Saturday, November 26, 2016

Weekly Group-Meditation Annoucements at Mumbai

This post is an attempt to record various announcements done every week at Ghatkopar, Mumbai on various topics of interest for Heartfulness practitioners / Sahaj Marg abhyasis.

Purpose of this record is to catch-up with various happenings at Mumbai, In case one has missed the group meditation he can read the announcements here and be up to date with all events.

Announcements for the week starting from 12-1-2017

1. All India Essay Even 2016 results are out. Prizes will be distributed on 29th January 2017 at Panvel Ashram.

2. Matunga Road (W.R.) group meditation location has been shifted to Kataria Niwas, Mahim wef 15-1-2017. Vile Parle has one more Sunday group meditation location at Subhas Road, Vile Parle (E). For details contact Sis Meena Vora.

With effect from 15-1-2017 Sunday Group meditation is starting at Vashi. It will be at Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil College in Sector 15. For details contact Sis Subhada Nayak or Ravi Siddam.

3. January Masterclass on meditation saw more than 8,00,000 registrations from all over. February masterclass is announced now from 1st to 3rd February. It is offered to support people who participated in January to provide new opportunities. Also, it can be attended by new seekers.Expect announcements of more advanced sessions to be held in the month of April, July and September.

Announcements for the week starting from 5-1-2017

1. Heartfulness Online Certification Program
To help propagate Heartfulness in a bigger way, Heartfulness Institute has come out with an online certification (OLC in short) program for Preceptors, Abhyasis and registered Seekers. You can visit the link - and register yourself to complete this online course. Upon completion of the course (you will need to provide your SRCM ID # or Seeker eCard # to gain access to the site), you will get a certificate from HFN institute with your full credentials.

Salient features of the program:
•  Easy online learning and certification process.
•  Internationally acknowledged certificate upon program completion.
•  Adds value to your profile when you represent HFN in "Connect" forums & initiatives.
•  Helps you understand better the nuances of HFN and how to present the same to a cross section of audience.
•  Helps spread HFN in a more systematic and structured way.
•  Helps organizations/institutions to build their own trained talent force for deploying HFN within their respective units.
•  Helps wellness / hospitality units etc. to have HFN trained talent force to offer HFN as a service to their clientele.
•  Register interested seekers to become Heartfulness Champions.

OLC Training Guide -

Please feel free to follow the link and sign-up for the course.

2. Invitation for Living Naturally Program at Panshet, Pune
We are happy to invite nominations for "Living Naturally" program at the Panshet Retreat Centre to be held on February 4th and 5th, 2017. This program is designed for Heartfulness participants who are working professionals and who have started the practice of meditation.

For the attention of C-connect coordinators for conveying to your office participants etc:
- This will be a two day retreat program to be conducted at Panshet Retreat Centre
- Participants are expected to reach Panshet on 3rd February 6pm latest and they check out any time after 5th February 4pm
- Maximum intake for this program will be 35 participants. This program is designed for Heartfulness participants who are working professionals and who have started the practice of meditation after 1-January-2016. Selection will be on first come first served basis.
- Please send your nominations before 20th January 2017. To nominate participants, please click the RSVP link at
- Travel booking to and back to the venue has to be done by the participant. Please ask interested people to book their tickets upon receiving confirmation email from us.
- You may share the following video link to interested participants for their understanding about an earlier program.

3. Heartfulness Masterclass in February - a three day webcast event will be repeated from 1st to 3rd February 2017 on the occasion of Rev Lalaji's birthday. 

4. Those who have missed the Heartfulness Masterclass webcast event which was held from 2nd to 4th January 2017 can still register and learn meditation on three consecutive days (details given below) by watching videos at URL given below.

Heartfulness Meditation Masterclass

Day 1 - "Relax & Expand Consciousness"
In the first class, learn the Heartfulness relaxation for physical well-being and the Heartfulness guided meditation on the source of light within your own heart.

Day 2 - "Rejuvenate - Unwind; Simplify"
In the second class, be guided through a simple technique of unwinding the mind at the end of the day, to let go of stress and emotions, rejuvenate and simplify your life.

Day 3 - "Connect With Your Inner Self/Our Maker"
In the third class, learn to connect with your inner self by listening to the heart's voice. Observe your deepest feelings, make wise choices, and weave your destiny.

Watch and follow instructions in the video, one video a day; over three days, to start heartfulness meditation. 

