of Devatas and their blessings, leads to universal prosperity, ushering peace and contentment everywhere. Utilisation of the Vedic mantras in the samskaras (Rituals) helps the spiritual growth of the individual, purifies the atmosphere and helps curtail illness and other evil effects.

This vast storehouse of knowledge and ancient wisdom in ALL the Disciplines -- you name any and you can trace it to the Vedas -- was codified by Bhagvan Sri Veda Vyasa into the four Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Vedas and further split into 1131 Sakhas (Rescensions) in the beginning of time.

Until recently, they have been handed down from generation to generation by oral teaching in the Gurukula, Guru-Sishya tradition without any written text. Its pristine purity in terms of Pronunciation, Swara (intonation), and etymology had been preserved in a unique time tested form, down the millennia.

Due to efflux of time and persons proficient in each of the Sakhas dwindling gradually in number and ultimately becoming extinct, today we have in vogue only 10 or 11 Sakhas.

His Holiness Sri Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswati Swamiji – Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam – popularly known as "Sage of Kanchi", "Kanchi Paramacharyal" etc., found that the number of those dedicating themselves to the study of Vedas had diminished due to an uncertain future, with no promise of even a minimum economic livelihood. His holiness was greatly worried over the decline of the traditional Vedic education resulting in the paucity of Vedic scholars carrying our great Vedic heritage to the next generation. Thus, there was a fear that this great treasure, beneficial to all mankind, being lost forever.
His Holiness made it His Life’s mission to draw the attention of society to this none too happy situation. In every one of His post-puja discourses for well over six decades of His Pontificate, He dwelt at length on the duty of the general public in this regard. Towards this end, He founded the VEDA RAKSHANA NIDHI TRUST in the late fifties and charged it with the responsibility of preserving, resuscitating and propagating the Vedic way of life and the traditional mode of Veda Adhyayana in the Gurukula tradition.

Starting on a modest scale then, the Trust, today, after nearly four decades, has been responsible for the upbringing of nearly a thousand fully equipped and qualified Vedapatis who are ministering to the spiritual and religious needs of the community throughout India. The Trust administers several traditional Veda Patashalas under its own auspices and guides a large number of independently maintained similar Patashalas on the academic side, conducts examinations, (annual as well as final ) for students of all of the Patashalas. The Trust disburses cash grants and certificates of proficiency to all who come out successful in these examinations. The Trust conducts Veda Sammelanams (Seminars) in different parts of the country to enable the lay public to have an idea and feel of the Vedic way of life and tradition. The Trust spends about Rupees Fifteen Lakhs ( Rs. 1.5 Million) every year on its activities, from out of the voluntary contributions of philanthropic individuals and institutions from far and near throughout the land.


To strive every nerve to protect and preserve our holy Vedic heritage and pass it on to posterity.

To protect and preserve the age-old tradition of Vedic Adhyayanam ( study ).

To bring out more and more traditional Vedic Pandits, particularly in those sakhas on the verge of extinction.

To ensure that the society gets a steady stream of qualified Gurus to encourage, guide and enable Grahastas ( house holders) in their Sroutha and Smartha Karma Anushtanam as prescribed.

To inform and educate the general public about the Vedic heritage, tradition and way of life


The Trust's main objective is the preservation of ancient Vedic education in its pristine purity. It assists institutions in establishing traditional Veda Patashalas in different regions of the country and renders financial assistance wherever needed. It also supervises the academic side of their functioning. VRNT also runs its own Gurukula Patashalas and encourages Vedic education in traditional families. The activities of the Trust cover Vidyarthis (students) speaking different languages and includes those who profess Advaita, Vishistadvaita and Dwaitha philosophies. It conducts Varshika (Annual) and Poorthi (final) Examinations of the students of all Patashalas in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamilnadu.

The details of the specific schemes are provided below.

1. SCHEME FOR MAINTENANCE OF GURUKULA PATASHALAS (SCHOOLS): Where the Guru and his Vidhyarthis (disciples) live together and share the food prepared by the Guru’s wife (Gurupatni) and attention is concentrated only on the traditional Vedic education, the Guru is paid a remuneration of Rs.12,500/- per month and is also reimbursed the expenses incurred for food at Rs.1,000/- per month per Vidhyarti. In addition the Vidhyarti is provided with dhoties, medical facilities and travel expenses to visit his native place once in a year. The entire amount is remitted to the Guru’s Bank Account every month by Trust’s Bankers.

2. SCHEME FOR HEREDITARY NIYAMA ADHYAYANA VIDHYARTHI RAKSHANA: Under this scheme the Vedic Scholar-Pandit-father, teaches Vedas to his son. The son also undergoes studies in Ganitha (Mathematics) in Sanskrit and Sanskrit literature. He is paid a stipend of Rs.500/- through mail transfer during the course of this Adhyayana. On completion of the course and his coming out successful in the examination conducted by the Trust, he becomes eligible to a life long monthly grant of Rs. 600 which is also remitted to his bank account by the Trust’s Bankers every month.

3. INCENTIVE / AWARD SCHEME : This scheme covers all the Vedic schools conforming to the regulations of the Trust and which register with the Trust. Representatives of the Trust visit each Patasala every year, conduct examination for the Vidhyartis, on the portions covered. Based on the performance of the Vidhyartis , the Trust awards an incentive to the Guru as Guru Dakshina. When the Vidhyarti completes the full course of Vedic studies and passes the examination conducted by the Trust, he is awarded a lump sum grant based on the proficiency, the maximum being Rs.7,500 at present. This amount needs an upward revision to compensate for inflation.

The incentive to the Guru and the award to the Vidhyartis under the above scheme are also available to those covered under schemes referred to in 1 and 2 above.

Under the guidance of His Holiness, the Trust traced out pandits in those sakhas (branches) of the Vedas where there were hardly one or two pandits, and started Patasalas in those sakhas. In such cases, an increased incentive award is given, the maximum being Rs. 8,500/-. Now we have at least a dozen scholars in Atharva Veda and two sakhas of Sama Veda.

Under all the above schemes, arrangement has been made to teach Karma Kand to the Vidhyarthis, in order to achieve the objectives of the Trust

The Trust has, so far, been responsible for about 1000 Vedic scholars being made available to serve the country and is covering presently about 500 Vidhyarthis under the Schemes referred to above.



Vyasa is known as Veda-Vyasa. There were many Vedas. Before the commencement of Kali yuga, and at the end of Dvapara-yuga, Bhagavan Vyasa classified the Vedas into four. He thought: ‘In the yuga that is to commence, the life-span of people will be short; their memory- power will be weak; the super-normal powers of yoga will decrease; something should be done in order to save the Veda from utter destruction".

Bright day is succeeded by dark night; rainy season is followed by severe summer. So also, if at one time the Veda flourishes, at another time it is found to be on the decline. At that time, the Veda should be protected.
What should be done?

In rural areas, when days are short and nights are long, during night-time when the sky is dark, there could be cases of theft. At that time, if ten people keep watch by going round the village, will not cases of theft become less? Similarly, in the Kali-yuga that was about to commence, if the entire Veda was not to be lost, at least four people, if not all, might each save a part of the Veda. Thus thought Vyasa, and classified the Veda into four: Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharvana. He taught the four Vedas to four sages (rishis), one to each, so that the Veda would be in vogue from generation to generation, each hearing the Veda and reciting with the proper intonation, and thus transmitting it without a break. The four sages were: Sumantu, Paila, Jaimini, and Vaisampayana. Vyasa entrusted the four Vedas to them: to Jairnini Sama Veda, to Vaisampayana, Yajur Veda, to Sumantu. Rig Veda, and to Paila Atharvana Veda.

The entire Veda is full of mantras. If the mantras are repeated with great restraint and purity, by the operation of those mantras, good will rebound to the world. In order to achieve this end, restraint and purity are absolutely necessary. There are rules regarding the time when the Veda should be recited. One should not read from a book. Veda is Sruti, what is heard; one should hear it and utter it correctly.

In order to facilitate this, there are certain auxiliary disciplines. The Veda should be studied along with the auxiliaries. Those who entrusted with the task of preserving the Veda should observe the rules strictly. All that they have to do in the world is nothing but this. If the Veda is thus preserved, the entire world will fare well. It is not possible for all to devote themselves to this task. At least the sages (Rishis) and those who have come in their line should spend their whole time in preserving the Veda. And so it was that Maharshi Vyasa divided the Vedas into four and taught them to the four sages.
For the Veda itself, one of its names is rishi. Therefore, the one who sees a Vedic mantra is also called rishi.

