Saturday, January 29, 2011

Guru Arjan Dev - Love like the pied cuckoo ...

I hear a portion of a group of four beautiful chhants (six-liners) by Guru Arjan this morning as I was listening to a recording of Bhai Gurmeet Singh Shaant's Asa ki Vaar (Ballad of hope).

Oh Heart love like the fish;
who can't live for a moment without water.
Love like the pied cuckoo;
who can't stop singing in hope of rain.

Beautiful poem on how to love ...

Pied Cuckoo (Chaatrik) and monsoons:
India’s climate is dominated by monsoons. Most of its annual rainfall (86%) occurs during the Southwest monsoon months. The monsoon is a key influence on agricultural output as well as the overall economic growth of India. From ancient times it has been believed that the onset of the monsoon is associated with the appearance of the Pied Cuckoo Clamator jacobinus.

Here are the Gurumukhi, Transliterated and translated lines:

man aisaa nayhu karayhu

Awsw mhlw 5 CMq Gru 6 ] CMqu ] (454-15)

aasaa mehlaa 5 chhant ghar 6. chhant.

Aasaa, Fifth Mehl, Chhant, Sixth House: Chhant:

jl duD inAweI rIiq Ab duD Awc nhI mn AYsI pRIiq hry ]

jal duDh ni-aa-ee reet ab duDh aach nahee man aisee pareet haray.

Just like water, which loves milk so much that it will not let it burn - O my mind, so love the Lord.

Ab auriJE Ail kmlyh bwsn mwih mgn ieku iKnu BI nwih trY ]

ab urjhi-o al kamlayh baasan maahi magan ik khin bhee naahi tarai.

The bumble bee becomes enticed by the lotus, intoxicated by its fragrance, and does not leave it, even for a moment.

iKnu nwih trIAY pRIiq hrIAY sIgwr hiB rs ArpIAY ]

khin naahi taree-ai pareet haree-ai seegaar habh ras arpee-ai.

Do not let up your love for the Lord, even for an instant; dedicate all your decorations and pleasures to Him.

jh dUKu suxIAY jm pMQu BxIAY qh swDsMig n frpIAY ]

jah dookh sunee-ai jam panth bhanee-ai tah saaDhsang na darpee-ai.

Where painful cries are heard, and the Way of Death is shown, there, in the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy, you shall not be afraid.

kir kIriq goivMd guxIAY sgl pRwCq duK hry ]

kar keerat govind gunee-ai sagal paraachhat dukh haray.

Sing the Kirtan, the Praises of the Lord of the Universe, and all sins and sorrows shall depart.

khu nwnk CMq goivMd hir ky mn hir isau nyhu kryhu AYsI mn pRIiq hry ]1]

kaho naanak chhant govind har kay man har si-o nayhu karayhu aisee man pareet haray. ||1||

Says Nanak, chant the Hymns of the Lord, the Lord of the Universe, O mind, and enshrine love for the Lord; love the Lord this way in your mind. ||1||

jYsI mCulI nIr ieku iKnu BI nw DIry mn AYsw nyhu kryhu ]

jaisee machhulee neer ik khin bhee naa Dheeray man aisaa nayhu karayhu.

As the fish loves the water, and is not content even for an instant outside it, O my mind, love the Lord in this way.

jYsI cwiqRk ipAws iKnu iKnu bUMd cvY brsu suhwvy myhu ]

jaisee chaatrik pi-aas khin khin boond chavai baras suhaavay mayhu.

Like the song-bird, thirsting for the rain-drops, chirping each and every moment to the beautiful rain clouds.

hir pRIiq krIjY iehu mnu dIjY Aiq lweIAY icqu murwrI ]

har pareet kareejai ih man deejai at laa-ee-ai chit muraaree.

So love the Lord, and give to Him this mind of yours; totally focus your consciousness on the Lord.

mwnu n kIjY srix prIjY drsn kau bilhwrI ]

maan na keejai saran pareejai darsan ka-o balihaaree.

Do not take pride in yourself, but seek the Sanctuary of the Lord, and make yourself a sacrifice to the Blessed Vision of His Darshan.

gur supRsMny imlu nwh ivCuMny Dn dydI swcu snyhw ]

gur suparsannay mil naah vichhunay Dhan daydee saach sanayhaa.

When the Guru is totally pleased, the separated soul-bride is re-united with her Husband Lord; she sends the message of her true love.

khu nwnk CMq Anµq Twkur ky hir isau kIjY nyhw mn AYsw nyhu kryhu ]2]

kaho naanak chhant anant thaakur kay har si-o keejai nayhaa man aisaa nayhu karayhu. ||2||

Says Nanak, chant the Hymns of the Infinite Lord Master; O my mind, love Him and enshrine such love for Him. ||2||

ckvI sUr snyhu icqvY Aws GxI kid idnIAru dyKIAY ]

chakvee soor sanayhu chitvai aas ghanee kad dinee-ar daykhee-ai.

The chakvi bird is in love with the sun, and thinks of it constantly; her greatest longing is to behold the dawn.

koikl AMb prIiq cvY suhwvIAw mn hir rMgu kIjIAY ]

kokil amb pareet chavai suhaavee-aa man har rang keejee-ai.

The cuckoo is in love with the mango tree, and sings so sweetly. O my mind, love the Lord in this way.

hir pRIiq krIjY mwnu n kIjY iek rwqI ky hiB pwhuixAw ]

har pareet kareejai maan na keejai ik raatee kay habh paahuni-aa.

Love the Lord, and do not take pride in yourself; everyone is a guest for a single night.

Ab ikAw rMgu lwieE mohu rcwieE nwgy Awvx jwvixAw ]

ab ki-aa rang laa-i-o moh rachaa-i-o naagay aavan jaavani-aa.

Now, why are you entangled in pleasures, and engrossed in emotional attachment? Naked we come, and naked we go.

iQru swDU srxI pVIAY crxI Ab tUtis mohu ju ikqIAY ]

thir saaDhoo sarnee parhee-ai charnee ab tootas moh jo kitee-ai.