English Language:
Day 1 -
Day 2 -
Day 3 -

Hindi Language:
Day 1 -
Day 2 -
Day 3 -

5. Online Bookstore at is revamped. It is now displaying a new section on heartfulness apparels and offering fresh discounts as per details given below:

a. Special 20% and 50% Discount offer on archival editions of Complete Works of Lalaji (Vol-3) and Babuji (Vol-6) is extended for another 21 days.

b. On Heart Speak DVD series 50% discount is offered now.

c. Newly introduced heartfulness apparels section is available under the name - HFNLife. Its tagline is - A Lifestyle of Simplicity and Substance Apparels matching the serenity in your hearts. As a first offering Men's White Cotton Kurta (half sleeve) is available in 4 sizes at Rs.799/- 

HFNLife will be bringing amazingly serene clothing and other lifestyle products to complement the heartfulness way of living. 

d. 16 GB Pen Drive USB 2.0 (Wooden Casing with Heartfulness engraved) is available at 15% discount of Rs.600/-

e. Several new books and DVDs are available now. They are At the feet of the Master - Vol-3 (corpus), The Art of Mastering Life (corpus), Offering Heartfulness to One and All (corpus), In His Footsteps Vol-4 (1981-1983) (corpus), The Goal DVD (corpus), Give Voice to Others DVD (corpus), From Remembrance to Liberation DVD (corpus), A Little Willingness DVD (corpus), Object of Adoration by A P Durai.

Announcements for the week starting from 8-12-2016

1. New Year is just a few weeks away. On 2nd, 3rd and 4th January (Mon, Tue, Wed) Daaji will be offering classes to introduce Relaxation, Meditation, Cleaning and Prayer to new seekers all over the world through Internet.

This virtual event will done via our Heartfulness website, YouTube and Facebook live in various languages. Each session of the program will be offered at least twice during the day so that it will be available both in the early morning and during working hours so it can also be used at Connect organizations and any other workplaces.

Please note that the details of the webcasts will be sent out soon. You can plan to play them in existing or new Connect organizations, as well as in our centres and ashrams. Abhyasis can also invite friends and families to their homes, combined with a nice dose of heartful hospitality.

In the New Year it is common for all of us introspect and resolve to implement a positive goal and develop the discipline to achieve it. For 2017, Daaji is calling for all to ‘Resolve … to Meditate … to Achieve’, using the practices and support available through the Heartfulness system.

More details will be put up at This web link will be opening shortly. Await for further information. Till then prepare and plan your self to reach out each and every individual you know.

2. Archival editions of Complete Works of Ram Chandra Vol-6 (Babuji Maharaj) and Complete Works of Ram Chandra Vol-3 (Lalaji Maharaj) is available for pre-booking at 20% discount on regular price of Rs.5,000/-  i.e., at Rs.4,000/-

If both books are ordered together it's available at 50% discount on regular price of Rs.10,000/- i.e., at Rs.5,000/- This offer is valid on orders placed at between 1st and 31st December 2016.

Archival edition books are printed on a special paper that lasts for hundreds of years.

3. Up to 30% Discount on a Set of three books titled "At the feet of the Master" by Prashant Vasu.

"Pachu he was to relatives; Chari to some; Chariji to many; and Master to most! A macro and micro view of this personality this trilogy (set of 3 books) offers. Read it and cherish it for ever."

Special offer price is Rs.500/-  Regular cost of this Softbound three books combo is 700/-
Hardbound books combo is available at 600/-  Regular price is 900/- Offer is valid up to 31-12-2016.

4. December issue of Heartfulness magazine is available for download. It's a Collector's edition of the year's articles about the science of spirituality, featuring three authors- Swami Vivekananda, James Allen and Kamlesh Patel.

Article titles are Observation, Meditation, Transmission, Aum, Thought and Purpose, The three bodies, The subtle body, The spiritual journey, Spiritual anatomy, The spectrum of consciousness, Yoga, Expansion of consciousness, Space, time and creation of universe, The conscious master, The need of guru, Sleep well for your wellbeing, Happiness, Entropy in human relationships and Vibrations and compatibility.

