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A couple of new podcasts that I dabble in.

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If you spend more than 15 minutes commuting and don’t listen to podcasts or any sort of audio material, gosh oh-gosh, you are missing an entire world of laughter and learning. Over the last week I have been hearing heard the fabulous story of an ordinary individual taking up fight against Racial killers of the Ku Klux Klan, the hilarious tale of a sleep-walker and his misadventures and the wonderful mystic words of Al Ghazzali from his ageless Alchemy of Happiness.

The audio explosion on the internet is as rich as the text and video material out there. What is it that interests you? What problem is it that’s bothering you? Just search for a podcast on that topic in iTunes or Yahoo podcasts and boom, you’ve got yourself a university of knowledge on that topic area. So much to listen but don’t have time to do so? You don’t need to take out time, just pop the mp3 files in your phone, plugin the earphones to your ear and hear it while coming to or leave from work. It couldn’t get easier.

I’m subscribed to about a 100 podcasts, however I listen to just a handful of those. I’ve blogged about some earlier podcasts that I dabble in here and here. In addition to those, below are a couple of others that I’m currently tuned into:

The Moth Story Telling Podcast
It’s Rated the number 1 Podcast for several weeks on the ITunes podcast directory, every story I’ve heard till date, connected with me at some level. The podcast contain true stories of individuals, which although is completed within 15 minutes, I’ve caught myself thinking, reflecting on the stories long after it’s passed through my ears. A podcast that I would heartily recommend.

Fora TV Audio of the Week Podcast
Fora TV, has an eclectic selection of lectures, panel discussions, debates on Political, Scientific, or any other topical subject (Thanks for the recommendation Sudeep). In the past, the episodes that I’ve heard on Fora TV and have found them to me greater insight to the workings of the world are:

Book Summary of Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman

A panel Discussion on Would we be better off without Religion

Raj Patel, discussing his book, Stuffed and Starved. Why and how is half the world under-nourished and the other half Obese.

Finally, in addition to the above, I’m having simply a ball of a time, listening the audio rendition of Right Ho, Jeeves by P G Wodehouse, performed by B J Harrison of The Classic Tales Podcast. I’ve tried to pickup books by Wodehouse several times, but could never read past a few pages. But when B J Harrison gets behind the microphone to read out the exuberant expiditions of Wooster and Jeeves, not only do I look forward to each new episode but also find myself chuckling and giving whoops of excitement as I go of driving jolly well off to work.

If you are new to subscribing to Podcasts, here’s a great YouTube Video, that explains how it’s done.


In Praise of Slowness

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I’m currently hearing this great podcast by Carl Honore on his book, In Praise of Slowness. He attacks our addiction that we have for speed and doing everything so swiftly, that even instant-gratification feels too slow. He addresses two key questions, How did we get here and what is it that we can do to slow down. Slow down not in the sense of replacing the Cult of Speed with the Cult of Slow, but more in the Cult of living life more fully and wholly. You can download the audio of the podcast here.

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Two Great speeches in History, that I loved hearing again.

American Rhetoric: Martin Luther King, Jr. - I Have a DreamWe donít much of have a culture either at home and at our community to listen to music, so that sort of forces me and Ali to dig deep and keep looking for alternate sources of entertainment or education that we can indulge in when commuting from home to office. We were delighted when there was the explosion of podcasts on the internet. Those who may not be familiar with the term, a podcast is simply the internet but delivered on Audio. And you have podcasts on huge number of topics, be it from religion/spirituality, politics, documentaries, or Classic Story Telling. To hear podcasts all you need is an mp3 player, which may not be an ipod. Infact, a huge number of mobile phones these days have built in mp3 players, so to hear a podcast on the go, all you need to do is download it to your pc and then download that podcast into your phone. Itís really not that difficult, but youíve got to do it once to experience itís simplicity. Sure, but it still doesnít beat having an ipod, as that makes downloading, syncing and listening to podcasts even easier.

However, Iím straying from the topic of my post. A podcasts series that I listen to occasionally is the Great Speeches in History Podcast. In this Podcast they render the original speeches delivered by Great Leaders, movers and shakers of History. Two speeches which I heard was almost as if it grabbed hold of my inner soul and shook me till I rattled. These are the Famous I Have a Dream Speech by Martin Luther King and the Ballot or the Bullet by Malcolm X.

