Three Stories and Life

If you have a teacher who knows when and how to impart knowledge to the students then indeed you are truly blessed.

Being spiritual is not being serious or being uninvolved. It is about balance and being consciously & completely involved. Only when you are consciously and truly involved, you would notice the transient nature of life. And with that knowledge, you could ensue satvic Vairagya and can practice Udaseenatha in your worldly affairs.

“Anapeksha shuchir daksha udaseeno gatavyataha sarvarambha parityagi yo mad bhaktah sa me priyaha

Three stories that changed the way I think. All of them were told to me to address the questions at different times.

This is my life, how can I not stress?

The First is the story of King Janaka who calls his counsellors for an impromptu meeting at an unearthly hour because he dreamt being a beggar. His questions were

“Am I a King or “Am I a beggar? which is true ?”
“Is this dream state true, or is the waking state true?

Both the states are pretty convincing, isn’t it? When dreaming that seemed as real as life itself. He was confused as he had everything that he has in the waking state( I mean, in his dream, he had a body, sensory organs, mind, a story line, emotions, vulnerability, drama, feelings, people, ego etc)

We also dream but we never question. If that seemed real then maybe this also holds the same prominence as the other one. Perhaps the dreams are the way of Nature to shake us from the very shackles that we build around us by being so serious about this life here. We live as if we are here forever. I am not asking to be reckless but we don’t have to be dead serious. what if this life is nothing more than a dream?

If this is a more like a dream, then how do I live it?

The second story is that of a monk who refrains from even looking at a woman, carries a beautiful girl and helps her cross the river. Once they are on the other side, he puts her down, she thanks him and leaves. After a long walk, he reaches his hut only to be questioned by the other monks.

To that his answer was “I left her there itself. But it looks like you are still carrying her in your mind.”

If everybody could read the other person then we might stop looking for each other. We carry so much filth in our mind and turning spiritual is to clean that first and then learn to be in the “now.” Everybody has an offbeat drama unfolding before them each moment, nobody can teach us how to live them. There is no code, no norm, no structure but what matters is our “Intention” behind our actions.

Where am I stuck?

The third story is that of a holy river which confronts a huge obstacle in its path which splits that river into two separate streams. One branch flows towards the right was considered “holy” and worshipped by people. The other abstained and was considered not so holy.

Ganges splitting two streams

The river with time got two different names and identified itself to be separate and disremembered that it was One. (Just like the belief of goddess Lakshmi and Alakshmi)

We are just like that river, we identified with the common belief. We forgot what we were before we landed into our mother’s tummy. When we came out we were taught and told that we are this and that and slowly we got identified and attached. Maybe before the crash landing, we were one. All the identities in this journey can be ours but Can it be us?

Don’t you think we should take some time to dwell into these? What if we wake from this too and realize that it was only a dream? So much of sweat, agony, stress, jealousy, wrongdoings and all this for just a DREAM.

What if life is not a dream? We still came with an expiration date. And, trust me, we will not remember a thing of this life even if we come back. So witness the ride while you are here 🙂

Inception.jpg

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Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah

Srimad Bhagavad Gita was delivered to remind Arjuna’s commitment to his dharma. Besides, it starts with the word “DharmaKshetreh”.

The title of this post is a part of a shloka and there are many interpretations of it. And the most popular should be the one which says Dharma protects the one who protects it and destroys the one who destroys it.

I am no expert but what I understand is that Dharma protects those who stay protected. Meaning you should perform your karma according to your dharma. I do not think Dharma or for that matter, GOD has any role in our protection or destruction and surely wouldn’t require protection from us either.

Okay please just tell me this. There are different types of dharma and how on earth would you know which is that Dharma that needs protection? It is much like the belief of few who lights a lamp only to present light to God. If God is light then why does he need your light? You light a lamp to remind yourself that you are to move towards the light from ignorance. If Dharma can destroy its destroyers then why does it need your protection?

