Use Water Cures for Abundance
Toppick Media Editor   Nov-2019   102 Views   0 Comments
Water is an ancient symbol of abundance in all cultures, not only in feng shui and Vastu Shastra. Use feng shui fountains - a powerful cure to attract wealth and fresh Chi or Prana.

Fountains or running water in the North Eastern Sector of the home lot are highly recommended. Fountains in the foyer or entrance of the house also serve this purpose irrespective of the home facing direction. 

If a fountain will not work in your space or you are just not comfortable with the idea, you can use images of flowing water such as waterfalls, rivers, etc. inside the home in the North and North Eastern sector. 

Any water image is an excellent wealth energizer, just be sure the water is clear and moving. Also remember not to clutter this sector of the house. 

So, images of a fast flowing river or a waterfall, for example, are better for wealth cures than the images of a quiet lake or a pond as these are more Yin and you need the power of Yang.

You can also express the Water element by using the colors – blue and black – as well as by decorating with mirrors. Why mirrors? Because they are the perfect expression of the water Feng shui element.

For a one on one consultation, we invite you to visit www.MysticMandala.org and
come meet us at our studio located at 3131 Custer Road Ste # 265 Plano Texas 75075.
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Raj Asava and Aradhana from NTFB in conversation with Anu Benakatti
Anu Benakatti   Sep-2019   748 Views   0 Comments
NTFB - IAC HUNGER MITAO

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “There are people in the world so hungry, that God can not appear to them except in the form of bread”. 
We recently learned that 42 million people--adults, seniors, veterans, and children in the USA grapple with hunger! We also learned that hunger no longer equates with homelessness. In fact, majority of the people struggling with hunger have a roof over their heads. Elements contributing to this issue are rising costs of living, people not making a living wage (under employment), job loss, illnesses, fixed budgets, etc. 

In North Texas alone, 850,000 people struggling with food insecurity are served by North Texas Food Bank (NTFB). Toppick media visited the North Texas Food Bank distribution center in Plano, Texas and had the chance to tour the facility. We also spoke with several dedicated volunteers who were sorting and packing donated nonperishable food to prepare it for delivery to the 200+ pantries that distribute it to families in need. 

North Texas Food Bank is a nonprofit hunger relief organization that serves the hungry in 13 counties of North Texas. Current statistics show that one in four children in our schools is food insecure.  Our kids go to school and have friends who are chronically hungry! It is unbelievable! Under the leadership of CEO Trisha Cunningham, NTFB enabled 77 million meals last year. Impressive, but the goal is to be able to enable 92 million meals by 2025. Yes readers, that is projected to be the need. Unfortunately, hunger is growing in North Texas almost as fast as prosperity. 

The wonderful state-of-the-art facility of Plano named “Perot Family Campus” was opened in 2018 with the help of a lead gift by the Perot family. In the Perot household, philanthropy was a priority. An 'X' marked on the curb outside of the Perot family home signified a pledge to feed anyone passing by who was hungry. The NTFB recently unveiled their own 'X,' a giant sculpture outside the new facility that tells the community that this is also a place where hungry people can get the help they need.

IAC - INDIAN AMERICAN COUNCIL



North Texas Food Bank has seen a surge of engagement from the Indian American community in the past couple of years. Food Bank and media is abuzz with “IAC” and “Hunger Mitao”. 

To understand this phenomenon, we met with Raj and Aradhana (Anna) Asava, founders of the Indian American Council (IAC) for Food Banks.

When Raj and Anna became aware of the rampant hunger issue in North Texas about 5 years ago, they knew they had to engage in the solution. They started donating, volunteering, and serving on leadership councils at NTFB. Their financial commitments kept growing, but they also realized that their contributions could only do so much. And they sensed a lack of hunger awareness in the Indian American community. So, in 2017, they launched a grassroots level initiative called the Indian American Council to engage the vibrant Indian community in North Texas. 

Their extensive corporate experience helped. They created the tag line “Hunger Mitao” (Wipe out hunger) and started conducting awareness sessions to generate awareness about the rampant hunger in North Texas and how people can engage with the food bank in various ways. 

With missionary zeal, the couple have made it their mission to mobilize and galvanize the efforts of the Indian American community around the important work done by the Food Bank. Raj and Anna explained the goals of the project and how the model works. It focuses on “Catalyzing and inspiring the Indian community to engage in helping fight the hunger issue. Secondly, it also aims to change the perception and image of the Indian American community, to be known and recognized for their generosity through the spirit of “give where you live”. 
People can engage in their own ways through the following avenues: 

· Become aware and own the issue of  hunger around us
· Volunteer at the food bank 
· Donate food
· Donate funds

The response from the Indian American community has been astounding!! In less than 2 years, the community has enabled 4 million meals, tons of donated food and thousands of hours of hands-on volunteering at the NTFB! Indian community members now look forward to volunteering on a regular basis; conducting food drives on special occasions over the metroplex; and raising critical funds needed by the food bank for their operations.

