Learning From Gandhiji’s Experiments

nāsti buddhir-ayuktasya na chāyuktasya bhāvanā
na chābhāvayataḥ śhāntir aśhāntasya kutaḥ sukham// 2,66

But an undisciplined person, who has not controlled the mind and senses, can neither have a resolute intellect nor steady contemplation on God. For one who never unites the mind with God there is no peace; and how can one who lacks peace be happy?

We might have heard this adage “You can do anything you set your mind to” but he observed this with all his heart, his entire life.

He pretty much experimented on everything before he imbibed anything into his life: food, diet, religion, morals, principles, God, ideals, celibacy- you name it.

But one aspect of his life was much frowned upon, his experiments with celibacy. 70 years have passed since he left his body yet the most talked about or published work today is this grey side of his life.

Is it really grey? All our lives are lived in this grey, isn’t it? Although we don’t want to admit it to ourselves or others but that is the truth. But I think he cared less of what others thought of him or his experiments.

It looked like he wanted to prove it to himself that he had that self-restraint necessary to control his body and mind. Although he realized the body-mind connect well.

śhaknotīhaiva yaḥ soḍhuṁ prāk śharīra-vimokṣhaṇāt
kāma-krodhodbhavaṁ vegaṁ sa yuktaḥ sa sukhī naraḥ//5, 23

Those persons are yogis, who before giving up the body are able to WITHSTAND the forces of desire and anger; and they alone are happy

What do I admire about him?

  • He cared less about any titles that were bestowed upon him
  • He rejoiced when he overcame his weaknesses. He worked on himself.
  • He penned down most of his thoughts, wild or otherwise.
  • His book revealed an ordinary person with vices, who was bent upon converting them into virtues.
  • He stood as a role model for many, for his ideologies went through severe grilling.
  • He was not a Conformist. love, love that 🙂

What I failed to understand is this? (from his book and other works on him)

  • That why suppress an urge; restraint is fine and that too should come comfortably with understanding. (for example, it only becomes easy to handle a teenager when you have the knowledge of how it is to be one, right? With that knowledge you could take control )
  • Why was he bent upon making the body work against its mechanism?
    When we think of tamarind, our mouth salivate. It is a natural phenomena with all body fluids.
Image result for when we think about tamarind your mouth salivates

When we think of tamarind, our mouth salivate. It is a natural phenomena with all body fluids.
  • In attempts to suppress, he unknowingly gave it more room and energy. Overthinking can make them surface more often than not.( for example ‘don’t think about a pink elephant’ phenomena)
  • Why didn’t the idea “You are not the body but the Spirit” relieve him of his anguish. That every thought instills peace in a layman person as me. Maybe that is because I am playing it safe without taking any risks. Possible possible 😁
Now Your mind is focused only on this Pink Elephant
Now You can only think about this Pink Elephant

Bhagavad Gita on Ironic Rebound

Indriyāṇāṁ hi charatāṁ yan mano ’nuvidhīyate
tadasya harati prajñāṁ vāyur nāvam ivāmbhasi//2, 67

Just as a strong wind sweeps a boat off its chartered course on the water, even one of the senses on which the mind focuses can lead the intellect astray.

However, like any other Indian, I am in complete awe of this man who let his heart lead his life. Who showed us how difficult yet necessary it is to restrain our worldly senses. Who successfully implemented concepts like ‘Ahimsa’ in utter chaotic situations. He was and is a leader that are rare to come by.

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Attraction can be to a Beautiful thing but Attachment doesn’t discriminate

Yoga-sthaḥ kuru karmāṇi Saṅgam tyaktvā dhanañjaya
siddhy-asiddhyoḥ samo bhūtvā samatvaṁ yoga uchyate //BG 2.48

Have you noticed that we are attracted to things which are beautiful versus our attachments could be towards things which are outrightly ugly? (Attractive or ugly again, depends on the way we see things..to each, his own)

But Attachments are deep and they don’t care for labels which makes them inflict the most excruciating pain in any person. It leaves you punctured  with a hole in your heart.

We can get over attraction but attachment gets us emotionally invested.

If you think why is one more hurtful than the other? One of the reasons are most likely because of the number of times we replayed the episodes of the ones we are attached to. Remember ” dyayate vishayan..” from Bhagavad Gita.

Although attachment is a progression yet it is deep and emotionally charged
Imagine that you have been thinking about a 🌵 over and over again in a good way. Then someone comes around and describes a lotus flower to you but now you are comparing your love for cactus with this flower. Trust me, you will be rooting for Cactus over Lotus.

Even if you are truly attracted to a lotus flower but if you can encircle your thoughts around a cactus, you can very well be attached to it. You can argue with the best of the best about how the cactus is more beautiful than the lotus flower itself.

For Attachment, lotus or cactus are all same

Although attachment looks unavoidable & dangerous but knowing that we have no control over the things/people we are attached to- should make us tread this territory with care.

