Thursday, December 21, 2006

Everything that glitters is not Gold

Continuing the description by Sri Adisankaracharya swamy in Bhaja govindham, about true sanyasa it can be said that similar to those fraudulent people found in the Politics and in the society, also in the spiritual world there are the fraudulent people. We have to be careful about these fraudulent Sanyasis too.

Everything that glitters is not Gold. The real Sanyasi is pure Gold and the fraudulent Sanyasis are the metals with the glittering of the Gold. Unless we observe properly, we may often get confused about the real Gold and the just-glittering gold. As we can not confirm whether a shiny metal is Gold or not unless we test its specific properties, similarly we can not find easily who is the right spiritual master. We must differentiate this ‘Gold’ from the just-glittering others.

Can an actor who plays ‘Satya Harischandra’ (a legendary Indian King who never spoke a lie in his life despite his difficulties) role in a drama be a Harischandra in the real life? A Drama is always a Drama, and the Life is the Life. In the same way, a false Sanyasi who even if seems to be a real Sanyasi by this attire, can never become a real Sanyasi. This is also a drama. A fraudulent drama.

From another point of view we can say that the life of ‘Kapata Sanyasi’ (Fraudulent Sanyasi) can not be even compared with a drama. The actor in the normal drama is known to the audience as an actor. But the role of Kapata Sanyasi in our real life can not be understood that much easily compared to a drama. He looks very similar to a real Sanyasi. Here the innocent public will be deceived.

Instead of common public, for the time being, let us consider the case of Sita Devi, the queen of Lord Sri Rama Chandra in ‘Ramayan’. She was also deceived in the same way. When demon ‘Ravana’ came to abduct Sita he was also in the form of a Sanyasi. And at that time Sita herself was deceived by him.

To differentiate between a real Sanyasi and a fraudulent Sanyasi is a task next to the impossible because generally public seldom get a doubt about the spiritual masters, unlike in the other political affairs.But with a little common sense, if an observation is made on the life style of the Sanyasis something real can be understood.

He who always wanders with a desire of spiritual wisdom is a Sanyasi. The affairs relating to the physical world will not affect the mind of a Sanyasi. He who has won the battle over the love and hate or who has been trying to win the battle over these qualities by gaining the spiritual knowledge, is a Sanyasi. He who does not have the desire about the perishable world is a Sanyasi. He who quits the desire of name and fame, and who has an undoubted belief and interest in the realization of truth is a Sanyasi.

Those hypocrites who act as Sanyasis, those who always strive or struggle for name and fame, steal the great works or writings by the ancient wise gurus and  proclaim that all that knowledge is originating from them with their superfluous  lectures. This is similar to words spoken in a drama. Those Kapata Sanyasis preach to the public but they do not try to understand those principles. When they are even unable to understand how can they practice in their daily lives?

That is why, this kind of unwanted Sanyasis are described by Sri Adisankaracharya, as those who are blind though they can see actually. (Pasyannapi cha na pasyathi moodaha). Thus the guru Sriadisankaracharya, comments that this kind of behaviour of these Kapata Sanyasis is a means of their livlelihood. (Udhara nimittham bahukrutha Veshaha).

Credits: Spiritual discourse by Sri Swami Sundara Chaitanyananda

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

What is Sanyasa?

Bhaja Govindham - 14th Sloka (Verse) in Sanskrit:
Jatilo mundi lunchithakeshaha
Kashayambara bahukrutha veshaha
Pasyannapi cha na pasyathi moodaha
Udhara nimittham bahukrutha veshaha

Swamy Sundara ChaitanyanandaExplanation of this Sloka: “One with ‘Jata’ or ‘Jada’ (braided hair - dressed in the form of 3 or more helical strands), another with a shaven head, one more with long hair, some other one dressed in Saffron, all play different ‘characters’ in their life to fill their bellies. These kinds of dupes or fools are blind though they can see actually.”

Monday, December 18, 2006

Working principle of Caffettiera

After knowing the usage of Caffettiera, the specific Italian Coffee pot, from my previous articles one may get satisfied that they found a cheap and best device which is of much use in our daily life. But those who are of my nature and those who want to look into a greater depth to understand how things work, will be puzzled to know the working principle behind the Caffettiera.

The principle merely involves the steam generation followed by the ejection of the solution with the aid of some nozzle like ejection too.

If anyone has watched the Coffee making with Caffettiera for the first time, then I am sure that one will be really surprised to see, how in a such simple device, the coffee is made in the entirely new way, by filtering against the gravity.

Though this is very common in italy, as the Caffettiera is not known to many in the countries like India, it is normal that one gets amazed. But the working principle involved is better known to all.

