Don’t Blame Your Kids If You Are Alone FOR..

you have taught your kids to only care for the family. And once they grow up and start their own family, they are in HABIT to take care of theirs alone. For you have raised them so….

For you, family meant your spouse and your kids so why are you surprised when they practice what they learned from you? Why blame them for your loneliness? Did you bring them up with the Vedic idea of the world being one big family?

Have you taught them to care for their grandparents, their society, their country or their surroundings? Why blame them when they become you?

This is what happens when we teach our kids to pray & live only for their immediate family. For we tell them who will pray for us if we don’t. An idea that sticks with them for the rest of their lives.

And, for all those who teach their children to serve or work for their only interests and not care for what encircles them- nature has a way of giving it back to them.

So don’t be surprised if you land in an old age home without your kids around. For they are living YOU now and will teach their kids the same.

Teach them to include everyone and walk. Working for them is great but not at the cost of others- is something only you can teach them by your life.

Invoke the real spirit of “Loka Samstha Sukhino Bhavanthu” in them if you want to be included in their life. More than what you are teaching them, they learn by observing you.

Kids are a huge responsibility and trust me, they’re not for everybody. But if you have one then you don’t have to go looking for a Guru because what your kid can teach you, nobody else can 🙂

Bring them up with responsibility, for you have a big hand in them turning a God or otherwise.

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“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 😉

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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

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.

“I am doing this Only for You”. Really?

We have said this at least once, whom are we kidding? Not once but many a time- “I am doing this only for you.”

Really? Ask yourselves whether do you do something for anybody here other than for yourself? Think of an event where you thought you went out of your way to do something for somebody and then drill down and drill through till you reach the rock bottom.  Who do you see there at the bottom? Is that you or that somebody? It will always be you.

We might move out of our comfort zone, do things for others and the reasons can be many however, if we look closely then all the reasons will point straight at us.

You Do Things For Others Because

After taking a good look at the image above, can we still go around telling others that we do things for them? And it is okay, that is how we are and that is why we as a race are still existing. Our mind is designed in a way to support our existence. Whatever it thinks that we are, it’s job is to support that. And it does a brilliant job at that.

But we were also socially conditioned since childhood in believing that good people are those who help others and selfish ones are those who help themselves. So there is an inner conflict, your mind is driven to helping you but it is also afraid of being judged. So it smartly sweeps anything damaging to one’s reputation under the carpet. Even the knowledge that it is there to support you first before others also goes under the carpet.

Therefore we stop accepting this fact and start believing that whatever we do for ourselves are also to help others- our (close family members or friends or peers or religion, or society or nation). Over time, this becomes a habit, now our unconscious mind drives our thought process as well as our habits. 

Thus, we not only lost that knowledge but also take false pride in helping others while whatever nonsense we are doing is only and only to support our existence. With this false pride, comes flared-up ego and when people don’t reciprocate, frustration builds in and we wonder why others aren’t seeing our selfless nature. God, what foolish false bubble do we live in?

While I write this, I can’t stop thinking of those times when I refused to accept that I am solely responsible for my actions and that I have no one to blame. We all been there, right. It’s easy to blame others than take responsibility.

This small knowledge sets me free of many social prejudices and helps me appreciate others way of living. There is no right or wrong. If there is anything wrong then it is us working like machines, we stopped questioning our thoughts, habits and conditioning.

For me, spirituality is this. Bhagavad Gita for me is to question my fears, prejudices, habits, false pride and basically to question whatever I think I am. Spirituality is like having a good bath, purifying your self of all the impurities you have claimed and gained through this journey called life.

Bhagavad Gita is not asking us to look at others but to look within. Our contemplation should start and end with us. And the verse below is saying exactly that.

manaḥ-prasādaḥ saumyatvaṁ maunam ātma-vinigrahaḥ
bhāva-sanśhuddhir ity etat tapo mānasam uchyate//17, 16

Serenity of thought, gentleness, silence, self-control, and purity of purpose—all these are declared as the austerity of the mind

Arrogance born out of Ignorance

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This has always been at the back of my mind, which made its appearance now and then. It all started when I was conversing with a student of mine in his early twenties. He comes forth as an arrogant person and claims himself real and thus spiritual.There had been a lot of complaints on him. When I asked him to reflect upon his behaviour. To be thankful and happy with what he has and that will reflect in his personality. He replied being arrogant is being real, which made me think. when I asked the class about their thoughts on being happy and giving happiness.

For some, happiness means meeting their demands first. The thought should be that I can’t make anybody happy if I am not happy

Some started asking questions such as what is happiness. Where does it come from? Is it worthwhile to disappoint someone when I am in capacity?

Few said they feel happiness when they share it with others.

But all agreed upon a common idea that the happiness they knew only stays with them till another sad thought takes over the mind. They said it would be great if they could experience continuous flow of happiness.

What does arrogance, spiritual or being authentic have in common? What is Spirituality?

Is it about me being happy and ignoring others and their feelings because nothing here is good or bad?

Is it to be in our ‘Happy’ state and not to check on our interactions with the world?

Is it the fear of dissonances which makes them averse and scorn the world and walk?

But History says otherwise, all Seers have lived a selfless life. Something to ponder is it not! Bhagavad Gita says “Namostute  Vyasa Vishala Buddhe”. We were told to salute and respect those who are knowledgeable as Vyasa whose intellect is vast and inclusive of all.

