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14 Steps To Really Start Living And Stop Existing


We are really lucky to be given a gift so precious. But, not all of us realize the value of life. Think about the kid who came into this world and died right away. It missed seeing its family, the blue of the sky, in fact, its chances of experiencing what a true laugh really feels like also died with him.
And we? We were brought into this world, but living it was entirely upon us. And we forgot all about it. Now, most of us are busy dying while we are still alive. We aren’t grateful enough. We don’t realize life’s value. And one day, we will be lying on our beds in misery, counting hours until the heart stops beating.
But, do we want to land into that situation willingly? None of us do, of course. So, before you totally run out on your days that offer you immense opportunities to live, make sure you….
1. Quit that job you have been going to for years with a morose face
Image sourceNobody deserves to be unhappy for years at a stretch and call it a life! Keep doing efforts, but while busting your butt to make some money, don’t stop respecting yourself.
 
2. Stop breathing for someone else
Image sourceWe make our lives by ourselves, for ourselves. It is our decisions, our risks, our mistakes that keep us walking towards the land of all things fine. But, if we start to please everyone on our journey, our ultimate goal will become a blur. We will lose the track of our road.
 
3. But, be closer to people you love
Image sourceYes, please them instead. Love them. Stay close with them. Because as we said, it is just one life, and it never comes with a preset expiration date.
 
4. Respect your originality
Image sourceAll of us carry our own unique baggage of thorns and flowers. The day you start respecting yourself for what you possess and lack, you will start to take others approval/disapproval of yours with a pinch of salt.
 
5. Make that call. Make that arrangement.
Image sourceCall up that dance class you had been eyeing at every evening on your way to home from office, call up that friend you fought with severely, but can’t afford to imagine your life without. Do that thing for your parents they had been asking of you for years now, the thing you had been lazy for. Do it. You will feel lighter. Happier.
 
6. Ditch worrying about things that aren’t in your control
Image sourceAnd the things that are in your control, what’s the need to worry about them? Just make efforts.
 
7. Don’t let your dreams die out simply because they require the kind of money you don’t own
Image sourceKeep them alive. Work towards realizing them, one step at a time. It will happen. At least do your bit of trying so that there are no regrets when you rest on your deathbed.
 
8. But on your way to realizing dreams, don’t forget to embrace the NOW.
Image sourceYou can be travelling alone in the city bus on a hot Sunday, you can be lying on a stretcher with a broken leg, you can perhaps be feeling annoyed through and through. Regardless of the type of situation, embrace it. Don’t ignore the feelings. Hug them tight. Go through it all, the pain and the happiness, to emerge wise, experienced and mature.
In short- Live. It. All.
 
9. But, don’t get stuck in the NOW.
Image sourceMoments pass, no matter how toxic or refreshing. They all pass. Learn to let go. Embrace your new NOWs.
 
10. Especially, the toxic moments. The sooner you run away from them, the better.
Image sourceBecause you deserve to be happy. And if you aren’t happy, how will you ever be able to keep your loved ones happy?
 
11. Be nice.
Image sourceSure you aren’t here to impress those who walk on the road with you everyday, but know nothing of you. But, you are here to make yourself happy. And the glee that comes from being warm and nice to people without expecting anything in return, is a feeling that stays unparalleled. And, not that you should care, but it is not easy for people to remember the list of your achievements, it is the qualities of your heart that they never forget.
 
12. Really, really listen to your heart.
Image sourceBecause those who don’t follow their own heart, don’t really live.
The true voice of your heart gets subdued in the thick of anger, temporary temptations, disgust, pride, extreme ambitiousness, work pressure, etc. Clear the clouds for a second and really listen to your heart. What would you want to do if they didn’t hold a virtual knife of burden near your throat? Would you be walking out in some street taking the feels of the weather? Playing with the street kids? Feeling happy? Listen to your heart, then!
No matter what it says, listen to it. Even if your decision turns out to be something wrong, at least you will get to learn something out of it.
 
13. Speak up before it is too late
Image sourceStop dying while your heart is still pumping sufficient blood. Step aside from the wrong opinions being followed simply because they have the vote of the majority. Stay true to yourself and don’t cut back from voicing what’s right. You have one life, don’t let your voice die inside of you.
 
14. On your long list of goals, give ‘happiness’ the top spot.
Image sourceDon’t get into making money and attracting fame so bad, that you forget what it is like to enjoy a happy quiet in talking to someone special. Or, what it is like to read a book, or to experience a blissful slumber. Give happiness the immense priority. And you don’t have to live to achieve it, you just have to live it. It’s that simple. And the most simple way to do so is by giving more attention to things you love, things that do something to your heart. And by keeping a safe distance from things that instil in you the negative vibes.
I don’t believe in 7-lives crap, I don’t believe in tomorrow. I don’t even know what life has in store for me right about 2 hours from now. More of nonsense drama maybe, or more of giggles, or perhaps more of I-don’t-know-whats.
But, no matter how tasty or sour, I have to find the happy from it all. I will have to create humour out of it all. Because I don’t want to come under the damn truck on a sad note. I want a happy ending. And I am sure, so is the case with you.

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9 Awesome Things You Can Experience For Free In India


India is a large and varied land. One of the few things that unite all of us is our quest for free and inexpensive things. No matter how affluent you are, freebies and discounts always attract you.
So, we have tried to create a list of few things that you can enjoy absolutely free of cost in your own country.
1. Read rare books at the National Library.
Image sourceThe National Library, Kolkata is the largest library in India. The library was opened for providing free assistance to needy students. You can enjoy the reading facilities of this iconic library, absolutely free of cost.
You can stay as long as you want and read as many books as you want.
Fact Source
2.  Enjoy lip smacking food at the famous religious kitchens of India for free.
Image sourceIn India, there are many religious places that offer you great food without charging you a single penny. Places likethe Golden Temple, Amritsar, the Sri Sai Sansthan Prasadalaya, Shirdi and Jagannath Temple, Puri are just some of the places that offer delicious food absolutely free of cost.
3. Go to the India-Nepal border and visit a foreign land for free.
Image sourceWe all wish to go outside India, at least once but often the expenses becomes a major hindrance. Though we admit Nepal might not fulfill your definition of abroad but it still remains a foreign land which requires no entry fee.
4. Go the top of the Jama Masjid Minarets to enjoy the view of the city.
Image sourceAnybody who has been to the top of the Jama Masjid Minarets in Delhi would agree that it is an experience of a lifetime. Once you reach the top of the minaret, it actually feels like you can see the entire city.
It is one of the best things one can enjoy in Delhi, without spending a single penny.
5. Visit India’s only sanitary museum.
Image sourceThough the idea of visiting a sanitary museum might sound a little weird but trust me it is one of the unique experiences you will ever have. The museum is open 365 days and the Time magazine has rated it amongst the weirdest museums in the world.And you don’t even need to spend any extra bucks to visit this unique and exciting place.
6. Enjoy lip-smacking pakoda, chops and cutlets for free on Netaji’s bday.
Image sourceWell, believe it or not, there is actually a shop in north Kolkata known as the Laxmi Narayan Shaw and Sons, which serves its best items for free on Netaji’s birthday.
It is said that even Ramkrishna Paramhansa used to enjoy the ‘telebhajas’ from this shop.
Fact Source
7. Watch films for free at Film festivals.
Image sourceIf you want to enjoy a good film for free then film festivals are your place. In most of the film festivals that are held across India, they screen many films for which you do not need to pay a single rupee for the tickets.
8. Enjoy an exotic experience at Auroville in Puducherry.
Image sourceAnybody who has been to Puducherry would admit that it is one of the prettiest places in the country. You might be a little surprised to know that you can actually enjoy to entire stay in Pondicherry absolutely free.
All you need to do is contact the ashram and sign up with them and they would often provide you free accommodation and free food. Interestingly, that is not all, in Auroville, you can attend things like Yoga classes, film screenings, and most these stuff do not cost you any extra bucks.
9. Visit chocolate factories in Ooty and enjoy free chocolates.
Image sourceThere is hardly any place in India which as pretty and romantic as Ooty. This beautiful hill-station is not only famous for its scenery but also for its brilliant chocolates. Though you might find quite a few chocolate factories.
Not only can you visit these factories for free but most of these factories gives you a coupon that allows you to enjoy complimentary chocolates.
Fact Source
And you thought nothing is free in this world!