Rishayo mantra-drashtaah

The rishis are the seers of mantra. The meaning of this statement is not ‘seeing with the eyes what is written in a book’.
There is the radio. The receiver receives the sound waves and amplifies them. There is the tape-recorder. What I speak now, it records and keeps. Whenever we want, at whatever time, it reproduces the same sound-waves. But, only if I speak, the recorder will take it on the tape.

Any number of sounds, from beginning-less time, pervade the ether. Through the practice of yoga, the rishis grasp the powers of mantra, the beginning-less sounds. It is those who have the ability to grasp in this manner that are called ‘seers’. Just as Arjuna beheld the cosmic form (visva-rupa) of Maha Vishnu, these sages grasped, by their yogic power, the mantras which are of the nature of beginning-less sounds.

There is a special yoga-sastra which explains this matter. In that text there is reference to ‘divine ear’ (divyasrotra). With the ordinary eye we can see only upto a certain distance. What cannot be seen with the external eye can be seen with the inner eye. With the latter we can see things at any distance. The Lord says in the Gita.

"divyam dadaami te chakshuh"

"I shall give thee eye divine". The inner eye has the power to see what is limitless.

Similarly, with the ordinary ear we hear the outer sounds. But through yogic practice and meditation, one acquires the power to hear the beginning-less sounds that are in ether, Those, who can in this way grasp -- i.e. see the mantras, of the form of sounds, are called rishis. The mantras seen by them are also termed rishis. The knowledge that makes known what are supersensory is referred to as the Veda.

From time immemorial, the descendants of rishis preserved the Veda without the aid of a book. When we utter ‘abhivadana’ we mention the line of rishis to which we belong, the particular gotra, and sutra. From this we learn the rishi line in which we have come.

If a medicine is brought and kept without use for some time it loses its potency. Similarly, if the Veda is not repeatedly studied, the power of its mantras will diminish. In order to regain for it the power, along with puja and homa the mantra should be repeated many a time. For all lapses, what serves as the sure recompense is the repetition of Gayatri.
The main aim of those who are descended from the rishis should be to protect the Veda. Earning, eating etc., are only subordinate avocations.

‘With a view to preserve the limitless Veda from destruction in the Kali- yuga, Maharshi Vyasa classified the Veda into four and taught it to four of his disciples. He did so, thinking that in the line of each disciple at least one of the Vedic branches might be studied.

After teaching his four disciples the Veda which has to be preserved through observing restraints and purity, Vyasa wrote the eighteen Puranas and the Mahabharata, embodying in them the essence of the Vedas, in order that all people might be benefited and taught these texts to Suta. This Suta was born in the Suta family he is celebrated as Suta Puranika.

We usually imagine that varna is jati; but it is not so. Varnas are four; but jatis are stated to be more than twenty in the Manu-smriti, and more than fifty in the Suta-samhita. In the Yajur Veda, seventh Kanda, there is mention, similarly, of many jatis.

Sometimes it so happened that a person belonging to one varna had to marry one that belonged to another varna; To which varna, could we say the child born to them belongs? If the woman is of the Vaisya caste and the man of the Kshatriya caste, or if the woman is of the Kshatriya caste and the man is of the Brahman caste, the progeny in such cases is said to belong to anuloma clans. This is the general name. There are also separate names for the clans. On the contrary, if the woman is of the Kshatriya caste and the man of the Vaisya caste, or if the woman is of the Brahmana caste and the man of Kshatriya caste, the progeny in such cases is said to belong to pratiloma clans.

Suta was born in such a clan, Seeing his ability and knowledge, Vyasa selected him for the status mentioned above. He was the first one made eligible to receive the eighteen Puranas. Vyasa taught him the Puranas, and blessed him so that he could teach the Puranas to people belonging to all the castes and clans.

After accomplishing all these, Vyasa wrote a work expounding the nature of Brahman the supreme reality, that is the purport of all the earlier works he had written. The name of that work is Brahma-sutra. It is also known as Bhikshu-sutra and Vyasa-sutra. Another name of Vyasa is Badarayana.

The age in which Vyasa lived is the end of Dvapara-yuga. We may take it that he was born as an avatara before the commencement of Kali-yuga, Anjaneya, Vyasa, Asvathama, Bali and such others live for ever.

To Vyasa’s Brahma-sutra, many teachers who came after him wrote commentaries. Of those commentators, our Acharya, Sankara Bhagavatpada, is one. Of the extant commentaries, his is the earliest. There should have been commentaries prior to his. This is known from the references in Sankara’s commentary. But, who were those commentators, it is not possible to say definitely. In his explanation of the sutras, the Acharya makes such remarks as follows: "For this sutra, they give this meaning. These views may be accepted. This is wrong. It is better to say thus". From such remarks it may be inferred that there were several commentaries before the Acharya.

After the Acharya’s bhashya came the commentaries of Ramanujacharya and Madhvacharya written according to the Vaishnava traditions. Ramanujacharya remained in Srirangam. Madhvacharya belonged to South Canara. Vallabhacharya who was in Gujarat wrote a commentary. Many saints and merchants of Gujarat regard him as their guru. He hailed from Andhra, but settled down in Gujarat. A Matha belonging to this order is in Madras too, in Sowcarpet.

Thus, many teachers have written commentaries on the Brahma-sutra. In South India, the best-known commentaries are those of Sankara, Ramanuja and Madhva. Mostly, it is these three that are taught to students. Shastraic discussions are held as based on these three; and periodical examinations are also conducted.

Srikantacharya wrote a commentary following the Saiva tradition; Appayya Dikshitar has written a lengthy gloss on this. In order to provide for the study of it by five-hundred students, the ruler of those times made a gift of lands. There is an inscription relating to this in the temple near Arni. Some of the Saivacharyas who officiate in Siva temple have studied that gloss. But this gloss is not widely known. Most scholars know only of the three commentaries referred to already.

When we consider the sutra and the Veda of these scholars, it is seen that they belong to one or other of the three Vedas Rig, Yajur, and Sama. That the Atharvana Veda was in vogue in our country until three or four centuries ago is known from inscriptions.

In Orissa, North India, there are eighteen clans of Brahmins. Of these, one is called Atharvanika. In the territories of Kosala and Gujarat, there are four or five scholars who have studied the Atharvanaveda. Near Tindivanam there is a place called Perani, and another known as Ennayiram; near Kanchipuram there is a place, Walajabad. There are quite a few inscriptions in these places. When we examine the inscriptions of Chola and Tondaimnandalam, we come to know that in those far-off days there were scholars well-versed in Atharvana-Veda.

There are some sutras: e.g. Apastamba-Sutra Bodhavana-Sutra, Asvalayana- Sutra, etc. The source of all these was Vyasa. For the commentaries of our Acharya, of Ramanuja. of Madhva, of Srikantha, of Vallabha, and of others, the basic text is Vyasa’s Brahma-sutra. Whatever be one’s Veda, the one who taught the Veda to the rishi who handed it down to us, was Vyasa.

There may be several branches. Seeing the branches, we may think: ‘One branch is in one direction; another branch is right in the opposite direction. What relation there could be between the two?" But when we look down the tree, we realize that the trunk-and the root-is one and the same. Similarly, for our Vedas, Sutras, Puranas etc., the root is Vyasa. Let us honour his picture at least, and let us not forget the Veda; and let us unite in doing our allotted work.

The Veda should be studied by all. Not studying is a sin. For the sin, could not one pay a penalty? Collecting at the rate of rupee one from each person that does not study the Veda, with the money that is thus collected, the Vedic scholars should be honoured : this is the idea. Should we not respect those who have preserved the Veda through oral tradition, without the aid of any book? We may differ when it is a question of philosophy. I may be an advaitin, and you a Visishtadvaitin., and so on. All these schools of philosophy are the branches of one tree. In matters philosophical, let us differ. For me Sankara is great; for another Ramanuja. Let this be so. But all of us whatever be our respective philosophical pursuits, are under an obligation to honour Vyasa. We should celebrate his services by taking out his portrait in procession.

It is Veda-Vyasa who has enabled the Veda to survive during such a long stretch of time. We should honour him; that is our duty.

Courtesy: Vanati Publications, Madras, A free translation from the book of compilation of the speeches by His Holiness Kanchi Paramacharyal as published by ‘Vanati Publications” Madras.

