Lakshmi or Mahalakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity.

Lakshmi in Sanskrit is derived from its elemental form “lakS” meaning to “perceive”, to “observe”. This is synonymous with “lakSya” meaning “aim” or “objective”. Lakshmi is thus goddess of the means to achieving objectives including prosperity in the life of mankind.

She is the consort of Vishnu and married Rama (in her incarnation as Sita) and Krishna (as Rukmini and Radha).

Lakshmi is the embodiment of Love, from which devotion to God or Bhakti flows from. It is through Love/Bhakti or Lakshmi that the atma or soul is able to reach God or Vishnu. She is also the personification of the Spiritual energy within us and universe called Kundalini. Also, She embodies the Spiritual World or Vaikunta; the abode of Lakshmi-Narayana or Vishnu, or what would be considered Heaven in Hinduism. She is also the Divine qualities of God and the soul. Lakshmi is the embodiment of God’s superior spiritual feminine energy or the Param Prakriti, which purifies, empowers and uplifts the individual. Hence, She is called the Goddess of Fortune.

The experience of a lifetime

Hedonism is the philosophy that pleasure is of ultimate importance, the most important pursuit. The name derives from the Greek word for “delight”

The basic idea behind hedonistic thought is that pleasure is the only thing that is good for a person. This is often used as a justification for evaluating actions in terms of how much pleasure and how little pain (i.e. suffering) they produce. In very simple terms, a hedonist strives to maximise this total pleasure (pleasure minus pain).

John Stuart Mill believed that there can be different levels of pleasure – higher quality pleasure is better than lower quality pleasure. Mill also argues that simpler beings (he often references pigs) have an easier access to the simpler pleasures; since they do not see other aspects of life, they can simply indulge in their pleasures. The more elaborate beings tend to spend more thought on other matters and hence lessen the time for simple pleasure. It is therefore more difficult for them to indulge in such “simple pleasures” in the same manner.

Ayn Rand, one of the biggest modern proponents of Egoism, rejected hedonism in a literal sense as a comprehensive ethical system:

To take “whatever makes one happy” as a guide to action means: to be guided by nothing but one’s emotional whims. Emotions are not tools of cognition. . . . This is the fallacy inherent in hedonism–in any variant of ethical hedonism, personal or social, individual or collective. “Happiness” can properly be the purpose of ethics, but not the standard. The task of ethics is to define man’s proper code of values and thus to give him the means of achieving happiness. To declare, as the ethical hedonists do, that “the proper value is whatever gives you pleasure” is to declare that “the proper value is whatever you happen to value”–which is an act of intellectual and philosophical abdication, an act which merely proclaims the futility of ethics and invites all men to play it deuces wild.

A Leader Should Know How to Manage Failure

Former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam : ‘A Leader Should Know How to Manage Failure’

India [email protected]: Could you give an example, from your own experience, of how leaders should manage failure?

Kalam: Let me tell you about my experience. In 1973 I became the project director of India’s satellite launch vehicle program, commonly called the SLV-3. Our goal was to put India’s “Rohini” satellite into orbit by 1980. I was given funds and human resources — but was told clearly that by 1980 we had to launch the satellite into space. Thousands of people worked together in scientific and technical teams towards that goal.

By 1979 — I think the month was August — we thought we were ready. As the project director, I went to the control center for the launch. At four minutes before the satellite launch, the computer began to go through the checklist of items that needed to be checked. One minute later, the computer program put the launch on hold; the display showed that some control components were not in order. My experts — I had four or five of them with me — told me not to worry; they had done their calculations and there was enough reserve fuel. So I bypassed the computer, switched to manual mode, and launched the rocket. In the first stage, everything worked fine. In the second stage, a problem developed. Instead of the satellite going into orbit, the whole rocket system plunged into the Bay of Bengal. It was a big failure.

That day, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, Prof. Satish Dhawan, had called a press conference. The launch was at 7:00 am, and the press conference — where journalists from around the world were present — was at 7:45 am at ISRO’s satellite launch range in Sriharikota [in Andhra Pradesh in southern India]. Prof. Dhawan, the leader of the organization, conducted the press conference himself. He took responsibility for the failure — he said that the team had worked very hard, but that it needed more technological support. He assured the media that in another year, the team would definitely succeed. Now, I was the project director, and it was my failure, but instead, he took responsibility for the failure as chairman of the organization.

The next year, in July 1980, we tried again to launch the satellite — and this time we succeeded. The whole nation was jubilant. Again, there was a press conference. Prof. Dhawan called me aside and told me, “You conduct the press conference today.”

I learned a very important lesson that day. When failure occurred, the leader of the organization owned that failure. When success came, he gave it to his team. The best management lesson I have learned did not come to me from reading a book; it came from that experience.

The rose

And he went back to meet the fox.

“Goodbye,” he said.

“Goodbye,” said the fox. “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

“What is essential is invisible to the eye,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”

“It is the time I have wasted for my rose–” said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember. “I am responsible for my rose.”