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What are crazy things people still believe in all over the earth?

Cannibalistic gum chewing in Turkey



In some parts of Turkey you may want to think twice before whipping out a piece of chewing gum. There is a belief that if you are chewing gum at night it’s bad luck. This is because at night instead of chewing gum, you’d actually be chewing rotting dead flesh (Eew).

Groaning cheese for a newborn



You’ve probably heard of Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, or pepper jack cheese but have you heard of Groaning Cheese? In Medieval England, expectant mothers made what they called a ‘Groaning Cheese’ which was a large wheel of cheese that matured for nine months as the unborn baby grew. When the ‘groaning time’ or time of birth came, the whole family would celebrate by eating this cheese until nothing but the outer rind was left. The newborn would then be passed through the rind on Christening day to be blessed with a long and prosperous life. What a cheesy superstition!

Good luck horseshoe



Some people believe hanging a horseshoe in the bedroom or on a door knob with its ends pointing upwards will bring good luck and keep nightmares away. This belief comes from the fact that a horse shoe has seven holes, which is considered to be a lucky number. Also the fact that is made of iron can supposedly ward off evil spirits that may haunt you in your dreams.

Friday the 13th



Friday the 13th has been a source of superstition ever since the 19th century. Though it’s origin is shrouded in speculations and theories, it’s impact is quite evident. Many people will purposely avoid doing anything significant (like business meetings, socials, banquets, etc) due to the belief that the day is cursed and its a source of ill fortune.

Curse of the Opal stone



If your favorite stone is the Opal, you’re out of luck…literally since this stone is said to bring bad luck to whoever wears it. This superstition comes from the 1829 best selling novel ‘Anne of Geierstein’ by Sir Walter Scott. In the novel, Lady Hermione was falsely accused of being a demon due to her sudden death after a drop of holy water accidentally falls on her opal jewelry and changes its color. This book had such an effect on the image of the Opal that shortly after its publication, the Opal market crashed and Opal prices dropped by 50%.

Ringing of the Bells

Have you ever wondered why bells are always associated with weddings and special occasions? As it turns out, the association stems from the widely held belief that bells frighten evil spirits away. This belief originated during Queen Elizabeth’s reign for two reasons; to ask for prayers for the departed soul and to drive away the evil spirits who stood at the foot of the bed.

Bird poop equals riches



Don’t worry, you read the title right. In Russia, there is a belief that if a bird defecates on you, your car, or your property it’s a sign of good luck and may bring you riches. The more birds involved, the richer you’ll be! So next time a bird poops on you, count it all joy.

Old, new, borrowed, blue



This popular wedding tradition is said to have originated during the Victorian era and involves giving the bride various gifts. One of the gifts is something old and represents continuity; another is new and represents hope and the future; the third is borrowed and symbolizes borrowed happiness while the last is blue and is supposed to bring purity, love, and fidelity.

Black cats, bad luck



Most people have heard the saying that if a black cat crosses your path its bad luck (if you haven’t well now you have). This interesting superstition finds it’s origin in the middles ages. Single women (usually elderly) who associated themselves with many cats where believed to be witches who could become cats themselves. Thus a black cat crossing your path could actually be a witch.

Unlucky smoking triad



From the Crimean War through World War I, it was considered bad luck among soldiers to light three cigarettes with one match. It was theorized that by the time the third cigarette was lit, a sniper would have had the time to have the soldier in his sight, ready to make the kill. However, some believe that the superstition may have been invented by match tycoon Ivar Krueger to drum up more business.


Counting crows



No, im not referring to the 90′s band. It’s believed that the amount of crows in a murder has the ability to predict your fortune as exemplified by the popular phrase: “One’s bad / Two’s luck / Three’s health / Four’s wealth / Five’s sickness / Six is death.” More than six however seems to be up to the person whose counting.

Jinxed birds



The Wryneck or Jinxtorquilla are a breed of birds that can twist their heads very liberally. A superstitious belief among the locals is that if this bird twists its head towards you, death is on the horizon.

Soul capturing mirrors



Most people use mirrors daily which means, according to this superstition, most people are soulless. There is a superstition that states that looking into a mirror steals your soul. This helps explain why the evil queen uses a mirror to harm Snow White, why Narcissus was ensnared by his own reflection, and why soulless vampires have no reflection. Think twice before you look into the bathroom mirror…you have been warned.

Fingers crossed for good luck



To cross one’s fingers is a hand gesture commonly used for good luck. Which makes sense since it was used during ancient Christian persecution by believers to identify other believers as a sign of peace. Today however, this has evolved to excuse the telling of white lies which may have its roots in the belief that the power of the Christian cross may save a person from being sent to hell for telling a lie.

Photographic soul cage



When photography was first invented in the early 19th century, people all over the world held the unfounded belief that taking someone’s picture was akin to taking his/her soul. Thus if an enemy was able to obtain a photograph of you, he/she not only held your soul but also held a spiritual power over you. Thank goodness this is just a superstition, I can only imagine how many people would have power over me…(Facebook).

No 13



Not to be confused with Friday the 13th (which is a superstition of the actual day) but similar in nature, this superstition simply states that the number 13 is associated with bad luck. That’s why many architects refused (some still do) to design stairs that ended with 13 steps or buildings that ended with a 13th floor. The fear of the number 13 is so real to many people, that an actual phobia has been created to describe it; its called Triskaidekaphobia. (try to say that 13 times fast).

When you wish upon a star



The superstition involving wishing on the first star you see in the evening is somewhat uncertain. Some Europeans believed that the gods would occasionally peer down, and when they moved the sky, a star would escape and fall down. The Greeks also believed that the stars where falling human souls, and it was lucky to make a wish on them.

Opening an umbrella indoors



According to superstition, if you open an umbrella indoors you are literally asking for bad luck to “rain on you”. One explanation comes from the days when umbrellas were used as protection from the sun; opening one inside was an insult to the sun god who would then curse you with bad luck. Another theory states that an umbrella protects you against the storms of life, so opening one inside your house insults the guardian spirits of your home (whom also protects you from the storms of life), causing them to leave you unprotected.

New broom, new house, bad luck



There are many superstitions associated with brooms (heck, that could be a list all in itself) but there is one very curious and particular superstition that we want to caution you on. As the lore goes, you cannot sweep dirt out of a new house (or apartment) with a new broom unless you sweep something in first. If you don’t sweep something in first, then you will be sweeping out your good luck. Do not sweep out your good luck!