It can be downloaded from:

5. Heartfulness Youth Seminar is arranged at Davorlim, Goa from Thursday to Sunday 26 to 29 January 2017. All youths of Maharashtra, Goa and Coastal Karnataka are invited to take part. Registration is open till 7-12-2016. Link:

6. Heartfulness Institute Speaker Series Webinars presents "The world does spin, but not around you"  on Dec 10th at 8:30 PM IST,

This webinar will help you discover ways to conquer self-centeredness, meaningfully apply ego rather than suppress it and become more "universe-centered" through meditation. It is delivered by Sanjay Sehgal - a proven innovator,serial entrepreneur and a and a self development enthusiast.He has built and managed several companies in the Atlanta area. Currently he is CEO of MSys Technologies.

All are welcome!! Please register at:

Questions can be asked to the speaker in connection with this topic. Please send them to :

7.​Daaji has been addressing various worldwide centers via webinars every week.
This S​atur​day he​ will be interacting with​ A​bhyasis of Karnataka, and Sunday with abhyasis of Andhra Pradesh & Telangana (lndia)

This will also be broadcast live for the worldwide audience on Daaji’s Facebook page.

S​aturd​ay evening 7:30​pm​; and  S​und​ay morning at 7:30​ am​ IST

Announcements for the week starting from 30-11-2016

1. Heartfulness has got Talent
A Wonderful way of bringing the youth from across India together at Ahmedabad from 16-18th Dec 2016. 
Kindly register on the below link for the same. Daaji is closely looking forward for this event. 
Last date: 3rd December 2016
Age group : 18 to 30 years

2. Letter from Daaji to all abhyasis on Heartfulness movement

23 November 2016, Wednesday – Monroe Meditation Center

My very dear ones,

I share these notes with great pleasure and delight from the bottom of my heart.

My heart is pulled towards those Heartfulness Volunteers, including preceptors, whose dedication has prompted the Great Master to convey His confidence in our abhyasis, whose efforts to grow the Sahaj Marg Mission have met with the approval of the Hierarchy.

Please refer to the 14 October 2016 message from the Brighter World by Pujya Shri Babuji (underlines are mine):

“…All in good time. Sahaj Marg is growing very satisfactorily, which fills us with joy and encourages us to greatly increase our action…” Babuji

I find the underlined words even more thrilling. It makes me wonder at what He means by “to greatly increase our action”! This is a tremendous recognition of all those dedicated volunteers. The United Masters have shown their confidence in the work carried out by our abhyasis.

Do we need any other certificate? Let us cherish the moment with joy.

Moreover, I just came across a letter by Pujya Shri Babuji written to respected Elder Brother K. C. Narayana on 1 November 1971. This letter is marked C/68 SRCM. Here are the words that struck the chords of my heart, and I hope they will of yours, too: “I am totally in favor of introducing Sahaj Marg as a course in the American Universities and you must try for that.” Babuji.

Doesn’t this endorse our initiatives in the thousands of schools, colleges and universities worldwide?

Both the narrations, one from the Brighter World and the other in the 1 November 1971 letter, show that, yes, we are truly on the right track.

Let us now multiply our efforts for an exponential growth in the Heartfulness Movement.

Let us NOT relegate our responsibilities to someone else. When I am performing a sacred work, should I surrogate it through someone else?

Sacred works can never be done by proxy.

It is a different matter to share your work with a brother or a sister. Let us multiply our efforts in building true brotherhood—at any cost.

Without unity amongst us, even if we progress, it will ultimately mean nothing.

What answers shall we give to Pujya Shri Babuji for a lack of brotherhood? Do we try even a little bit to treat a fellow abhyasi as our very own? One may keep trying while the other may keep reminding of past incidents! How can one step away from such stalemates?

The heart cries out in prayers to end such stalemates.

May there be peace and harmony. May there be greater understanding and wisdom amongst us chosen ones.

With the Heartfulness Movement gaining momentum, we must remind ourselves that we will not succumb to jealousy and competition. Both these traits reflect a lack of faith in oneself, as well as in the Great Master, whom we revere so lovingly and speak His name in every other sentence.

If you can, please sit for fifteen minutes and meditate over the words of Pujya Shri Babuji communicated in his 14 Oct.’16 message from the Brighter World and in his letter of 1 Nov.’71.

If we witness a brother or a sister successful in their enterprise, let us rejoice it as our own success. With that deep fraternity, results will become evident not in a distant future, but here and now, and we are the most fortunate witnesses and participants in the evolution unfolding in front of our eyes.

Offer prayer before going to bed, for the success of the Mission.

With love and respect,


3. Heartfulness Science And Spirituality Club
Heartfulness Science and Spirituality Club (HSSC) is a student driven global initiative at schools, bringing Science and Spirituality together, It will try to understand the relation between science and spirituality.

