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Sarus crane counting drive in Uttar Pradesh on 20 June 2010

Peacock is the national bird of India, and the Sarus crane is the state bird of Uttar Pradesh in Northern India.

Sarus crane pair seen and photographed by Rohit near IITK

Last year, members of the Society for Conservation of Nature identified 1,005 Sarus birds in the districts of Etawah, Auraiyya and Mainpuri in Uttar Pradesh.

A four-hours exercise to identify and count Sarus Crane (Grus Antigone), the state bird will be organised across the state on Sunday, June 20. After a span of almost a decade, such an exercise is being launched and it will be conducted by the state forest department and its associated agencies, volunteers and various NGOs in the thousands of wetlands in the state as per the sources.

Out of the total number of 10,000 Grus Antigone, Indian Saras, Demosil Crane and Common Crane, nearly 2,500 of them are said to be nesting in and around Etawah and nearly 1,000 in Mainpuri district besides a good number of Sarus birds have also been spotted in Aligarh and Etah districts, claim the wildlife experts.

Sarus crane in North India

More: Times of India

Spirit of India

Classic View of Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India

The Indian race never stood for wealth. Although they acquired immense wealth. Perhaps more than any other nation ever acquired, yet the nation did not stand for wealth. It was a powerful race for ages, yet we find that nation never stood for power, never went out of the country to conquer. Quite content within their own boundaries, never fought anybody. The Indian nation never stood for imperial glory. Wealth and power, then, were not the ideals of the race. What then? That nation, among all the children of men has believed and believed intensely, that this life is not real. The real is God; and they must cling on to God through thick and thin.

The Indian nation never will be a powerful, conquering people – never. They will never be a great political power; that is not their business, that is not the note India has to play in the great harmony of nations. But what has she to play? God, and God alone.

svami vivekananda

~ Swami Vivekananda

Green travel in India

Travelling ethically on a land mass as vast as the Indian subcontinent has been made so much easier with the recent creation of the Green Circuit (the Five local tour operators in India and Nepal, all specialists in deep-rooted community-based responsible-tourism initiatives, have collaborated to provide a wide range of natural and cultural heritage trips. From the Blue Yonder, in Kerala (theblue, to Social Tours, in Nepal (, experiences vary greatly, including a yak safari into the trans-Himalayan deserts, monitoring elephant-migration corridors in eastern Himalaya and learning traditional drumming with villagers living along Kerala’s River Nila.

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The instructive mosquitoes

Sri Yukteshwar Giri The instructive mosquitoes served for another early lesson at the ashram. It was the gentle hour of dusk. My guru was matchlessly interpreting the ancient texts. At his feet, I was in perfect peace. A rude mosquito entered the idyl and competed for my attention. As it dug a poisonous hypodermic needle into my thigh, I automatically raised an avenging hand. Reprieve from impending execution! An opportune memory came to me of one of Patanjali's yoga aphorisms-that on ahimsa (harmlessness).
"Why didn't you finish the job?"
"Master! Do you advocate taking life?"
"No; but the deathblow already had been struck in your mind."
"I don't understand."

"Patanjali's meaning was the removal of desire to kill." Sri Yukteswar had found my mental processes an open book.

"This world is inconveniently arranged for a literal practice of ahimsa. Man may be compelled to exterminate harmful creatures. He is not under similar compulsion to feel anger or animosity. All forms of life have equal right to the air of maya. The saint who uncovers the secret of creation will be in harmony with its countless bewildering expressions.
All men may approach that understanding who curb the inner passion for destruction
"Guruji, should one offer himself a sacrifice rather than kill a wild beast?"
"No; man's body is precious. It has the highest evolutionary value because of unique brain and spinal centers. These enable the advanced devotee to fully grasp and express the loftiest aspects of divinity. No lower form is so equipped. It is true that one incurs the debt of a minor sin if he is forced to kill an animal or any living thing. But the Vedas teach that wanton loss of a human body is a serious transgression against the karmic law."
I sighed in relief; scriptural reinforcement of one's natural instincts is not always forthcoming.

~ Paramhansa YoganandaAutobiography of a yogi

How to know whether the person is enlightened.

How to know whether a person is enlightened?

If you want an honest answer, I can tell one thing. You can never find logically. If somebody is enlightened, when you see him, simply something will happen inside your heart; beyond your intellect. Your whole heart will fall in tune with him. Simply you will not be able to forget him. You’ll be pulled, your whole being will be attracted. Your whole being will be automatically filled by him.

You will not know what is happening to you. You yourself will not be able to understand, analyze logically. You’ll just be waiting, ‘When can I see him next?’ Simply your heart will fall in love.

I can say, with masters you raise in love. With ordinary people you fall in love. With masters you raise in love. Simply something will happen in your space!

Beyond your control, beyond your logic, your heart knows, ‘He is enlightened.’ Simply, you can’t say no to him!

Be very clear, if that happens, that person is going to help you. That person is going to show you the light. That person is your master.

If that doesn’t happen, don’t bother; continue the search, you will meet the right person. Continue your search, you’ll meet the right person. Don’t bother who is enlightened, who is not enlightened; intellectually you cannot find out.

If somebody is going to help you, simply your heart will fall in tune with you. If it falls in tune with him, even if he is not enlightened, he will help you. You will be helped by him.

If your heart has not fallen in tune, even if he is enlightened, he is not for you. Forget about him.

So, you don’t have to use your head at all. Just relax. Your heart knows how to show you the right path. How to guide you in the right path, your heart is the judge which will guide you automatically at the right time, in the right moment towards the right person.

~ Swami Nithyananda

No wonder I felt I was wasting my time at school...

I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and l have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. such wealth l have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that l do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, l propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture. for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.

~ Lord Macaulay’s address to the British Parliament, 2 February, 1835

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