Lucky rabbit’s foot



To have this token is an unfortunate thing for the rabbit but a magnet of fortune for the wearer. According to superstition (which can be traced as far back as the seventh century BC) the rabbit’s supernatural luck could be exploited by taking the left hind foot of a rabbit that was shot (or captured) in a creepy cemetery on a full moon.(I still fail to see how this is lucky for the rabbit).

Knock on wood



The superstition of Knocking on wood, or simply saying “knock on wood” after making a hopeful statement, is a consequence of the idea that you’re tempting fate by acknowledging your good fortune. It’s possible that the expression comes from an ancient belief that good spirits lived in trees, so by knocking on something wooden, a person was calling on the spirits for protection. Another reason why we should all be tree huggers.

Breaking a mirror



We’ve already mentioned how mirrors are believed to be soul sucking mystical items (which is bad enough) but what happens when you break these devices? Why, seven years of bad luck of course! Some superstitious sources state that the trapped souls adversely influences your luck. And here you thought you were doing them a favor! Nope. Make sure those suckers stay inside that mirror!

“God bless you”



For many; saying “God Bless You” after someone sneezes is a gesture of politeness. However, the origin of this interesting superstition is somewhat two fold. On the one hand, it’s believed that the phrase originated with Pope Gregory the Great. He would say “God Bless You” to people who sneezed during the bubonic plague in hopes that the prayer would keep them safe. However another possible origin comes from the ancient belief that the soul escapes the body during a sneeze unless God prevented this by blessing them.

Four-leaf clover



Though the origin of wishing over a four-leaf clover is lost to antiquity it has long been a symbol of good luck and fortune. It has also been used in some traditions for finding a husband or a wife. The way this works (for you single people) is by first finding a four leaf clover (good luck with that one), if you happen to find one, you must then eat it (or put it inside your shoe…but eating it is more fun). After this, the luck powers activate and the first person you come in contact after the activation will be your future mate…(Word of warning, stay clear of anyone you don’t want as a future mate).

Itchy palms



There seems to be a lot of variations on this superstition, but the idea of having an itchy palm generally refers to someone who is greedy or has an insatiable desire for money. Some people believe that if the right palm itches, you will lose money, while an itchy left palm means that money is coming your way. If both palm itches…you may want to go to a doctor for that.

Beginner's luck

Usually grumbled by an expert who just lost a game to a novice, "beginner's luck" is the idea that newbies are unusually likely to win when they try out a sport, game or activity for the first time.

Beginners might come out ahead in some cases because the novice is less stressed out about winning. Too much anxiety, after all, can hamper performance. Or it could just be a statistical fluke, especially in chance-based gambling games.

Or, like many superstitions, a belief in beginner's luck might arise because of confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is a psychological phenomenon in which people are more likely to remember events that fit their worldview. If you believe you're going to win because you're a beginner, you're more likely to remember all the times you were right — and forget the times you ended up in last place.

Find a penny, pick it up,,,

And all day long, you'll have good luck. This little ditty may arise because finding money is lucky in and of itself. But it might also be a spin-off of another old rhyme, "See a pin, pick it up/ and all day long you'll have good luck/ See a pin, let it lay/ and your luck will pass away."

Don't walk under that ladder!

Frankly, this superstition is pretty practical. Who wants to be responsible for stumbling and knocking a carpenter off his perch? But one theory holds that this superstition arises from a Christian belief in the Holy Trinity: Since a ladder leaning against a wall forms a triangle, "breaking" that triangle was blasphemous.

Then again, another popular theory is that a fear of walking under a ladder has to do with its resemblance to a medieval gallows. We're sticking with the safety-first explanation for this one.

Bad luck comes in threes

Remember confirmation bias? The belief that bad luck comes in threes is a classic example. A couple of things go wrong, and believers may start to look for the next bit of bad luck. A lost shoe might be forgotten one day, but seen as the third in a series of bad breaks the next.

666

Three sixes in a row give some people the chills. It's a superstition that harks back to the Bible. In the Book of Revelation, 666 is given as the number of the "beast," and is often interpreted as the mark of Satan and a sign of the end times.

According to State University of New York at Buffalo anthropologist Philips Stevens, the writer of Revelation was writing to persecuted Christians in code, so the numbers and names in the book are contemporary references. Three sixes in a row is probably the numeric equivalent of the Hebrew letters for the first-century Roman Emperor Nero. [End of the World? Top Doomsday Fears]

Make a wish on a wishbone

The tradition of turkey bone tug-of-war goes back a long way. Legend has it that first-century Romans used to fight over dried wishbones — which they believed were good luck — and would accidentally break them, ushering in the idea that whoever has the largest bit of bone gets their wish. Bird bones have also been used in divination throughout history, with a supposed soothsayer throwing the bones and reading their patterns to predict the future.

Most common one



1. A bird in the house is a sign of a death

2. A loaf of bread should never be turned upside down after a slice has been cut from it.

3. Never take a broom along when you move. Throw it out and buy a new one.

4. If the first butterfly you see in the year is white, you will have good luck all year.

5. If a black cat walks towards you, it brings good fortune, but if it walks away, it takes the good luck with it.

6. An acorn at the window will keep lightning out

7. A dog howling at night when someone in the house is sick is a bad omen.

8. It’s bad luck to leave a house through a different door than the one used to come into it.

9. A horseshoe hung in the bedroom will keep nightmares away.

10. If you catch a falling leaf on the first day of autumn you will not catch a cold all winter.

11. If a mirror in the house falls and breaks by itself, someone in the house will die soon.

12. Dropping an umbrella on the floor means that there will be a murder in the house.

13. All windows should be opened at the moment of death so that the soul can leave.

14. If the groom drops the wedding band during the ceremony, the marriage is doomed.

15. To dream of a lizard is a sign that you have a secret enemy.

16. If a friend gives you a knife, you should give him a coin, or your friendship will soon be broken.

17. You should never start a trip on Friday or you will meet misfortune.

18. Dream of running: a sign of a big change in your life.

19. If a clock which has not been working suddenly chimes, there will be a death in the family.

20. It is bad luck to light three cigarettes with the same match  

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The 30 Cheapest Places To Travel In 2017, if your new year resolution is to Travel
Time to start packing your bags: 2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for budget travel. The dollar is enjoying historic highs — meaning your money goes much further in many destinations around the globe — and according to an American Express Global Business Travel report, airfares are expected to fall in 2017.



1. Mazatlan, Mexico

Why: The current exchange rate ($1 = 20.69 Mexican pesos) makes Mexico one of the most affordable destinations.
For the frugal traveler who wants to enjoy more culture than they might in the Riviera Maya, my top pick is Mazatlan. As the shrimp capital of Mexico and a foodie paradise, Mazatlan is teeming with awesome eateries and fresh, interesting dishes. Hotels (including all-inclusive properties) are extremely inexpensive and authentic since most aren't part of the huge chains. El Cid Marina has awesome pools that are perfect for families, great food and huge rooms. (Rates are as low as $100 for a family of four.)
You can also enjoy superb dining at a top-notch restaurant like Casa 46 for less than half what you'd pay in the United States.
Side note: Sinaloa (the state where Mazatlan resides) grows the bulk of produce in Mexico, so Mazatlan produce is unbelievably cheap as a result. You see this reflected in top restaurants all the way down to street markets.