“Men have forgotten this truth,” said the fox. “But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose…

OceanLab – Sirens Of The Sea

Take my hand, take my hand yeah take my hand
Follow me, follow me yeah let’s go
To the sand, to the sand, the purest sand
Into the sea, into the sea yeah let’s go

Out beyond the water’s edge
Far out past the coral bench
Underneath the diamond dancing lights
Chase the world from far below
Silence sleeping in the glow
Drifting down into the endless night

Take my hand, take my hand yeah take my hand
Follow me, follow me yeah let’s go
To the sand, to the sand, the purest sand
Into the sea, into the sea yeah let’s go

Leaving reason far behind
Nothing here is cruel or kind
Only your desire to set me free
Let us lie here all alone
Worn away like river stone
Let us be the sirens of the sea

I … can not … resist … your call (x4)

HK hit by severe flooding, 2 feared trapped

SCMP, June 7, 2008

People wade through flood waters during heavy rains in Hong Kong’s Sheung Wan district.

HONG KONG – STREETS in Hong Kong were flooded by torrential rain on Saturday, leaving two people feared trapped after a wall collapsed due to the downpour, media reports said.

The Hong Kong Observatory said more than 200 millimetres of rain was dumped in the city overnight which experienced winds of up to 70 kilometres.

Two people were rescued after a wall collapsed in the New Territories area of Hong Kong, but firemen were still trying to rescue two others believed trapped, local broadcaster RTHK said.

‘Because of seriously flooded roads and inclement weather conditions, you are advised to take shelter in a safe place and stay there,’ the Observatory said in a statement.

The downpour caused severe flooding across some streets of Hong Kong island.

Water was almost up to the windows of parked cars as people rolled up their trousers and waded through knee-deep floods in flip-flops.

Amid thunder and lightning people tried to continue their journey on foot as water flowed over pavements in the heavily hit western district of Sheung Wan.

‘This is the heaviest rain I have seen in years,’ said Mr Edmund Kwan, an office worker, who was waiting for his girlfriend at the nearby MTR (Mass Transit Railway) station.

Shopkeepers stacked sandbags in an effort to keep their businesses watertight. Streets in the city’s Wan Chai business district were also under heavy water.

The rain caused several delays at Hong Kong’s International Airport on Lantau Island, one of the worst-hit spots in the territory, an Airport Authority spokesman said.

Passengers were advised to contact their airline for more information about their flight. The main road to the airport was closed because of flooding, RTHK said.

The city’s schools and courts were closed, while child care centres and elderly services centres were closed to the public, the government said in a statement.

Hong Kong is regularly hit by severe rain and even typhoons during the summer months

Offer of HK$20,000 convinces fisherman to free whale shark

Offer of HK$20,000 convinces fisherman to free whale shark
Clifford Lo, Austin Chiu and Ng Kang-chung
SCMP Jun 07, 2008

A whale shark netted by a fisherman yesterday was spared from ending up in shark’s fin soup when a hawker offered HK$20,000 for its release.

The five-metre example of the world’s largest fish – a vulnerable species and protected in some waters – was accidentally trapped in the nets of the trawler in waters off Ocean Park at about 10am.

The owner of the 10-metre trawler, who gave his name as Mr Cheung, said the shark swiftly gave up struggling and floated to the surface like a log of wood.

Mr Cheung took the shark to the Aberdeen fish market and called officers from the Agriculture Fisheries and Conservation Department and Ocean Park experts to look at it.

But he got into a heated discussion with the officers when they asked him to release it. After five to 10 minutes, according to witnesses, seafood hawker Mark Gon stepped in, saying later that he had paid HK$20,000 for the shark’s release.

“There are not many of these sharks in the sea and they are kind in nature. I do not want to see them go extinct,” said Mr Gon, 24, popularly known as Kai Tsai, who said he had previously paid a fisherman to release two small sharks.

Mr Cheung said later he had not received any money, although he had been seen negotiating with Mr Gon.

Shark expert Suzanne Gendron, zoological operations and education foundation director at the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, dismissed any need for panic.

“The animal is very gentle and would pose no danger to swimmers or human,” said Ms Gendron, who however warned against getting too close to it for fear of abrasions from its rough skin.

Although the species is not dangerous, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department said it would cancel all activities at the two water sports centres in Stanley today.

Shark warning flags were also hoisted at 10 beaches in Southern district.

Shark nets at the beaches had been checked and all were said to be in good condition, according to the department. “Swimmers at the 10 beaches are advised to swim within the shark protection net area,” a department spokeswoman said.

But Southern district councillor Wong Che-ngai said yesterday he believed tomorrow’s dragon boat race would go ahead as planned. “I think we need not overreact. After all, our races will be held in a typhoon shelter,” he said.

The whale shark, or Rhincodon typus, feeds on plankton, small shrimp and fish that it filters from water sucked into its huge mouth and expelled through its gills.

It is fished commercially and its population is unknown but it is considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

It was the third discovery of sharks in Hong Kong waters in the past three weeks. On Wednesday last week two 50cm white-spotted bamboo sharks, a harmless species, were found in a rock pool at the western end of Shek O Beach. On May 20, a young shark about a metre long was found dead at Cafeteria Old Beach, Tuen Mun.

Dash Berlin – Till The Sky Falls Down

Its been so long since i have touched you
I cant remember how it feels
To have your loving arms around me
This is the pain i’ve never healed

I’ll be waiting
Till the sky falls down
Let the rain clouds come

I’ll be waiting
Till the sky falls down
Till you come around, baby

All my life i have been searching
For someone honest just like you
You left me here without a reason
Every tear belongs to you

All i need is one good answer
To understand why you are gone
Everything reminds me of you
Without you i cant go on