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Topics - Graham

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Health & Welfare Issues / Extensive Power Cuts in Tamil Nadu
« on: December 14, 2012, 06:42:27 PM »
For the past six months or so we have been subjected to power cuts of up to 14 hours per day, with an average of 12 hours and some days extending to 16 hours.

At first the cuts were regular and predictable, which meant that you could cope with them, organising your life, including work around them. Recently however they have become totally random both in duration and timing, with cuts of up to four hours at a time and power on for only 10 minutes at the shortest, up to an hour or two. As a result batteries cannot charge properly and even a UPS cannot charge fully (after a few days they get totally drained).

Prior to this we had four hours cuts per day at the most, with the cities sharing the burden. However, the cities now get two hours cuts a day and the rest of Tamil Nadu gets at least 12 hours of cuts and up to 20 hours of cuts in the villages (so I am told).

Why the cuts are so irregular now is open to question, perhaps the powers-that-be don't want us to get bored with repetitive hours, or perhaps they fear that people will use more power if they know when the cuts are coming.

Whatever the cause it is disrupting everyone's lives and livelihoods. Perhaps they should rethink their strategy and be a little fairer to the vast majority of Tamilians who after all contribute far more to the economy than just a couple of cities.


Forum advice, news & etiquette / Transliteration
« on: December 06, 2012, 06:35:12 PM »

Please do not use the transliteration style of mixing upper-case and lower-case characters within words or any of the other Sanskrit transliteration styles in general posts.

I personally find them extremely difficult to read and few visitors will even understand their meaning or purpose.

The forum is for everyone and phonetic word-use suits most people - as is the case with ashram publications.

If someone wants to learn these things then that is their choice, but it should not be forced upon people.


General topics / MOVED: Mandalasa Upadesha
« on: November 17, 2012, 12:39:48 PM »

There are many brands of bottled water in India and there have probably been just as many scandals as there are brands.

For the past five years I have been purchasing Bisleri in the plastic 12 litre and now 10 litre cans at the rate of four or five per week here in Tiruvannamalai.

In previous years there would occasionally be a bad one, but the last 12 months has been exceptional in that the rate of bad and/or stinking water has grown from perhaps 2% five years ago to a minimum of 50% and sometimes even reaches 100% today.

Is this surprising for a company that prides itself on its green credentials and advertises that it cares about its products. Being located in India the answer is unfortunately 'no'.

I have lodged complaints for the past six months with no response, let alone change and the problem continues to get worse. Bisleri clearly does not care about its products.

So my advice is to avoid Bisleri at all costs until such time as this company sorts its problems out and delivers what it promises rather than the pack of lies it is delivering at the moment.

If you don't like the default theme for the forum (colours, layout, etc.) you can always change it for another theme.

To accomplish this - after login select 'Profile' from the menu above or to the left, then under 'Modify Profile' select 'Look and Layout'.

The first item in the list is 'Current Theme:' followed by a name and (Change) inside brackets. Click on 'change' and then scroll down the list of installed themes. You have two choices:

[Use this theme]
[Preview theme]

Preview the theme first as not all will work the same in every browser. When you are happy select 'Use this Theme'

If you prefer a menu to the left rather than the default horizontal menu, simply click on the the '<<' double arrows to the right of the top menu.

The default theme is called Headline and this has been modified for anyone to use.

The Grasslands theme has now been modified


I learned about this initiative for the first time today - a very welcome addition to the web.

Go to

Cautionary advice / Purchase of property by Foreign Nationals
« on: January 24, 2011, 07:39:04 AM »
Elsewhere on my sites I have dealt in depth with the rules governing the purchase of immovable property by Foreign Nationals.

Despite the cautionary advice requesting people to obey the laws of India, there are those who feel that their desire to own property in Tiruvannamalai somehow nullifies the law. They of course find out differently.

However, I am now informed that the registration offices in Tiruvannamalai district have employed people whose sole job is to investigate foreign nationals and NRI's who try to register property in their name - it is about time that this happened, far too many people have been coerced into breaking the law by unscrupulous people, helped in no short measure by equally unscrupulous lawyers. Most lose both their money and property.

For those who want to do it legally, the RBI website answers most of the questions - go here

What it does not tell you, is that you CANNOT purchase property even if you hold a resident's permit which is based upon a TOURIST VISA. You have to have applied for and been granted an 'X' visa, plus Resident's Permit and Visa Extension approved by the Central Government. You have to reside in India for at least 182 consecutive days in the tax year prior to the year of purchase and be classed as a resident at the time of purchase.

There are provsions for Business Visa holders, but the majority of those who come to Tiruvannamalai do not come here on business.

Please obey the laws of India and be safe. You are far better off renting property.

Graham (Admin)

Visa applications / Changes to the Rules relating to tourist visas
« on: May 31, 2010, 05:01:13 PM »
I am sure that most of the frequent travellers to India will be aware of the new restrictions applying to tourist visas.

They state that there must be a minimum 2 month gap between visits - there are exceptions and these can be found at this link on the Ministry of Home Affairs website:

This restriction has now been changed as of April 2013 for the majority of foreign nationals ... see this page:

I recommend that everyone reads the above PDF file.

For more information on visas go to this link (the search results on the site):

General Discussion / Sudden hair loss in Tiruvannamalai
« on: May 10, 2010, 06:20:55 AM »
A strange thing has been happening over the past few months to many people here in Tiruvannamalai (and elsewhere I am told) - Indians and Foreigners, young and old, male and female alike, including myself.

We are all losing large amounts of hair from our heads and only our heads. The hair is coming out roots and all.