2. South Africa



Why: In South Africa, the exchange rate is in our favor, but so is the fact that it's a developed tourist destination with a solid infrastructure. In spending a month in Cape Town earlier this year and relying on Uber to get me to and from meetings, activities and lunches, I averaged under $20 in transportation per day — a major win.
Hotels are cheaper, too: Take a standard room at Taj Hotels & Resorts in New York, and you are out about $786 a night, whereas in Cape Town, a room at a similar luxury property costs $266. Remember, South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, so seasons are the opposite: Consider going in low season (our summer) when hotels and safari lodges are even less expensive.
Airbnb and private villa rentals are also reliable and cheap options in the major cities. Travelers should also consider booking domestic airfare in advance for the greatest cost savings, since flights on South African Airways can sell out quickly.
The best value of all is the wine: Travelers can order a glass of one of the best locally produced varietals for less than the cost of a can of soda. For more information on travel in South Africa, watch "Michaela's Map: First Timers' Guide to Southern Africa."



3. San Juan, Puerto Rico


Why: The best way to get a deal in the Caribbean is to travel during the low season (end of April through mid-December) to destinations that have direct and frequent fights from your gateway; plenty of hotel inventory; and economies that aren't euro-based.
Puerto Rico fits the bill, and I'm a big fan of San Juan, which I think is seriously underrated as an easy and affordable getaway, especially for visitors from the East Coast of the U.S. Old San Juan oozes charm, and if you stay within the old city's two-square-mile radius you won't need a car rental to access great restaurants, sightseeing and shopping.
U.S. citizens can save themselves the cost of a passport since it's not required to visit, and since the U.S. dollar is the legal tender, there's no money lost on currency exchange. Hotel Casa Blanca and Villa Herencia are two of my favorite high-style/low-cost boutique hotels.



4. Chile



Why: Europe is on everyone's list of value-added trips this year and for good reason — the exchange rate is more favorable for American travelers than it has been in years. But the destinations I most dream about and long to return to are in South America, a destination that has long given travelers great value for money.
In Chile, I love Santiago for its vibrant food and wine scene — think tucked-away wine bars, delicious tapas and hip hotels in a beautifully chaotic city. For a lesser-known and truly special corner of the world, I love the small lakeside town of Puerto Varas. It is part of the lakes district in Chile and the northern start of Patagonia.
It is easy (and cheap!) to rent a car and explore this area. There is a surprising German heritage, so you'll see signs for "kuchen" (cake). With Puerto Varas as a hub, you can explore great places within a two-hour drive from the city: going to the top of a volcano, exploring waterfalls, finding the best cakes and food.
This area sees very few American visitors and everything is CHEAP. It's one of those places I almost want to keep to myself, but it's so special that I can't.



5. Crete

Why: With the U.S. dollar strong against the euro right now and the economic crisis in Greece keeping prices lower than other parts of Europe, it’s the perfect time to visit the beautiful island of Crete. Crete is a foodie dream come true.
A place where farm-to-table isn’t a new fad, it’s a way of life. The people here often live to be well over 100 years old so they must be doing something right! With truly stunning natural beauty (like Balos beach) and locals that welcome tourists with open arms, you are bound to have the trip of a lifetime and save a few dollars at the same time.



6. Morocco


Why: For many, Morocco is the ultimate dream trip, and yet cost tends to keep most from visiting. But what you might not know is that it's one of the most affordable African countries, particularly when comparing flight costs. R
eaching Marrakech from cities such as Lisbon, Madrid and Paris may only set you back $40 to $100 roundtrip with many budget airlines. And this past Black Friday, flights from New York were a mere $400 roundtrip.
Food is by far my main reason for visiting as often as I do, and typical meals can range from $2.50 to $15 for two, which includes appetizers, entree and unlimited mint tea. For vegetarians and vegans, the country is especially great, as veggies are cheaper than meat and fresh fruit smoothies are barely $1.
Souvenir shopping can get a bit intense when you realize leather goods such as wallets, handbags and weekenders run from $5 to $60. (A shopaholics dream!) When it comes to accommodations there's something to fit everyone's budget, my favorite being Riad Yasmine (only $80-$160 per night).
For those looking for Moroccan luxury while still on a budget, my go-to is Riad Kheirredine, which will have you living like a queen without breaking the bank and even provides a cell phone during your stay to ensure guest safety.



7. Belize



Why: Modern conveniences and history collide in Belize. It's a perfect place to take a budget romantic vacation. Many of the four-star hotels offer extras, like bicycle rentals, included in their low rates, as well as Belize's excellent local wines.
Some affordable resorts to check out are George Hardie's Las Vegas Hotel in Corozal (Northern Belize) and the oceanside Royal Caribbean Resort in San Pedro along Ambergris Caye. Both can be booked for under $100 per night.
Meals are also crazy cheap, but delicious. Two can eat at an upscale restaurant for less than $30, and much less at an everyday venue.



8. Vietnam



Why: Affordable upscale accommodations, cheap and remarkably healthy food and beautiful sights make Vietnam a standout among budget-friendly South Asian destinations.
Eat your way through historic Hanoi, kayak in the emerald waters of Halong Bay or relax in ancient Hoi An and the nearby beaches. There are clean, safe accommodations to fit everyone's wallet. In Hanoi, my favorite is the Tirant Hotel, near the old town, where you can bag a room for less than $70 a night.
Don't miss the Hanoi street food tour: For just $20 per person, a guide will lead you on foot or by scooter through backstreets, markets and footpaths.
You will eat like the locals and learn the names and ingredients in the dishes so you can order them again. And be sure to take the time to sip a bowl of steaming "pho" noodle soup in restaurants, push carts and food stalls, where a street meal and a beer can cost the same as a caramel macchiato at Starbucks.



9. Costa Rica


Why: Costa Rica is the one of the most biodiverse places on the planet and to be able to see this on a shoestring is an incredible opportunity.
There's a ton of national parks to explore, for instance, that only cost a few dollars to enter. Once there, you can then enjoy free self-guided walks that won't cost you a cent, but will deliver some great encounters with amazing wildlife like tapirs, monkeys, sloths and macaws.
Manuel Antonio and Corcovado National Parks are two of the best. Public transport is also super cheap in Costa Rica, with buses generally less than $10, even for an eight-hour ride. This makes traveling between destinations in this compact country very affordable and means you can see a lot in a short amount of time.
In addition, budget accommodation in Costa Rica — even at some of the best surf beaches — can be as little as $6 per person. And a "plato tipico" (local dish) can be enjoyed anywhere for as little as $2-3.



10. Portugal



Why: Portugal is a pocket of affordable travel in contrast to the rest of Western Europe, especially if you get off the highways and take the back roads (where you can also avoid tolls).
A bottle of delicious port and a plate of the day with a glass of wine can be found for around €5 each. Nowhere else in the world can its "California Highway 1 meets Tuscany" landscapes be enjoyed on such a budget, especially now that the dollar is strong against the euro.



11. Ecuador



Why: Although Ecuador is not quite as inexpensive as Peru to the south, it’s an easy and affordable destination to travel to, especially if you stay a bit off the beaten path. It’s a short cheap flight from Florida with budget airlines like jetBlue and TAME, and accommodation is pretty cheap.
Shop at your local market and you can get a week’s worth of groceries for $10. And Ecuador has lots of variety; from surf beach towns like Montanita, to the volcanic Banos with famed hot springs at the gateway to the Amazon basin, to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Cuenca in the high Andes, there’s a lot to see. The bus systems are good and domestic flights cheap and plentiful. F
ind a free accommodation option like house-sitting or volunteering, and your trip can be even cheaper.