I Have a Dream
Sure I heard about the speech before. Probably read the text in school as well. But oh, listening to it live from the lips of Dr. Martin Luther King. It made me almost get up from driving seat and applaud like crazy. Pure, Raw unbridled energy. Here are certain excerpts of the speech. But do watch it if you can, itís only 17 odd minutes long.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest — quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

The Ballot or the Bullet
I donít know what itís about Black Americans, but man not only are they really powerful speakers, they come up with really wicked speech titles too. You need time out to hear this speech as itís an hour long. Therefore it makes best sense to have the habit of collecting stuff like this, dumping it in your mp3 player and playing it when driving or riding. Anyway, hereís my favourite exerpt from the speech.

The government has failed us; you canít deny that. Anytime you live in the twentieth century, 1964, and you walkin’ around here singing ďWe Shall Overcome,Ē the government has failed us.

This is part of whatís wrong with you — you do too much singing. Today itís time to stop singing and start swinging. You canít sing up on freedom, but you can swing up on some freedom. Cassius Clay can sing, but singing didnít help him to become the heavyweight champion of the world; swinging helped him become the heavyweight champion. This government has failed us; the government itself has failed us, and the white liberals who have been posing as our friends have failed us.

And once we see that all these other sources to which weíve turned have failed, we stop turning to them and turn to ourselves. We need a self help program, a do-it — a-do-it-yourself philosophy, a do-it-right-now philosophy, a itís-already-too-late philosophy. This is what you and I need to get with, and the only time — the only way we’re going to solve our problem is with a self-help program. Before we can get a self-help program started we have to have a self-help philosophy.

Iíve listed my top 5 favourite podcasts here. Other good podcasts that I recommended are The Classic Tales Podcasts and also the Podcast series of Oprah and Eckhart’s discussion of A New Earth, which I blogged about earlier too.

Two Resources for Beginners on the path to Enlightenment.

We’ve (me and Ali) recently been hearing the podcasts of Oprah and Eckhartís webcast discussion of ďA New EarthĒ. These webcasts are a chapter by chapter discussion of Eckhart’s latest book A New Earth. I must say that I finding it fascinating. Iím currently in the middle of Chapter 2 of the podcast series. Eckhart is always a pleasure to listen to and Oprah…well she provides good comic-relief now and then. I do hope to join the webcast in one of the forthcoming sessions. Meanwhile, pickup the book or do hear these podcasts, when you get the chance.

Where we first got to know this stuff
We were introduced to the subject by Kahlil Jafferís series of lectures entitled ďEnd of Negative SufferingĒ. What he basically says in the series of lectures is that yes that we are human and having this material form we are bound to go through hunger, sickness ie physical suffering. But we need not endure anger, jealousy, resentment, depression ie emotional/negative suffering. Infact we are not designed to do so.

Who is Spiritually Enlightened?
Spiritually enlightened is he, who realises his true self and in doing so dissolves “the story of I” (aka the Ego) playing in his head, which is where all negative sufferings take birth. And then you just smile along with life, not confusing your true self, with the objects in your life (my car, my home) or with the roles you play (that of being a father, an employee, an Indian). And once that happens you canít help it but a smile bursts forth on your face. You realise who you are not. Thereby waking up to who you are. Your really true self. The pure consciousness.

Was that a little heavy? Listen to the lectures by Khalil Jaffer (scroll half way down the page after clicking this link) or the podcasts by Oprah & Eckhart. They’re not that deep. Be patient give it a complete hearing before making judgments. And may you awaken to a whole new world.

Keep smiling :-)

Storytelling comes alive again.

Youíve got to hear it to believe it. I might say that itís the best audio entertainment I have heard. Listen to the enchanting stories of Mary Shelley, Edgar Allen Poe, Oscar Wilde and others in The Classic Tales Podcast. Although some fables have been written over a hundred years ago they still carry hard-hitting lessons and be not surprised if you see yourself in some of these stories.

The production quality is excellent. The voices that B J Harrison performs with is life-like. Be it a fair Italian damsel or a Scottish middle-aged gentleman or a bratty American kid, BJ carries these performances with impeccable class.

Iíve heard quite a few tales from the podcast, my favourites have been: The Tell Tale Heart, The Mortal Immortal and Ransom of Red Chief. I secretly hope that B J soon performs The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde.

Ps. If you feel you’ll enjoy this, Have a look at other podcasts that I recommend too.

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