Veda Rakshanam

"Vedo Vrikshaha Tasya Moolam hi Vip raha A ngas sakhaha Dharma Karmani Patram Tasrnan Moolo Yatnatho Rakshaneeya Chjnne Moolae Naiva Sakha na Vrikshaha"

"The Vedas" is a Vriksha (Tree), whose roots are the Vipras (Brahmins), the repository of the Vedas. The six Angas, the auxiliary sciences, Siksha (phonetics), Vyakaranam (grammar), Chandas (metre), Niruktha (Etymology of words), Jyothisha, (Vedanga Jyotisha) and Kalpa-Sutra (texts dealing with the procedure, etc., for the performance of srouta and smartha karmas, Karmanushtana), are the branches. The Karmanushtanam and the Dharmic way of life are the leaves. All possible efforts, therefore, should be taken to protect and preserve the ROOTS (i.e., give all possible support to the repository of the Vedas) as, once the roots decay, there will be neither the tree nor the branches and leaves.

The Vedas (Sabda-Brahman) are co-existent with God and the Universe. At the beginning of the current Sveta-Varaha-Kalpa, (the present span of the Universe), about 6 million years ago, countless, innumerable Vedas (Ananthaha) were divined by Rishis . At the beginning of Kaliyuga, Bhagwan Veda Vyasa synthesised the Vedas into four, as Rik, Yajus, Sama and Atharva, and entrusted them for preservation to four Rishis, Sumantu, Vaisampayana, Jaimini and Paila, by oral tradition. The persons in their parampara maintained the same by adhyapana and adhyayana and passed them on from Guru to Sishya, holding it as a part of their sacred duty. They also acquired knowledge of the meaning of the Vedas, after an intense study of the ‘Shadangas’ — ‘Siksha’, ‘Vyakaranam’, ‘Chandas’, ‘Niruktham’, ‘Jyotisham’ and ‘Kalpasutra’. Knowledge of the meaning of Vedas (Veda Bhashya) involves a thorough knowledge of Sanskrit and Vedangas.

"Brahmanena Nishkaranam Shadgo Vedo Adhyethavya gneyascha".

The Veda Vriksha, with the branches leaves and roots, is designed to serve as a visual depiction of the state of Vedic studies today in the whole of Bharat — nay, the whole world, as it is only in our country that the Vedic tradition continues to survive.
The acme of Vedic knowledge could be attained only by about 18 years of study of (a) Adhyayana of Vedas (8 years); (b) Study of Sikshas, Pratisakhyas and Chandas which are necessary to preserve the Sound vibrations of Veda aksharas, as it existed at the inception of the present span of Universe: (4 years); and (c) study of four shadangas, i.e., of Vyakarana, Nirukta Kalpasutra and Vedanga Jyotisha ( minimum 6 years ).

The failure to preserve the Vedas by the group of persons who were charged with the Sacred duty therefor, has resulted in 1121 sakhas (recensions) out of 1131 that existed 5000 years ago getting extinct.

Due to the impact of current overwhelming emphasis on material prosperity, the performance of rituals mentioned in Vedas and Grihyasutras ( Srouta and Smartha Karma Anushtanam) has dwindled.

Very few persons nowadays take to the study of Vedas and still fewer persons to the six an gas of Vedas. In one or two recensions, only very few pandits and Vidyarthis continue the adhyayana in Vedic tradition. There are only about 1700 Vedapatins today in the whole of Bharat Varsha and not more than 650 Vidyarthis, who could take the place of the existing pandits in course of time.

It is imperative, therefore, to support this group, give them due respect and economic assistance to ensure their minimum needs in their way of life.


In the picture, Vedas are conceived as a tree, which can survive only if the branches and leaves are properly maintained and nourished and the roots properly watered. The gradually diminishing thickness of the branches portrays the existence of a lesser number of persons in some of the angas (auxiliary sciences). The decline in the observance of srouta and smartha anushtana i.e., (performance of rituals) is indicated by the falling of leaves. The dwindling number of persons taking to veda adhyayana in certain sakhas is shown by the decline in the thickness of the roots, and a fewer number of ashrams (parnasalas) therein.

This Veda Rakshanam by the Grihastas is, therefore, sought to be shown in the picture by the Grihastas' offering the necessities of livelihood to the repositories of the Vedas, namely, the Guru and the disciples, who live in ashrams (parnasalas), in the true Gurukula tradition of Veda adhyapana and adhyayana .

* srouta anushtana -- performance of rituals mentioned in Veda with Veda mantras

** Smartha anushtana -- performance of rituals mentioned in grihyasutras with Veda mantras



The Veda Rakshana Nidhi Trust carried on its activities from Kulittalai, near Tiruchirapalli, in Tamil Nadu in the early years, housed in the residence of Sri.S. Annadurai Iyengar, the then Executive Trustee. In the mid-seventies, it moved its Headquarters to Chennai, and functioned from the residence of one its Trustees Sri J. Gowrikanthan at Nanganallur and after about two decades there, moved to its permanent home at No. 12, Govindu Street, T. Nagar, Chennai in the early nineties and it is now functioning at No.64/31 Subramaniam Street, West Mambalam, Chennai 600 033 in a land and building donated by Late Sundaram.
This is an old building in which the office is located in the outhouse and the main building is rented out in as is where is condition.


Contributions may be given as follows:

1. Rs.2,00,000.00 or in multiples thereof to Corpus Fund for vidyarthis (students) who come under the purview of Niyama Adhyayana Scheme and the interest (calculated at an average of 8% p.a.) earned from the same is given for the maintenance of one or more students. The expenditure for one student is calculated at Rs.1,500.00 per month.

2. Rs.1.50,000.00 or in multiples thereof to Corpus fund for the Adhyapakas(Teachers) who come under the Niyama Adhyayana Scheme and the interest earmed from the same may be given as remuneration to one Teacher

3. Rs.1,50,000.00 or in multiples thereof to Corpus Fund for vidyarthis (students) who opt for higher studies like Brahmana, Veda Bhashya and other allied subjects of the Vedas as mentioned elsewhere. The interest (calculated at an average of 8% p.a.) earned from the same is given as stipend to one or more students. A monthly grant of Rs.750.00 is given to students who excel in all subjects in addition to Veda Adhyayana for his life time.

4. Rs.1,00,000.00 or in multiples thereof to Corpus Fund for the Adhyapakas(Teachers) who teach the allied subjects of the Vedas to students who have completed Veda Adhyayana of his own sakha and the interest earned from the same may be given as remuneration to one Teacher

5. Rs.1,00,000.00 or in multiples thereof to Corpus Fund for giving Excellence Awards (Parithoshika) to students/teachers who excel in Vedic and Vedanga subjects. The interest earned will be given as cash prize to those who stood first in Vedas and other allied subjects.

6. A monthly contribution of Rs.1000.00 and in multiples thereof and an yearly subscription of Rs.10,000.00 will be of great help to the Trust in running its activities without any financial strain.

The examinations are conducted with erudite scholars well versed in the Vedas and allied subjects. You may send your contributions to Veda Rakshana Nidhi Trust, 64/31. Subramaniam Street, West Mambalam, Chennai – 600 033 or to Veda Rakshana Nidhi Trust, C/ o. Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, No. 1. Salai Street, Kancheepuram –631 502 by cheque of any scheduled/nationalized Bank or DD drawn in favour of Veda Rakshana Nidhi Trust.

The contributions may also directly be remitted to the bank accounts of the Trust given below through its branches all over India to the credit of Veda Rakshana Nidhi Trust




4. CANARA BANK, WEST MAMBALAM BRANCH CHENNAI 600033 S.B. a/c No.0917101041732 - NEFT IFSC CNRB0002616

Intimation of such transfers may please be intimated to Trust Office either by letter or email without fail enabling the Office to send the receipt.

NRIs may also remit contributions in foreign exchange and they may send their intentions by email so that we can furnish the details for transferring funds depending upon their foreign exchequer.


Donations to the Trust are eligible for exemption from tax under 80-G of Income Tax Act.

Contact Us

Office address:
Veda Rakshana Nidhi Trust (Regd.),
No.64/31,Subramaniam Street,
West Mambalam,
Chennai – 600 033,
Phone: 044-24740549.
Email: vrnt@vsnl.net.

Executive Trustee:
Shri.N. Rama Sharma,
1, Salai Street,
Kanchipuram – 631502,
Phone: 044-27233115,

Trustee and Treasurer:
No.5/12, SIP colony III street,
Chennai – 600061,
Phone: 044-22247843,
Mobile: 9841124191, 9445677843.

