Sharing My Experience

I get asked a lot

  • How my In-laws and relatives react to my unconventional beliefs with religion, God etc?
  • Why am I pursuing this at this age?
  • Does it affect my marriage?
  • Will God be disappointed and would he be mad?

I am sharing this because I think it’s something everybody gets asked and we deal with it in our own way but we seldom share our experience. Since I have a platform and I think these are relevant, so the post.

First, it is not unconventional but many think so! In my experience, it is better not to waste the time and energy to get people to agree with you.

Our purpose first is to understand who we are and not to educate others. Half-baked knowledge is not only dangerous but also can make us arrogant and more egocentric. And that is not what we want ūüôā

However, it is important that your close-knit family knows what you are seeking. For example: Being a woman, there would be expectations that you imbibe the culture of the family you married into. Do that. Learn their ways but practice what you believe.

I am very lucky to have an understanding family but even otherwise don’t expect them to¬†felicitate/motivate/understand/accept your ways. It is normal. But if you believe in something and you keep walking then slowly everybody would understand.

There will be confusion initially. If I want to change a habit, I have to cut that from the root. I cannot keep it and travel in both the boats. So sometimes others would be disappointed when they see you acting differently. Give them time and most importantly respect their views even if you aren’t adopting them.

Age: Guess, there is no better age to understand your self. The sooner the better. Again, we don’t have to say in so many words. Sometimes silence and a smile would do the job.

Spirituality and Marriage: It only gets better. You would be more inclusive, supportive, emotionally stable, would be willing to give that very needed space, less impulsive, neither a doormat nor a control-freak-you will strike the chord just right ūüôā

Disappointing God: Being spiritual does not necessarily mean understanding God. For me, it is about knowing My self first. If I do not understand my self; how the heck would I understand anybody or God? No God would be unhappy. When you start off initially, questioning norms might scare you and people around might add to it.

But I kept telling my self – the longest journey that I would ever make is with my own self. And it is very important to know it even more than God himself.

I started on this because I couldn’t understand my self- what am I?

  • Most of the times, I am an introvert, sometimes I am not.
  • My likes and dislikes change.
  • My body and mind changes with time and I am chasing something more reliable.

So, don’t be scared when people question your ways. Don’t go about explaining, let your actions speak.

Initially, your Tamasic mind would look for reasons not to change and the excuses at least should not be people’s approval/age/marital status or God. Stop evaluating and keep moving.

Image: Internet.. loved it

 

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How Strange It Is

Was reading Chapter 11 and I started laughing. Krishna being him was able to put up with Arjuna.

Every now and then, Arjuna behaved just like us. His devotion was unwavering however, he was still a man of his beliefs.

In one such instance:

In previous chapters, Krishna emphasized and glorified his formless impersonal infinite nature. He also stressed on the relationship between the individual self and the Brahman, himself.

After all that,

Arjuna: I agree you are all that you declare yourself to be. But…..
Arjuna: I wish to see your imperishable cosmic form.
Krishna: Okay, but you cannot see with your physical eyes. So, I will grant you divine vision.
Krishna: Behold, Arjuna. Observe the entire universe within me. This form of mine was never revealed before.

So, Krishna revealed his infinite form without a beginning, middle or end. Arjuna wasn’t expecting that. He was terrified.

Arjuna: You are so fierce yet I wish to know you. But I do not understand your nature.
Arjuna: Having seen your original form; I feel joy and fear at the same time.
Arjuna: I want to see your four-armed form with mace and disc and you wearing the crown.(46)
Krishna: Why are you afraid? No mortal has ever witnessed my cosmic form. This is me. No sacrifice, charity, studying Vedas, rituals or severe penance can make any mortal eligible for this. You are witnessing my divine form.

Do you see what I am referring to?

He asked for the imperishable cosmic form. What was he expecting to see?

We are so blind. We want to believe our own nonsense.

Even if God decides in giving audience in his real form. We would request him to take the form of Ravi Varma’s painting of him.¬† Something like the one below with four hands.

430px-Raja_Ravi_Varma,_Seshanarayana_(Oleographic_print).jpg

We would outrightly tell him. And the conversation may go something like this

We: This is what we know of you and we wish to see you like this.
God: This is not ME. The painting is beautiful and so is his imagination. But what you are witnessing right now is me.
We: No, No. Sorry. I will stick to what I know.
God: It’s okay. You didn’t know then. Now you know Me. Worship the real Me.
We: All my life I have known you the Raja Ravi Varma way. It is difficult for me to change and learn. Why don’t you change according to me?
God: Now you know all the Gods are nothing but my form. At least stick to one and eventually, you will realize the truth.

It’s both funny and ironic how laziness and ignorance can stop us from knowing the very Self. If we say it is out of love that I wished to see God my way then the same love should allow us to see him the way he is, isn’t it?

Nothing interests us. Life itself is so complex and fierce as his cosmic form yet it doesn’t get our attention. Strange it is.

Image: Internet.