Here we are unable to protect ourselves from our own thoughts. How are we supposed to be protecting something that we do not even apprehend?

So the questions that blatantly need our attention are:

How will we know what is our Dharma?
Is it the same for everybody?
Do I go with what others are supporting for?
Is it about changing the society?
If that was the case then why didn’t the world change even after it begot great leaders/thinkers?
Is Dharma the slayer or the protector or both or none?

Arjuna too had these questions and he consumed the whole of the first chapter ‘Arjuna vishada yogam’. Struck by grief, he was acting unlike him. Moreover, he was using dharma as an excuse and was simultaneously seeking advice. We should note that he was confused when he was talking about dharma. Confusion and Dharmic talk cannot go together.

When we are confused, we should find a way out, identify our dharma and only then should we make a decision. The key here is to protect yourself before protecting others or anything else. You should wear your oxygen mask if you wish to help your co-passengers.

So how do I protect myself?

Bhagavad Gita’s answer to this is to follow (your) Swa dharma. Although deep within we all are seeking happiness yet our ways of achieving them are different. Until we have a free flow of that we should act according to our innate nature.

Sreyan sva-dharmo vigunah para-dharmat svanusthitat
Sva-dharme nidhanam sreyah para-dharmo bhayavahah
 //ch 3, shlok 35

What is our swadharma then?

Gita in chapter 4, shlok 13 states that the whole of humanity is divided into 4 different divisions according to their Guna karma. Please do not read it wrong, these varnas or classes are not based on their sexes or birth or colour but are formed on the basis of their karmic baggage.

You can be a Brahmin by birth but deep inside you might be a Kshatriya or a Shudra. Gita is talking about that inner you. The whole of Gita is only addressing that Inner You. Just look at yourself, you might be earning a lot of money but do you drag yourself to work? Are you doing something that you love? Are you deriving any happiness by being somebody else?

That is why Gita is prompting its readers to dive in to understand their true self and act out of that. It is easier that way. So, therefore, find your dharma and let your actions be to purify your Self.

Image: Though this is from the Internet, I remember that is exactly how I was when I met my Teacher. When you meet with a huge blow and if you are receptive then the learning goes straight into your head. Always be thankful in adversity, it will teach you something that will remain with you for life 🙂

 

A Lovely Paradox

It was a wonderful sight last two days to watch Kites in different design and shapes soaring high in the sky. Missed the colourful beauties fluttering in the sky during the last few years. Finally, it was so nice to see kids having a good time, away from their smart phones, we have come a full circle.

Talking about the idea of having made a full circle, I began to think more of this idiom ‘coming full circle’. We use this expression a lot with people. Basically, it means ending in the same place where we started.

But do we really come a full circle?

I knew I had come full circle whenever I stopped to look at my life and realised what I had was better than what I have and went back to what I started out with. When we are busy running the race of life, we seldom stop to ask ourselves, “Is this really what I want?” until life forces us to think.

And, thanks to technology, the more choices we have, the less happy we are today. Why are we unhappy having more choices? Because the “grass is greener” syndrome keeps us in a never-ending loop of unhappiness. Nothing in this universe can keep us happy for a long period of time, however brilliant, we would eventually get bored- that’s how we are wired. The notion that something will help us come a full circle is an illusion. Instead, believing firmly that we are already complete can eliminate unwanted stress from every aspect of our lives.

Imagine a person who has embraced the idea(instead of just knowing) that he/she is complete and lacks nothing.

When the life drama unfolds before him, he will play his part with such confidence rather than be crying or begging or insisting the drama follows his script. Though he will be in it, he will yet be out of it, a lovely paradox 🙂

This one idea can do wonders for you and to your relationships with expectation off the table. When we feel complete within ourselves, the partnership with life will invariably function smoothly.

Image: the web

Faith Paves Way To Grace

Shraddhāvān labhate jñānaṁ tat-paraḥ sanyatendriyaḥ
Jñānaṁ labdhvā parāṁ śhāntim achireṇādhigachchhati //
                                                                     Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4 Shl 39

Those whose faith is deep and who have practised controlling their mind and senses attain divine knowledge. Through such transcendental knowledge, they quickly attain everlasting supreme peace.