Finest Soul of our times His Holiness Sri Mahaperiyava Jagadguru Paramacharya Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swamigal of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam

Sri Kanchi Kmakoti Peetam,established by Bhagwan Sri Adi Sankara about 2500 years ago,has been adorned continuosusly by saints and sages and many of them have been Jeevan Mukthas.Sri Mahaswami,the 68th pontiff is one amongst them.Ever since the 13 year old Kannada speaking Swaminathan of Villupuram ascended the throne of the Kanchi Kamakoti Sankara Mutt in 1907 as the 68th Pontiff with the hallowed name of Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swamigal,the Tamil word “Periyava” has come to refer to His Holiness alone,now also called Sri Mahaswami.The very mention of Periyava evokes from everybody irrespective of caste,creed,community,race or any religion,not only love and admiration but genuine awe and respect.What is the magic that has worked this miracle?

The prestige of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam founded by Sri Adi Sankara,who was the first Sankaracharya in the Vaisaka Sukla Full Moon Day in 481 BC in his 28th year,has always been high because of the sages wo came to adore it as Matadhipathis.But,in it’s 68th Acharya, His Holiness Sri Mahaperiyava Jagadguru Paramacharya Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swamigal who completed 99 years on June 4,1993,the Kamakoti Sankara Peetam has got a Matadhipati acknowledged by all as one of the noblest and finest souls of all times.Had he not taken to a life of renunciation at that tender age,Periyava would certainly have blossomed in to a statesman,a literateur,a scientist,a patron of music,arts and sculpture and a linguist,all combined in to one and would have taken his rightful place alongside the giants of modern science and history.Ever since he became the Matadhipathi in 1907 he has been guiding aspirant souls from all over India and even abroad.

Periyava is almost entirely self taught but what will astound everybody is the intensity of his Guru Bhakthi towards Adi Sankara,the exponent of Advaita.

Says Periyava, “It was by the Avatara of Sri Sankara that the Vedas,the smritis were resuscitated.It is by their resuscitation alone that the bservances connected with auspicious days such as Rama Navami,Nrisimha Jayanthi,Krishna ,Uttarayana Sankaranti,Sivaratri have been revived.The Jayanthi of Sri Sankara is the Jayanthi that has imparted to all Jayanthis their character as Jayanthis.On the fifth day of the bright half of the month of Vaisaka falls Sri Sankara Jayanthi.Like the pure white jasmine,Vasanti – Madhavi creeper,that causes delight,let this fifth day of the bright half month in the spring season,Vasanti – Madhavi embellish and delight our intelligence”.

If ever there was one among the mystics and saints of modern India,who has systematically discouraged belief in magic with respect to himself,it is Periyava.

There are thousands who have o one occasion or the other felt the impact of the “magic” of Periyava’s personality that has helped them to turn a new leaf in life.

Paul Brunton who was directed to Bhagawan Ramana by Periyava was one such.A savant from Angarai village who gave up a good government job long ago at Periyava’s command to propogatethe “Bhagavatham” is moved to tears when he speaks about te Paramacharya.It took Valmiki 24,000 “slokas” to narrate the story of Sri Rama.Veda Vyasa was able to ompose the entire Mahabharatha in a lakh verses.But can any one,even Veda Vyasa himself,pack (asks the savant) all that Periyava has meant to countless men and women in all the 87 years of his ministration in to a “Kavya” of any length?

All the same Periyava like Mahatma Gandhi and C Rajagopalachari,is a staunch votary of the work ethic.He himself held the office he has been called to from 1907 onwards as a trust for the spiritual welfare of one and all.He never deviated from any of the tenets laid down by the distinguished predecessors even in minor details-the only legendary figure reputed for such strict observance of “Swadharma” that comes o mind is Sri Rama.

Periyava has been wearing khadi ever since it came in to vogue and it is well known that he discouragedostentation in marriages and advocates selfless social service and harmonious community living all around.Mahatma Gandhi met Periyava in nElliseri in Palghat district in the early twenties-C Rajagopalachari was with the Mahatma then.Periyava spoke in sanskrit to Gandhiji-but nobody knows to this day what transpired between the two Mahatmas then except that the meeting was called a memorable one by Gandhiji himself.Not that Periyava could bring himself to agree with everything that Gandhiji or Rajaji said or did.But it is plain that Periyava held Gandhiji and Rajaj in the highest esteem.

Sri Mahaswami has extnsively travelled on foot throughout the country and has addressed gatherings of all kinds,from the learned pandits to illiterate villagers on the need to practice the eternal verities exemplified in the Vadas and the Shastras.His Holiness has always discouraged denominational squabbles and has striven hard to inject a sense of unity among the followers of all faiths in India transcedding caste and linguistic barriers.Periyava’s efforts in these more than eight decades for renaissance of humanity and all Indian arts is such as to merit classifying Sri Mahaswami among the greats of Histry,but what is special glory is that he has been achieving all this without the backing of militiary might or money power.It isnot a tribute then to the intuitive wisdom of the simple Tamil people that they chose long ago to identify this Kanchi Acharya as Periyava which also means “great”.

Periyava is ever on the alert to discourage attempts to weave stories of magic and miracle around himself.The central theme of all his lectures is Vaidika Matham – religion propounded by the Vedas which His Holiness envisions as the hope and succour of the future generations not only in India but throughout the world.His Holiness is thereore never tired of making efforts to preserve Vedas and Vedic learning and is personally supervising the activities of the Veda Rakshana Nidhi Trust created by him for the purpose.He propagated Sanathana Dharma of Hinduism.

Those who go to have a glimpse of Periyava see not only his humility but also his native humour and logical approach.Periyava’s utterances are always marked by simplicity and restraint – which are expressive of an inner harmony that is in it’s measure as abolute as any that the geatest saints have achieved.Strictly religious ,deeply spiritual and intensely human,Periyava is also unbeleivably generous and forgiving – words will be of no avail to describe the grace that flows from his eyes!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Terry Fox Foundation has chosen Sankara Nethralaya a forerunner in the research and treatment of Retinoblastoma or Cancer of the eye as its partner in fighting Cancer

Get into your Keds, Spikes or a pair of sandals, be in your track/jog suits or a pair of denims and t-Shirt but make sure to be there at the IIT-Madras for the ‘Terry Fox Run’ Chennai’s marathon of hope at 8:00am on Sunday 25th August 2013. Walk, jog or cycle the 6 kilometers into the lush green woods of IIT to support the cause of children affected by cancer of the eye (Retinoblastoma).

Terry Fox was a Canadian who embarked on a 8,530 kilometres to raise funds for Cancer research and to spread awareness, he ran in icy cold weather, on roads full of ice and snow, he ran with an artificial leg as one of his legs had been amputated due to osteogenic sarcoma a rare bone cancer, he ran in-between painful chemotherapy sessions and often with blood oozing out of the stub of his artificial leg, he had to give up his run after completing 5,374 kilometers in 143 days when a relapse of Cancer spread to his lungs.

The Terry Fox Foundation conducts similar runs the world over and has so far collected more than $500 million for Cancer relief, it has chosen Sankara Nethralaya a forerunner in the research and treatment of Retinoblastoma or Cancer of the eye which occurs mainly in children, as its partner in fighting Cancer and as the beneficiary of its financial assistance.


The event was conducted to present Certificates to the fourth batch of successful candidates of the “CERTIFICATE COURSE IN HOSPITAL MANAGEMENT”.

About 20 professionals serving in the Health care industry at various levels had enrolled in this course to hone their administrative and technical skills in the workplace.

Mr S S G K Murali – Senior Management Faculty participated in the event and distributed the certificates.

Executives from Apollo Hospitals, Madras Medical Mission and other renowned Healthcare institutions who benefited from this weekend Certificate Course in Hospital management shared their feedback about this session.

Mr. Bhavani Sekhar.S, Asst.Manager – Apollo Hospitals – Tondiarpet, Chennai
In the current scenario technology plays a vital role in the healthcare industry, for which much awareness is required. One also needs awareness for bringing in new practices, in order to succeed in the process which is the core objective of this Certificate Course in Hospital Management course and that is my whole idea of the joining the course.

Ms S.Soundarya, Anna University: The topics covered during the lectures spread over 12 weeks were highly informative and helped in understanding the management aspects of a hospital. Moreover, there is manifold increase in the complexity and processes that take place in the successful management of a modern day hospital. This in turn has lead to a tremendous demand for efficient professionals who can handle the day-to-day chores of hospital management and administration. I am confident that the input received over the last 12 weeks on various aspects of hospital management will help me in turning out to be an efficient manager. Since I am not part of the industry at present, the implementation of the knowledge acquired depends on the opportunity that I would be getting in future.

