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Bats Forever?

For a long time, the Chinese have regarded the bat as a powerful symbol of prosperity, longevity, intelligence, love and protection against untimely death. In the days of the Manchu period of China, bats became so popular as decorative emblems, they were used everywhere; on robes of emperors, on walls, painted on vases and carved on imperial furniture and thrones. Bats were often portrayed in a circle of five, and is said to bring much joy and wealth to those who display them in their homes.

In other parts of the world, the Bat is heralded as a symbol of rebirth and transformation; some legends say that if bats fly into your life, it signifies a life-altering transformation of one’s inner self. In some Native American tribes, the bat is highly regarded for its social intuitive abilities; a creature that sees through illusion and deciphers truth. There are even more European legends about the bat’s invincible vampirism tendencies probably born from the blood-sucking habits of a minority species of bats; but the common theme about bats is that although they are small and elusive, they are enduring, resilient creatures that have abilities to adapt that are out of the ordinary.

Scientific studies show that bats can fly at high speed and hunt in complete darkness through echolocation, and even outlive being kept in the fridge!

So what does any of this have to do with comic characters?  When I read about the success of Batman the comic franchise, I have to marvel at how this cheesy, masked vigilante wearing black swimmingunderpants has today, become one of the most successful character franchises of all time since it was first created in 1939 by Bob Kane of DC Comics as a competitive response to the success of Superman. Since then Batman’s look and plot summations have undergone more than five generations of revisions and manifested in every popular entertainment media including radio, television, animation, merchandising and motion picture. 

Just comparing earnings from movies and merchandising alone, Batman has already surpassed Superman.

Batman first branched into mainstream media by appearing in newspaper strips in 40s. In the 50s, Batman became a household name after making guest appearances in Superman’s radio show. By the 60s, Batman had already spawned two feature movies and sparked its own hit TV Series starring Adam West which ran for 120 episodes. Batman then took Hollywood by storm in motion picture and cartoon animation in 80s, and has left a legacy of more than six blockbuster movies, starring A-List actors like Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, and now, Christian Bale.

The Dark Knight in 2008 set the record for the highest grossing opening weekend of all time in the U.S., earning approximately $158 million and became the fastest film to reach the $400 million mark in the history of American cinema.

There is no question that Batman has been through countless rebirths in personality, costume and plot twists not just in comics, but also in cartoon animation and movies.

But throughout all these reinventions, the actual Batman character and his origin story has largely remained unchanged. So what is the secret to Batman’s longevity and prosperity? Some might say it’s the human in a dark, muscular suit, and suggest that it’s the mystery and twisted psychology of Bruce Wayne the millionaire that gives this character classic appeal.

But for me, I choose to believe that Bob Kane chose one of the best ancient symbols for this character - which is the Bat. He could have picked any other flying creature (the Eagle being a popular favourite among Americans), but he didn’t. He picked the Bat; an everlasting symbol of longevity, prosperity and power. Superman and Spiderman can’t even afford their rent but Batman always gets the girl, never dies and never runs out of money.

The following article is taken from the "Feng Shui World ( May/June 2010)". To subscribe, please click here.