Seek the eternal Sanctuary of the Holy and fall at their feet, and the attachments which you feel shall depart.

khu nwnk CMq dieAwl purK ky mn hir lwie prIiq kb idnIAru dyKIAY ]3]

kaho naanak chhant da-i-aal purakh kay man har laa-ay pareet kab dinee-ar daykhee-ai. ||3||

Says Nanak, chant the Hymns of the Merciful Lord God, and enshrine love for the Lord, O my mind; otherwise, how will you come to behold the dawn? ||3||

inis kurMk jYsy nwd suix sRvxI hIau ifvY mn AYsI pRIiq kIjY ]

nis kurank jaisay naad sun sarvanee hee-o divai man aisee pareet keejai.

Like the deer in the night, who hears the sound of the bell and gives his heart - O my mind, love the Lord in this way.

jYsI qruix Bqwr aurJI iprih isvY iehu mnu lwl dIjY ]

jaisee tarun bhataar urjhee pireh sivai ih man laal deejai.

Like the wife, who is bound by love to her husband, and serves her beloved - like this, give your heart to the Beloved Lord.

mnu lwlih dIjY Bog krIjY hiB KusIAw rMg mwxy ]

man laaleh deejai bhog kareejai habh khusee-aa rang maanay.

Give your heart to your Beloved Lord, and enjoy His bed, and enjoy all pleasure and bliss.

ipru Apnw pwieAw rMgu lwlu bxwieAw Aiq imilE imqR icrwxy ]

pir apnaa paa-i-aa rang laal banaa-i-aa at mili-o mitar chiraanay.

I have obtained my Husband Lord, and I am dyed in the deep crimson color of His Love; after such a long time, I have met my Friend.

guru QIAw swKI qw ifTmu AwKI ipr jyhw Avru n dIsY ]

gur thee-aa saakhee taa ditham aakhee pir jayhaa avar na deesai.

When the Guru became my advocate, then I saw the Lord with my eyes. No one else looks like my Beloved Husband Lord.

khu nwnk CMq dieAwl mohn ky mn hir crx ghIjY AYsI mn pRIiq kIjY ]4]1]4]

kaho naanak chhant da-i-aal mohan kay man har charan gaheejai aisee man pareet keejai. ||4||1||4||

Says Nanak, chant the Hymns of the merciful and fascinating Lord, O mind. Grasp the lotus feet of the Lord, and enshrine such love for Him in your mind. ||4||1||4||

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Charlie Louvin: The only way out is to walk over me

Charlie Louvin, American country singer, died today at 83 years. His most famous song is "The only way out is to walk over me." To me it is eye-opening that songs of unconditional love, especially ones that create a picture like this, are what touch people's hearts. Reminds me of this poem:

Love completely,
buy what for tell;
cast wholly, why hear
for heart in spell
See complete poem: Giving Into Love

There is so much to learn from angels. Here are the lyrics ...

The only way out is to walk over me
So you found someone else and you're going to leave
Did he tell you that I don't love you did you really believe
On the floor by the door I'll be down on my knees

And the only way out is to walk over me
You don't hear you don't feel but I know you can see
Just to prove that I love you I'll crawl at your feet
Just look down at the ground where your footprints will be
For the only way out is to walk over me

You have put me as low as a man oughta go
But I lay down beside what is left of my pride
If you go you will know cause you can't help but see
That the only way out is to walk over me
yes the only way out is to walk over me

Dolly Parton's version of the song:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

President Obama - Soaring beyond Sputnik

Text of President Obama's 2011 State of the Union address that he just delivered hours ago. I loved it. I think several lines will be remembered for many years to come. I think this was one of his best speeches.

The day after the speech, a lot of critics showed their dissatisfaction with the term "Sputnik Moment" used by Obama.
1. The president has used this term earlier too:
2. In response to the following article from the Washington Post, Learning lessons from history is a great idea. Its not being about competitive. Its about being active in improving ourselves. He even mentioned that China and India have changed to improve themselves. Whats the harm in envisioning change?
3. And I disagree with The Nation's claim that the speech did not soar like the Sputnik. Or is it that because the speech was more business oriented, the normally serenading "left-wing media" -- and I have never used that term before -- is now criticising the President. Well, I think its good to focus on business now. Its not a distant memory when the economy was about to tank; why is the media oblivious to the current state of the economy and where we have come from?

When learning stops, growth ends; what doesn't grow, is likely lifeless! We have to learn from our mistakes and strive to improve ourselves. That would soar us beyond the Sputnik. The president's speech was a good roadmap; If “This is our generation's Sputnik moment,” I want to know who will be NASA, Apollo 1 and Neil Armstrong. JFK knew that because he mentioned the plan. President Obama has to come up with a plan that is as concrete as "taking a man to moon, and getting him back to earth safely." Action may not be the problem here; defined goals are.

Below is the text of the State of Union address:

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

Tonight I want to begin by congratulating the men and women of the 112th Congress, as well as your new Speaker, John Boehner. And as we mark this occasion, we are also mindful of the empty chair in this Chamber, and pray for the health of our colleague - and our friend - Gabby Giffords.

It's no secret that those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last two years. The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our beliefs. And that's a good thing. That's what a robust democracy demands. That's what helps set us apart as a nation.

But there's a reason the tragedy in Tucson gave us pause. Amid all the noise and passions and rancor of our public debate, Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater - something more consequential than party or political preference.

We are part of the American family. We believe that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people; that we share common hopes and a common creed; that the dreams of a little girl in Tucson are not so different than those of our own children, and that they all deserve the chance to be fulfilled.
That, too, is what sets us apart as a nation.

Now, by itself, this simple recognition won't usher in a new era of cooperation. What comes of this moment is up to us. What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow.

I believe we can. I believe we must. That's what the people who sent us here expect of us. With their votes, they've determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties. New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans. We will move forward together, or not at all - for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics.

At stake right now is not who wins the next election - after all, we just had an election. At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else. It's whether the hard work and industry of our people is rewarded. It's whether we sustain the leadership that has made America not just a place on a map, but a light to the world.