Gautham Rajakrishnan, Biomedical Engineering Student, The University of Auckland :
First of all, let me thank you, your battalions and all other officials of Sankara Nethralaya for giving me an opportunity to complete the certificate course on hospital management successfully. It gives immense pleasure for having enrolled myself with your esteemed institution for the above certificate course. As a biomedical engineer, my M.S degree at the University of Auckland and this certificate course have rather helped me a lot to increase my knowledge and exposure in medical field. I hereby assure to propagate to all my colleagues those related to hospital field to take up your certificate course and make best use of this course knowledge.

Ms Ashwini R, MS – Bio Engineering, Syracuse University, New York:
This 12 week course in Hospital Management has provided me an opportunity to interact with the experts in various areas of Management. It has exposed us to several issues that need to be tackled while providing professional healthcare. This course has given us an idea of what to expect and how to deal with commonly faced problem while dealing with patients. It brought together youth and experience and enabled an exchange of ideas between likeminded people. The campus and the faculty provided a great environment for learning. I thank the organizers for enabling me to utilize the break between semesters more productively.

Shri A.Mahalingam, Assistant Registrar and the Program coordinator for this weekend Certificate Course in Hospital management reiterated the fact that these allied courses have opened a huge gateway to certified healthcare professionals, who have an ever growing demand.

Role of Supply Chain Management in the Health Care Sector

The Sankara Nethralaya Academy as part of its ongoing initiatives towards enhancing and streamlining operational efficiency of healthcare delivery joined hands with the Confederation of Indian Industry – Institute of Logistics a leader in the field to exchange ideas and explore the role of Supply Chain Management in the Health Care Sector. The two leaders in their respective areas organized a seminar on 17th August 2013 at the Sri.V.D.Swami Auditorium towards this objective.

Welcoming the gathering, Ms. Akila Ganesan, Senior General Manager, Sankara Nethralaya & Registrar, the Sankara Nethralaya Academy observed that Health care sector was a “Sunrise” sector that provides evergreen pastures for growth, without stagnation. Realizing this need for Supply Chain Management systems in Health care, the Sankara Nethralaya Academy has designed and launched niche programs, the first of its kind in the history of health care sector in association with the Confederation of Indian Industries and the Institute of Logistics, to groom competent professionals in this field, she said. Ms.Akila Ganesan profusely thanked Dr.T.V.Subramaniam, TQM guru for bringing about this alliance.

Sri.K.V.Mahidhar, Head – CII Institute of Logistics, touched upon the key role of the institute played in training and imparting knowledge to professionals in logistics and supply chain management, the response for which was remarkable, all over India. The services included rating of warehouse excellence, based on HR operations, technology to reflect levels in the road map for development and saving ‘green ways’, to deploy multimodal logistics. Mr. Mahidhar, underlined there were constraints in effectively implementing the supply chain logistics in health care sector due to fixed and rigid beliefs, which he felt could however be easily overcome by applying novel techniques as in manufacturing industry.

TQM guru and Advisor – CII Institute of Logistics, Dr.T.V.Subramanian, in his lecture, elaborated the guidelines, management of flows and management of interdependencies (linkages), and the base drivers that included facilities, transport and warehousing and information management and the importance of effective supply network management in health care sector. He subtly pointed out that in Health care sector, the human value of the patient, happened to be very critical, at both ends, firstly as the one requiring utmost care when he enters as a sick man and as a happy, satisfied man upon his exit.

Sri. K.Nagappan, General Manager (Materials), Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd pointed that India was becoming the hub for medical tourists, and Chennai was chosen by 50% of them for treatment. The picture of Indian health care industry showed an upward growth and necessitated synchronization of supply chain management of both men and material. There are challenges in integrating suppliers, logistics at different departments viz Operation theatre, emergency, stores and purchase to ensure optimum utilization of resources and handling varying volumes and service levels without having to rise cost, he added. Mr.Nagappan aptly finished by saying “Better supply chain, better health care”.

After the question and answer session by enthusiastic participants, the seminar concluded with a vote of thanks by Sri.A.Mahalingam, Assistant Registrar, The Sankara Nethralaya Academy.

Concept of customer service profit chain and the benefits that would accrue to the organization when excellent customer care is rendered

The concluding session of the fourth batch of Certificate Course in Hospital Management was on customer service and its need today.

The session was a very lively and interactive session and most of the participants contributed to the content of the session with their comments and personal experiences in their sphere of work.

The concept of customer service profit chain and the benefits that would accrue to the organization when excellent customer care is rendered on were highlighted. Referrals, Positive word of mouth, standing apart from the competition and increase in revenues were discussed.

Videos were shown on handling different types of customers such as an
• Angry customer
• Impatient customer
• Passive customer

Further a couple of short videos on bad customer service was screened and the participants were asked to comment on the deficiencies that they observed on the delivery of service. The golden rules of customer service were discussed. It was felt by all the participants that given the intensity of the competition prevailing in the health care sector, in addition to quality of care, the service levels are very important to drive patient footfalls and if there are inadequacies in this area it will clearly reflect on the growth of hospital.

All the participants were very happy with the quality of the workshop. The facilitator of the workshop that day asked the participants about their impressions on the workshop as they were his customers. All the participants gave an excellent feedback on the session and opined that they were delighted customers at the end of the session

67th Independence Day @ Sankara Nethralaya

The Sankara Nethralaya family demonstrated its perfect sync with nature as its members gathered enthusiastically and in large numbers to celebrate the 67th Independence Day, unmindful of the incessant rains. The day’s proceedings got off to a novel and thoughtful start with a highly charged group of tiny tots representing the nation’s future citizens, led by the two adorable little Gandhians Master Rohan and Master Ketan in Desi attire unfurled the tricolor to the singing of the National Anthem. Delivering the welcome address Dr TS.Surendran, Vice Chairman, Sankara Nethralaya paid glowing tributes to the Founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr SS.Badrinath for creating a monolith organization, dedicated to service and leading it to glorious heights. Giving the audience a rare glimpse of Dr SS.Badrinath who in an exemplary exhibition of team spirit and dignity of labour had even mopped the floor of the institution he was associated with, he reminded that this was the man who is leading us and we should imbibe this great quality from him. This was followed by a wonderful award winning presentation on Mahatma Gandhi by Master Rohan.

Delivering the key note address Dr K.S.Vasan, Managing Director, Sankara Nethralaya gave a most thought provoking and spirited talk on the challenges that lay ahead, the strengths and weaknesses of the institution, the need to adapt and evolve in a fast changing healthcare market place, without compromising on the founding principles of the institution. He expressed hope that the cost saving and other progressive measures being taken would bear fruit in terms of making the institution more profitable. He made a fervent appeal to rededicate to the founding principles that had made the institution different and special and strongly underlined that ‘Patient Care’ should be the ‘be all’ and ‘end all’ of our existence. He lauded Dr T.S.Surendran for his ceaseless and continued support in fund raising for the institution and Consultants Dr. Geetha Krishnan Iyer and Dr. Bhaskar Srinivasan for persuading their high worth patients to make significant contributions to the institution. Dr. Vasan closed his address with a most touching request to the gathering to give a standing ovation to Dr SS.Badrinath and Dr Vasanthi Badrinath for their monumental effort, sacrifice and service to society and for leading the institution remarkably since its inception. This was followed by an interesting patriotic skit enacted by children presented by Shrimathi Surekha Mehta of SWAN (Sankara Nethralaya Women Auxiliary). As a day dedicated to recognizing and rewarding talent and hard work the ‘Man of the Year’ and ‘Woman of the Year’ awards, performance excellence awards, service completion certificates and eye pledge award were distributed to staff members to the thunderous applause of the gathering.

The momentous event came to an end with a passionate address by Dr SS.Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus, expressing his wholehearted thanks for the trust and confidence reposed in his leadership, he had a special word of thanks to every member of the Sankara Nethralaya family especially the Consultants for their contribution towards making Sankara Nethralaya what it is today, he appealed to everyone assembled to be more communicative and spread love for each other and for the institution. He had special pat on the back for Ms. Yuvarani of IT Department for developing a special communication software which he hoped would fill the current void in. communication between employees. The momentous day came to an end with a patriotic song by the students of the Elite School of Optometry and a warm Vote of Thanks by Dr. Rajiv Raman.