Vaastu and Feng Shui enhance the feel of any place, and in turn act as catalyst and motivational tool to the occupants to bring out the best in them. However there are instances when despite using vastu or feng shui residents still experience obstacles in their day-to-day activities and thus feel let down.
    In order for energy to flow powerfully and for your space to support your mental and emotional well-being, the clutter must be cleared. The key is not just eliminating clutter from your environment, but also from your mind and heart. If you experience a situation of being plagued by inconsistency in your thoughts, actions and lack of concentration, then feng shui for your mind is very essential and can improve the situation.
    Lack of concentration and a confused mind is not a happy situation as you are unable to decide; and this shows up in the quality of your work and decision-making, and leads to irritation, anger and behaving impulsively. The mind accumulates all that we see and do, more so the negative thoughts that keep bothering us, making us uneasy and slowly draining the energy out of us. This can ultimately make us sick.
    At some time or other in your life, you may have observed that the attitude of others towards you has been less than positive. You may have felt ignored, sidetracked or even insulted. It could have been the way you presented yourself, the way you dressed, accessorized, your facial expressions or body language which could have been generating a feeling of disharmony. Such feelings cause damage and over a period of time, the internal system breaks down. This calls for an introspection to calm the mind. By adapting any of the holistic methods, the most effective being meditation, along with some good Feng Shui as the motivator, you would immediately see positive changes.
    Adapting meditative techniques, serene colour schemes, fresh air and pleasant sounds are all general tenets of Good Feng Shui to calm the mind and to improve concentration. Many find it difficult to adapt meditative techniques, yet one can achieve a lot through proper alignment of the living space and work space.
    Recent research studies have shown that symbols, chanting and meditative techniques collectively give rise to a very positive and charged energy field. When a mantra is chanted in rhythmic tone with ups and downs, they create a melodious effect in the body. This effect can be defined as the neuro-linguistic effect and is extremely powerful.
    Chanting has a great healing power and the syllables "OM" and "HUM" have been found to emit positive energies over 25,000 Bovis (a measure of Electromagnetic unit where 2000 bovis = 250 milli volts). The powers of mantras are so strong that the aura and energy field of the individual were found to be enhanced during the chanting. Listening to mantras directly lowers blood pressure, normalizes heart beat rate, brain wave pattern, adrenalin levels, even cholesterol levels.
    It is not a surprise that in present times, many doctors advise patients under high tension to sit and listen to music or mantras for few minutes daily. The Tibetan Mantra "Om Mani Phad Me Hum" is said to invoke the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion when chanted or if it is even viewed as a symbol or a picture or wall plaque. Spinning the Mani mantra wheel (prayer wheel) is also said to generate the same benefit. In short, the power of the Syllable "HUM", also known as the seed syllable, embodies all the principles in all the sutras and is considered very sacred and powerful.
    When chanting is combined with powerful visualization techniques, it empowers the mantras and in turn, the energy fields. The Syllable HUM represents the Blue Sky, which also symbolizes the power of the manifested bodies or in other words Shakyamuni Buddha and other Bodhisattvas. It is the spiritual power which vibrates the world and the syllable OM (in India spelt as AUM too) is represented by white light and has more than hundred meanings and one of them is "Welcome to the God". When practicing meditation, if one can visualize these colours during inhaling and exhaling and also chant the mantras, you can for sure bring about a change in the energy fields within you.
    The syllable OM has also been found to have great healing powers, and scientific studies have shown that chanting OM for at least 10 minutes daily begins to elicit the relaxation response in a person and lowers the heart beats, relaxes the muscles, decreases blood pressure and clears the mind.
    The living space also plays a crucial role in supporting the meditation practices. Having the right lighting, view, décor and colours greatly adds to the positive benefits of such practices. Light is a very important aspect of Spiritual Feng Shui, and it needs to be well balanced in each room of your home in order to maintain positive Chi flow. Look for the shadows in a room as well as the light. If a corner is dim, you can brighten it with a standing lamp or wall sconce. A corner shelf with a pillar candle will offer a more subtle light effect. Rooms with picturesque views of gardens, lakes or the ocean is excellent, and in addition, the right feel can be created by having aromatherapy candles, incense water features, indoor plants or rhythmic music.
    Healing colours like Violet, which is associated with good motives, spiritual aspirations, and prosperity, or Shades of Purple or lavender, which is associated with intuition, calming and soothing  can create the right atmosphere for meditation practice. You can adapt the colours on the walls of meditation rooms, floor mats or cushion covers or have décor in the form of artifacts.
    From the space dimension Feng Shui point of view, you can enhance your surroundings and living space to aid you win over obstacles and achieve your goals.

•    If you aspire to be better known in your profession, it is recommended that you activate your South sector, as this governs your fame area.
•    If you wish to sharpen your writing skills, then activate the Northeast, which governs your knowledge and literary pursuits.
•    Fresh flowers on the East side of your work desk will increase your yang energy, but as soon as they start to wilt and die, clear them away and bring in fresh ones. Alternatively, a small plant in the Southeast corner of your desk attracts prosperity, which can only be a good thing for your organization.
•    If you wish to have indoor plants distributed across your home or office then Palms are particularly good because they spread out at the top and as such will spread out energy.

Vaastu and Feng Shui philosophy strongly emphasizes on the fact that one should always try to understand something before you reject it, hence adapting it in your daily life can create the right feel and inner peace. After all, inner peace creates world peace, and if you have a world of people who have inner peace, then we have a peaceful world to live in.