We are poised for progress. Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again.
But we have never measured progress by these yardsticks alone. We measure progress by the success of our people. By the jobs they can find and the quality of life those jobs offer. By the prospects of a small business owner who dreams of turning a good idea into a thriving enterprise. By the opportunities for a better life that we pass on to our children.

That's the project the American people want us to work on. Together.

We did that in December. Thanks to the tax cuts we passed, Americans' paychecks are a little bigger today. Every business can write off the full cost of the new investments they make this year. These steps, taken by Democrats and Republicans, will grow the economy and add to the more than one million private sector jobs created last year.

But we have more work to do. The steps we've taken over the last two years may have broken the back of this recession - but to win the future, we'll need to take on challenges that have been decades in the making.

Many people watching tonight can probably remember a time when finding a good job meant showing up at a nearby factory or a business downtown. You didn't always need a degree, and your competition was pretty much limited to your neighbors. If you worked hard, chances are you'd have a job for life, with a decent paycheck, good benefits, and the occasional promotion. Maybe you'd even have the pride of seeing your kids work at the same company.

That world has changed. And for many, the change has been painful. I've seen it in the shuttered windows of once booming factories, and the vacant storefronts of once busy Main Streets. I've heard it in the frustrations of Americans who've seen their paychecks dwindle or their jobs disappear - proud men and women who feel like the rules have been changed in the middle of the game.

They're right. The rules have changed. In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work and do business. Steel mills that once needed 1,000 workers can now do the same work with 100. Today, just about any company can set up shop, hire workers, and sell their products wherever there's an internet connection.

Meanwhile, nations like China and India realized that with some changes of their own, they could compete in this new world. And so they started educating their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science. They're investing in research and new technologies. Just recently, China became home to the world's largest private solar research facility, and the world's fastest computer.

So yes, the world has changed. The competition for jobs is real. But this shouldn't discourage us. It should challenge us. Remember - for all the hits we've taken these last few years, for all the naysayers predicting our decline, America still has the largest, most prosperous economy in the world. No workers are more productive than ours. No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs. We are home to the world's best colleges and universities, where more students come to study than any other place on Earth.

What's more, we are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea - the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny. That is why centuries of pioneers and immigrants have risked everything to come here. It's why our students don't just memorize equations, but answer questions like "What do you think of that idea? What would you change about the world? What do you want to be when you grow up?"

The future is ours to win. But to get there, we can't just stand still. As Robert Kennedy told us, "The future is not a gift. It is an achievement." Sustaining the American Dream has never been about standing pat. It has required each generation to sacrifice, and struggle, and meet the demands of a new age.

Now it's our turn. We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time. We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business. We need to take responsibility for our deficit, and reform our government. That's how our people will prosper. That's how we'll win the future. And tonight, I'd like to talk about how we get there.

The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation.

None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be, or where the new jobs will come from. Thirty years ago, we couldn't know that something called the Internet would lead to an economic revolution. What we can do - what America does better than anyone - is spark the creativity and imagination of our people. We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook. In America, innovation doesn't just change our lives. It's how we make a living.

Our free enterprise system is what drives innovation. But because it's not always profitable for companies to invest in basic research, throughout history our government has provided cutting-edge scientists and inventors with the support that they need. That's what planted the seeds for the Internet. That's what helped make possible things like computer chips and GPS.
Just think of all the good jobs - from manufacturing to retail - that have come from those breakthroughs.

Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik¸ we had no idea how we'd beat them to the moon. The science wasn't there yet. NASA didn't even exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn't just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.

This is our generation's Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven't seen since the height of the Space Race. In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We'll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology - an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.

Already, we are seeing the promise of renewable energy. Robert and Gary Allen are brothers who run a small Michigan roofing company. After September 11th, they volunteered their best roofers to help repair the Pentagon. But half of their factory went unused, and the recession hit them hard.
Today, with the help of a government loan, that empty space is being used to manufacture solar shingles that are being sold all across the country. In Robert's words, "We reinvented ourselves."

That's what Americans have done for over two hundred years: reinvented ourselves. And to spur on more success stories like the Allen Brothers, we've begun to reinvent our energy policy. We're not just handing out money. We're issuing a challenge. We're telling America's scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we'll fund the Apollo Projects of our time.

At the California Institute of Technology, they're developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they're using supercomputers to get a lot more power out of our nuclear facilities. With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I'm asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don't know if you've noticed, but they're doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy, let's invest in tomorrow's.

Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they're selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: by 2035, 80% of America's electricity will come from clean energy sources. Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all - and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen.

Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America's success. But if we want to win the future - if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas - then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.

Think about it. Over the next ten years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school degree. And yet, as many as a quarter of our students aren't even finishing high school. The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations. America has fallen to 9th in the proportion of young people with a college degree. And so the question is whether all of us - as citizens, and as parents - are willing to do what's necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.

That responsibility begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities. It's family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done. We need to teach our kids that it's not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair; that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.

Our schools share this responsibility. When a child walks into a classroom, it should be a place of high expectations and high performance. But too many schools don't meet this test. That's why instead of just pouring money into a system that's not working, we launched a competition called Race to the Top. To all fifty states, we said, "If you show us the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement, we'll show you the money."

Race to the Top is the most meaningful reform of our public schools in a generation. For less than one percent of what we spend on education each year, it has led over 40 states to raise their standards for teaching and learning. These standards were developed, not by Washington, but by Republican and Democratic governors throughout the country. And Race to the Top should be the approach we follow this year as we replace No Child Left Behind with a law that is more flexible and focused on what's best for our kids.

You see, we know what's possible for our children when reform isn't just a top-down mandate, but the work of local teachers and principals; school boards and communities.

Take a school like Bruce Randolph in Denver. Three years ago, it was rated one of the worst schools in Colorado; located on turf between two rival gangs. But last May, 97% of the seniors received their diploma. Most will be the first in their family to go to college. And after the first year of the school's transformation, the principal who made it possible wiped away tears when a student said "Thank you, Mrs. Waters, for showing... that we are smart and we can make it."