An institution with a deep commitment to human values and a deep sense of gratitude to all those who contributed to its growth, Sankara Nethralaya

As an institution with a deep commitment to human values and a deep sense of gratitude to all those who contributed to its growth, Sankara Nethralaya observed the 10th of August 2013 as a remembrance day of Late Shri V.Parthasarathy a most worthy employee who served the institution as Senior Manager- Establishment, a man who embodied the spirit of Sankara Nethralaya and left his indelible stamp on whatever he did. The staff library named after him was rededicated to him in a simple but solemn ceremony which began with the cutting of the ribbon by Shrimathi Jayalakshmi Parthasarathy wife of Shri V.Parthasarathy with sons and grandsons looking on proudly. The function was presided over by Founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr SS.Badrinath and Dr. Mrs. Vasanthi Badrinath, Director, Clinical services and attended by Dr K.S.Vasan, Managing Director and staff members in good numbers. The renaming of the knowledge centre started aptly with a song on Goddess Saraswati by Ms. Sukanya from the Microbiology Laboratory. Delivering the welcome address Mrs. Sudha Mohan, Senior Manager, HRD recalled the man with an ever smiling disposition, always soft spoken and accessible and a man who pioneered training initiatives in the institution with great success. She highlighted his high levels of commitment to his institution and duties adding that he was engaged in a meeting and discussions with staff members on some major issues even a day before he breathed his last.

The Librarian of the Shri V.Parthasarathy Memorial Staff Library Shri A. Shankar Kumar gave a brief account of the repertoire of books from diverse subjects spanning science, arts, technology, children’s books fiction and even cookery available in a well chronicled and easy to select manner. He appealed to staff members to reciprocate to this thoughtful gesture of the management by making good use of this great utility, adding that this would give the management a good reason to add new books and make the library even bigger. Making a fervent appeal to “Never stop reading’ Dr Corel, Faculty Member from the Sankara Nethralaya Academy gave a wonderful and motivating talk on the multifarious benefits of reading, such as a broadening of the mental horizon, rekindling the intellect, improving memory, vocabulary and communication skills which is so vital today.

The simple but poignant rededication ceremony ended with a highly moved Mrs. Parthasarathy expressing her thanks to Dr SS.Badrinath and the institution for the most thoughtful gesture of respect and regard to her departed husband, on behalf of the entire family, she reiterated that the members of Shri Parthasarathy’s family would continue to be associated with Sankara Nethralaya the great institution which he served with love and passion.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pradosha Pooja on (18th August, 2013) from 4.25 P.M. at Ved Bhavan,50, Lake Avenue, Kolkata - 700 026

na hi jnanena sadrsam pavitram iha vidyate |

न हि ज्ञानेना सदृशम पवित्रमिह विद्यते |
Gita Ch. 4, Sloka No. 38
Certainly, there is no purifier in this world like knowledge.

​Dear Devotees,

Pradosha Pooja will be performed tomorrow (18th August, 2013) from 4.25 P.M. onwards at Ved Bhavan.

Abhishegams for Lord Shiva with Veda Mantra Chanting followed by Archana. Devotees will chant the Slokas - SivaPuranam, Kolaru Thirupathigam (in Tamil) Shivanandha Lahari etc etc.

We request the devotees desirous of performing pooja during the Pradosha Kalam can book in advance with their Name,Nakshatram, Gothram etc.

All are requested to participate in large numbers and receive the blessings of Lord Shiva.


50, Lake Avenue, Kolkata - 700 026.
Email: vedbhavankolkata"gmail.com

How much sugar do you have in a day?

Forget coffee and desserts. Even breads and granola bars come loaded with sugar these days, and we get addicted to it unwittingly. Shonali Muthalaly talks to experts who insist that the addiction must be fought. Thankfully, it can be!

How much sugar do you have in a day? Two spoons with coffee? Three spoons, if you count dessert. So five in total?

Not really. Even if you’re a health nut. Actually, especially if you’re health nut. Your healthy breakfast cereal contains sugar. So do your virtuous digestive biscuits. And your righteous granola bars. Replacing aerated sodas with energy drinks? Well, that’s merely swapping ten teaspoons of sugar for 6.

Raj Ganpath, co-founder and coach at The Quad, a Chennai-based boot camp, which promotes optimal fitness and sustainable wholesome nutrition, warns his clients that what’s considered ‘normal’ today is far from healthy. “Today’s normal amount is in reality excessive and today’s occasional is in reality frequent,” he says, adding, “The one teaspoon of sugar in your coffee is not going to kill you.” It’s your daily choices that make you unhealthy.

Even as sugar is being hidden better and better in processed food, Ganpath says we are getting “dumber and dumber about what we eat”. He says, “We choose to believe the marketing because it’s convenient. It’s convenient to pour out cereal and milk out of the bowl and believe you are giving your children a nutritious breakfast. Even though it is the equivalent of handing them a chocolate bar and a multivitamin.”

As food manufacturers have discovered, back, sugar makes everything taste better. “A lot of what we eat today is made in a lab, not a kitchen. It’s engineered, and there is a lot of research going into it. Manufacturers find ways to layer sugar, salt and fat to make it difficult to resist,” says Ganpath, adding “And they have discovered that sugar makes everything taste better. Ten years ago, things never used to be so sweet. We don’t realise this because the changes have been gradual. Bread used to be flour, yeast, water, salt. Now it has 30 to 40 ingredients, including sugar. Apples used to be tart. Over the last 120 years, we have selectively bred them to make them sweet. Today everything is homogenised with a sugar-bias. Even nachos have sugar.”

“If it has a label, it stays off my table,” says Jill Escher, author of Farewell, Club Perma-Chub: A Sugar Addict’s Guide to Easy Weight Loss. Jill, who moved from a size 12 to a size six 6 dress size in four months after giving up sugar runs the ‘End Sugar Addiction’ blog, which explains to people just how addictive sugar can be. “Processed food tends to be replete with sugars in various forms. If a food didn’t come from fairly directly from a plant or animal, it does not belong in your diet.”

Dr Sheela Nambiar, obstetrician and gynaecologist, who runs a fitness programme called 'Training For Life' in Chennai and Udhagamandalam, explains why you should, in particular, watch out for ‘fat-free’ food. The author of the recently launched book Get Sizewise, she says, “When manufacturers take out the fat, the taste goes down. So they add a lot of sugar to compensate.” Start reading labels, and you’ll notice hidden sugar everywhere. “It’s in sauces and mixes. In ketchup. In packaged yoghurt…”

“Sugar is intoxicating — it floods users with a mild euphoria that, for reasons of both brain chemistry and hormonal actions, is highly addictive,” says Escher. “Willpower is a myth, a very destructive myth because it places the blame on the victim and not the perpetrator. Sugar urges stem from an abnormally altered biochemistry. To overcome sugar addiction and create the foundation for healthy eating, we need to reclaim our innate biochemistry from the invading forces of processed food, sugar, and grains. A normal biochemistry, based on eating real, unprocessed food, has no need for refined sugars.”

She adds, “The idea of sugar as a staple food is a modern construct and our distorted bodies show the scars of this relentless assault.” Ganpath says, “It’s not normal to eat dessert every day. But any meal at a restaurant now comes with dessert. Coffee is served with cookies… It’s hard to imagine being addicted to sugar, but picture a world with no sugar and try to fit anything you do into it, and you’ll see how it makes sense.”

When Escher gave up sugar three years ago, it wasn’t easy. I was 45 years old, and at only five feet tall, packed on about 30 excess pounds… I knew deep inside I had become addicted to sugar, and that it was making me fat, sluggish, and foggy-headed.” She adds, “My problem wasn’t too many calories or insufficient willpower, but a nearly lifelong chemical dependence on refined sugars which had sickened by body and hijacked my brain.” Although the first few weeks were challenging, she says, “I started feeling better after just a few days. My cravings began to lift, and I began to feel more nourished with my new way of eating… Weight loss happened fast—almost two pounds a week. The benefits went far beyond anything I could have imagined: going from size 12 to size 6 in clothing; clear, glowing skin; a more focused mind; better sleep; receding arthritis in my spine; better vision; great cholesterol numbers (even though I ate plenty of dietary fats); and more energy and zest for work, family, life, and projects.

According to the report India’s Sugar policy and the World Sugar Economy submitted at the FAO International Sugar Conference, Fiji 2012, the consumption in India is growing rapidly. While per capita consumption of sugar in India is at 20.2 kg, which is that’s lower than the global average of 24.8 kg, it’s a steep increase from 4.9 kg in 1963. (The global average on the other hand shows an increase from 17.3 kg in 1963.)