Don’t dive too deep to a place from where you may not resurface. Also, recognize other people don’t see the 🌵 as the same way that you do 😉

“He Runs. Ah: runs. Runs”

This is how John Updike ends his novel “Rabbit, Run.” Although this is about Harry (Rabbit) Angstrom running away from his responsibilities, I find it apt to describe the situation of those whose flight instincts are at its best when they are in the company of a cribber 😉

Related image

Have you ever thought about why we crib?
When we feel trapped, isn’t it?

When do we feel trapped?

When we are asked to choose from the choices that someone deems right. We live in a society which makes us believe that we have the freedom to decide what we want. However, it also dictates the choices from which a good decision is hard to come by. Just like Arjuna who didn’t want to wage war with his own family was given a choice to either run or to stand up and fight.

So, we at times may feel trapped in a situation that we aren’t comfortable with. How do we fight that? How could we make another person see why something doesn’t interest us? That’s something to ponder.

When should we vent? I have noticed that nobody has the time, nor do we care much when we are just at the receiving end of the process. Which is, when we are not allowed to participate, but just be there actively listening to someone vent. So, I don’t vent unless I have something to achieve. Venting does two good things:

  • sure, it does relieve us of the tension
  • But, it also dissuades the person from making us participate in something that we aren’t comfortable with(this is what I am aiming at, mostly)
When we are trying to avoid someone/something, that someone/something should find us boring too.

I have watched others and myself closely, and have understood one thing that we can’t stand someone venting for long and, we try to avoid it. So, sometimes venting comes to our aid when we want someone to feel discouraged and bored when asking us to be a part of something that doesn’t interest us.

Does that mean, we don’t care about others who are sad? We should also remember that those who are listening are also human. Sometimes we get drawn into the conversation and get affected too. Also, in today’s time, who has the time? Let me demonstrate that with an example.

What are we expecting when we ask, ‘How are you?’

When we ask ‘How are You?‘ to someone, as a social norm; we expect that someone to take that more as a social greeting and not as an opportunity to launch their version of how they are.

When they do, we are obligated to listen, however, we are also wondering how to excuse ourselves from not having to hear all that. Let’s be honest.

I personally think, venting our troubles is not as healthy, as they claim it to be unless we are getting somewhere with it. But if we are just going round in circles, it’s time we stop else the Rabbit is gonna run, run faster and away from us 😉

Just as Krishna wouldn’t bother wasting his time over Duryodhana. Likewise, we don’t have to expose ourselves to toxic venting. Nobody has to tell, we will know when the line is crossed.

Images: Internet

A Thought to Carry While Travelling

While travelling, we all have a checklist of things to carry and that may differ from one person to another. But when it comes to packing our mind on a travel, we all pray that we somehow stay in the present-be able to capture all the beauty that we get in that short trip, isn’t it? At least, that is true by me.

Otherwise, we would surely arrive at the destination but with an unprepared and an absent mind.

IMG_20170212_105137417.jpg

Have you noticed people staring away at their cell phones while holidaying? Their work laptops switched on when Mother Nature is at her best.

yes, I do know work follows us home, in fact every where. We are 24/7 now but a weekend getaway can be without the work, right?

The only thought I packed my mind with, this time was to be in the moment and admire the one lady(Nature) who never failed to look pretty. I was excited to see her as she is, without a makeover.

Without filters

So, this post is to share the joy that we experienced by just packing that ONE THOUGHT.

God & I are Different

As soon as I hear someone say that, my head automatically shuts off from the conversation and starts singing ‘la la la la la la’ but outside I will be nodding my head.


That conversation is not worth listening to because they contradict the same qualities which they say are the attributes of the Divine. Whenever someone does that, I am like, in my head, thinking, “Really? Are you kidding?”

Okay, if you see in Gita, alright..I am not a Gita addict but I strongly believe I need to know my self more than anything in this world. And for someone like me, Bhagavad Gita is a gift.

So in the Gita, the divine says that the whole universe is him and every inch of it is he. And that includes you and me as well. Arjuna, after much questioning ultimately admit that the Divine is indeed One and he permeates every inch of known the unknown(chapter 11, 37-40). If we believe in his omnipresence then it would be foolish to think or say any of the below,
  • That my God and your God are different(When he clearly says there is ‘One’ that encompasses all. That means, there are no TWO GODS. Now, let the fight not shift towards putting a name to that ‘One’.)
  • My way is the only way in knowing him(If he is the whole universe then you and I are not separate, meaning there is this divinity that is common between us. So, that negates the above statement and there is no ‘my way’ business here.)
  • God and I are different( If the divinity is everywhere then we are within him and he should be us. If someone says otherwise then it would as stupid as to listening to that person saying that his leg does not belong to his body, unless that someone is suffering from BIID)

Every chapter in Gita is not just hinting but it literally puts it right on our face that there are no two things here. Everything that we perceive here is that one entity alone(Chapter 10,verses-6 to 8). 8th verse is just that.

” Ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ”

I am the origin of all creation. Everything proceeds from me. The wise knowing this worship me with great faith and devotion.

Although Bhagavad Gita gives us options to choose our path(Sankhya/Bhakti/Jnana/Karma) it still reminds us to know that understanding Divine is understanding our Self, and vice-versa.

If we believe, that our sense of being is tied only to our body then how can we be fooled into believing that we can own a fake limb// rubber hand illusion.

Anyways, that was a little insight from science, about how easily our brains can be tricked into believing something so fake, as our own.

Okay coming back to Gita, the one word in the text that keeps coming back to me is ‘Ananya’. I understand Ananya as Not Anya(Other). We are united is what he is saying when he says Ananya. The bhakti should flow knowing that I am him and he and I were never separate or different.

Image: Bellur. If God resides in that temple. So does he reside in us as the sense of ‘I’

Sharing Can Get Someone Say A Prayer For You!

We all pray. What do we pray for and how we say our prayers may differ but we pray.

What does sharing has to do with saying a prayer, if you ask? There is.

When we set up our house, most of our cookware were hand-me-downs. We bought only the necessities and the rest was given by my Mother in law and by my mom. Whenever I dish out food in the cookware given by them, a
prayer goes for them without a thought. Food prepared in those always turns out delicious and I wonder if they were prepped with love before it was handed over to us.

I can never photograph food without eating them first. You can clearly see that in the plate behind 😉

Some are in fact very old but mind you, they are fully functional. Every time I make something in them I feel fully nourished. Out of that comes the prayer for our parents well being- for being kind.

Although I won’t be able to share all the things they gave us but what I cherish the most are these well-seasoned iron cookware. God knows, I have an eye for them wherever I go. At least one dish in a day has to come from them.

Do you see why I love them?

Please don’t ask me what is this post doing in a Gita blog. It is here because I love iron cookware; hmm nah. Sure I love them but it is here to show how a child unknowingly mimics their parents footsteps.

I learnt to share because I saw my elders demonstrate that. And as a child when you see your parents do something you mostly pick up on them.

And also it was taught to us as kids to be thankful for what was given to us. To say a prayer for that person whenever we played with a toy or anything that was given to us.

That’s a good habit which I picked up-for I was said to be notoriously picky and questioned almost everything that was being taught. Don’t worry if you have a child who is a bit difficult to handle, trust me he/she will turn out just fine.

Remember the verse 20 from the 10th chapter of Gita. If everything here is nothing but the Atman(vibhuti) then the one who is sharing and thanking is all the same. Anything that you don’t use anymore, needn’t stay in your cupboard catching dust, it can be passed down.

When you read this, it might sound like a person with a split personality talking! But Joking apart, what you think is the idea behind all religious texts? Per my understanding, they were to bring our attention to that one ‘purusha or self’ which houses the whole universe. Isn’t it?

Like the image of the post, we know very little about our Self, a lot is yet to emerge from the shadows.

How Religious Are You?

If anyone were to ask me how religious am I, I would say- I am not religious enough, that I don’t follow it to the core.

And then they play this song ‘Namo Namo ji Shankara’ and you see me grooving along with complete faith and devotion 😉 Although I just said I am not much into any religion but my actions say otherwise.

What we’re really saying when we say we are not religious enough-
(pun intended)

  • That I don’t know if I am religious or not.
  • I think I am not, but I love the God that I was introduced to more than the ones that I am alien to.
  • I am not aware of the soft spot for my religion. So don’t finger it.
  • I am not like my parents-I don’t advocate my faith but you don’t dare say, your God is the only God.
  • I am not religious enough to go on a killing spree in the name of religion but again don’t tell me, my God doesn’t exist.
  • I don’t have religion on my priority list. But don’t say anything stupid about my religion, you might end up being on my list.

So, that’s what our head is saying when we think we are not that religious. If someone corners me and puts my faith down, can I still walk past that without getting affected? Not always.

Then again, I am not religious. Why am I getting affected?

Perhaps the problem is in assuming that we know ourselves too well. Do we? Don’t our thoughts and actions surprise us?

Today, if I see my faith painted on a doormat, it irks me. But what should ring an alarm in my head is when I don’t feel the same when I see other religious figurines on a doormat.

We do terrible things in the name of God and religion. And who does these things? People like us.

  • People like us who are unaware of our religious conditioning.
  • People like us, sceptics, theists & atheists, are only brainwashed into thinking that no faith or one faith is superior or different from others.

Breaking religious conditioning or being Cynical are good places to start but that road should lead us somewhere.
What If we do not Evolve? We will continue being the question mark.

Jeez! Frightening, I meant…

So, the next time we size up our religious quotient, we should keep in mind that we are equally conditioned and ignorant like others. That will help us ignore the religious triggers coming our way else we become dangerous to our own species.

If we get too sensitive or do not articulate our beliefs well then we will go extinct fighting for our religion.