12. Barcelona



Why: Barcelona is ranked right up there with cities like Paris and London as one of the most popular European cities, but it is by far the most affordable. This is thanks to low-cost tapas restaurants, endless free attractions and affordable things to do.
Have a meal of tapas and wine at El Xampanyet for around €10-15. Soak up the rays on the beach at Barceloneta. Get lost in the La Boqueria Market.
And take the tram up to Tibidabo (only €5) for sweeping panoramic views of the city; it's also where you can experience a vintage amusement park and a gorgeous cathedral.



13. Where: Guatemala


Why: Often bypassed in favor of nearby Costa Rica, Guatemala is unique unto itself in Central America. And because it's a bit more "off the path" in the region, it's also easy on the budget and a nice place to splurge.
The villas and hotels rimming Lake Atitlán have all the beauty you could want for a small fraction of the price you'd pay in Europe or elsewhere. From the lake, you can then delve into the country's unique culture by visiting the indigenous markets and villages in the Guatemalan highlands.
Lush Atitlan is a gorgeous, affordable place to stay in San Marcos La Laguna, the prettiest and most culturally interesting of Lake Atitlan's villages.


14. Bonaire & Curaçao


Why: In the deep Southern Caribbean, Bonaire and Curaçao are always out there on the edge of everyone's Caribbean consciousness. Both are known for scuba diving, but also for other water sports, hiking and amazing secluded beaches.
Vacation villas that let you live like a local are plentiful and affordable on both islands, but chain hotels like the Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino are an option on Curaçao (great if you're using points).
Bonaire gets its very first chain hotel at the end of 2016 when a Marriott Courtyard opens.



15. Las Vegas



Why: If you can avoid the slots, there are lots of free things to do in Vegas: The Flamingo's flamingo habitat, the fountains and conservatory at the Bellagio and the outdoor movies at the Container Park are just a few.
You can also find many places for cheap eats if you are willing to get off The Strip to do so. Check out the nearby Crown and Anchor, which serves up delicious British favorites, and Ninja Teriyaki Sushi 2 Go for fresh-made amazing sushi rolls in a no-frills setting.



16. Cambodia



Why: Sadly, the average income in Cambodia is about $950 per year. What does this mean for international travelers? Your international airfare might be expensive, but once you are in Cambodia, you can live well. Tuks tuks (a combo bike/taxi) and food cost just pennies. Even international hotel chains and luxury river boats down the Mekong are more affordable than other Asian destinations.
Before visiting, I suggest doing your homework to support luxury companies like the Shinta Mani Resort, whose foundation plays a large role in its community, building water wells, schools and farms and providing the best healthcare in the country to its employees. Culturally conscious companies like Aqua Expeditions sustainably introduce their guests to the communities along the Mekong River, including the floating markets and the farmers in the rice fields; the company can even arrange a conversation with a local Buddhist monk to discuss the significance of his journey from childhood to monkhood.




17. Bali



Why: If you're looking into an exotic long-haul trip, Bali offers a ton of high quality experiences for a great value. You can easily stay in a private villa overlooking stunning rice paddies with a private pool for around $50 per night. (Airbnb is a great way to go).
However, if you want to splurge a bit but not go overboard, a stay at a high-end luxury resort will still cost you less than a stay at a luxury resort, for example, in Maui. Not to mention, spa and transportation costs are quite low relative to other exotic locales, as well as the amazing and healthy food options that end up being a fraction of the cost elsewhere in the world.



18. Greece



Why: The weakened euro has made any trip to Europe more affordable, but this is especially true in Greece. The struggling economy craves tourist dollars and makes it known with affordable pricing on everything from hotels to food.
In Athens, you can book a three- or four-star hotel for well under $100, like 360 Degrees, a nice and modern hotel with a huge breakfast buffet included and an awesome location directly on Monastiraki Square.
Throughout the countryside, prices may be even better. Best of all, you can sit down to an amazing Greek meal with drinks (Mythos or Ouzo?), appetizers (Saganaki, anyone?) and entrees of your choosing for less than half what you'd pay in the States. Heck, you can pick up Souvlaki or a gyro for $1-$2. Souvenirs are insanely cheap, too.



19. Albania

Why: This forgotten corner of Europe is a wonderfully off-the-beaten-track budget destination in an otherwise very touristy and expensive continent.
With fantastic beaches along its coastline, including the fishing port of Saranda, Albania gives visitors the chance to enjoy the Mediterranean waters for a fraction of the usual price. Accommodation starts from as little as $5 per person and fishing trips or boat rides to the nearby islands are similarly well priced.
There's also some fascinating historical sites across Albania that are either free to enter or cost only $2-$5. From the moutainous medieval town of Gjirokastër to the Roman ruins at Butrint, this is a diverse and very different side of Europe, which is definitely worth visiting before the crowds do.



20. San Luis Potosí, México


Picture a perfect class III white water rafting experience through a limestone canyon of turquoise waters, a visit to a living garden of eden, complete with art sculptures, hidden pools, butterflies and waterfalls, a hike to the largest known cave shaft in the world, which you can rappel into, and a series of waterfalls for cliff jumping.
Top this all off with a plate of homemade tacos and a local beer for $2, and you've got yourself a piece of adventure paradise on a budget.
Still very much under the radar to anyone outside of Mexico, San Luis Potosí could be compared to Costa Rica in terms of adventure and Cambodia in terms of affordability. Since Election Day, the dollar has been especially strong in Mexico, offering an even better excuse to travel south of the border.



21. Quebec City, Canada

Why: Take advantage of the weak Canadian dollar and travel north for a 25% discount on prices.
Enjoy a slice of Old Europe without the jet lag or the cost of a transatlantic flight. Indulge in some of the best French food outside France — steak-frites, oysters and pastries at a bargain price. Stroll and shop in the narrow cobblestone streets of the picturesque Old Town and enjoy night parades and ice canoe races during the colorful Winter Festival in January and February.



22. Buenos Aires



Why: One of the world's most intoxicating cities, Buenos Aires has only grown in popularity, but it's still relatively cheap compared to European and Asian capital cities. There are many green parks, French-inspired architecture, late-night dancing, custom leather shops and fantastic food.
Taxis are relatively cheap (around $5-8 a ride), but you should also walk for miles in all of the distinct neighborhoods, like Palermo (try Salon Canning, a super casual milonga, or dance hall, after midnight). Must-try cheap eat in Buenos Aires: anything dulce de leche. It is everywhere — inside crepes, drizzled over grilled bananas and in gelato.
Tip: Bring a ton of American cash and you'll get better deals in many places. For example, I bought my custom leather jacket at a shop called Uru Recoleta (close to the famous Recoleta Cemetery) and was able to buy it for much less than using my credit card because I brought American dollars.
On Sundays, the place to be is the San Telmo market for browsing leather, antiques, watches, jewelry and more.



23. Haiti

Why: While Haiti still remains under the radar as a travel destination, many people have been flocking to the vibrant country, and I can see why: The island provides all the stunning Caribbean characteristics without the high costs. Outside of holiday seasons and the later part of the summer, flights from New York range from $300 to $500, and even cheaper when flying from cities in Florida.
The real gem is how cheap the hotels are, with many starting at $50 to $150 per night including airport transfers. Even the newest Marriott Port-au-Prince will only set you back $130 to under $200 a night for larger rooms.
One of my favorites is Wahoo Bay Beach, which has epic mountain and ocean views from its stunning pool and rooms. You can take small boat tours around the area for a couple of dollars per person. Lobster, conch and crab can be caught right from the water and prepared for you without costing more than $10.