Govindam Bhaja Mooda Mathe

If you have a sibling, what I am about to say would be in your experience.

when I was a kid, my dad bought me a toy and I can’t remember what I liked about it but I always carried it. Whoever visited our house, I showed them the toy and said it was mine.

Then my brother came and he watched me carrying the toy everywhere. Now he wanted it. My dad had to buy another toy so I could start sharing the old one with my brother.¬†Slowly I outgrew the old one. It didn’t amuse me anymore. My brother played with it and it became his toy. After a while, he also left the old one for new.

Now the old toy had no takers. Whose is it anyway? Before my dad bought it, it was the storekeepers and then mine and then my brother’s and now nobody’s. Down the lane, someone would pick that old toy and start calling it theirs.

So, is our thoughts. They are an accumulation of stuff we read, heard, liked or observed. They were never ours in the first place. There is no such thing as an original thought; it is always borrowed. A little tweaking wouldn’t make it authentic. Like the old¬†’80s, fashion trends are back in fashion now.

A thought is like that old toy. The kids called it theirs till they outgrew it but here we are not even calling it ours but we are calling it ourselves.

We sometimes call the body as our self and at times our mind becomes our self. Are we suffering from multiple personality disorder?

So, when the Seers look at us. They are unsure how else to explain this very phenomenon. They have written multiple scriptures, all boiling down to this very idea. Out of compassion and unable to digest the way we identify with things; they call us mooda mathe.

Therefore praise the lord..Sing his glory, talk about him, think about him until the difference between you and him blurs out.

Which is that lord, Govindam do we sing of?
Stop assuming ;). Let’s hear it from him.

Meditate on that formless Brahman, immortal, imperishable, eternal and of unending divine bliss.

Bhagavad Gita

BrahmaŠĻáo hi pratiŠĻ£hŠĻ≠hńĀham amŠĻõitasyńĀvyayasya cha
ShńĀŇõhvatasya cha dharmasya sukhasyaikńĀntikasya cha//14.27

I am the basis of the formless Brahman, the immortal and imperishable, of eternal dharma, and of unending divine bliss

 

Which Guna Are You Leaning Toward?

Gita doesn’t ask you to renounce the world. Neither does it ask you to live a satvik life in the Himalayas. So, what does it ask of you?

Look, how brilliantly Ved Vyas Maharshi has set the stage for Bhagavad Gita. It was not said by a sage dressed in saffron nor was it said in a quiet ashram. But by a teacher who is married with kith and kin, the stage is nothing peaceful-it is a battlefield and the advice given was to wage the war.

What was the Maharshi thinking? The essence of the Upanishads could easily be retold in a more pacific setting but he chose otherwise. He did it again when he told the story of an Enlightened butcher who imparted knowledge to a Sage in Mahabharata.

What is he trying to convey? He is trying¬†to teach us something very subtle. That it doesn’t matter what you do here but what matters is your Intention & Thought behind that action. How should you act and what should be your thought?

So, in Chapter 14- he explains the gunas in detail

  • Their source
  • How they bind you to the perishables
  • What causes them
  • How they come in cycles
  • How to identify which is predominant at the moment
  • What would happen to you if you favour one over the other
  • What would be the fruits of action performed in these modes
  • How should you be when the gunas are in action
  • Characteristics of those who have transcended the three gunas(14:22-25)

At last, Gita recommends you to transcend all three. How do you do that? Now when these are in action, you witness them and do not own their actions nor their consequences.

Who transcends these gunas? Who believes and thinks
Naiva Kincit Karomiti-“I am doing nothing at all”

Now….You may ask:”what am I to do with these” “Do I keep telling myself I am doing nothing at all”

Just by repeating, no change would come by.¬†If you believe you are what you think then only pay attention¬†to those thoughts that don’t paralyse you. Those would be satvik in nature and slowly such thoughts would multiply.

If you keep practising the above. You will know this-

  • That you¬†have the power over your thoughts(whatever they may be in nature(sattva,¬†rajas, tamas))
  • You can choose over them
  • You are giving power to the thoughts of your choice
  • When you do not pay attention, they die down.

So you can safely come to this conclusion that the gunas/modes are not YOU. Also, You should be someone above them in authority.

With this knowledge, stop owning them. You are not the action nor the result. The gunas are doing their job and they are in your field of awareness.

So, whatever needs to be done, the body & mind combined would do it. We aren’t helping anyone here so we needn’t boast about it or vice versa.

Finally, give credit where its due.Don’t take it on you ūüôā

Image: Internet

 

Dare to question. Don’t Just Confirm

We may ask,

  • OMG! How can I dare to think I am God or a part of Him?
  • Why meditate on ‘That’ when I am already ‘That’?
  • Isn’t ‘freedom’ also a desire?
  • The ‘Atman’ is like an operating system/Electricity/Space/Water- boring by itself. Am I boring?

These questions appear in anybody who is really interested. There is nothing wrong in probing and no God would be disappointed if questioned. Krishna himself answered numerous questions and he might not be here in person but we are a part of that Infinite reality. So, don’t be hesitant.