Multiple verses were dedicated praising the virtues of ‘Shraddha’ or ‘Faith’ in Bhagavad Gita. Gita firmly states that faith is a precondition towards knowledge and with knowledge comes peace.

Although faith is the very essence of our being, we very often lay it in things which are transient in nature and expect it to work wonders. When that fails, we turn bitter, lose faith in man and in truth. The problem, however, is that we lack faith in oneself and hence we feel incomplete and look towards someone else to complete us. As someone rightly said, The most intimate relationship we will ever have in our entire lifetime is with ourselves and therefore self-faith is crucial. And self-faith is the offspring of self-knowledge.

Then, why wouldn’t we try? Perhaps, it challenges us to explore beyond our beliefs and fears into something unknown to us or maybe, we wrongly believe that like all other challenges, it would be demanding. Or seeking faith may not figure high on our list of priorities or worse, the feeling that,”It is not for me”😶.  Whatever the reason, the fact remains that all scriptures, including the Gita, were enlightening us on literally the same questions which exercise humans, even today. So, it is for every human being and if applied, produces same results to a yogi and to an ignorant one.

Of course, we cannot discern all spiritual truths straight away; some of them can only be experienced after having attained sufficient advancement on the path. If we only accept what we can presently comprehend, we will be deprived of the higher spiritual secrets. In such conditions, faith helps us to accept what we cannot perceive at present.

Sattvanurupa sarvasya sraddha bhavati bharata
Sraddha-mayo yam puruso yo yac-chraddhah sa eva sah//
                                                                        Bhagavad Gita Chapter 17 Shl 3

The faith of all humans conforms to the nature of their mind. All people possess faith, and whatever the nature of their faith, that is verily what they are.

Clearly, blind faith isn’t what we are looking for. According to Gita, our quality of faith will determine the direction of our lives. Our scriptures talk of Uddava, a friend of Krishna, his faith was reposed in Krishna with unquestioning obedience but wasn’t steady as he was confused with the conduct of Krishna. Uddava never understood Krishna’s behaviour but never questioned and he waited till Krishna announced his departure. That’s when it struck him that he is going to be alone and his friend and guru, although, unpredictable will no longer be there to guide him. Someone else’s faith, unquestioned & owned like Uddava, will never stand the stress of life.

Rather, a faith born in clear mind through understanding stays reliable. That will allow us to surrender and help us in understanding the relationship between oneself and the truth through which we came into existence. Such faith will only pave the way to grace- a direct experience of the truth.

So, it’s never too late to know oneself and moreover, many of us use this time before the New Year to set goals and I hope we could add this to the list of resolutions to be followed.

Welcome the New Year with new hopes and do have a blessed year full of peace 🙂

Our Own Nature-The Hindu Trinity

It is true that we just cannot stay inactive, can we? We want to create something, not necessarily unique but a strong compulsion within to play the role of a creator. From creating jobs as an entrepreneur to the scientists creating motherless-babies, we humans are indeed a creative breed. There is no boundary of human endeavor and there is no one who doesn’t have an urge to create or let me put it this way, nature ensures we create. We are creators, period.

Isn’t this blog itself a product of my desire to create. But we do not just stop at creating, we indeed play the role of the Hindu trinity, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. While Brahma in us keeps himself busy, the Vishnu and Shiva aren’t left out. They work parallel with him and in congruence. For instance, whatever we create we want to sustain it, be that be our jobs,relationships,status,blog, money,negativity,jealousy,ignorance..;)

As Brahma and Vishnu are engaged in their activity, our own nature decides when it had to terminate what it has created. That phenomenon is what we call by the name ‘Shiva’. It is our own nature that expresses itself threefold, plays the part of these Trimurtis. Everything that has a start has an end and every end has a new beginning. Now this holy trinity is a symbolic representation of the life we lead here. Like I said before, we are so occupied and weary playing all the three roles that we never get to live our lives.

