Today's Beautiful Gem: `So many fathers!'    

       In the upades'amAla (garland of advice), there is a poem which runs
as follows:

janitA ca+upanetA ca yas'ca vidyAM prayacchati |
annadAtA bhayatrAtA pancete pitarah: smRtAh: ||

That man who is responsible for birth, that man who guides in spiritual
life, that man who educates, that man who provides food and that man
who destroys fear: these five are regarded as fathers.

Our own experience teaches us that besides the biological father, there are
several father figures in our lives. The elementary school teacher who
instils values and discipline, a particular teacher in the high school who
recognises the latent talents and inspires interest in the academics or arts
or sports, a professor in the college who lays the foundation for future, the
priest or guru in the temple who tries to give meaning to the above and beyond,
an elderly colleague or the boss who takes keen interest in the professional
arena or gives the first break, the father or an elder brother in the
childhood and the boss who pays the salary, the counsellor who tries to
release from the bonds of fear, worry, and anxiety-- the list goes on. We
have so many fathers. The father figure is normally associated with
discipline, authority and pride. Don't forget that fathers do show love,
affection and joy! These qualities are sometimes latent among the older
generation. Besides, there is always that Father, the father of all, the
father of creation and the father of destination. If possible, attempt at
being a father figure and a role model to a few young ones who sorely need
one such person to guide their destinies.

            Do not forget to honour your father; if possible be tolerant with the
old fogey! Then do remember the other father figures in your life and say
how happily your life has been enriched due to their association. Finally,
donot forget to offer your prayers to the Invisible Father, a fount of love
and a beacon of joy!

Om s'aantih: Peace! - J. K. Mohana Rao