Our scriptures do not ask for conformity but they want us to challenge it. They are not asking us to follow a God, per se but they are reminding us that we are God ourselves(Aham Brahmasmi-I am the Infinite Reality).

God in this culture is not greedy or infatuated. He is not a punisher or a slayer or a¬†dictator but Ishvara is the provider, friend, witness, teacher, guardian, wisdom and¬†the supreme goal.(9.18).¬† We are born into this and it doesn’t deem right to flock like herds in fear of some God.

Ishvara in Gita 13.29 is explained as the¬†Supreme soul – equally present everywhere in all living beings. SamaŠĻĀ PaŇõhyan hi Sarvatra¬†Samavasthitam IŇõhvaram.

We are a part of him(15.17). It is not just about scriptures telling this; don’t we get that feeling that we’re being served our past lifetimes on a platter? Do we quietly eat up and continue making more such impressions? Or do we dig past those impressions to find our self?

Everything here is pointing us to our limitless nature. From where does this insatiable desire for things come from? It is unquenchable- how much ever we get we still need more & more. We are always seeking something limitless-be that be the material desires or for immortality or liberation. What does this longing for Infinite limitless experience mean?

Does any of the dualities have boundaries? Love, hatred; happiness, sorrow; loss, gain

Think…

To be continued………………

Image: Internet

 

Why Do We Fear Meditation?

We fear meditation because we do not know what to expect.

When you sit down for meditation, do not expect the world to disappear immediately. With practice, you can do that but until then you need to be patient.

The Mind is like Indra, King of Indriyas. With willpower, we can close our eyes but it takes more to resist his baits. It is that subtle entity which takes practice to understand and comprehend.

If you have read Amarchitra Katha, you might have read about Indra, King of Gods doing all unholy things and feeling sorry afterwards. While reading about him, these thoughts would have crossed your mind-

  • How can the King of Gods fall prey to pleasures?
  • He is often described as the one who is restless and in continuous fear of losing his throne to anybody.¬†He sees a sage also as a threat.
  • Either he is too humble or too arrogant; he seldom hit the middle ground.
  • And he doesn’t take the counsel of the Trinity before he acts but runs to them after committing the act.
  • Else he runs away and hides. He doesn’t want to face anybody and is overcome by guilt.

All these characteristics are similar to the Mind.

When I initially started meditating, it wasn’t easy. With the senses under your control, you can now see your thoughts very clearly. Very few would admit what all they see. It is embarrassing sometimes but that is why people are so unwilling to close their eyes. Many today advocate you to meditate with open eyes.

So anyway, getting back to what I was saying. The thoughts are like Indra, agitated. It doesn’t want you to observe it so keenly. So it will do anything to make you give up. But that is okay, it happens to everybody.

When you sit down to meditate, one of the many things will surface and will force you to join them.

  • Thoughts which are important to you(family, work etc..)
  • Thoughts that you have planned for the future
  • Thoughts of some good moments you spend
  • Instances that never occurred¬†but which you had dreamt about.
  • Mistakes you committed which were never forgiven(by you).
  • Vile thoughts which are against your belief system
  • Uncanny thoughts

By now, the mind is restless; you open your eyes and things will slowly come to normalcy. But if you insist on continuing then Indra will use his last weapon Vajrayudha. If you overcome it, you will gain some control over the mind.

  • Repressed fears will surface.

It is like a watching a live show if you go with it. It is unsettling and might make you nervous. Trust your scriptures when they say the mind isn’t you.

Great seers had to endure it in spite of living a disciplined life. Remember the story of Viswamitra- you do not give up. Understand that they can’t hurt you, they are just thoughts.

If you think the thoughts are you or yours then that very thought will stand as an obstacle in your practice.

Sometimes the mind doesn’t approve of a thought. It might want to rationalize it to make it more acceptable. One of the two things you could do:

  • Just keep watching the anxious mind and it will pass but might come back. Unfinished business, you see ūüėČ
  • Let it rationalize, you approve it. Leave it at that. It will continue with that for some time but do not entertain it. If you go with it, it will build a castle on that thought.

You might think, what would that do to my memory? Sublimation and rationalization happen all the time, it is just that we do not pay attention to it.

For example: when we do not like someone, we don’t admit that we are jealous or they are better but instead we look for reasons to hate them. There might be hundreds of good things staring at us but we will stay blind to that.

And how much ever you decorate a corpse, it will still go under the Earth. Our memories are faulted and they are past and doesn’t hold life. So, it doesn’t matter. Just don’t go overboard and keep decorating it ;). Let it go.

By now, you will really know how the mind operates. And when you watch the thoughts, you will see variety and their transitionary nature.

With time, mind slows down and then you would clearly see what lies beneath.

When we churn the ocean, good and bad will emerge. How could we say that the Ocean is faulty? The mind is like an ocean and only churning will bring peace.

From my experience, I can promise you this- that whatever has surfaced during med would never come to haunt you again. You would have made peace with it. So, go ahead. Close your eyes and experience the Divine.

Image : Internet