So, break the wheel of monotony and start enjoying what you already have before it is gone. There are many suggestions on the web on living a full life but from experience, we know after a while even that gets boring. In my opinion, we should learn to spend time with ourselves too alongside with the new things we take on. Being creative is being alive however being your self is being divine. Don’t you think we are capable of balancing both?

Na hi kascit ksanam api jatu tisthaty akarma-krt
Karyate hy avasah karma sarvah prakrti-jair gunaih

One cannot remain without engaging in any activity at any time, even for a moment, certainly, all living entities are helplessly compelled to action by the qualities endowed by the material nature.

Interesting read : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3787410/Could-babies-conceived-without-mother-Healthy-embryos-non-egg-cells-landmark-experiment.html

Image:HareKrsna.com

Source Of Existence Over Changing Beliefs

Aham sarvasya prabhavo
Mattah sarvam pravartate
Iti matva bhajante mam
Budha bhava-samanvitah
Bhagavad Gita, Ch 10, shl 8
Meaning:
I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.

Believers or Non-believers, we all get dogmatic at some point when defending the above word I am-The GOD. Well, either way, one shouldn’t induce others to confirm to their beliefs as each of us is suffering from MYSIDE BIAS but ends up happening anyway

In fact, I myself look up to the deities present in the places of worship more like Teachers who not only succeeded in playing the game called’Life’ well but also have become worthy of being idolised. You can term it as God or Intelligence or consciousness. But aren’t we all a part of this cosmic design that governs this universe? There is a saying by Richard Cecil that the first step towards knowledge is to know that we are ignorant. The quote emerged because that is a design found in all living entity: to seek, to learn, to grow. To understand this source of the design that happens inside us is to realize the three letter word-GOD.

When we are living in a country, we cannot be ignorant of the law that governs the land. Likewise, the seekers from time immemorial have tried to decode the order of the universe.

Don’t we have the right to question and seek the existence of God. To understand this Intelligence in our own way. I am afraid we were & are categorizing GOD in black and white. If someone dares to say he might be gray, we look at him like a villain😛 who is trying to jeopardize the religion. Imagine a world where everybody thought and believed the same thing. We will be nothing less than a robot then 😀 . And not everyone of us are enlightened souls. We are seekers. So, it is okay to take the road map of a realized soul to make our journey, like the Gita. It is a journey of Acharya Ved Vyasa but what I realized is not be confined in any beliefs but to stay a observer.

Below are some food for thought for my Theist, Atheist, Agnostics and Deist friends. For months, I tried asking myself to logically answer them and every time I tried, I discovered something more about my Self 😊😊.

  • We all know that energy cannot be created or destroyed but can be converted from one form to another. Our bodies turn food into energy. This energy allows us to move, breathe and think. Till here we all agree, but we fail to question the source of energy. Where did energy come from?
  • We all believe that we have minds. And what is a mind? It’s a flow of thoughts but then what is the source of a thought? The first thought that arouse in our infant mind was created by whom? Where did it come from and where did it disappear? What is its source?
  • We all know we exist this moment but where did we come from? Are we just a product of some human chemical reaction? I don’t think so.Look around we all are unique and different in our own ways. Don’t we see some children demonstrate remarkable talent than their age-peers. Some of them are really gifted and talented, which even their parents can’t explain. Where did this talent come from? What is its source?
  • We all at some point of time in our lives have experienced a strong desire. A desire which demanded to be fulfilled and we knew it existed but the moment we get the object of desire then it ceases to exist. What was the source of that strong desire or an emotion which was waiting to explode and made its presence well felt? Where did it disappear once it’s fulfilled? Where was this desire housed?

Just as the Sun doesn’t cease to exist if we don’t see him in the sky. Likewise if we can’t understand the source through our senses doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. We can’t see the infrared through our naked eyes. That doesn’t mean it do not exist. Our belief or unbelief around it does not determine its existence. It will not cease to exist if we do not believe in it.