Let's also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child's success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom. In South Korea, teachers are known as "nation builders." Here in America, it's time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect. We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones. And over the next ten years, with so many Baby Boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

In fact, to every young person listening tonight who's contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child - become a teacher. Your country needs you.

Of course, the education race doesn't end with a high school diploma. To compete, higher education must be within reach of every American. That's why we've ended the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that went to banks, and used the savings to make college affordable for millions of students. And this year, I ask Congress to go further, and make permanent our tuition tax credit - worth $10,000 for four years of college.

Because people need to be able to train for new jobs and careers in today's fast-changing economy, we are also revitalizing America's community colleges. Last month, I saw the promise of these schools at Forsyth Tech in North Carolina. Many of the students there used to work in the surrounding factories that have since left town. One mother of two, a woman named Kathy Proctor, had worked in the furniture industry since she was 18 years old. And she told me she's earning her degree in biotechnology now, at 55 years old, not just because the furniture jobs are gone, but because she wants to inspire her children to pursue their dreams too. As Kathy said, "I hope it tells them to never give up."

If we take these steps - if we raise expectations for every child, and give them the best possible chance at an education, from the day they're born until the last job they take - we will reach the goal I set two years ago: by the end of the decade, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

One last point about education. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not American citizens. Some are the children of undocumented workers, who had nothing to do with the actions of their parents. They grew up as Americans and pledge allegiance to our flag, and yet live every day with the threat of deportation. Others come here from abroad to study in our colleges and universities. But as soon as they obtain advanced degrees, we send them back home to compete against us. It makes no sense.

Now, I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration. I am prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect our borders, enforce our laws and address the millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the shadows. I know that debate will be difficult and take time. But tonight, let's agree to make that effort. And let's stop expelling talented, responsible young people who can staff our research labs, start new businesses, and further enrich this nation.

The third step in winning the future is rebuilding America. To attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information - from high-speed rail to high-speed internet.

Our infrastructure used to be the best - but our lead has slipped. South Korean homes now have greater internet access than we do. Countries in Europe and Russia invest more in their roads and railways than we do. China is building faster trains and newer airports. Meanwhile, when our own engineers graded our nation's infrastructure, they gave us a "D."

We have to do better. America is the nation that built the transcontinental railroad, brought electricity to rural communities, and constructed the interstate highway system. The jobs created by these projects didn't just come from laying down tracks or pavement. They came from businesses that opened near a town's new train station or the new off-ramp.

Over the last two years, we have begun rebuilding for the 21st century, a project that has meant thousands of good jobs for the hard-hit construction industry. Tonight, I'm proposing that we redouble these efforts.

We will put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges. We will make sure this is fully paid for, attract private investment, and pick projects based on what's best for the economy, not politicians.

Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail, which could allow you go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying - without the pat-down. As we speak, routes in California and the Midwest are already underway.

Within the next five years, we will make it possible for business to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98% of all Americans. This isn't just about a faster internet and fewer dropped calls. It's about connecting every part of America to the digital age. It's about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers and small business owners will be able to sell their products all over the world. It's about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device; a student who can take classes with a digital textbook; or a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor.

All these investments - in innovation, education, and infrastructure - will make America a better place to do business and create jobs. But to help our companies compete, we also have to knock down barriers that stand in the way of their success.

Over the years, a parade of lobbyists has rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries. Those with accountants or lawyers to work the system can end up paying no taxes at all. But all the rest are hit with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and it has to change.

So tonight, I'm asking Democrats and Republicans to simplify the system. Get rid of the loopholes. Level the playing field. And use the savings to lower the corporate tax rate for the first time in 25 years - without adding to our deficit.

To help businesses sell more products abroad, we set a goal of doubling our exports by 2014 - because the more we export, the more jobs we create at home. Already, our exports are up. Recently, we signed agreements with India and China that will support more than 250,000 jobs in the United States. And last month, we finalized a trade agreement with South Korea that will support at least 70,000 American jobs. This agreement has unprecedented support from business and labor; Democrats and Republicans, and I ask this Congress to pass it as soon as possible.

Before I took office, I made it clear that we would enforce our trade agreements, and that I would only sign deals that keep faith with American workers, and promote American jobs. That's what we did with Korea, and that's what I intend to do as we pursue agreements with Panama and Colombia, and continue our Asia Pacific and global trade talks.

To reduce barriers to growth and investment, I've ordered a review of government regulations. When we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses, we will fix them. But I will not hesitate to create or enforce commonsense safeguards to protect the American people. That's what we've done in this country for more than a century. It's why our food is safe to eat, our water is safe to drink, and our air is safe to breathe. It's why we have speed limits and child labor laws. It's why last year, we put in place consumer protections against hidden fees and penalties by credit card companies, and new rules to prevent another financial crisis. And it's why we passed reform that finally prevents the health insurance industry from exploiting patients.

Now, I've heard rumors that a few of you have some concerns about the new health care law. So let me be the first to say that anything can be improved. If you have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better or more affordable, I am eager to work with you. We can start right now by correcting a flaw in the legislation that has placed an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses.

What I'm not willing to do is go back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a pre-existing condition. I'm not willing to tell James Howard, a brain cancer patient from Texas, that his treatment might not be covered. I'm not willing to tell Jim Houser, a small business owner from Oregon, that he has to go back to paying $5,000 more to cover his employees. As we speak, this law is making prescription drugs cheaper for seniors and giving uninsured students a chance to stay on their parents' coverage. So instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let's fix what needs fixing and move forward.

Now, the final step - a critical step - in winning the future is to make sure we aren't buried under a mountain of debt.

We are living with a legacy of deficit-spending that began almost a decade ago. And in the wake of the financial crisis, some of that was necessary to keep credit flowing, save jobs, and put money in people's pockets.

But now that the worst of the recession is over, we have to confront the fact that our government spends more than it takes in. That is not sustainable. Every day, families sacrifice to live within their means. They deserve a government that does the same.