Every student should develop himself in three dimensions i.e. Physical, Mental and spiritual. Ignoring any of them degrades the fragrance of life. In modern time the first two aspects are taken care by our education system to a good extent but the third one is most often ignored. Therefore this club introduces a subtlety of Spirituality in the life of students. So that thereafter they will grow in this very aspect of existence also and thus will excel in ups and downs of their life.

Initially HSSC was known as Omega Science and Spirituality (OSS) Club.

More on it can be found at For any information/details please send a mail to

Announcements for the week starting from 23-11-2016

1. Daaji's address to abhyasis on Sunday 27th Nov 2016
Daaji is going to address and interact with abhyasis of Mahrashtra and Gujarat on Sunday 27th Nov at 7:30 pm through a webinar. In Mumbai, abhyasis can participate in it by visiting following group meditation locations:

a. Babuji Memorial Ashram at Panvel 
b. Pawan Dham, Satya Nagar, Kandivali West. 
c. Carmichael Road
d. Andheri West (Cosmopolitan Education Society Marg)
e. Chembur Satyabhama Hall
f. Nagothane 

Group meditation will be held after the meeting. Group meditation will be held at other places of Mumbai as usual at 7:30 am. (message came in late on Wed night)

2. Heartfulness Talent - Youth Seminar in Ahmedabad
All Heartfulness volunteers (below 40 years of age) are invited to HFN Talent - Youth seminar to be held in Ahmedabad Zonal Ashram at Adalaj from 16th to 18th of December 2016.

You are expected to prepare a short 3-minute presentation on topic 'Me and Heartfulness'. In this you can describe your special talent in a an innovative, creative manner. Send your presentation as a video for a review. Selected participants will be invited to make their 5 minute presentations to the jury, in front of all the participants.

Each day there will be a series of interesting never-before-experienced highly empowering workshops, brainstorming sessions, group exchanges, other events and profound spiritual work sessions.

We will be able to accommodate 400 participants on first registered, first served.

If you wish to join fill out the form to apply at

Upon registration confirmation letter will be sent so that you can book your travel.

3. Senior Citizens Retreat at Manapakkam
If you are an abhyasi above 60 years of age, you are invited to spend a week at Manapakkam ashram and use the facilities as a retreat - to rest in the calm spiritual atmosphere and fully immerse yourself in your inner quest.

We invite you to send your requests for a period of one week, preferably arriving on a Monday and returning by the following Sunday afternoon. This invitation is open for any week at your convenience during the year. There is a limited amount of accommodation so it may be on a twin share basis in case of shortage. Please send your requests to

For more details refer to Abhyasi Bulletin 2016.75 dated 20-11-2016

4. Friends and Family program at Satkhol
In this Christmas vacation experience the quietude of an Ashram environment while you bask in the beauty and serenity of the snow-capped and majestic Himalayas that overlook the Babuji Nilayam, adjacent to the Satkhol ashram in Uttarakhand. Let your family and friends group taste spirituality while enjoying a vacation and avail of a unique opportunity.

One can visit Satkhol Ashram from 24th December 2016 to 1st January 2017. There will be sessions on Heartfulness Meditation and Interactive sessions with trained facilitators at the ashram. The Primary Applicant of every group needs to be an abhyasi. We request you to limit your group size to a maximum of 6 members.  The space is limited to about 10 rooms and each group will be accommodated in one room. 

Please register at the following link:

5. New Hindi Series on the Heartfulness YouTube Channel
A new video series titled 'Ek Rishi Ki Baatein'  is launched on our Heartfulness Channel in Hindi languague. It is a series of short talks in Hindi on various finer aspects of life. As per Daaji's suggestion, the first series is 'Jeevan ke dus margdarshi siddhant'. This series has short talks in which Br Rishi Ranjan presents `Ten Guiding Principles of Life' in a very simple and easy manner.

Below is the link for the videos for your reference:

6. Sahajvani app
As you may be aware that one can purchase books, audio, video, photos in digital form from the Abhyasi digital store (ADS) on the Internet. Once payment is done the purchased item can be downloaded on the PC or mobile and can be viewed immediately. Lot of free content is also available on same web site. Web site can be accessed at:

Now you can access Abhyasi Digital store on your mobile phone through an android app It is available on google store with name 'Sahajvani'. This app allows you to download all items purchased previously also. App for iPhone will follow after some time.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Correct Procedure for eFiling of TDS/TCS statements on Income Tax eFiling website from May 2016

On 4th May 2016 Income tax department suddenly released a Notification No.6/2016 informing the Tax Deductors or Collectors that TDS/TCS returns will have to be filed at Income Tax department's eFiling website. However TIN FC (Facilitation Centres) will continue to accept TDS/TCS returns as before. 