24. Santa Catalina Island, California

Why: Santa Catalina Island is one of my new favorite places. It is way more than a weekend SoCal jaunt. Hotels are quaint and average under the $200 per night mark. The Avalon Hotel is a charming choice. It’s right in the center of town, making it an easy walk to almost any activity. There is plenty to do, like kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, ziplining, hiking or just beach sitting.
The Catalina Island Museum is a must-visit stop to get the full story of the island's fascinating history, including its Hollywood connection. Food and shopping choices are extensive.
And you don’t need a rental car. Getting to the island is easy: Catalina Express Ferry whisks you to there from three different ports, Long Beach, Dana Point and San Pedro. I prefer Long Beach because flights there are often lower priced than neighboring LAX.



25. Indonesia



Why: With 17,000 islands, you are bound to find the ideal paradise to suit your travel and budget in Indonesia.
There are stunning untouched beaches that offer world-class snorkelling and scuba diving in Raja Ampat, fascinating Unesco World Heritage Sites dating back to the 9th century in Yogyakarta and — everywhere you turn — the friendliest locals. In Raja Ampat, we found a homestay that included breakfast, lunch and dinner — plus it was right on the beach for around $29 USD per person per night. For more, see Food Fun Travel's "Bali Food Guide."



26. Bulgaria

Why: The entire Balkans region is an excellent option for budget travel, and if you haven't been before, I recommend starting with Bulgaria.
From wine country to snowy peaks to the Black Sea coast, it's an adventure playground that every budget can afford. In Bulgaria's wine country you can get a full winery tour with multiple tastings plus bread and cheese for about $5 (check out Villa Melnik winery), take a hike through Bulgaria's famous sandstone pyramids and then sleep in a beautiful authentic style hotel like Zlaten Rozhen with breakfast included for about $30.



27. Cusco, Peru



Why: Most people who pass through Cusco are en route to the very popular Machu Picchu, but you should make sure to spend a few days, maybe even a few weeks in this colorful city. Not only is the city absolutely stunning and oozing with culture, most accommodations range from $20 to $100 a night. Peruvian textiles are extremely affordable and the vibrant colors are stunning.
Eating out in Cusco can be extremely cheap, if you know where to eat. Restaurants are quite affordable compared to most American and European restaurants, but street food here is the real winner. I'm personally addicted to ceviche and can't find it cheaper than $15 for a small portion in the states, but in Cusco's San Pedro Market you can find ceviche plus Peruvian fried rice for only $3.
On my last trip, I had steak and ceviche nearly every day and never spent more than $15 for two including a drink and soup.



28. Georgia
Why: Meagen Collins: This ancient European country is starting to grab the attention of travelers from all over the world. Georgia has so much to offer — beautiful scenery, unique culture and tradition everywhere you look, and the food will leave you drooling for more.
Add to that the fact this country lays claim to being the birthplace of wine (winemaking here goes back 8,000 years) and you have the ultimate new travel destination.
In Georgia, you can get a full meal plus copious amounts of wine for two people in a higher end restaurant, with live entertainment and still spend less than $30 — total. But get there fast: Word is getting around about this little gem and it won’t be tourist-free for long.



29. Mozambique



Why: This country is one of Africa's best budget travel destinations, with some extremely affordable accommodation situated along white sand beaches and next to an azure ocean. (Check out Villa Sands or Terraço das Quitandas.)
There's great scuba diving, too, and you can easily feel like a millionaire here for nothing! For more ideas, see Big World Small Pocket's "17 Incredible Budget Travel Destinations Still On My List (That Should Be On Yours Too!)."



30. Dallas, Texas



Why: Dallas is often overlooked, but packed with fun, food and great places to stay at prices far below the national average. (The city was voted the most affordable destination in the U.S. last year by Priceline and continues to remain a great value.) Downtown buzzes with excitement and culture, and the nearby Design District is exploding with eclectic shopping for home décor.
The high-rise Omni Dallas has rooms with stunning floor-to-ceiling views of the city starting at just under $200, putting you in the center of the action. With a rental car, you can fully explore everything the city has to offer. Look at fringe cities like Grapevine and Plano for the charm of small towns of yesteryear with main street shops and eateries.
The Gaylord Texan Hotel in Grapevine is convenient to DFW airport and offers full-out luxury at rates around the $200 mark.

