Monday, June 7, 2010

Lessons learnt from the epic Mahabharat

A brief summary of Mahabharat:
It is a Sanskrit epic of ancient India which narrates the Kurukshetra war between the Kaurvas and Pandavas. It describes the life op people in ancient India and preaches the four 'goals of life' or purusharthas. The latter are enumerated as dharma(right action), artha (purpose), karma(duty) and moksha (liberation). This epic was written by the sage Vyasa. The central theme of the epic is that 'good triumphs over evil'.

 Lessons learnt:
       1. Bhagvad Gita was preached to Arjuna on the battlefields of Kurukshetra. This preaching is of excellent value even today. It preaches man to perform his duties without worrying about the results.
        2. Lord Krishna and Arjuna were very good friends. Lord Krishna stood by Arjuna on many difficult occassions and also saved his life many times. This teaches us to value our friends.
        3. Devavratha got his nickname Bhishma (terrible vow) because of his vow to never get married in his lifetime. This vow ultimately leads to his downfall. This teaches us to 'look before leap'. Before promising anything we must consider consequences.
       4. Karna also known as 'Danveer' because of his quality to donate anything and everything that was asked to him is also an important character of this epic. Because of his habit of donating he lost all of his precious things including his golden armor which ultimately lead to his downfall. This teaches us that while giving we must consider the necessity of the receiver.
       5. Arjuna was a great archer of his time and he was very proud of his skills which made him arrogant. Lord Krishna played various tricks on him to expose his hollowness and break his overconfidence. This teaches us not to be proud of what we have never be over confident. Same thing can be learnt from the story of Bhima.
        6. Duryodhana and Dussassana insulted Draupadi- wife of Pandavas which ultimately lead to their annihilation. This teaches us never to insult a woman.
        7. Dhrutrashtra was taught good advices by Lord Krishna, Vidura, etc. but he ignored them because of his mad love for his sons. This teaches us that ignoring good advices can cause harm and destruction. This also shows how mad love of parents can spoil their children.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Truth behind artificially ripened fruits

       Ripening agent like calcium carbide is being used to speed up the ripening process. They allow many fruits like mangoes and bananas to be picked prior to full ripening. This method is generally useful for the traders since ripened fruits cannot be transported properly over long distances. However, this method is harmful for the consumers, because artificially ripened fruits are tasteless and toxic.

        Calcium carbide which is generally used as an artificial ripening agent, once dissolved with water produces acetylene. Acetylene is believed to affect the nervous system by reducing the oxygen supply to the brain. Ethylene which is a byproduct is also known to damage the neurological system.
         Artificially ripened fruits differ from  the natural ones since they are uniformly well colored and black patches may appear on them in 2 or 3 days.
         In India the practice of artificially ripening is banned under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and violators are liable to undergo six month imprisonment and pay a fine of Rs. 1,000. But there are hardly any cases where traders or retailers are booked under this act.
         It is necessary that we look before eating. While eating mangoes and apples, cut them into pieces rather than consuming directly. Fruits which have uniform color, for example a bunch of bananas having a uniform color is more likely to be ripened artificially. And lastly wash them before consuming.