As explained in the construction and design features of Caffettiera and the procedure of coffee making with Caffettiera, one can appreciate the use of this simple principle of steam generation and pressurizing process aided by nozzle like ejection.

According to my own understanding of the constructional features of Caffettiera, I found by the geometry of the three pieces of the caffettiera that my assumptions are almost correct.

As usual by the heating process steam is generated. This causes the pressure inside the bottom cup over the existing water surface. The funnel like transition piece has its opening very close to the base of the bottom cup.

Due to the formation of steam, the building up of the pressure occurs and due to the complete sealing of the bottom cup with the top cup, unless there is any problem during which the safety valve operates, the steam has no other way to escape.

So the steam pushes the water which is already at 100°C to the base of the bottom cup, and as the only way to escape is the tubular projection of the transition piece or funnel, extending to the bottom, the boiling water rises through the funnel and mixes with the coffee powder with force. And the coffee is made there between two filtering plates one present in the transition piece and the other at the bottom of the top cup.

As the pressure continues to grow with the continuous heating, the water in the bottom cup will be emptied through the funnel's projection and in turn mixes with the coffee in the funnel and then all the coffee after getting filtered through the two perforated plates starts to rise through the hollow tubular projection in the top cup.

There is some sort of velocity rise of the fluid passing through the top cup hollow projection due to its decreasing cross section like in the nozzle.

So if the reader of this article is a future visitor of italy, then I hope that these four articles on Caffettiera will help him / her to find something to carry to their homes after their visit to Italy.

One more final remark: the same Caffettiera can also be used for making Tea by following the same procedure like that of the Coffee making with the Caffettiera. And the price of caffettiera may vary from 5 € to 20 € depending on the number of cups of coffee that can be made with it, and this in turn depends on the size of Caffetiera.

I personally recommend all the Indian visitors especially this simple appliance and advise them to consider buying a caffettiera which can make three cups of strong coffee, i.e., Caffe normale – Normale, as explained in the previous articles, as in India the coffee is not so strong like in Italy.

Coffee Making with Caffettiera

The Italian Coffee pot Caffettiera and its Constructional or design features are well described in the previous articles. Coffee making with Caffettiera is much easier if one understands its constructional features and there is no special method of making coffee using this appliance, but the only difference that we find in Coffee making with Caffettiera is by the way the coffee is made in contrast to the other common methods of making coffee.

Generally, as the whole world knows, the way or the principle involved in ordinary coffee making involves three steps.

First we take sufficient amount of coffee powder in a vessel, and add water to it.

We heat the vessel until coffee is well boiled and gives a good aroma.

Then we separate the solid particles from these solution or liquid by filtering it with a sieve or a cloth.

We can directly consume the coffee made by adding sugar or milk according to our taste.

A little variety can be a conventional filter coffee, still more common in Indian homes. The filter consists of two jars. The coffee solution is poured in the top cup with a perforated base, and after some time, the coffee filters out into the bottom cup. And the rest of the procedure is the same.

Now comes the difference between Caffettiera and the ordinary filter coffee.

In contrast to the normal filter coffee, the filtering of Caffettiera is quite different. This can be easily understood by learning the process of coffee making with the Caffettiera, the Italian Coffee pot.

Coffee making with Caffettiera

  1. Fill the Bottom cup of the Caffettiera with pure water till the level of safety valve.
  2. Insert the Filtering funnel or Transition piece into the Bottom cup. It gets seated and rests over its flange in the bottom cup.
  3. Fill the space above the perforated plate in the filtering funnel or Transition piece, with the Coffee powder. The Coffee powder should not be too finely ground powder. It is better if it has slightly coarser grains.
  4. Screw the top cup over the Bottom cup and place the Caffettiera directly on the stove.
  5. Heat the Caffettiera till the Coffee starts oozing out of the holes in the hollow tubular projection in the top cup. Take care to keep the flame low to avoid excess spillage of the coffee which may be dangerous due to the hotness of the liquid.
  6. Stop heating the caffettiera when the liquid stops oozing out of the tubular projection in the top cup.
  7. Add sugar and milk according to your own taste and flavor.
  8. After using the Caffettiera please be patient to immediately wash it once it gets cooled.

Caffettiera manufacturers in Italy like Moka express, Cika express, etc suggest to wash this appliance only with water and recommend the users to avoid using the detergents, as they change the flavour or aroma of the coffee and also they are detrimental to the surface finish of the appliance.

As one can clearly understand by looking at Caffettiera, it is a precisely manufactured metal appliance, with appropriate dimensions and the use of detergents may damage the surface finish or the metallic coating and this may accelerate the corrosion rate of the device, as it is subjected to large amount of heat due to the flame while coffee is being made.

The users must also take care to stop heating the caffettiera once they see no liquid coming out of the hollow tube in the top cup. that marks the emptying of the water from the lower cup and any further heating may permanently damage the internals of the Caffettiera and may make it unusable any more.