I am sure that many people will put it down to the cellphone towers, which according to one person who measured the output, is either 1600 or 16,000 times the WHO safe limit (she wasn't sure which number was correct, but it was at least 1600).

Others say it is the salt in the water, shampoo, etc. Whatever the cause, it is a source of concern for many.

I would recommend that all foreigners bring a hat of some sort here, as the sun can be very damaging to the scalp.


Registration disabled / Registration is disabled on this Forum
« on: March 24, 2010, 11:29:50 AM »
Due to a vast increase in the number of spammers - more than 92 banned this month alone, with dozens of IP's denied access to all of my sites, I have decided to suspend membership for the foreseeable future.

Anyone who is genuinely interested in Bhagavan and wants to join, should email me and I will register them.

Go to:


Cautionary advice / Rape and Robbery at Arunachala
« on: January 22, 2010, 08:15:41 AM »

A few days ago I heard the very disturbing news - that a young attractive western girl was raped and murdered on the inner path last week. I am trying to verify this story as there has been no media coverage of it whatsoever, but the local villagers are talking about it.

Please pay attention to the following -

When people come to Tiruvannamalai they imagine that it is full of saintly and holy people. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are many spiritual people here, but there are also many opportunists.

Over the past ten years, the robbery and rape of western women has been reported a number of times amongst the western community, taking place both on the mountain and on the girivalam paths, the inner path being the most common because it is isolated. A few years ago two men were imprisoned for robbery and rape on the mountain.

There is a very common and very mistaken belief here that western women are easy and want sex with any man. This has come about because of the reportedly profligate behaviour of a few women and movies which depict western women in a bad light.

Western culture is very different from Indian culture. Western females are generally friendly towards strangers, smiling and talking freely, they also hug each other. Unfortunately the western style of close communication is taken here as an open invitation to sex by those whose minds live in the sewer - it is frowned upon by most Indians.

Last year a friend of mine came here for a few weeks of meditation and was approached within the first few days by two Indian men demanding sex - not asking, demanding, one followed her to her accommodation and the other approached her in the ashram. She was horrified and very upset by this. I have heard of many other females who are constantly pestered in this way.

Indian females will generally only speak to men they know and only from a distance - they will never touch.

I repeat here the cautionary advice posted in ashrams and elsewhere.

Under no circumstances should ladies go up the mountain or perform girivalam alone.

I will add a further caution for western ladies - under no circumstances should you go anywhere alone with any male that you have not known for a long time.

Do not think that because some fellow sits in meditation pose or speaks of religious matters that he is spiritual. Watch carefully if you are approached and see if the fellow approaches other women. If he does then avoid him - his intent is sex, money or both.

Do not think that because some fellow wears orange that he is a sadhu (holy man) - 99% of those wearing this garb are beggars or worse.

Four years ago I was told that three of these ochre-robed fellows raped a 12 year old, very pretty, but mentally challenged Indian girl in the college ground near the ashram.

When the police 'are' informed they will try to do their best with limited resources.

However, prevention is the better course ..... you will rarely see any Indian lady climbing the mountain or performing girvalam alone, they take this stance out of caution that has been drummed into them since birth and not because they feel lonely.

Do the same!

Humour / A bricklayer's tale
« on: January 14, 2010, 07:37:29 AM »
I am a little disappointed at the posts in this section so far. There is nothing like a good old belly laugh to release tension and set the world to right.

So here is something to get you going - an example of the British habit of understatement:

Found at -

This is a bricklayer's accident report that was printed in the newsletter of the English equivalent of the Workers' Compensation Board.  So here, thanks to John Sedgwick is this Bricklayer's report.


Dear Sir:

I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Block #3 of the accident reporting form.  I put "Poor Planning" as the cause of my accident.  You asked for a fuller explanation and I trust the following details will be sufficient.

I am a bricklayer by trade.  On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six-storey building. When I completed my work, I found I had some bricks left over which when weighed later were found to weigh 240 lbs. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley which was attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor.

Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it.  Then I went down and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 240 lbs of bricks.  You will note on the accident reporting form that my weight is 135 lbs.

Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope.  Needless to say, I proceeded at a rapid rate up the side of the building.

In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel which was now proceeding downward at an equally impressive speed. This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions and the broken collarbone, as listed in Section 3, accident reporting form.

Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley which I mentioned in Paragraph 2 of this correspondence.  Fortunately by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope, in spite of the excruciating pain I was now beginning to experience.

At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground-and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Now devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel weighed approximately 50 lbs.

I refer you again to my weight.  As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building.

In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up.  This accounts for the two fractured ankles, broken tooth and severe lacerations of my legs and lower body.

Here my luck began to change slightly.  The encounter with the barrel seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks and fortunately only three vertebrae were cracked.

I am sorry to report, however, as I lay there on the pile of bricks, in pain, unable to move and watching the empty barrel six stories above me, I again lost my composure and presence of mind and let go of the rope....

Humour / Bhagavan's humour
« on: December 30, 2009, 02:14:21 AM »
Bhagavan had a brilliant sense of humour and laughter was common in the ashram.

It acts as an important release mechanism for tensions that build up in the individual pursuit of sadhana and in situations where many people congregate.

It is also a very good teacher, because through humour it is possible to say things that otherwise could not be said without causing offence.

Find devotees in your area / MOVED: SADHANA...
« on: December 24, 2009, 03:58:49 PM »

Security Issues / Useful sites for security issues
« on: December 21, 2009, 09:20:21 AM »
The link below takes you to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team website, which lists all of the current vulnerabilities and fixes from reputable software manufacturers.

If you have any doubts about software update warnings that appear on your computer, then go here and check for authenticity.

United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team --


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