So tonight, I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. This would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, and will bring discretionary spending to the lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president.

This freeze will require painful cuts. Already, we have frozen the salaries of hardworking federal employees for the next two years. I've proposed cuts to things I care deeply about, like community action programs. The Secretary of Defense has also agreed to cut tens of billions of dollars in spending that he and his generals believe our military can do without.

I recognize that some in this Chamber have already proposed deeper cuts, and I'm willing to eliminate whatever we can honestly afford to do without. But let's make sure that we're not doing it on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens. And let's make sure what we're cutting is really excess weight. Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine. It may feel like you're flying high at first, but it won't take long before you'll feel the impact.

Now, most of the cuts and savings I've proposed only address annual domestic spending, which represents a little more than 12% of our budget. To make further progress, we have to stop pretending that cutting this kind of spending alone will be enough. It won't.

The bipartisan Fiscal Commission I created last year made this crystal clear. I don't agree with all their proposals, but they made important progress. And their conclusion is that the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it - in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes.

This means further reducing health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit. Health insurance reform will slow these rising costs, which is part of why nonpartisan economists have said that repealing the health care law would add a quarter of a trillion dollars to our deficit. Still, I'm willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs, including one that Republicans suggested last year: medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits.

To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. And we must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans' guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.

And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply cannot afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Before we take money away from our schools, or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break.

It's not a matter of punishing their success. It's about promoting America's success.

In fact, the best thing we could do on taxes for all Americans is to simplify the individual tax code. This will be a tough job, but members of both parties have expressed interest in doing this, and I am prepared to join them.

So now is the time to act. Now is the time for both sides and both houses of Congress - Democrats and Republicans - to forge a principled compromise that gets the job done. If we make the hard choices now to rein in our deficits, we can make the investments we need to win the future.

Let me take this one step further. We shouldn't just give our people a government that's more affordable. We should give them a government that's more competent and efficient. We cannot win the future with a government of the past.

We live and do business in the information age, but the last major reorganization of the government happened in the age of black and white TV. There are twelve different agencies that deal with exports. There are at least five different entities that deal with housing policy. Then there's my favorite example: the Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in when they're in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked.

Now, we have made great strides over the last two years in using technology and getting rid of waste. Veterans can now download their electronic medical records with a click of the mouse. We're selling acres of federal office space that hasn't been used in years, and we will cut through red tape to get rid of more. But we need to think bigger. In the coming months, my administration will develop a proposal to merge, consolidate, and reorganize the federal government in a way that best serves the goal of a more competitive America. I will submit that proposal to Congress for a vote - and we will push to get it passed.

In the coming year, we will also work to rebuild people's faith in the institution of government. Because you deserve to know exactly how and where your tax dollars are being spent, you will be able to go to a website and get that information for the very first time in history. Because you deserve to know when your elected officials are meeting with lobbyists, I ask Congress to do what the White House has already done: put that information online. And because the American people deserve to know that special interests aren't larding up legislation with pet projects, both parties in Congress should know this: if a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it.

A 21st century government that's open and competent. A government that lives within its means. An economy that's driven by new skills and ideas. Our success in this new and changing world will require reform, responsibility, and innovation. It will also require us to approach that world with a new level of engagement in our foreign affairs.

Just as jobs and businesses can now race across borders, so can new threats and new challenges. No single wall separates East and West; no one rival superpower is aligned against us.

And so we must defeat determined enemies wherever they are, and build coalitions that cut across lines of region and race and religion. America's moral example must always shine for all who yearn for freedom, justice, and dignity. And because we have begun this work, tonight we can say that American leadership has been renewed and America's standing has been restored.

Look to Iraq, where nearly 100,000 of our brave men and women have left with their heads held high; where American combat patrols have ended; violence has come down; and a new government has been formed. This year, our civilians will forge a lasting partnership with the Iraqi people, while we finish the job of bringing our troops out of Iraq. America's commitment has been kept; the Iraq War is coming to an end.

Of course, as we speak, al Qaeda and their affiliates continue to plan attacks against us. Thanks to our intelligence and law enforcement professionals, we are disrupting plots and securing our cities and skies. And as extremists try to inspire acts of violence within our borders, we are responding with the strength of our communities, with respect for the rule of law, and with the conviction that American Muslims are a part of our American family.

We have also taken the fight to al Qaeda and their allies abroad. In Afghanistan, our troops have taken Taliban strongholds and trained Afghan Security Forces. Our purpose is clear - by preventing the Taliban from reestablishing a stranglehold over the Afghan people, we will deny al Qaeda the safe-haven that served as a launching pad for 9/11.

Thanks to our heroic troops and civilians, fewer Afghans are under the control of the insurgency. There will be tough fighting ahead, and the Afghan government will need to deliver better governance. But we are strengthening the capacity of the Afghan people and building an enduring partnership with them. This year, we will work with nearly 50 countries to begin a transition to an Afghan lead. And this July, we will begin to bring our troops home.

In Pakistan, al Qaeda's leadership is under more pressure than at any point since 2001. Their leaders and operatives are being removed from the battlefield. Their safe-havens are shrinking. And we have sent a message from the Afghan border to the Arabian Peninsula to all parts of the globe: we will not relent, we will not waver, and we will defeat you.

American leadership can also be seen in the effort to secure the worst weapons of war. Because Republicans and Democrats approved the New START Treaty, far fewer nuclear weapons and launchers will be deployed. Because we rallied the world, nuclear materials are being locked down on every continent so they never fall into the hands of terrorists.

Because of a diplomatic effort to insist that Iran meet its obligations, the Iranian government now faces tougher and tighter sanctions than ever before. And on the Korean peninsula, we stand with our ally South Korea, and insist that North Korea keeps its commitment to abandon nuclear weapons.

This is just a part of how we are shaping a world that favors peace and prosperity. With our European allies, we revitalized NATO, and increased our cooperation on everything from counter-terrorism to missile defense. We have reset our relationship with Russia, strengthened Asian alliances, and built new partnerships with nations like India. This March, I will travel to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador to forge new alliances for progress in the Americas. Around the globe, we are standing with those who take responsibility - helping farmers grow more food; supporting doctors who care for the sick; and combating the corruption that can rot a society and rob people of opportunity.