Constructional features of Caffettiera

After a little introduction in the previous article about Caffettiera, the italian Coffee Pot, one would like to understand its features and the way to use it.

Caffettiera, the most famous and most common Coffee pot available in every Italian home is the best piece of appliance or a gadget made of steel or aluminum that one can have in their home.

It consists of two halves which can be screwed easily with a transition piece in between them and that is all.

It sounds strange but it is a fact that it does not contain anything else. If one carefully observes by taking this caffettiera (a metal gadget with a hybrid look for strangers as it seems something like an hour glass with a handle and a projected mouth like a jug) into their hands, the design and the constructional features of the coffee pot will be much appreciated.

These mere three pieces of metal have all the elements required for making coffee, here coffee refers to strong coffee or caffe normale as called by the Italians. One can not expect to make cappuccino by using caffettiera but as it makes the decoction ready that can be readily added to the hot milk, there will be some varieties that this metal gadget Caffettiera can deliver indirectly, as the coffee decoction is the primary requirement to make Indian coffee or American coffee or whatever coffee it can be, that needs milk.

The top piece of Caffettiera consists of the loose or free lid, only to cover the top cup-shaped half, which contains in its cup a thin hollow tubular projection with two holes at the top. If we observe the bottom of the top cup, we find a sieve or a perforated steel plate with a rubber washer. This acts as one filter.

The bottom piece of Caffettiera consists of a hollow cup only equipped with a safety valve.

The transition piece looks more similar to a funnel but with the conical part almost flat and contains another sieve or perforated plate just above the conical part.

So in total these three pieces or sub assemblies make the Caffettiera, the good looking metal gadget in your kitchen.

Italian Coffee Pot Caffettiera is Simple yet Amazing

What is Caffettiera? Somehow, if anyone have found this word Caffettiera, it is difficult to understand what it exactly means? Caffettiera is an Italian word which means the ‘coffee pot’. Caffettiera, the Italian coffee pot is not only an amazing gift but also the cheapest and the best gift that the visitors can carry to their countries if they have not yet found in their places. It is amazing and has a sleek and stylish look due to its symmetrical design and construction. It is just a coffee pot but there are some hidden basic principles of physics or engineering that one can observe in it.

Though there are many methods of making coffee, some traditional and some advanced methods employing machines, it is always special to have some coffee pot like Caffettiera which is very simple, very easy to use and which virtually don’t need any maintenance.

It is said to me by some of my Italian colleagues in the office that Caffettiera is specific to Naples (Napoli) which is also the birth place of the world famous Pizza.

Italians are the lovers of coffee and probably we don’t find in any other country this many varieties of coffee. The names that the visitors can find are Caffe normale - Normal Coffee, Caffe Lungo - Long Coffee, Cappuccino - a popular name all over the world, contains steamed milk with Coffee, Caffe macchiato - literally meaning Stained Coffee, staining refers to adding of a little milk to the coffee, Latte macchiato – literally meaning Stained Milk, here the milk is stained with coffee, and so on.

It is surprising to find that some of the French, who are the neighbours to the Italians, don’t know about this caffettiera, the Italian coffee pot. Many people may get confused by just looking at this caffettiera’s physical appearance assuming it to be a simple jug, because this particular coffee pot caffettiera is something like an hour glass by symmetry and seems like a jug due to its handle and the projected mouth like a jug.

I have been staying in Italy for over a year by now and I had seen this coffee pot Caffettiera many times but never tried to understand or use it until the last two months. The reason for this was very clear. Being an Indian and a guy who prefers tea to coffee (though coffee is equally preferable), I was never interested in thinking about Coffee even. But now I feel that there is something special with Italian coffee.

It is very hard for any Indian who comes to Italy as a visitor to understand that people here take very strong coffee compared to what is generally seen or expected in India. Of course, I remember a funny comment made by the French man in the movie ‘Godzilla’ in which, he stays in the United states for his mission, and during their stay there, his colleague offers him the coffee and he takes the American Coffee and criticizes whether it can be called coffee.

Now my conception has changed and I now think that all the Europeans probably like the strong coffee. Today I too like to have this strong coffee. It is good that I like all the varieties of the coffee available here. I tried all the varieties available here and also found some strange habits of the Italians about the consumption of coffee.

Some generally take Capuccino during the morning after breakfast and at the other times, like after the lunch and dinner, they only take Caffe normale or Caffe lungo. It is equally surprising to Indians to know that Italians consume coffee as soon as they finish their meal. And it is also true that they consume coffee for many number of times in the office too. In every office in Italy, there will be some coffee machines, and people make best use of them. So, on an average the common people in Italy take coffee for more than five times a day.

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