Swati Chopra


Be your own lamp

After nirvana, for some time, the Buddha remained silent. Seven weeks later, he made his way to Deer Park at Sarnath, near Varanasi, where he met his five former ascetic companions.

Buddha and Bodhi tree

Every December, on the day of the full moon, an Indian ancestress is celebrated in Sri Lanka. She is Sanghamitra, daughter of Emperor Ashoka, who, along with her brother, Mahendra, helped establish the Buddha dharma here in the 3rd century BC. She is also revered as the one who brought a branch of the original Bodhi tree, under which the Buddha attained enlightenment, and which continues to be a powerful sacred presence in ordinary people’s lives even today.

Blueprint for a good life

India today seems to be in a fevered rush to embrace uninhibited consumerism and mindless materialism.
I wouldn’t say spiritual values have been lost entirely. But there are signs of erosion, most evident in the loss of balance between the four aspects of life — dharma (ethical living), artha (wealth creation), kama (pursuit of pleasure), and moksha (liberation and spirituality). Each had its place in the matrix of life, which is no longer the case, with artha assuming precedence over everything else.

Be the awakened one

The term“awakening” has long been used to denote the experience of spiritual realisation — of self, reality, God, emptiness. It has been described as a point of transition, where a limited way of seeing and being is altered because of an immense opening up that happens in one’s consciousness.

Istanbul’s azaan

One of the first and lasting impressions of Istanbul — ancient capital of empires — is the call to prayer. It rings out simultaneously at the appointed times from various mosques, old and new, that dot the city. Though the tone and pitch of the voices of the muezzins vary, they share a quality of passionate intensity that inspires a response in all those who hear it.

Satyagrahi,ask thyself

Satyagraha literally means an insistence on truth. If we consider the movement against corruption that has gripped our national imagination today as a contemporary satyagraha, we must also be willing to examine the truth and all its constituents, beginning with ourselves.

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I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen didn’t make the cut. Neither did Shaji Karun’s Piravi, which bagged 31 international awards.