Recent events have shown us that what sets us apart must not just be our power - it must be the purpose behind it. In South Sudan - with our assistance - the people were finally able to vote for independence after years of war. Thousands lined up before dawn. People danced in the streets. One man who lost four of his brothers at war summed up the scene around him: "This was a battlefield for most of my life. Now we want to be free."

We saw that same desire to be free in Tunisia, where the will of the people proved more powerful than the writ of a dictator. And tonight, let us be clear: the United States of America stands with the people of Tunisia, and supports the democratic aspirations of all people.

We must never forget that the things we've struggled for, and fought for, live in the hearts of people everywhere. And we must always remember that the Americans who have borne the greatest burden in this struggle are the men and women who serve our country.

Tonight, let us speak with one voice in reaffirming that our nation is united in support of our troops and their families. Let us serve them as well as they have served us - by giving them the equipment they need; by providing them with the care and benefits they have earned; and by enlisting our veterans in the great task of building our own nation.

Our troops come from every corner of this country - they are black, white, Latino, Asian and Native American. They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. And, yes, we know that some of them are gay. Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love. And with that change, I call on all of our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and the ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation.

We should have no illusions about the work ahead of us. Reforming our schools; changing the way we use energy; reducing our deficit - none of this is easy. All of it will take time. And it will be harder because we will argue about everything. The cost. The details. The letter of every law.

Of course, some countries don't have this problem. If the central government wants a railroad, they get a railroad - no matter how many homes are bulldozed. If they don't want a bad story in the newspaper, it doesn't get written.

And yet, as contentious and frustrating and messy as our democracy can sometimes be, I know there isn't a person here who would trade places with any other nation on Earth.

We may have differences in policy, but we all believe in the rights enshrined in our Constitution. We may have different opinions, but we believe in the same promise that says this is a place where you can make it if you try. We may have different backgrounds, but we believe in the same dream that says this is a country where anything's possible. No matter who you are. No matter where you come from.

That dream is why I can stand here before you tonight. That dream is why a working class kid from Scranton can stand behind me. That dream is why someone who began by sweeping the floors of his father's Cincinnati bar can preside as Speaker of the House in the greatest nation on Earth.

That dream - that American Dream - is what drove the Allen Brothers to reinvent their roofing company for a new era. It's what drove those students at Forsyth Tech to learn a new skill and work towards the future. And that dream is the story of a small business owner named Brandon Fisher.

Brandon started a company in Berlin, Pennsylvania that specializes in a new kind of drilling technology. One day last summer, he saw the news that halfway across the world, 33 men were trapped in a Chilean mine, and no one knew how to save them.

But Brandon thought his company could help. And so he designed a rescue that would come to be known as Plan B. His employees worked around the clock to manufacture the necessary drilling equipment. And Brandon left for Chile.

Along with others, he began drilling a 2,000 foot hole into the ground, working three or four days at a time with no sleep. Thirty-seven days later, Plan B succeeded, and the miners were rescued. But because he didn't want all of the attention, Brandon wasn't there when the miners emerged. He had already gone home, back to work on his next project.

Later, one of his employees said of the rescue, "We proved that Center Rock is a little company, but we do big things."

We do big things.

From the earliest days of our founding, America has been the story of ordinary people who dare to dream. That's how we win the future.

We are a nation that says, "I might not have a lot of money, but I have this great idea for a new company. I might not come from a family of college graduates, but I will be the first to get my degree. I might not know those people in trouble, but I think I can help them, and I need to try. I'm not sure how we'll reach that better place beyond the horizon, but I know we'll get there. I know we will."

We do big things.

The idea of America endures. Our destiny remains our choice. And tonight, more than two centuries later, it is because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward, and the state of our union is strong.

Thank you, God Bless You, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Oscar Nominations 2011 - the List and the videos!

Academy nominations are out Success does not come to you, you have to get to it. And many of these nominees have proven this. So they are angels of Karma Yoga! On picture, my favorite is "The King's Speech" -- because it shows how our differences and even shortcomings can become our strength.

Here is the playlist I made for me and Shilpy to watch tonight:

Here is a complete list of nominees:

Best picture

"Black Swan"
"The Fighter"
"The Kids Are All Right"
"The King’s Speech"
"127 Hours"
"The Social Network"
"Toy Story 3"
"True Grit"
"Winter’s Bone"


Javier Bardem, "Biutiful"
Jeff Bridges, "True Grit"
Jesse Eisenberg, "The Social Network"
Colin Firth, "The King's Speech"
James Franco, "127 Hours"


Annette Bening, "The Kids Are All Right"
Nicole Kidman, "Rabbit Hole"
Jennifer Lawrence, "Winter's Bone"
Natalie Portman, "Black Swan"
Michelle Williams, "Blue Valentine"

Supporting actor

Christian Bale, "The Fighter"
John Hawkes, "Winter's Bone"
Jeremy Renner, "The Town"
Mark Ruffalo, "The Kids Are All Right"
Geoffrey Rush, "The King's Speech"

Supporting actress

Amy Adams, "The Fighter"
Helena Bonham Carter, "The King's Speech"
Melissa Leo, "The Fighter"
Hailee Steinfeld, "True Grit"
Jacki Weaver, "Animal Kingdom"


Darren Aronofsky, "Black Swan"
David O. Russell, "The Fighter"
Tom Hooper, "The King's Speech"
David Fincher, "The Social Network"
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "True Grit"

Animated feature

"How to Train Your Dragon"
"The Illusionist"
"Toy Story 3"

Adapted screenplay

"127 Hours"
"The Social Network"
"Toy Story 3"
"True Grit"
"Winter’s Bone"

Original screenplay

"Another Year"
"The Fighter"
"The Kids Are All Right"
"The King’s Speech"

Foreign language film

"In a Better world"
"Outside the Law"

Art direction

"Alice in Wonderland"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I"
"The King's Speech"
"True Grit"