This Source which is said to be Absolute is something our intellect evades. We are at the habit of looking at the surface of everything and trying to mend things on the top but never question its root. That can be a disease or estranged relationships or mental disturbances. We want quick remedy and never want to get to its source and that is the reason for our suffering. Blame the time. We all act like we’re going to be here forever.No one is promised tomorrow!😊 Some of us might not even get to say our goodbyes. Let’s take the time to get to the source of anything which needs attention and clear the negativity which is ruining our mind and body. Let’s work on the mind to declutter it and eventually retrace our footsteps back to the our source we belong.

The purpose of this post is not to show off my own belief or to condemn others, but it is to share my journey in finding myself. I am not endorsing any particular belief system. That is up to you to choose what it is. Also it is important to remember that each of us has the freedom and right to do so but it should be limited to ourselves.

Faith Fear Guru and God

Why is there a fear to unbound ourselves and break away from things that conduce to ruin and sorrow? Even when it hurts and are condemned by the wise yet we force ourselves to live bounded. It is not that we are devoid of choices but we are afraid to challenge the blind faith.

Some religious institutions and Gurus demand blind faith from their adherents. A faith which is devoid of knowledge and which defies all logic. A faith which is not a choice and that which does not agree with common sense. Should our beliefs be built on those which cannot be reasoned? That brings us to the question why we don’t reason them? Is it the fear or greed that stops us from the reasoning process?

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Object of Faith is important

In the name of faith, we kill people, abuse animals and nature alike. We are the same set of people who spend lakhs of rupees to adorn the God we believe in but are not ready to give a penny more to the needy. Despite proclaiming that service to Humanity is Service to God yet we never get to demonstrate this belief.

Perhaps we strongly believe that Gods respond to the barter system. That we can offer something to God, and he would respond in helping us to make our lives better here. God isn’t really waiting for us to finance his work 😛. He doesn’t lack anything! Instead of building a relationship with him, we think we can entice him with our offers. Really, which God has asked us to do so? Yeah, you are right, it is not God but the wrong mediators who connect us to God are responsible for growing this blind faith.

The questions now facing us: Should we seek out a Guru? If YES, then who should choose our Spiritual Guru?

We have a right to seek guidance. But honestly, do we even get to choose a teacher before surrendering our mind? If we see the multitude, we clearly understand someone chooses them for us. That can be our friends, relatives, neighbours or our family. Despite the fact that we all are different, we still do the same mistake of letting others choose the Guru for us. When the experience does not turn right, it can lead to spiritual struggle and even loss of faith😐.

Then, what are the qualities of a spiritual master?

Guru Gita describes real Guru to be a true saint whose only intention is the spiritual welfare of his disciple. The guru is someone who brings his disciples from darkness to light. He never proclaims himself to be God but teaches his disciples to be humble and to pray for the welfare of all. A Sadhguru never gives his opinion to understand the divine but he takes a bona fide spiritual text and transmits them exactly as they were spoken.

“What is the role of a Sadhguru in One’s spiritual search?” you may ask.

Sadhguru and a True-Disciple always work together. There is no denying the fact that a right Teacher can guide us, but we ourselves are responsible for our purification. The teacher cannot wash away the impurities of others. As the saying goes, you can lead the horse to the water, but you cannot make it drink.  A Guru can try to explain how contented he felt when he quenched his thirst and how the water alone has helped him achieve it. However much he describes the experience through words it will always fall short of the reality. But he can instruct us in making us understand the importance of water and drinking water will only suffice the thirst. Similarly, a Sadhguru can impart us with the knowledge of the Brahman but we ourselves have to experience that oneness with the Brahman.

We can take refuge in the teacher but we need not sacrifice our freedom of thought. We can with the help of a Sadhguru make a journey towards the unconditioned mind. That alone will allow us to experience the uninterrupted flow of bliss and would conduce to the well-being and happiness.