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Gita on Character Building
Human body is only for attaining God (Paramatma). etc. Therefore, if one becomes determinate on the one aim of God Realization, then man will turn towards God. On turning towards God, good qualities-good conduct come on their own, and character building begins to take place. However, if man forgets about God Realization, and begins to hoard worldly possessions and enjoy sense pleasures, then he falls down in character. He who loses his character, is not even worthy and deserving of being called a man.“Par drohee par daar rat par dhan par apabaad |Te nar paanvar paapamai deha dhare manujaad ||(Manas 7/39)Bhagavad Gita’s entire spiritual instructions are for building character. Previously, Arjuna’s sentiment was to fight the war, therefore he invited Lord and accepted Him in the form of a charioteer and became ready to enter the battlefield to fight. However, Lord’s intent was to see to Arjuna’s eternal good (salvation). Arjuna said that place the chariot in-between both the armies so that I can see who is present to fight me with both hands. The Lord, did exactly as told and placed the chariot right in between both the armies and said, that see the members of the Kuru dynasty (1/21-25). On hearing the word, Kuru dynasty, Arjuna suddenly became conscious of his family, affiliated with his body. He became frightened by the thought that all of them will die and thus turning away from his duty, said – I will not fight. To turn away from one’s duty is the main obstacle in character building. The Lord said – O’ What are you doing? It is your duty to fight, therefore giving up attachment and cowardliness, stand up to fight (Gita 2/2-3).It is only to engage man in the path of duty that Bhagavad Gita manifested. It is only in renouncing your rights and properly performing your duties that character is developed, whereas on neglecting your duties the character is destroyed. God says – “Na tvevaaham jaatu naasam….” (Gita 2/12) - Here the Lord begins His spiritual instructions and first deliberates on the body and the indweller, the perishable and imperishable. The point is that leaving aside (not paying attention to) the perishable things, pay attention to the imperishable. By doing so, character building takes place.There is one very important point, that when the aim is of the imperishable, the perishable things will come on their own. You will not have to undergo suffering for them. But if the aim and focus is of the perishable, the imperishable essence will not be attained, and one will have to worry and make an effort for the perishable. And further ahead Lord says, that see toward one’s innate duty, therefore it is only beneficial to fight the war of righteousness for a Kshatriya. (Gita 2/31). The point is that it is only by fulfilling duty that man progresses, and by going towards non-duty he takes a fall. The main thing in fulfilling one’s duty, is to renounce desires, proprietary interest and attachment. The meaning of renouncing these is that one should not have the aim of “jada”, the inert (insentient). Previously the body etc. were not ours, later on as well, they will not remain ours and at present too they are separating from us every single moment. If this kind of alertness is awakened then the aim will not be of the inert and the senses, the inner faculties will be restrained and controlled on their own. In self-control itself is the building of character. In lack of control and lack of restraint, progress is curtailed and with that the character falls.In the beginning of the third Chapter, Arjuna asks that why are you engaging me in these most sinful acts? Lord says – though these appear to be very sinful on the surface, than too one must fulfill their duties by giving up selfishness, proprietary interest, egoism, and desires. By doing so, the dreadfulness does not remain, only the action remains. Actions can be various according to one’s varna (order of life) and ashram (stage in life), but the terribleness, the filth, the passion , all lead to one’s downfall, and it arises due to desires. Keeping desires in the forefront if one reads and shares with others the spiritual messages (with the aim of money or other things), it is considered demoniac tendency and one cannot escape sins; even on listening and sharing spiritual truths, good character cannot be developed because desire is the root of all sins (Gita 3/37). However, if the aim is God, then even though engaged in worldly duties and activities, then too good character will come in them. Therefore, in the third chapter, Lord gives great emphasis on renouncing desires and doing one’s duty. Similarly, in the fourth chapter it has been said that when there is no desires, when there is no sense of pride in doership, then all actions become inactions, in other words, even while doing karma, man is not bound; because his aim is to go towards God. In the fifth chapter also says to fulfill one’s duty -Yuktah karmaphalam tyaktvaa shanatimaanoti naishthikim |Ayuktah kaamkaarena phale sakto nibhadhyate || (Gita 5/12)“He who is a Karmayogi, who by abandoning attachment to the fruit of action, attains everlasting peace (God Realization); whereas, he who acts with a selfish motive, being attached to the fruit of actions through desire acquires bondage.” Fruits (objects) are the kind that will be born and will later perish, but the desire for them is what is binding. Desire makes one fall in character. When character takes a fall, there is lack of peace and whereas building character, one attains peace. The moment there is ill feelings in the mind, one experiences lack of peace. And the moment there is good feelings within, peace immediately follows.If you are attentive, then it is every man’s experience that the more that he renounces the perishable, that much peace, joy, equanimity, good qualities, continue to come in him and the more that he desires the perishable things, that much lack of peace, discord, anguish, burning infliction, and bad qualities arise.In the sixth chapter also, it has been said to engage in God having “That” as the aim. That God is present and pervading everywhere. He who sees Me (the Universal Self, God) present in all beings and sees all beings existing in Me (Paramatma), I am never out of sight for him, nor is he ever out of my sight.Yo maam paschyati sarvatra sarvam cha mayi pashyatiTasyaahum na pranashyaami sa cha mein na pranashyati || (Gita 6/30)That man who sees other’s sorrow and happiness as his own happiness and sorrow, he is an eternal yogi -Aatmoupamyena sarvatra samam pashyati yorjuna |Sukham va yadi vaa dukham sa yogi paramo matah || (Gita 6/32)He who has the sentiments - Let there be no sorrow such a one attains God (Paramatma tattva). How can the suffering of all come to an end? How can all be happy? One who has such sentiments - their character is the highest of all. Further when the conversation lead to bringing the mind under control, then the Lord revealed about study and practice “abhyaas” and detachment “vairaag” (Gita 6/35). In other words, there too the talks are about removing the mind from the world, and engaging it in God. When talking about progress in the life beyond this world, there too the same has been intellect is only in God, he is considered the best among the yogis (Gita 6/47). He who walks the path of God, if his spiritual practices comes to an end in the middle and he dies then too he will be benefited, he will attain misfortune (Gita 6/40). Those who do work for the welfare of all, even if their work is left incomplete, he will be benefited. He whose mind and It is only eminent to be engaged in God.He who is not devoted to God, God calls him an evil doer (Gita 7/15) and he who is devoted to God, he is called virtuous (Gita 7/16). The point is that he who walks the path towards God are called virtuous and benevolent, and he who walks the path of the world is called an evil-doer. Further ahead it is said that he whose actions are pure, whose character is great, they become unyielding in their spiritual pursuits and do worship and devotion of God (Gita 7/28).
In walking the path towards God, remembrance is the key point. In the beginning of the Eight Chapter, on questioning by Arjuna, the Lord said that he who leaves this body while remembering Me, he attains Me - of this there is no doubt. (Gita 8/5).
Because whatever the sentiments and feelings that are recollected at the time of leaving the body, that alone he attains. (Gita 8/6) Therefore God says, that keep in mind and remember Me at all times - “Sarveshu kaaleshu Maamanusmara” (Gita 8/7). Then God said something extra-ordinary that he who remembers Me at all times, for him I am easily attainable.
Anayacheta satatam yo maam smarati nityasah |
Tasyaham sulabh paarth nitya yuktasya yoginah || (Gita 8/14)
To remember God is a divine trait. It is innateness the root of good character. The meaning of being in remembrance of God is - that remembering and recollecting the innate relation that we have with God, that very relationship, is the one only real relationship. I do not have a relationship with the world. I have only assumed a relationship with the world, therefore this relationship does not last. It is clearly seen that the relationships we have in this birth, they were not there in the previous birth, and they will not be there in the next birth. In the same way this world is constantly changing, but God is the same, as Is, and I myself am also the same. Therefore my relationship with Paramatma is eternal. Remembering this itself is recollection and remembrance (smruti). Thinking can also be of the world, but “smruti” can only be of God. On having such recollection and remembrance, good character is axiomatic.
He who is inclined towards God, becomes the best of all. There is greater gains among those who walk the path of God with aim of God, than the gains that come from Vedas (holy texts), sacrifice, austerities, charity, visiting holy places, fasting etc. (Gita 8/28).