IAC calls the month of August a month for “Independence from hunger” in celebration of India's Independence Day. This year they established a goal to collect 25,000 pounds/$ of peanut butter. By the end of this campaign, the Indian American community blew past the set goal and has raised close to 30,000 $/pounds of peanut butter!

Dr. Martin Luther King's comment is so true, “Why should there be hunger and deprivation in any land, in any city, and any table, when man has the resources, and the scientific know-how to provide all mankind with the basic necessities of life? There is no deficit in human resources. The deficit is in human will”.  Each one of us should take the responsibility to contribute to our best abilities towards “HUNGER MITAO” and make hunger in our communities a thing of the past. In Raj's words, “We may never be able to eradicate hunger, but let's make sure no one goes hungry”!



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Vietnam Buddhism
Karuna Pai   Nov-2019   97 Views   0 Comments
VIETNAM is a country of captivating beauty from the French Colonial Hanoi to mystical Halong Bay to bustling Ho Chi Minh City and  the magical Mekong Delta- Vietnam's Rice Bowl.  While touring this serene country one can't help but notice the deep influence of religion.  Along with Taosim and Confucianism, Buddhism is the third of the great religions which have contributed to the molding of Vietnamese culture and character over the centuries. Buddha was a contemporary of Confucius, and the religion he founded entered Vietnam from both India, Buddha's home, and China. Today it is perhaps the most visible of Vietnamese religious beliefs. Buddhism presented to Vietnam a new look at the universe, the individual and life. Buddhism introduces the term of 'Karma' which is essential for the understanding of this religion. 

Sculptures, paintings and architecture often have been inspired by two key virtues of Buddhism; purity and compassion and one such place of mention is Vĩnh Tràng Pagoda.

Vĩnh Tràng Pagoda: Vietnam's Gorgeous Buddhist Gardens At the heart of Vietnam's Mekong Delta lies Vĩnh Tràng Chùa a Buddhist temple near the rural village of Mỹ Tho.  Vĩnh Tràng pagoda is one of the biggest pagoda in Mekong and most well-known in the Delta. It is a major provincial destination for tourists and pilgrims.

The sprawling pagoda rests on two acres of beautifully manicured gardens. The idea for the temple belonged to district chief Bùi Công Đạt in the early 19th century. The Vĩnh Tràng pagoda's style is an elegant blend of East and West; Renaissance-style patterns and Romanesque arches blend seamlessly with Japanese tile and traditional Vietnamese architectural styles.

The Vĩnh Tràng pagoda features three enormous Buddha statues. The standing Buddha represents Amitabha Buddha, who symbolizes ultimate bliss and compassion. The Laughing Buddha symbolizes happiness and good luck and has become a deity for good fortune around the world. The reclining Buddha represents Gautama Buddha before he enters parinirvana, the death of one who has attained nirvana during his lifetime and has been released from the painful cycle of samsara, or rebirth.
The pagoda is comprised of five separate buildings, two ornamental courtyards, and 178 intricately designed pillars. The temple is home to over 60 precious statues made of copper, wood, and terracotta. Among the most cherished relics are 18 arhats (Buddhist followers who have attained nirvana) carved in 1907 out of wood from a jack fruit tree. 

The main hall is adorned with multiple statues of different Buddhas as well as a statue of the Jade Emperor standing as tall as a human man. The side gates are decorated with colorful porcelain mosaics depicting episodes from the life and teachings of Buddha as well as the effects of good and evil deeds.
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Aniv Karthikeyan,  4.5 yrs old,  Riverside butterfly school,  Coppell , TX
Aniv Karthikeyan, 4.5 yrs old, Riverside butterfly school, Coppell , TX
Gargi Duggal   Nov-2019
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When you were 4.5 years old, were you a geographic walking encyclopedia?

Most of us cannot say ‘yes’, but Aniv Karthikeyan a 4.5 years old child from Irving, TX knows it all. Hard to believe, right? Come to UCMAS Plano on every Saturday and see the magic he creates through the numbers as well.

He locates the capital of a 100+ countries, from as tiny as Vatican City to as vast as Russia. This little fearless child is so confident and looks straight in to one’s eye to give his answers.

Show him the world map outlined on a piece of paper or any world map app on an ipad he will let you know the answer in fraction of seconds. It does not end there, Aniv can also recognize all the states in USA and name their capitals. You show him the state or country map cutouts and he would jump high to give the answer. 

Besides being such a bright kid, he enjoys construction and building Legos. In fact, he won first  place at the Annual Summer Lego Building Competition at West Irving Library. He built a remarkable spaceship out of Duplo’s. He has now surpassed his expectations and is engaging in Legos.