More details can be found at:

In other words it was to be inferred that NSDL's website will no longer allow filing of TDS/TDS returns from May 2016! So, those who were registered on NSDL site were suddenly left high and dry and had to rush to Income Tax department's eFiling website for registration. And how many days did they have to do it? Just 11 days!

And what was the procedure? The notification said visit the Tax Deductor portion of eFiling website and register there. And if any one tries to register he is lost because proper procedure is not mentioned any where.

So, lot of tax people cancelled their plan for Sunday (15th May) holiday and mentally prepared themselves to spend it on this crucial activity.

Any way, don't worry. I have found it the hard way and I'm spending time to write-it down here so that those reach this blog will find it easy.

Here are the steps:

1. Visit TRACES website and login using your usual TAN credentials. We found that many a times during login 'Verification Code' field was not displaying at all - making login to Traces impossible!

2. On left hand side you will see "Register at E-Filing Site". Click on it.

3. Click on 'Redirect'. Upon successful redirect you would be taken to Income Tax department's eFiling site. I found that this happened only upon many unsuccessful attempts of 'Redirect'.

4. You are asked to enter Mobile number of the Authorised Person and Email id. Please note Email id field does not accept Email id with dash/hyphen "-" e.g.,! Any way, upon successful submission Income tax department sends an Email with subject "e-Filing Registration Activation Link". You are required to click on the activation link given within the body of the Email.

5. Upon successful activation you are taken to the eFiling site for first time login. There you are required to fill in TAN, PAN and PIN received on the Mobile. This PIN is sent as a SMS to the mobile number of the Authorised Person. Once verified you are required to fill in various details like Strong Password, Two Secret questions (for recovery in case you forgot username / password etc), Address (prefilled), two mobile numbers, two Email ids, land-line numbers and so on.

This part if fairly easy except that creation of password became tricky because it requires minimum 8 letters - one small, one Capital and one special character. Of course, website does not tell which characters are special - possibly "?" is not a special character! I found after lot of unsuccessful attempts.

Once registered, you would expect smooth sailing. But, no! It can't be so easy for Indians. Be prepared for a rough ride.

6. Login once again. Now first thing you need to do is to register your DSC (Digital Signature Certificate) of the Authorised Person. For that you need to download a utility called 'DSC Utility' or 'DSC Management Utility'. Click on 'Profile Setting' and select 'Register Digital Signature Certificate'.

Link is given to download the java jar file. To run it requires Java version 1.7 onwards. It works with latest Java 1.8 and also with Windows 8.1 without any problem. Also download the user manual - though it is not much useful - as usual!

7. Now insert the USB Token in the PC and run the "DSC_MGMT_UTILITY.jar" by double clicking. Select 'Register/Reset Password using DSC". Fill in TAN number and PAN number of Authorised Person. Select USB token. Insert USB Token in PC. Select Authorised Person's name from the USB Token.

You will be asked PIN of the USB Token. Click on 'Generate' Upon successful transaction it will generate a Signature File. You will have to store it on the PC.

Go to the screen shown at 6 (above) and browse this Signature file. Upon successful registration you will get a transaction number and an Email.

8. Now, try to upload the TDS return using TDS->Upload TDS option.

Select Financial Year, FVU Version(!), Type of Return, Quarter and Original / Revised. Upon clicking 'Validate' you will asked to browse FVU file in Zipped format.

Note that FVU file is to be created using latest RPU 1.5 - which creates FVU version 5! (more on numbering confusion created by NSDL some other time). RPU generates file in FVU format but you are required to store it in a 'zip' file using built-in utility of Windows. Right Click on FVU file and click on 'Send to' - select 'Compressed (zipped) Folder'.

Once again you will have to generate Signature file using 'DSC Utility'!!