“Black Swan”
“The King's Speech”
“The Social Network”
“True Grit”

Costume design

"Alice in Wonderland"
"I Am Love"
"The King's Speech"
"The Tempest"
"True Grit"

Documentary feature

"Exit Through the Gift Shop"
"Inside Job"
"Waste Land"

Documentary short

"Killing in the Name"
"Poster Girl"
"Strangers No More"
"Sun Come Up"
"The Warriors of Qiugang"

Film editing

"Black Swan"
"The Fighter"
"The King's Speech"
"127 Hours"
"The Social Network"


“Barney's Version”
“The Way Back”
“The Wolfman”

Sound mixing

“The King's Speech”
“The Social Network”
“True Grit”

Original score

“How to Train Your Dragon”
“The King's Speech”
“127 Hours”
“The Social Network”

Visual effects

“Alice in Wonderland”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1”
“Iron Man 2”

Original song

“Coming Home” from “Country Strong”
“I See the Light” from “Tangled”
“If I Rise” from “127 Hours”
“We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3"

Sound editing

"Toy Story 3"
"Tron: Legacy"
"True Grit"

Animated short film

"Day & Night"
"The Gruffalo"
"Let's Pollute"
"The Lost Thing"
"Madagascar, carnet de voyage" ("Madagascar, a Journey Diary")

Live action short film

"The Confession"
"The Crush"
"God of Love"
"Na Wewe"
"Wish 143"

Friday, January 21, 2011

Katarina Maggistro's new album "Katarina"

I got to listen to a new album, "Katarina," from UK-based Pop artist Katarina Maggistro today. The album is beautifully diverse which is rare in the Pop genre; every song very different in its music and emotion from each one. Really enjoyable. Kudos to both Katarina and producer Ed Adamberry! Check it out.

My favorite song in the collection was "Do You Ever Wonder?" ... starts out in a mellow questioning in disneyesque style, then a pulsating "Do you Ever Wonder" (which keeps haunting you even when the music stops); also love the whimsical modulation at 2:06." Hear it and buy it on itunes (Click Here )

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sonnet XCII by Anna Seward

Be thankful for life, not frightful of death shivering like the last few fortunate leaves in the fall. Beautiful poem:


By Anna Seward

Behold that tree, in Autumn's dim decay,
   Stripped by the frequent, chill, and eddying wind;
   Where yet some yellow, lonely leaves we find
   Lingering and trembling on the naked spray,
Twenty, perchance, for millions whirled away!
   Emblem, also! too just, of humankind!
   Vain man expects longevity, designed
   For few indeed; and their protracted day
What is it worth that Wisdom does not scorn?
   The blasts of sickness, care, and grief appal,
   That laid the friends in dust, whose natal morn
Rose near their own; and solemn is the call;
   Yet, like those weak deserted leaves forlorn,
   Shivering they cling to life, and fear to fall!

Read more about this poem and poet on the Poetry Foundation website:

Sent from The Poetry Foundation Poetry app on iPhone. Download your copy from AppStore now!

Shiv Kapoor

Bible Verses Left on the Office Printer by Patty Akrouche Miles

This is an interesting way to "spread" the Lord's message:

Bible Verses Left on the Office Printer

"LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have ..."
This isn't what I printed...
Someone in the office is printing bible verses again.
For the two in the office who are on the brink of an affair...
or the depressed one who always wears long sleeves, even in summer.
I wish they had some printing to do, too...
I do not think these printouts are meant to be removed,
merely picked up and read by me; and you, and you, and you.


For the poem and discussion:

Sabrina Signs

For reminding me to think about the homeless ... I would feel bad if I were homeless. Take a look at the song:

And while you listen to this hear her story:

I have a story to tell you. This isn’t a make believe story or the kind you read about in books. This is my story, well part of it. The part where I learned value of humility. The part where I learned the true meaning and importance of love. The part where I was homeless. My song tells the story in a way words cannot express.

Homeless, wow what a word. I never thought I would be one to experience it. It is a word not often thought about when your 8 or 14. Going from living the American Dream, on a tree lined street with few troubles. Then suddenly, in 2008 my Father was unemployed for the first time in his life. We knew things would change in our lives, but we had no idea how bad it would get. Before this all happened I had a dream... I knew that I would change the world.

It was not until the day I was actually homeless, that it really hit me. And then from Oct 2009-April 2010 my life changed. Homeless people were before to me just old veterans, or disabled people. I never imagined how quickly I would be one of them. Now I see how many other people and children are becoming part of the heinous statistics. Because of this experience I wrote a song about my time being homeless. It’s touched a few people, but I am hoping it will touch more. Please listen and watch my video. Help me share my story. Help me to accomplish my dream of changing the world.

My Favorite Raag Bhairavi Compositions

I am composing these days a new Bhairavi composition for a Bulleh Shah song. So I am listening to my favorite Bhairavi compositions(YouTube Link).

Bhairavi is sung to remember one's love, often when the love is far. It is considered a "light" raag is often sung at the end of classical concerts. The first song in the list is from one of the greats of Hindustani classical music, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Sahib. It is said that he composed his famous composition "Kaa Karoon Sajni Aaye Na Baalam," ("What should I do girlfriend, my love has not come"), when his wife passed away.

Although it is little more playful, the song I am composing is "Ghar Aa Vad mere" -- "Love, Come home!"

Monday, January 17, 2011

Needlessness of Pilgrimage ... Sabrimala or not!

I am sad on many levels when I read that 102 people died last week due to an accident while they were on a pilgrimage to Sabarimala Temple in Kerela, India. The media is full of questions about why this happened and why didn't the 'government' prevent this. What a useless scapegoat the government is, when the fault lies in believers of the pilgrimage.

That 102 people lost their lives in doing a pilgrimage makes me very sad. But that these pilgrims do the pilgrimage to see "celestial light" that has been proven to be manmade, or to attain "moksha", makes me even sadder. I am not trying to pick on this pilgrimage or the devotion of the pilgrims. I would do a pilgrimage if I were to learn something. But I would have no hope of celestial light or moksha; because that I already have both of them. In my view, all pilgrimages done with the intention of future reward, are a waste of time. That is exactly what they are.