Spirituality is about living in bliss. To be like a river nourishing everything that it comes in contact with.

Spirituality is about giving. Understanding the impermanence of this world and practising satvik detachment.

Spirituality is about being humble. Uplifting others by acknowledging the Real ‘YOU’ in them. Patience, love and honesty should reflect in your thoughts, talks and actions.

Now that is the difference, between being spiritual and just being religious. Spirituality doesn’t belong to any religion, sect, caste or creed. It’s open for all who have the courage to change themselves then the world. It is about Living with a Positive Mind.

Can Modern Education be called Wholesome?

Education is just not about making us economically independent but in shaping us become better individuals with strong character. We sure are acquiring skills to make advanced machines which are fetching us more money but living without a moral code.

A recent research of the NCRB report reveals that 81% of literate committed suicide compared to 19% of illiterate people. What good is our education when most educated end their lives in a bitter way?

If we question what has education bestowed us with, we might really not have an answer.

  • Has it made us a sensible person?
  • Did it give us the flexibility to manoeuvre comfortably in a stressful phase?
  • Had it made us powerful enough to control our emotions?
  • Did it make us passionate about driving the change we would like to see in the society?
  • Had it contributed to strengthening our resolve?

What can we expect from our youngsters with such education system? Look how ugly the JNU controversy is shaping our Nations image to the World. Our youngsters unsure how to identify good leaders and who to follow. The schools and colleges which were to impart knowledge and sharpen our faculties in making better decisions are just doing the opposite.

Modern education has become the breeding grounds to spread hatred. We are on the path to self-negation and every expression of our self-expansion is repressed. Until the system changes, we cannot hope to create good leaders. Let us hope and keep faith in our system to realise the drawbacks and bring back the education we once had.

Let our Life Preach what our Lips can’t

On my train journey to Chennai, I happened to listen in to the conversations of two boys and their fathers. We shared the same compartment. Yeah, I know what you are thinking. I do not enjoy listening in to others conversation, but it was too loud and I couldn’t but be a witness to the drama that unfolded.

In both the parties, one seemed to be quieter than the other. One spoke, spoke and spoke, the other would reply only if he found sensible else nodded and smiled. Nonverbal communication can save our energy and face from many such conversations and people alike, don’t they? The father who wasn’t talking much, his boy was his replica. He was quiet and did not interrupt when the other person spoke. We think kids aren’t noticing but they are and they learn from us.

Interesting thing that I noticed is all the four were talking about what they have and where others stand. Drawing comparisons and critical at judging others. Kids were flaunting and bragging about the toys and looking for faults at what the other had. Men did the same but the discussion surrounded around their jobs and looking down at others who were either doing bad or better.

Walt Whitman once said “This world is big enough for both the talkative and the un-talkative; for both the complainers and the non-complainers.” He is right. Many of us fall under the category of complainers. Men or women, we all do the same. Judging others is an easy exercise and again how do we judge people, on our perceptions. We look down equally upon people who are doing well compared to us or vice versa. What makes us unhappy? Is somebody’s success bringing us unhappiness? Is our happiness dependent upon others success or failures? And, What are we preaching our kids when we exhibit such behavior?

Did your kid ever walk-in to you complaining about something that he didn’t have or how bad he felt when he lost to his friend? Do you remember what you said to your kid? Many of us would have asked our kids to take it easy and be grateful with what they had in life. Even go a step further, and point on to the underprivileged ones who can’t even afford one square meal. Oh, my dad has done that many a times when I was growing up.

I wonder what stops us from applying the same principle in our lives as adults. What we preach and expect our kids to apply in his life doesn’t seem to work for us. Why? Are our problems real than theirs? Are ours more important than theirs? Please think. As kids we felt our problems were as real as our parents. We felt unhappy and dejected when they gave a deaf ear to our problems. For some, it might have shaped their life differently from the happy kids they were.

There is a lot of research around people who have selflessly given themselves to society and to those who have brought the society down. Psychologists have identified root cause of both these to their upbringing. Deep rooted emotions without a vent, suppressed which turned them to criminals that society had to pay a big price for. The same for the ones who were altruists.

Bhagavad Gita in Chapter 16, shl 6 and 7 tells us that men (human beings) are of two types. One who are of Daivah gunam(divine) and others of Asura gunam(demonic). Gita describes those who are of Asura gunam as the ones who do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. Neither cleanliness nor proper conduct nor Truth is said to be found in them. We have been given a choice to choose between these.

If I may say, we are the role models to our children while growing up. If they do not see us act upon our preachings. They will never inculcate it into their lives. We have to reflect the good things that we want our kids to learn in our lives first. Then we don’t have to even remind them, they will not only learn from us but also spread those good things to whoever they come across.

Fortunately we are in midst of a paradigm shift, parents are now paying more attention than ever. We should focus more in building at least a few from the below Daivah gunams. I mean, instead of ruminating over and over our past and future , that time can be spent in freeing our mind of those Asuric qualities. When you slowly free the mind of those negativity then it will be ready to imbibe those daivic ones(Bhagavad Gita Chapter 15, shl 1,2,3).

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we can live a positive life only with a positive mind. And, let our kids learn from our positive outlook towards life. Truly, then our lives will speak louder than our words.