9. Goto the PC and run the "DSC_MGMT_UTILITY.jar" by double clicking. This time select Tab with name "Bulk Upload". Select FVU zip file. Enter TAN and PAN number. Select USB Token and select name of the Authorised Person. Enter USB Token PIN and click on 'Generate Signature File'. It will generate a file with extension 'Signature' - save it on the PC. Go to eFiling site and select this file and click on 'Submit' to file the TDS return. If you have taken lot of time to do all this steps then you will be logged out. Login once again and start over with Step-8 and submit. Upon successful submission you will see Token Number (provisional) and you will get a Email with subject "Confirmation on upload of e-Filing TDS return"

Phew! Life is difficult in India!

Let me know if you found this useful.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Introducing 'Heartfulness Meditation' to friends using WhatsApp

Recently I used WhatsApp to introduce 'Heartfulness Meditation' to people whom I know personally i.e., they are in my mobile's address book and they also have my mobile number in their address book.

Let's see what I shared with them.

Hi, with your permission I will send one short video per day, giving useful information on Heartfulness Meditation. 

So, one video will be sent to you per day for next 12 days. It will be of 2 to 3 min duration telling you about one particular aspect of the meditation practice. For example, what is it, when and how to sit, how to regulate thoughts, recording experiences etc etc.

Please give feedback or feel free to ask relevant questions to me.

What is Meditation?

Day-2: "Heartfulness Meditation." Here we go.

Please go back a little in time and remember how you learnt driving, swimming, cooking or biking. It was difficult initially. Same here, but it is safer here.

Actually for some people, it may be somewhat similar to the situation when Harry Potter went to the 9 3/4 platform to catch the Hogwarts Express!

Just kidding. Don't worry.

Meditation without light

Day 3: Heartfulness Meditation. "Can you give me a book to read or a CD to know more about Meditation?" Watch this video for the answer.

Practice first, understand later

Day-4: Heartfulness Meditation
The Best time for Heartfulness Meditation

Day-5: Heartfulness Meditation
Regulating the mind with Heartfulness meditation

Day-6: Heartfulness Meditation
The Right Posture for Heartfulness Meditation

Day-7: Heartfulness Meditation

The Right Place for Heartfulness Meditation

Day-8: Heartfulness Meditation
Finding Balance through Heartfulness meditation

Day-9: Heartfulness Meditation
Importance of a Goal for Heartfulness meditation

Day-10: Heartfulness Meditation
Developing Humility through Heartfulness meditation

Day-11: Heartfulness Meditation
Meditation on the Heart

Day-12: Heartfulness Meditation. With this we end the series of informational videos on Heartfulness Meditation.

Hope you liked them. Please do share feedback.

Also, please sit for Heartfulness Meditation every day morning for 30 minutes. More information is available on this website:
Recording Experiences of Heartfulness meditation

That's it. At the end of 12 days recipients would have got a good general idea of what this is about. If any one shows interest in practicing Heartfulness Meditation the step by step process is reproduced below from the website.

How to practice 'Heartfulness Meditation'

1. Create the environment
Find a place where you won’t be disturbed. The practice described below should ideally be followed at the same time and place over the next seven days.

Turn off your phones, televisions, radios and any other sources of distraction.

If you need to, tell your room-mates or family members that you will not be available for 30 minutes.

2. Relax
Sit comfortably and follow the Heartfulness relaxation. This can be done by people of all ages.

Heartfulness Relaxation

3. Meditate
Gently close your eyes and suppose that a Divine Light is illuminating your heart from within. Rather than trying to visualize it, simply tune in to your heart and be open to any experience that you may have.

Do this for 30 minutes. If your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your heart.This can be done by people who are 18 or older.


Once you feel yourself naturally coming out of the meditation, spend a few minutes writing down what you observed in a journal. Keeping a journal of your observations is highly recommended.

Points for reflection:
  • How long was I able to meditate for?
  • Where is my attention during this meditation?
  • How did it feel to focus on the heart instead of the mind?
What Next?
When you feel inspired to explore this further, you might consider Practising Heartfulness with the assistance of yogic transmission.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Is India ready for eGovernance?

Since opening of Indian economy to the world, and proliferation of Internet all over, we are seeing more and more services provided by the government is becoming web centric. It means a lot, at least to the technology savvy young public, as they are able to get information literally on their finger tips by accessing very useful information on their smart phones and laptops.

But, as a old time Information Technology (IT) professional, I notice that many a times, implementation by government departments leaves much to be desired. Most of government websites are designed and maintained by National Informatics Centre (NIC).

I'll give some example to illustrate, what I mean.