The fact that we’re now eating more refined sugars, including high fructose corn syrup, makes it additionally worrying. “These are the products of complex, highly mechanised chemical and physical processes of extraction. Our bodies were not designed to metabolise these foreign substances,” says Escher. “The problem is not just calories,” says Dr Nambiar. “Your insulin spikes as soon as you consume it.” This in turn triggers low blood sugar, which exhausts you and triggers more sugar cravings. “Artificial sweeteners aren’t much better,” says Dr. Nambiar. “The jury is out on aspartame. Stevia is the safest as as it’s natural. But ideally you should train your palate to get used to less sugar.”

“I never ask clients to quit sugar,” says Ganpath. “They instantly stop listening to me. Really, how long are you going to live free from sugar in a world that celebrates sugar in everything from your morning coffee to your bedtime antacid?” He adds, “But if you need chocolate to get through the day, it’s time you realised you’re sugar-dependent. Your body doesn’t need sugar — it gives you nothing.” What about those celebrated ‘feel-good hormones’ released by sugary food? He counters, “You get that from patting a dog.”

Jill Escher’s list for sugar-addicts:

1. Avoid the “white stuff,” including refined sugar, flour, most starches (easy on the rice and potatoes), and processed food, which invariably contains blood sugar-spiking junk. Starches are nothing more than long-chain sugars which convert to sugars during digestion. A bowl of pasta is little more than a bowl of sugar.

2. Eat plenty of dietary fats, including butter, ghee, lard, avocados, coconut oil, and olive oil.

3. Avoid vegetable oils, such as soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, and canola oil. These highly refined oils cause inflammation.

4. Eat plenty of raw veggies – always have a bowl of sliced and yummy veggies in your fridge to snack on (I tend to have cucumber, carrots, red peppers, celery).

5. Donʼt eat late at night. For example, try to eat dinner by 7pm, and then go at least 12 hours without food, having breakfast no earlier than 7am. When I say “weight loss happens in your sleep,” Iʼm not kidding — you need to give your digestion and hormones a break if you want the body to start using fat stores for energy.

6. Drink water, preferably lemon water, throughout the day. Stay hydrated, carry your water bottle around with you. If you need a bit of sweetness, add a pinch of stevia.

Keywords: sugar addiction, sugar myths, sugar health risks, refined sugar, sugar consumption

Do you think you are a genius?

There is certainly a link between high intelligence and psychiatric disorders but at the other end of the spectrum lies depression

Do you think you are a genius? Take your time to reply because science is reaffirming the age old belief that those who are brilliant also have a stroke of madness about them. Quoting Aristotle, who said, “No great mind ever existed without a touch of madness,”Doctor James McCabe of the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, speaks on Pod academy on a link between high intelligence and psychiatric disorders.

Dr. McCabe describes the illnesses, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and says that while schizophrenia is more to do with genetics and delusions that the patient is under, bipolar disorder is about mood swings. “…the reason for the term bipolar is to refer to the two poles of the illness. So those are mania on the one hand, which is when your mood is very elated and you’re often very creative and excited….Then at the other end of the scale is depression…with profound sleep disturbance, with loss of appetite and they feel they have no energy. Occasionally, they might even get hallucinations and delusions associated with it. And the third state is being of a level mood, somewhere in the middle, and so the goal of treatment for bipolar disorder is to try and maximize the amount of time that people spend in that middle range when most people find that they’re functioning the best.”

The percentage of population affected is 1/2 to 1 per cent in Europe, though now definitions are undergoing change and the population being brought under the category of manic depression has increased.

Now coming to the crucial finding of McCabe’s study – both lower and higher achievers have an increased likelihood of developing manic depression.

He says, “We found that people who were in the top five per cent of the population are about four times more likely to develop bipolar disorder than the people with average grades and, at the same time, we found that people that were in the bottom per cent of the population in their school grades also had an increased risk of bipolar disorder, not quite as big, but about a doubling in risk. So, this suggests that there are potentially two different mechanisms operating here that are associated with high and low scores.”

If they took their exam in the time when they were manic that is very excited and creative, they probably did very well. And if they took their exams when they were depressed, they probably found themselves at the bottom of the pile. That is a rather simple explanation, but Dr. McCabe says the situation is difficult. Drugs to treat depression may hamper creativity. One of his patients, a professional violinist would not have her medicine (lithium) before a concert for it limited her. On the other hand people who go through these disorders also suffer from the anxiety, ‘why am I not creative in the manic stage?’

While that seems a nice stage to be in….creative and energetic, Dr. McCabe says, it is not all that pleasant for the after taste it leaves is bitter. By creative it does not only refer to the arts. McCabe gives the example of the famous mathematician John Nash. “…very very gifted, was a full professor by the age of 29 and around that time started to believe, for example, that he was being given secret messages in the newspapers by aliens. Ultimately he believed that he was the emperor of Antarctica. So he had some very odd beliefs and had a diagnosis of schizophrenia.”

McCabe says, “People who are given drugs which increase their dopamine level can sometimes become very creative.

And we know that, when people are in a manic state particularly, their dopamine systems are increased and some drugs stimulate dopamine receptors in the brain, so there is a biological possibility there for a link related to dopamine.”

Most significant, McCabe feels is that research in this direction will help us to understand, “…many different manifestations of the same underlying biological process, so that you can have similar biological underpinnings for a number of different psychiatric disorders, which are basically the symptoms that are manifest.”


Keywords: James McCabe, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, High intelligence, Psychiatric disorders

Long-tailed, orange-furred, big-eyed olinguito

The long-tailed, orange-furred, big-eyed olinguito — said to resemble a cross between a house cat and a teddy bear — is the newest mammal and the first carnivore discovered in the Americas in 35 years, the Smithsonian Institution announced Thursday.

Native to the misty forests of Colombia and Ecuador, the olinguito is the smallest member of the raccoon family, said Kristofer Helgen, a Smithsonian scientist who recognized it as a distinct species 10 years ago when he first viewed a long-dead 20th-century specimen in a Chicago museum. It had been identified as a related species, the olingo, but Dr. Helgen said the teeth and skull of the specimen were much different from those of an olingo, which is larger and has more prominent ears than the olinguito. In the interest of being thorough, he sought out colleagues to confirm the existence of the olinguito in its natural habitat, which took years.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Glossary of All Eye & Vision Conditions

Accommodative Dysfunction An eye focusing problem that is unrelated to aging changes in the lens of the eye.
Amblyopia See Lazy Eye
Astigmatism A vision condition that causes blurred vision due either to the irregular shape of the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, or sometimes the curvature of the lens inside the eye.
Blepharitis An inflammation of the eyelids and eyelashes causing red, irritated, itchy eyelids and the formation of dandruff like scales on eyelashes.
Cataract A cloudy or opaque area in the normally clear lens of the eye.
Chalazion A slowly developing lump that forms due to blockage and swelling of an oil gland in the eyelid.
Color Vision Deficiency The inability to distinguish certain shades of colors or, in more severe cases, see colors at all.
Computer Vision Syndrome A group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer use.
Conjunctivitis An inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, the thin transparent layer of tissue that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye.
Convergence Insufficiency An eye coordination problem in which the eyes have a tendency to drift outward when reading or doing close work.
Corneal Abrasion A cut or scratch on the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye.
Crossed Eyes A condition in which both eyes do not look at the same place at the same time.
Diabetic Retinopathy A condition occurring in persons with diabetes, which causes progressive damage to the retina, the light sensitive lining at the back of the eye.
Dry Eye A condition in which there are insufficient tears to lubricate and nourish the eye.
Farsightedness A vision condition in which distant objects are usually seen clearly, but close objects do not come into proper focus.
Floaters & Spots The shadowy images that are seen moving in your field of vision caused by particles floating in the fluid that fills the inside of the eye.
A group of disorders leading to progressive damage to the optic nerve, and is characterized by loss of nerve tissue resulting in loss of vision.