It is a waste of time in this life for obvious reasons! But also what a grand waste beyond this lifetime. Truth is eternal ... never dies, it is always remembered. Can you recall any people who did the most number of pilgrimages in the past 1000 years? Can you even recall how many pilgrimages your parents and grandparents did. Chances are that you can't. It is immaterial! Pilgrimages are not the true path. Never were, never will be. You can remember people who were good in their lives. Because goodness is truth. Eternal. It stays.

For those who haven't been to the temple, the journey takes you through forests and hills, and in the end you climb 18 gold steps, to eventually see in bold letters: "Tattvamasi" ... "That You Are." You also see a statue decked in jewellery. Without crossing any forests and climbing any steps, just sitting at peace in your living room, try to think about what "Tattvamasi" means. It might take only a few moments of peace and unlike this pilgrimage there is no need to fast for 41 days before sitting down to think. Or sing,listen or understand the beautiful bhajan about Swami Ayyappa at the end of this blog post can also be used (hopefully with the understanding that Swami Ayyappa is the ONE God that resides in you). Or you can call everyone you see "Swami" around you because they have the same light as yours. If you want to do more, read the entire Chandogya Upanishad (from where Tattvamasi comes from), or read all the Vedas, and use them in your life. Its easy now in the digital age ... all resources are only a few mouse clicks away.

The heavenly light one needs to see is that of the understanding of the scriptures in one's heart. That light you can enjoy with all your loved ones, even your wife and daughters, who, if they fall within the ages of 10 and 50 year, are not allowed to see the fake "Makara Jyoti" from Sabarimala.

Wake up, my friend! God does not move into a statue on auspicious occasions with a miraculous flash of light. Those who have seen it are relating lies of fantastic fiction; and those who perpetuate it are either mired by greed or foolishness. Be smart and be good, and in your goodness, God will reside in you. Remember "Tattvamasi": "That You Are!" Close your eyes and make your mind climb just one step. And see yourself decked in Gold.

Life is short. Don't waste time. Take a few moments. Understand! Only Love is the path to realize God, not pilgrimages (Read more: "Jin Prem Kiyo")

- Shiv

Tragedy at Sabarimala:

Nothing divine about Sabarimala light:

Why Vivek Oberoi, the actor goes there:

Background on Sabarimala

Why millions throng Sabarimala temple:

Interesting background on Ayyappan:

Beautiful Swami Ayyappan bhajan and its translation:

"I have a Dream" speech by Martin Luther King Jr.

Today is the 25th anniversary of the nation's commemoration of Rev. Martin Luther King's birthday as a national holiday. Following is the text of the "I have a dream" speech, delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Aug. 28, 1963. I read it today with my son while listening to Guru Nanak's "Timeless Truth Meditation" ... words of this great man still ring true, because they have the essence of the eternal truth of equality and freedom:

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

NYTimes: Top 10 Composers: The 20th-Century Masters

From The New York Times:

ARTSBEAT: Top 10 Composers: The 20th-Century Masters

Debussy cut a path followed by modern composers from Stravinsky to Boulez.

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Shiv Kapoor

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Love & Lies -- William Shakespeare

When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her, though I know she lies
That she might think me some untutored youth, 
Unlearnèd in the world's false subtleties. 
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young, 
Although she knows my days are past the best, 
Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue: 
On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed. 
But wherefore says she not she is unjust? 
And wherefore say not I that I am old? 
Oh, love's best habit is in seeming trust, 
And age in love loves not to have years told. 
Therefore I lie with her and she with me, 
And in our faults by lies we flattered be. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

At Mass - Vachel Lindsay


By Vachel Lindsay

No doubt to-morrow I will hide
My face from you, my King.
Let me rejoice this Sunday noon,
And kneel while gray priests sing.

It is not wisdom to forget.
But since it is my fate
Fill thou my soul with hidden wine
To make this white hour great.

My God, my God, this marvelous hour
I am your son I know.
Once in a thousand days your voice
Has laid temptation low.

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Shiv Kapoor

Friday, January 7, 2011

Confidence -- Bhagwad gita -- Edgar Allan poe


By Edgar Allan Poe

   Gaily bedight,
   A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
   Had journeyed long,
   Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.

   But he grew old—
   This knight so bold—
And o'er his heart a shadow—
   Fell as he found
   No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

   And, as his strength
   Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow—
   'Shadow,' said he,
   'Where can it be—
This land of Eldorado?'

   'Over the Mountains
   Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
   Ride, boldly ride,'
   The shade replied,—
'If you seek for Eldorado!'

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Shiv Kapoor

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Love poem by Walter landor


By Walter Savage Landor

You smiled, you spoke, and I believed,
By every word and smile deceived.
Another man would hope no more;
Nor hope I what I hoped before:
But let not this last wish be vain;
Deceive, deceive me once again!

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Shiv Kapoor

Reminds me of Farid. Pir Dekhan ki aas 


By Walter Savage Landor

Soon, O Ianthe! life is o'er,
         And sooner beauty's heavenly smile:
Grant only (and I ask no more),
         Let love remain that little while.

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Shiv Kapoor

Mithbolra - he thinks I'm sweet

By Walter Savage Landor

Mother, I cannot mind my wheel;
         My fingers ache, my lips are dry:
Oh! if you felt the pain I feel!
         But Oh, who ever felt as I!

No longer could I doubt him true;
         All other men may use deceit:
He always said my eyes were blue,
         And often swore my lips were sweet.

No matter how old and how tired you are, your true love always loves you, finds you beautiful and thinks you speak sweetly.  

Lewis Carroll - optimism


By Lewis Carroll

A BOAT beneath a sunny sky,
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July —

Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear —

Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.

Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.

Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.

In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:

Ever drifting down the stream —
Lingering in the golden gleam —
Life, what is it but a dream?

Read more about this poem and poet on the Poetry Foundation website:

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Shiv Kapoor