1. Scant regard for IT Security

I will be able to best illustrate this point by showing screen-shots of few prominent government websites.

a. Error shown below is for a page on NSDL site that take you to a page that allows you to make TDS payments under Form 280, 281 etc. What it means that this page does not have valid SSL certificate. Certificate installed on this page is for other two sites.

The landing page has a valid SSL certificate but in a round about manner using SAN value.

Possibly this page has become obsolete over a period of time but it is still there on the NSDL website and still gives error shown below.

This 'Mismatched Address' SSL error on Aadhaar/UIDAI site is really not expected. The error is due to improper usage of a wildcard SSL certificate.

b. Error shown below is seen while doing 'Upload' of TDS return after logging in to eTDS/TCS website with proper credentials. It basically means that Jar file (Java executable file/application) is not digitally signed. If it was digitally signed using Code Signer Certificates for Java, possibly this error would not have appeared.

How does a user - who would be a accountant or tax consultant would react to such an error message. He would simply learn to 'ignore' all such errors and get his work done, somehow. But this tendency of ignoring errors could land him in great trouble if he is redirected to a phising site - which would steal all his confidential data and possibly install Trojan or a malware that would make his PC a part of a botnet.

Also, using Java applications for websites is considered very dangerous because of numerous vulnerabilities discovered over so many years. Here is an informative article on - whether one should uninstall Java.

2. Poor Design and coding of Web Applications
One has to find out by trial and error as to how to make certain sites work.

a. Website doesn't accept Amount with decimal points: Check Challan Status link of NSDL site (see below) does not like if you enter amount with decimal points! See screen-shot below, where if we enter amount with decimal points it gives error saying 'Please enter valid amount'.

Is it easy for any one to guess that he is not supposed to type in decimal point and two zeros after that?

In fact, few years back there was a site which required decimal point and two zeros to be compulsorily added to a number to make it work. If decimal and zeros were missing then system would throw an error.

b. Many sites don't accept valid Email ids: I have noticed many instances where a website or Excel Form will not accept certain valid Email id. For example, Form 280 (TDS) payment website does not accept an Email id if it has dash "-" in the Email id. Same issue is with Excel Form by Maharashtra VAT Departments for VAT returns. For example if Email id is it will be rejected, though could be a real registered domain.

Some sites while giving an error - unnecessarily resets values of certain fields without any reason. Below given example of Form-281 for TDS payments is a good example of such poorly designed system.

c. Aadhaar side does not accept valid 12 digit Aadhaar numbers: This error on Aadhaar site is craziest of all.

d. File Attachments sent by CPC, Bangalore (Income tax) are without Date and Time Stamp: Whenever I get any Email with attachments from CPC, Bangalore the file attachments are not having any date and time stamp. So, one can never be sure when such files were created by them in first place. Also, another problem is that while backing up such undated files backup software does not like and throws warnings because it works on date & time stamp to find out which is the latest file.

It is left to anybody's guess as to while should an Income Tax Assessment order which is digitally signed by the assessment officer should be undated.

e. Maharashtra VAT department's website and systems do not allow change of registered Email id, no matter what you do: We had registered Email id with Sales Tax (now VAT) department many years back. But, over a period of time we switched to a mail id using our own company domain. We changed registered mail id at most places except with Maharashtra VAT department.

We gave feedback on website saying our Email id has changed but nothing happened. We wrote grievance form after logging in to their website - nothing happened. We called helpdesk they could not help. We wrote letter and hand-delivered to the assessment officer - nothing happened. Once I had a chance to meet VAT Commissioner and I told him about it. His reaction was as if I was taking up a silly issue! And he did not take note of it for correction. May be that RTI may work.

But, result is that we don't get any circulars/ notices / information mails from VAT department. Is 'Ignorance a bliss'? Perhaps 'yes' but ultimately No.

More on this later.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Extracting E-Mail addresses from a file or a web page using Microsoft Excel

Recently I needed to extract E-mail addresses from a range of cells in an Excel file. I looked around for a solution on Internet.

After going through number of solutions, I hit upon a very elegant solution that could be used easily for extracting Email addresses not only from Excel file but from any web page or a word file or anything that can be selected and copied and pasted in to a Excel sheet. The solution is described below.

It's essentially a short VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) code (also called a program) to create a custom function in Excel named FindEmailAddresses(Cell1:Cell2). Where range Cell1:Cell2 would contain the text from where we wish to extract Email addresses.