Therefore inclination towards God is considered to to be the sovereign of sciences (king of all knowledge), most mysterious, supremely holy, most excellent, directly realizable, endowed with virtues, very easy to practice and imperishable (Gita 9/2). God finds Himself to be so easy to attain, that “he who with devotion offers a leaf, a flower, a fruit, water etc. I partake in that thing., (Gita 9/26). Therefore, whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer in sacrifice (yajna), whateer you bestow as a gift, whatever you do by way of penance, dedicate it all to Me, then you will be freed from bondage of actions having good and bad results; and freed from them you yourself having completely surrendered shall attain Me (Gita 9/27 – 28).
Whether a man is evil or good – he must not worry. The main point is that that he is engaged in God. On becoming engaged in God, his bad conduct cannot last. He can very quickly become righteous and he attains eternal peace (Gita 9/30-31) . Women folks, Vaisyas, Sudras, and even those that are born of sinful wombs taking refuge in Me, attain the Supreme God. (Gita 9/32-33). However many different “jaatis” that are present, of these externally there is the separation due to nature, but from within all are a part of God. Therefore in worldly relations, the importance is of conducting one’s self according to one’s “Varna,” but in the path of spirituality, there is no importance of “varna” etc. because in the form of divinity (being a part of God), every one’s true nature is pure and all are equally entitled to God. God says, that “Fix your mind on Me, be devoted to Me, adore Me, prostrate to Me, thus making yourself steadfast in Me, and entirely surrendering to Me, you will reach Me.” (Gita 9/34). The point of all this is that only be engaged in Me.
In the tenth chapter on Arjuna’s pleading, God described His super human powers and His Universal form. The essence of what He said - “I am all pervasive in the World. Wherever you see something extra-ordinary, (glorious, brilliant, powerful), know it to be a manifestation of a spark of My splendor” (Gita 10/41). That specialty is due to Me alone. The point is that wherever whatever you find brilliant, abundant, remarkable, there too, the sight should turn towards God. There after he says “what is the reason for you to gain detailed knowledge? I stand supporting the entire Universe, with a single fragment of Myself.” (Gita 10/42) On hearing this, Arjuna, desired to see that Universal Form of the Lord, in Whose single fragment is the entire Universe. The Lord bestowed Arjuna with “divya chakshu” (special divine vision) to behold this sight. * On seeing the divine vision, Arjuna became perplexed, became filled with fear, became charmed. Then God said that this is your foolishness. I am the same One, then why are you fearful?
In the twelfth Chapter, Arjuna asked “he who worships the Imperishable and the Unmanifest and he who worships God with attributes (bhaktimarg), which of the two are better versed in yoga? (Gita 12/1). The path of the Imperishable, Unmanifest (jnana marg), are using their own effort, but in the path of “bhakti” the dependence is on only God. In the path of the Imperishable, divine attributes, discrimination and detachment etc. have to be acquired, but in the path of devotion, on taking refuge in the Lord, divine qualities, good attributes and conduct are automatically and naturally acquired (Gita 12/7). Therefore God says that “you give your mind and intellect to Me alone, there upon you will live in Me alone.” (Gita 12/8). God says - the devotee who is living in Me alone, is most dear to Me. As such, all the beings are dear to God, but he who takes refuge in God, he is most dear to God. Simply by being devoted and engrossed in God, good qualities and conduct come on its own, without any effort.
In the thirteenth Chapter, God describes the path of knowledge (of the Imperishable), and while he describes good qualities such as “absence of pride” (amaanitva) etc., he brings up “Unswerving Devotion to Me with sole dependence on Me alone” – ”Mayi chaananyayogen bhaktiravyabhichaarini” (Gita 13/10). In the Fourteenth Chapter also there is talks about devotion “bhakti” - “He who worships Me with unadulterated devotion, rises above the three modes and becomes eligible, for attaining Brahma”. (Gita 14/26). It is only due to affinity with attributes (gunas) that demonaic traits are born, due to which births in higher and lower forms take place. On walking the path of Divinity (God), one rises above the three modes.
In the fifteenth chapter God reveals His extra-ordinary glories and radiance and says that I am the Supreme Personality (Supreme Soul) over both the “Insentient” (Perishable) and “Sentient” (Imperishable Embodied Soul). (Gita 15/16-18). He who knows Me as the Supreme Personality, the Highest Person, is “sarvavid” the knower of all, and he worships Me, with all his being. (Gita 15/19). Divine traits naturally manifest in him who is devoted to Me and worships Me. Therefore in Sixteenth Chapter, God gives the description of “Divine Traits”. But, he who has become distant from God, who only wants to nourish his own body, to engage in sense enjoyments and in hoarding, demoniac tendencies manifest in him. God elaborates at great length those demoniac traits in the Sixteenth Chapter. He says, Divine traits leads to liberation, whereas Demoniac traits lead to bondage. (Gita 16/5), and such a person attains birth through 8.4 million different wombs (Gita 16/19) and goes to hell. (Gita 16/20).
In the Seventeenth Chapter, the Lord describes the three modes - of goodness (sattvic), passion (rajasic) and ignorance (tamasic). Even on seeing this, the goodness and divine sentiments are among those that have a disinclination for the world and inclination towards God. They rise above the sentiments of passion and ignorance. Thus those who perform the acts of sacrifice, penance and various acts of charity for God, then such acts are of the mode of goodness and they are liberating. (Gita 17/25). However if they are done for the world, i.e. with aim of honor, fame, pleasure, rest and relaxation etc. and sacrifices, austerities, charity etc. done with negligence and ignorance, then they become of the mode of passion and ignorance.
In the Eighteenth chapter, God elaborates in great detail, Sanyaas (Sankhyayoga) and “tyaag” (Karmayog). In the end God concludes that leave dependency of all dharmas, and only take refuge in Me.
“Sarvadharmaan parityajya maamekum sharanam vraja |
Aham tvaa sarvapaapebhyo Mokshayishyami maa suchah || (Gita 18/66)
All the work in the world, all accomplishments, all progress, all is encompassed in that one – “sharanagati” (taking refuge in the Lord”. God says that all the sins that are there, evil qualities and conduct, I will free you from these. You do not worry. By My grace, the divine traits will come naturally, on their own.
Just as a child that stays in his mother’s lap, gets provided for, is nourished, taken care of and he grows, similarly, on taking the refuge in the Lord, all the good traits and conduct will come unknowingly. Building of character will take place on its own.
In this manner, in the entire Gita if one sees then there is only one point - walking the path towards God, i.e. becoming inclined towards God. The aim of going towards the Lord is itself an aid in preventing the fall of one’s character. All evil qualities and conduct come from desire for sense pleasures and hoarding. Of this, the importance of money and dependence on it, leads to the worst downfall. By this, man’s character goes down. When character takes a fall, people talk ill of him and he is dishonored.
A man who has fallen in character, he is lower than even animal and those dwelling in hell; because animal and hellish ones are suffering the consequences of their past actions, and are moving towards human birth, but by incurring sins, a characterless man, is moving towards animal life and hell! Association of such men is the kind that will lead to downfall. Therefore it is said -
Baru bhal baas narak kar taataa |
Dusht sang jani deyi bidhaataa || (Manas 5/46/4)
Therefore for improving your character, become inclined towards God, that is – I am God’s and God is mine. I am not this world’s, the world is not mine.
The mistake that man makes is that which is not his, those thing that belong to the world, he considers them as his own, and that which is actually his, i.e. God, he does not accept as his own. As such, if it is seen, the things of the world are his only for proper use. But for himself, God is his very own. Because the things belong to the world, therefore they have to be offered to the world for serving and man himself is God’s, therefore he must surrender himself to God. Neither he has to take anything from the world, nor does he have anything to take from God. If something is to be taken, then let that be God Himself.
By desiring things of the world, one establishes a relationship with the world. Desire arises from attachment, i.e. desire arises by considering the body, wife, son, wealth, etc. as mine. Now if we think and accept the body, wife, son, wealth etc. as our own, can we say we have an independent right over them? Can we keep them as long as we like? Can we stay with them forever? If the answer is No! Than what is the difficulty in getting rid of the sense of mine-ness? By leaving the erroneously accepted sense of mine, desires will not arise. When desires do not arise, automatically there will be a feeling of mine-ness with God; because God is eternally ours from time immemorial and God is ever-attained. On having sense of mine-ness with God, feelings and conduct will be purified.
Body, wife, son, wealth, house, various possessions, are they real or unreal – this doubt may arise, but our relationship with them is unreal, of this there is no possibility of doubt at all. On knowing the unreal as unreal, the unreal relation is renounced very easily and on becoming inclined towards God, the eternal relationship with God is automatically awakened. Thereafter good character and conduct comes on its own and man becomes a role-model of good character, in other words, his character becomes one that is worthy of respect.
Yadyadaacharati shreshthasttdevetaro janah |
Sa yatpramaanam kurute lokastdanuvartate ||
(Gita 3/21)
Whatever an ideal person does, he is followed by others, as well. Whatever standard he sets, the world follows the same.”
A person of good character is never dependent. An ideal person is entirely independent, capable, eligible and entitled.
Narayana ! Narayana !! Narayana !!!
From "Kalyaan Path" in Hindi by Swami Ramsukhdasji

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