At home, he loves playing puzzle games. He enjoys making geographic and picture puzzles in his free time. Lastly, Aniv is in higher level reading. He is reading advanced 2nd grade books at the age of 4.5! Essentially, he is at twice the level of expertise than expected.

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START FILLING UP YOUR WARDROBE WITH  INDIAN HAUTE COUTURE RIGHT OFF THE RUNWAY!
START FILLING UP YOUR WARDROBE WITH INDIAN HAUTE COUTURE RIGHT OFF THE RUNWAY!
Toppick Media Editor   Nov-2019
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Indian wear is one of the most exquisite and intricate attires that you will find around the world. The Indian dress scene is now making major trends in the fashion industry. Check out the latest trends striking their mark in Indian style.

1. Lengha with Side Slit - These lenghas execute a fresh and appealing style. We have seen it on countless celebrities, including Kareena Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Vaani Kapoor, and Malaika Arora. To maintain the delicate look, pick relatively comfortable shoes so you can work the suit well. 

2. Ruffle Sarees and Dupattas - Ruffle sarees are a major comeback of the 90s trend and can be styled in numerous ways. A tiny ruffle detailing at the border and pallu can make a world of a difference to your retro saree look. Or if you want to go bold and make a statement with the ruffles, layer the ruffle design in monochromatic or contrasting colors.

3. Heavy pita work dresses and lenghas for festive occasions - Pitta work is an ancient work of embroidery that is never out of fashion! Its beauty speaks for itself and suitable for the festive season. A gorgeous updo and sophisticated jewelry complete the royal look!

4. Heavy long jacket over tops and pants for fusion look - Want an effortless yet stunning look in your closet? Then this style is for you! Long jackets over a casual piece underneath creates an elegant look to wear on the go. Match it with a small crossbody or flats.

5. Lace overall for delicate looks -  Lace over chaniya cholis frame a refined and subtle look. It looks breathtaking in pastels and sober colors! Pair it with minimal jewelry to accentuate the beauty of the dress.

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Surya Namaskara - The Sun Salutation
Surya Namaskara - The Sun Salutation
Peggy Breeze   Nov-2019
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Yoga is a “healing art” and not a physical fitness class. That being said, then why is Yoga so beneficial to the health of the physical body?

Let’s first look at what traditional yoga is. According to Pantajali, the author of the Yoga Sutras and the first codification of Yoga, “Yoga is the calming of the fluctuations of the mind”. We know this more today referred to as the “Mind/Body/Spirit” connection, living “mindfully”, or just being “connected and aware”.

Pantajali offers a very specific path to accomplish this feat by offering the 8 Limbs of Yoga:
1. Yamas, 2. Niyamas (disciplines), 3. Asana (postures), 4. Pranayama (breath work), 5. Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), 6. Dhyana (concentration), 7. Dharana (meditation), and 8. Samadhi (bliss). It is in the third and fourth limbs that we find the answer to why Yoga is so beneficial to the health of the physical body: Asana and Pranayama.

Asana can be defined as “arranging the different parts of the body in a specific way’‘. When this is accomplished, Prana or Life-force (vital energy) moves within the body into the spaces created by the specific yoga posture. In other words this life force is promoting, supporting, and enhancing the trillions of chemical reactions happening every second in the body that nourish and nurture the cells. It is easy to understand why this energy can help to make you healthier. The practice of one or more asana over time promotes structural stability, physiological immunity and emotional health.

As the body heals through asana and pranayama, more energy can be available to the mind. As the mind becomes calm and focused, it is easier to make better choices concerning your health and well-being. Yes Yoga is a healing art and one of its great benefits is a healthier mind and physical body.

There are 84 official Yoga Asanas. They can be practiced one at a time,or in specific sequences of many poses. One very popular sequence called Surya Namaskara. Surya means the sun and Namaskara is a greeting of respect and honor to the divineness that is present in each of us. There are two versions of Surya Namaskara, Sun Salutation A and Sun Salutation B. The tradition of Ashtanga Yoga always uses both of these versions to begin their practice, but you can certainly practice these sequences in other traditions.

In this sequence of asana, breath is used as the thread that strings the
poses together. This coupling of breath and movement is what makes sun salutation different from Hatha Yoga. Feeling the relationship between movement and breath creates a tapestry of grace and stability physically, mentally and emotionally. In looking at the picture included, the sequence starts with a backbend on an inhale and a forward fold on the exhale, one movement, one breath. This movement or vinyasa

creates a rhythm of internal feeding and cleansing over and over again flushing the body and then refueling it. It is these actions that create the invigorating and strengthening effects of Sun Salutation.

To start practicing Surya Namaskara, perfect each pose within the sequence, finding alignment and stability. Then add them all together using your breath as the thread.
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