Assuming we have already created the function (explained later below) - here is a description of how to use it.
1. Assuming cells A1 to C5 contains the text from where we want to extract email ids
2. Insert a new column at A1 - so that original content of A1 to C5 will shift to B1 to D5.
3. Now, select Cells A1 to A4 - where the extracted Email ids would come. Here, we are selecting only 4 rows because we know that number of extracted Email ids will be less than 4. If they are more then select more number of rows.
4. While keeping the selection, in Cell A1 type the function =FindEmailAddresses(B1:D5), as shown below.
5. Now press Ctrl + Shift + Enter. Note that this step is crucial. By doing this, formula in A1 will get copied to all cells up to A4.

Hello world
Well just a empty cell
Nothing here
There is no email here
There is an email
Here also nothing
Excel is very good tool
Practically this is useless

Her email is but it changed
Nothing here
Well this Is good


Theoretically this is empty

You will the extracted Email ids from B1:D5 in A1:A4 as shown below.
Hello world
Well just a empty cell
Nothing here
There is no email here
There is an email
Here also nothing
Excel is very good tool
Practically this is useless

Her email is but it changed
Nothing here
Well this Is good


Theoretically this is empty

If all cells A1:A4 shows #VALUE! then save the file and upon opening the file you will see a warning saying 'Macros are disabled' Click on 'Enable Macro' and you will see the Emails ids in A1 to A4. If number of Email ids are less than 4 then you will see #NA in remaining cells. If they are more then select A1:A4 and press 'Del' key. Now, select more number of cells in step-3 above and continue. 
Note that if the range B1:D5 has only one Email id then all cells A1:A4 gets filled up with same Email id.

How do I extract Email addresses from my Gmail or Outlook application?
Well, this technique can be used only for extracting Email addresses from a single page. If you wish to extract Email addresses from your Email application - you will have to get programs that are developed specifically to do this work.

How to add user defined function FindEmailAddresses
Before you can use above function, you will have to add the user defined function using following procedure in Excel. It works with all versions of Excel from 2003 to 2013.

  1. Press Alt-F11 to open Visual Basic editor (while you are in the file containing the Email addresses)
  2. On top menu under Insert click on Module.
  3. Copy and paste the user defined function (given below) into new module window.
  4. Exit Visual Basic editor by clicking on 'x'
  5. Use the FindEmailAddresses function in Excel file, as explained above.

Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) Code:
Copy and Paste following code (program) in Visual Basic editor of Excel.
Function FindEmailAddresses(rng As Range) As Variant()
Dim Temp As String, Cell As Range, EM() As Variant
ReDim EM(0)
For Each Cell In rng
Temp = Cell.Value
Do While InStr(Temp, "@")
   EM(UBound(EM)) = GetEmailAddress(Temp)
   Temp = Replace(Temp, "@", "", 1, 1)
   ReDim Preserve EM(UBound(EM) + 1)
ReDim Preserve EM(UBound(EM) - 1)
FindEmailAddresses = WorksheetFunction.Transpose(EM)
End Function

Function GetEmailAddress(ByVal S As String) As String
Dim x As Long, AtSign As Long
Dim Locale As String, DomainPart As String
Locale = "[A-Za-z0-9.!#$%&'*/=?^_`{|}~+-]"
Domain = "[A-Za-z0-9._-]"
AtSign = InStr(S, "@")
For x = AtSign To 1 Step -1
    If Not Mid(" " & S, x, 1) Like Locale Then
       S = Mid(S, x)
    If Left(S, 1) = "." Then S = Mid(S, 2)
       Exit For
    End If
Next x
AtSign = InStr(S, "@")
For x = AtSign + 1 To Len(S) + 1
    If Not Mid(S & " ", x, 1) Like Domain Then
       S = Left(S, x - 1)
    If Right(S, 1) = "." Then S = Left(S, Len(S) - 1)
       GetEmailAddress = S
       Exit For
    End If
Next x
End Function
Explanatory Notes
This notes are for those who wants to know more about technique used in this solution and further improvements.
1.  VBA code uses simple string comparison to find out presence of @ within the content of a cell. If it found one it found out word before and after it and extracted it as a Email address. This is done in GetEmailAddress function
2. It uses a clever Array Formula technique to store the extracted Email addresses one each in each cell. This is done by Ctrl+Shift+Enter key combination.
3. With some modifications this technique can be used to sort the extracted Email address domain wise (

If you find it useful or have any suggestions - do write back.