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.

 

 

Emotions and their play on the Troubled Minds

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Indriyani Pramathini Haranti Prasabham

Troubled senses snatch away the mind of even a wise man.

We all know what emotions do to our Mind and Body but we don’t do anything about it. From size zero to a happy mind, we crave but we just don’t do what is necessary. Why? Why? If we look at Science for an answer, it tells us that these are habits which are difficult to break. Habits are unconsciously driven to save energy. New ones only form by repetitions, creating a new nerve network in the brain. But when we are agitated, cornered or puzzled we often go back to our old habits. We also need to reason the necessity to shed those old habits. Look at few addicts who abstain from drugs at rehab but end up going back to their old habits as soon as they return. That is why reasoning is very important. This is where Science fails to answer. 21-Day Myth. Even at a professional set-up, few habits often put us in a bad light. If a manager gets really angry; he might be able to make a conscious effort to fake a smile but his body language gives it up. Now that tells us that working on the brim will not get us results.

If we go a little deeper, people are nothing but a mix of emotions, traits and habits. Mixed in certain proportions creates our unique personality.

Let us imagine a society controlled by our instincts alone. Can such a society survive? For obvious reasons, it will fall apart. So, we were conditioned to think in a way which does not challenge the societal norms. Basic emotions are very primitive and not under conscious control. However, few complex emotions like guilt and envy are bred by us into our kids. Every time we compare kids to somebody; putting them down when they open up to us are all shaping these complex emotions in them. And then we tell them they aren’t good emotions to keep. We build them and instruct them not to indulge in. We don’t even tell them how to not be in their company. Maybe we don’t know it ourselves. Accepting the child for what he/she is, will breed confidence in him/her. This will allow them to shape their goals better. I was reading an article in Deccan chronicle about a child named Binney been abandoned as he was suffering from Down’s syndrome. Parents are well off but they are ashamed of the kid. Will it not surprise you when you read about a software engineer having fought to adopt the baby while his own parents have disowned him? We live in a society such.

Even emotions such as joy which is essential or what we work for, also looks far-sighted. Bhagavad Gita says Dukka-Samyoga-Viyogam Yoga-Samjnitam. Severance of ties from sorrow is Yogam. Our ancestors have compared our Mind to a baby. If the baby picks up the phone, our commanding words will not work on the baby. We coax it to calmness by giving it a glittering toy and then the baby would give back the phone. The same way, the mind needs to be engaged in a changeless state to drop those emotions. Bhagavad Gita calls such a person as Sthithapragnya.

Arjuna who has fought several battles fell short of courage to wage the war. Maybe we aren’t engaging in a battle externally but internally our mind is battling conflicts all the time. That is no less than the Kurukshetra itself. My Guru often reminds us of the Kurukshetra within and propels us to destroy the vices before they sprout. Emotional Intelligence should no longer remain as a rare specimen. It is the need of the hour. Bhagavad Gita does the same in a more holistic approach.

Happy Makara Sankranti

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Today is Makara Sankranti. We do have set rituals that accompany these festivals. Do we understand the essence of these festivals or is it too mechanical in nature? Do we have an answer for our kids who would like to know its significance?

 We celebrated Bhogi yesterday at our apartment having a bonfire. Kids just loved it. These festivals indeed bring us all together as a family to mark its importance but the essence of it is lost somewhere. What will our future generations carry forward when the soul of the festival is forgotten? When the spirit is lost, importance also faints. Maybe that is why kids like to be confined in the four walls and play video games than to be on the roof flying kites.

My grandmother once said while you burn old things on bhogi. Do remember to also discard your vices along with the things in the fire. She said this does not only mark a new season but also a new beginning to inculcating good thoughts. It stayed with me. Every time I celebrate it, it reminds me to start afresh at all levels.

Sankranti is the movement of the Sun from Dhanu Rashi into Makara. It sets the completion of harvesting days and calls for an elaborate 4 day celebration. One of the days is marked to recall the role played by the animals in harvesting and in our lives. Forget about paying respects, we indulge in betting on cock fights, bull fights, elephant mela etc etc. We torture them more than respecting them.

 Sankranti in Sanskrit is derived from the word Sankramana meaning commencement of movement. Now “Movement”, that’s an interesting word. Isn’t it? Anything that has life has a beginning and an end. Gita says Jatasya hi Dhruvo Mrutyh,Druvam Janma Mrutyascha. Movement takes place in Space. Now Space is still. So, we can say movement is supported by stillness.

Numerous Planets are hung in that space revolving around that one Sun which makes life possible. Gita says like the Sun that illumines the whole universe, there is only one Atman that illumines the entire field of physical activity (ref:Chapter 13, shlok 33). Movement, however it be, can only be enjoyed by the One who has experienced the stillness of his being. Would you want to disagree on this? If the movements in our lives are unfavourable, we experience lopsidedness. Latest study shows one in every 10 Indians are depressed (ref: article,Times of India dtd 29th March 2015 read”One in 10 Indians depressed and do not ignore the subtle symptoms”). Depression,stress and anxiety are no longer foreign to us. Trying to calm our mind and disciplining it for an hour or so each day will help us to create a balance. Else, we might be forced to get introduced to stillness as we grow old. We should befriend the stillness when we have control on the movement.

We are taught to pay respect to the Sun who contributed to our existence on this planet on Sankranti. Is it not necessary to pay attention to the SELF which is the source of our existence?  Ponder on it.