Hordeolum See Sty
Hyperopia See Farsightedness
Keratitis An inflammation or infection of the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye.
Keratoconus An eye disorder causing progressive thinning and bulging of the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye.
Lazy Eye The loss or lack of development of clear vision in just one eye. It is not due to eye health problems and eyeglasses or contact lenses can’t fully correct the reduced vision caused by lazy eye.
Learning-related Vision Problems Vision disorders that interfere with reading and learning.
Macular Degeneration An eye disease affecting the macula, the center of the light sensitive retina at the back of the eye, causing loss of central vision.
Migraine with Aura See Ocular Migraine
Myopia See Nearsightedness
Nearsightedness A vision condition in which you can see close objects clearly, but objects farther away are blurred.
Nystagmus A vision condition in which the eyes make repetitive, uncontrolled movements, often resulting in reduced vision.
Ocular Allergies The abnormal response of sensitive eyes to contact with allergens and other irritating substances.
Ocular Hypertension An increase in the pressure inside the eye above the range considered normal, without any detectable changes in vision or damage to the structures of the eye.
Ocular Migraine A type of severe headache accompanied by various visual symptoms.
Pinquecula An abnormal growth of tissue on the conjunctiva, the clear membrane that covers the white of the eye.
Presbyopia An age-related vision condition in which there is a gradual loss of the eye’s ability to focus on near objects.
Pterygium An abnormal growth of tissue on the conjuctiva, the clear membrane that covers the white of the eye, and the adjacent cornea, the clear front surface of the eye.
Ptosis A drooping of the upper eyelid.
Retinal Detachment A tearing or separation of the retina, the light sensitive lining at the back of the eye, from the underlying tissue.
Retinitis Pigmentosa A group of inherited disorders of the retina, the light sensitive lining at the back of the eye, which cause poor night vision and a progressive loss of side vision.
Retinoblastoma A rare type of eye cancer occurring in young children that develops in the retina, the light sensitive lining at the back of the eye.
Strabismus See Crossed Eyes
Sty An infection of an oil gland in the eyelid.
Subconjunctival Hemorrhage An accumulation of blood underneath the conjunctiva, the clear membrane covering the white part of the eye.
Uveitis An inflammation of one or more of the structures that make up the middle layer of the eye called the uvea.



What causes conjunctivitis?
How is conjunctivitis diagnosed?
How is conjunctivitis treated?
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, the thin transparent layer of tissue that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye. Conjunctivitis, often called “pink eye,” is a common eye disease, especially in children. It may affect one or both eyes. Some forms of conjunctivitis can be highly contagious and easily spread in schools and at home. While conjunctivitis is usually a minor eye infection, sometimes it can develop into a more serious problem.

Conjunctivitis may be caused by a viral or bacterial infection. It can also occur due to an allergic reaction to irritants in the air like pollen and smoke, chlorine in swimming pools, and ingredients in cosmetics or other products that come in contact with the eyes. Sexually transmitted diseases like Chlamydia and gonorrhea are less common causes of conjunctivitis.

People with conjunctivitis may experience the following symptoms:

A gritty feeling in one or both eyes
Itching or burning sensation in one or both eyes
Excessive tearing
Discharge coming from one or both eyes
Swollen eyelids
Pink discoloration to the whites of one or both eyes
Increased sensitivity to light
What causes conjunctivitis?

Allergic Conjunctivitis occurs more commonly among people who already have seasonal allergies.

Allergic Conjunctivitis occurs more commonly among people who already have seasonal allergies.
The cause of conjunctivitis varies depending on the offending agent. There are three main categories of conjunctivitis: allergic, infectious and chemical:

Allergic Conjunctivitis

Allergic Conjunctivitis occurs more commonly among people who already have seasonal allergies. At some point they come into contact with a substance that triggers an allergic reaction in their eyes.

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis is a type of allergic conjunctivitis caused by the chronic presence of a foreign body in the eye. This condition occurs predominantly with people who wear hard or rigid contact lenses, wear soft contact lenses that are not replaced frequently, have an exposed suture on the surface or the eye, or have a glass eye.
Infectious Conjunctivitis

Bacterial Conjunctivitis is an infection most often caused by staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria from your own skin or respiratory system. Infection can also occur by transmittal from insects, physical contact with other people, poor hygiene (touching the eye with unclean hands), or by use of contaminated eye makeup and facial lotions.

Viral Conjunctivitis is most commonly caused by contagious viruses associated with the common cold. The primary means of contracting this is through exposure to coughing or sneezing by persons with upper respiratory tract infections. It can also occur as the virus spreads along the body’s own mucous membranes connecting lungs, throat, nose, tear ducts, and conjunctiva.

Ophthalmia Neonatorum is a severe form of bacterial conjunctivitis that occurs in newborn babies. This is a serious condition that could lead to permanent eye damage unless it is treated immediately. Ophthalmia neonatorum occurs when an infant is exposed to Chlamydia or gonorrhea while passing through the birth canal.
Chemical Conjunctivitis

Chemical Conjunctivitis can be caused by irritants like air pollution, chlorine in swimming pools, and exposure to noxious chemicals.

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How is conjunctivitis diagnosed?

Comprehensive Eye Exam

Conjunctivitis can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination.
Conjunctivitis can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination. Testing, with special emphasis on evaluation of the conjunctiva and surrounding tissues, may include:

Patient history to determine the symptoms the patient is experiencing, when the symptoms began, and the presence of any general health or environmental conditions that may be contributing to the problem.

Visual acuity measurements to determine the extent to which vision may be affected.

Evaluation of the conjunctiva and external eye tissue using bright light and magnification.

Evaluation of the inner structures of the eye to ensure that no other tissues are affected by the condition.

Supplemental testing may include taking cultures or smears of conjunctival tissue, particularly in cases of chronic conjunctivitis or when the condition is not responding to treatment.
Using the information obtained from these tests, your optometrist can determine if you have conjunctivitis and advise you on treatment options.

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How is conjunctivitis treated?

Treatment of conjunctivitis is directed at three main goals:

To increase patient comfort.
To reduce or lessen the course of the infection or inflammation.
To prevent the spread of the infection in contagious forms of conjunctivitis.
The appropriate treatment for conjunctivitis depends on its cause:

Allergic conjunctivitis – The first step should be to remove or avoid the irritant, if possible. Cool compresses and artificial tears sometimes relieve discomfort in mild cases. In more severe cases, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and antihistamines may be prescribed. Cases of persistent allergic conjunctivitis may also require topical steroid eye drops.

Bacterial conjunctivitis – This type of conjunctivitis is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointments. Improvement can occur after three or four days of treatment, but the entire course of antibiotics needs to be used to prevent recurrence.

Viral Conjunctivitis – There are no available drops or ointments to eradicate the virus for this type of conjunctivitis. Antibiotics will not cure a viral infection. Like a common cold, the virus just has to run its course, which may take up to two or three weeks in some cases. The symptoms can often be relieved with cool compresses and artificial tear solutions. For the worst cases, topical steroid drops may be prescribed to reduce the discomfort from inflammation, but do not shorten the course of the infection. Some doctors may perform an ophthalmic iodine eye wash in the office in hopes of shortening the course of the infection. This newer treatment has not been well studied yet, therefore no conclusive evidence of the success exists.

Chemical Conjunctivitis – Treatment for chemical conjunctivitis requires careful flushing of the eyes with saline and may require topical steroids. The more acute chemical injuries are medical emergencies, particularly alkali burns, which can lead to severe scarring, intraocular damage or even loss of the eye.
Contact Lens Wearers

Contact lens wearers may need to discontinue wearing their lenses while the conjunctivitis is active.

Contact lens wearers may need to discontinue wearing their lenses while the conjunctivitis is active.
Contact lens wearers may need to discontinue wearing their lenses while the condition is active. Your doctor can advise you on the need for temporary restrictions on contact lens wear.

If the conjunctivitis developed due to wearing contact lenses, your eye doctor may recommend that you switch to a different type of contact lens or disinfection solution. Your optometrist might need to alter your contact lense prescription to a type of lens that you replace more frequently to prevent the conjunctivitis from recurring.


Practicing good hygiene is the best way to control the spread of conjunctivitis. Once an infection has been diagnosed, follow these steps:

Don't touch your eyes with your hands.
Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
Change your towel and washcloth daily, and don't share them with others.
Discard eye cosmetics, particularly mascara.
Don't use anyone else's eye cosmetics or personal eye-care items.
Follow your eye doctor's instructions on proper contact lens care.
You can soothe the discomfort of viral or bacterial conjunctivitis by applying warm compresses to your affected eye or eyes. To make a compress, soak a clean cloth in warm water and wring it out before applying it gently to your closed eyelids.

For allergic conjunctivitis, avoid rubbing your eyes. Instead of warm compresses, use cool compresses to soothe your eyes. Over the counter eye drops are available. Antihistamine eye drops should help to alleviate the symptoms, and lubricating eye drops help to rinse the allergen off of the surface of the eye.